Capability Brown: Sheffield Park

Sheffield Park, Sussex. My first Capability Brown experience. We managed to miss the rhodedendron and azalea flowering (as seen above) so it was all rather green on green, but I loved absorbing the scale and grandeur nonetheless. Brown's gardens may seem formal to us now, but at the time they were wild, wood-like affairs, marked by a sense of gradation or gently meandering water courses and foliage, dotted with clumps of tree plantings. Often criticised as being a pale imitation of the wild, I'd say his gardens were perfect for their time: a sort of genteel version of nature, suitable for ladies in muslin and men to have a sweeping view of their estate... HF.

Brown's Stowe, Buckinghamshire garden and Jane Brown's book on Brown, above.