The Knot Garden

The Knot Garden
Mount Edgcumbe House

By: Geoff Rhodes
Added: 12 July 2017

The area immediately to the west of the House has long been in a kind of limbo: part car park, part mudbath after rain, and definitely not a thing of beauty. The Friends were approached by the House to see if we would sponsor the construction of a new garden, to celebrate both the Queen’s 90th birthday and Mount Edgcumbe’s Tudor origins. After due consideration the Committee agreed, and work soon began.

Those who have seen Condy’s painting of the House in its heyday, before the blitz of 1941, will know that the House extended all the way along to the gateway leading up to the Barrow Centre. You can see that the back wall has slots in it to take the beams for the first floor. Plans for what became known as the Elizabethan Knot Garden included exploring the archaeology of the site; and because of the resulting discoveries, meant that the whole area had to be raised by some six inches to preserve the footings of the long lost building. Our resident blacksmith prepared 250m of metal edging, and with the arrival of 16 German gardening volunteers, work began.

6 FOMECP volunteers joined them, and under Lee Stenning’s guidance they: Moved 50 tonnes of topsoil, 300m sq. of turf, 20 tonnes of chippings, 250m metal edging, 300m wooden edging. Planted 1,200 box plants and 19 specialist yew plants from Holland. Built 3 wooden pergolas from scratch and placed 4 cedar benches in only 3 weeks, bringing the project in on time and slightly under budget. Built to be low maintenance but high impact the design mimics the surrounds of the House windows in the three pergolas that were hand built by the team and will be covered in multi-coloured wisteria in years to come. The garden itself is framed by dark green box hedging with golden corners and silver variegated box cross. This design is finished off with a 1m clipped topiary cone. Dark blue and pink lavenders are planted between the lines of box hedging to make this garden truly a feast for the senses. Finally, the garage doors were repainted and adorned with heraldic devices, which is a definite improvement!

On 4 December the garden was opened by Robert, Earl of Mount Edgcumbe, Lady Megan and Lady Vanessa with Cllr Joyce Duffin, Cllr Vivien Pengelly and Cllr Glenn Jordan and a gathering of Friends and Park staff.

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