(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "Landscape gardening"

' ** ^ v -~ 

J^ovOnina's ^ 

LANDSCAPE 
GARDENING 

m 

REVISED BY '/ 

^!)GV /^,./fCy-n r( 










ANDREW JACKSON DOWNING 



Frontispiece 



Landscape Gardening 



ANDREW JACKSON DOWNING 

TENTH EDITION 

REVISED BY 

FRANK A. WAUGH 

AND INCLUDING MANY CHAPTERS FROM 
DOWNING'S "RURAL ESSAYS" 



ILLUSTRATED 



NEW YORK 

JOHN WILEY & SONS, INC. 
LONDON: CHAPMAN & HALL, LIMITED 

1921 



COPYRIGHT, 1921, 
BY 

FRANK A. WAUGH 



TECHNICAL COMPOSITION CO. 
CAMBRIDGE, MASS., U. S. A. 



TO 

JOHN QUINCY ADAMS, LL.D., 

EX-PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES; 

THE LOVER OF RURAL PURSUITS, 
AS WELL AS 

THE DISTINGUISHED PATRIOT, STATESMAN, 

AND SAGE; 
THIS VOLUME 

BY PERMISSION, 

IS RESPECTFULLY AND AFFECTIONATELY 
DEDICATED, 

BY HIS FRIEND, 

THE AUTHOR. 

Original dedication by A. J. D. 



ORIGINAL PREFACE 

BY A. J. D. 

A taste for rural improvements of every description is 
advancing silently, but with great rapidity in this country. 
While yet in the far west the pioneer constructs his rude 
hut of logs for a dwelling, and sweeps away with his axe 
the lofty forest trees that encumber the ground, in the 
older portions of the Union, bordering the Atlantic, we 
are surrounded by all the luxuries and refinements that 
belong to an old and long cultivated country. Within the 
last ten years, especially, the evidences of the growing 
wealth and prosperity of our citizens have become apparent 
in the great increase of elegant cottage and villa residences 
on the banks of our noble rivers, along our rich valleys, 
and wherever nature seems to invite us by her rich and 
varied charms. 

In all the expenditure of means in these improvements, 
amounting in the aggregate to an immense sum, profes- 
sional talent is seldom employed in Architecture or Land- 
scape Gardening, but almost every man fancies himself an 
amateur, and endeavors to plan and arrange his own resi- 
dence. With but little practical knowledge, and few cor- 
rect principles for his guidance, it is not surprising that we 
witness much incongruity and great waste of time and 
money. Even those who are familiar with foreign works 
on the subject in question labor under many obstacles in 
practice, which grow out of the difference in our soil and 
climate, or our social and political position. 

These views have so often presented themselves to me <>f 
late, and have been so frequently urged by persons desiring 
advice, that I have ventured to prepare the present vol- 
ume, in the hope of supplying, in some degree. I lie desidera- 
tum so much felt at present. While we have treatises, in 
abundance, on the various departments of the arts and 



V 



vi Original Preface 



sciences, there has not appeared even a single essay on the 
elegant art of Landscape Gardening. Hundreds of indi- 
viduals who wish to ornament their grounds and embellish 
their places, are at a loss how to proceed, from the want of 
some leading principles, with the knowledge of which they 
would find it comparatively easy to produce delightful and 
satisfactory results. 

In the following pages I have attempted to trace out 
such principles, and to suggest practicable methods of 
embellishing our rural residences, on a scale commensurate 
lo the views and means of our proprietors. While I have 
availed myself of the works of European authors, and 
especially those of Britain, where Landscape Gardening was 
first raised to the rank of a fine art, I have also endeavored 
to adapt my suggestions especially to this country and to 
the peculiar wants of its inhabitants. 

As a people descended from the English stock, \ve in- 
herit much of the ardent love of rural life and its pursuits 
which belongs to that nation; but our peculiar position, in 
a new world that required a population full of enterprise 
and energy to subdue and improve its vast territory, has, 
until lately, left but little time to cultivate a taste for rural 
embellishment. But in the older states, as wealth has 
accumulated, the country becomes populous, and society 
more fixed in its character, a return to those simple and 
fascinating enjoyments to be found in country life and 
rural pursuits is witnessed on every side. And to this 
innate feeling, out of which grows a strong attachment to 
natal soil, we must look for a counterpoise to the great 
tendency towards constant change, and the restless spirit 
of emigration, which form part of our national character; 
and which, though lo a certain extent highly necessary to 
our national prosperity, are, on the other hand, opposed to 
social and domestic happiness. "In the midst of the con- 
tinual movement which agitates a democratic community," 
says the most philosophical writer who has yet discussed 
our institutions, "the tie which unites one generation to 
another is relaxed or broken; every man readily loses the 



Original Preface vii 



trace of the ideas of his forefathers, or takes no care about 
them." 

The love of country is inseparably connected with the 
love of home. Whatever, therefore, leads man to assemble 
the comforts and elegancies of life around his habitation, 
tends to increase local attachments, and render domestic 
life more delightful; thus not only augmenting his own 
enjoyment, but strengthening his patriotism, and making 
him a better citizen. And there is no employment or 
recreation which affords the mind greater or more perma- 
nent satisfaction, than that of cultivating the earth and 
adorning our own property. "God Almighty first planted 
a garden; and, indeed, it is the purest of human pleas- 
ures," says Lord Bacon. And as the first man was shut 
out from the garden, in the cultivation of which no alloy 
was mixed with his happiness, the desire to return to it 
seems to be implanted by nature, more or less strongly, in 
every heart. 

In Landscape Gardening the country gentleman of leisure 
finds a resource of the most agreeable nature. While there 
is no more rational pleasure than that derived from its 
practice by him, who 

"Plucks life's roses in his quiet fields," 

the enjoyment drawn from it (unlike many other amuse- 
ments) is unembittered by the after recollection of pain or 
injury inflicted on others, or the loss of moral rectitude. 
In rendering his home more beautiful, he not only con- 
tributes to the happiness of his own family, but improves 
the taste, and adds loveliness to the country at large. 
There is, perhaps, something exclusive in the taste for some 
of the fine arts. A collection of pictures, for example, is 
comparatively shut up from the world, in the private gal- 
lery. But the sylvan and floral collections, - - the groves 
and gardens, which surround the country residence of the 
man of taste,- -are confined by no barriers narrower than 
the blue heaven above and around them. The taste and 
the treasures, gradually, but certainly, creep beyond the 



viii Original Preface 



nominal boundaries of the estate, and re-appear in the pot 
of llowers in the window, or the luxuriant, blossoming vines 
\vhieh clamber over the porch of the humblest cottage by 
the way side. 

In the present volume I have sought, by rendering 
familiar to the reader most of the beautiful sylvan mate- 
rials of the art, and by describing their peculiar effects in 
Landscape Gardening, to encourage a taste among general 
readers. And I have also endeavored to place before the 
amateur such directions and guiding principles as, it is 
hoped, will assist him materially in laying out his grounds 
and arranging the general scenery of his residence. 

The lively interest of late manifested in Rural Architec- 
ture, and its close connection with Landscape Gardening, 
have induced me to devote a portion of this work to the 
consideration of buildings in rural scenery. 

I take pleasure in acknowledging my obligations and 
returning thanks to my valued correspondent, J. C. Loudon, 
Esq., F. L. S., etc., of London, the most distinguished 
gardening author of the age, for the illustrations and de- 
scription of the English Suburban Cottage in the Appendix; 
to the several gentlemen in this country who have kindly 
furnished me with plans or drawings of their residences; 
and to A. J. Davis, Esq., of New York, and J. Xotman, 
Esq., of Philadelphia, architects, for architectural drawings 
and descriptions. 



PREFACE BY THE EDITOR 

The present Tenth Edition of Downing's famous Land- 
scape Gardening takes extensive liberties with the original 
materials, rearranging and recombining them with little 
regard to their early relationships. The intention, how- 
ever, has been, not so much to make the usual revision of 
an old book as to bring together from all Mr. Downing's 
writings the best portions of his work bearing directly on 
the subject of Landscape Gardening. 

There are two principal sources of these materials. Eirst 
there are the early editions of the book on Landscape 
Gardening; second are the Rural Essays, written first as 
editorials for the Horticulturist and afterward collected by 
Mr. George William Curtis and published in book form. 

Naturally it has been necessary to eliminate many chap- 
ters and some few passages in other chapters, and such 
eliminations have, of course, been difficult. The matter is 
all good - - all interesting. But some of it has been out- 
grown by changed conditions and a good deal of it does not 
pertain to the main theme. Mr. Downing w : as a pomolo- 
gist and an architect as well as a landscape gardener, and 
he wrote informingly also of general agriculture and of his 
travels in Europe. The student who desires to study this 
great American writer and genius will of course consult his 
original works in full; but it is hoped that the one who 
merely wants the benefit of Mr. Downing's view's on Land- 
scape Gardening \vill find these fully set forth and logically 
arranged in the present edition. 

The lovers of Downing have always been numerous and 
urgent in America. To those now living the editor oilers 
this present book with much trepidation. To them it must 
seem presumptuous to cut and fit so freely with the works 
of the revered master. Let such remember, however, that 
the editor has been actuated by the same deep love and 

ix 



Preface by the Editor 



respect which they feel. Let them consider further that 
the new book is offered less to the older audience, already 
readers of Downing, than to the new and larger company 
of those who, having grown up wholly in present times, are 
not yet his students and admirers. If a new edition of 
his works will help to preserve his memory, to spread his 
wise and kindly instruction and to extend his beneficent 
influence to a new generation surely everyone can rejoice 
in that result. 

FRANK A. WAUGH. 

AMHERST, MASS., 
January 1, 1921. 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

PAGE 

PREFACE BY ANDREW JACKSON DOWNING, 1841 v 

PREFACE BY FRANK A. WAUGH, 1921 ix 

FROM THE BOOK ON LANDSCAPE GARDENING: 

1. HISTORICAL SKETCHES 1 

2. BEAUTIES AND PRINCIPLES OF THE ART 27 

3. ON WOOD AND PLANTATIONS 49 

4. TREATMENT OF GROUND 90 

5. TREATMENT OF WATER 100 

6. EMBELLISHMENTS 116 

FROM THE COLLECTION OF RURAL ESSAYS: 

7. THE PHILOSOPHY OF RURAL TASTE 151 

8. THE BEAUTIFUL IN GROUND 156 

9. THE BEAUTIFUL IN A TREE 162 

10. ON THE DRAPERY OF COTTAGES AND GARDENS 167 

11. A FEW HINTS ON LANDSCAPE GARDENING 179 

12. HINTS TO RURAL IMPROVERS 184 

13. ON THE MISTAKES OF CITIZENS IN COUNTRY LIFE 193 

14. ON CITIZENS RETIRING TO THE COUNTRY 203 

15. How TO CHOOSE A SITE FOR A COUNTRY SEAT 212 

16. How TO ARRANGE COUNTRY PLACES 218 

17. THE MANAGEMENT OF LARGE COUNTRY PLACES 22."i 

18. COUNTRY PLACES IN AUTUMN 231 

19. THE NEGLECTED AMERICAN PLANTS 2.">.~i 

20. A WORD IN FAYOR OF EVERGREENS 210 

21. HINTS IN FLOWER GARDENS 217 

22. A CHAPTER ON ROSES 253 

23. A TALK WITH FLORA AND POMONA 2<i."i 

xi 



MI I'tihlc of Contents 



PAGE 

12 1. INFLUENCE <>K I loitncri.Ti m: 12712 

12.~>. Ox IM. MINIM, TASTE IN Pa HAL AKKAIRS 277 

jr.. A Si'iuM. < kSSlP 121K) 

