The genus Populus elicited a variety of responses in the 18th century.
So aspen was cursed by Thomas Hamilton for its suckering habit, but praised by Thomas Hale for its prettiness. Hale also praised the abele, particularly for avenues, despite its tendency to put out suckers, while Gilpin, who could only say that some poplars he had ‘thought picturesque’, was still fascinated by Lombardy poplars, particularly when planted in groups. The Lombardy poplars on the island at Blenheim are attributed to Capability Brown – he may have been looking for height to compensate for the great fall of ground from the house, but Brown also used Grey Poplar hybrids of Populus alba in many designs and at Wotton with aspen (at Jupiter) and Grey Poplar (the ‘Poplar Urn’) he seems to have planted poplars to ape buildings. Then they are also to be found in parkland and in the park woods at Southill and Wakefield Lodge, and on the riding above Kelston. They are a tip-top quick growing nurse tree that put on a tremendous bulk and have a statuesque form, and because of their suckering habit they will often be the only tree left from a planting first put in by Brown.