The Landscape Guide

*Picturesque and Gardenesque Styles 1790

See Style Chart

Use: Enthusiasm for the wildness and irregularity of unadorned nature was the driving force behind these styles of garden layout. A thirst for landscape painting, travel, adventure, awe and scientific knowledge could be slaked by garden scenery. Picturesque estates stirred the mind. The aim was to create parks for the enjoyment of an artistically composed representation of the natural world. They were not designed for domestic pleasure, social gatherings or the chase. But they did become places for the collection of exotic plants from far-off lands. Loudon believed this should become a primary objective and invented the term Gardenesque to describe a Picturesque layout furnished with exotic plants. Most picturesque estates were planted with exotic plants and there is no clear borderline between the two styles.

Form: By the end of the eighteenth century advocates of the Picturesque were criticising the Serpentine Style was for being 'bald', 'shaven' and 'un-natural'. The style they favoured was Picturesque in the sense of 'wild and shaggy'. To begin with, few owners were willing to surround their dwellings with wholly 'irregular' gardens. But in the second half of the nineteenth century a great many garden owners converted woodland valleys into 'painterly compositions' of exotic plants. Himalayan plants (eg rhododendrons and camellias) and North American plants proved particularly well suited to their design intentions. The diagrams show a Pictuesque estate, planted with native plants and a Gardenesque estate, planted with exotic plants. Loudon favoured circular beds, of the type which can still be seen in the flower garden at Greenwich Park, because they show plants so well and because they are instantly 'recognisable' as the work of man.

 Magnolia Plantation, Park Babelsberg, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, Scotney CastleCallaway Gardens, Cypress Gardens(SC), Giardino e Rovine de Ninfa, La Mortola - Giardini Botanici Hanbury, La Vasterival, Leonardslee Gardens, RHS Garden, Wisley, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Sheffield Park Garden, The Arnold Arboretum, Wageningen Botanical Garden, Wakehurst Place Garden, Washington Park Arboretum and Japanese Garden,