Arbors in English Tudor Gardens

Every Tudor garden contained one or more arbors. One type had a square-topped roof, while the other type was arched. Both were constructed of willows or osiers. Fragrant rosemary, jasmine, and roses of various sorts, especially the sweetbrier or eglantine, were also trained over the trellis, which often rested on a part of the wall. More solid constructions of brick or of stone were useful in winter as well as summer, as they were furnished with chimneys. Such a one, on a large scale, is still to be seen at Hampton Court, and is called the banqueting house. Another, which has now disappeared, was built for Elizabeth of York at Windsor.

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Long covered walks formed another important feature in every garden. Sometimes they passed between lines of clipped trees bent to form an arch, like the hornbeam walk at Hatfield, or the one of witch elm, called Queen Mary’s, at Hampton Court. At other times the arches were constructed of woodwork and covered with vines. One of the advantages of these walks was that under their shade it was possible to go from one part of the garden to another without being exposed to the sun. Beneath the arbors, and in other spots covered or uncovered, seats and tables were placed for reading and writing, and where refreshments might also be served. Most often these were arranged at the ends of the paths or around the fountain.

Another feature developed at this period was the mount, a mound of earth usually covered with grass and serving as a lookout over the garden wall into the park. Often it was capped by an arbor or a simple seat. There was a very large mount at Hampton Court, constructed in 1533. It was built on a brick foundation covered with earth and planted with twelve hundred quicksets. On the summit was a spacious summer-house.

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