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In terms of worldwide influence, the English garden of the 20th century was almost as significant as the landscapes of William Kent and ‘Capability’ Brown. The gardens created in particular by Sir Edward Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll set a standard against which English gardens would be measured for the next 60 years. Modernism, instinctively mistrusted by the English, swept over Europe and America at precisely this period and only in the 1990s were brave steps taken to establish an alternative to the Arts and Crafts style.

The third, and contemporary, strand of 20th century garden design is different again and is a curious mixture of formality, harking back to the 17th century, and informality influenced by new planting schemes from Holland and Germany. The best contemporary gardens, which point the way forward to the 21st century, combine these two elements.

James Bolton lectures exclusively on gardens and garden history. He set up his own garden design business, administered courses at the Inchbold School of Design and NADFAS and runs Border Lines, a garden tour company specialising in tours to English and Italian gardens.