"We went straight to the lake, as it was called at Bly"
Ornamental lake leading up to a summer house at Bodnant Gardens
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeOrnamental lake leading up to a summer house at Bodnant Gardens - Credit: Joe Dunckley

Ornamental lakes were hugely popular features in grand Victorian gardens. At the beginning of the period, they tended to be highly formal, drawing on the symmetrical, balustraded Italian style. As the impact of industrialization deepened, however, there developed a desire for more natural gardens, a trend pioneered by the Irish gardener and writer William Robinson. From the description, it seems that whoever laid out the lake at Bly was ahead of the times in favouring a comparatively ‘wild’ aesthetic. 

British readers can find near-by Victorian gardens run by the National Trust here.

 

Bodnant Gardens, begun in 1875, feature several superb ornamental lakes
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeBodnant Gardens, begun in 1875, feature several superb ornamental lakes - Credit: Colin Whiteley