Of the many European design traditions that put plants and flowers on display, the 19th Century Arts and Crafts style does it best. This is the style which inspired the English Flower Garden at Hamilton Gardens. In the period's heyday, Arts and Crafts gardens were commonly referred to as 'gardens of a golden afternoon'.
The Arts and Craft movement was particularly popular between 1880 and 1910. It emphasised simple forms and natural motifs - against the prevailing Victorian fashion for heavy, ornate decoration. Arts and Crafts designers tended to shun contemporary methods of industrial manfacture, preferring traditional craftsmanship.
There were a range of European styles for which the primary purpose was the display of flowers and collections of plants. Many notable gardens in this style have been created throughout the 20th century, but the period from 1870 till the Great War is generally considered to be the golden age, and the gardens of the period are often referred to as 'the gardens of a golden afternoon'.
In terms of design philosophy The English Flower Garden incorporates many elements common to traditional gardens, such as the use of walls and hedges to create a series of outdoor rooms that contain and unify a diverse collection of plants. These spaces often have different planting themes and are typically linked by axis lines that terminate at an arbor, fountain, urn or seat.