William Hooker had particularly objected to Nesfield's Palm House
parterres. But the geometric parterres and East Terrace were not
only an essential part of the original setting of the Palm House,
but central to the 19th century design of the Royal Botanic Gardens.
Nesfield's text that accompanied his plans states that the parterres
were designed with an emphasis on the long-term practicalities of
maintaining the gardens. For example, stone kerbing would minimise
the erosion of the design through time, and remove the labour of
maintaining turf edges. Nesfield's notes on the side of the designs
may have been intended to mitigate some of Hooker’s concerns.
Nesfield also designed a further set of geometrical parterres to
line the south side of the Orangery, but though the ground was levelled
in preparation it seems they were never built. Hooker's apparent
dislike of Nesfield's geometric gardens may explain why, and may
also explain why both Burton and John Smith designed the more curvaceous
parterres built in the Herbaceous Ground.
Nesfield also landscaped Burton's main Broad Walk and the formal
plantings along its length were central features in the landscape
design of the Gardens, seen by all its visitors.
Back to: 1841-1885:
The flowering of Kew