1920s Arts and Crafts garden returns to its heyday as five year restoration is completed at Standen

A five year restoration project at one of the country’s most important Arts and Crafts gardens has been completed at the National Trust’s Standen in West Sussex.

The impressive house at Standen, with its breath-taking views over the High Weald and Weir Wood Reservoir, was designed for James Beale and his family in the late 19th century by leading Arts and Crafts architect Philip Webb.

The 12 acre hillside garden, however, was designed by Beale’s wife Margaret and saw its heyday in the 1920s. An accomplished gardener and plants-woman, Margaret was inspired by a world tour in 1906-07 and created a series of outdoor rooms at Standen, including a scented rose garden – the Rosery – and a lime tree walk, along with more exotic areas with bamboo, ponds and lush foliage.

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Espaliered apple tree in the restored Kitchen Garden (C) National Trust Images/Andrew Butler

Over ten years ago, a group of volunteers discovered the Beale family swimming pond while clearing out some overgrown bamboo in part of the garden. Following extensive research, the garden revival project began in 2012 and is one of the biggest that the conservation charity has undertaken.

 

James Masters, head gardener at Standen explains: “In the latter part of the 20th century, Standen’s gardens saw alterations and replanting which covered or removed some of the original features. When I was first investigating the undergrowth in areas of the gardens I realised there was much more than met the eye.

“Over the years our discoveries have included lost walls, a rock garden and rare and unusual plants all overgrown by the vigorous modern planting that had masked the original beauty of Margaret Beale’s design. So we were lucky to have a wealth of archive material that has helped us research how it would have looked, ranging from family photographs, maps and receipts, to Margaret’s garden diaries which she kept for over 40 years. These have enabled us to piece it together and bring the garden back to its best.”

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The Courtyard (C) National Trust images/Andrew Butler

Among the garden features that have been restored are:

 

  • The original swimming pond and rose garden growing Margaret Beale’s coveted China pink roses.
  • A fine oak trellis rebuilt to the original design by Philip Webb. Trellis is a feature in one of Arts and Crafts designer William Morris’ wallpaper designs which is used in the house.
  • Lime trees reinstated along Grandfather’s walk.
  • 10,000 tulips including rare varieties
  • The kitchen garden and the original espaliered apple trees.
  • New views opened from the top terrace across to the Ashdown Forest.
  • New Arts & Crafts inspired planting in the house courtyard.
  • The medieval quarry face revealed alongside the drive, which inspired the Beales to build Standen in this location.

The £500,000 funding for the restoration project included generous legacies to the Trust for the purpose of garden projects and properties in Sussex.

James Masters adds: “I look back at photographs from before we started the restoration to remind myself of the remarkable changes the team of staff and volunteers has made since then. We have worked so hard to do justice to this lovely lost garden and make it shine again and I hope our visitors will enjoy discovering something new down every path and around each corner.”

A new exhibition about the garden and its revival will be taking place in the house from 6 May to 3 September and will include many of Margaret Beale’s original documents that were used for the restoration. A tulip festival is also taking place and a midsummer celebration will include talks, teas and tours from 1 June.

For more information and opening times visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/standen

 

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New exhibition celebrates Turner and the Age of British Watercolour

Petworth, west Sussex 7 January – 12 March 2017

The house and upper pond at Petworth House and Park, West Sussex. The deer park at Petworth was landscaped by 'Capability' Brown.

The house and upper pond at Petworth House and Park, West Sussex. Credit National Trust Images, Andrew Butler.

Some of Britain’s greatest watercolours will come to the National Trust’s Petworth in West Sussex for an exhibition that explores JMW Turner’s leading role in shaping this uniquely British art form.

The exhibition will display watercolours by Turner himself alongside stunning works by artists who inspired him including Edward Dayes and Thomas Hearne, contemporaries John Constable, John Sell Cotman, Thomas Girtin and many others.

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National Trust launches £250,000 coastal appeal to protect stunning Cornish clifftop

A £250,000 fundraising appeal is today  being launched by the National Trust to raise money to protect and care for Trevose Head near Padstow in Cornwall.

The fund will enable the conservation charity to extend areas of existing wildlife habitat on Trevose, whilst retaining other areas as arable farmland. Both are important in supporting rare wildlife. National Trust rangers will also create new footpaths, opening up the headland for visitors.

Thanks to the generosity of people who have left gifts to the National Trust in their Wills, the Trust is able to commit significant funds towards the purchase of Trevose Head.

Trevose Head -55 by John Miller

Trevose Head (c) National Trust Images / John Miller

 

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Trust places among winners of the Hudson’s Heritage Awards

Dunham Massey and Waddesdon Manor were among this year’s winners of the prestigious Hudson’s Heritage Awards.

Dan Cruickshank, distinguished architectural historian, presented the awards at Goldsmiths’ Hall in London yesterday, with invited guests including owners and managers of the winning entries, representatives of the heritage tourist industry and the media.

Established in 2011, the awards are an independently judged annual national scheme open to historic houses, gardens, museums and heritage sites. The 11 categories reward a range of visitor experiences and recognise the best heritage attractions in the whole of the UK. Continue reading

Meadowland by John Lewis-Stempel wins Thwaites Wainwright Prize 2015

Farmer and writer John Lewis-Stempel has been awarded the Thwaites Wainwright Prize 2015 for Meadowland: the Private Life of an English Field – his lyrical account of a year in the life of a farmland meadow.

Thwaites Wainwright Prize winner

“A magnificent love letter to the natural world, full of wisdom and experience, written with wit, poetry and love. I want to scream from the rooftops: buy it, give it, read it” – Tim Smit, The Eden Project

Worth £5,000, the annual book prize is awarded by publishers Frances Lincoln, in association with the National Trust, to spotlight the best books in UK nature and travel writing.

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Be an ‘Eggsplorer’ this Easter

National Trust teams up with Cadbury to offer families an Easter weekend of fun

Children playing in a tree at Tyntesfield, North Somerset.

It’s that time of the year again when Cadbury teams up with the National Trust to offer families the ultimate day out with their popular Easter Egg Trails.

This year, the Cadbury Eggsplorers Easter Egg Trail (3-6 April) will be inviting families to unleash their inner explorer with adventurous trails taking place across the country.

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Great British Walks – 100 routes to explore

IMG_31342This September the National Trust launches the Great British Walks book featuring 100 routes across iconic landscapes, through ancient woodland and along breathtaking coastline.

The book, which accompanies the Great British Walk 2014, will be available to buy from 25 September from National Trust shops as well as online at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/shop.

National Trust research has revealed that 84% of people find that the kaleidoscope of natural colours experienced on an autumn walk make them feel happier, healthier and calmer at a time when more than 40% admit to feeling down as the nights draw in. Running through the woods and along the river, the route at Hardcastle Crags is just one of many walks from the book which is perfect for exploring a rainbow of autumn colours.

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