5 miles east of Malton, off the A64. Just after the village of Rillington take turn signed ‘Scampston Only’. Follow signs to the Walled Garden.
Set within the 18th century walls of the original kitchen garden for Scampston Hall, today the Walled Garden has an exciting and unashamedly modern feel to it and complements the adjacent 18th century 'Capability' Brown park.
The garden had been derelict for nearly fifty years when, with their usual enthusiasm and vision Sir Charles and Lady Legard undertook the huge renovation task. Not content with a traditional restoration project - they had already done that in the House and surrounding gardens, they set about producing a stunning garden with a contemporary feel.
Having enlisted the help of leading garden designer, Piet Oudolf, the design for the walled garden was conceived in 1999 at the same time as Piet was working with Arne Maynard on their garden for the Chelsea Flower Show. Their joint venture went on to win Gold and 'Best in Show' award in 2000.
At Scampston, sepentine forms of yew, cubes of box, pleached limes, adventurous topiary and formal hedges are called into play in his search for the best ways to provide structural emphasis and contrasts in the garden.
Although Piet's planting ideas are now much imitated, the Walled Garden gives the opportunity to see an outstanding example of the way in which he combines his skills as a designer with his authority and knowledge as a plantsman.
The garden is divided into several separate 'rooms' and a plan can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.
The main areas are:
The Plantsman's Walk
The perimeter avenue of limes with a border of mainly spring flowering plants including Paeoni rockii and Edgeworthia chrysantha underplanted with many bulbs, and autumn flowering hydrangeas.
Drifts of Grass
In this garden swathes of Molinia, a grass whose tall flower spikes bear tiny dark florets waving in the breeze by mid-August, run through the close mown grass of the lawn. The garden contains 6,500 individual Molinia plants, all propagated from the 50 originally purchased! The shrub planting either side of this area will soon fill out so that the neighbouring areas will be hidden from view.
The Silent Garden
The round columns of yew in the Silent Garden, with their square clipped bases, will be allowed to reach a height of 3 metres before their tops will be levelled; this should ensure wonderful reflections in the pond.This is a wonderfully quiet and contemplative area of the garden without any flowering plants
Spring and Summer Box Gardens
The Spring Box Garden and the Summer Box Garden, each contain several 3 metre cubes of box down the centre. The choice of plants for the long herbaceous borders in these areas ensures that they look their best at different times of year.
The Perennial Meadow in front of the Conservatory, surrounds the dipping pond. Here Piet Oudolf uses his technique of naturalised planting which gives a long season of interest. The form of each plant, leaf, flower head and stem is equally important, as well as the colour and shape. This area is a magnet to butterflies and bees, and the low seats have been specially chosen from this area in the centre of the garden.
The backdrop to the perennial meadow is the Katsura Grove (Cercidiphyllum Japonicum). These trees are underplanted with 'woodlanders', which give colour in the garden well into the autumn.Where you see straight yew hedges set parallel to each other these will be clipped to have straight vertical sides and ends, but will have undulating tops.
The Serpentine Garden opposite The Mount contains six serpentines of clipped yew contained by clover shaped elements. These sinuous serpentines will have an undulating top line when they reach 2 metres, and visitors will walk around these to discover mixed borders of shrubs and hebaceous plants surounding the yew.
From The Mount, standing amongst the cherry trees and the wild flower meadow, and full of bulbs in the spring, the whole scheme of the design and the view beyond may be appreciated.