A Typical English Garden

A Typical English Garden

Your garden might cover many acres with a stately home in the middle of it, or it may be no bigger than the smallest room in that grand house. In either case, it is your garden to change, care for and use as a refuge from a world filled with many stress factors.

You will never learn everything that there is to learn about gardening, but you can become an expert gardener. I am going to attempt to set out the fundamental principles in my articles. Becoming an expert calls for mixing the knowledge that you can gain from reading books with a great deal of careful observation and practical experience.

For most people the aim is to create a good example of the typical British garden – the lawn, Roses and flower beds which make up such a distinctive feature of our urban scenery. Beloved by foreigners, but not part of our ancient heritage.

A great deal has been written about gardening on the grand scale. Britain, often thought of as the country which gave gardening to the world actually went to the continent to learn how to do it. So our early gardens which stretched around the 17th century mansions were in fact copies of the highly formal European style. In the 18th century we stopped copying. We invented the Landscape Garden – rolling parkland, artificial lakes, trees on top of man-made hills. Capability Brown, William Kent and the other architects of this naturalism made England the most respected gardening nation on earth.

It was all on the grand scale. Around ordinary homes these changes in fashion meant very little, the Cottage Garden remained an untidy but useful jumble of vegetables, herbs and sweet-smelling flowers. Then came the Industrial Revolution. Whilst the cottage and its garden slept on, there appeared a new phenomenon – the villa of the middle classes and the terrace house of the mill worker. The villa owners turned to Mr & Mrs Loudon for guidance, and it was these two tireless journalists who popularised the Victorian Villa Garden – lawns, geometric flower beds, shrubberies, annual bedding and so on. Later designers such as Gertrude Jekyll softened the line a little with herbaceous borders. From these Victorians the home garden of today has arisen, and it continues to develop. Nowadays, we happily mix Roses, shrubs, perennials and bulbs in the same bed in a way which would have horrified the rule-book writers of 50 years ago. Perhaps the only rule is to remember the words of Gertrude Jekyll: “A garden is for its owners pleasure.”

There are Six main elements to every garden. These are: soil, climate and weather, plants, water gardening, greenhouse gardening and non-living features. I will write about each of these elements in my up and coming articles. I hope that you read them because I find gardening such a relaxing hobby, you don’t have to be an expert to enable you to create a wonderful garden that you enjoy sitting in and relaxing. Gardening is something which you should enjoy doing and at the same time get a lot of pleasure from. Happy Gardening.

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