Thursday, February 4, 1999 Published at 12:22 GMT
Garden for the 21st century
Design vision: "A European garden relevant to all ages"
By BBC North correspondent John Thorne
Plans for a £15m European garden in the grounds of the magnificent border fortress of Alnwick Castle have been revealed by the Duchess of Northumberland.
Despite initial opposition from heritage experts, the derelict, walled castle gardens are to be revived to a design by two Belgian architects. A pavilion and spectacular waterworks of cascades and fountains, never seen before in Britain, are included in the plans.
The Duchess, Jane Northumberland, said: "Using the talent, expertise and technology of our time, I hope to create a place of beauty and learning which will be relevant to future generations. It will not be a slavish recreation of the past, but a garden for the 21st century."
The project manager, Ian August says the new garden, hidden behind the original high Victorian walls, will take advantage of the physical beauty of the countryside.
"In the last century the garden produced flowers, exotic fruit and vegetable for the duke's table; it was a vegetable garden again during the war, and a planting area for young trees needed across the estate. Now it's going to be a classical but modern garden again, truly a European garden relevant to all ages."
The Northumberlands, who own 120,000 acres in this border county, have already invested £700,000 in the planning stages of the project.
Now they need an outside commercial sponsor, probably from the United States, to fund the construction.