Kensington Gardens, 1798

Kensington Gardens, 1798

In the late 18th Century, landscape architect, Lancelot “Capability” Brown, diverged from the rigidly formal gardens favored at the time and designed naturalistic landscapes, breaking up the gardens with “follies, cascades, lakes, bridges, ornaments, monuments, meadows and wood.” (The Omnipotent Magician: Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, 1716-1783 by Jane Brown).

One of his legacies appears to have been a nice collection of shrubbery into which my characters keep disappearing. Early in the manuscript on which I’m working, the hero takes the heroine off the beaten path in Kensington Gardens and into a rather lovely shrubbery during which stroll they are, alas, interrupted. But don’t worry. There will be other shrubberies.

Unfortunately, my hero finds himself in a shrubbery with the wrong woman during a morning party at a London estate. Fortunately, he is rescued by the hostess. Today, I thought I’d share the rescue with you.

Simon was dumbstruck. It wasn’t that he was unaware of his sister-in-law’s wishes and he would have to be blind and deaf to miss Lady Margaret’s blatant overtures. He had not, however, expected such a flagrant bid for a proposal. He knew he shouldn’t have gone near the shrubbery.

As Simon stared in amazement at the woman clinging to his arm, and searched his mind for an appropriate response that would not land him in front of a parson, he was saved by a party led by Lady Frampton. The hostess was ostensibly leading a group through a tour of her gardens. From the conversation, it seemed as though she had just run them through the parterre and hustled them into the shrubbery where she claimed to have the largest Hawthorne in Middlesex County. Simon smiled. Perhaps Lady Frampton had found her missing sheep. The group stopped abruptly in front of Simon and Lady Margaret.

“Join us?” Lady Frampton asked.

“We were just returning to the garden,” Simon said, on a sigh of relief.

“Very well, then. Off with you.” Lady Frampton nodded, and Simon could have sworn, winked again. 

And so, having shared this with you, I return to the manuscript. I am very near to reaching the ultimate shrubbery.