Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Capability Brown

This year sees the 300th anniversary of Capability Brown's birth and I like this portrait of the man which shows him, without wig, and smiling. 
He looks so approachable. 
Had I been a stately home owner back in the day, and could have afforded his fees and the cost of the re-vamp, I would certainly have hired him.

Image from kwag.org.uk

One of his accolades was to be nicknamed "England's greatest gardener".
I think nowadays he would more correctly be called a landscape architect, given the scale of his work.
But he was much more than that.

In the 18th century he was the designer of choice with an unparalled celebrity status and was responsible for the creation of landscapes around many stately homes, some of which were years in the making.

Blenheim Palace

His vision of the landscape was both monumental and original. 
He not only sculpted and planted the land, but built bridges and classical structures to enhance his creations.


A whole new environment was built, with artfully placed trees, water and buildings forming an harmonious whole.  


And his greatest gift of all was to make the whole look completely natural. 

"Such, however, was the effect of his genius that when he was the happiest man, he will be least remembered; so closely did he copy nature that his works will be mistaken". Anon.

What an epitaph.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Roof garden

It's amazing how many roof or above ground gardens can be found once you start looking.

In London recently I was treated to lunch at the most amazing place.

Image taken from Babylon roof garden site

I'm ashamed to admit I've been a regular visitor to London for more years than I care to mention but I never knew this was there.

The garden is on the sixth floor of the Derry and Toms building and has a soil depth of a mere 18ins.

This is difficult to believe when there are clearly some very mature trees, dating from the initial planting, in 1938, which are almost to the height of the seventh floor.

The planting elsewhere is lush and vibrant and the themed areas are a joy.

The Alhambra one is particularly well done, with lots of Moorish connotations both exotic and erotic. 

There's a romantic almost gothic inspired secluded walk.

The garden is free to visit, provided there is no private function being held, but for a bird's eye view - book into the restaurant on the seventh floor and have a really fab day.

Oh......and there are real live flamingoes!