- Gordon Campbell
An artificial hill in a garden setting. The mount was often hollow, and its interior could be used for storage and to provide shelter for delicate plants. Mounts first appear in Italy, where they were a feature of both botanical gardens (where they helpfully produced differentiated microclimates) and villa gardens. The original mounts still survive in the botanical gardens at Padua, Montpellier (where the terraced mount is oblong) and in the Jardins des Plantes in Paris, where the mount was originally planted with vines. The fashion later spread to England, where mounts were constructed at New College Oxford (1529, still in the garden), Theobalds (Herts), Lyveden New Bield (Northants; where two large mounts survive) and, most elaborate of all, Hampton Court Palace. The mount never became fashionable in French gardens, despite the proselytising efforts of Olivier de Serres, who illustrated several mounts in his Théâtre d’Agriculture (1600). Mounts were ascended on spiralling paths, and so were often called ‘snail mounts’ (e.g. the mount built at Elvetsham (Hants), in honour of a visit by Queen Elizabeth in ...