Saturday, 23 July 2011

Garden scrolls and serpentines

 I came across this wonderful drawing whilst doing some archive research the other day:

It shows the grounds of a villa near Crystal Palace Park in Sydenham, and it wasn't relevant to what I was looking for but I snapped a shot as it captured my fancy.  I'm really getting into historic gardens lately and I thought this layout was just fabulous.

My knowledge of garden and landscape history isn't so hot (yet!) but this was a late 19th century drawing and I think the trend around then was for picturesque, "natural" (but in reality, completely contrived) landscapes.  There's a bit of formality closer to the house here:

But overall, there's not much formal symmetry or straight lines in this garden.  Check out that scrolled path at the bottom!

Oh, the thought of traipsing about in that garden just makes my toes tingle with excitement!  Meandering along the serpentine paths, ducking into the wooded borders for games of hide and seek...

And I wonder what those open lawns might have been used for?  Garden parties?  Croquet?  Sigh!


  1. Really liking this, I do like maps, especially maps whith recongnizable features. And this garden would be exciting with these winding paths. gosh, my own wee garden has the size of a stamp.

  2. Oh definitely! Pleasing to the eye and the imagination :-) What a delightful and unusual thing to come across.

  3. SuperHeidi - I love old maps too, I find them so interesting especially when, as you say, you can recognise parts of them as they are today. And you're lucky to even have a garden - I'm just in a flat without any garden or even balcony. One day...

    Susan Janet - I come across lovely things to distract me quite a lot whilst researching. I often find myself taking photos of irrelevant things just because they're pretty. Now I have a blog I can share them with a little audience, perhaps!

  4. Oh yes, keep sharing beautiful and interesting things you run into.

    I know I am very lucky to have a garden in the middle of the city, even if it's shady and damp and I have many neighbours as an audience. I do enjoy my little wild spot. :-) You'll have one someday!

  5. superheidi - I hope your many neighbours are an appreciative audience! I also absolutely agree - I love reading of these gems of beauty and interest.

  6. Oooh I just love this all the swirly curvy lines of the borders it would definitely be a great place to get lost for a few hours!

    PS. I have given your fabulous blog an award! You can see more about it over at my blog:)

  7. This is so fascinating, i'd love to see this garden in real life, sounds and looks so beautiful!

  8. Oh, it's lovely that the drawing has captured all your imaginations! I'm never sure if it's just me that get so excited and intrigued by such things.

    Wendy - thank you so much for my award! Unfortunately my internet at home is down at the moment so I'll have to wait until it's back up to respond properly... But I'm very flattered! My first award!