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Edmondson residence – Mildred Street, Warrawee, Sydney, NSW – 1965
Image by MidCentArc
Architect: Terry Edmondson
"The best houses belong to their surroundings. Design and site are as one – one doesn’t impose on, or dominate, the other. Everything makes complete sense. And so it is with a house that architect Terry Edmondson designed for his own family in 1965.
Edmondson liked the idea of the house “hugging the ground, fitting into the slope of the land”, and excavated two separate levels to achieve that. It’s always bothered him, he says, that houses face the street “and put important things on street side no matter what the orientation is”. In this case, the block faces south west, which Edmondson saw as an opportunity – at a time when few were thinking of such things – he designed the house to turn its back to the street, keeping out hot summer sun and westerly winds, and remaining completely private.
From the garden side, though, there’s a lovely openness to it with its banks of windows, and yet it’s a design (made up of the original sixties house with a later addition, also by Edmondson) that still manages to retain enough privacy and sense of discovery to remain architecturally interesting by cleverly interlocking spaces.
The L-shaped design maximises the northern sun to the principal rooms to the rear of the original house that contains the kitchen, laundry, study, living room (with fireplace) and dining room on one arm of the L, with three bedrooms and bathroom, reached via a stairway from the kitchen, on the other. The later addition, tucked in beyond the dining room and continuing the long arm of the L, is made up of winter sitting room, main bedroom and ensuite. Almost all rooms in the house look out over the well-established garden, with a brick-paved covered terrace opening from the living room.
Some time before Edmondson designed the house, he had visited Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright’s house in Wisconsin, and, with its floating roof planes and broad eaves, it’s possible to see echoes of the American architect’s work in the Warrawee house. Edmondson’s colleagues were such architects as Bruce Rickard, Ian McKay and Philip Cox, and, at the time, they were all working with similar materials and ideas.
In this case, the materials are essentially western red cedar and sandstock brick, used externally and internally to great effect. Giving some idea of the architect’s attention to detail, Edmondson particularly liked those that had been placed close to the fire holes in the kiln, and would make regular trips to a brickyard in St Leonards to hand-pick suitable ones. “They were all stockpiled before we started laying them – I’d intermix them with commons on site.”
And it is the attention to detail, as much as the overall design, that makes this house so appealing. Edmondson designed the built-in furniture and lighting; those in the soffits; the light around the skylight in the dining room; the inset low-lights in the bedroom corridor. There is also wonderful detailing in the asymmetric structure of the fireplace, the brickwork of the small stair, and the positioning of windows to capture framed views of the exterior.
With only three owners since Edmondson and his family lived there, thankfully, virtually everything in this beautifully understated house is still intact. It is one that stands quietly but head and shoulders alongside some of the finest examples of mid-century architecture in the Wahroonga, Warrawee and Turramurra area."
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Hidcote Manor Garden (NT)
Image by Dave Catchpole
Hidcote – the most influential English garden of the 20th century – and Lawrence Johnston, the enigmatic genius behind it. Hidcote was the first garden ever taken on by the National Trust, who spent 3.5 million pounds in a major programme of restoration. This included researching Johnston’s original vision, which in turn uncovered the compelling story of how Johnston created such an iconic garden.
Until recently, little was known about the secretive and self-taught Johnston. He kept few, if any, records on Hidcote’s construction, but current head gardener Glyn Jones made it a personal mission to discover as much about the man as possible to reveal how, in the early 20th century, Johnston set about creating a garden that has inspired designers all over the world.
Hidcote is an Arts and Crafts garden in the north Cotswolds, a stone’s throw from Stratford-upon-Avon. Created by the talented American horticulturist, Major Lawrence Johnston its colourful and intricately designed outdoor ‘rooms’ are always full of surprises. It’s a must-see if you’re on holiday in the Cotswolds.
Explore the maze of narrow paved pathways and discover secret gardens, magnificent vistas and plants that burst with colour. Many of the plants found growing in the garden were collected from Johnston’s many plant hunting trips to far away places. It’s the perfect place if you’re in need of gardening inspiration.
Find a quiet spot and sit on one of the ornate benches and watch green woodpeckers search for their lunch or listen to the calls from the buzzards circling overhead. Time it right and you might catch a glimpse of the elusive hummingbird moth.
Meander through the intricate gardens and into the Wilderness. This secluded stretch of tall trees is just right for a picnic. Take a glimpse beyond the boundary and see the garden blend effortlessly into the countryside beyond.
