The Gardens of Arne Maynard? Oo, yes please


Arne Maynard is one of my favourite designers. Whenever I have stumbled across his gardens, in a magazine or online, I’ve fallen head over heels for his timeless romantic style… especially when they feature images of his kitchen gardens.

Although his clients’ properties are large-scale – never-ending estates and rambling country piles – there is nothing flash about any of Arne’s gardens. They all look like they have evolved out of love rather than money.

I would love to visit one of his projects, but suspect they are largely private affairs… So you can imagine my delight when I was given the opportunity to review his fresh-off-the-press new book “The Gardens of Arne Maynard”.

What the book shows is that Arne’s gardens are about a love of plants. They very much set the mood but always complement the age and style of the project’s architecture. Everything looks natural, in keeping and effortless, whilst still being contained and elegant. Nothing is forced or contrived. There is a sense of a deep respect for time and history, and for the seasons.

Copyright William Collinsoncopyright William Collinson from The Gardens of Arne Maynard

Each garden featured (there are twelve) has its own chapter, accompanied by Arne’s own description of how he approached its design. And – oh, yes! – I find there is also a dedicated ‘Essential: Kitchen Gardens’ section. Here Arne describes perfectly the emotions that a beautifully crafted and productive vegetable garden can arouse. These are just a few excerpts that struck a chord with me:

“The comfort of walled kitchen gardens stems from the primal knowledge that food plants need protection”

“What is vital to me is the ceremony of stepping into that enclosed garden through a gate or door that can be closed behind you”

“I usually aim for vegetable gardens that are like delicatessen counters, with just the best things, grown for flavour”

“This is a very personal and passionate part of the garden”

Copyright William Collinsoncopyright William Collinson from ‘The Gardens of Arne Maynard’

There are a further five Arne ‘Essentials’ punctuating the main garden chapters, which focus on the more formal elements. These feature: ‘Roses’, ‘Borders’, ‘Topiary’, ‘Craftsmanship’ and ‘Pleached, Pollarded and Trained’… All details which are relevant to a small garden too.

All in all, this is a lovely read and I know I will dip into it often for inspiration.

Rather than sate my desire to visit one of his gardens, it has instead left me even more wanting to see one for real… A sign of a very good book, don’t you think?

You can buy the book direct from the publishers, Merrell, £45, by clicking here or from Amazon by clicking here


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