Garden review - Hannah Peschar Sculpture Garden, Surrey

We visited this garden on a hot day last year and the mixture of woodland planting, dappled light, water and beautifully placed sculptures creates the most wonderfully soothing environment.

The original curator Hannah Peschar came up with the concept 40 years ago and together with landscape designer Anthony Paul, the existing land with its water and rock garden was redesigned to include three new ponds.  It was replanted in a lush textural style with strong architectural, large-leaved plants such as gunnera and giant angelicas in bold groups along with swathes of grasses to create a wonderful jungly feel.  The mature trees, with gnarled trunks enhance the magic.

Meandering paths that take you through the garden open up into glades, with vistas, shimmering ponds and streams, which is both calming and exciting in equal measure.

The garden is the perfect setting for the ever-changing collection of contemporary sculptures from Britain and Europe.  The work is hugely varied, both figurative and abstract, made out of a range of materials from metal, wire and glass to more traditional wood, stone and ceramic.

There is something very special about sculpture gardens and in the Hannah Peschar Garden, sculptures are beautifully positioned in locations that enhance both the garden and the pieces – neither one out shining the other.  When we visited a year ago, trees were hung with sparkling glass sculptures, falling like shimmering droplets from the branches, a giant wire sculpture of a face was half visible in the dappled light of a clearing, a tall red glass spire rose out of the water.  The whole experience was enchanting.

Hannah Peschar herself died several years ago but her legacy lives on in this amazing space in the hands of curators Anthony Paul and Vikki Leedham.  Well worth a visit.

Image credit: Deborah Davies