Nineteenth Century Gardener Defined the English Garden

The nineteenth century English garden asssumed a natural design, with the lawn, and where possible, a vista.

In 1840 British landscape designer Charles McIntosh in his book  The Flower Garden wrote: “It is generally understood, that the style termed English in gardening consists in an artful imitation of nature, and is consequently much dependent on aspect and accessaries.  In the true English style, accordingly, we have neither the Italian terrace, the French parterre, nor the Dutch clipt evergreens.”

McIntosh seemed clearer on what the style was not, rather than what it was.

Illustration of English garden and Pleasure Ground from Charles McIntosh's book (1840)

The English garden demanded a design.

If one called the English garden natural, that did not mean there was no plan or  one did not care about what happened in the landscape in the pursuit of the  ‘natural’.  It was that one took great pains in creating a look that was natural, with curves rather than straight lines.

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