Arts + Culture

Green Retreats

by Stephen Anderton

The garden: Stourhead Estate

A tree grows in: Wiltshire, England

First planted: Laid out 1743 to 1764, with later planting

Roots: Everyone thinks of English landscape parks such as Rousham and Stowe as serene and terribly 18th-century, my dear, what with their exquisitely arranged trees, parks, and lakes—all of it so very, very green. But once in a great while there's a garden like Stourhead, one of those idyllic landscapes on the margins of a temple-girt lake, where an inspired somebody has come along way after the garden was made and said, "Fine, it's beautiful, but where's the razzamatazz?" In this case it was Richard Colt Hoare, the grandson of Stourhead's original maker, Henry Hoare II, who added the color in the 1790s: glorious rhododendrons and azaleas that flower in June, oaks for fall display, and dramatic conifers, until suddenly Henry's predictable charcoal sketch became an unexpected, vibrant oil painting. Romance, Classical allusion, fine buildings—and color, too. Not so predictable after all.

Stourhead
Tel: 44 1747 841 152

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