The English garden is one of the most storied landscape designs in western history. Following the popularity of formal geometric layouts in French gardens of the 17th and early 18th century. English landscapes sought to idealize nature, albeit in a very calculated and planned manner. English garden landscapes became popular on country estates, in painting, and in literature. The picturesque landscape of the English garden influenced landscape design across Europe, extending even into Russia, and crossed the “pond” to show up in the landscape design of public parks in the United States, such as New York’s Olmsted and Vaux-designed Central Park in 1857.
While subsequent landscape designs came and went in popularity in the late 19th and 2oth centuries—wilderness landscapes, Chinese and Japanese gardens (elements of which showed up in English gardens), and contemporary landscape design in the 20th century, which correlated with the stream-lined approach to modern architecture. Still, the English garden remains a favorite style for many, and this English novelist has developed a beautiful one. (Photo above is of an English garden in Hampshire England by Aqualine, shared here under CC BY-SA 3.0)
Ian McEwan’s Enchanted Garden
By Mary Kay Schilling
The New York Times
August 28, 2017