‘I am asked again whether Humphry Repton worked on a smaller scale than Capability Brown, and whether he should be regarded on that account as less worthy of our regard.
How productive simple misunderstandings can be! My note 67 caught the eye of Mrs B of Kew, who was prompted by the discussion of netties to ask about netting shrubberies to protect them from grazing animals.
Well, Mrs B, that’s not precisely what is meant by a nettie, but your question remains worthwhile.
I was caught in a grimace, with a root beer at the bar on my first step to becoming American, when Mr L of Brooklyn, English as it happens, approached me, and on discovering my occupation, asked whether the great landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted had been influenced by Capability Brown.
‘The hawthorn.., has little claim to picturesque beauty… Its shape is bad. It does not taper, like the holly, but is rather a matted, round, heavy bush.’ Notwithstanding the Rev William Gilpin’s attack, there is a case to be made for hawthorn as the native that Capability Brown planted in greater numbers than any other tree, ‘the pride of park scenery’ as William Marshall called it.
Everybody loves variety, whether French: ‘The finest gardens are those which are the most varied’ [Diderot]; Chinese: ‘Each of these Valleys is diversify`d from all the rest, both by their manner of laying out the Ground, and in the Structure and disposition of its Buildings.’ [Joseph Spence]; or English: ‘Mr Pope used to say that all the beauties of gardening might be comprehended in one word, variety.’
I have received a note from Mr H. of Bromsgrove, a man whose opinions I greatly admire. Mr H. has read my notes on Croome, and having recently visited himself, he asks for my comments on the thorn hedges
Part 4: the conduit
Mrs D. has been in touch again and is clearly unhappy. She explains that she had hoped to tour the whole of Worcestershire in three days, and wonders if I could offer her Croome in 40 minutes.