From a talk by Mr Ian August.
The Duchess of Northumberland had been talking about this idea since 1996, and it will be the biggest commitment ever in the last 100 years.
In the 19th century the gardens were classically designed with the assistance of Capability Brown who, of course, was responsible for landscaping the Pastures.
By 1932, the gardens were used for growing vegetables, and playing tennis. Then in 1950, a nursery for spruce and larch.
Mr August then went on to describe original plans, such as the commitment to keep all the walls and existing openings, and not to make any fresh incursions. Also, any new material would be used in a complementary way.
Archaeologists are doing a survey to find the original pathways at 6inch intervals. Surprisingly a metal detector was brought into use and artifacts were found of much interest, such as garden labels indicating the type of roses grown.
The overall design will be a combination of shrubs, trees and water, to be used in the most astonishingly magical manner. There will be a cascade of water tumbling towards the eye as one enters, with small ponds and incredible pathways. A viewing tower will enable viewers to see the 12½ acres from above. A path leads into an informal woodland; the actual length of the walk will be 2½ miles.
A garden for senses is planned, for smell, sound and touch. A rose garden of 100 yards by 25 yards will be full of varieties of rose. A labyrinth maze will be planted, not as the Hampton Court with hedge blocks but with water instead. The gardens will be open to the public at night, when the water scenes, jets and fountains etc. will be illuminated.
Prince Charles is the Patron of the gardens, which are being registered as a charity. A film is being made by BBC2, which will be shown on the American networks. Also, the Duchess is writing a book. The public should be allowed in by 2002.