Kathy Brown’s Gardens includes a variety of stunning Art-inspired features.
The Hepworth Garden is inspired by Barbara Hepworth’s painting called Green Caves 1946.. Following the geometric patterns, we have planted groups of different grasses, sedums and echinaceas all centred on a weeping birch. The outline has been turned to fit the space and every winter is cut back to the ground, so that the green slate mulch sings out. The summer garden teams with butterflies, while the autumn and winter garden whistles in the wind.
The Hokusai Garden is inspired by The Great Wave off Kanagawa 1831 with its dramatic peaks and troughs interpreted through waves of tall miscanthus and calamagrostis
balanced by the green lawn which disects
the two beds. Miscanthus Goliath and Professor Richard Hansen were chosen for their impressive extra height. Miscanthus Flamingo, front right, with its graceful dropping pink heads
forms a softer mound at the entrance, not unlike the smaller peaked wave which echoes Mount Fuji to the left front of Hokusai’s woodcut.
Piet Mondrian inspired eighteen-year-old Jonathan Brown (our son) to paint this wall. Beautifully balanced and wonderfully colourful, it transforms the former breeze blocks which had once acted as cricket nets and football wall. Simple grass formed the foreground once but then in 2003 red and yellow crab apples were planted to create a living screen echoing the idea of Mondrian’s
Mark Rothko’s paintings in the Rothko Room at Tate Modern have inspired two garden rooms. Bronze leaved hedging plants are being clipped to form living pictures in front of walls of hornbeam.
Prunus, berberis and beech all have slightly different depths of dark colours and textures while the beech has a wonderful shiny character bouncing off the light. Here there are subtle differences which weave together and create an intricate pattern, merging, overlapping sometimes to the fore, sometimes behind. The onlooker has to stop and stare and look….taking a moment to search and contemplate.
It was upon a chance visit to Tate Modern that Kathy came face to face with Claude Monet’s Water Lilies after 1916. Such a large painting was immediately immersive. Taking notes, it immediately inspired a large new garden in front of and between the Rothko Rooms creating a 180 degree vista.
Monet’s painting shows broad patches of gold with only small highlights of pink or white lilies. The gold was more like bleached straw, and what came to mind was a very restricted pallette of grasses to represent the broad sweep aided by creamy white bidens and yellow solidagos. Pink or white echinaceas would provide the pinpricks of colour for the lilies with blue geraniums for the water. Streaks of purple would be echoed by purple verbenas.