127. F.CoNOMY IN (i \HDKNING 12 ( .I7 

12S. A ClIAI'TI-ll ON I.ANVNS \\(\.\ 

29. TREATMENT OF LAWNS 310 

30. fRANSPLANTING ol-' I'KI;I;S 313 

31. <)ii; COUNTRY \"II.I..\GI-;S 323 

.'.'_!. ON rni I\ii'i;o\ i.\ii;N'r 01 ('.OTNTRY VILLAGES 333 

33. Sn \ni-: I'm.i.s IN (>rni-:s 310 

.11. I'lU.I'S IN 'I'oXVNS AND YlLLAGKS 3l'.t 

35. ON 1Y \NTINC. SIIADI-; Tm.i-is 3.18 

.".(>. I Io\\ TO I'DPULARIZP: A TASTK FOR PLANTING 361 

37. Pi r.i.ic ( '.i.Mi.ri.nn s AND PI/BLIC ( i AMIH.XS 371 

38. Tin: \i-;\v YORK PARK 380 

APPENDIX 

I. LISP oi- ROSES 388 

II. MKMOIK, BY (II-:ORGI-; \YILLIAM Crirns 391 

III. To TIII-: MI.MMKY OK ANDI',I;\V JACKSON DOWNING, BY 

FRANK A. WAUGII. 431 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



ANDREW JACKSON DOWNING Frontispiece 

FIG. PAGE 

1. GARDEN STAIRWAY 5 

2. VIEW ON THE GROUNDS AT BLITHEWOOD, DUTCHESS COUNTY, 

NEW YORK 14 

3. THE HOME OF MR. DOWNING AT NEWBURGH, NEW YORK. . 20 

4. MAIN LAWN IN NEW JERSEY STATE HOSPITAL, TRENTON, 

DESIGNED BY A. J. DOWNING 26 

5. THE BEAUTIFUL AS ILLUSTRATED BY MR. DOWNING 29 

6. THE PICTURESQUE AS ILLUSTRATED BY MR. DOWNING 31 

7. MODERN AMERICAN HOME GARDEN 36 

8. PLAN OF MR. DOWNING'S HOME GROUNDS, NEWBURGH, NEW 

YORK 50 

9. TREES GROUPED TO PRODUCE THE BEAUTIFUL 59 

10. TREES GROUPED TO PRODUCE THE PICTURESQUE 60 

11. PLAN OF FARM BEFORE IMPROVEMENT 68 

12. PLAN OF SAME GROUNDS IMPROVED AS COUNTRY SEAT 69 

13. PLAN OF A MANSION RESIDENCE LAID OUT IN THE NATURAL 

STYLE 71 

14. PLAN OF A SUBURBAN VILLA RESIDENCE 73 

15. PLAN OF AN EMBELLISHED FARM (FERME ORN&E) 75 

16. ROUND-HE A DKD TREE 78 

1 7. SPIRY-TOPPED TREE 80 

18. OBLONG-HEADED TREE 82 

19. POND SHORE PLANTED WITH IRIS, ETC 10.~> 

20. RUSTIC VASE 121 

21. GRECIAN VASE 1 21! 

22. GRECIAN VASE 1 22 

23. MODERN VASE IN TERRA GOTTA 122 

24. THE GARDEN SUN DIAL 121 

25. A BIRD BATH AS A GARDEN ORNAMENT 12C. 

xiii 



xiv Landscape Gardening 

FIG. PAGE 

26. GARDEN SEAT . . ., 128 

27. GARDEN GATE AND ROSE TRKLLIS 130 

28. A RUSTIC SEAT OF CEMENT 140 

29. A BEAUTIFULLY SHAPED LAWN lf>7 

30. THE GRACEFUL NATIVE BIRCHKS 103 

31. VINE-DRAPED COTTAGE 108 

32. CLIMBING ROSKS ON A GARDEN GATE 177 

33. SPRINGTIME IN THE WOODS - - TRILLIUMS 194 

34. \YELL-GRADED, WELL-PLANTED GROUNDS 208 

35. NATURAL WOODLAND JUNIPERS 227 

36. NATIVE FLOWERING DOGWOOD 230 

37. FLOWER BED PHLOX AND KOCHIA 250 

38. PUBLIC ROSE GARDEN, MINNEAPOLIS, MINN 254 

39. TRUMPET NARCISSUS ALONG THE GARDEN WALK 278 

40. DOUBLE COLUMBINES 284 

41. A WELL-MOULDED LAWN 304 

42. SOCIAL HOUR UNDER THE PAULOWNIA TREE 315 

43. COMMUNITY MEETING GROUND A RIVERSIDE PARK 329 

44. YOUNG AMERICAN ELMS AS STREET TREES 350 

45. GOOD SHADE TREES ON HOME GROUNDS 360 

46. ORNAMENTAL MULLEINS IN A PUBLIC GARDEN 375 

47. GERMAN IRIS IN A PUBLIC GARDEN 378 

48. A JAPANESE PARK . 384 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

BY CHARLES R. GREEN 
Librarian, Massachusetts Agricultural College 

LANDSCAPE GARDENING: A treatise on the theory and practice of land- 
scape gardening, adapted to North America; with a view to the 
improvement of country residences. . . . With remarks on rural 
architecture. 8 + 451 p. Illus. 1 pi. 8. Wiley and Putnam, 
New York, 1841. 

- Ed. 2. 14 + 497 p. Illus. 16 pi. 8. Wiley and Putnam, New 

York, 1844. 
-Ed. 3. - 

- Ed. 4. Em 1 ., rev. and newly illus. 532 p. Illus. 8. G. P. Put- 

nam, New York, 1849, 1850, 1852. 

- Ed. 5. Rev. and enl. 532 p. Illus. 1 pi. 8. G. P. Putnam, New 

York, 1853, [c!849]; Riker, Thome and Co., 1854; with suppl. by 
H. W. Sargent, Riker, Thorne and Co., 1856; A. O. Moore and Co., 
1857. 

- Ed. 6. With a supplement by H. W. Sargent, 15 + 576 p. Illus. 

8. 1 por. 34 pi. A. 0. Moore and Co., New York, 1859; C. M. 
Saxton, New York, 1860; H. H. Bancroft, San Francisco, 1860. 

- Ed. 7. Rev. and enl. 576 p. Illus., maps. 8. 0. Judd Co., 1865. 

[c!859.] 

- Ed. 8. - 

Ed. 9. 592 p. Illus. 8. Orange Judd Co., New York [c!875]. 



xv 



Landscape Gardening 

CHAPTER I 
HISTORICAL SKETCHES 

"L'un a nos yeux presente 
D'un dessein regulier 1'ordonnancc imposante, 
Pretc aux champs des beautes qu'ils nc connaissaient pas, 
D'une pompe etrangere embellit leur appas, 
Donne aux arbres des lois, aux ondes des entraves, 
Et, despote orgueilleux, brille entoure d'esclaves; 
Son air est moins riant et plus majestueux 
L'autre, de la nature amant respectueux, 
L'orne sans la farder, traite avec indulgence 
Ses caprices charmants, sa noble negligence, 
Sa marche irreguliere, et fait naitre avec art 
Des beautes du desordre, et meme du hasard." 

DELILLE. 

"/^~\UR first, most endearing, and most sacred associa- 
I 1 lions," says the amiable Mrs. Holland, " are con- 
nected with gardens; our most simple and most 
refined perceptions of beauty are combined with them." 
And we may add to this, that Landscape Gardening, which 
is an artistical combination of the beautiful in nature and 
art- -an union of natural expression and harmonious culti- 
vation - - is capable of affording us the highest and most in- 
tellectual enjoyment to be found in any cares or pleasures 
belonging to the soil. 

The development of the beautiful is the end and aim of 
Landscape Gardening, as it is of all other fine arts. The 
ancients sought to attain this by a studied and elegant 
regularity of design in their gardens; the moderns, by the 
creation or improvement of grounds which, though of lini- 

1 



Landscape (Garden ing 



ited extent, exhibit a highly graceful or picturesque epitome 
of natural beauty. Landscape Gardening differs from gar- 
dening in its common sense, in embracing the whole scene 
immediately about a country house, which it softens and 
refines, or renders more spirited and striking by the aid of 
art. In it we seek to embody our ideal of a rural home; 
not through plots of fruit trees, and beds of choice flowers, 
though these have their place, but by collecting and combin- 
ing beautiful forms in trees, surfaces of ground, buildings, 
and walks, in the landscape surrounding us. It is, in short, 
the beautiful, embodied in a home scene. And we attain 
it by the removal or concealment of everything uncouth 
and discordant, and by the introduction and preservation of 
forms pleasing in their expression, their outlines, and their 
fitness for the abode of man. In the orchard, we hope to 
gratify the palate; in the flower garden, the eye and the 
smell; but in the landscape garden we appeal to that sense 
of the beautiful and the perfect, which is one of the highest 
attributes of our nature. 

This embellishment of nature, which we call Landscape 
Gardening, springs naturally from a love of country life, 
an attachment to a certain spot, and a desire to render 
that place attractive - - a feeling which seems more or less 
strongly fixed in the minds of all men. But we should 
convey a false impression, were we to state that it may be 
applied with equal success to residences of every class and 
size, in the country. Lawn and trees, being its two essen- 
tial elements, some of the beauties of Landscape Gardening 
may, indeed, be shown wherever a rood of grass surface 
and half a dozen trees are within our reach; we may, even 
with such scanty space, have tasteful grouping, varied sur- 
face, and agreeably curved walks; but our art, to appear 
to advantage, requires some extent of surface - - its lines 
should lose themselves indefinitely, and unite agreeably and 
gradually with those of the surrounding country. 

In the case of large landed estates, its capabilities may 
be displayed to their full extent, as from fifty to five hun- 
dred acres may be devoted to a park or pleasure grounds. 



Historical Sketches .'> 



Most of its beauty, and all its charms, may, however, be 
enjoyed in ten or twenty acres, fortunately situated, and 
well treated; and Landscape Gardening, in America, com- 
bined and working in harmony as it is with our fine scenery, 
is already beginning to give us results scarcely less beau- 
tiful than those produced by its finest efforts abroad. The 
lovely villa residences of our noble river and lake margins, 
when well treated - - even in a few acres of tasteful fore- 
ground, -- seem so entirely to appropriate the whole adja- 
cent landscape, and to mingle so sweetly in their outlines 
with the woods, the valleys, and shores around them, that 
the effects are often truly enchanting. 

But if Landscape Gardening, in its proper sense, cannot 
be applied to the embellishment of the smallest cottage 
residences in the country, its principles may be studied 
with advantage, even by him who has only three trees to 
plant for ornament; and we hope no one \vill think his 
grounds too small, to feel willing to add something to the 
general amount of beauty in the country. If the possessor 
of the cottage acre would embellish in accordance with 
propriety, he must not, as we have sometimes seen, render 
the whole ridiculous by aiming at ambitious and costly em- 
bellishments; but he will rather seek to delight us by the 
good taste evinced in the tasteful simplicity of the whole 
arrangement. And if the proprietors of our country villas, 
in their improvements, are more likely to run into any one 
error than another, we fear it will be that of too great a 
desire for display - - too many vases, temples, and seats, - 
and too little purity and simplicity of general effect. 

The inquiring reader will perhaps be glad to have a 
glance at the history and progress of the art of tasteful 
gardening; a recurrence to which, as w^ell as to the history 
of the fine arts, will afford abundant proof that, in the first 
stage or infancy of all these arts, while the perception of 
their ultimate capabilities is yet crude and imperfect, man- 
kind has, in every instance, been completely satisfied with 
the mere exhibition of design or art. Thus in sculpture the 
first statues were only attempts to imitate rudely the form 



Landscape (iarden ing 



of a human figure, or in painting, to represent that of a 
tree: the skill of the artist, in effecting an imitation suc- 
cessfully, being sufficient to excite the astonishment and 
admiration of those who had not yet made such advances as to 
enable them to appreciate the superior beauty of expression. 

Landscape Gardening is, indeed, only a modern word, 
first coined, we believe, by Shenstone. 

The most distinguished English landscape gardeners of 
recent date, are the late Humphrey Repton, who died in 
1818; and since him John Claudius London * better known 
in this country, as the celebrated gardening author. Rep- 
ton's taste in Landscape Gardening was cultivated and 
elegant, and many of the finest parks and pleasure grounds 
of England, at the present day, bear witness to the skill and 
harmony of his designs. His published works are full of 
instructive hints, and at Cobham Hall, one of the finest 
seats in Britain, is an inscription to his memory, by Lord 
Darnley. 

Mr. London's writings and labors in tasteful gardening, 
are too well known, to render it necessary that we should 
do more than allude to them here. Much of what is known 
of the art in this country undoubtedly is, more or less 
directly, to be referred to the influence of his published 
works. Although he is, as it seems to us, somewhat defi- 
cient as an artist in imagination, no previous author ever 
deduced, so clearly, sound artistical principles in Landscape 
Gardening and Rural Architecture; and fitness, good sense, 
and beauty, are combined with much unity of feeling in all 
his works. 

* Replon was easily the greatest landscape gardener of his day. He 
carried out extensive works in England and his writings on the subject 
were fresh, vigorous and permanently valuable. Of these there were 
various editions, one of the best under the title of "Landscape Garden- 
ing," having been edited by .1. C. Loudon in 1840. An abridged edition 
has been more recently published in America, edited by Mr. John Nolen. 
("The Art of Landscape Gardening," Boston, 1908.) The cyclopedic 
works of Loudon had some vogue in America in their day, but have long 
since been completely superseded by the indigenous literature of gar- 
dening. -- F. A. W. 



Historical Sketches 



As the modern style owes its origin mainly to the English, 
so it has also been developed and carried to its greatest 
perfection in the British Islands. The law of primogeni- 
ture, which has there so long existed, in itself, contributes 
greatly to the continual improvement and embellishment 




FIG. 1. GARDEN STAIRWAY 

of those vast landed estates, that remain perpetually in the 
hands of the same family. Magnificent buildings, added 
to by each succeeding generation, who often preserve also 
the older portions with the most scrupulous care; wide 
spread parks, clothed with a thick velvet turf, which, amid 
their moist atmosphere, preserves during great part of the 
year an emerald greenness -- studded with noble oaks and 
other forest trees which number centuries of growth and 
maturity; these advantages, in the hands of the most in- 



6 Landscape Gardening 

telligent and the wealthiest aristocracy in the world, have 
indeed made almost an entire landscape garden of " merry 
England." Among a multitude of splendid examples of 
these noble residences, we will only refer the reader to the 
celebrated Blenheim, the seat of the Duke of Marlborough, 
where the lake alone (probably the largest piece of artificial 
water in the world) covers a surface of two hundred acres: 
Chatsworth, the varied and magnificent seat of the Duke 
of Devonshire, where there are scenes illustrative of almost 
every style of the art: and Woburn Abbey, the grounds 
of which are full of the choicest specimens of trees and 
plants, and where the park, like that of Ashbridge, Arundel 
Castle, and several other private residences in England, is only 
embraced within a circumference of from ten to twenty miles. 

On the continent of Europe, though there are a multi- 
tude of examples of the modern style of landscape garden- 
ing, which is there called the English or natural style, yet 
in the neighborhood of many of the capitals, especially 
those of the south of Europe, the taste for the geometric or 
ancient style of gardening still prevails to a considerable 
extent; partially, no doubt, because that style admits, 
with more facility, of those classical and architectural 
accompaniments of vases, statues, busts, etc., the passion for 
which pervades a people rich in ancient and modern sculp- 
tural w r orks of art. Indeed many of the gardens on the con- 
tinent are more striking from their numerous sculpturesque 
ornaments, interspersed with fountains and jets-d'eau, than 
from the beauty or rarity of their vegetation, or from their 
arrangement. 

In the United States, it is highly improbable that we 
shall ever witness such splendid examples of landscape 
gardens as those abroad, to which we have alluded.* Here 
the rights of man are held to be equal; and if there are no 
enormous parks, and no class of men whose wealth is hered- 

* Now, in 1921, one is strongly inclined to doubt Mr. Do\vnini's pro- 
diction. It seems quite possible thai America may soon show, if she does 
not already possess, many of the finest examples of landscape gardening 
in the world, both public and private. -- F. A. W. 



11 istorica I Sketches 



itary, there is, at least, what is more gratifying to the 
feelings of the philanthropist, the almost entire absence of 
a very poor class in the country; while we have, on the 
other hand, a large class of independent landholders, who 
are able to assemble around them, not only the useful and 
convenient, but the agreeable and beautiful, in country life. 

