A Healing Retreat

The Place:
Set within the picturesque Berkshire countryside, Wasing Estate covers several hundred acres of farmland, woodland and lakes.

The Brief:
As well as hosting weddings in what is currently the ‘Secret Walled Garden’, Wasing also offers a safe environment for wellbeing retreats. They wanted to expand this side of their business, creating a series of healing gardens.

I was tasked to reinvigorate 8 acres of land surrounding the Secret Walled Garden, connecting it to the manor house where guests will be staying for their wellbeing retreats.

The Design:

The greatest challenge with this site was being sensitive to the past whilst taking the space forward into the future.

We connected the different garden zones with pathways that curve across the entire 8 acres. These ebbs and flows of energy run throughout the site connecting the manor house to the main healing gardens, they make up the boundaries of the medicinal garden and flow on out of the woodland gate.

It became clear that what is currently the Secret Walled garden, should become ‘The Circadian Garden’, the jewel in the crown and the main meditative, relaxing space. To the west will be the ‘Viriditas Garden’ which replaces the old rose garden, and to the east there will be productive orchards and medicinal herb beds.

Each garden area has a different feeling and mood, and intentionally ebb and flow - the energy starts off very low and quiet in verdant shady, Viriditas garden, energy builds within the planting with colour and movement growing as you journey through each area. The walled Circadian garden is divided into segments with pathways of stone and wooden decking. The planting beds are sunken by 300mm so that you can take in the beauty of the flowers from above, in the style of an Islamic Paradise Garden.

The original glasshouse has been kept in place, warm year round with comfy seating and filled with oxygenated air from palms and bananas. Two large magnolia trees are planted in the segments framing the glasshouse. In ancient China, magnolias symbolised Yin energy which is calming and restorative.

For people that find smaller, more intimate places relaxing we have created the Viriditas Garden. Its filled with lush, foliage-heavy planting; a quiet palette of green with pure white flowers. The water in the centre is still, reflective and dark.

The planting should feel like you’ve stepped into another world. Plants like Tetrapanax, Dicksonia antarctica and a selection of ferns will thrive in this cool, verdant environment. Yew hedging surrounds the gardens creating a shady, calm atmosphere. 
CLIENT Wasing Estate
DURATION 2020 -
STATUS Design phase
VISUALISATION & PLAN Caroline Clayton