Autumn inkblots

Like so many country estates, the large back garden at Sheffield Park is a display of the most fashionable trees and shrubs brought in by Georgian and Victorian plant collectors, especially from the remotest and most inaccessible temperate forests in the Far East and Far West; the seeds were as prized as moondust. Gingkoes sit next to rich red Acers and all bow to enormous Wellingtonias; and no estate could be without the faintly ridiculous and highly invasive Gunnera manicata (Brazilian rhubarb) squatting by the lake. Many of the finest trees line the dark waters like toy soldiers from a random assortment of old regiments. The trees today are in their prime and in the late afernoon light the colours are rich and saturated; their reflected patterns on the still waters create gawdy inkblots.  Perhaps, the quirky plantings and architectural installations of this century’s wealthy landowners will be the must-see attractions for next century’s National Trust visitors.

Leave a Reply