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Recently I was amazed at how the lawn still continues to be important to English gardeners.
On my visit a couple of weeks ago to England, one Englishman said to me: “I am obsessed with the lawn.” He took pride in the kind of lawn he has outside his house. Though, of course, this is only one person. What amazed me was how emotional he was about the look of the lawn.
The lawn in England has a long history, but became essential in the garden of the ‘natural’ look, introduced in the early 1700s.
English artist William Kent (1685-1748) designed Rousham, a garden I once visited. The lawn stands out as an important element in that landscape. It’s green surface sweeps right up the walls of the house.
Rose Standish Nichols in her book English Pleasure Gardens wrote: “[With Kent] nothing remained of the old style in the new gardens. These latter consisted of smooth lawns of grass, diversified by clumps of trees, and intersected by curved paths or irregular pieces of water. Nature was said to abhor a straight line; hence walks and brooks were always laid out in ‘serpentine meanders.'”
To this day the lawn continues its grip on the English gardener.