Tag: landscape design Cambridgeshire

A charming site with dis-used post-war gravel extraction pits, this project currently under construction will create terraces and meadows, mown pathways, turf labyrinth near the church (see the walled garden, Fulham post) family beach and extensive pottager gardens.

As a landscape architecture student (in 1996), I proposed an ecological buffer zone, short rotation willow and poplar coppice, renewable energy and pastoral land use change around the existing fenland nature reserves of Wood Walton Fen and Holme Fen.

My tutors criticised the project suggesting such a large scale project: reverting hundreds of acres of grade I agricultural land to ecological and pastoral land use was unlikely to be an economic reality, and questioned ‘ecological buffer’ theory.

Years later whilst living abroad I was intrigued to hear of the Great Fen Project: linking hundreds of acres of arable fen land around the above mentioned nature reserves as a managed wetland pasture.

The black and white aerial photograph shows the ‘ghosts’ of fenland rivers as silt alluvial deposits in the peat fen, with rectilinear field boundaries of drainage ditches imposed on the landscape.

The black and white image of a large post and two ‘fen tigers’ from the inter-war years, shows the shrinkage of the peat fens through oxidation of the peat and removal of water. The top of the post was ground level in the Victorian era- the post being a column from the Great Exhibition hammered into Holme Fen to record the then ‘ground level’.

Whilst manager of the landscape division at Huntingdon Garden & Leisure I assisted in the design and planting of this site, the largest garden centre in England.

Mature trees were imported from Deepdale Nurseries.

garden earithThis modern development reflected the Dutch gable vernacular architecture of the area, and was a few hundred metres away from the banks of the River Great Ouse.

As the river floods annually the design had to incorporate flood defence, flood-tolerant planting and materials that could survive flood inundation.

The mulch in the lower terrace of the garden was made entirely of cockle shells, brought up river from the Wash.

The upper level deck terraces were gated and as the clients had a young family, access to each successive terrace was limited according to the age of the child.

Timber sleeper raised beds were built with a sluice gate recess to block and advancing waters.

Sited on the edge of the black fen, Bury was once within the miniature kingdom of the Ramsey Abbey Banlieu. This property was predominantly Victorian and lovingly restored.

The garden design integrated the driveway and approach (including a lime tree walk), to the orangery and the front garden, using a variety of natural stone and fired clay materials.

The huge urns were handmade, imported from Crete.

As a student of Hinchingbrooke School I volunteered to restore the brick Wendy House and gardens, built as a retreat for an eighteenth century Earl’s daughter.

In subsequent years I also provided designs, plants and urns for the herbaceous Long Border, Rose Garden and House Terrace around the historic Hinchingbrooke House, seat of the Cromwells, Montagus and Earls of Sandwich, and presently the classrooms of the school’s sixth form.