“Classic” and “divine” are two words that can certainly describe the gardens in the 19th century Highclere Castle, the backdrop scene for our favorite Downton Abbey television series. In grand English fashion, Lancelot Capability Brown set out the garden purposely to heighten the English aesthete worthy of his fabulous name. A garden design idea or two can be taken from his impressive outlay that can be used in our own gardens.
Brown sprinkled free-standing architectural ornamentations throughout the gardens. They called them ‘follies’ and we called them statues, or unique or re-purposed items that enhance the flow of the landscape. They can be whimsical, quirky or vintage. For example, blocks of discarded industrial, retro pieces can easily be re-purposed. Outfitted with vegetation or gorged with beautiful flowers, they create a distinctive setting, as any garden should.
Spreads of azaleas, rhododendrons and rare acers dotted Brown’s gardens. There were also plenty of fruit trees. Weeping Beech trees were used for dramatic effect and cedar trees by the hundreds were planted. Snapdragons, dark lobelia and astrantia were found along walls.
The beautifully planned gardens of Downton consummate taste can be a reflection of your own yard, no matter what size. Visit Marvin Gardens to experience the inspiration it takes to create a setting reminiscent of Downton Abbey.