'Capability' Brown celebrations begin with tree planting

Published : 02 Feb 2016 Last update : 17 Aug 2016

To launch this year’s 'Capability' Brown tercentenary celebrations, we are planting hundreds of trees back into several of the famous landscape gardener’s designs that we care for.

Our Director-General Dame Helen Ghosh planted a cedar of Lebanon, a tree Brown often used in his designs on 2 February at Croome in Worcestershire.

Dame Helen Ghosh planting a cedar of Lebanon at Croome
Dame Helen Ghosh planting a cedar of Lebanon at Croome

Staff and volunteers have been working to replant the parkland at Croome, one of Brown’s most significant landscapes, over the last decade.

‘Many of the trees and shrubs planted by Brown survive in the park today, but many others were lost during the decline of the landscape in the 20th-century,’ said our garden and park manager at Croome, Katherine Alker.

‘Our aim is to replant 10,000 trees to Brown’s original design, often using GPS technology to be sure that new trees are lined up with those on the 18th-century plans of the park and planted with pinpoint accuracy. In 2016 around 500 more trees will be replanted.’

Brown’s widespread influence

Lancelot 'Capability' Brown, Oil painting on canvas after Sir Nathaniel Dance-Holland
Capability Brown portrait

‘Lancelot 'Capability' Brown was one of this country’s greatest landscape gardeners.  Not only did he design or advise on over 250 landscapes in this country over four decades, but his influence spread throughout Europe,’ said Dame Helen Ghosh.  

‘He created works of art in nature and we are proud to look after some of his most complete landscapes for the public to enjoy.  We are celebrating his achievements with events, tree plantings and continuing conservation work.’

His trademark tree

A magnificent Cedar of Lebanon specimen
A magnificent cedar of lebanon tree in Hatfield Forest, Essex

The cedar planted at Croome replaces one which was lost due to arable farming in the 1900s.

Considered one of Brown’s trademark features, cedars of Lebanon can live to many hundreds of years in their natural habitat, and once made up great forests.  

Their numbers are now considerably reduced and many exist as individual trees in remote places.

The tree was provided by the International Conifer Conservation Programme, based at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, as seeds collected from native Cedrus libani (cedars of Lebanon). These seeds were germinated at the National Pinetum at Bedgebury, before being sent on to our Plant Conservation Centre in Devon to nurture.

There will be further tree plantings in 2016 at Sheffield Park, East Sussex, Stowe, Buckinghamshire, Wimpole, Cambridgeshire and Dinefwr, Carmarthenshire.


Capability Brown events

We're celebrating the 300th anniversary of the birth of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown with a host of events taking place at our places throughout the year including exhibitions, guided walks and talks.