The title of Yve Gosse de Gorre’s book about his Jardin de Sericourt translates as ‘Wisdom and Folly in the Garden’. The garden lives up to the name and is filled with deep thinking leavened with humour.
Like Jencks’ Garden of Cosmic Speculation it is concerned with the meaning behind the form, but less about the nature of nature, and more about the nature of man.
In the classic French manner there is much use of box and topiary, but not only to provide the framework of the garden as you might traditionally expect – here the evergreen sculptures provide the form, the content, the rythmn and the meaning of the garden. There is one early ‘mixed border a l’anglaise’ created in the 1980’s, but after that the garden is an intricate grid of pathways and allees, rooms and vistas, all exploring a concept, and all inviting intervention and interpretation by the viewer. Charles Jencks garden was criticised last year for having become a ‘monologue’ instead of a ‘dialogue’, but Yve Gosse does not speak so much as open the pages of his book for the viewer to make up his own mind.
The Council of War – monumental, menacing or amusing?
“Each to his own taste,” said the old woman as she kissed the cow. A huge estate can pull off more bizarre forms than a small garden. Fun to visit; we might not want to live there.
Thank you for an interesting comment on an interesting garden – on Remembrance Sunday. The topiary faces could form a brilliant theme for garden of a military cemetery, more Wilfred Owen than Edwin Lutyens. I’m not so keen on the topiary columns – perhaps because they remind me of a cluster of Amateur Gardening Irish junipers.
The garden plan looks experimental but this is often the case with designers’ gardens, because they have more ideas than either time or space. I can see what Nell Jean means by ‘Fun to visit; we might not want to live there.’
Regardless of whether the garden is a ‘folly’ or not, it is good to see someone at ‘play’ in the garden!
Marian writes about Sericourt on this blog site and about another garden nearby- Maizecourt on her own site. I found Sericourt a garden that is edgy and intellectually intriguing and in some respects quite beautiful with the use of flowering plants, especially roses, whereas Maizecourt is much more personable,intellectualy relaxed and utterly charming and lovely to live in. On my visit in June Maizecourt made my heart smile, Serincourt..not quite.
You are right about the layout Tom – one can feel that it has developed over both time and space as the owners’ thinking has developed. It does not hold together as beautifully as say the Jardin de Plume, which was set out on paper on day one. Each room works well alone, and several of the links between, particularly the garden with the two armies, then the council of war, leading to the craters or voids and thence the allee of infinity. Some links are less good and perhaps they could be accused of ‘trying too hard’ in cramming so much in. As far as wanting to live there, there is a place for thinking gardens and gardens as art – one doesn’t go to see Anish Kapoor expecting to want to spend the night in the museum!
As a type of garden, Sericourt reminds me of the (less good) Garden House, Erbistock, Nr Wrexham, LL13 0DL http://www.gardenvisit.com/garden/garden_house_erbistock_wrexham. They both seem better at the design of features than at the design of OUTDOOR SPACE which should form the kernal of garden design.
I just noticed that your link to the thinkingardens piece on Jenks is not working: this is because the site is being totally refurbished. The new site should be fully operational on Monday 9th August: do visit! http;//www.thinkingardens.co.uk