Denmans Garden

Denmans Lane, Fontwell, West Sussex, BN18 0SU.

Those of a certain generation will remember John Brookes the Garden Designer who appeared on the BBC’s Gardeners’ World programme a few years ago. I won’t even attempt to try and remember how many. Denmans Garden was designed by John and is owned by John and Michael Neve. It is a plantsman’s garden where the flowers and textural shrubs and grasses take centre stage and I wonder why I have included it in a topiary listing. There are some items in box to help tie the themes together, so here it is.

Giant box balls
Giant box balls

The garden is approached via the garden centre. I went there on a Sunday and it took ages to find someone to let us in. The poor girl seemed to be looking after the shop, the cafĂ© and the entrance to the garden but maybe it is different on a weekday. Not many people are as mad as I to go visiting a garden at 10 a.m.on a Sunday morning. The leaflet says that the garden centre was 8th in the country’s top 50 according to the Independent Magazine in 2009 although the items on sale seemed a little sad especially the furniture some of which was already flaking paint. Never mind it is the garden we have
come to see.

Box obelisk set in a hedge
Box obelisk set in a hedge

What topiary there is is largely in box and mainly confined to understated hedges popping out of the gravel.

Box ball in a geometric hedge reminiscent of a scientific symbol
Box ball in a geometric hedge reminiscent of a scientific symbol

There is much use of statuary in the garden to lead the eye and it is often offset. There is nothing entirely geometric or classical about this garden and it is in keeping with the sweeping and flowing nature of the planting.

There is much use of statuary to lead the eye
There is much use of statuary to lead the eye

There are also a few items of understated humour in the garden like the yew and box chickens grazing around the gravel near the Clock House put there like they have full range of the garden that they own.

Whimsical yew chicken grazing in the corner complete with offspring
Whimsical yew chicken grazing in the corner complete with offspring
Safety in numbers
Safety in numbers

All photographs by Anthony Blagg

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