The Art & Science of Garden Design


May 22, 2016

repotting-flowers.jpg This year is the 300th anniversary of the birth of the English garden designer and architect, Lancelot “Capability” Brown. During his long, productive, and versatile career, Brown changed the face of the English landscape, designing more than 250 parks and gardens. Numerous events are being planned in the UK to celebrate this event this summer. We checked in with Barry Greenlaw, who is teaching “Capability Brown: 300 Years Of The English Garden” this July, to find out more.

WIH Reporter: What is important for us to know about Capability Brown?

Greenlaw: This is the 300th anniversary of Brown’s birth. It is being celebrated as a big event throughout Britain, with all sorts of special events and openings.  More than 250 gardens and estates are known or attributed to Brown’s designs, many of which survive in whole or part today.  We will look at a number of them in this 4-week course, including some of the less well-known.

WIH Reporter: What would surprise us to know about Brown?

Greenlaw: Brown was an architect as well as a garden designer, a fact that is not well known. We will look at some of his house designs as well as gardens.

WIH Reporter: What will you cover specifically in your classes?

Greenlaw: We will use lots of slides, showing views of gardens, early plans etc.  The first week will probably look at the state of England’s gardens before Brown – to provide contrast with his work.  The second session will cover  the influence on Brown of the designer William Kent, and display Brown’s early work at gardens such as Stowe.  In the third session, we will view Brown’s mature work at places like Petworth, Chatsworth,Croome Court, and more.  The last session, we will cover Brown’s influence on later designers, in England and elsewhere in Europe, and maybe even in America.

Greenlaw’s 4-week class begins on July 11th. For more information about this class, or to sign up, click here. You can also visit capabilitybrown.org to learn about all the festival events in the U.K.