The Heart of English Gardens

The expanse of a manicured lawn rolled out as a carpet to Hampton Court.

Lancelot Brown attempted to share his vision of the property. How could he quite explain to Hannah Moore?

“‘Now there’ said he, pointing his finger, ‘I make a comma, and there’ pointing to another spot, ‘where a more decided turn is proper, I make a colon; at another part, where an interruption is desirable to break the view, a parenthesis; now a full stop, and then I begin another subject'”, Moore captured their exchange.

He could see a story of the earth; he could see its capabilities. In fact, England came to know him as “Capability” Brown.

Across many grounds he galloped for an all encompassing view. His thumbprint, pressed upon gardens, lakes, and architecture.


Most featured, perhaps, is his artistry at Stourhead Garden, Wiltshire. Or, as you may be more familiar, the location of Mr. Darcy’s first proposal in Pride and Prejudice (2005).  

His view of nature was deeply shared by impressionist Claude Monet. The artist pressed broad strokes upon canvas and left the world with ethereal bouquets.

Among interesting facts of Monet’s life, his personal garden at Giverny certainly ranks high.

The year of 1890, he invested in property. It was then that he created his own landscapes. Gardens on the land were each individually designed by Monet himself. . . the flowers, the lighting.


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He felt most alive there and surely would have agreed with British horticulturist Gertrude Jekyll. For as she wrote, “The lesson I have thoroughly learnt, and wish to pass on to others, is to know the enduring happiness that the love of a garden gives.”

By way of Jekyll’s designs endurance was indeed key.

Garden Collage’s Lessons From Gertrude Jekyll, Then and Now explained how, “She often planted poppies next to [baby’s breath]for example, so that when the poppies died back, the [baby’s breath] would rise up and bring new life to the land.” Her signature collage of color and texture unfurled in each of her 400 gardens from England and Europe to the United States.




10 thoughts on “The Heart of English Gardens

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  1. Some of my favourite childhood memories involve the garden. My mom loved flowers, and during the summer, when I was out of school, we would go out every morning and “tour” the garden — often still in our nightgowns! Her mother was an absolute marvel with gardening. Each year, she had the tallest gladiolus (my favourites) lining the side of her house, most of them a few inches taller than I was. One of my grandmother’s closest friends also had a beautiful garden, and as a child, there was never a time the three of us went to visit her that I didn’t leave with a bouquet of pansies. Three lovely ladies (all passed on now) that had a passion for pretty flowers, helped instill in me an appreciation of God’s floral beauty that I think also helped inspire me to become an artist. Now I just wish I had more time to devote to my OWN garden!

    1. Reading your words have brought long forgotten memories to my mind. My grandmother was very proud of her gardens on the farm. She taught me how to weed her flower beds. it was magical to be among the flowers. When most would consider it a chore to pull weeds, I was totally delighted. Thanks for the memories.DLO

  2. Gardening has been a slow process for me; only now in my sixties, have I found the time to start creating the garden I long for. I was raised by gardeners. My grandma Alma had a vegetable garden next to her little home, full of wonderful, colorful vegetables like squash with the big green leaves. But my mother lived to have her hands in the dirt! Every free moment found her outside, meticulously tending her plants and flowers. Living in apartments the first 10 years of marriage, I never had a yard to tend. When I did, our children were young and they became my full time focus. Now, retired, blessed with a darling little cottage, I am able to create an English Cottage Garden~ A new and exciting endeavor for me!
    Thank you for the lovely blog! I relish reading each new entry. And thank you for the opportunity to purchase such lovely things through the years. A long time fan of VTC, Denise Parker

    1. Denise, your message was so rich with description and feeling that we could near smell the earth of the garden. If heart could make a for blooms, surely you’d have spring yearlong.

      How good it is you know have one to tend! We wish you all the best–though we doubt you need it as green thumbs seem to run in your family. Do give us an update should you be able to pull yourself away.

  3. I am a self avowed garden addict! My mother instilled this passion in me since I was young and when I was capable of taking over maintening what we had. She always spent as much time as she could out there with her 80 plus potted plants in addition to the actual property garden! Even as she worked full time she adored being out in the garden when she was free.
    Since then, we have both aged, she was showing signs of dementia and it became unsafe for her to live in the two story house I grew up in alone.
    I asked her what her wishes were for where she wanted to be. She said, “I wish we could find a house with a little house next to it so I could be with you.” Well, I never thought we could ever find such a thing in a price range we could afford. I began looking just for an idea of what these types of properties were cost wise. Just when it was really at critical mass of her being unsafe in her home, I found a property (in our price range) exactly as she asked and the cottage had it’s own garden!
    I thought this was meant to be! Though it needed a lot of work, we moved in and I turned the wreck of the existing garden into a magical English style garden complete with a gazebo and fountain for the birds she loves so much! She is out there every chance she gets and feels lucky to have her own private paradise. She even has giant hydrangeas surrounding the outside of the cottage. What gardens can do for the soul is amazing!
    Now, I have been busy on the main properties garden transforming the wild jungle they had let take over into another work of art! Thank you Mom for teaching me the magic of the garden!
    Now, I am teaching my husband to appreciate and learn about different plants and trees. I never thought I could make that happen but it appears I have succesfully done so.

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