A landscape of chthonic power

So what would you do with a couple of tons of unwanted soil, dirt and rubble from a variety of gardening projects? Well, at home we created a small hill in the corner of the garden, which was initially used as a hill fort (when the kids were young), but now has become a favourite spot to sit soaking up the last rays of the sun under the sheltering embrace of a walnut tree. However, at Wimpole Hall they decided to use their spoil to add a bit of atmosphere to the new meandering path through the Pleasure Grounds.


The Explorer Walk leads through a recent, but extensive, oak stumpery

This ‘Explorer Walk’ winds its way from the garden entrance down to the farm, through a constantly evolving collection of items of interest; a large (but broken) stone crest, a willow tunnel, a group of giant carpenter bee stacks, a wonderful stumpery, a bird feeding station and an incipient tree cathedral.


Giant carpenter bee stacks in the foreground, stumpery in the background

The spoil was loaded on to a tractor, lugged over to a dull spot amongst the laurels and used to make a high bank, set at an angle to the walk. Then those lucky gardeners got to play with some wonderful old oak deadwood, collected from the Estate woodlands, to create a new feature, but with an echo of the main Stumpery (below).


Part of the main stumpery

They have integrated the bank topography with the deadwood to evoke a ‘landscape resonant with chthonic* power’ (to quote gardener Chris Evans).


New oak deadwood project in progress

In this new vision the stumps emerge from a moss-strewn earth bank, climbing the slope, so that the tallest trunks are silhouetted against the skyline as you look southwards from the path.


I give a thumbs up to this new project … Not bad for a load of old dirt and dead trees!

*chthonic meaning – “in, under, or beneath the earth”. The translation of meaning discusses deities or spirits of the underworld, especially in Greek religion.



About Frogend_dweller

Living in the damp middle of nowhere
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14 Responses to A landscape of chthonic power

  1. lyart says:

    this is amazing!

  2. Cathy says:

    Wonderful – the moss completes to perfection. Thanks for giving the chthonic definition – unfortunately I had already googled it before I got to the end!

    • Sorry about that. I seem to be gathering interesting words about woody, damp places at present … I want to use ‘petrichor’ and ‘werifesteria’ too! I agree about the moss and hope that it survives in its new location.

      • Cathy says:

        Oh – but please continue with your words – I may not remember them, but they are fascinating descriptions from a world I know nothing of!

  3. Tina says:

    I had to look that word up…:) Great post and yes, I’d agree that the end result is pretty good for old dirt and wood.

  4. Brilliant use of garden leftovers. Also thanks for the new word!

  5. Chloris says:

    This is very similar to the one at Ickworth. I love stumperies, I wish I had lots of nice big stumps and some strong men to arrange them.

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