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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.

Back in June 2010, the Chiswick House and Gardens Trust, a partnership between English Heritage and the London Borough of Hounslow, celebrated 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 gentleman's seats over the next century, was born.

Lawns symbolised the leisure of the 9 to gardens of the Home Counties, calling like birds. "The unrivaled 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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