Origins of the English Garden

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Origins of the English Garden

The English garden was a fusion of old Italian and British classical distinction. Unlike traditional gardens, these marvels often incorporate small or large sculptures and even complete structures, such as Chinese pagodas or Roman columns. The incorporation of ancient Italian ruins and sculptures, combined with beautiful indigenous plants made the English garden an interesting and new sensation. This style was unique because it used old elements, and combined it with new, trim and neatly pruned plants. Cottage gardens also became popular and incorporated beautiful flower beds and potted plants, along with topiary and neatly trimmed hedges.

The Principles of English Garden Design

The English Garden is designed on the principle that formal and informal styles can be combined, even in a small garden. It is done by making a strong and regular framework, a formal garden structure, and then filling it with bold planting of perennial flowers, bulbs and mixed shrubs which will disguise the formal geometry of the original plan.

The framework within which this planting is done depends on the division of the garden into a number of compartments. This forms the structure of the garden. The most influential style has been the creation of hedged rooms, inside which are mixed beds planted in a quiet ‘cottage garden’ style. One of the best of these compartmented gardens is Hidcote in Gloucestershire[1]. The structure depends on interlocking axes to define the garden areas. The garden rooms are separated by several layers of hedging, but inside the hedges the planting is informal, with well-known cottage garden flowers mixing with rare plants – for the English, above all, are plant-hunters.

The alleys under pergolas, the sunken gardens, the terraces and enclosures, all of which were previously used in large gardens to display the owner’s wealth, can now be planted with a rustic simplicity. This is what is known as cottage-garden planting, a style originally English but which has been adopted on the other side of the Atlantic. It remains, in much of Britain today, the most favoured garden style.


The French Garden

Useful terms and phrases

7. Read the following terms and phrases, mind their pronunciation:

formal garden сад в регулярном стиле
reached its apogee достичь своего апогея
chateau замок
parterres цветник
orangerie апельсиновый сад, оранжерея
to represent/ feature представлять, изображать, символизировать
to enclose огораживать
axial composition осевая структура
severity and solemnity строгость и торжественность
to expose on the foreground выставлять на передний план
to supersede заменять, вытеснять
dense fence частый забор
wall tree формированное дерево
to overlook возвышаться, выходить на
terrace веранда
to set apart отделять, разделять, оставлять в стороне
to extend тянуться
to face быть обращённым в определённую сторону
elaborate сложный
scroll завиток
boxwood самшит
polychrome effect многоцветный
intermediary промежуточная форма


Vocabulary Focus

8. Match the terms and phrases to their translation and make sentences about the French garden history:

to impose order over nature копировать великих мастеров
to reach its apogee планировка сада
grandiose creation наводить порядок в природе
building of gardens достичь своего апогея
to imitate great masters грандиозное творение
remarkable creation дворцовое торжество
brilliant scenery по законам регулярного стиля
palace celebration предполагать строгую соразмерность
under regular laws выдающееся творение
to assume strict symmetry блистательный пейзаж/обстановка
garden lay-out создание садов

9.Match the terms and phrases to their translation and make sentences about characteristic features of the regular style:


straight lines ввести в композицию
axial composition ощущение порядка
to underline the human influence очаровывать изобилием цветов и оттенков
to bring in a composition изобилие скульптур
sensation of order декоративный цветник
severity and solemnity подчёркнуть влияние человека
abundance of sculptures черта регулярного стиля
wide direct avenue прямые линии
ornamental flower bed строгость и торжественность
to bewitch by abundance of colours and shades осевая структура
line of regular style широкая прямая аллея

10. Match the terms and phrases to their translation and make sentences about the form of the French garden:

to expose artificiality on the foreground власть над природой
to supersede naturalness подниматься над цветником
parterre of the orangerie неестественная и управляемая растительность
to overlook the garden выставлять искусственное на передний план
to raise above the parterre вытеснять натуральность
constrained and directed vegetation удваивать размер дома
mastery over nature выполнять функцию промежуточной формы
at a set height дополнять архитектуру
To set the house apart by trimmed bushes управлять водой
to complement the architecture определённой высоты
to resemble the patterns of a carpet отделять дом при помощи стриженых кустов
to serve as an intermediary возвышаться над садом
to double the size of the house цветник оранжереи
to move water напоминать ковровый узор


11. Read the text and find answers to the following questions:

1. What is the basic principle of the French formal garden?

2. When did it reach its height?

3. What were Andre Lenotr achievements in park art?

4. What were the laws of the regular style?

5. What did the style assert?

6. What are the main principles of the French garden?

The French Garden

The French formal garden is a style of garden based on symmetry and the principle of imposing order over nature. It reached its apogee in the 17th century with the creation of the Gardens of Versailles[2], designed for Louis XIV by the landscape architect André Le Nôtre. The style was widely copied by other courts of Europe.

