Visiting gardens is an education of sorts. It teaches us the meaning of things that otherwise would go unnoticed in our passage through earth. The mystery of a garden is the mystery of life, a silent cycle of vigor and decay, a simple lesson of acceptance and serenity, of patience and love. The love of gardens makes us wiser and richer. In England, more perhaps than elsewhere, gardens are also the expression of a culture where the values of privacy and warmth have prevailed in the creation of their landscaping.
Arley Hall gives us hints in that direction. The seat of the Warburton family since 1495, the current Jacobean mansion sits in a vast expanse of 8 acres of formal garden and an additional 7 of woodland. This garden is the expression of a work of passion transmitted from generation to generation, expanded, redesigned and enlarged until reaching its current state. The present layout is due to William Emes, who, in 1750, undertook the design of the walled gardens of cooking herbs, scented plants and fruits in a botanical division of functions.
The famous herbaceous border, known as the Alcove Walk, was the first of its kind. It was laid out in 1846 for displaying perennial plants. Today, it dazzles for its chromatic palette as well as for its spacious proportions. Arley appears like an immense tapestry unveiling to the eye intimate spaces, geometrical designs and framed vistas. A visit to Arley is like the rekindling of a passion, a moment of high emotion in the arms of a lover. After all, beyond enriching us with wisdom, gardens are above all, a manifestation of yearning. This is the place for savoring it.