Monday, January 19, 2009

Waltham Place - Pioneering Landscape

Waltham Place is a 56 hectare estate comprising farmland, woodland and orchards, with landscaped and ornamental gardens. Developed since the 17th century, the entire estate has been managed organically for over 25 years. The gardens have been designed by Henk Gerritsen and are maintained by former Mien Ruys head gardener Beatrice Krehl.  I visited Waltham place while in England and it still remains the greatest working mixed use garden and landscape I have experienced.

The land and gardens have been developed and maintained based on sound agricultural, environmental, food cultivating and social principles. The owner and staff have a firm understanding that organic husbandry needs to coexist with the local natural systems.

The journey through the property begins by mingling through wild bold plantings of grasses and hardy mixed perennial species. Gerritsen's naturalistic planting palette is uncomplicated, with drifts of grouped species appearing to carry a delicate balance that only coexists in nature.

In one portion of the garden, morning glory was encouraged to climb over a clipped yew hedge. Instead of battling the invasive species, Gerritsen worked with it and welcomed its vigorous character. 

As your journey through Waltham Place continues you will be led to working kitchen gardens, open meadows, woodland groves and back through classic Gerritsen planting schemes.

The brilliance behind these spaces is the blurred lines between the natural and created landscape, providing the visitor a sense of balance with the local ecology.

Waltham Place offers education to the public about organic production and environmental principles.  Their method to teaching is a 3 tier approach - factual, sensory and aesthetic. The concept is to put less emphasis on lecturing while promoting value in discovery, observation and exploration, thus connecting the student directly to their surroundings. 
If you have the chance please visit the gardens at Waltham Place. This is, in my opinion, the template for the future of mixed use landscape design. 
For more information please visit


  1. I have always enjoyed that wild yet organized quality that the English gardens have.

  2. Beautiful, even the tree stumps look really cool!

  3. It reminds me of the Lord of the Rings, the little house inside the roots of the tree. . . beautiful.

  4. Beautiful. Interesting approach to morning glory management. I'd never have thought of that.