Duke Plants Cedar to Celebrate ‘Capability’ Brown Anniversary

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[dropcap type =”circle”]T[/dropcap]he 12th Duke of Marlborough has planted an iconic Cedar of Lebanon tree beside the lake at Blenheim Palace to mark the 300th anniversary of ‘Capability’ Brown.

The Oxfordshire stately home was one of ‘Capability’ Brown’s most significant landscape projects and contributed to the 2,000 acre Parkland and baroque Palace being awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 1987.

Commissioned by the 4th Duke of Marlborough in 1763, he spent a total of 11 years transforming the Palace’s landscaped parkland which, although appearing quite natural, is ‘contrived to pleasing effect’.

In addition to planting thousands of trees, Brown also created the two lakes either side of the famous Vanbrugh Bridge.

The new sapling will eventually grow up to the impressive size of the original Cedar of Lebanon planted by Brown, which was featured in the film version of ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in 2007.

“Capability Brown had a profound and lasting impact on the Estate and virtually all of his visionary designs for Blenheim Palace can still be appreciated here today,” said His Grace, Duke of Marlborough.

“I am delighted to be marking his 300th anniversary by planting this cedar which will, hopefully, help to ensure his design genius continues to be enjoyed and appreciated by generations to come,” he added.

Believed to have been born in 1716, Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown was the most sought after landscape designer of the 18th century.

He was at the forefront of a new style of ‘naturalistic’ landscape gardening which replaced formalised, geometric garden layouts with more flowing and open parkland.

Brown reputedly earned his nickname by reassuring his aristocratic clients their estates had the ‘capability’ for improvement.

The Cedar of Lebanon tree can reach up to 40 metres in height, with a trunk up to 2.5 metres in diameter.

As its name suggests the tree originates in Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, northwest Jordan, western Syria, and south central Turkey.

Home to the Dukes of Marlborough since 1722, and the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, Blenheim Palace was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. It is set in over 2,000 acres of ‘Capability’ Brown landscaped Parkland.

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