Visitors know that William Wordsworth lived here for most of his life, that he wrote many of his greatest poems when he was living here. But not all realise that he began the planning – and the planting – of the glorious garden here which has never looked so lovely.
Now his work, and ours, is celebrated in The English Garden magazine, whose cover story this month is about Wordsworth’s romantic garden. Accompanied by seven pages of truly stunning photographs (thank you, Joe Wainwright, these are breathtaking) it tells how the poet was also a landscape gardener in tune with the ideals of Romanticism.
No formal planting schemes here. Wordsworth wanted nature to lead the way, to “defend us from the tyranny of trimness and neatness”. Sketches of the garden drawn in the year he died, and only discovered recently, have helped us to continue our work – his work – so that the garden is still very similar to how it was in Wordsworth’s day.
Of course, trees planted by Wordsworth are now mature specimens, and there are shrubs – including magnificent varieties of rhododendron – which were planted after his time. There are weeds too, and we, like Wordsworth, see these are glowers out of place, not just to be pulled up and thrown away.
The magazine feature pays tribute to the hard work and dedication of our curator, Peter Elkington, and head gardener Helen Green: “The poet would surely be happy if he could see the lightness of touch with which Helen and Peter care for his garden, as he would have wanted, with the same deference to the natural world.”
Please do look out for the magazine and read Clare Foggett’s lovely article. But better still, come and see for yourself. We’re open every day and there is surely nowhere more lovely to spend a few summer hours.