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In September, a week away in Yorkshire allowed me to visit the walled garden at Scampston. The current walled garden was designed in 1999 by Piet Oudolf, one of the leading figures of the New Perennial style of planting, a naturalistic and ecological approach first seen in Germany and Holland. Whilst still yet to reach maturity in parts, the garden is a wonderful of example of his work.

 The garden is divided into eight ‘rooms’. You are advised to firstly walk around the perimeter, the Plantsman’s walk, containing a myriad of interesting and unusual plants. As you enter the first area of the garden you are met with curving drifts of Molinia grasses waving in the breeze.

Molinia waves


In the distance you get a glimpse, through evergreen hedges, of perennial borders and a small fountain.

The Silent garden was the most awe-inspiring. A large swathe of lawn was punctuated by 24 Yew columns set on Yew bases, almost 3m tall, around a large reflecting pool. The timber benches allow you to sit and contemplate. It felt like sitting in a ruined temple and lived up to its name in that it evoked a sense of quiet and peacefulness.

Silent Garden

In other rooms, soft perennial planting was set against a backdrop of clipped hedges, dramatising it. The backdrop to the main perennial meadow was a grove of Katsura trees with light airy foliage, underplanted with shade loving plants.

Perennial meadow

The Serpentine garden contained curved Yew hedges which will, in time, have undulating tops.

Serpentine Yews

To view all of this you could ascend the 3.5m Mount, surrounded by cherry trees and a wildflower meadow (just cut down when I visited).

It really is a spectacular contemporary garden, with clear symmetry and repetitive plant groupings that enhance the cohesiveness of the garden.

The abundant beautifully crafted seats around the garden were invaluable for appreciating all the nuances of the garden and the tranquility it created.

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