Monday, 18 August 2008

It's all too beautiful....


Yesterday the Socks visited the Hannah Peschar Sculpture Gardens. On a previous visit several years ago we had been totally enchanted but this time was even more glorious. Hidden away in a little Surrey valley the Gardens are so discreetly advertised that it would be only too easy to drive past the entrance almost hidden in the cool depths of the roadside trees and bushes. In fact, the Socks only found out about their existence at a Design Exhibition in London and they don't seem to have entered the consciousness of the 'general' garden visitor at all. Perhaps this is because everyone wants to keep this little secret to themselves so the gardens remain peaceful and quiet. Or maybe people think it is just about expensive but absolutely fantastic sculptures. For the Socks the entrance fee is more than worth it just to wander through the valley of adjoining ponds and streams, lush green gardens. multi-textured vegetation and masses upon masses of giant rhubarb leaves forming their own organic sculpture. The kind of place you dream of exploring as a child, the gardens have a wistful resonance with the Sock as she grew up with similar woods to play in - now sadly covered with an endless vista of houses.


One of the most inspiring things about the gardens is the way that the artwork and nature flow into each other so effortlessly. Every corner rounded, every glade entered, every long vista encountered holds some new and exquisite piece that made the Sock feel breathless with excitement. Some subtly woven into the tree and poolscape others complimenting it but each so carefully and precisely placed as to make the most of both sculpture and surrounds.

The Sock has posted photos of some of her favourite pieces below but nothing can capture the feeling of seeing them in situ. You really DO need to be there. Clic on the pictures to enlarge. The trunk with glass fungus sculpture (below)was one the Sock would have liked to take home - assuming she had circa £5000 to buy it. A rare ray of sunlight pierced the tree canopy and lit up the glasswork for a heart stopping moment..




Ghostly wisps of glass rise from the undergrowth so different from the sometimes garish Chihuly glass the Sock saw at the Kew exhibition a few years back.


The Bedsock's absolute favourites were the ethereal beings of a very fine metal mesh shaped into the form of winged women. They swung gently from the branches of the tree and could be espied from a distance through the woodland where just catching a movement and form you could not be sure of the reality. Again clic on the picture to get a better idea..


An enormous metal sculpted head lies sleeping under the trees.


To our delight - but less so to the garden's owner we also saw a mink swim up stream and clamber out onto some rocks. The owner pointed out that he couldn't kill them but that they were a nuisance and killed the water voles and other small creatures. We were told that kingfishers frequented the gardens flashing up and down the stream and owls lived there too.

And last the Socks saw this sculpture which bears an uncanny resemblance to Toby 'Tumnus'!!

If it hadn't been for the fact that J A-S had informed us all that Toby had a small but intimate piercing not evident on inspecting the statue - we would have said it was a ringer!


If you are interested in seeing more photos of the Sculpture Gardens clic here

7 comments:

Fat Rascal said...

It is beautiful, Sock.

As you say, the planting and ponds alone would be enough but the sculptures make it something special.

I like the fungus too, it also reminds me of the ice formations we get here in winter. Sadly, it also reminds me of the Duralex ashtrays much beloved of the French...sorry to lower the tone!

VP said...

I love the glass sculptures, It reminds me of the lovely ones there were at the Westonbirt Garden Festival the 2 years it was held.

It's the Festival of Wood there this week - hope to have some pics to show you later...

emmat said...

Aha, VP going to the festival of Wood, and Zoë and I off this morning to Wisley for the plant fair.... reports will be coming in thick and fast. If only we were all at the SAME thing! But still it's nice to get to experience more, virtually...

emmat said...

Aha, VP going to the festival of Wood, and Zoë and I off this morning to Wisley for the plant fair.... reports will be coming in thick and fast. If only we were all at the SAME thing! But still it's nice to get to experience more, virtually...

Pork Chop said...

Truly wonderful Arabella. Thanks for sharing this lovely secret. The glass sculptures are breathtakingly beautiful, I love the white forms rising from the foliage and the fungus on the tree trunk. Marvellous.

Arabella Sock said...

The Festival of Wood sounds interesting VP - I'm looking forward to your pictures. I hope you get a better day for it than Emma will do today at Wisley - it is cold, windy and damp here. I hope to get to Wisley soon so I will need a report and recommendations on the plant fair - assuming there are any plants left by the time I get there.

Pork Chop, those white glass sculptures were fabulous - they just conveyed so much movement. The various heads and figures around were fantastic but I would find them slightly spooky to have in my garden. Plus the fact they would look ridiculous in that context!

emmat said...

no it was lovely and sunny! We were practically blinded when we came out the marquee...