How British gardens have changed the British economy for over 350 years

Sarah Green Carmikael You are an economist and “The Wonder of British Gardens: How a Billion Dollar Industry Has Changed a Country, From Charles II to Today” (“British Garden Economics in the UK”). The book argues that gardening has been neglected as a major economic activity. One of the brightest retail areas during the VV-19 epidemic was the garden center. That seems to surprise many. As a gardener myself, I am not surprised! Why is the gardening industry not getting it right?

Rodrice Fouffod, author, “The Amazing Gardens of England” There is one simple answer, which is that most of our gardens are not part of the gross domestic product (GDP) that is paid for. The fact is that almost all “do-it-yourself” gardens are out of GDP. Second, people think of gardening as a hobby – they don’t realize how much money they are spending on it.

Yes, you have noticed that you have added a little more to your garden in the book, and it has shocked you. Personally, I would never add it; I can’t bear the idea.
Well, that’s the usual response! And it is very difficult for me to tell the owners of large gardens how much they care about it. They simply do not want to know. This is another reason why it is not possible.

Of the 350 years since the book was published, some of the sums you have encountered have only been eye-watering. In today’s terms, one of the most famous landscape designers, Captain Brown, made between $ 25 and $ 64 million a year. Chatsworth’s maintenance budget, in the 1830s, was $ 2 million a year. Money is not a commodity for some large states, how do gardeners set prices?

When one goes back to the 18th century and looks at the capacity of Brown or his peers, they are in the early stages of spending. What they are doing is a “master and server” accounting system, which basically records all payments and all payments and at the end of six months or at the end of the year you decide whether you have made a loss or a profit. It is impossible to know how much the designers of these gardens spent on an individual project.

Some designers – and talent Brown’s best example – can only name their own price. Brown was honored to be your designer. The most famous example of garden design in literature is “Mansfield Park” in reference to Humphrey Repton, and the character of Jane Austen says, “You have to go.” Ripton doesn’t pay as much as Brown, but he can charge as much as he wants.

How did you begin to translate the amount paid on vegetables in the past century into today dollars and pounds?
The book’s biggest economic innovation is to use the current average price comparison instead of using the retail price index. This means that you will eventually get proportional amounts to the costs you face.

If you look at modern examples of large gardens, you will find that the totals are completely reliable. The Royal Horticulture Society in Britain has opened a new garden in Old Trafford, in the old mansion, at a cost of up to 35 35 million. Bridge water is 150 hectares. That’s the largest lake in Brown’s Palace in Blanche – that is 150 hectares. The courtyard and the palace are frequent.

You are looking at huge areas that are being repaired, and large areas of land that you are moving to do. They are basically large-scale civil engineering projects, and they are reasonably priced.

They argue that these projects have changed the face of England. how so?

There are no natural lakes in England, south of Lake Cumbria. All the lakes we are used to seeing are created by landscapes, or are reservoirs, or ultimately mining residues – gravel pits and things like that. So the basic way they changed the face of England was to create lakes, which people now think of as landscapes, but in reality they are completely engineers.

That is important for two reasons. The first is that gardening is technologically advanced. And second, it really changes the overall shape of the countryside. There is a valley on the island of Osborne that runs from home to the beach – Prince Albert King and Queen Victoria were dug to see the sea from home. In Vadsenon Manur, Baron Ferdinand de Rothshield cut off the top of a hill. It was really stupid, because he removed the soil and the trees did not grow.

One of the things that really stands out to me when I talk about technologies is that sometimes plants get central heating before people do it – people used to heat their greenhouses before their real homes.
every time. When I was a child in the 1950’s, it was very unusual for us to have a central heating system in our home. You’ve actually had a plant heating center for 300 years or more before you got it.

He spoke of various royal landscaping projects as being at the expense of the government. What impact did all that stimulation have on the industry?

You could argue that government spending will start the gardening industry, and then it will lay the groundwork for centuries to come. James II, then William and Mary, and then the kings of Georgia spent large sums of money on vegetables. The royal gardeners worked for the government – that is, for the kings – and behind that fixed income they ran a nursery and their design business. Government spending is closely linked to the creation of the vegetable industry.

What were the other resources that paid for these gardens?

Well, land, of course. I mean, in 18th century England, there were 300 to 400 acres or more of 10,000 acres or more. And all of them were socially desirable that they had to have a garden.

Another source of income was slavery; There are many examples of great houses built on the back of the slave trade and slavery. Indian plunder will return to large numbers of gardens. Claremont, owned by Robert Clive outside London, is a great example of that, but there are many more.

Then there is military service. You can make a lot of money out of it, both legally – because [officers] They are paid very, very well – and illegally, by offering the soldiers or investing their salaries and taking the interest before paying the soldiers.

It is the last marriage. One of the ways in which the English nobles were prepared to become non-nobles was for women to have more money. The number of daughters of merchants, bankers, and breweries who came to the nobles in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries is very high. And then, of course, in the 19th century, they get heirs from the United States – Consulo Vanderbilt, for example, in Blaineheim. Princes are very good at protecting themselves.

In the book you had some notes of how anxious these garden designers were and how they were used. why?

Well, you get in touch with private entrepreneurs who have found responsible families and employees. So they are in the same position as many bad entrepreneurs: their financial situation depends on their next job or last job. Second, they have to travel a lot around the country to get these jobs. You are either confronted by stage employers, or you have to ride a horse, and there is always a highway risk. Finally, you have malicious clients who are accustomed to having what they want and constantly changing their minds.

William III, for example, asked for a garden in Hampton Court Palace to be lowered not once but twice – not just plants, but also roads and springs – so that he had a clear view of the Thames.
Yes. And in the 18th century there were many business-related dangers. You also have no liability. If things go wrong, they can easily stay in jail. The princes were bad at paying their bills. Most entrepreneurs, and only gardeners, were heavily indebted. So there are many causes for anxiety.

Aspects of equality and luxury go through the book, but to this day they do not show clear comparisons. But do you see any parallels?
Yes, right? I mean, Jeff Bessos: “Well, what am I going to spend my money on?” We have. And he puts himself in the rocket. For me, building a relatively beautiful garden is a good thing.

I think 18th-century gardens and some 19th-century gardens are interesting to show not only your wealth but also your taste – it was necessary to build gardens – or the statues you put around temples and gardens about ancient knowledge. Today, no one would say that many billionaires want to taste good at their expense. We allow comedy parties to pay or send themselves rockets.

I think we should be thankful that in the 18th century, social pressure was the key to spending money on vegetables.

So do you have a favorite plant or flower?

Oh, I love vegetables.


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