I thought I would share some images of a garden called Denmans which was the home of famed British garden designer John Brookes. Brookes passed away a few days ago and it has me thinking not only about the way we live our lives – thoughts that always come to me when I hear about someone dying – but also about the special places that we leave behind.
Any garden, left uncared for, will do exactly as it would if it were cared for. It will evolve and change. Of course the tended garden will yield to the will of the gardener (at least to some extent) where as the untended will grow and creep and generally become wild again.
I’d adamantly argue anyone who didn’t agree that gardens are a from of art. Lots of types of art decline with age and need to be cared for if it is to be shared with future generations – but gardens are a unique case. A garden’s changes happen much faster and its maintenance is comparatively quite expensive. So it is no surprise that when a gardener dies, so too does the art. Or, more accurately, it sort of gradually fades away…
By many accounts Brookes’ garden had started to fade some time ago. Maintenance is hard to keep up with as our bodies age. But nonetheless, I found some inspiring and beautiful images taken by Lenora Enking and David Edwards that I thought were worth sharing in honor of the gardener.
There are certainly many memories wrapped up in this garden. John Brookes was the teacher of many widely known designers – including one of my own mentors, Rosemary Alexander. The clock tower was home to his classroom. I’d have quite liked to have visited this school in its prime – it was a place where class in the morning was expected to be intense and hard working so that “compulsory” wine could be served at lunchtime. My kind of place…
John Brookes wrote many books related to garden design and compulsory wine isn’t the philosophy I’ve adopted from him… there is also this one:
“Gardening is the last outpost of being able to do exactly what you want to do. So why conform to ideas from 50 years ago or 500 miles away?”
-John Brookes (1933 – 2018)
(My thoughts exactly)