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Folio: Joseph Paxton's National Garden


Turing his hand to landscaping, Paxton sought to unite disciplines with a vast garden



Prior to publishing what would become arguably the most famous horticultural periodical - The Gardeners’ Chronicle - in 1831 Joseph Paxton published The Horticultural Register, a monthly magazine embracing everything from natural history and landscaping to propagation and, of course, gardening. Volume 1 featured the plan shown here, drawn by Paxton to demonstrate his ideas for a 50-acre National Garden that would merge the Horticultural, Zoological and Medico-Botanic Societies. The proposal was devised as a response to the announcement of London’s new Zoological Garden - to quote Paxton: ‘we fear science will derive but little real benefit from the establishment of another Zoological Garden, near London’. Instead, Paxton wished to merge the societies together in one space that would cater to all of their research needs and be a popular draw for the public in any metropolis. Divided into four, each quarter pertains to a corner of the globe, housing its respective plants and animals, with plans to further divide these quarters into specific countries. Surrounded by various research structures and with a pagoda-like structure at its centre, a route would guide visitors through this inner-city world-wide safari - complete with carriages in case it rained.

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