The number of individuals among us who possess wealth 
and refinement sufficient to enable them to enjoy the 
pleasures of a country life, and who desire in their private 
residences so much of the beauties of landscape gardening 
and rural embellishment as may be had without any enor- 
mous expenditure of means, is every day increasing. And 
although, until lately, a very meagre plan of laying out the 
grounds of a residence, was all that we could lay claim to, 
yet the taste for elegant rural improvements is advancing 
now so rapidly, that we have no hesitation in predicting 
that in half a century more, there will exist a greater num- 
ber of beautiful villas and country seats of moderate extent, 
in the Atlantic States, than in any country in Europe, 
England alone excepted. With us, a feeling, a taste, or an 
improvement, is contagious; and once fairly appreciated and 
established in one portion of the country, it is disseminated 
with a celerity that is indeed wonderful, to every other 
portion. And though it is necessarily the case where ama- 
teurs of any art are more numerous than its professors, 
that there will be, in devising and carrying plans into exe- 
cution, many specimens of bad taste, and perhaps a suffi- 
cient number of efforts to improve without any real taste 
whatever, still we are convinced the effect of our rural 
embellishments * will in the end be highly agreeable, as a 

: It may be observed that Mr. Downing speaks constantly of "em- 
bellishments." The modern Landscape Gardener abhors this word, as 
all phrases referring to "ornamental" treatment. This is because the 
modern professional Landscape Gardener thinks of his art as something 
fundamental, radical, as dealing with the most elemental facts of struc- 
ture, rather than as concerned with any superficial "embellishment." 
This change of feeling marks a distinct professional advance, though, 
unfortunately, the lay public still thinks of Landscape Gardening as 
mainly an incidental ornamental afterthought a sort of horticultural 
camouflage to gross utilities. -- F. A. \V. 



8 Landscape Gardening 

false taste is not likely to be a permanent one in a commu- 
nity where everything is so much the subject of criticism. 

\Yilh regard to the literature and practice of Landscape 
Gardening as an art, in North America, almost everything 
is yet before us, comparatively little having yet been done. 
Almost all the improvements of the grounds of our finest 
country residences, have been carried on under the direc- 
tion of the proprietors themselves, suggested by their own 
good taste, in many instances improved by the study of 
European authors, or by a personal inspection of the finest 
places abroad. The only American work previously pub- 
lished which treats directly of Landscape Gardening, is 
the American Gardener's Calendar, by Bernard McMahon 
of Philadelphia. The only practitioner of the art, of any 
note, was the late M. Parmentier of Brooklyn, Long Island.* 

M. Andre Parmentier was the brother of that celebrated 
horticulturist, the Chevalier Parmentier, Mayor of Enghien, 
Holland. He emigrated to this country about the year 
1824, and in the Horticultural Nurseries which he estab- 
lished at Brooklyn, he gave a specimen of the natural style 
of laying out grounds, combined with a scientific arrange- 
ment of plants, which excited public curiosity, and con- 
tributed not a little to the dissemination of a taste for the 
natural mode of landscape gardening. 

During M. Parmentier's residence on Long Island, he was 
almost constantly applied to for plans for laying out the 
grounds of country seats, by persons in various parts of 
the Union, as well as in the immediate proximity of New 
York. In many cases he not only surveyed the demesne 
to be improved, but furnished the plants and trees neces- 
sary to carry out his designs. Several plans were prepared 
by him for residences of note in the Southern States; and 
two or three places in Upper Canada, especially near Mont- 
real, were, we believe, laid out by his own hands and 
stocked from his nursery grounds. In his periodical cata- 
logue, he arranged the hardy trees and shrubs that flourish 

* These statements are obviously out of dale in I'.t'Jl, l>ul arc inter- 
esting historically as showing what sort of a country Mr. Downing found 
himself in in 1811. 



Historical Sketches 9 



in this latitude in classes, according to their height, etc., 
and published a short treatise on the superior claims of the 
natural, over the formal or geometric style of laying out 
grounds. In short, we consider AI. Parmentier's labors and 
examples as having effected, directly, far more for land- 
scape gardening in America, than those of any other indi- 
vidual whatever. 

The introduction of tasteful gardening in this country is, 
of course, of a very recent date. But so long ago as from 
25 to 50 years, there were several country residences highly 
remarkable for extent, elegance of arrangement, and the 
highest order and keeping. Among these, we desire espe- 
cially to record here the celebrated seats of Chancellor 
Livingston, Wm. Hamilton, Esq., Theodore Lyman, Esq., 
and Judge Peters. 

Woodlands, the seat of the Hamilton family, near Phila- 
delphia, was, so long ago as 1805, highly celebrated for its 
gardening beauties. The refined taste and the wealth of 
its accomplished owner, were freely lavished in its improve- 
ment and embellishment; and at a time when the introduc- 
tion of rare exotics was attended with a vast deal of risk and 
trouble, the extensive green-houses and orangeries of this 
seat contained all the richest treasures of the exotic flora, 
and among other excellent gardeners employed, was the 
distinguished botanist Pursh, whose enthusiastic taste in 
his favorite science was promoted and aided by Mr. Ham- 
ilton. The extensive pleasure grounds were judiciously 
planted, singly and in groups, with a great variety of the 
finest species of trees. The attention of the visitor to this 
place is now arrested by two very large specimens of that 
curious tree, the Japanese Ginko (Salisburia), 60 or 70 feet 
high, perhaps the finest in Europe or America, by the noble 
magnolias, and the rich park-like appearance of some of 
the plantations of the finest native and foreign oaks. From 
the recent unhealthiness of this portion of the Schuylkill, 
Woodlands has fallen into decay, but there can be no 
question that it was, for a long time, the most tasteful and 
beautiful residence in America. 



10 Landscape Gardening 

The seat of the late Judge Peters, about five miles from 
Philadelphia, was, 30 years ago, a noted specimen of the 
ancient school of landscape gardening, Its proprietor had 
a most extended reputation as a scientific agriculturist, and 
his place was also no less remarkable for the design and 
culture of its pleasure-grounds, than for the excellence of 
its farm. Long and stately avenues, with vistas terminated 
by obelisks, a garden adorned with marble vases, busts, 
and statues, and pleasure grounds filled with the rarest 
trees and shrubs, were conspicuous features here. Some of 
the latter are now so remarkable as to attract strongly the 
attention of the visitor. Among them, is the chestnut 
planted by Washington, which produces the largest and 
finest fruit; very large hollies; and a curious old box-tree 
much higher than the mansion near which it stands. But 
the most striking feature now, is the still remaining grand 
old avenue of hemlocks. Many of these trees, which were 
planted 100 years ago, are now venerable specimens, ninety 
feet high, whose huge trunks and wide spread branches are 
in many cases densely wreathed and draped with masses of 
English Ivy, forming the most picturesque sylvan objects 
we ever beheld. 

Lemon Hill, half a mile above the Fairmount water-works 
of Philadelphia, was, 20 years ago, the most perfect speci- 
men of the geometric mode in America, and since its de- 
struction by the extension of the city, a few years since, 
there is nothing comparable with it, in that style, among 
us. All the symmetry, uniformity, and high art of the old 
school, were displayed here in artificial plantations, formal 
gardens with trellises, grottoes, spring-houses, temples, stat- 
ues, and vases, with numerous ponds of water, jets-d'eau, 
and other water-works, parterres and an extensive range of 
hot-houses. The effect of this garden was brilliant and 
striking; its position, on the lovely banks of the Schuyl- 
kill, admirable; and its liberal proprietor, Mr. Pratt, by 
opening it freely to the public, greatly increased the popular 
taste in the neighborhood of that city. 

On the Hudson, the show place of the last age was the 



Historical Sketches 1 1 



still interesting Clermont, then the residence of Chancellor 
Livingston. Its level or gently undulating lawn, four or 
five miles in length, the rich native woods, and the long 
vistas of planted avenues, added to its fine water view, 
rendered this a noble place. The mansion, the green- 
houses, and the gardens, show something of the French 
taste in design, which Mr. Livingston's residence abroad, 
at the time when that mode was popular, no doubt, led 
him to adopt. The finest yellow locusts in America are 
now standing in the pleasure-grounds here, and the gardens 
contain many specimens of fruit trees, the first of their 
sorts introduced into the Union. 

Waltham House, about nine miles from Boston, was, 25 
years ago, one of the oldest and finest places, as regards 
Landscape Gardening. Its owner, the late Hon. T. Lyman, 
was a highly-accomplished man, and the grounds at Wal- 
tham House bear witness to a refined and elegant taste in 
rural improvement. A fine level park, a mile in length, 
enriched with groups of English limes, elms, and oaks, and 
rich masses of native wood, watered by a fine stream and 
stocked with deer, were the leading features of the place 
at that time; and this, and Woodlands, were the two best 
specimens of the modern style, as Judge Peters' seat, Lemon 
Hill, and Clermont, were of the ancient style, in the 
earliest period of the history of Landscape Gardening 
among us. 

There is no part of the Union where the taste in Land- 
scape Gardening is so far advanced, as on the middle por- 
tion of the Hudson. The natural scenery is of the finest 
character, and places but a mile or two apart often possess, 
from the constantly varying forms of the water, shores, and 
distant hills, widely different kinds of home landscape and 
distant view. Standing in the grounds of some of the 
finest of these seats, the eye beholds only the soft fore- 
ground of smooth lawn, the rich groups of trees shutting 
out all neighboring tracts, the lake-like expanse of water, 
and, closing the distance, a fine range of wooded mountain. 
A residence here of but a hundred acres, so fortunately are 



12 Landscape Gardening 

these disposed by nature, seems to appropriate the whole 
scenery round, and to be a thousand in extent. 

At the present time, our handsome villa residences are 
becoming every day more numerous, and it would require 
much more space than our present limits, to enumerate 
all the tasteful rural country places within our knowledge, 
many of which have been newly laid out, or greatly im- 
proved within a few years. But we consider it so important 
and instructive to the novice in the art of Landscape Gar- 
dening to examine, personally, country seats of a highly 
tasteful character, that we shall venture to refer the reader 
to a few of those which have now a reputation among us 
as elegant country residences. 

Hyde Park, on the Hudson, formerly the seat of the late 
Dr. Hosack, now of W. Langdon, Esq., has been justly 
celebrated as one of the finest specimens of the modern 
style of Landscape Gardening in America. Nature has, 
indeed, done much for this place, as the grounds are finely 
varied, beautifully watered by a lively stream, and the 
views are inexpressibly striking from the neighborhood of 
the house itself, including, as they do, the noble Hudson 
for sixty miles in its course, through rich valleys and bold 
mountains. But the efforts of art are not unworthy so 
rare a locality; and while the native woods, and beautifully 
undulating surface, are preserved in their original state, the 
pleasure-grounds, roads, walks, drives and new plantations, 
have been laid out in such a judicious manner as to heighten 
the charms of nature. Large and costly hot-houses were 
erected by Dr. Hosack, with also entrance lodges at two 
points on the estate, a fine bridge over the stream, and 
numerous pavilions and seats commanding extensive pros- 
pects; in short, nothing was spared to render this a com- 
plete residence. The park, which at one time contained 
some fine deer, afforded a delightful drive within itself, as 
the whole estate numbered about seven hundred acres. 
The plans for laying out the grounds were furnished by 
Parmentier, and architects from New York were employed 
in designing and erecting the buildings. For a long time, 



Historical Sketches r,"> 



this was the finest seat in America, but there are now many 
rivals to this claim. 

The Manor of Livingston, lately the seat of Mrs. Alary 
Livingston (but now of Jacob Le Roy, Esq.), is seven 
miles east of the city of Hudson. The mansion stands in 
the midst of a fine park, rising gradually from the level of 
a rich inland country, and commanding prospects for sixty 
miles around. The park is, perhaps, the most remarkable 
in America, for the noble simplicity of its character, and 
the perfect order in which it is kept. The turf is, every- 
where, short and velvet-like, the gravel-roads scrupulously 
firm and smooth, and near the house are the largest and 
most superb evergreens. The mansion is one of the chastest 
specimens of the Grecian style, and there is an air of great 
dignity about the whole demesne. 

Blithewood, formerly the seat of R. Donaldson, Esq., 
(now John Bard, Esq.), near Barrytown, on the Hudson, 
is one of the most charming villa residences in the Union. 
The natural scenery here, is nowhere surpassed in its en- 
chanting union of softness and dignity - - the river being 
four miles wide, its placid bosom broken only by islands 
and gleaming sails, and the horizon grandly closing in with 
the tall blue summits of the distant Kaatskills. The smil- 
ing, gently varied lawn is studded with groups and masses 
of fine forest and ornamental trees, beneath which are 
walks leading in easy curves to rustic seats, and summer 
houses placed in secluded spots, or to openings affording 
most lovely prospects. In various situations near the house 
and upon the lawn, sculptured vases of Maltese stone arc- 
also disposed in such a manner as to give a refined and 
classic air to the grounds. 

As a pendant to this graceful landscape, there is within 
the grounds scenery of an opposite character, equally wild 
and picturesque -- a fine, bold stream, fringed with woody 
banks, and dashing over several rocky cascades, thirty or 
forty feet in height, and falling altogether a hundred IVrt 
in a distance of half a mile. There are also, within the 
grounds, a pretty gardener's lodge, in the rural cottage 




u 

t/5 
t/2 

H 
X 
O 

D 

Q 

cf 
o 
o 

a 
a 

H 
J 

CQ 
H 



O 

& 

O 



a 

H 



o 

I 



(M 

6 

- 



(14) 



Historical Sketches 15 



style, and a new entrance lodge by the gate, in the bracketed 
mode; in short, we can recall no place of moderate extent, 
where nature and tasteful art are both so harmoniously 
combined to express grace and elegance. 

Montgomery Place, the residence of Mrs. Edward Living- 
ston, which is also situated on the Hudson, near Barry- 
town, deserves a more extended notice than our present 
limits allow, for it is, as a whole, nowhere surpassed in 
America, in point of location, natural beauty, or the land- 
scape gardening charms which it exhibits. 

It is one of our oldest improved country seats, having 
been originally the residence of Gen. Montgomery, the hero 
of Quebec. On the death of his widow it passed into the 
hands of her brother, Edward Livingston, Esq., the late 
minister to France, and up to the present moment has 
always received the most tasteful and judicious treatment. 

