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Victorian Aviary Garden

on May 18, 2010 – 3:08 am

Shows and exhibitions were massively popular in the Victorian era as the public flocked to gaze at the latest wonder brought in by the Victorian plant hunters. Likewise, this year’s “The Victorian Aviary Garden” at the Chelsea Flower Show, with its commanding peacock pavement and an airy aviary as theatre set and backdrop, will be an eye-catcher.

The co-designer of The Victorian Aviary Garden, Jonathan Denby, is a true Victorian connoisseur. Research for the aviary took him in and out of two books — the first, Rustic Adornment for Homes of Taste by James Shirley Hibberd. He was the original popular garden writer, a Victorian and clearly a landmark type (self taught, confident and ubiquitous: he was a man who got things done). The second, slyly Edwardian, but an excellent reference, was Garden Ornament by Gertrude Jekyll. Certainly she came a little later but her childhood influences were steeped in Victoria’s reign. Read illustrated story by Catharine Howard.

[Image: The Aviary at Waddesdon Manor @National Trust, Hugh Palmer]