The History of English Landscape Gardening

All landscape gardening essentially makes reference to the great English maestro “Capability” Browne’s life work. Lancelot “Capability” Brown introduced a style of gardening in the 1750’s which became known as “serpentine” gardens. Perhaps the best known example of this style is Hyde Park, in London, England, which although not actually designed by Capability Brown, was certainly influenced by his work. As the style caught on, it began to be known as “English Landscape Gardening”, which in one form or another came to influence the grounds of every stately home in Britain.

Capability Brown’s basic philosophy was that a park or estate should be a heightened reflection of the glories of nature. Plants and lawns should be arranged in a harmonious, natural setting. This was in direct opposition to the French style of garden, such as at Versailles, which aims to trammel nature into formal, abstract – and for Capability Brown ultimately sterile – formations.

The great master’s influence is still strong today. The ideal of a garden is to bring out the best in nature and give it an idealised setting to shine. The “serpentine” which tended to form the backbone of the garden is a winding or naturally formed body of water or lawns. In Hyde Park, the artificial lake is actually called The Serpentine. Lancelot was born and grew up in Northumberland, in a labouring family, and his first work was as a gardener of an estate, where he was in charge of vegetables. This proved to be an invaluable early education into plants and how to take care of them.

In 1739 he moved to an estate in Walton, where he caught the eye of the owner of Stowe Park, in Buckinghamshire, one of the country’s great estates. Here he learned the art of growing exotic fruit and vegetables and pleasure gardens. Lord Cobham, the estate owner, was very up-to-date both politically and socially and encouraged the introduction of all the latest techniques. Top names such as Vanbrugh, Bridgeman and William Kent had contributed to work on the grounds. Their influence was classical and they tended to include follies, or sham ruins and attempted to perfect nature. Large-scale landscaping was introduced, using water, trees and mossy caverns, to create a classical but natural effect.

Lancelot, undoubtedly influenced by this trend, moved it into another dimension by increasing the scale and taking the whole estate as a theme. The grounds became huge woods and lakes, more rivers were introduced and spectacular views brought right up to the doorstep of his client. Clever use of proportions and enhanced perspective gave the effect of rolling hills falling away from the main buildings.

This was a revolutionary approach and contrasted strongly with other styles of gardening of the times. Italian Renaissance, Tudor knot gardens and the French and Dutch influences, with formal fountains and canals, and constrained-looking, clipped evergreens and concentric circles, aimed to dominate nature, instead of working with it. You can visit for more information about garden landscaping.

The ideals which Lancelot spent a lifetime developing have stayed with us until modern times. His influence has been so profound that his harmonious ideals are to this day those which the makers of gardens, no matter how big or small, adhere to. On a smaller scale, the owner of any garden or plot of land can take his basic tenets to create a harmonious space in which to relax and feel part of nature.

Advice On Maintaining A Vegetable Garden In Hot Dry Areas

If you have been a gardener in a warm wet environment but have moved to a new area then get ready to learn all about vegetable gardening in the desert. All that you have known before is not going to do you much good when it comes to this kind of gardening. Learning successful techniques for vegetable gardening in the desert is a whole new ballgame for even the most seasoned gardener.

Getting The Plot Ready For Planting

Preparing the soil for the plants can be the first step to success when you begin vegetable gardening in the desert. You will be dealing with a different type of soil when you are gardening, and it is important you give your plants the best chance to grow, right from the start. You can mix up to 50 percent material that is organic. You can feel free to utilize mulch, peat moss, compost or any other type of organic additive you’d like.

On top of this, soil that will be used for vegetable gardening in the desert should also contain at least twenty to thirty pounds per one thousand square feet of planting area of a good quality fertilizer. You can also add some gypsum at 50 to 100 lbs per thousand square feet to assist in keeping the soil broken up. For the best chance of success when you are vegetable gardening in the desert, is to implement per square foot of planting area, is a pound of manure. This will ensure you will be known for being savvy to what it takes to become a success at vegetable gardening in the desert and you will have the finest garden in your neighborhood.