The lover of the expressive in nature, or the beautiful in 
art, will find here innumerable subjects for this study. The 
natural scenery in many portions approaches the character 
of grandeur, and the foreground of rich woods and lawns, 
stretching out on all sides of the mountain, completes a 
home landscape of dignified and elegant seclusion, rarely 
surpassed in any country. 

Among the fine features of this estate are the ' ' Wilder- 
ness," a richly wooded and highly picturesque valley, filled 
with the richest growth of trees, and threaded with dark, 
intricate, and mazy walks, along which are placed a variety 
of rustic seats. This valley is musical with the sound of 
waterfalls, of which there are several fine ones in the bold 
impetuous stream which finds its course through the lower 
part of the wilderness. Near the further end of the valley 
is a beautiful lake, half of which lies cool and dark under 
the shadow of tall trees, while the other half gleams in the 
open sunlight. 

In a part of the lawn, near the house, yet so surrounded 
by a dark setting of trees and shrubs as to form a rich 
picture by itself, is one of the most perfect flower gardens 
in the country, laid out in the arabesque manner, and glow- 



16 Landscape Gardening 

ing with masses of the gayest colors - - each bed being com- 
posed wholly of a single hue. A large conservatory, an 
exotic garden, an arboretum, etc., are among the features 
of interest in this admirable residence. Including a drive 
through a fine bit of natural wood, south of the mansion, 
there are live miles of highly varied and picturesque private 
roads and walks, through the pleasure-grounds of Mont- 
gomery Place. 

Ellerslie is the seat of William Kelly, Esq.* It is three 
miles below Rhinebeck. It comprises over six hundred 
acres, and is one of our finest examples of high keeping 
and good management, both in an ornamental and an 
agricultural point of view. The house is conspicuously 
placed on a commanding natural terrace, with a fair fore- 
ground of park surface below it, studded with beautiful 
groups of elms and oaks, and a very fine reach of river and 
distant hills. This is one of the most celebrated places on 
the Hudson, and there are few that so well pay the lover 
of improved landscape for a visit. 

Just below Ellerslie are the fine mansion and pleasing 
grounds of Wm. Emmet, Esq., - - the former a stone edifice, 
in the castellated style, and the latter forming a most 
agreeable point on the margin of the river. 

The seat of Mrs. Gardiner Rowland, near New Ham- 
burgh, is not only beautiful in situation, but is laid out 
with great care, and is especially remarkable for the many 
rare trees and shrubs collected in its grounds. 

\Vodenelhe, near Fishkill landing, is the seat of II. W. 
Sargent, Esq., and is a bijou full of interest for the lover of 
rural beauty; abounding in rare trees, shrubs, and plants, 
as well as vases, and objects of rural embellishment of all 
kinds. 

Kenwood, formerly the residence of J. Rathbone, Esq., 
is one mile south of Albany. Ten years ago this spot was a 
wild and densely wooded hill, almost inaccessible. With 
great taste and industry Mr. Rathbone has converted it 
into a country residence of much picturesque beauty, erected 

More recently the home of the laic Levi P. Morton. 



Historical Sketches 17 



in the Tudor style, one of the best villas in the country, 
with a gate-lodge in the same mode, and laid out the 
grounds with remarkable skill and good taste. There are 
about 1200 acres in this estate, and pleasure grounds, forcing 
houses, and gardens, are now flourishing where all was so 
lately in the rudest state of nature; while, by the judicious 
preservation of natural wood, the effect of a long cultivated 
demesne has been given to the whole. 

The Manor House of the " Patroon " (as the eldest son of 
the Van Rensselaer family is called) is in the northern 
suburbs of the city of Albany. The mansion, greatly en- 
larged and improved a few years since, from the designs 
of Upjohn, is one of the largest and most admirable in all 
respects, to be found in the country, and the pleasure- 
grounds in the rear of the house are tasteful and beautiful. 

Beaverwyck, a little north of Albany, on the opposite 
bank of the river, was formerly the seat of Wm. P. Van 
Rensselaer, Esq. The whole estate is ten or twelve miles 
square, including the village of Bath on the river shore, 
and a large farming district. The home residence em- 
braces several hundred acres, with a large level lawn, bor- 
dered by highly varied surface of hill and dale. The man- 
sion, one of the first class, is newly erected from the plans 
of Mr. Diaper, and in its interior - - its hall with mosaic 
floor of polished woods, its marble staircase, frescoed apart- 
ments, and spacious adjoining conservatory- -is perhaps 
the most splendid in the Union. The grounds are yet 
newly laid out, but with much judgment; and six or seven 
miles of winding gravelled roads and walks have been 
formed - - their boundaries now leading over level meadows, 
and now winding through woody dells. The drives thus 
afforded, are almost unrivalled in extent and variety, and 
give the stranger or guest, an opportunity of seeing the near 
and distant views to the best advantage. 

At Tarrytown, is the cottage residence of Washington 
Irving, which is, in location and accessories, almost the 
beau ideal of a cottage ornee. The charming manner in 
which the wild foot-paths, in the neighborhood of this cot- 



18 Landscape Gardening 

tage, are conducted among the picturesque dells and banks, 
is precisely what one would look for here. A little below, 
Mr. Sheldon's cottage (now Mr. Hoag's), with its pretty 
lawn and its charming brook, is one of the best specimens 
of this kind of residence on the river. At Hastings, four 
or five miles south, is the agreeable seat of Robt. B. Min- 
lurn, Esq. 

About twelve miles from New York, on the Sound, is 
Hunter's Island, the seat of John Hunter, Esq., a place of 
much simplicity and dignity of character. The whole island 
may be considered an extensive park carpeted with soft 
lawn, and studded with noble trees. The mansion is simple 
in its exterior, but internally, is filled with rich treasures of 
art. The seat of James Munroe, Esq., on the East river 
in this neighborhood, abounds with beautiful trees, and 
many other features of interest. 

The Cottage residence of William H. Aspinwall, Esq., on 
Staten Island, is a highly picturesque specimen of Land- 
scape Gardening. The house is in the English cottage 
style, and from its open lawn in front, the eye takes in a 
wide view of the ocean, the Narrows, and the blue hills of 
Neversink. In the rear of the cottage, the surface is much 
broken and varied, and finely wooded and planted. In 
improving this picturesque site, a nice sense of the charm 
of natural expression has been evinced; and the sudden 
variations from smooth open surface, to wild wooden banks, 
with rocky, moss-covered flights of steps, strike the stranger 
equally with surprise and delight. A charming greenhouse, 
a knotted flower-garden, and a pretty, rustic moss-house, 
are among the interesting points of this spirited place. 

The seat of the Wadsworth family, at Geneseo, is the 
finest in the interior of the state of New York. Nothing, 
indeed, can well be more magnificent than the meadow park 
at Geneseo. It is more than a thousand acres in extent, 
lying on each side of the Genesee river, and is filled with 
thousands of the noblest oaks and elms, many of which, 
but more especially the oaks, are such trees as we see in the 
pictures of Claude, or our own Durand; richly developed, 



Historical Sketches 19 



their trunks and branches grand and majestic, their heads 
full of breadth and grandeur of outline. 

These oaks, distributed over a nearly level surface, with 
the trees disposed either singly or in the finest groups, as 
if most tastefully planted centuries ago, are solely the work 
of nature; and yet so entirely is the whole like the grandest 
planted park, that it is difficult to believe that all is not the 
work of some master of art, and intended for the accom- 
paniment of a magnificent residence. Some of the trees 
are five or six hundred years old. 

In Connecticut, Monte Video, the seat of Daniel Wads- 
worth, Esq., near Hartford, is worthy of commendation, as 
it evinces a good deal of beauty in its grounds, and is one 
of the most tasteful in the state. The residence of James 
Hillhouse, Esq., near New Haven, is a pleasing specimen 
of the simplest kind of Landscape Gardening, where grace- 
ful forms of trees, and a gently sloping surface of grass, are 
the principal features. The villa of Mr. Whitney near New 
Haven, is one of the most tastefully managed in the state. 
In Maine, the most remarkable seat, as respects landscape 
gardening and architecture, is that of Mr. Gardiner, of 
Gardiner. 

The environs of Boston are more highly cultivated than 
those of any other city in North America. There are here 
whole rural neighborhoods of pretty cottages and villas, 
admirably cultivated, and, in many cases, tastefully laid out 
and planted. The character of even the finest of these 
places, is perhaps, somewhat suburban, as compared with 
those of the Hudson river, but we regard them as furnish- 
ing admirable hints for a class of residence likely to become 
more numerous than any other in this country - - the taste- 
ful suburban cottage. The owner of a small cottage resi- 
dence may have almost every kind of beauty and enjoy- 
ment in his grounds that the largest estate will afford, so 
far as regards the interest of trees and plants, tasteful 
arrangement, recreation, and occupation. Indeed, \\e have 
little doubt that he, who directs personally the curve of 
every walk, selects and plants every shrub and tree, and 



20 



Landscape (Burdening 



watches with solicitude every evidence of beauty and prog- 
ress, succeeds in extracting from his tasteful grounds of 
half a dozen acres, a more intense degree of pleasure, than 
one who is only able to direct and enjoy, in a general sense, 
the arrangement of a vast estate. 







FIG. 3. Tin-; HOME OF MR. DOWNING AT NEWBURGH, N. Y. 

Bdmont, the seat of J. P. Gushing, Esq., is a residence of 
more note than any other near Boston; but this is, chiefly, 
on account of the extensive ranges of glass, the forced 
fruits, and the high culture of the gardens. A new and 
spacious mansion has recently been erected here, and the 
pleasure-grounds arc agreeably varied with fine groups and 
masses of trees and shrubs on a pleasing lawn. 



Historical Sketches 21 



The seat of Col. Perkins, at Brooklinc, is one of the most 
interesting in this neighborhood. The very beautiful lawn 
here, abounds with exquisite trees, finely disposed; among 
them, some larches and Norway firs, with many other rare 
trees of uncommon beauty of form. At a short distance is 
the villa residence of Theodore Lyman, Esq., remarkable 
for the unusually fine avenue of Elms leading to the house, 
and for the beautiful architectural taste displayed in the 
dwelling itself. The seat of the Hon. John Lowell, at 
Roxbury, possesses also many interesting gardening fea- 
tures.* 

Pine Bank, the Perkins estate, on the border of Jamaica 
lake, is one of the most beautiful residences near Boston. 
The natural surface of the ground is exceedingly flowing 
and graceful, and it is varied by two or three singular little 
" dimples," or hollows, w T hich add to its effect. The perfect 
order of the grounds; the beauty of the walks, sometimes 
skirting the smooth open lawn, enriched with rare plants 

* We Americans are proverbially impatient of delay, and a few years 
in prospect appear an endless futurity. So much is this feeling with 
many, that we verily believe there are hundreds of our country places, 
which owe their bareness and destitution of foliage to the idea, so common, 
that it requires "an age" for forest trees to "grow up." The middle- 
aged man hesitates about the good of planting what he imagines he shall 
never see arriving at maturity, and even many who are younger, con- 
ceive that it requires more than an ordinary lifetime to rear a fine wood 
of planted trees. About two years since, we had the pleasure of visiting 
the seat of the late Mr. Lowell, whom we found in a green old age, still 
enjoying, with the enthusiasm of youth, the pleasures of Horticulture and 
a country life. For the encouragement of those who are ever complain- 
ing of the tardy pace with which the growth of trees advances, we will 
here record that we accompanied Mr. L. through a belt of fine woods 
(skirting part of his residence), nearly half a mile in length, consisting of 
almost all our finer hardy trees, many of them apparently full grown, the 
whole of which had been planted by him when he was thirty-two years 
old. At that time, a solitary elm or two were almost the only trees upon 
his estate. We can hardly conceive a more rational source of pride or 
enjoyment, than to be able thus to walk, in the decline of years, beneath 
the shadow of umbrageous woods and groves, planted by our own hands, 
and whose growth has become almost identified with our own progress 
and existence. A. J. D. 



22 Landscape Gardening 

and shrubs, and then winding by the shadowy banks of the 
water; the soft and quiet character of the lake itself, - 
its margin richly fringed with trees, which conceal here and 
there a pretty cottage, its firm clean beach of gravel, and 
its water of crystal purity; all these features make this 
place a little gem of natural and artistical harmony, and 
beauty. Mr. Perkins has just rebuilt the house, in the 
style of a French maison de campagne; and Pine Bank is 
now adorned with a most complete residence in the latest 
continental taste, from the designs of M. Lemoulnier.* 

On the other side of the lake is the cottage of Thomas 
Lee, Esq. Enthusiastically fond of botany, and gardening 
in all its departments, Mr. Lee has here formed a residence 
of as much variety and interest as we ever saw in so mod- 
erate a compass - - about 20 acres. It is, indeed, not only 
a most instructive place to the amateur of landscape gard- 
ening, but to the naturalist and lover of plants. Every 
shrub seems placed precisely in the soil and aspect it likes 
best, and native and foreign Rhododendrons, Kalmias, and 
other rare shrubs, are seen here in the finest condition. 
There is a great deal of variety in the surface here, and 
while the lawn-front of the house has a polished and grace- 
ful air, one or two other portions are quite picturesque. 
Near the entrance gate is an English oak, only fourteen 
years planted, now forty feet high. 

The whole of this neighborhood of Brookline is a kind of 
landscape garden, and there is nothing in America, of the 
sort, so inexpressibly charming as the lanes which lead from 
one cottage, or villa, to another. No animals are allowed 
to run at large, and the open gates, with tempting vistas 
and glimpses under the pendent boughs, give it quite an 
Arcadian air of rural freedom and enjoyment. These lanes 
are clothed with a profusion of trees and wild shrubbery, 
often almost to the carriage tracks, and curve and wind 
about, in a manner quite bewildering to the stranger who 
attempts to thread them alone; and there are more hints 

The beautiful grounds of Pine Bank are now a part of the Boston 
city park system. F. A. W. 



Historical Skclchrs 



here for the lover of the picturesque in lanes, than we ever 
saw assembled together in so small a compass. 

