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Bucket lists, Burghley and Brown: daydreaming again!

BUCKET LIST #54 – Attend a world-class horse event. Check ✓

When I wrote my bucket list, I kinda had the Kentucky Derby in mind. I’ve been to Churchill Downs in my travels – problem was it wasn’t during derby time. But hey, that could almost count for a check off the bucket list, right?

But then in 2012, my husband surprised me with a visit to New York to attend the Belmont Stakes to support Mario Gutierrez, our country’s jockey, riding I’ll Have Another. This was the horse the world anticipated to win the Triple Crown – a feat not conquered since 1978.

It was an experience of a lifetime even though I didn’t sip a single mint julep or even wear a fancy hat. The only disappointment? Our horse was scratched from the race. It was still an amazing treat to be there. Plus we did meet I’ll Have Another in his stable later that evening (see the picture below!)

Me, my husband and the horse: I'll Have Another

Me, my husband and the horse: I’ll Have Another

So you could say I checked off Bucket List #54 twice!  But then, “third time’s a charm!” as they say.

Now, I don’t believe in luck but it was rather a “divine” mention by Richard, our Corporate Communications guy (and our recent gift from England) about the esteemed Burghley Horse Trials and that I should go. Trust me, I needed no further encouragement. Especially as I had already a long-planned business trip to meet with our UK partners, Phantom Screens UK.

All of which leads me to this rather wonderful article from the UK’s Daily Telegraph: Burghley House: restoring the vision of Capability Brown.

Having spent several days at the horse event, touring Burghley House itself and walking the grounds extensively, I was taken with the place. So now reading the historical account of its landscaping, I was beyond excited and thrilled to be able to say: “I’ve been there! It’s all true. Every word of it!”

This story of a landscape architect is a powerful example of ‘leaving a legacy’. It is so heart-warming to read how one man’s vision and execution from 300 years ago is being restored at Burghley.

It makes me want to go see the other 169 commissioned sites Capability Brown did.

And the author’s quote below totally explains why Burghley is what Burghley is today:

Brown, having risen meteorically from being an apprentice/under-gardener at a modest estate, was renowned for his “nature as God intended it” style, which involved removing unsightly buildings (often including houses), formal gardens and arable fields to create his minimalist “natural” landscapes. His designs allowed for sporting pursuits and were easier to maintain.

Ah, sigh.

It makes me wish I could somehow have two careers that I’m in love with at one time – being a CEO and a landscape architect.

It sounds somewhat affair-ish and I know that you can’t be the servant of two masters and all that, but a girl can dream right?

So now I’ve had to add another thing to my bucket list: attend Landscape Architect school in England.

I don’t know how or when or even if I’d ‘use’ what I learned but it would be fun nevertheless.  At a minimum I could see it being very helpful in developing my own country acreage (not the rolling hills of England, but hey I’ll take it!).

And by the way, in the article the author used one of my favorite ever romantic gardening terms: “sweeping lawns”.

Just the images alone which this phrase conjures makes my heart light and my eyes smile.

OK: back to my “real job” Esther.

What’s on your bucket list? Do you have a favorite garden? As always, I’d love to know your thoughts!

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