A couple of weeks ago I began looking at the work of William Goldring, the prolific landscape and garden designer who died one hundred years ago this year. In England, he is supposedly associated with work on more than 700 projects, many of them public parks and open spaces or the grounds of institutions, but even in his own day he was often overlooked.
His obituary in Gardener’s Chronicle starts its appreciation by saying “we gather” these are some of the places he worked, before listing just a handful of public sites.
Today’s post is going to look at a few of these public park commissions.
If you’re someone who reads this blog regularly then you can probably name many of Britain’s great garden designers, but who is/was the most prolific? Was it Capability Brown with more than 200 major projects? Gertrude Jekyll who is now thought to have had a hand in over 400? Humphry Repton? William Sawrey Gilpin? Percy Cane? Whoever you’ve guessed I doubt it was today’s subject, or that they would even have figured on your shortlist.
Here’s a clue. This year marks the centenary of his death which followed a long career that spanned journalism, designing the grounds at the new exhibition centre at Earls Court, and laying out the gardens of vast new palaces in India as well as many parks and gardens in Britain. Yet nowadays his name is virtually unknown.
So who was this horticultural workaholic? Continue reading
In the early 1960s a shy Devon clergyman was persuaded to send in some of his drawings and watercolours of British wild flowers to a publisher. They agreed to publish but could hardly have been expecting the public response to the book. It was an immediate best-seller and became a standard reference work almost overnight, and hardly out of print ever since. My own copy bought when I was still at school with Christmas or birthday present money is a bit battered but still much loved and used. The idea may have been simple, but the layout, classification and notes were impeccable, and the drawings themselves both accurate and delicately beautiful.
I’d guess most readers of a certain age in the UK will have known instantly from the image which book I’m talking about and the name of its author, who died 50 years ago this coming week, but if not read on to find out more…