Scotney Castle Landscape Gardens (National Trust), Kent, UK
Scotney Castle Gardens are centred on the romantic ruins of a moated, 14th century medieval English castle. An Elizabethan wing was added to the ruins in the 15th century. Together they give a delightful focal point to the gardens.
In Spring, an old quarry in the gardens contains an amazing, colorful display of rhododendrons, azaleas, kalmias and purple acers, often under-planted with bluebells. The ruins of the old castle and surrounding, water filled moat can be seen in the distance from a viewpoint overlooking this stunning floral display.
Details: The National Trust gardens at Scotney Castle are a renowned example of a specific 18th century English gardening style called the ’Picturesque’ . This particular style was part of the larger Romantic Movement which greatly influenced artists of the period. It evolved from the aesthetic ideas of William Gilpin and was applied to gardens by the highly influential English garden designer, Humphrey Repton.
Within this particular style, artists and designers were seeking qualities in a painting or landscape that essentially transcended mere beauty and almost conveyed the viewer to a blissful state of higher consciousness because of its ‘pure perfection’. As far as I understand it, these ‘Picturesque’ garden designs were more ‘rugged and natural’ than previous landscape garden designs (e.g. those of Capability Brown) and often incorporated romantic ruins and follies. Well, that at least is the theory.
From my own experience, Scotney Castle is certainly a very beautiful garden. However, it also has unique qualities, hard to put into words and define, that makes it very special indeed. Other people must feel this too, as it is an extremely popular garden with visitors.
Location: Located near the village of Lamberhurst in the valley of the river Bewl in Kent, England. Postcode: TN3 8JN. The nearest large town is Tunbridge Wells.
OSGB Map Reference: TQ688353
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