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Olly Buckle

The summer house.

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There was a program about ‘Capability’ Brown on the television, visiting various of his landscape gardens. I am unsure which, but one of them had a ‘Summer house’. Of course it was no wooden shack at the bottom of the garden, but an imposing building with spires and French windows, probably larger than the average terrace house, Well, that was how it looked across the valley on the other side of a lake; distant, set on the edge of woodland.

One approached it, however, from behind, through grassy glades and winding woodland paths emerging suddenly at the back of the building, which filled the end of a glade. Massive, solid, with a porticoed doorway, windowless, and shaded by the trees, it presented an almost grim aspect. Enter the building and passing through and it was a different world, French windows, sunlight, a great sweep of grass, the lake, ornamental cedars, and the hill opposite, more grass ascending to forest. The contrast to the approach through confined glades and narrow paths was, of course, intentional; ‘Capability’ was an epithet, not his given name.

As a writer the thought struck me, ‘What a beautiful physical model for a well planned plot’. I suppose the same could be seen in any well composed work of art, but gardens are my thing and I saw it there.

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  1. Kevin's Avatar
    "Capability-" (who?)."...a terrace house." ( what's that?). Thanks for sharing this. Some things (also) to look up. Love the descriptions.
  2. Plasticweld's Avatar
    Odd Olly Your description reminded me of my father. He was physically an imposing man. 6'4 tall and around 250 pounds, he dressed like a bum, or at least like someone who bought cheap clothes and never cared how he looked. Meeting him on the street at 3 am you would have a very different impression of him. He was a guy who wouldn't hurt a fly, was a thermal physicist with a brilliant mind for mathematics and history, who was rich and couldn't sleep so would go for long walks in the morning. Your view of him would all depend how which path you were standing on when you noticed him.
  3. escorial's Avatar
    i was in the sefton park palm house recentley...great shed..those victorians could build a greenhouse...
  4. Olly Buckle's Avatar
    Thanks for the comments folks, a while since I looked in (I just posted a new one). Kevin 'Capability' Brown was a landscape gardener who changed the face of big country house gardens. From being fussy little things with box hedges and gravel paths situated close around the house he went for the 'Natural' look, big areas of parkland with artificial lakes and bridges to nowhere, that sort of stuff. A terrace house is one in a terrace of houses; where each shares its walls with those either side rather than being detached; standing alone, or semi-detached; sharing one wall.

    Plasticweld, I really didn't follow you, til the last line, a bit like seeing a story line in a garden

    Esc, I don't know that one, but I guess it is a bit like the one at Kew. It looks like a huge glass jelly from an old fshion mould, and every detail is crafted, down to the drain covers.
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