In the environs of New Bedford are many beautiful resi- 
dences. Among these, we desire particularly to notice the 
residence of James Arnold, Esq. There is scarcely a small 
place in New England, where the pleasure-grounds are so 
full of variety, and in such perfect order and keeping, as at 
this charming spot; and its winding walks, open bits of 
lawn, shrubs and plants grouped on turf, shady bowers, and 
rustic seats, all most agreeably combined, render this a 
very interesting and instructive suburban seat. 

In New Jersey, the grounds of the Count de Survilliers, 
at Bordentown, were very extensive; and although the sur- 
face is mostly flat, it has been well varied by extensive 
plantations. At Mount Holly, about twenty miles from 
Camden, is Mr. Dunn's unique, semi-oriental cottage, with 
a considerable extent of pleasure ground, newly planted, 
after the designs of Mr. Notman. 

About Philadelphia there are several very interesting 
seats on the banks of the Delaware and Schuylkill, and the 
district between these two rivers. 

The country seat of George Sheaff, Esq., one of the most 
remarkable in Pennsylvania, in many respects, is twelve 
miles north of Philadelphia. The house is a large and 
respectable mansion of stone, surrounded by pleasure- 
grounds and plantations of fine evergreen and deciduous 
trees. The conspicuous ornament of the grounds, however, 
is a magnificent white oak, of enormous size, whose wide 
stretching branches, and grand head, give an air of dignity 
to the whole place. Among the sylvan features here, most 
interesting, are also the handsome evergreens, chiefly Balsam 
firs, some of which are now much higher than the mansion. 
These trees were planted by Mr. Sheaff twenty-two years 
ago, and were then so small, that they were brought by him 
from Philadelphia, at various times, in his carriage - - a cir- 
cumstance highly encouraging to despairing planters, when 
we reflect how comparatively slow growing is this trot 1 . 
This whole estate is a striking example of science, skill, and 



24 Landscape Gardening 

taste, applied to a country seat, arid there are few in the 
I'nion, taken as a whole, superior to it.* 

Collate residence of Mrs. Camac. This is one of the 
most agreeable places within a few miles of Philadelphia. 
The house is a picturesque cottage, in the rural gothic 
style, with very charming and appropriate pleasure-grounds, 
comprising many groups and masses of large and finely 
grown trees, interspersed with a handsome collection of 
shrubs and plants; the whole very tastefully arranged. 
The lawn is prettily varied in surface, and there is a con- 
servatory attached to the house, in which the plants in 
pots are hidden in beds of soft green moss, and which, in 
its whole effect and management, is more tasteful and ele- 
gant than any plant house, connected with a dwelling, that 
we remember to have seen. 

Stenton, near Germantown, four miles from Philadelphia, 
is a fine old place, with many picturesque features. The 
farm consists of 700 acres, almost without division fences - 
admirably managed - - and remarkable for its grand old 
avenue of the hemlock spruce, 110 years old, leading to a 
family cemetery of much sylvan beauty. There is a large 
and excellent old mansion, with paved halls, built in 1731, 
which is preserved in its original condition. This place 
was the seat of the celebrated Logan, the friend of William 
Penn, and is now o\vned by his descendant, Albanus Logan. 

The villa residence of Alexander Brown, Esq., is situated 

* The farm is 300 acres in extent, and, in the time of De Witt Clinton, 
was pronounced by him the model farm of the United States. At the 
I in-sent time we know nothing superior to it; and Capt. Barclay, in his 
agricultural tour, says it was the only instance of regular, scientific sys- 
tem of husbandry in the English manner, he saw in America. Indeed, the 
large and regular fields, filled with luxuriant crops, everywhere of an 
exact evenness of growth, and everywhere free from weeds of any sort; 
the perfect system of manuring and culture; the simple and complete 
fences; the fine stock; the very spacious barns, every season newly 
\\hile\vashed internally and externally, paved with wood, and as clean 
as a gentleman's stable (with stalls to fatten 90 head of cattle); these, 
and the masterly way in which the whole is managed, both as regards 
culture and profit, render this estate one of no common interest in an 
agricultural, as well as ornamental point of view. A. J. D. 



Historical Sketches 25 



on the Delaware, a few miles from Philadelphia. There- 
is here a good deal of beauty, in the natural style, made up 
chiefly by lawn and forest trees. A pleasing drive through 
plantations of 25 years' growth, is one of the most interest- 
ing features - - and there is much elegance and high keeping 
in the grounds. 

Below Philadelphia, the lover of beautiful places will find 
a' good deal to admire in the country seat of John R. Lalimer, 
Esq., near Wilmington, which enjoys the reputation of being 
the finest in Delaware. The place has all the advantages of 
high keeping, richly stocked gardens and conservatories, 
and much natural beauty, heightened by judicious planting, 
arrangement, and culture. 

At the south are many extensive country residences re- 
markable for trees of unusual grandeur and beauty, among 
which the live oak is very conspicuous; but they are, in 
general, wanting in that high keeping and care, which is so 
essential to the charm of a landscape garden. 

Of smaller villa residences, surburban chiefly, there are 
great numbers, springing up almost by magic, in the bor- 
ders of our towns and cities. Though the possessors of 
these can scarcely hope to introduce anything approaching 
to a landscape garden style, in laying out their limited 
grounds, still they may be greatly benefited by an acquaint- 
ance with the beauties and the pleasures of this species of 
rural embellishment. When we are once master of the 
principles, and aware of the capabilities of an art, we are 
able to infuse an expression of tasteful design, or an air of 
more correct elegance, even into the most humble works, 
and with very limited means.* 

While we shall endeavor, in the following pages, to give 
such a view of modern Landscape Gardening, as will enable 
the improver to proceed with his fascinating operations, in 

* This foregoing section has been preserved in the present edition 
mainly for historic reasons (which seems proper enough in a chapter 
entitled "Historical Sketches"), in order to show the background of 
Mr. Downing's work. To bring these sketches up to dale <>n tin- same 
lines would be both impossible and impracticable in 1U21. -- !". A. \Y. 



26 



Landscape Gardening 



embellishing the country residence, in a practical mode, 
based upon what are now generally received as the correct 
principles of the art, we would desire the novice, after 
ma king himself acquainted with all that can be acquired 
from written works within his reach, to strengthen his 
taste and add to his knowledge, by a practical inspection of 
the best country seats among us. In an infant state of 




FIG. 4. MAIN LAWN NEW JEKSEY STATE HOSPITAL, TRENTON. 
DESIGNED BY A. J. DOWNING 

society, in regard to the fine arts, much will be done in 
violation of good taste; but here, where nature has done 
so much for us, there is scarcely a large country residence 
in the Union, from which useful hints in Landscape Gar- 
dening may not be taken. And in nature, a group of trees, 
an accidental pond of water, or some equally simple object, 
may form a study more convincing to the mind of a true 
admirer of natural beauty, than the most carefully drawn 
plan, or the most elaborately written description. 



CHAPTER II 
BEAUTIES AND PRINCIPLES OF THE ART 

"Here Nature in her unaffected dresse, 
Plaited with vallies and imbost with hills, 
Enchast with silver streams, and fringed with woods 
Sits lovely." - 

CHAMBERLAYNE. 

"II est des soins plus doux, un art plus enchanteur. 
C'est peu de charmer Pceil, il faut parler au cceur. 
Avez-vous done connu ces rapports invisibles, 
Des corps inanimes et des etres sensibles? 
Avez-vous entendu des eaux, des pres, des bois, 
La muette eloquence et la secrete voix? 
Rendez-nous ces effets." Les Jardins, Book I. 

BEFORE we proceed to a detailed and more practical 
consideration of the subject, let us occupy ourselves 
for a moment with the consideration of the different 
results which are to be sought after, or, in other words, 
what kinds of beauty we may hope to produce by Land- 
scape Gardening. To attempt the smallest work in any 
art, without knowing either the capacities of that art, or 
the schools, or modes, by which it has previously been 
characterized, is but to be groping about in a dim twilight, 
without the power of knowing, even should we be successful 
in our efforts, the real excellence of our production; or of 
judging its merit, comparatively, as a work of taste and 
imagination. 

The beauties elicited by the ancient style of gardening 
were those of regularity, symmetry, and the display of 
labored art. These were attained in a merely mechanical 
manner, and usually involved little or no theory. The 
geometrical form and lines of the buildings were only ex- 
tended and carried out in the garden. In the best classical 

27 



28 Landscape Gardening 

models, the art of the sculptor conferred dignity and ele- 
gance on the garden, by the fine forms of marble vases and 
statues; in the more intricate and labored specimens of the 
Dutch school, prevalent in England in the time of William 
IV, the results evince a fertility of odd conceits, rather than 
the exercise of taste or imagination. Indeed, as, to level 
ground naturally uneven, or to make an avenue, by planting 
rows of trees on each side of a broad walk, requires only the 
simplest perception of the beauty of mathematical forms, 
so, to lay out a garden in the geometric style, became little 
more than a formal routine, and it was only after the superior 
interest of a more natural manner was enforced by men of 
genius, that natural beauty of expression was recognized, 
and Landscape Gardening was raised to the rank of a fine 
art.* 

The ancient style of gardening may, however, be intro- 
duced with good effect in certain cases. In public squares 
and gardens, where display, grandeur of effect, and a highly 
artificial character are desirable, it appears to us the most 
suitable; and no less so in very small gardens, in which 
variety and irregularity are out of the question. Where a 
taste for imitating an old and quaint style of residence 
exists, the symmetrical and knotted garden would be a 
proper accompaniment; and pleached alleys, and sheared 
trees, would be admired, like old armor or furniture, as 
curious specimens of antique taste and custom. 

The earliest professors of modern Landscape Gardening 
have generally agreed upon two variations, of which the 
art is capable - - variations no less certainly distinct, on the 
one hand, than they are capable of intermingling and com- 
bining, on the other. These are the beautiful and the pic- 

To most landscape architects of the present time, Mr. Downing'* 
remarks on the geometrical style will seem slighting. They arc much 
more liberal, however, than most of the discussions of that day. Early 
American thought, in particular, ran to partisan extremes in condemning 
the geometrical style, so lhal while Mr. Downing seems to have had 
little conception of its fundamental merits or practical possibilities, he 
had the good taste to spare his readers the usual venomous diatribes. - 
F. A. \V. 



Bcdiitics and Principles of the Ail 



29 



turesque: or, lo speak more definitely, the beauty Hiarac- 
terized by simple and flowing forms, and that expressed by 
striking, irregular, spirited forms. 




- 4 



" - ") 

' 



- . L 



,. 



FIG. 5. THE BEAUTIFUL AS ILLUSTRATED BY MR. DOWNING 

The admirer of nature, as well as the lover of pictures and 
engravings, will at once call to mind examples of scenery 
distinctly expressive of each of these kinds of beauty. In 
nature, perhaps some gently undulating plain, covered with 
emerald turf, partially or entirely encompassed by rich, 
rolling outlines of forest canopy, - - its wildest expanse here 
broken occasionally, by noble groups of round-headed trees, 
or there interspersed with single specimens whose trunks 
support heads of foliage flowing in outline, or drooping in 
masses to the very turf beneath them. In such a scene we 
often behold the azure of heaven, and its silvery clouds, as 
well as the deep verdure of the luxuriant and shadowy 
branches, reflected in the placid bosom of a sylvan lake; the 
shores of the latter swelling out, and receding, in 



30 Landscape Gardening 

curved lines; the banks, sometimes covered with soft turf 
sprinkled with flowers, and in other portions clothed with 
luxuriant masses of verdant shrubs. Here are all the ele- 
ments of what is termed natural beauty, - - or a landscape 
characterized by simple, easy, and flowing lines. 

For an example of the opposite character, let us take a 
stroll to the nearest woody glen in your neighborhood - 
perhaps a romantic valley, half shut in on two or more 
sides by steep rocky banks, partially concealed and over- 
hung by clustering vines, and tangled thickets of deep 
foliage. Against the sky outline breaks the wild and irreg- 
ular form of some old, half decayed tree near by, or the 
horizontal and unique branches of the larch or the pine, 
with their strongly marked forms. Rough and irregular 
stems and trunks, rocks half covered with mosses and 
flowering plants, open glades of bright verdure opposed to 
dark masses of bold shadowy foliage, form prominent objects 
in the foreground. If water enlivens the scene, we shall 
hear the murmur of the noisy brook, or the cool dashing 
of the cascade, as it leaps over the rocky barrier. Let the 
stream turn the ancient and well-worn wheel of the old 
mill in the middle ground, and we shall have an illustration 
of the picturesque, not the less striking from its familiarity 
to every one. 

To the lover of the fine arts, the name of Claude Lor- 
raine cannot fail to suggest examples of beauty in some of 
its purest and most simple forms. In the best pictures of 
this master we see portrayed those graceful and flowing 
forms in trees, foreground, and buildings, which delight so 
much the lover of noble and chaste beauty, - - compositions 
emanating from a harmonious soul, and inspired by a cli- 
mate and a richness of nature and art seldom surpassed. 

On the other hand, where shall we find all the elements 
of the picturesque more graphically combined than in the 
vigorous landscapes of Salvator Rosa! In those rugged 
scenes, even the lawless aspects of his favorite robbers and 
banditti are not more spirited, than the bold rocks and wild 
passes by which they are surrounded. And in the produc- 



Beauties and J'rinciph'* of the .1/7 



lions of his pencil we see the influence of a romantic and 
vigorous imagination, nursed amid scenes teeming with the 
grand as well as the picturesque - - both of which he em- 
bodies in the most striking manner. 




FIG. 6. THE PICTURESQUE AS ILLUSTRATED BY MR. DOWNING 

In giving these illustrations of b.eautiful and of pictur- 
esque scenes, we have not intended them to be understood 
in the light of exact models for imitation in Landscape 
Gardening - - only as striking examples of expression in 
natural scenery. Although in nature many landscapes par- 
take in a certain degree of both these kinds of expression, 
yet it is no doubt true that the effect is more satisfactory, 
where either the one or the other character predominates. 
The accomplished amateur should be able to seize at once 
upon the characteristics of these two species of beauty in 
all scenery. To assist the reader in this kind of discrimi- 
nation, we shall keep these expressions constantly in view, 
and we hope we shall be able fully to illustrate the difference 
in the expression of even single trees, in this respect. A 



,">12 L<(n<lscai>c hardening 

lew strongly marked objects, either picturesque or simply 
beautiful, will often confer their character upon a whole 
landscape; as the destruction of a single group of bold rocks, 
covered with wood, may render a scene, once picturesque, 
completely insipid. 

