The subject matter of my research is the landscape garden of the eighteenth-century poet and gardener William Shenstone of The Leasowes, Halesowen. The reason for this is threefold: to begin with I taught, as a second subject, English Literature while I was teaching. This included poetry and I particularly liked the rural poets (I have lived in a rural community for the last 38 years which may account for this) and secondly having an acre of ground in my garden taught me to be a gardener. So I thought it very pertinent for a gardener to study a gardener!
When I became Dudley’s Archaeological Officer I monitored and performed a number of excavations at William Shenstone’s home at The Leasowes, which is now a Registered Park and Garden, and became rather fixated on the man so much so that I have written a biography of him (not yet published). When I started to study him in some detail I realised that there was much more to him than appeared in written accounts and therefore, with the assistance my supervisor, Dr Malcolm Dick, I intend to find out more about his work as one of the leading proponents of the ferme ornée – the ornamental farm in England, Europe and America.