There are very few things that lift my spirit more than a beautiful English garden.
I think many Englishmen/women have an inbuilt understanding of gardens; I'm sure other nationalities do too, but not in the same way. We seem to have some Jekyll-Juice running through our veins.
Other than in lofty circles, the French seem to have little understanding of garden design. The most common 'design' being an open area, equidistantly dotted with an endless variety of different exotic conifers. It's a strange concept that seems to have been adopted almost throughout France.
Of course the best gardens are 'old' ones; age has a wonderful effect on them. I don't think I've ever seen a modern garden that comes close. What could compare to an ancient brick walled garden; unfortunately very few of us have the pleasure of owning such delights. All we can do is to design our own gardens in such a way that they will age well, and hopefully mature into something like the above.
I remember well, when I was planning to build our 'tower', a local wisenheimer woman (who's own grounds were extremely tedious) telling me that we'd ruin the garden. In fact it's made all the difference, and has become one of its more important features, and (dare I say it) is actually much admired. Give it another 100 years, and it'll look great.
Our current garden is the first I've designed and built from scratch, so I sincerely hope it matures nicely.
We'll see; or at least someone else will!