Graham’s Garden
The Italian Garden Blog
by Stephanie Berry
2M ago
From my very first visit to the Italian Garden at Great Ambrook I was haunted by the elements beneath the surface. While the garden volunteers unearthed buried plants and ancient pathways, I sketched, and felt the presence of the people who had shared this magical space over a century ago. It was as if the garden was disclosing its secrets. I felt I was drawing back into time to the world of the young Arthur Smith Graham, who created the garden. A world of great literature and art, love of beauty and decadence but also a time of fear, prejudice, social inequality and approaching war. The impa ..read more
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Ciao Bella! Muddy stays at The Italian Garden House
The Italian Garden Blog
by Stephanie Berry
2M ago
A little slice of Tuscany in Devon, you say? Muddy’s What’s On writer packs her bags for a night at a hidden horticutural gem on the edge of Dartmoor. The Italian Garden House is an astonishingly beautiful, luxurious rural retreat. Discreetly located within the original walled Italian Garden for Great Ambrook House, a restoration project open by appointment only from April to October. This contemporary three-bed pad is elegant, cool and contemporary, and you don’t just get a house sleeping up to six, you get your own vast exquisitely planted private garden accessible only to guests. The n ..read more
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The Italian Garden on BBC Spotlight
The Italian Garden Blog
by Stephanie Berry
6M ago
After the press announcement of our £188,000 National Lottery Heritage Fund grant award, BBC Spotlight visited to learn more about the garden’s history and restoration plans, and meet some of the team bringing the garden back to life. Link to full news video ..read more
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Great Ambrook, an Italian Garden in Ipplepen, to be restored thanks to Heritage Fund grant
The Italian Garden Blog
by Stephanie Berry
6M ago
The Italian Garden at Great Ambrook has been awarded a £188,050 grant by The National Lottery Heritage Fund for a 3-year project to restore the garden and broaden its contributions to the local community. The Italian Garden has received a £188,050 grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund for an exciting heritage project in Ipplepen, South Devon. Made possible thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, the project focuses on developing the garden as a place of well-being and learning for the local community, whilst protecting its unique environment. Created by Arthur Graham betwe ..read more
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A secret garden uncovered - Ken and Doris Rees
The Italian Garden Blog
by Stephanie Berry
6M ago
This article by Lincoln Shaw published in the Herald Express in July 1995 and reproduced here shares the story of how Ken and Doris Rees first uncovered the garden in the early 1990s and what they discovered…. A SECRET garden - lost beneath a jungle of trees and undergrowth for over 50 years - is gradually being uncovered on the site of an ancient South Devon manor house. It has been a nine year labour of love for retired company director Ken Rees and his wife Doris who live in what was once the stable block at Great Ambrook manor, near Ipplepen. Yard by yard, they have uncovered the six-acre ..read more
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SPOTLIGHT: Artist in Residence - Ben Risk
The Italian Garden Blog
by Stephanie Berry
6M ago
   BEN RISK - artist in residence ABOUT BEN The lyrical paintings of British artist Ben Risk are bound to memories, narrating natural and personal histories defined on the surface by lively colour and raw materiality. His reimagined scapes are emotional testaments to the passing of time. They expose what it means to be human. Ben works pigment into linen, cotton, panel, cardboard or found book covers. The stained rags used for wiping away excess paint on past works are themselves repurposed as assembled collages, their material surfaces ready to absorb revised visual histories. Makin ..read more
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Arthur Graham of Great Ambrook - 150th anniversary
The Italian Garden Blog
by Stephanie Berry
6M ago
   Arthur Graham, born in Tulse Hill, Surrey on 29th July 1871, was the owner of Great Ambrook and the creator of the Italian Garden.  He was a man of independent means, born into a wealthy colonial trading family on his mother’s side, and was the youngest of 8 siblings.  He must have had an unusual childhood, as his mother divorced his father when he was aged just 4 and he had a very fragile constitution all his life.  He went to Oxford in 1891 and it’s possible that through some South Devon connections made during his time there he found the Great Ambrook ..read more
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Devon Life - February 2021
The Italian Garden Blog
by Stephanie Berry
6M ago
Created at the turn of the 20th century, this four-acre pleasure garden was abandoned in the 1960s and left untended. Despite some careful work by its owners in the 1980s, behind the 15ft high boundary walls nature had taken over. Trees, ferns, brambles and dense vegetation covered what remained of both its planting layout and built structures. Link to full article ..read more
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Musings on the design of an Italianate garden
The Italian Garden Blog
by Stephanie Berry
6M ago
View fullsize View fullsize View fullsize View fullsize The garden at Great Ambrook (created between 1909 and 1912) is so often referred to as ‘unique’ and so it appears to be, as well as extraordinary, with its Italianate style hidden in the midst of rolling Devonshire countryside. Just how extraordinary can be set against the era of Arthur Graham’s life and the influences to which he must have been exposed. If we bear in mind that Queen Victoria died in 1901 and Graham’s life span was from 1871 to 1928, then we can see that his early years would have been influenced by the late Victorian ..read more
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SPOTLIGHT: Groundsman - Matt Gare
The Italian Garden Blog
by Nisha White
6M ago
   MATT GARE - groundsman Tell us a little about yourself and your business? Coming from an education and mental health background I retrained seven years ago in environmental conservation and land management.  Through volunteer experience, a heritage lottery funded training programme, and several positions in the outdoor sector, I am now a self-employed gardener and landscaper.  Originally from the small island of Jersey, I love the wide range of landscapes here in Devon and have been fortunate to work for several local councils, property management companies, Hi ..read more
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