Monthly Archives: August 2015

A Garden of Rooms

The Secret of the Tirthas was inspired by a unique garden in a remote part of Herefordshire. The garden consisted of over 20 hedged rooms, laid out over two acres behind a sixteenth century cottage. It was designed and constructed by the landscape designer Lance Hattat and his wife.

Here’s a sketch of the layout:

 

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The rooms were inspired by seemingly random themes, ranging from South American gods to the designer’s favourite Edinburgh restaurant, to Easter Island statues and the elusive Miss Day.

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Original and startling sculptures were supplied by a range of artists but particularly the talented Helen Sinclair.

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The garden only covered a small area, but the intricate rooms with their range of features – ponds, towers, statues, brooks, summer houses, orchards, bridges, arches, fountains – all served to create a sense of a much larger space, with a seemingly endless sense of discovery and surprise.

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The layout of the garden in The Secret of the Tirthas is largely based on the original layout, with a few notable exceptions – The Indian Garden is entirely new, for instance.

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I’ve heard that the garden has been significantly dug out and replaced by a vineyard now, which is a terrible loss to those who knew and loved it (it was open to the public for most of the summer). I hope the books can help to preserve at least something of that special garden in rural Herefordshire.

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