Professor W bids me embellish my account of Capability Brown’s use of exotics by listing the places where he is known to have planted them.
Sometimes one is challenged with a question to which even a lifetime of reading might not provide an answer. I find myself reluctant even to air it at my preferred hostelry, the Tatler’s Waste-Bin. However here is a sop to his curiosity from William Marshall, the agriculturist, land agent and enthusiast for Brown, who wrote from Lord Lisburne’s park at Mamhead to report that ‘the ever-green oak, acacia, or black locust of North America, the double flowering ash, wainscot, or white oak of North America; cork tree of Portugal, Russian moss, and American red oak, seem all to flourish with peculiar excellence; as do also the cedar of Lebanon, spruce, Scotch, and silver firs, with many other native and exotic plants of great variety.’
Mamhead has a temperate climate, suited to tender plants. Brown was a doer, daring and decisive – was he then the plantsman? That I cannot tell.