Sep 1, 2013

Hampton Court Palace: The Gardens

The Privy Garden as it appears today is one of the most accurately reconstructed gardens because so much was recorded about the original 1702 garden.
William III died before it was completely finished and all the gardeners and workmen were so scared of not being paid that they submitted the fullest accounts for all their work.
This garden from Henry VIII’s day was always the King’s private garden, and very few people would ever have gained admittance to it up until the 18th century. Even then, it remained a private garden for the grace and favour residents of the palace right up until the early 20th century. It is a wonderful sight from the first floor of the palace.

We went on a garden history tour in the afternoon, and partway Alcuin joined Aylwen to see behind the scenes and look into the glasshouses where the seedlings are grown for all the bedding displays in the palace gardens. Below is a large assortment of photos taken in the various palace gardens and on the tour.

Alcuin was suffering from jetlag and it showed. However he sparked up when he saw the Great Vine, and it was at that point he lagged behind with the camera.

The Great Vine, Vitis vinifera ‘Shiva Grossa’ (synonym- Black Hamburg), is over 240 years old.  It was planted under direction of Lancelot 'Capability' Brown in 1769 from a cutting taken at Valentines Mansion, near Wanstead in Essex. In his book ‘Vines and Vine Culture’, A F Barron mentions several large famous vines, none of which now survive except the one at Hampton Court. He says that in 1887 it was already 1.2 metres (4’) around the base. It is now 4 metres (12’) around the base and the longest rod is 36.5 metres (120’).

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