Restoring the estate at Croome: A Capability Brown masterpiece
The idyllic parkland at Croome, set in Worcestershire, was the very first commission for the great landscape architect, Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. Brown’s vision of a seemingly natural-looking landscape sent shockwaves throughout the gardening world, inspiring countless other estates and transformed the face of the English countryside.
Sadly this ground-breaking design was lost due to decades of intensive farming. Now as we celebrate 300 years since the birth of the great gardener, we look at the on-going work by the team at Croome to restore ‘Capability’ Brown’s masterpiece to its former glory.
In 1824, head gardener, William Dean, produced a guide book to Croome, Hortus Croomensis, with an A to Z of every significant plant, over 5,000 of them, an invaluable snapshot of the garden after Brown’s work had matured.
Putting it all together again
Since 1996, the momentous task of rediscovering and restoring this vast estate (730 acres of the original 14,000 acres are now cared for by the Trust) has been gathering pace. Just over half has now been returned to Brown’s original vision, although the new trees are very much in their infancy.
This mammoth project has only been possible to our dedicated team of gardeners and the tireless work of our growing volunteers:
" The most exciting aspect of working here is the feeling of reliving history. The new planting, recreating paths and opening up vistas is exactly what was going on in the 1750s and 60s. We’re seeing Croome re-emerge and develop just as the Earl of Coventry and Brown would have watched it happen over 250 years ago."
Today you can admire the glassy lake again, edged with cedars of Lebanon, London planes and other specimen trees that thankfully survived modern agriculture. Vistas have been reopened, the Pleasure Ground shrubberies replanted and eventually a new multi-use track for bikes and buggies promises to bring the twenty first century equivalent of the original carriage rides through the estate.