The early writers on the modern style were content with 
trees allowed to grow in their natural forms, and with an 
easy assemblage of sylvan scenery in the pleasure-grounds, 
which resembled the usual woodland features of nature. 
The effect of this method will always be interesting, and an 
agreeable impression will always be the result of following 
the simplest hints derived from the free and luxuriant forms 
of nature. No residence in the country can fail to be 
pleasing, whose features are natural groups of forest trees, 
smooth lawn, and hard gravel w r alks. 

But this is scarcely Landscape Gardening in the true 
sense of the word, although apparently so understood by 
many writers. By Landscape Gardening, we understand 
not only an imitation, in the grounds of a country residence, 
of the agreeable forms of nature, but an expressive, harmo- 
nious, and refined imitation. In Landscape Gardening, we 
should aim to separate the accidental and extraneous in 
nature, and to preserve only the spirit, or essence. This 
subtle essence lies, we believe, in the expression more or 
less pervading every attractive portion of nature. And it 
is by eliciting, preserving, or heightening this expression, 
that we may give our landscape gardens a higher charm, 
than even the polish of art can bestow. 

Now, the two most forcible and complete expressions to 
be found in that kind of natural scenery which may be 
reproduced in Landscape Gardening, are the Beautiful and 
the Picturesque. As we look upon these as quite distinct, 
and as success in practical embellishment must depend on 
our feeling and understanding these expressions before- 
hand, it is necessary that we should attach some definite 
meaning to terms which \ve shall be continually obliged 
to employ. This is, indeed, the more requisite, from the 
vague and conflicting opinions of most preceding writers on 



Beauties and I'rinciplcs of the Art 33 

this branch of the subject; some, like Hepton, insisting 
that they are identical; and others, like Price, that they 
are widely different. 

Gilpin defines Picturesque objects to be ' those which 
please from some quality capable of being illustrated in 
painting." 

Nothing can well be more vague than such a definition. 
We have already described the difference between the 
beautiful landscapes of Claude and the picturesque scenes 
painted by Salvator. No one can deny their being essen- 
tially distinct in character; and no one, we imagine, will 
deny that they both please from " some quality capable of 
being illustrated in painting." The beautiful female heads 
of Carlo Dolce are widely different from those of the pic- 
turesque peasant girls of Gerard Douw, yet both are fa- 
vorite subjects with artists. A symmetrical American elm, 
with its wide head drooping with garlands of graceful foli- 
age, is very different in expression from the wild and twisted 
larch or pine tree, which we find on the steep sides of a 
mountain; yet both are favorite subjects with the painter. 
It is clear, indeed, that there is a widely different idea 
hidden under these two distinct types, in material 
forms. 

Beauty, in all natural objects, as we conceive, arises from 
their expression of those attributes of the Creator - - in- 
finity, unity, symmetry, proportion, etc. - - which he has 
stamped more or less visibly on all his works; and a beau- 
tiful living form is one in which the individual is a harmo- 
nious and well balanced development of a fine type. Thus, 
taking the most perfect specimens of beauty in the human 
figure, we see in them symmetry, proportion, unity, and 
grace - - the presence of everything that could add to the 
idea of perfected existence. In a beautiful tree, such as a 
fine American elm, we see also the most complete and perfect 
balance of all its parts, resulting from its growth under the 
most favorable influences. It realizes, then, perfectly, the 
finest form of a fine type or species of tree. 

But all nature is not equally Beautiful. Both in living 



34 Landscape Gardening 

things and in inorganized matter, we see on all sides evi- 
dences of nature struggling with opposing forces. Moun- 
tains are upheaved by convulsions, valleys are broken into 
fearful chasms. Certain forms of animal and vegetable 
life instead of manifesting themselves in those more com- 
plete and perfect forms of existence where the matter and 
spirit are almost in perfect harmony, appear to struggle 
for the full expression of their character with the material 
form, and to express it only with difficulty at last. What 
is achieved with harmony, grace, dignity, almost with ap- 
parent repose, by existences whose type is the Beautiful, is 
done only with violence and disturbed action by the former. 
This kind of manifestation in nature we call the Pictur- 
esque. 

More concisely, the Beautiful is nature or art obeying the 
universal laws of perfect existence (i.e., Beauty), easily, 
freely, harmoniously, and without the display of power. 
The Picturesque is nature or art obeying the same laws 
rudely, violently, irregularly, and often displaying power 
only. 

Hence we find all Beautiful forms characterized by curved 
and llowing lines - - lines expressive of infinity, of grace, and 
willing obedience: and all Picturesque forms characterized 
by irregular and broken lines - - lines expressive of violence, 
abrupt action, and partial disobedience, a struggling of 
the idea with the substance or the condition of its being. 
The Beautiful is an idea of beauty calmly and harmoni- 
ously expressed; the Picturesque an idea of beauty or 
power strongly and irregularly expressed. As an example 
of the Beautiful in other arts we refer to the Apollo of the 
Vatican; as an example of the Picturesque, to the Laocoon 
or the Dying Gladiator. In nature we would place before 
the reader a finely formed elm or chestnut, whose well 
balanced head is supported on a trunk full of symmetry and 
dignity, and whose branches almost sweep the turf in their 
rich luxuriance; as a picturesque contrast, some pine or 
larch, whose gnarled roots grasp the rocky crag on which 
it grows, and whose wild and irregular branches tell of 



Beauties and Principles of the Arl '.'>'> 

the storm and tempest that it has so often struggled 
against.* 

In pictures, too, one often hears the Beautiful confounded 
with the Picturesque. Yet they are quite distinct; though 
in many subjects they may be found harmoniously com- 
bined. Some of Raphael's angels may be taken as perfect 
illustrations of the Beautiful. In their serene and heavenly 
countenances we see only that calm and pure existence of 
which perfect beauty is the outward type; on the other hand, 
Murillo's beggar boys are only picturesque. What we ad- 
mire in them (beyond admirable execution) is not their rags 
or their mean apparel, but a certain irregular struggling of 
a better feeling within, against this outward poverty of 
nature and condition. 

Architecture borrows, partly perhaps by association, the 
same expression. We find the Beautiful in the most sym- 
metrical edifices, built in the finest proportions, and of the 
purest materials. It is, on the other hand, in some irregular 
castle formed for defence, some rude mill nearly as wild as 
the glen where it is placed, some thatched cottage, weather 
stained and moss covered, that we find the Picturesque. 
The Temple of Jupiter Olympus in all ils perfect propor- 
tions was prized by the Greeks as a model of beauty; we, 
who see only a few columns and broken architraves standing 
with all their exquisite mouldings obliterated by the vio- 
lence of time and the elements, find them Picturesque. 

To return to a more practical view of the subject, we 
may remark, that though we consider the Beautiful and 
the Picturesque quite distinct, yet it by no means follows 
that they may not be combined in the same landscape. 
This is often seen in nature; and indeed there arc few 
landscapes of large extent where they are not thus harmo- 
niously combined. 

* This also explains why trees, though they relain for the most purl 
their characteristic forms, vary somewhat in expression according lo I heir 
situation. Thus the larch, though always picturesque, is far more so in 
mountain ridges where il is exposed lo every Mast, Ihan in sheltered lawns 
where it only finds soft airs and sunshine. -- A. J. D. 







,. , K. 

* 

x^fc \ v &' 









K 
< 

o 

a 
S 
o 



z 

K 

U 
Q 
O 



(30) 



Beauties and Principles of tin- Art 37 

But it must be remembered, that while Landscape (i:ir- 
dening is an imitation of nature, yet it is rarely attempted 
on so large a scale as to be capable of the same extended 
harmony and variety of expression; and also, that in Land- 
scape Gardening as in the other fine arts, we shall be more 
successful by directing our efforts towards the production 
of a leading character or expression, than by endeavoring 
to join and harmonize several. 

Our own views on this subject are simply these. When 
a place is small, and only permits a single phase of natural 
expression, always endeavor to heighten or to make that 
single expression predominate; it should clearly either aim 
only at the Beautiful or the Picturesque.* 

When, on the contrary, an estate of large size comes 
within the scope of the Landscape Gardener, he is at liberty 
to give to each separate scene its most fitting character; 
he will thus, if he is a skilful artist, be able to create great 
variety both of beautiful and picturesque expression, and 
he will also be able to give a higher proof of his power, viz. 
by uniting all those scenes into one whole, by bringing 
them all into harmony. An artist who can do this has 
reached the ultimatum of his art. 

Again and again has it been said, that Landscape Gar- 
dening and Painting are allied. In no one point does it 
appear to us that they are so, more than in this - - that in 
proportion to the limited nature of the subject should sim- 
plicity and unity of expression be remembered. In some of 
the finest smaller compositions of Raphael, or some of the 
landscapes of Claude, so fully is this borne in mind, that 
every object, however small, seems to be instinct with tin- 
same expression; while in many of the great historical 
pictures, unity and harmony are wrought out of the most 
complex variety of expression. 

* This distinction between the Beautiful and the Picturesque \\as :i 
favorite idea with Mr. Downing. Artists of the present hour pay small 
thought to it. To most Landscape (iardencrs now it will seem to have 
comparatively little significance. The endeavor In de-line Beauty has 
never been very successful; and there is little practical outcome to the 
attempts to theorize along this line. -- F. A. \V. 



38 Landscape Gardening 

\Ve must not be supposed to find in nature only the 
Beautiful and the Picturesque. Grandeur and Sublimity 
are also expressions strongly marked in many of the noblest 
portions of natural landscape. But, except in very rare 
instances, they are wholly beyond the powers of the land- 
scape gardener, at least in the comparatively limited scale 
of his operations in this country. All that he has to do, is 
to respect them where they exist in natural landscape which 
forms part of his work of art, and so treat the latter, as 
to make it accord with, or at least not violate, the higher 
and predominant expression of the whole. 

There are, however, certain subordinate expressions which 
may be considered as qualities of the Beautiful, and which 
may originally so prevail in natural landscape, or be so 
elicited or created by art, as to give a distinct character to 
a small country residence, or portions of a large one. These 
are simplicity, dignity, grace, elegance, gaiety, chasteness, 
etc. It is not necessary that we should go into a labored 
explanation of these expressions. They are more or less 
familiar to all. A few fine trees, scattered and grouped 
over any surface of smooth lawn, will give a character of 
simple beauty; lofty trees of great age, hills covered with 
rich wood, an elevation commanding a wide country, stamp 
a site with dignity; trees of full and graceful habit or gently 
curving forms in the lawn, walks, and all other objects, will 
convey the idea of grace; as finely formed and somewhat 
tall trees of rare species, or a great abundance of bright 
climbers and gay flowering shrubs and plants, will confer 
characters of elegance and gaiety.* 

He who would create in his pleasure-grounds these more 
delicate shades of expression, must become a profound 
student both of nature and art; he must be able, by 
his own original powers, to seize the subtle essence, the 
half disclosed idea involved in the finest parts of nature, 
and to reproduce and develop it in his Landscape 
Garden. 

* A classic and contemporaneous discussion of these same ideas will 
be found in Andre's "L'Art des Jardins." F. A. W. 



Beauties and Principles of Ihc Art 39 

Leaving such, however, lo a broader range of study Hum 
a volume like this would afford, we may offer what, per- 
haps, will not be unacceptable to the novice - - a more de- 
tailed sketch of the distinctive features of the Beautiful and 
the Picturesque, as these expressions should be embodied 
in Landscape Gardening. 

THE BEAUTIFUL in Landscape Gardening is produced by 
outlines whose curves are llowing and gradual, surfaces of 
softness, and growth of richness and luxuriance. In the 
shape of the ground, it is evinced by easy undulations melt- 
ing gradually into each other. In the form of trees, by 
smooth stems, full, round, or symmetrical heads of foliage, 
and luxuriant branches often drooping to the ground, - 
which is chiefly attained by planting and grouping, to allow 
free development of form; and by selecting trees of suitable 
character, as the elm, the ash, and the like. In walks and 
roads, by easy flowing curves, following natural shapes of 
the surface, with no sharp angles or abrupt turns. In water, 
by the smooth lake with curved margin, embellished with 
flowing outlines of trees, and full masses of flowering shrubs 

- or in the easy winding curves of a brook. The keeping 
of such a scene should be of the most polished kind, - 
grass mown into a softness like velvet, gravel walks scrupu- 
lously firm, dry, and clean ; and the most perfect order and 
neatness should reign throughout. Among the trees and 
shrubs should be conspicuous the finest foreign sorts, dis- 
tinguished by beauty of form, foliage, and blossom; and 
rich groups of shrubs and flowering plants should be ar- 
ranged in the more dressed portions near the house. And 
finally, considering the house itself as a feature in the scene, 
it should properly belong to one of the classical modes; and 
the Italian, Tuscan, or Venetian forms are preferable, be- 
cause these have both a polished and a domestic air, and 
readily admit of the graceful accompaniments of vases, urns, 
and other harmonious accessories. Or, if we are to have a 
plainer dwelling, it should be simple and symmetrical in its 
character, and its veranda festooned with masses of the 
finest climbers. 



