‘The ordinary britisher imagines that God is an Englishman’ said George Bernard Shaw.

He was of course referring to the national delusion of power. 

Well, if he was an Englishman, this was assuredly his ‘garden’.

Photographed on one of our work visits a few weeks ago, this English parkland originated during a strong and confident period when for good or ill (and doubtless, like life, it was a mix of both), we bestrode the world:


The landscape reflects the kind of assured power of the era, a command of space but also its brutal economic basis.  


Views of hills and vales, the necessary church tower to act as a focal point. It has it all. The decorative landscape for which we are renowned the world over.

If it looks effortless and relaxed, that is of course a mistake.  It is apparently uncultivated, but actually very neat. Man and animal are at work. Trees get planted and animals nip the descending foliage so that the canopy seems to float.


It is productive. Timber could be sold or used and sheep are a crop.  

There is an economic undercurrent. There must be! 

This belongs to a well managed estate. Any area with public access needs to have the trees routinely inspected. Keeping turf this clean will need management.

Of course the sheep help, but they too certainly carry certain responsibilities. 

But, we don’t all have hundreds of acres and such techniques are certainly possible on a smaller scale. 

On her property, Lesley for a long time had three self shearing sheep, the last of which has now pegged it through old age. They were eccentric characters, roving the slopes, often not visible for days and then careering hectically into view as though pursued by inner demons. 

She kept a close eye on them.Truth to tell they actually needed some support in keeping the grass down and I hear the land will in fact be managed differently in future. 

I have, as you would expect, been trying to get Lesley to invest in something more outlandish, such as a herd of lamas or alpacas. I thought Lesley the Lama Lady had a certain ring!

But no go.


She has decided to let the grazing to a neighbouring farmer who will doubtless increase the previous low level of stocking. Shrewd move. This should improve the flora of the sward. 

Another ungrazed area is cropped by a farmer for its hay. He cuts in return for the arisings.

So effectively she commands her space but has none of the work involved!


Ps Are these gardens?

Of course! They have a multi layered plant community and design which is worked at, views, structure and functionality.

Just on a different scale!