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« Watering a new turf lawn | Main | Chafer Beetles emerge from lawns »

The English are obsessed with their lawns

Reel Mower Lawns are an English obsession reports Clive Aslet, Editor at Large of Country Life Magazine, and have been for centuries.

Later this month, the Chiswick House and Gardens Trust, a partnership between English Heritage and the London Borough of Hounslow, will celebrate the restoration of what has been called "the most important lawn in the country", created when the builder of the Palladian Villa at Chiswick, Lord Burlington, swept away his Baroque garden in the 1730s.

William Kent, previously a painter, encouraged him to turn the straight-sided canal into a lake with wiggly banks; between the fringes of the lake and the walls of the Villa was a lawn. Lo, the Picturesque Movement, which would transform so many of the gentlemen's seats over the next century, was born.

Lawns symbolised the leisure of the 9 to 5 worker, whose free time was his own. On a drowsy afternoon, the sound of strimmers can be heard around the backgardens of the Home Counties, calling like birds. "The unrivalled beauty of the 'velvet lawns' of England has passed into a proverb," wrote the American landscape architect Andrew Jackson Downing in 1841. Ours is an exception, but it puts us in touch with a deep vein of Englishness.

Read more of Clive's article on The Daily Telegraph Web Site


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