Redesigning the knot garden at Nymans

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Latest update 04.01.2013 11:09

In the 19th century the current site of the knot garden at Nymans was occupied by a conservatory. After the Messel family completely redesigned the house in the 1920s, Maud Messel made some rudimentary sketches of a knot garden.

The design up til now was loosely influenced by her sketches, but we decided that the area would benefit hugely from a stronger design.

Inspiration for the new design

Our new design is based partly on Maud's sketches together with archive photographs from the 1930s.

But inspiration has also been taken from a small design motif on the lead guttering on the east side of the house. This creates a subtle link between the house and the garden.

Why the redesign?

The conservation management plan we had carried out stressed the scope for a more typically intricate knot garden and the need to establish a more visually harmonious planting scheme suited to this rather hot, sheltered site.

Maud Messel’s bedroom overlooked the knot garden and we’d like to think she could observe the seasons through the changes in the plants below.

A bit about the design

The outline of the design is formed of box plants. The planting inside includes tulips in the spring followed by perennials that are drought tolerant and attractive to insects as well as providing a long season of flower and foliage interest.

The palette of plants includes scabious, thalictrum, melianthus, origanum, purple-leaved sedum, and less familiar plants such as Seseli gummiferum, Angelica hispanicum or Mathiasella bupleuroides.