The “Mushroom” Flowerbed
This parterre or elaborate flowerbed, part of the New Garden (the Alexander Park), gets its name from the shape of a summer-house that stood here in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
Even earlier on the top of a round man-made raised platform covered with turf there stood a gallery of interconnected summer-houses or “cabinets”. In the 1770s these structures were demolished and replaced with a “carved oak tree” with an iron tent roof painted inside “in imitation of clouds”. It was followed by a bench with a mushroom-shaped canopy that was dismantled in the early 1800s. This unusual summer-house gave its name to the flowerbed.
The layout of the flowerbed has for the most part survived: in the centre, on a small elevation, is a round area from which eight alleys radiate.
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