I’ve recently returned from vacation in England. The theme of my trip was countryside and gardens. What I learned from this trip is an order of magnitude beyond that notion of “garden” which I had before I embarked. I’d previously thought of a garden as a place of flowers, or herbs, or fruits & vegetables. Or, as a specimen garden designed to demonstrate climates & continents. Or as some mixture of lawn & shrub with perhaps a water feature thrown in for pleasure. I guess that’s because this represents my experiences of gardens up to that point. But, this recent trip to just a few of England’s great gardens changed my concept. I now realize that a garden can be an art form, just as music and literature and sculpture are art forms. I hadn’t understood that there is such a thing as a “landscape garden” — it’s not just a landscape, nor a garden, but a living work of art starting from the canvas of terrain.
Pictured above is just one view of Stourhead, one of England’s great landscape gardens. It was conceived & designed by Henry Hoare (1705-1785).
“The greens should be ranged together in large masses as the shades are in painting: to contrast the dark masses with light ones, and to relieve each dark mass itself with little sprinkling of lighter greens here and there.” – Henry Hoare
One of the volunteers at another garden I visited called Stourhead the jewel in the crown of England’s gardens. I myself have seen none more beautiful than this.