Graham Stuart Thomas knew lots about flowers
So the National Trust gave him unlimited powers
Every Head Gardener was bullied and cursed
“You must make your garden more like Sissinghurst”
This verse was inspired by Marian’s quotation from John Michell and by many visits to NT gardens. Graham Stuart Thomas was the National Trust’s first gardens advisior. I don’t have much evidence but I suspect him of making NT gardens too similar – by applying the tradional, and wretchedly simplistic, theory that all you really need for a good garden is some informality, some formality and good flowers from a good nursery.
If the National Trust was more like a cultural organization and less like a commercial organisation then its website would be less like the website of a hotels chain and more like the brilliant Touregypt website. For example, compare these entries: Philae and Prior Park and Gilpin Lodge Country House Hotel. Which two are the most alike?
Note: one can be as sure they did not have herbaceous borders in 1590 as of any most other details in the history of planting design.