The iconic Sainsbury Laboratory, dedicated to understanding plant development, was funded by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation and designed by Stanton Williams Architects. It occupies a site at the centre of the historic landscape of the Botanic Garden and in close proximity to the charming , Grade II-listed Cory Lodge, designed by the influential Cambridge architect, MH Baillie Scott. Landscape architects, Bradley-Hole Schoenaich Landscape Architects, were commissioned to create a new landscape for Cory Lawn that would, through structure and planting, create a unifying, harmonising principle between the heritage and the contemporary.
The new design retains the large central grass lawn, which perfectly sets off the neo-classical Cory Lodge, but the sloped lawn flanking edges have been re-graded and segmented by rectangular bluffs of yew, clipped at differing heights into interlocking geometric shapes. This strong design reflects the structural formalism of the Sainsbury Laboratory and yet frames Cory Lodge.
The formal architectural yew bluffs contrast to the informal exuberance of the herbaceous plantings. The plantings are designed as a basal matrix of grasses, ferns and ground-covering perennials punctuated by flowering emergents to provide an ever-changing palette of colour and form through the year. Snowdrops precede tulips that are followed by irises, salvias, asters and late-flowering red hot pokers, all against a foil of flowing foliage and flowers from the grasses. Even in winter the architectural stems and spent flowerheads of the summer perennials extend the season, rimed with frost.To reflect the different conditions around the rectangle of Cory Lawn, two mixes are used - one for shade, the other for sun. The planting list is available to download from the link left.
After allowing the plantings and new turfed lawn to settle in through the spring, the new landscape is now open to the public.