Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Stowe Gardens: Don't Sweat The Plants

In the decline of the estate, Stowe's magnificent landscape park fared no better than the house. (The gardens are now in the best of hands, however, with the National Trust.) I doubt anyone would characterize Stowe as among Britain's greatest gardens. But Stowe, IMHO, is certainly Britain's most historic garden. This is where it began: the English landscape garden, the first garden to warrant a guidebook, the first garden so extravagantly celebrated in poetry and prose, a garden that was as much about politics and philosophy as about plants, the place where Culpability Brown served first as journeyman and then as master gardener before heading on to scores of gigs as one of history's most celebrated consultants. If you're interested in the history of landscaping and gardens, British history, the history of this most garden-oriented of peoples, don't miss Stowe. The good news is that you don't have to know anything at all about plants. We spent several hours walking in the gardens. The pix below are the merest sampling of the scores of follies, temples, monuments, water features, lanes, etc.
A fraction of its former size, but still formidable

Looking over the Octagonal Lake to the Gothic 
Temple

A closer up of the Corinthian Arch, at one of the main entrances

One of the two Doric temples astride the avenue


The Hermitage




Queen Caroline monument

Temple of Venus


The Rotondo

Said to be the inspiration for Ian Fleming's
Goldfinger...

The Grenville Column

Artsy-fartsy view from the Artificial Ruins and Cascade

Temple of British Worthies (we'd heard of most of them)

The Temple of Ancient Virtue; said to have been the inspiration 
for the Jefferson monument; TJ visited Stowe and liked it

The Palladian Bridge

The Queen's Temple

The Pebble Alcove

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

Love the follies! What a crazy variety.