A study day with Deborah Evans for landscape and garden professionals to illustrate the continued relevance of this garden in international landscape design as an exemplar of site-specific and architecture led design and ornamental ecology, and to consider its conservation into the future. 

An historian, writer and educator who became a Head Gardener, Chartered Landscape Architect and heritage professional, Deborah Evans (MA, CMLI, IHBC) is a landscape and heritage consultant, collaborator, writer, and educator. She has worked for Cadw, National Museum and Galleries of Wales, National Trust, Historic England and specialist landscape practices before establishing DE Landscape & Heritage in 2015.

This class is being held in conjunction with Garden Masterclass. Please click here for more information and to book. The day long event is £230 and includes lunch, tea, coffee, and admission to the garden.

The day will:

• Unpack the significance of Denmans by considering:

o Joyce Robinson’s planting post 1948 based on her observations of the natural world, her contribution as a post-war plantswoman fostering industry and sector cross-pollination and influence;

o John Brookes’ design overlay emphasising the holistic composition of house and garden, the influence of abstract art and the choice of plants for architectural form rather than botanical interest;

o Brookes’ Clock House design school and international promotion of his art (2022 marks the 60th anniversary of his first RHS Chelsea garden, ‘A Room Outside’), and,

o Tension and creativity – the sixteen-year relationship between Robinson and Brookes. Denmans has been registered Grade II. Is this an accurate reflection of its heritage interest? Is there a case for upgrading? Consider the criteria for gardens in respect of Post War Designed Landscapes (PWDL) •

Understand the present situation of Denmans. You will hear about:

o Plans for its immediate and future care; o What this may involve (archive, governance, funding, management and maintenance), and,

o Why this is necessary to help conserve the significance of the site. •

Consider Denmans in the context of similar gardens/landscape such as Turn End and the Beth Chatto Gardens. How they are managed. How the creative flame is continued. How they are avoiding pastiche.

• Help outline a road-map for Denmans using heritage designation and planning to help shape the future by:

o Considering the merits of standard documentation such as a Conservation Statement; Landscape Management Plan; Business Plan and an Access and Outreach Plan;

o Consider how to make such documents truly reflect the intellectual approach, close observation and creativity practised by Robinson and Brookes, and,

o Help to make such documents useful and accessible to the Denmans Trustees and staff on a daily basis – ‘live’ documents capable of regular revision. The study day will refer to current heritage/conservation philosophy, guidance and planning in England. It will touch on process, different approaches, the format of key documents, public and statutory consultation and potential funding streams.

Format of day:

• AM: Classroom presentations:

o Welcome and introduction to the day by the GM team

o Introduction to Denmans by Gwendolyn van Paasschen

o Designation and significance in PWDL focussing on Denmans and an introduction to conservation planning by Deborah Evans

• Coffee break

o The daily and longer-term challenges of managing Denmans by Gwendolyn van Paasschen

o How the planning system helps/hinders the management of such gardens by Deborah Evans

o Wash up/discussion (15 mins and continued over lunch)

• Lunch

• PM: On site discussion (group exercises tbc by Deborah Evans)

• Tea break

• Group discussion led by Deborah Evans: What are the key features, experiences, details of Denmans?, How to sustain these in a dynamic manner? How to manage increased access without detriment to the garden or the experience of it? How to conserve the garden without losing its soul? How to ensure its long-term management and care? (one hour)

• Wash up – thank you and depart.

The garden will remain open until 18.00 hrs for participants to enjoy.