The seasons, weather, and time of day all ensure that a garden never looks quite the same as it did when you last visited.
But few have been subjected to proper forensic examination of their evolving appearance as that gem of a masterpiece that is Denmans Garden – located just off the A27 between Fontwell and Chichester.
Sky Landscape Artist finalist Sue England works there for a year interpreting the changing seasons, and this month-long exhibition in a variety of media is a vivid and immersive impression of all she has experienced.
“This exhibition is all about the relationship between an artist and this beautiful space called Denmans Garden,” she said. “And the experience of working here for a year in multiple light and weather zones and times of the year is extraordinary. This is a culmination of all those experiences with my art.”
Perfectly placed in the naturally lit portal to Midpines Cafe, this exhibit not only explodes with color, but through tone and form it captures something of Denmans’ soul.
This is a garden that in so many ways should never have existed.
But passion, patience, perseverance and the extraordinarily brave and talented people who have and still love it have created a four-acre oasis of pure tranquility and beauty where no one else would have survived, given the proximity of the road and the racecourse.
The late John Brookes MBE was one of Britain’s most influential landscape designers, and Denmans Garden remains an enduring, evolving testimony to his brilliance.
It features dry riverbeds, gravelled gardens, a walled garden, a conservatory and unusual plants, all fashioned with a contemporary eye after originally being converted from kitchen garden to ornamental garden by plant woman Joyce Robinson who began the vision in 1970.
The exhibition is free to visit.
There is a charge to wander the gardens and the John Brookes Lecture 2022 ‘Art and the Garden’ is on Sunday 9th October from 4-5:30pm, tickets £8/£10.