The Gibberd Garden

The garden is sited on the side of a small valley which slopes down to the Pincey Brook. Occupying some seven acres it never had a master plan. Sir Frederick was an intuitive gardener with a clear idea of what he wanted: if it worked, well and good, if it didn't, root it out and try something else!

At the time of his second marriage there were only three sculptures in the Garden. It is significant that the late Lady Gibberd's wedding present to him was Gerda Rubinstein's sculpture, 'City' (now on the east patio). During the twelve years of their marriage the number of sculptures grew and the garden now provides settings for some eighty sculptures, ceramic pots and architectural salvage. There is a gazebo, an avenue of lime trees, a waterfall in the brook and even a children's moated castle with a drawbridge. In Sir Frederick's own words: 'Garden design is an art of space, like architecture and town design. The space, to be a recognisable design, must be contained and the plants and walls containing it then become parts of adjacent spaces. The garden has thus become a series of rooms, each with its own character, from small intimate spaces to large enclosed prospects.' A visit to the Garden will perfectly illustrate this philosophy.

Hugh Johnson, the author of books on wine and gardening, saw the garden develop and has written: 'There are few gardens in England where the eye and the mind are more consistently stimulated and amused. Amused is the key word. Sir Frederick's Garden is first and foremost an entertainment. Highbrow horticulture is not the point. It is landscape as theatre.'

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