40 Landscape Gardening 

THE PicTURiisgrii in Landscape Gardening aims at the 
production of outlines of a certain spirited irregularity, sur- 
faces comparatively abrupt and broken, and growth of a 
somewhat wild and bold character. The shape of the 
ground sought after, lias its occasional smoothness varied by 
sudden variations, and in parts runs into dingles, rocky 
groups, and broken banks. The trees should in many 
places be old and irregular, with rough stems and bark; 
and pines, larches, and other trees of striking, irregular 
growth, must appear in numbers sufficient to give character 
to the woody outlines. As, to produce the Beautiful, the 
trees are planted singly in open groups to allow full expan- 
sion, so for the Picturesque, the grouping takes every variety 
of form; almost every object should group with another; 
trees and shrubs are often planted closely together; and 
intricacy and variety - - thickets - - glades - - and under- 
wood - - as in wild nature, are indispensable. Walks and 
roads are more abrupt in their windings, turning off fre- 
quently at sudden angles where the form of the ground or 
some inviting object directs. In water, all the wildness of 
romantic spots in nature is to be imitated or preserved; and 
the lake or stream with bold shore and rocky, wood-fringed 
margin, or the cascade in the secluded dell, are the charac- 
teristic forms. The keeping of such a landscape will of 
course be less careful than in the graceful school. Firm 
gravel walks near the house, and a general air of neatness in 
that quarter, are indispensable to the fitness of the scene 
in all modes, and indeed properly evince the recognition of 
art in all Landscape Gardening. But the lawn may be less 
frequently mown, the edges of the walks less carefully 
trimmed, where the Picturesque prevails; while in portions 
more removed from the house, the walks may sometimes 
sink into a mere footpath without gravel, and the lawn 
change into the forest glade or meadow. The architecture 
which belongs to the picturesque landscape, is the Gothic 
mansion, the old English or the Swiss cottage, or some other 
si riking forms, with bold projections, deep shadows, and 
irregular outlines. Rustic baskets, and similar ornaments, 



Beauties and /Ymr//>/rs of the Ail 11 

may abound near the house, and in the more frequented 
parts of the place. 

The recognition of art, as London justly observes, is a 
first principle in Landscape Gardening, as in all other arts; 
and those of its professors have erred, who supposed that 
the object of this art is merely to produce a fac-simile of 
nature, that could not be distinguished from a wild scene. 
But we contend that this principle may be fully attained 
with either expression - - the picturesque cottage being as 
well a work of art as the classic villa; its baskets, and seats 
of rustic work, indicating the hand of man as well as the 
marble vase and balustrade; and a walk, sometimes nar- 
row and crooked, is as certainly recognized as man's work, 
as one always regular and flowing. Foreign trees of pic- 
turesque growth are as readily obtained as those of beautiful 
forms. The recognition of art is, therefore, always appar- 
ent in both modes. The evidences are indeed stronger and 
more multiplied in the careful polish of the Beautiful land- 
scape,* and hence many prefer this species of landscape, 
not, as it deserves to be preferred, because it displays the 
most beautiful and perfect ideas in its outlines, the forms of 
its trees, and all that enters into its composition, but chiefly 
because it also is marked by that careful polish, and that 
completeness, which imply the expenditure of money, which 
they so well know how to value. 

If we declare that the Beautiful is the more perfect 

The beau ideal in Landscape Gardening, as a fine art, appears to 
us to be embraced in the creation of scenery full of expression, as the 
beautiful or picturesque, the materials of which are, to a certain exlcnt, 
different from those in wild nature, being composed of the floral and 
arboricultural riches of all climates, as far as possible; uniting in the same 
scene, a richness and a variety never to be found in any one portion of 
nature; a scene characterized as a work of art, by the variety of the 
materials, as foreign trees, plants, etc., and by the polish and keeping of 
the grounds in the natural style, as distinctly MS by the uniform and sym- 
metrical arrangement in the ancient style. - A. .1. D. 

Into this definition of the natural style Mr. Downing condenses his 
\\hole philosophy. It is a curious and interesting definition. Those 
\vlio would compare it with other views may consult Waugh's "The 
Natural Style in Landscape Gardening." Chapter I. 



12 Landscape Gardening 

expression in landscape, we shall be called upon to explain 
why the Picturesque is so much more attractive to many 
minds. This, we conceive, is owing partly to the imper- 
fection of our natures by which most of us sympathize 
more with that in which the struggle between spirit and 
matter is most apparent, than with that in which the 
union is harmonious and complete; and partly because 
from the comparative rarity of highly picturesque landscape, 
it affects us more forcibly when brought into contrast with 
our daily life. Artists, we imagine, find somewhat of the 
same pleasure in studying wild landscape, where the very 
rocks and trees seem to struggle with the elements for foot- 
hold, that they do in contemplating the phases of the pas- 
sions and instincts of human and animal life. The mani- 
festation of power is to many minds far more captivating 
than that of beauty. 

All who enjoy the charms of Landscape Gardening, may 
perhaps be divided into three classes: those who have 
arrived only at certain primitive ideas of beauty which are 
found in regular forms and straight lines; those who in the 
Beautiful seek for the highest and most perfect develop- 
ment of the idea in the material form; and those who in 
the Picturesque enjoy most a certain wild and incomplete 
harmony between the idea and the forms in which it is 
expressed. 

As the two latter classes embrace the whole range of 
modern Landscape Gardening, we shall keep distinctly in 
view their two governing principles - - the Beautiful and 
the Picturesque, in treating of the practice of the art. 

There are always circumstances which must exert a con- 
trolling influence over amateurs, in this country, in choosing 
between the two. These are, fixed locality, expense, indi- 
vidual preference in the style of building, and many others 
which readily occur to all. The great variety of attractive 
sites in the older parts of the country, afford an abundance 
of opportunity for either taste. Within the last five years, 
\vc think the Picturesque is beginning to be preferred. It 
has, when a suitable locality offers, great advantages for us. 



Beauties and Principles of the Art 4'3 

The raw materials of wood, water, and surface, by the mar- 
gin of many of our rivers and brooks, are at once appropri- 
ated with so much effect, and so little art, in the picturesque 
mode; the annual tax on the purse too is so comparatively 
little, and the charm so great! 

While, on one hand, the residences of a country of level 
plains usually allow only the beauty of simple and graceful 
forms; the larger demesne, with its swelling hills and noble 
masses of wood (may we not, prospectively, say the rolling 
prairie too?), should always, in the hands of the man of 
wealth, be made to display all the breadth, variety, and 
harmony of both the Beautiful and the Picturesque.* 

There is no surface of ground, however bare, which has 
not, naturally, more or less tendency to one or the other of 
these expressions. And the improver who detects the true 
character, and plants, builds, and embellishes, as he should, 
constantly aiming to elicit and strengthen it - - will soon 
arrive at a far higher and more satisfactory result, than one 
who, in the common manner, works at random. The latter 
may succeed in producing pleasing grounds - - he will un- 
doubtedly add to the general beauty and tasteful appear- 
ance of the country, and we gladly accord him our thanks. 
But the improver who unites with pleasing forms an expres- 
sion of sentiment, will affect not only the common eye, but 
much more powerfully, the imagination, and the refined 
and delicate taste. 

But there are many persons with small cottage places, 
of little decided character, who have neither room, time 
nor income, to attempt the improvement of their grounds 
fully, after either of those two schools. How shall they 
render their places tasteful and agreeable, in the easiest 
manner? We answer, by attempting only the simple and 
the natural; and the unfailing way to secure this, is by 
employing as leading features only trees and grass. A soft 
verdant lawn, a few forest or ornamental trees well grouped, 

* This reference to the rolling prairies looks like easy prophecy. In 
modern times several able men have attempted to define and to create a 
"prairie style" in Landscape Gardening. -- F. A. W. 



44 Landscape Gardening 

walks, and a few flowers, give universal pleasure; they con- 
tain in themselves, in fact, the basis of all our agreeable 
sensations in a landscape garden (natural beauty, and the 
recognition of art); and they are the most enduring sources 
of enjoyment in any place. There are no country seats in 
the United States so unsatisfactory and tasteless, as those 
in which, without any definite aim, everything is attempted; 
and a mixed jumble of discordant forms, materials, orna- 
ments, and decorations, is assembled- -a part in one style 
and a bit in another, without the least feeling of unity or 
congruity. These rural bedlams, full of all kinds of ab- 
surdities, without a leading character or expression of any 
sort, cost their owners a vast deal of trouble and money, 
without giving a tasteful mind a shadow of the beauty which 
it feels at the first glimpse of a neat cottage residence, with 
its simple, sylvan character of well kept lawn and trees. If 
the latter does not rank high in the scale of Landscape 
Gardening as an art, it embodies much of its essence as a 
source of enjoyment - - the production of the Beautiful in 
country residences. 

Besides the beauties of form and expression in the differ- 
ent modes of laying out grounds, there are certain universal 
and inherent beauties common to all styles, and, indeed, to 
every composition in the fine arts. Of these, we shall 
especially point out those growing out of the principles of 
unity, harmony, and variety. 

i'niti), or the production of a whole, is a leading principle 
of the highest importance, in every art of taste or design, 
without which no satisfactory result can be realized. This 
arises from the fact, that the mind can only attend, with 
pleasure and satisfaction, to one object, or one composite 
sensation, at the same time. If two distinct objects, or 
classes of objects, present themselves at once to us, we can 
only attend satisfactorily to one, by withdrawing our atten- 
tion for the time from the other. Hence the necessity of a 
reference to this leading principle of unity. 

To illustrate the subject, let us suppose a building, par- 
tially built of wood, with square windows, and the remain- 



Beauties and Principles of the Art 45 

der of brick or stone, with long and narrow windows. How- 
ever well such a building may be constructed, or however 
nicely the different proportions of the edifice may be ad- 
justed, it is evident it can never form a satisfactory whole. 
The mind can only account for such an absurdity, by sup- 
posing it to have been built by two individuals, or at two 
different times, as there is nothing indicating unity of mind 
in its composition. 

In Landscape Gardening, violations of the principle of 
unity are often to be met with, and they are always indica- 
tive of the absence of correct taste in art. Looking upon 
a landscape from the windows of a villa residence, we 
sometimes see a considerable portion of the view embraced 
by the eye, laid out in natural groups of trees and shrubs, 
and upon one side, or perhaps in the middle of the same 
scene, a formal avenue leading directly up to the house. 
Such a view can never appear a satisfactory whole, because 
we experience a confusion of sensations in contemplating it. 
There is an evident incongruity in bringing two modes of 
arranging plantations, so totally different, under the eye at 
one moment, which distracts, rather than pleases the mind. 
In this example, the avenue, taken by itself, may be a 
beautiful object, and the groups and connected masses 
may, in themselves, be elegant; yet if the two portions are 
seen together, they will not form a whole, because they 
cannot make a composite idea. For the same reason, there 
is something unpleasing in the introduction of fruit trees 
among elegant ornamental trees on a lawn, or even in 
assembling together, in the same beds, flowering plants and 
culinary vegetables - - one class of vegetation suggesting the 
useful and homely alone to the mind, and the other, avow- 
edly, only the ornamental. 

In the arrangement of a large extent of surface, where a 
great many objects are necessarily presented to the eye at 
once, the principle of unity will suggest that there should 
be some grand or leading features to which the others 
should be merely subordinate. Thus, in grouping trees, 
there should be some large and striking masses to which 



46 Landscape Gardening 

the others appear to belong, however distant, instead of 
scattered groups, all of the same size. Even in arranging 
walks, a whole will more readily be recognized, if there are 
one or two of large size, with which the others appear con- 
nected as branches, than if all are equal in breadth, and 
present the same appearance to the eye in passing. 

In all works of art which command universal admiration 
we discover unity of conception and composition, with 
unity of taste and execution. To assemble in a single 
composition forms which are discordant, and portions dis- 
similar in plan, can only afford pleasure for a short time to 
tasteless minds, or those fond of trifling and puerile conceits. 
The production of an accordant whole is, on the contrary, 
capable of affording the most permanent enjoyment to 
educated minds, everywhere, and at all periods of time. 

After unity, the principle of variety is worthy of consider- 
ation, as a fertile source of beauty in Landscape Gardening. 
Variety must be considered as belonging more to the details 
than to the production of a whole, and it may be attained 
by disposing trees and shrubs in numerous different ways; 
and by the introduction of a great number of different 
species of vegetation, or kinds of walks, ornamental objects, 
buildings, and seats. By producing intricacy, it creates 
in scenery a thousand points of interest, and elicits new 
beauties, through different arrangements and combinations 
of forms and colors, light and shades. In pleasure-grounds, 
while the whole should exhibit a general plan, the different 
scenes presented to the eye, one after the other, should 
possess sufficient variety in the detail to keep alive the 
interest of the spectator, and awaken further curiosity. 

Harmony may be considered the principle presiding over 
variety, and preventing it from becoming discordant. It, 
indeed, always supposes contrasts, but neither so strong nor 
so frequent as to produce discord; and variety, but not so 
great as to destroy a leading expression. In plantations, 
we seek it in a combination of qualities, opposite in some 
respects, as in the color of the foliage, and similar in others 
more important, as the form. In embellishments, by a 



Beauties and Principles of the Art 47 

great variety of objects of interest, as sculptured vases, sun 
dials, or rustic seats, baskets, and arbors, of different forms, 
but all in accordance, or keeping with the spirit of the scene. 

To illustrate the three principles, with reference to Land- 
scape Gardening, we may remark, that, if unity only were 
consulted, a scene might be planted with but one kind of 
tree, the effect of which would be sameness; on the other 
hand, variety might be carried so far as to have every tree 
of a different kind, which would produce a confused effect. 
Harmony, however, introduces contrast and variety, but 
keeps them subordinate to unity, and to the leading expres- 
sion; and is, thus, the highest principle of the three. 

In this brief abstract of the nature of imitation in Land- 
scape Gardening and the kinds of beauty which it is possible 
to produce by means of the art, we have endeavored to 
elucidate its leading principles, clearly, to the reader. These 
grand principles we shall here succinctly recapitulate, pre- 
mising that a familiarity with them is of the very first 
importance in the successful practice of this elegant art. 
viz.: 

The imitation of the beauty of expression, derived from a 
refined perception of the sentiment of nature: The recog- 
nition of art, founded on the immutability of the true, as 
well as the beautiful: and the production of unity, harmony, 
and variety, in order to render complete and continuous, our 
enjoyment of any artistical work. 

Neither the professional Landscape Gardener, nor the 
amateur, can hope for much success in realizing the nobler 
effects of the art, unless he first make himself master of the 
natural character or prevailing expression of the place to 
be improved. In this nice perception, at a glance, of the 
natural expression, as well as the capabilities of a residence, 
lies the secret of the superior results produced even by the 
improver, who, to use the words of Horace Walpole, " is 
proud of no other art than that of softening nature's harsh- 
ness, and copying her graceful touch." When we discover 
the picturesque indicated in the grounds of the residence to 
be treated, let us take advantage of it; and while all harsh- 



48 Landscape Gardening 

ness incompatible with scenery near the house is removed, 
the original expression may in most cases be heightened, in 
all rendered more elegant and appropriate, without lowering 
it in force or spirit. In like manner good taste will direct 
us to embellish scenery expressive of the beautiful, by the 
addition of forms, whether in trees, buildings, or other 
objects, harmonious in character, as well as in color and 
outline. 



