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The first reference to Merdon Manor on its present site was in the 16th century. However, it developed as a farm rather than a landed estate and so any garden was insignificant. This changed in the 1920s when Merdon became the home of Captain George Cooper, heir to Hursley Park. Extensive alterations were made to the house and a garden was created befitting that of a manor. Gertrude Jekyll prepared plans for a rectangular garden but they were not followed.

The gardens that did develop took advantage of the fine vistas across the chalk downs. On the south side, the view extended imperceptibly from lawns to fields across a ha-ha. The lines of clipped yew hedges and rose borders added emphasis. On the north side the siting of steps and tree borders enhanced the vista. This formality gave way to informal areas of woodland through which another scenic view could be seen to the west. In contrast, a sunken water garden, surrounded by tender species and enclosed by barn walls, became a unique feature.

Site timeline

1920 to 1930: Merdon Manor was transformed from a farm to a manor estate.

Features

rose border

Feature created: 1920 to 1929

lawn

Feature created: 1920 to 1929

fishpond

Feature created: 1920 to 1929

hedge

Feature created: 1920 to 1929

There are lines of clipped yew hedges.

ha-ha

Feature created: 1920 to 1929

On the south side, the view extended imperceptibly from lawns to fields across a ha-ha.

planting

A sunken water garden, surrounded by tender species and enclosed by barn walls, became a unique feature.