The value of water in a landscape cannot be underestimated. The Moors knew this (consider the Alhambra), garden makers in the Far East (China, Japan) knew this and Italian (including the ancient Romans), French and English designers all knew this.
Much of the landscape at Middleton Place was created in the middle of the 18th century. At that time the prevailing fashion of creating gardens that were rigid and styled to within an inch of their lives was loosed and a new ‘Romantic’ style was born. The English landscape architects William Kent and then Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown were the hands and minds behind many of these new open and rolling landscapes that settled onto the grounds of English country estates. But not everyone was a fan: the well-known garden designer and author Russell Page (Education of a Gardener) said that Brown was guilty of
…encouraging his wealthy clients to tear out their splendid formal gardens and replace them with his facile compositions of grass, tree clumps and rather shapeless pools and lakes.”
It is not surprising that new American landowners would recreate this timely and elite style within their own plantation landscapes.
But on my tour of this historic American garden, I was treated to something you’d never see on the grounds of places like Hampton Court Palace:
If you’d like more history on Middleton Place, get the scoop with Bob Vila here: