It’s happening! No really, it is! Yes! No kidding! It’s 2016 and suddenly garden history appears to be quite The Thing, thanks to the Capability Brown Festival.
Ok, so that opening might have involved something of an exaggeration, but surely you’ll at least grant that this year the general public is relatively interested in historic gardens?
Capability Brown was the canny 18th century landscape designer who managed to persuade England’s movers and shakers that they wanted to replace their old formal gardens of topiary and geometric lines with his carefully designed pastoral idyll with undulating slopes of grass, serpentine lakes, and clusters of oh-so-natural trees. As a result, there are no fewer than 150 Capability Brown parks and gardens today that you really should see. In a nutshell, you know those bits of the English countryside that are simply too beautiful to be true? Well, they are … they don’t look that way by a happy accident of nature… Capability Brown made them, every last inch.
Anyhow, in 2016 the world of garden history has decided to make a big fuss of celebrating Capability Brown’s 300th birthday, and so has gathered together to offer you the Capability Brown Festival. Researchers are poking around in dusty archives to find out every last jot of information about Brown, there is fresh work to research the 21st century threats to his precious landscapes, and of course, there are oodles and oodles of irresistible opportunities to visit Brown parks and gardens and get up to some serious fun.
For me, this year is particularly exciting because it is without doubt the most family-friendly I have ever seen the world of garden history. At last!
Trembling with excitement, I have put together a Brown-tinted version of our Garden Galavant session, in which we use uniquely silly games to introduce children to the history of gardens. Moving trees, harassing aristocrats, battling Shakespeare… say no more! This will be run, alongside our Traditional Garden Games, at two very special events this summer – at Gatton Park in Surrey on 2nd August when The Gardens Trust will be partnering Hahahopscotch to host Capability Brown’s Birthday Picnic , and at Thoresby Park in Nottinghamshire on 23rd September, when Nottinghamshire Gardens Trust will be holding a free Family Day to celebrate their relaunch.
We would simply love to see you at either of these days, and do skip over to our Diary page – www.hahahopscotch.co.uk/diary – to see the other events in historic gardens we are running this year.