ISSUE 14  |  Less Is More

Garden Visit: A Green Palette at Christopher Bradley-Hole’s Bury Court

February 18, 2016 1:00 AM

BY Kendra Wilson

Christopher Bradley-Hole made a stir a few years ago with his Chelsea garden, mainly consisting of different heights of boxes. Was it cold, was it inspirational? Maybe we just needed more time to decide; these abstract landscapes grow on you. We visit Bury Court in Hampshire, which has been growing for more than a decade:

Photographs by Clive Nichols.

Above: The Chelsea garden was a potted version of the English landscape, with its quilt of fields and hedgerows. It was almost all green. The garden at Bury Court is also green–turning to gold–as Bradley-Hole uses grasses to connect the garden space with the Hampshire landscape beyond.

Bury Court is divided into two sections: The Courtyard, which came first and was designed by Piet Oudolf in his early days, and the Front Garden, that of Bradley-Hole, which came after. The whole garden works as a mixture of informal naturalism (Oudolf) and formal simplicity (Bradley-Hole).

Above: As the grasses grow up over the season they undermine the linear formality. However the Central Oak Structure (designed by Bradley-Hole, above), reinforces the grid pattern of the garden. Viewed from within, the landscape is framed in every direction, by the oak uprights.

Christopher Bradley-Hole has written several books on modern garden design: The Minimalist Garden and Making the Modern Garden, in which he surveys the contemporary garden scene from around the world.

Above: Bradley-Hole mixes different types of grass together, along with meadow-like perennials (including Eryngium and Agastache shown here). They intermingle in gravel, edged with rusted cordon steel. The garden is laid out on a geometric grid pattern: the grasses shimmer and the planting flows, within strict limits.

Above: The Front Garden is criss-crossed with straight paths made of granite setts, to reflect the materials of the house, which is mainly pale stone and brick.

Above: A planting of silvery Stachys ‘Big Ears’, the dark Sedum ‘Matrona’, phlox ‘Rosa Pastell’, with Echinops ritro ‘Veitch’s Blue’ to the rear (Left) and Agastache foeniculum (Right).

Above: A rectangular pond is home to a sculpture made from oak, by Paul Anderson. “Relic” oak is sourced from old barns, boats, gates, etc., and is transformed into garden sculpture or furniture.

Above: The blackened reflecting pool sits at the heart of the garden. On one side is this weathered oak garage, designed by Bradley-Hole and flanked by the tall grass Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’, which keeps its shape in winter. The pool sits between this building and the oak pavilion.

For more on that Chelsea garden, see Celebrity Spotting at the Chelsea Flower Show. Do you want to knock about more in Hampshire? See Manor House Stables, A Champion’s Home Reborn on Remodelista.