Friday, 21 August 2009

The Gibberd Garden - a gem in the English countryside.

the lane and countryside surrounding the Gibberd Garden.

Ok. Enough self pity and misery! What am I like?? So here is a post about something lovely! We went, the other day, using the promise of cake and ice cream to get the boys there without dragging them by the hair, to the Gibberd Garden.

tree house

Sir Frederick Gibberd was the architect who designed Harlow New Town in Essex. He searched for several years to find a property near the town and eventually found some land with a house which suited his needs.The house was small and not particularly lovely, but the grounds were beautiful, sloping and with water running through them.

Columns from Coutts Bank, the Strand,London.

He planned to knock the house down and design his dream home, then surround the house with fabulous gardens. Not everything went to plan and despite him being the designer of the whole town nearby, the local council refused him permission to fulfill his dream. He had to be happy with building an extension to the house, but was able to turn the grounds into the most gorgeous gardens where he could display his collection of contemporary sculpture.

Mother and Son by Gerda Rubenstein

This is where we went and it is glorious. Nestled in the heart of the English countryside, down a tiny lane, it is an absolute gem. Paths lead you around the garden, taking you on a mystery tour of "rooms" where sculptures are carefully placed to be enjoyed at their best.

castle and moat

The boys particularly liked Sir Frederick's fort - a gift, complete with drawbridge and moat for his grandson, I believe. My favourites were the water features as shown in the video below and the mother and child.

The house, which Sir Frederick, extended and improved to create a light, spacious, modern place with fantastic picture windows onto the gardens, is super. It is as if he has just stepped out to the garden and will return momentarily.

The whole feeling of the place, which is kept going on a shoestring by volunteers, is of tranquillity and beauty. The enthusiasm of the staff is wonderful and as we sat on the terrace eating homemade cakes and drinking tea from a pot, even the boys agreed that this was a special place to be. We will definitely go again and I recommend it to you if you are ever near. It is a special place.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful blog and I love your glad that I found my way here:)
Gorgeous pics and I love the story.
How funny that the town wouldn't let him build what he wanted...what I love is, what he did with the "canvas" that he had.
Thanks so much for a great read!

Sarah said...

Thank you Pam! I am so glad that you came! S

Gail said...

You have so many grand places to visit. This one was exceptional. Good photos.

Sarah said...

It is a little gem isn't it? A secret place that more people should know about! S