Stowe stars in a new BBC series
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The magnificent landscape gardens of Stowe are to feature in a new BBC documentary series uncovering the rich social and horticultural history of four famous British gardens.The first in a four-part series, British Gardens in Time will air on BBC 4 on 8 April at 9pm, and hopes to uncover the rich social history of four famous British gardens.
With expert contributions from garden designer Chris Beardshaw, historian Andrea Wulf and National Trust Head Gardener Alan Power, the series will take a detailed look at iconic gardens created during four different eras - each garden giving an insight into a different century, the people that created them, and why.
Stowe is regarded as one of the most remarkable creations of Georgian England. Created on a vast scale with 36 temples, 8 lakes, and a dozen avenues, Stowe launched the career of Launcelot ‘Capability’ Brown. Stowe, featured in the second programme was chosen by the producers to represent the 18th century.
Rather than being a garden of flower and shrubs, Stowe is a garden of ideas, with its grottos and classical monuments spelling out a coded political manifesto. The series explains how Stowe’s creator, Viscount Cobham, dreamed of climbing to the pinnacle of political power and establishing a long-lived dynasty. However, less than a century after his death, his family became one of the most scandalous bankrupts in the history of England.
Kerry Foster, our General Manager at Stowe, says: ‘The gardens were one of the country’s first ever tourist attractions. When they were first created in the 18th century, their size and scale attracted visitors from far and wide. This series will explain the significance and hidden meaning of the gardens which we hope will be of particular to local people who have one of the country’s great heritage gems on their doorstep.’
More about the programme
The other gardens to feature in the series are Nymans in West Sussex, Biddulph Grange Garden in Staffordshire (both National Trust properties) and Great Dixter in East Sussex. Presenter Chris Beardshaw commented: ‘Sometimes we forget just how privileged we are in the UK by the richness and diversity of gardens that are now open to the public. This series is the perfect example of how it's possible to tell the story of not just gardens but of the social, industrial and political developments that have shaped, or themselves have been shaped by their external environment.’