I love to read old garden magazines. You learn a lot about the growth of…
Landscape garden lost appeal.
The English landscape garden, recognized by its informal, natural look of winding pathways and extensive areas of lawn, reached its peak in the mid-eighteenth century.
Shortly after that the style experienced a bit of decline.
The exotic plants arriving from the Americas and Asia caused a loss of interest. Gardeners needed room to include these coveted plants, and so the extensive lawn areas became spotted with plants from outside the country.
David Stuart writes in his book The Garden Triumphant: A Victorian Legacy, “Those who owned them [the newly imported exotic plants], perhaps growing the rarest that could be found, felt that they were as status-full as having a summer-house shaped like the Colosseum, and hankered after a mode of gardening that would allow them to show their wonderful plants to the world.”
Just to grow the new plants was in itself a status symbol.
The cherished landscape garden that marked England’s greatest contribution to garden art was receding into the background to make room for new annuals and shrubs. American rhododendrons and Chinese camellias attracted more attention than the sweeping lawns of Capability Brown.
Stuart says, “Consequently, by the end of the eighteenth century, the landscape garden was clearly doomed.”
Roses too, illustrated here by landscape gardener Humphry Repton, appeared in their own garden called a rosary by 1800. [below]
And so, as happens in all garden fashion and style, what was once in became no longer desirable.
The classic English natural style would always be important, even into the nineteenth century, but not with the vigor of the early and mid 1700s.