Capability Brown at Syon.

This project has been brewing for quite a while now, When I think back It maybe approaching nearly two years. 

For many keen gardeners and garden lovers 2016 marks the 300th birthday of Lancelot Capability Brown. 

A figure in garden history that really changed the English landscape from highly formal structured garden spaces we expect to see during the 16th-17th centuries. 
To open expansive landscapes or parklands that emerged during the 18th century and still remain across many sites today. 

Browns style is instantly recognisable some fine examples such as Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, Compton Verney in Warwickshire, Chatsworth House in Derbyshire are the ones many of us will be familiar with. 

 The garden I'm going to be talking about is Syon Park. It sits directly opposite Kew Gardens It's one of Browns smaller garden spaces and lesser known but one of the best preserved.

Back in 2014 I met Susan Darling a garden historian whilst I was busily working on my exhibition at Siobhan Davies Dance. 

During this time we started discussing Brown 2016 as Susan was in the process of researching Capability Brown's garden at Syon. 
Susan was and still is methodically working through the archives on the Northumberland estate in Alnwick. Including the original receipts from the build and construction of the garden. Revealing an enormous amount information that wasn't formally known. 

That's one of the reasons Syon Park was so keen to host an exhibition this year.

Over the past year or so we have been exploring how this body of research could be presented in the form of an exhibition. 

Susan would have always been a key figure in this as the entire exhibition has come about from her own research. 
The uncertainty was my involvement and whether the initial ideas for this would be suitable.

In December 2015 after previous meetings, site visits and conversations, We proposed our ideas where a more formal presentation was arranged at Syon Park with head gardener Topher Martyn. 
From there on in we have started work to open the exhibition in May 2016. Exact dates are to be confirmed but I will be updating our work in progress over the next couple of months.

Follow the link below for more information about Brown and Syon and Susan's article written for the London Gardens Trust. 

Changing the Landscape: Capability Brown at Syon. 

Topher Martyn Head Gardener 
Susan Darling Garden Historian and researcher 
Kim Norton Curator and design
Ian Estevens Exhibition design

Garden tour of Syon Park

On Wednesday afternoon I was very lucky to be able to go on a garden tour of Syon Park. One of Capability Brown's landscape gardens and with the 300th year birth of Brown next year in 2016 this garden will most likely be on the receiving end of more attention.

The garden has two lakes the first one we encountered snakes through the landscape. There are two garden spaces essentially one is open to the public the other is private we were fortunate to be able walk both of them. 

Here we began to see the typical open expansive landscape Brown is celebrated for.
A parkland vista where every angle was carefully considered and constructed to create a line of vision. Of course not all of the original intended views still exist today. Trees have grown other buildings have been built and some pathways may have changed slightly in two and a half centuries. However, it still remains a wonderful legacy and example of Brown's work. 

 A fallen Oak tree has been left marks the different feel in the the second part of the garden. The great element of this portion of the gardens that it remains less manicured, the grasses are longer there is a distinct feel of the english meadow and openness. 

The second lake where the cow's are grazing across the lake side.

Here are two images of the HaHa the original brick construction dividing the land at two different levels. The HaHa historically came about the keep the grazing cattle from coming too far in land.

For next years celebrations more information can be found at outlining events across the country to mark the birth  of Lancelot Brown.