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Nineteeth Century English Architect Advocated Blend of Formal and Natural Landscape

I just finished reading the English architect John F. Sedding’s book Garden Craft Old and New.  His family published the book in 1891 after his death.

John Sedding (XXX_XXX) [Image courtesy of julia&keld]
John Sedding (1838-1891) [Image courtesy of julia&keld]
The point he developed in the book is that the formal garden design can be reconciled with the more natural look in the garden, the style that  William Kent and Lancelot Brown supported in the eighteenth century.

I loved the image [below] that was featured in the beginning of the book. It was simply called “A Garden Enclosed” and spoke of the formal look that art can provide in the garden, including the introduction of peacocks.

A Garden Enclosed , a drawing from Sedding's bookSedding spent a great deal of time detailing the tension between garden as art and garden as nature.

By the end of the book, calling on Wordsworth to resolve the issue, he maintained that each side may coexist with the other for a fuller experience of the garden.

Sedding wrote this in the last chapter: “It is worth something, I say, to win clear hold of the fact that Nature in a garden and Nature in the wild are at unity;  they have each their place in the economy of human life, and that each should have its share in man’s affections. The true gardener is in touch with both.”

He even added the testimony of Wordsworth “who had not that superficial knowledge of gardening which no gentleman’s head should be without” to resolve the issue and demonstrate that each style of gardening may coexist with the other for a more fulfilling human condition.


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