Mellerstain House Gardens
When George Baillie returned form exile in Holland he and his wife Grizell commissioned William Adam to build the new house at Mellerstain. Adam was also required to landscape the surrounding area and part of this project was to form a lake. This was done in the style of a Dutch Canal, surrounded by raised grass walks on which, at intervals, stood classical statues. No trace of this exists today apart from the remains of walks in the surrounding woodlands.
The present plan was carried out by Sir Reginald Blomfield in 1909. He altered and enlarged the lake, linking it to the terraces which are 600 feet above sea level, with a long wide sweep of lawn: a lovely and noble companion, seemingly reaching to infinity.
Mellerstain was Sir Reginald Blomfield’s (1856 – 1942) grandest commission. He was employed by Lord and Lady Binning to creat a formal garden on the south front of the Adam mansion. He laid out a series of three balustraded terraces leading to a sweeping lawn which descends to the lake with the Cheviot Hills in the distance. The upper terrace with lawns and clipped yews leads viadivided flights of steps over the roof of a pillared loggia (Blomfield called this a ‘crypto – porticus’) down to the middle and largest terrace. The middle terrace is laid out with an intricate parterre on either aide of a central pavement with a raised ballustraded lawn at each end. The pavement leads to another divided flight of steps, around a fish pond, and down to the smaller third terrace and then to the lawn sloping down to the lake.
The original design produced by Blomfield called for a larger middle terrace and an even bigger lower terrace extending down toward the lake, however the family curbed his ambitions.
Blomfield is quoted in his autobiography as saying “My scheme was to have been carried onto an immense grass hemicycle overlooking the lake at the foot of the hill, in the best manner of le Notre, but we had to abandon this, indeed it would have required the resources of Louis XIV to carry out the whole of my design”
In 1965 Lady Haddington, the 12th Countess, had the parterres planted with many of the old roses, these included Centifolias, Gallicas, Hybrid Musks, Damascena and Bourbons. This planting was replaced in 1995 following a few years rest for the beds enabling them to recover from rose sickness. During the rest period bedding plants were used. The new roses, supplied by Peter Beale, are Bonica, Little White Pet, Cardinal Hume, Rose De Rescht, Baby Fauray, The Fairy and Gruss Am Aachen. Bonica, The Fairy and Rose De Rescht are particularly recommended having come through the wet 1998 season in good health and requiring no spraying whatsoever.
The mixed borders which are hidden when viewing from the house are planted with much variety, the main planting is of geraniums, delphiniums, cimicifuga, with a backdrop of wall roses. Recent plantings have included a collection lavender, Princess Blue, Lodden Pink, and Miss Katherine, Rosemary Majorca Pink, and Miss Jessop’s Upright, and a number of Hostas, Halcyon, and Vladivostok.