During the years from 1714 to 1730, England was ruled by the German-speaking rulers King George I, II, III and IV. Consequently, the period came to be known as the Georgian Era. The most remarkable feature of this era was a shift that was seen in the social conditions and the lifestyle of people.
Modern-day developments had started to mark their presence with the developments in various social sciences as well as technology. During this time, the foundation stone of modern-day England was laid.
One of the most striking features of the Georgian Era was the architecture of this period. The change in trends and the beliefs of people was giving birth to a more picturesque Britain and the buildings and gardens were the main parts of this changing visual scenery. The gardens were a particularly popular part of the same and had developed both visual as well as social appeal during this time.
Gardens prior to the Georgian Era
During the days succeeding the Georgian Era, there was no specific focus that people were laying on the developments of gardens and natural scenery. Indeed, parks were popular and people used to visit them for the purpose of a casual stroll or sometimes for a leisurely picnic. However, these parks were constructed on a very naturalistic front.
Most of the times, the green area that was surrounded by a small naturally occurring water body was referred to as a park. The growth in these areas was not regulated at all and trees and shrubs were not tamed to create a more scenic effect. Rows of trees would grow naturally and the grass that surrounded them was usually cut short so that people could enjoy a visit to such areas.
Development of Gardens during the Georgian Era
When the Georgian Era began, a lot of young men started to travel across Europe for the sake of exploring the different lands. Consequently, they brought in knowledge about the various other countries and implemented it in their own lifestyle in Britain. One of the most important detail that was picked up by these explorers was the way in which rich people maintained their gardens in those countries.
Initially, the style of developing gardens was adopted from the French. Consequently, the gardens that were developed consisted of straight lines of plants and trees, often manipulated at sharp angles. However, soon the relations between France and Britain changed due to the two countries being at war constantly. This resulted in the rejection of anything that was even remotely related to France and the gardens also experienced a shift in their style.
The new gardens were highly informal and followed the classical patterns of natural growth of vegetation for their development. There were a number of styles that were used to develop these naturalistic gardens- Gothic, Italian, Rustic- anything apart from French was okay. The gardens were developed following the natural growth of vegetation. As a result, curves and non-symmetrical divisions were common in them.
Water bodies became a main attraction of the Georgian Era gardens. Most of the gardens that were developed during these times had an artificial lake or pond that reflected the sky to add a touch of color and enhance the beauty of the gardens.
The gardens that were developed by richer people also included waterfalls of a cascade pattern. Further, stone tombs and temples were also added to make the entire place more picturesque and visually appealing.
Social Importance of Gardens during the Georgian Era
One of the major reasons for the growth in the interest of people towards the development of gardens was the social value that was attached to them. There were private and public gardens that had an immense social appeal of their own.
Private gardens were built by rich people of the country to decorate the front areas of their houses. The area that was ignored previously and was a place for cattle to feed was now more organized. It was decorated with stonework, statues, waterfalls, and even water bodies. The vegetation was trimmed properly to make it look more organized and flowers of various colors were used to create a mood. Rich people took extreme pride in their private gardens and were often seen taking their guests on rounds of their private gardens.
Public gardens were also an important part of the cityscape of Georgian Britain. Many public fallow lands were developed into gardens during this type with the help of dedicated professional designers and experts. Most of these gardens had an entrance gate and people who wanted to go inside had to pay a fee for it. However, it was very nominal, sometimes as low as one shilling.
As a result, the rich and the poor, all used to visit them and spend their time enjoying naturalistic scenery. Sometimes, it was also used as a place where the rich would enjoy hunting or playing games with their friends.