Two Scottish landscape architects: Robert Marnock and Mungo Temple

Aug 10, 2023

Sheffield Botanical Gardens

Sheffield Botanical Gardens

Readers of the Gardens Trust newsletter will know that Sheffield Botanical Gardens and the Gardens Trust are collaborating on a summer celebration of Robert Marnock. This will include events in gardens where he worked and a summer exhibition in Sheffield Botanic Gardens.

Mungo Temple, a Scot, and the younger friend and colleague of Marnock, moved back to Scotland in middle age, to take on the challenge of the neglected garden at Carron House, amidst the iron mills of Falkirk. I became captivated by garden history and acquainted with Temple when working as a volunteer with “Glorious Gardens”, a project run by SGLH, to research and record historic gardens.  The project focusses on recording historic gardens which are not included in Historic Environment Scotland’s (HES) Inventory. They could be called the Corbetts of gardens, not the Munroes.

Robert Marnock (1800 – 1889) who was born in Kintore, Aberdeeenshire, started off in Scotland, but quickly developed his career in England, working for some prestigious owners in a series of notable gardens, for example, Bretton Hall and Impney gardens. Still in his thirties he designed the Sheffield Botanical Gardens, impressing John Loudon, who noted that his ‘mind was deeply imbued with knowledge of his profession’.  (Gardeners Magazine 1834, p276).  Marnock became one of the most sought-after landscape gardeners of the 19th century.  His style was naturalistic, and he was enthusiastic about plant introductions. He edited the monthly Floricultural Magazine aimed at the middle-class amateur gardener. (Thanks to Jill Sinclair, GT News Spring 2023)