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Tudor Gardens

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The formal garden lies at the centre of what were the old Tudor gardens. To the north lies the kitchen garden, which was made smaller by the drive cut through in the 1860s, to give access between the new house and the stables (only visible from the gardens by the clock spire on the coach house). Through the stone archway from the bigger, older, kitchen garden is a large terrace that appears to be the site of Lukesland Grove House, which was apparently dismantled in the 1840s. Some of the Tudor dressed stone mullions are visible around the steps below the archway, and a good bit more was used by the Victorians to build the waterfalls in the lower streamside area.

The site of the old house was turned into lawns and beds, and with its high old walls forms the most historic corner of the old gardens. On a summer evening one can sit in the tranquil shelter and watch the colour from the setting sun turn golden on the house and trees across the valley, until the bats are flitting around in the dusk. The walls needed substantial attention in 2005 and 2006, which then provided the excuse to rejuvenate the long herbaceous bed. The long-standing attempt to grow roses in the central bed was abandoned in the late 1990s (it is too wet and the soil too acid) and hydrangeas planted instead, with their deep, dark blue flowers.
Below the lawns lies the fountain pond, built in the late 1870s by the MacAndrews. It was lined with translucent calcite crystals and must have sparkled beautifully in the sun when it was new, but over the years these minerals were shattered by frosts and weathered down to a dull grey. Yet the fountain still plays, fed by gravity from the overflow of the domestic reservoir across the valley. With the glittering spray, the chusan palms by the pool and the great arrays of different vegetation and flowers all around, this is always one of the best corners of the gardens.
LOWER LAWNS
This area forms the lower part of the old Tudor gardens. Part of it seems to have been levelled, and was perhaps an area of outbuildings below the old house. The Victorians planted a range of conifers here, and though they grew fast most survived barely a hundred years and were gradually wiped out by gales, finally ending in the great blow of January 1990. Yet this made a lot of space for new trees, and the lower lawns are fast becoming an arboretum in their own right. There is a fine Japanese umbrella pine and some particularly attractive cedars that are now starting to shape up into fine large trees. There is also a sizeable grove of Circedephyllum, which turn fine golds, greens and scarlets with the seasons and whose leaves are so full of sugars that they emit a distinctive smell of caramel.

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