Regular Style

The epoch of French classicism in park art was marked by grandiose creations of Andre Lenotr. Before this great master the building of gardens was imitated to Italians. After creating such remarkable creations like parks Tuileries[3], the Marlie[4], Saint-Claud [5]and especially Versailles all world has started to imitate his ideas. The ensembles of Lenotr created fine conditions of palace residences, brilliant scenery for palace celebrations. The architecture of his parks developed under regular laws, the laws of regular style. The regular kind assumes strict symmetry in a garden lay-out. They are characterized by straight lines, and strict axial composition. And now it is used where it is necessary to underline the human influence on nature, to bring in a composition the sensation of order, severity and solemnity. The emotional feature of the style – is elation, solemnity, the abundance of sculptures, theatricality.

The regular kind is magnificent with its wide direct avenues, cut trees, ornamental flower beds on a lawn, bewitching by abundance of colours and shades. As A.E. Regel wrote, the most important line of regular style consists in, that «artificiality not only was exposed on the foreground, but necessarily superseded any naturalness. The garden formed the Parterres of the Orangerie of the Château of Versailles isolated world by high walls or a dense fence». And such type of order was considered extremely desirable and universal. Such point of view is supported with that fact that people feel pleasure at sensation of order. They assert that basically they give preference to order, rather than chaos, symmetry, rather than by asymmetry. Water was an important element of a regular garden: the strict form pools with fountains, cascades, wall fountains and with sharply contrasted bosquets – exactly cut in the form of wall trees and bushes. Skilful palace gardeners used them for creation in a garden a whole system of small "halls" and "offices", placing them along paths. Jacques Boyceau de La Barauderie wrote in 1638 that "the principal reason for the existence of a garden is the esthetic pleasure which it gives to the spectator."

The form of the French garden was strongly influenced by the Italian gardens of the Renaissance, and was largely fixed by the middle of the 17th century. It had the following elements, which became typical of the formal French garden:

§ A geometric plan using the most recent discoveries of perspective and optics.

§ A terrace overlooking the garden, allowing the visitor to see all at once the entire garden. As the French landscape architect Olivier de Serres wrote in 1600, "It is desirable that the gardens should be seen from above, either from the walls, or from terraces raised above the parterres.

§ All vegetation is constrained and directed, to demonstrate the mastery of man over nature. Trees are planted in straight lines, and carefully trimmed, and their tops are trimmed at a set height.

§ The residence serves as the central point of the garden, and its central ornament. No trees are planted close to the house; rather, the house is set apart by low parterres and trimmed bushes.

§ A central axis, or perspective, is perpendicular to the facade of the house, on the side opposite the front entrance. The axis extends either all the way to the horizon or to piece of statuary or architecture. The axis faces either South or east-west. The principle axis is composed of a lawn, or a basin of water, bordered by trees. The principle axis is crossed by one or more perpendicular perspectives and alleys.

§ The most elaborate parterres, or planting beds, in the shape of squares, ovals, circles or scrolls, are placed in a regular and geometric order close to the house, to complement the architecture and to be seen from above from the reception rooms of the house.

§ The parterres near the residence are filled with broderies[6], designs created with low boxwood to resemble the patterns of a carpet, and given a polychrome effect by plantings of flowers, or by colored brick, gravel or sand.

§ Farther from the house, the broderies are replaced with simpler parterres, filled with grass, and often containing fountains or basins of water. Beyond these, small carefully-created groves of trees, serve as an intermediary between the formal garden and the masses of trees of the park. "The perfect place for a stroll, these spaces present alleys, stars, circles, theaters of greenery[7], galleries, spaces for balls and for festivities."

§ Bodies of water (canals, basins) serve as mirrors, doubling the size of the house or the trees.

§ The garden is animated with pieces of sculpture, usually on mythological themes, underline the perspectives, and mark the intersections of the axes, and by moving water in the form of cascades and fountains.


Chinese Garden

Useful terms and phrases

12. Read the following terms and phrases, mind their pronunciation:

artistic recreation художественное создание, созидание, воссоздание
hunting ground район охоты, охотничье угодье
large scale крупномасштабный
against the backdrop на фоне
retreat уединение
literati учёные, образованные люди
treatise трактат
stilt свая
covered corridor крытый коридор
scenic opening декоративное окно
garland венок, гирлянда
bay leaf лавровый лист
to signify выражать
omen примета, знак
to portend affluence предвещать богатство


