Sunday, 2 October 2016

The Elizabethan Garden at Kenilworth Castle

I had to drive close by Kenilworth Castle the other day, so I set out a little early so I could visit the Elizabethan Garden.  I had heard of this garden some time ago and it was on my list of things to visit when I had a chance.  Well the chance arose and so I grabbed it.
In 1975 a Tudor Garden was planted out on the site of a garden created for Elizabeth I's visit.  English Heritage later took over the site which led to further excavations and the further restored garden was opened in 2009.

The person in the ticket office advised me to enter the garden through the Bailey as that is how Elizabeth would have first seen it.  It was good advice, you walk through the dark arch and the garden opens up in front of you.
It was lateish afternoon when I visited so the pictures are a bit shadowy.  The garden is firstly viewed from the raised path.
Symmetry is everything and there are these wonderful lantern structures at each end of the walk.
There are a pair of these rather wonderful bears, the symbol of Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester, who commissioned the garden to be built.
To the side of the garden is this small orchard.
It is beautifully laid out.
There is an aviary to the rear.
and this recreation of the original fountain in the centre of the garden.  The ball that the Atlas's are holding has pipes that would have originally had water flowing through them.  
The garden is beautifully proportioned and perfect for a gentle walk.


I only had a short amount of time, but I enjoyed my visit.  You could imagine Elizabeth and her courtiers walking around the garden enjoying the space and it was interesting to visit a recreated historical garden.  It made me think of my other visits to famous gardens and how they might be famous for one owner/period of time and how that is then handled by the owners today.  Here at Kenilworth there is a very good argument for the 'setting in aspic' approach.  It is important to have gardens that show us how the attitudes and fashions have changed.  Whilst gardens move on and develop we also need reminders of where they have developed from.  I am, however, going to caveat that statement, as I do not believe that all gardens have to be frozen in time.  Just to be completely contrariwise, part of the beauty of gardening is that change, that evolution from what was to what is now. 

2 comments :

  1. Interesting place, after reading that I've now got visions of Errol Flynn in tights flirting around after Elizabeth 1st.

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    1. Errol Flynn was brilliant - still my favourite Robin Hood, he did love a film involving tights

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