Jonathan Garratt designs garden for Craft Study Centre at Farnham

20 Nov 2007

Director of the Crafts Study Centre in Farnham, Surrey, Professor Simon Olding asked me to design and build a new garden. The structure itself is a rather beautifully arranged space dedicated to the display and preservation of makers' work from the 20th century and for the showing of new contemporary pieces from modern craftworkers. The brief in essence was to encourage greater numbers of visitors, flatter the building and provide an interest through the year.

Since I take a very great interest in garden design these days I leapt at the chance to articulate what knowledge I have on that score and set about designing for two experiences of the space: one from the front as a visitor entering and the other from the side, looking down the space through all the planting onto the park beyond and over the roof of the (very nice) new supermarket/clocktower down into the town beyond. Flow, in other words. I made a small seating area cocooned but free of planting and a circular pad from engineering bricks for a piece of my sculpture in wood. The black graphic delivery (shadows) is derived from the perception of the front wall of the building working like a cinema screen (it's off-white). So Calamagrostis Karl Foerster sway in a long row along the back of the garden interspersed with Crocosmia Lucifer, with a frothy sea of Bituminaria Bituminosa, Gaura Lindheimeri and Imperial Gem Lavender in front as the main body. To the right of the main entrance I have put French echium and Leonitis Leonorus with Sternbergia Lutea and more Calamagrostis. The evergreen interest is supplied by two different palms - Trachycarpus - myrtle, Euphorbia Mellifera and small grasses by the pavement, Carex Testacea , married with a row of Convolvulus Cneorum. A Cercidiphyllum shades the bench for hot summer elevenses. Daffodils in spring.

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