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Award for gardens

PUBLISHED: 15:02 14 May 2008 | UPDATED: 10:20 07 July 2010

It is a fitting tribute to a much-loved grandmother and on Monday family and friends of Norfolk aristocrat Lord Cholmondeley gathered to see him receive a top award for his five-acre walled garden.

It is a fitting tribute to a much-loved grandmother and on Monday family and friends of Norfolk aristocrat Lord Cholmondeley gathered to see him receive a top award for his five-acre walled garden.

The former kitchen garden in the grounds of Houghton Hall, near Fakenham, had fallen into disrepair but in 1991 work began on an elaborate restoration as a memorial to Lord Cholmondeley's grandmother, Sybil, Marchioness of Cholmondeley.

“The difficulty was to create variety and interest in a flat space with no architectural or water features. We found the solution in a succession of 'rooms' divided by hedges so that visitors would be contantly surprised by views through narrow entrances and discover areas with very different atmospheres,” said Lord Cholmondeley.

He unveiled a slate plaque in the warm sunshine marking the garden winning the 2007 Garden of the Year award sponsored by the Historic Houses Association and Christie's. Lord Cholmondeley, who is also known as the film-maker David Rocksavage, also thanked his head gardener, Mhari Blanchfield, and her team and everyone who had been involved in the garden's creation.

Also unveiled yesterday was a stunning modern fire and water installation in the garden designed by Danish artist Jeppe Hein.

The prestigious Garden of the Year award, now in its 24th year, is designed to recognise the importance of gardens with outstanding horticultural and public appeal, whether in their own right or as a setting for a historic house.

“I am delighted that Houghton Hall has won the HHA/Christie's Garden of the Year award. It is a great tribute to the vision and taste of Lord Cholmondeley and this new garden is a fitting complement to this outstanding historic house,” said James Hervey-Bathurst, president of the HHA.

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