6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to EDP Norfolk today click here

Norfolk garden designer George Carter

PUBLISHED: 11:54 04 July 2017

George Carter in his garden at Silverstone Farm (photo: Simon Finlay)

George Carter in his garden at Silverstone Farm (photo: Simon Finlay)

Archant © 2011; 01603 772434

His portfolio ranges from the Jerusalem olive grove where Jesus was arrested to the grounds of Boris’ Johnson’s official retreat. Rowan Mantell talks to world-renowned Norfolk garden designer George Carter

George Carter in his Norfolk garden (photo: Simon Finlay)George Carter in his Norfolk garden (photo: Simon Finlay)

Apart from a recreation of the Garden of Eden, working on the Garden of Gethsemane must be one of the biggest gigs in garden design.

George Carter has been helping restore the Biblical garden where Jesus prayed as his disciples slept, replacing a 1920s design with plants which would have thrived at the foot of the Mount of Olives 2,000 years ago.

Between creating gardens around the world and across centuries of history, George returns to his own garden at Silverstone Farm, North Elmham, near Dereham.

It was at art college that his fascination with gardening began, as outdoor installations segued into gardens. He arrived in Norfolk as the first exhibitions designer for Norwich’s Sainsbury Centre gallery and found the county, with its level landscapes and Dutch-influenced architecture, ideal for his style of gardening.

His own garden, created over the last 26 years, is all smooth lines, clipped shapes and sculptured planting. Towering hedges enclose spaces lit in many shades of green. Corridors of topiary lead into new shade-dappled sections of lawn, leaf, sky and stone. Inspired by 17th century Dutch gardens, George has conjured serenity and formality from Norfolk farmland,

Away from the county he has designed lavish gardens in the United States and contemplative gardens surrounding some of the most venerated religious sites in the world. He has worked on huge stately home gardens and tiny town courtyards, the historic gardens at the Royal Chelsea Hospital, alongside the Chelsea Flower Show site (where he has won several gold medals), and the frivolous Garden of Surprises at Burghley in Lincolnshire which is packed with pools, jets, fountains and water-themed fun.

Clients include the Franciscan monks who look after gardens at holy sites in Jerusalem and Rome, Lord Heseltine, apparently a keen and knowledgeable gardener, and the trustees of Chevening House in Kent which was given to the nation and is used by the Foreign Secretary (currently Boris Johnson) as a country retreat. Here George is restoring a water cascade based on an 18th century engraving of the gardens. (Sadly the historic picture does not include a zip wire.)

George Carter's garden at Silverstone Farm near North Elmham (photo: Simon Finlay)George Carter's garden at Silverstone Farm near North Elmham (photo: Simon Finlay)

George is a maker as well as a gardener, and designs gates, urns, fountains, pools and planters for clients.

The virtually flower-free calm of his own garden is offset by a series of plant-related witticisms. A gate with a star-shape of garden tools is a homage to one of George’s landscape design heroes, Humphry Repton, whose first commission was Catton Park, just north of Norwich, and who went on to create parkland and gardens for grand estates across the country. In the former farm orchard at Silverstone trees have been marshalled into a circle and gilded apples sit on wooden posts. A segment of deep water designed as a canal doubles as a swimming pool, the classical-style Temple of Convenience is a toilet. The farm outbuildings have been incorporated too, one barn transformed into a banqueting hall with a galleried library, another a mini orangery, and outside are new farmyard gardens – with one even featuring some flowers.

Today he loves most aspects of gardening, except controlling weeds. “I think one of the most interesting things about gardening is the scale of it and how you can create an illusion of space, whether the garden is tiny or huge,” said George. “It’s a kind of architecture. And working in a garden is therapeutic too.”

Some of his favourite Norfolk gardens include those at Elsing Hall, near Dereham, at Holkham where he is working on the walled garden, and Sheringham Park, as designed by Repton. He is a writer too, specialising in garden history and design, and his next book, Setting the Scene, will be out next year to mark the bicentenary of the death of Repton, another great Norfolk gardener and writer.

See for yourself

Silverstone Farm Gardens are open through Invitation to View on Sundays, July 16 and September 10 at 2.30pm.

George Carter's canal pool at Silverstone Farm near North Elmham (photo: Simon Finlay)George Carter's canal pool at Silverstone Farm near North Elmham (photo: Simon Finlay)

Booking is essential www.invitationtoview.co.uk/properties/silverstone-farm/

George also gives four lectures a year at Silverstone. On Friday, May 19 a day focusing on Baroque gardens will include talks on Portugese and Italian gardens, plus Dutch-style British gardens and a visit to Hunworth Hall near Holt. Two more lecture days will be held in the autumn. georgecartergardens.co.uk

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other EDP Norfolk Magazine visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by EDP Norfolk Magazine staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique EDP Norfolk Magazine account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from People

Monday, August 14, 2017

As a new exhibition focuses on the life and legacy of Nelson, we discover the places with a particular connection to Norfolk’s hero

Read more
August 2017
Thursday, August 3, 2017

Tickets are on sale now for The Spice Girls’ film at Norwich’s Odeon cinema, but tickets are selling fast

Read more
Tuesday, August 1, 2017

From having both feet on the ground to seeing the world from 13,500ft – a group of Norfolk youngsters are set to embark on the biggest challenge of their lives this month

Read more
July 2017
Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Norfolk in summer is the time to hear the sound of leather on willow – and one local bat-maker is making a bit of noise himself

Read more
July 2017
Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Nurture Project aims to improve health and well-being through gardening – and it is not hard to see how this beautiful, magical place could transform lives

Read more
July 2017
Tuesday, July 18, 2017

From party girl to pottery, radio and television presenter Sara Cox has come along way since she burst onto our screens 20 years ago

Read more
July 2017

It is hard to ignore the entertaining eccentricities of Wiveton Hall owner Desmond MacCarthy, but his passionate understanding of the stunning landscape he calls home will truly charm and captivate you

Read more
July 2017
Friday, July 7, 2017

The family of Maisie Colquhoun from Wymondham who lost the battle with Ewings Sarcoma are taking on a heroic climb and swim for the Teenage Cancer Trust

Read more
Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Fifty years on from the 1967 ‘Summer of Love’ when an estimated 100,000 people converged on San Francisco in search of nirvana, Victoria Manthorpe looks back at how an Anglo-American youth counter-culture arrived in Norwich and thrived in Norfolk for nearly a decade

Read more
June 2017
Tuesday, July 4, 2017

His portfolio ranges from the Jerusalem olive grove where Jesus was arrested to the grounds of Boris’ Johnson’s official retreat. Rowan Mantell talks to world-renowned Norfolk garden designer George Carter

Read more
June 2017

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory
EDP Norfolk Application Link

Like us on Facebook

Local Business Directory

Norfolk's trusted business finder

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search