The lawn is a gift of the English garden tradition from the eighteenth century. Early…
In 1826 the English gardener Joseph Paxton (1803-1865) became head-gardener at Chatsworth, an early classic English garden, still visited by thousands every year.
Paxton also designed England’s first public park, Birkenhead Park, which opened in 1847.
America’s Frederick Law Olmsted visited Birkenhead in the spring of 1851, before his design of Central Park would take America by storm.
Bill Bryson wrote in his book At Home: “Olmsted was enchanted. The quality of landscape design ‘had here reached a perfection that I had never before dreamed of,’ he recalled in Words and Talks of an American Farmer in England, his popular account of the trip. At that time, many people in New York were actively pressing for a decent public park for the city, and this, thought Olmsted, was the very park they needed.”
Today Central Park stands as America’s premier public park, designed along the lines of the picturesque, romantic English park style of the nineteenth century.