a landscape lover's blog

garden tales from a Brit abroad

Category Archives: History

Stourhead: the wrong kind of history?

Stourhead is one of the finest examples of an English landscape garden. Inspired by politics, travel, literature and painting, the eighteenth century English landscape movement introduced a radical new style of naturalistic garden … Continue reading

July 21, 2014 · 4 Comments

Preserving Seaton Delaval Hall

There are a plethora of possible treatments available for historic properties. Experts talk about preservation, conservation, safeguarding, protection, restoration, adaptive re-use, repair, stabilisation, maintenance, rehabilitation, reconstruction. It can seem baffling. … Continue reading

June 24, 2014 · 2 Comments

Historic restoration as mille-feuille

It may be the only time that historic garden conservation has been compared to a flaky French pastry. But use of the term mille-feuille was not the only unusual thing … Continue reading

January 27, 2014 · 8 Comments

A million first steps

As you might expect, the British Library has an extraordinary wealth of archive material, including much that is essential study for the serious landscape historian. Its strap line, with some … Continue reading

December 19, 2013 · 7 Comments

Restoring decadence

Decadence is defined as moral or cultural decline as characterised by excessive indulgence in pleasure or luxury. In terms of Mughal design, Safdarjung’s Tomb in Delhi is a fine example … Continue reading

December 9, 2013 · 5 Comments

Plant Hunting in Kashmir

I am delighted this month to have co-authored an article in Soiled and Seeded, a splendid on-line garden magazine that aims to provide “a rich and eclectic source of ideas, learned practices, history and … Continue reading

September 7, 2013 · 3 Comments

400 years of Le Nôtre

This year marks the 400th anniversary of the birth of André Le Nôtre, and the great designer is being honoured with an exhibition at the Tuileries in Paris and at … Continue reading

July 25, 2013 · 6 Comments

The Shakespeare of gardening

The year 2016 will mark three hundred years since the birth of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, and plans are being put in place to celebrate this greatest of England’s landscape designers. … Continue reading

July 2, 2013 · 6 Comments

Mughal gardens, Kashmir

One of the best and most beautiful expressions of Mughal culture is its gardens. Sadly, few examples survive, but among the finest are the terraced gardens in the Kashmir valley. … Continue reading

May 23, 2013 · 19 Comments

Gardens of Power and Passion

I wrote here about the fascinating experience of working on a television history of French gardens, presented by Monty Don. The programme, called Gardens of Power and Passion, will air this … Continue reading

February 1, 2013 · 10 Comments

The Unexpected Joys of Quarrying

One of the pleasures of landscape history is the often surprising places where information can be found. Trainspotters’ model drawings,  last wills and testaments, records from a convent, romantic novels, … Continue reading

November 26, 2012 · 6 Comments

Monty Don’s French Gardens

One of my more exciting projects over the past few months has been providing consultancy advice to a forthcoming BBC TV programme on the history of French gardens, presented by … Continue reading

October 23, 2012 · 20 Comments

Flowers or gravel?

How flowery were 17th century French parterres? That was the question put to me last week by the head gardener in charge of one of Le Nôtre’s most beautiful designs. … Continue reading

August 12, 2012 · 10 Comments

A mysterious French designer…

Search the internet for Elie Lainé and you’ll readily find that he was a once-celebrated nineteenth century French landscape designer. You’ll learn that he worked on big projects in at … Continue reading

July 22, 2012 · 10 Comments

Early Mughal myths

Ask a garden-lover what they know about Mughal gardens and the likelihood is that, pretty soon, they will say something about them being paradise gardens, a foretaste of the celestial … Continue reading

May 25, 2012 · 8 Comments

Fake Brown?

Recent discussions on this blog about the merits or otherwise of historical restoration reminded me of an interview I conducted a couple of years ago with noted British designer Kim … Continue reading

March 25, 2012 · 11 Comments

Ruined love…

… or why we should(n’t) put the nose back on the Sphinx. The merits –  or otherwise – of historical conservation was the subject of a splendid debate last week … Continue reading

March 17, 2012 · 12 Comments

Lutyens’ Mughal Gardens

Today we visited the sumptuous Mughal Gardens that lie behind the President’s Palace (Rashtrapati Bhavan) in New Delhi. Normally private, the gardens are opened free of charge to the public … Continue reading

March 1, 2012 · 16 Comments

Discover other landscape lover articles on these sites:

ThinkinGardens
On Botanical Photography
GGW
Soiled and Seeded
Along Life's Highway

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