The Garden Guide

Book: History of Garden Design and Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 4: British Gardens (1100-1830)

Sixteenth century English garden design

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557. During Elizabeth's reign (1558 to 1603), Hatfield, Lord Treasurer Burleigh's, Holland House, and some other old seats, were laid out. Of Hatfield, Hentzner says, the 'gardens are surrounded by a piece of water, with boats rowing through alleys of well-cut trees, and labyrinths made with great labour; there are jets d'eau, and a summer-house, with many pleasant and fair fishponds.' Statues were very abundant. Prince Puckler Muskau, speaking of Hatfield, as he found it in 1830, says, 'Hatfield House is poor in works of art, and the park is rich only in large avenues of oaks, and in rooks; otherwise dreary, and without water, except a nasty green standing pool near the house.' (Tour, &c., vol. iv.) Hyll, or Hill, a London citizen, who published the Profitable Art of Gardening in 1563, gives a cut 'for a knot, proper by gardens;' and the Gardener's Labyrinth, published by Didymus Mountain (1571), contains plates of 'knotts and mazes cunningly handled for the beautifying of gardens.' Lawson's New Orchard was published in 1597; he gives directions also for parterres and labyrinths. A curious idea is given of the taste of these times in what he says of the latter. 'Mazes well framed a man's height may, perhaps, make your friend wander in gathering berries, till he cannot recover himself without your help.'