The lawn is a gift of the English garden tradition from the eighteenth century. Early…
Next month the TV period drama Downton Abbey, which provided PBS its highest ratings in several years, will begin its third season. It’s the story of an aristocratic Edwardian English family and their servants who try to make sense of a world undergoing change like no other time in history including a world war.
Americans love this TV drama with no small thanks to the landscape, a true star in its own right. In some strange way the classic English garden with its green lawn continues its hold on the American psyche.
The success of Downton Abbey here confirms that the landscape of sheered grass still ranks high among the hopes and dreams of American homeowners. That affection for green grass outside the home developed over the past 200 years, no small thanks to the garden industry in the nineteenth century, who sold America the English garden in their desire to forge a profitable business to a growing suburban population
Philadelphia nurseryman Thomas Meehan in the 1868 issue of his magazine Gardener’s Monthly wrote: “A well set and well kept lawn is to the grounds what the tapestry is to the parlor.” In 1900 New York nurseryman Samuel Parsons wrote, “Leave no stone unturned and unfertilized in order to secure a satisfactory open lawn.”
No surprise that the English garden with its signature lawn appeared from Maine to California.
Are you looking forward to the new season of Downton Abbey?