Makeover for historic garden

Castle land transformed into a modern garden in English Heritage scheme

A 21st century garden design has transformed a derelict fruit and vegetable plot at 16th century Portland Castle in Dorset. Chairman of English Heritage Sir Neil Cossons opened the fifth contemporary heritage garden in English Heritage’s £1.5 million initiative to bring contemporary design into the historic landscape last week. Garden designer Christopher Bradley-Hole used ornamental grass Deschampia cespitosa, Euphorbia amygdaloides and the hardy white cranesbill Geranium macrorrhizum ‘Album’ in the castle’s former moat. Above the moat is a gangway-like bridge that leads into the garden. Cossons said: “Christopher Bradley-Hole’s design draws upon the garden’s magnificent setting, maximising the breathtaking views out to the sea whilst creating an enclosed space within then existing walled garden. His use of local stone, natural materials and simple planting creates a dramatic contemporary space that successfully enhances the area’s history without creating a pastiche.” Bradley-Hole said: “The starting point for the garden was Portland Castle itself with its curved walls facing the sea. There are limits to the types of plants that will grow in this maritime environment in all winds and weathers. The corsican pines Pinus nigra ‘Larico’ will develop into a wind print to show the direction of the prevailing winds, while the grasses will move dramatically and rustle in the wind.” under the retained sycamore, elm and pine trees.” The next contemporary heritage garden, at Witley Court, Worcestershire, will open in 2004.

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