Last October myself and a group of fellow designers decided it was time to get out of our studios and spend some time garden visiting, something that I am unfortunately finding less time for recently but which you will see from my previous post I am planning to do more of this year.
The garden in Ockley, Surrey is curated by Hannah Peschar and designed by landscape designer Anthony Paul. I have visited in the past but with a changing collection of contemporary sculpture to view it is a useful and inspiring garden to return to. The setting is particularly atmospheric with large trees and lush broadleaved planting creating a backdrop for the collections, each piece considered to create a meaningful relationship with its surroundings and other works.
Stoneware sculptures by artist Hannah Bennett are beautiful, tactile and create ideal seating in the dappled shade beneath a mature Acer.
We were lucky enough to see these Richard Farrington sculptures at the perfect time as light pooled at the base or the orange steelwork. They appear to float in the air as the top of the sculpture disappears into the tree canopy above.
A brave designer crosses the ominous looking bridge.
By Robert Harding, a giant fallen seedpod sculpture placed at the base of a mature tree collects autumnal leaf fall.
Figurative rusted steel sculptures by Rick Kirby sit perfectly with the burnished tones of the early changing season.
Liam O’Neil’s large wooden chair forms in the woodland garden.
Ronald van der Meijs’ ‘Sound Architect 5′ sits below a group of Oak trees, an incredibly striking mass of meticulously placed bicycle bells which form an undulating piece across the landscape. We are told that with a strong breeze the bells will gently ‘ding’.
Moss covered paths wind through the shaded garden below the tree canopies, almost too beautiful to tread, edged with large sweeps of naturalised ferns.
From here we travelled on to Sussex Prairies, a garden quite in contrast to the shaded and naturalised feel here but equally impressive in design and horticultural expertise. A linking factor is the use of sculpture throughout the gardens.