Vocabulary Focus

13. Match the terms and phrases to their translation and make sentences to give a general idea of the Chinese garden:

to attain balance and harmony пейзажная живопись
 artistic recreation of nature участок природного живописного ландшафта
landscape painting район охоты, охотничье угодье
the imperial garden место для уединения
the natural scenic site достигнуть равновесия и гармонии
hunting ground достичь апогея
place of retreat императорский сад
gentleman-scholar сад для образованных людей
to escape the chaos художественное воссоздание природы
literati garden придворный учёный
to reach its height отстраниться от хаоса


14. Match the terms and phrases to their translation and make sentences about characteristic features of the Chinese garden:


harmonious combination of opposites располагаться по периметру стены
revealing and concealing над водной поверхностью
waterside pavilion осматривать сад
to raise on stilts гармоничное сочетание противоположностей
above a body of water крытый коридор
to view the garden расположенная на берегу беседка
to place along the periphery of the wall декоративное окно
covered corridor раскрытие и маскировка
to fall into two categories выполнять функцию рамы для картины
scenic opening поднимать на сваях
to act as a picture frame разделяться на две категории



to direct the eye to a particular view лепесток лотоса
imaginative shapes задумываться как круг
lotus petal предзнаменование удачи
to design as a circle направлять взгляд на определённый вид, панораму
exquisite element означать древнюю веру
to portend affluence обычный повторяющийся узор
imaginatively patterned символизировать счастливую судьбу и долголетие
common motif богато украшенный
to signify the ancient belief предвещать богатство
good luck omen богатые формы
to symbolize good fortune and longevity утончённый элемент



15. Read the text and find answers to the following questions:

1. What is the aim of the Chinese garden?

2. What elements does the Chinese garden comprise?

3. When did the Chinese garden style emerge?

4. What is a common feature of the garden?

5. What are Chinese gardens characterized by?

6. Does this garden have any exquisite elements?

Chinese Garden

The Chinese consider gardens a serious art form and which with painting, sculpture and poetry aims to attain in their design the balance, harmony, proportion and variety that are considered essential to life. In fact there is a saying which goes, 'the garden is an artistic recreation of nature; a landscape painting in three dimensions». The Chinese garden is a combination of such natural elements as rock, water, trees and flowers and such artificial elements as architecture, painting and poetry.

The Chinese garden is divided into three categories: the imperial garden, the private garden and the natural scenic site. The earliest imperial garden dates back to the late Shang dynasty (c. 1600-1027 BC) with the construction of an imperial hunting ground, followed by the Shanglin garden[8] built by the Emperor Qin Shi Huang [9]in his capital at Xianyang[10]. Of the three types of Chinese gardens is the private garden which is of most interest when visiting the 'Garden City' of Suzhou[11]. They were created as a place of retreat for the gentleman-scholar to escape the chaos of the city. It was during the Tang dynasty (618-907) that the literati garden reached its height. A treatise on garden design was written in 634 by the painter-gardener Ji Cheng. One of the key elements of this treatise was the necessity for the garden to "look natural, though man-made". The harmonious combination of opposites that is of the small and large, of the revealing and concealing, of the real and unreal, and of the vertical and horizontal was stressed in this work.

A common feature of the Chinese garden architecture is the waterside pavilion. It later became the fashion to build waterside pavilions upon the lake or pond of a garden so that half the structure was built on land, while the other half was raised on stilts above a body of water. So as to allow viewing of the garden from all sides of the building, decorative windows were placed along the periphery of the wall. Such a waterside pavilion can be seen in the Humble Administrator's Garden [12] .

Another key element of the Chinese gardens is their covered corridors, built to allow the owners to enjoy the garden in the rain and snow. These covered walkways fall into two categories, those which connect buildings and those which are built by the shore of a small pond or lake. As with waterside pavilions, corridors often have windows or "scenic openings", which act as picture frames directing the eye to particular views of the garden. Such scenic openings were designed simply as circles, squares or ovals or in more imaginative shapes like those of a lotus petal, garland or bay leaf.

The most exquisite elements of a Chinese garden can often be found in its details. Such is the case with the footpaths, imaginatively patterned with coloured pebbles into a variety of designs along the ground. A common motif is that of the square within a circle, signifying the ancient belief that the "heaven is round and the earth is square". Good luck omens may also often be found. The bat and crane symbolize good fortune and longevity, the fishing net portends affluence. There are, in addition, often depictions of scenes from well-known traditional paintings and legends.


Reflection ( Размышление )

Listening and Speaking

16. Group work. Deliver a presentation about one of the garden styles.

(See appendix 6.)

17. Group work. Listen to the presentations and comment on them using “Hats of Thinking”. (See appendix 9.)



18. Write a reflection on one of the following quotes. (See appendix 4):

"The principal reason for the existence of a garden is the esthetic pleasure which it gives to the spectator."

“A formal garden is like a bud in a vase: magnificent, elegant, and somehow naturally artificial.”

Unit 12

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