The Monarch’s Way path runs close-by. Follow it for a brief time from the car park and into the chocolate-box Cotswold hamlet of Hidcote Bartrim. You’ll be treated to traditionally thatched stone cottages that were once home to Johnston’s gardeners.
Hidcote Manor Garden
Hidcote Manor Garden is a garden in Britain, located at Hidcote Bartrim village, near Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire. It is one of the best-known and most influential Arts and Crafts gardens in Britain, with its linked "rooms" of hedges, rare trees, shrubs and herbaceous borders. Created by Lawrence Johnston, it is owned by the National Trust and is open to the public.
The Americans, Lawrence Johnston and his mother, settled in Britain about 1900, and Lawrence immediately became a British citizen and fought in the British army during the Boer war. In 1907 Johnston’s mother, Mrs Gertrude Winthrop (she had re-married), purchased the Hidcote Manor Estate. It was situated in a part of Britain with strong connections to the then-burgeoning Arts and Crafts movement and an Anglicized American artistic expatriate community centred nearby at Broadway, Worcestershire.
Johnston soon became interested in turning the fields around the house into a garden. By 1910 he had begun to lay out the key features of the garden, and by the 1920s he had twelve full-time gardeners working for him.
After World War II Johnston spent most of his time at Jardin Serre de la Madone, his garden in the south of France; and in 1947 he entrusted Hidcote to the National Trust.
Character of Hidcote garden
Lawrence Johnston was influenced in creating his garden at Hidcote by the work of Alfred Parsons and Gertrude Jekyll, who were designing gardens of hardy plants contained within sequences of outdoor "rooms". The theme was in the air: Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicholson’s Sissinghurst Castle Garden was laid out as a sequence of such spaces, without, it seems, direct connection with the reclusive and shy Major Johnston. Hidcote’s outdoor "rooms" have various characters and themes, achieved by the use of box hedges, hornbeam and yew, and stone walls. These rooms, such as the ‘White Garden’ and ‘Fuchsia Garden’ are linked, some by vistas, and furnished with topiaries. Some have ponds and fountains, and all are planted with flowers in bedding schemes. They surround the 17th century manor house, and there are a number of outhouses and a kitchen garden.
Johnston’s care in selecting the best plants is reflected in the narrow-leaved lavender, Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’, in the Penstemon ‘Hidcote Pink’ and in the hybrid Hypericum ‘Hidcote Gold’, acclaimed as the finest hardy St John’s Wort, Alice Coats records.
Chippenham Park is a large country house with substantial gardens, lakes, woodlands walks and parkland dating back to the 17th Century. The spectacular gardens are open to the public several times a year from Spring through to Autumn.
The Park is also available for weddings, special events and photographic shoots.
The gardens received a top, two-star rating in the Good Gardens Guide 2010, placing them amongst the finest gardens in the country.
14th October Glorious Autumn colours and late colour in the borders. Famously delicious BBQ, Teas, Cakes and refreshments.
Chippenham Park was created at the very end of the 17th century as an ‘Anglo-Dutch’ designed landscape comprising canals, park, and formal gardens.
It was subsequently informalised by 18th and 19th century designers including William Eames and Samuel Lappidge. Chippenham Park contains a wealth of earthworks and waterways which relate to the parkland and garden landscapes and to the village settlement which pre-dated the park.
Features that have remained surprisingly static through history include the walled kitchen garden, the formal waterway on the east side of the park; and complex waterways south of the kitchen garden. Some of the trees, including those marking the original drive from the west.
The Gardens Now…
When Anne Crawely moved to the Chippenham Park estate in 1985 she immediately set about restoring and expanding what had once been a great garden.
There is now possibly the greatest display of snowdrops and aconites in East Anglia and the Spring Garden with its breath-taking display of daffodils, narcissi and shrubs stretches for half a mile around the lake. Additionally there are recently restored and cleared great canals created in the 18th century.
The summer garden has a huge display of nearly 500 roses and a generously stocked ‘Long Border’ of perennials and shrubs of about 250 metres in length. The ‘Wilderness’ is a wooded walk full of fascinating berrying trees and shrubs, some quite rare which has interest all year round.
Most recently she has created from dereliction a contemporary, formal garden in the old kitchen garden. This bold garden makes use of pleached pears, beech hedging, yew and lawn as well as a massive arched colonnade of leylandii to divide the 5-acre walled garden. The four quads feature large terracotta jars of Spanish and Greek origin set amongst grasses, a large earthwork mound and a theatre of yew.
At the North end of this garden is a substantial and beautiful house created from the old 18th century head gardener’s cottage and glasshouses.