William III and Mary II (1689-1702) created the Great Fountain Garden on the East Front to complement their elegant new baroque palace. Their gardener, Daniel Marot, created a garden containing 13 fountains and planted two radiating avenues of Yew trees in the fashionable form of a goose foot.
Historic Royal Palaces
The Great Fountain Garden, between the Palace and the Long Water canal, was originally the Great Parterre, designed for William and Mary by the French designer Daniel Marot, extending to a pattes-d’oie of trees beyond. Queen Anne later had all the box removed as she objected to its smell. She replaced it with grass and the original clipped yew trees have since been allowed to grow to a substantial size. Large Victorian beds, originally for carpet bedding, now contain larger colour co-ordinated flowers. The long interesting herbaceous border against the Broad Walk wall was introduced in the 1920s.
Sisley Garden Tours
Copy, of uncertain date, of C16 heart, memorial of Henry II of France. Bronze figures representing “Three Graces”, on polished granite triangular pedestal, reached by steps in hexagonal base. Drinking fountain. Original now in Louvre.
The grounds as they appear today were laid out in grand style in the late 17th century. There are no authentic remains of Henry VIII’s gardens, merely a small knot garden, planted in 1924, which hints at the gardens’ 16th-century appearance.
This part of the gardens was once a medieval fish farm, as its rather odd name suggests. The drained, south-facing walled compartments provided shelter for tender exotic plants, particularly those collected by Mary II from all over the world. The English traveller Celia Fiennes visiting the palace in 1691 described seeing ‘fine aloes, paricantha, myrtles, oranges and oliantas’.
Historic Royal Palaces
Commissioned around 1700 by William III, it covers a third of an acre and is known for confusing and intriguing visitors with its many twists, turns and dead ends. On average, it takes 20 minutes to reach the centre. The Maze was designed by George London and Henry Wise and is trapezoid in shape. Originally planted using hornbeam, it was later replanted using yew. It is referred to as a multicursal or puzzle maze. Before the creation of the Hampton Court Maze, unicursal or single path mazes were the most popular form of maze in the UK. Unlike the puzzle maze, the single path maze has one path, usually in a spiral shape, winding to a centre point.
Historic Royal Palaces: The Maze