I'm Anna Pavord, I'm a writer and a gardener and I would dearly love to be the lady with the fan in this fabulous hanging who is just sort of indicating that she would like to drift round the back of that pond there and go and examine the tulips in the bed opposite. This is an extraordinarily beautiful formal garden. They're things about it that make me feel that it can't be now, but at the same time I sort of recognise the design because we still love this sort of … symmetry, this sense of order around us and it's got all the sort of key things that the most stylish garden makers of the 21st century would be wanting to put into a garden. The thing of course that we wouldn't be doing now is actually being so sparing with the flowers in the flowers beds. This is a very typical design of that period but really but we'd be now cramming those flower beds and we'd be making contrasts of texture and foliage and all those things that garden writers go on about endlessly, but what they've got here is just jewel flowers... the absolute jewel flowers of the late 17th century. But how far they are planted apart in the beds and thats because each one of these would have cost a fortune an absolute fortune. The water feature is still a very very important part of the modern garden too although it wouldn't have been anything like as elaborate as this one. Theres nothing in this garden that wouldn't be much to be desired in the modern garden... these lovely pots, the orange trees, certainly the conservatory at the end… .so I find it remarkably contemporary.
Jeremy Musson, architectural and social historian, author and broadcaster, talks about his latest study of English country house drawing rooms, their history and their function as a formal reception area for the dining room.