They only want rich people, or gardeners on expenses visiting this place. At about 15 quid’ish, normal plebs wouldn’t be able to justify the trip. That aside, this is a lovely place. I like places with atmosphere. I like smells. I like beautiful architecture. I like peace. I like old wood, musty carpets, weedy walls and places with quirk. Haddon Hall ticks every box. I particularly liked the cottage at the very entrance, chocolate boxey with a neat front garden that was almost entirely filled with topiary of a boar’s head and a peacock the height of its rafters. Weird and glorious.
Climbing up the steps and through a hefty door, you find yourself in a stone slabbed yard all odd angles and topsy-turvy feeling, the very ancient piece of house joining the ancient piece of house in the lower corner with little buttresses and odd windows. It is a place steeped in age and you are humbled by it.
The garden reveals itself after walking through a corridor, the light at the end obscured slightly by the silhouettes of roses and this is what Haddon Hall is about. It is a rose garden done exceedingly well. There are roses on the walls, roses round the windows, roses freestanding, roses growing up through rustic tripods and as far as I could tell, every single one of them was highly scented and in a soft palate of pastels.
Arne Maynard is the designer involved in bringing the garden up to date, sneaking in the de rigueur for meadow, topiary chunks and fluffy formal. It works very well, apart from the meadow ‘edges’ weren’t very meadowy looking since they were suffering from too much lushness and not enough lightness. Still, things take time and this garden has only undergone phase one of its re-imagining, which has been five years in the processing. I guess reflecting the vibe of the place. It’s fucking old! It’s been around for stupid time, so it has time to give to the person who tweaks its edges.
Haddon Hall is quite a small garden, set on four distinct terraces, the hard landscaping of which is the original skeleton. The views beyond the garden are stunning also, all romantic pastoral tapestries akin to those hanging in the house. This is another garden that transports you to a sideways realm, where you drift on beautiful scents, the sound of birdsong and a space thick with ghosts. This is a garden so special, you can’t even smoke a rollie in there without being told sickeningly politely, to put it out… *15 quid!?… bastards.