About Hadspen garden

From www.thehadspenparabola.com

A summary of the garden’s history and recent plans

The walled garden at Hadspen House is an early nineteenth-century former kitchen garden in rural Somerset, set at some distance from the main house on a southwest sloping lot that traps sunlight and warmth. It lies within a private park of 300 acres, progressively landscaped as woodland and pasture since the 1660s. The walled garden is 3000 square metres. The brick wall, roughly parabolic in form, is about nine feet high, and completely surrounds it.

Since it ceased to be a vegetable garden in the 1960s, this enclosure has been intensively planted as a discrete ornamental garden in different phases by Penelope Hobhouse (until 1978) and Nori and Sandra Pope (until 2005). Though privately owned, and on a private estate, it has been open to visitors since 1970 and has gained an extraordinary reputation both in Britain and abroad both as a horticultural site and as a demonstration of imaginative garden design. With the retirement of the Popes, the proprietor, Niall Hobhouse, seized the need to remake the garden as the opportunity to open a platform for new ideas.

Three steps have since been taken. Foreign Office Architects were engaged to consider an approach to the framework of a new design, and completed an intensive study – as part of which a possible pattern of pathways is suggested. An open competition for the development of a new garden was announced – with a formal call for submissions planned for the early summer of 2007. And a website was opened – with a public invitation to join discussion not only on the future of the Hadspen garden but on the place and nature of gardens in the culture, and on the current state of gardening as an environmental, artistic and imaginative process.

Meanwhile, the plants behind the wall were allowed to run wild; local gardeners were offered the opportunity to help themselves and, late in 2006, the site was cleared completely.

The walled garden in June 2007
The walled garden in June 2007












For more detailed information of the debate, FOA scheme and competition entries visit www.thehadspenparabola.com