I …. used to be constantly asked what were Mrs Robinson’s bits and which are ours. Well it doesn’t work like that! I came here because I liked the feel of the place – it had interest and intimacy and I liked the person from whom I took it over… If I hadn’t liked Mrs J.R as she was known, would I have wanted to alter the garden more?
What I did strive to achieve was to give the garden a continuity as one walked round, and a sense of moving through from area to area. The public get this one very much and say that although it is a 4 acre garden it doesn’t feel like it.
My ‘continuity’ had to take in Mrs J.R’s plantings, so that I reshaped round them using bold sweeping curves. I was – and still am in awe of much of Burle Marx’ shapes and those of Thomas Church as well, and I worked with them in mind. These curves make for easy mowing and by leaving areas of rougher grass I can play shape against shape.
John Brookes MBE, 10 August 2017
Denmans – Why does it “work” – or rather why do visitors like it? Click here to read.
Denmans is a contemporary country garden that lies on a gentle, south facing slope sheltered by the South Downs to the north. Featuring well-drained alkaline soil, good light and a mild climate, it is ideal for growing a large range of plants, including plants from the Mediterranean and other warmer climates which blend with plants indigenous to West Sussex. The diversity of its plants and its unique planting style have resulted in a garden with year-round interest, structure, and colour.
The 4 acre garden is a series of spaces that flow one into another elegantly but informally, including outside views in some places and focusing on an interior point in others. Far from resembling any recognizably traditional English garden styles, Denmans is relaxed and defiantly “country” but its informality is contained by carefully considered proportions, strong geometric shapes punctuating both the horizontal and vertical planes, and its indisputable link to the countryside in which it is nestled. The ground plan includes a series serpentine paths which present new sight lines, glimpses and surprises at every turn. By design there is nothing grand and stand-offish about Denmans. It provides welcoming and intimate spaces that enfold and enrich you every time you visit. True to John Brookes’ design tenets, every curve is strong and related, creating exquisite inter-linking spaces.