Once the Seeds Are Planted

One key factor you must remember when you are vegetable gardening in the desert, is to ensure that the soil stays moist. This will allow the seeds to sprout. Once the plants have become established, you need only ensure that the root zone stays wet. When you are vegetable gardening in the desert, watering thoroughly every seven to ten days should be plenty when the temperatures fall below 100 degrees.

When you are vegetable gardening in the desert, if you notice that temperatures are above 100 degrees for an extended period, be sure to water them at least twice a week. Keep in mind that plants will need less water when the temperatures are cooler. Fertilize your plants and give them a good watering to be sure that the precious nutrients are carried down to the roots.

Where You Can Find More Information About Vegetable Gardening in the Desert

If you are new or planning to move to an area where you will be vegetable gardening in the desert, you can find out so much information when you search on the internet. Not only will you find the best methods to bring out the most in your plants when you begin gardening, but you will be able to communicate and share your thoughts and dilemmas with many others who share your love of vegetable gardening.

Sustainable Gardening – The Main Five Points to Bear in Mind

Sustainable gardening, like sustainable farming or industry, can be defined as satisfying our desires and achieving our targets, WITHOUT harming the rights of others or of future generations. More specifically, as horticultural activity consumes resources and impacts the environment, sustainable gardening is an attempt to reduce to minimum levels, the exploitation of precious resources such as water, while attempting to preserve the environment as far as possible.

There are many ways in which gardening and gardeners pollute the environment, and deplete resources. They can be reduced though to five main areas.


The excessive use of water for irrigating parks and gardens is the single most serious area of concern. Those of us in dry or semi-arid countries cannot rely on seasonal rains alone, and are dependent on at least some additional irrigation. However, as with a private bank account, consumption cannot outstrip reserves indefinitely. The question we have to ask ourselves is will there be anything left for our children and grandchildren, or is the beauty and joy of gardening the exclusive preserve of this generation? For how long can we continue to take more than we have?

The problem with water conservation is that it is a very involved and complicated matter, requiring the direct involvement of the authorities at the highest level, as well as a radical re-think on behalf of the consumer, concerning the way we garden.


Horticulture like agriculture is responsible for seriously polluting a number of resources. Most obvious is the case of fertilizers and pesticides leaching out of the soil and polluting the water table. Unlike water use however, much can be done immediately by the home gardener and the landscape professional alike. Changing over from chemical to organic fertilizers for example, does not have to involve any reduction in the growth or quality of the plants. Abstinence from using pesticides, except perhaps in extreme circumstances, is no longer the preserve of vegetarians and organic gardeners, but now, the generally accepted approach to pest control.


Inappropriate irrigation practices and the persistent use of chemical fertilizers are responsible for the increasing salinity of soils, especially in dry climates. In conjunction with rising salt concentrations, the soil is liable to become calcareous or sodic. In both cases, but especially in the latter, growing plants can become virtually impossible, rendering the soil useless for generations to come.

Depletion of special habitats

Many special, delicate, and unique habitats are in danger of collapse as a result of landscape gardening. The worst example is the degeneration of peat bogs, due to the extraction of peat that is used as an ingredient in potting media. As there are now perfectly adequate alternatives to peat, such as Perlite, this particular misdemeanor is especially unnecessary. We can all put pressure on plant nurseries and garden centers, to desist from using and marketing, peat-based products.

Garden waste adding to landfills

All garden refuse, from grass clippings, to pruned branches, should find its way back into the soil, as mulch, or compost. Shredding and chipping machines, suitable for the private garden, are now available, and ought to be considered standard equipment. Is that not preferable to the waste mountains we are “bequeathing” to our children?

To conclude, let’s remember that gardening is supposed to be about improving the quality of life and raising the human condition; physically, visually, and spiritually. At its best, it is one of the most civilized and civilizing of human activities. From every point of view therefore, gardening practices that are non-sustainable, defeat the whole purpose of the exercise!