CHAPTER III 

ON WOOD AND PLANTATIONS 

"He gains all points, who pleasingly confounds, 
Surprises, varies, and conceals the bounds. 
Calls in the country, catches opening glades, 
Joins willing woods, and varies shades from shades; 
Now breaks, or now directs the intending lines; 
Paints as you plant, and, as you work, designs." 

POPE. 

AMONG all the materials at our disposal for the em- 
bellishment of country residences, none are at once 
so highly ornamental, so indispensable, and so easily 
managed, as trees, or wood. We introduce them in every 
part of the landscape, - - in the foreground as well as in 
the distance, on the tops of the hills and in the depths of 
the valleys. They are, indeed, like the drapery which 
covers a somewhat ungainly figure, and while it conceals 
its defects, communicates to it new interest and expression. 
A tree, undoubtedly, is one of the most beautiful objects 
in nature. Airy and delicate in its youth, luxuriant and 
majestic in its prime, venerable and picturesque in its old 
age, it constitutes in its various forms, sizes, and develop- 
ments the greatest charm and beauty of the earth in all 
countries. The most varied outline of surface, the finest 
combination of picturesque materials, the stateliest country 
house would be comparatively tame and spiritless, without 
the inimitable accompaniment of foliage. Let those who 
have passed their whole lives in a richly wooded country, 
- whose daily visions are deep leafy glens, forest clad hills 
and plains luxuriantly shaded, - - transport themselves for a 
moment to the desert, where but a few stunted bushes raise 
their heads above the earth, or those wild steppes where 
the eye wanders in vain for some "leafy garniture ' 

49 



!F^ 




a 
9 
B 

pq 



w 
a 

o 

i i 

h-J-H 
V5 

"o 



O 

Q 



>; 

o 



oo 
6 



(50) 



Wood and Plantations 51 

where the sun strikes down with parching heat, or the wind 
sweeps over with unbroken fury, and they may, perhaps, 
estimate, by contrast, their beauty and value. 

We are not now to enumerate the great usefulness of trees, 

- their value in the construction of our habitations, our 
navies, the various implements of labor, - - in short, the 
thousand associations which they suggest as ministering to 
our daily wants; but let us imagine the loveliest scene, the 
wildest landscape, or the most enchanting valley, despoiled 
of trees, and we shall find nature shorn of her fair propor- 
tions, and the character and expression of these favorite 
spots almost entirely destroyed. 

Wood, in its many shapes, is then one of the greatest 
sources of interest and character in landscapes. Variety, 
which we need scarcely allude to as a fertile source of 
beauty, is created in a wonderful degree by a natural arrange- 
ment of trees. To a pile of buildings, or even of ruins, to a 
group of rocks or animals, they communicate new life and 
spirit by their irregular outlines, which, by partially con- 
cealing some portions, and throwing others into stronger 
light, contribute greatly to produce intricacy and variety, 
and confer an expression, which, without these latter quali- 
ties, might in a great measure be wanting. By shutting 
out some parts, and inclosing others, they divide the extent 
embraced by the eye into a hundred different landscapes, 
instead of one tame scene bounded by the horizon. 

The different seasons of the year, too, are inseparably 
connected in our minds with the effects produced by them 
on woodland scenery. Spring is joyous and enlivening to 
us, as nature then puts on her fresh livery of green, and the 
trees bud and blossom with a renewed beauty, that speaks 
with a mute and gentle eloquence to the heart. In sum- 
mer they offer us a grateful shelter under their umbrageous 
arms and leafy branches, and whisper unwritten music to 
the passing breeze. In autumn we feel a melancholy 
thoughtfulness as 

' We stand among tho fallen leaves," 

and gaze upon their dying glories. And in winter we see 



52 Landscape Gardening 

in them the silent rest of nature, and behold in their leaf- 
less spray, and seemingly dead limbs, an annual type of 
that deeper mystery - - the deathless sleep of all being. 

By the judicious employment of trees in the embellish- 
ment of a country residence, we may effect the greatest 
alterations and improvements within the scope of Landscape 
Gardening. Buildings which are tame, insipid, or even mean 
in appearance, may be made interesting, and often pictur- 
esque, by a proper disposition of trees. Edifices, or parts of 
them that are unsightly, or which it is desirable partly or 
wholly to conceal, can readily be hidden or improved by 
wood; and walks and roads, which otherwise would be but 
simple ways of approach from one point to another, are, by 
an elegant arrangement of trees on their margins, or ad- 
jacent to them, made the most interesting and pleasing 
portions of the residence. 

In geometric gardening, trees disposed in formal lines, 
exhibit as strongly art or design in the contriver, as regular 
architectural edifices; while, in a more elevated and en- 
lightened taste, we are able to dispose them in our pleasure- 
grounds and parks, around our houses, in all the variety of 
groups, masses, thicket, and single trees, in such a manner 
as to rival the most beautiful scenery of general nature; 
producing a portion of landscape which unites with all the 
comforts and conveniences of rural habitation, the superior 
charm of refined arrangement, and natural beauty of 
expression. 

If it were necessary to present any other inducement to 
the country gentleman to form plantations of trees, than 
the great beauty and value which they add to his estate, 
we might find it in the pleasure which all derive from their 
cultivation. Unlike the pleasure arising from the gratifi- 
cation of our taste in architecture, or any other of the arts 
whose productions are offered to us perfect and complete, 
the satisfaction arising from planting and rearing trees is 
never weakened. 'We look," says a writer, "upon our 
trees as our offspring; and nothing of inanimate nature can 
be more gratifying than to see them grow and prosper 



Wood and Plantations 53 

under our care and attention, -- nothing more interesting 
than to examine their progress, and mark their several 
peculiarities. In their progress from plants to trees, they 
every year unfold new and characteristic marks of their 
ultimate beauty, which not only compensate for past cares 
and troubles, but like the returns of gratitude, raise a most 
delightful train of sensations in the mind, so innocent and 
rational, that they may justly rank with the most exquisite 
of human enjoyments." 

"Happy is he, who in a country life 
Shuns more perplexing toil and jarring strife; 
Who lives upon the natal soil he loves, 
And sits beneath his old ancestral groves." 

To this, let us add the complacent feelings with which a 
man in old age may look around him and behold these 
leafy monarchs, planted by his boyish hands and nurtured 
by him in his youthful years, which have grown aged and 
venerable along with him; 

"A wood coeval with himself he sees, 
And loves his own contemporary trees." 

Plantations in the Ancient Style. In the arrangement and 
culture of trees and plants in the ancient style of Land- 
scape Gardening, we discover the evidences of the formal 
taste, - - abounding with every possible variety of quaint 
conceits, and rife with whimsical expedients, so much in 
fashion during the days of Henry and Elizabeth, and until 
the eighteenth century in England, and which is still the 
reigning mode in Holland, and parts of France. In these 
gardens, nature was tamed and subdued, or as some critics 
will have it, tortured into every shape which the ingenuity 
of the gardener could suggest; and such kinds of vegeta- 
tion as bore the shears most patiently, and when carefully 
trimmed, assumed gradually the appearance of verdant 
statues, pyramids, crowing cocks, and rampant lions, were 
the especial favorites of the gardeners of the old school.* 

These whimsies do not belong to the formal style and are no more 
appropriate to it than to the natural style. The mistake of imputing 
them to the formal style, however, has been common, especially in earlier 
years. -- F. A. W. 



.") 1 Landscape (i 



\( has boon remarked, that the geometric slyle would 
always be preferred in a new country, or in any country 
where the amount of land under cultivation is much less 
than thai covered with natural woods and forests; as the 
inhabitants being surrounded by scenery abounding with 
natural beauty, would always incline to lay out their gar- 
dens and pleasure-grounds in regular forms, because the 
distinct exhibition of art would give more pleasure by con- 
trast, than the elegant imitation of beautiful nature. Thai 
this is true as regards the mass of uncultivated minds, we 
do not deny. But at the same lime we allirm that it evinces 
a meagre taste, and a lower stale of the art, or a lower per- 
ception of beauty in the individual who employs the geo- 
metrical slyle in such cases. A person, whose place is 
surrounded by inimitably grand or sublime scenery, would 
undoubtedly fail to excite our admiration, by attempting a 
fac-simile imitation of such scenery on the small scale of a 
park or garden; but he is not, therefore, obliged to resort 
to right-lined plantations and regular grass plots, to produce 
something which shall be at once sufficiently different to 
atlracl notice, and so beautiful as to command admiration. 
All that il would be requisite for him to do in such a case, 
would be to employ rare and foreign ornamental trees, as 
for example, I he horse-chestnut and the linden, in situations 
where the maple and the sycamore are the principal trees, 

elegant (lowering shrubs and beautiful creepers, instead 
of sumacs and hazels, - - and to have his place kept in high 
and polished order, instead of the tangled wildness of general 
nature. 

On the contrary, were a person lo desire a residence 
newly laid out and planted, in a district where all around 
is iu a high stale of polished cultivation, as in the suburbs 
of a city, a species of pleasure would result from the imita- 
tion of scenery of a more spirited, natural character, as 
the picturesque, in his grounds. His plantations are made 
in irregular groups, composed chiefly of picturesque trees, as 
the larch, etc. - his walks would lead through varied scenes, 
sometimes bordered with groups of rocks overrun with 



Wood ami I'ldiildlions 



flowering creepers and vines; sometimes willi lliickcls or 
liltle copses of shrubs and (lowering plants; sometimes 
through wild and comparatively neglected portions; I he 
whole interspersed with open glades of turf. 

In the majority of instances in the United Stales, the 
modern style of Landscape Gardening, wherever it is ap- 
preciated, will, in practice, consist in arranging a demesne 
of from live to some hundred acres, -- or rather that por- 
tion of it, say one half, one third, etc., devoted to lawn and 
pleasure-ground, pasture, etc. -so as to exhibit groups of 
forest and ornamental trees and shrubs, surrounding the 
dwelling of the proprietor, and extending for a greater or 
less distance, especially towards the place of entrance from 
the public highway. Near the house, good taste will dic- 
tate the assemblage of groups and masses of the rarer or 
more beautiful trees and shrubs; commoner native forest 
trees occupying the more distant portions of the grounds.* 

I'ldnldlions in the Modern Slijlc. In the modern style of 
Landscape Gardening, it is our aim, in plantations, to pro- 
duce not only what is called natural beauty, but even 
higher and more striking beauty of expression, and of indi- 
vidual forms, than we see in nature; to create variety and 

* Although \vc, love planting, and avow tli;il I here :irc few greater 
pleasures lh;m lo see ;i darling tree, of one's own placing, every year 
stretching wider- its feathery he;id of foliage, and covering willi a darker 
shadow Hie sofl Inrf beneath il, slill, we \\ill nol lei Ihe ardent and inex- 
perienced hunter after a location for a country residence, pass without a 
word of advice. This is, alnxiijs In make consitlrrahh' sucnji/-/' In i/rl n 
[ilarr inilh some existing wood, or a few reatli/ t/nmui I ires ii/mn il; espe- 
cially near the, site, for the house;. Il is heller to yield a lillle in Ihe 
extent of prospect, or in the direct proximity lo a certain locality, than 
lo pilch your lent in a plain, -desert-like in its bareness- on which 
your leafy sensibilities must suiter for half a do/en years al least, beh.rv 
you can hope for any solace. Il is clonblfnl whether there is nol almost 
as much interest in studying from one's window Ihe curious ramilicalions, 
Ihe variety of form, and the entire harmonv, to be found in a line old 
tree, as in gazing from a site where we have no interruption lo a pano- 
rama of the whole hori/.on; and we have generally found thai no planters 
have so lillle courage and faith, as those who have commenced \\ilhuul 
the smallest group of large trees, as a nucleus for I hen plant at ions. 
A. .1. D. 



56 Landscape Gardening 

intricacy in the grounds of a residence by various modes of 
arrangement; to give a highly elegant or polished air to 
places by introducing rare and foreign species; and to con- 
ceal all defects of surface, disagreeable views, unsightly 
buildings, or other offensive objects. 

As uniformity, and grandeur of single effects, were the 
aim of the old style of arrangement, so variety and har- 
mony of the whole are the results for which we labor in the 
modern landscape. And as the avenue, or the straight line, 
is the leading form in the geometric arrangement of plan- 
tations, so let us enforce it upon our readers, the group is 
equally the key-note of the modern style. The smallest 
place, having only three trees, may have these pleasingly 
connected in a group; and the largest and finest park - 
the Blenheim or Chalsworth, of seven miles square, is only 
composed of a succession of groups, becoming masses, 
thickets, woods. If a demesne with the most beautiful sur- 
face and views has been for some time stiffly and awkwardly 
planted, it is exceedingly difficult to give it a natural and 
agreeable air; while many a tame level, with scarcely a 
glimpse of distance, has been rendered lovely by its charm- 
ing groups of trees. How necessary, therefore, is it, in the 
very outset, that the novice, before he begins to plant, 
should know how to arrange a tasteful group! 

Nothing, at first thought, would appear easier than to 
arrange a few trees in the form of a natural and beautiful 
group, - - and nothing really is easier to the practised hand. 
Yet experience has taught us that the generality of persons, 
in commencing their first essays in ornamental planting, 
almost invariably crowd their trees into a close, regular 
clump, which has a most formal and unsightly appearance, 
as different as possible from the easy, flowing outline of 
the group. 

"Natural groups are full of openings and hollows, of 
trees advancing before, or retiring behind each other; all 
productive of intricacy, of variety, of deep shadows and 
brilliant lights." 

The chief care, then, which is necessary in the formation 



Wood and Plantations 57 

of groups, is, not to place them in any regular or arliiicial 
manner, -- as one at each corner of a triangle, sqiuirr, 
octagon, or other many-sided figure; but so to dispose them, 
as that the whole may exhibit the variety, connection, and 
intricacy seen in nature. ; The greatest beauty of a group 
of trees," says London, "as far as respects their stems, is in 
the varied direction these take as they grow into trees; but 
as that is, for all practical purposes, beyond the influence of 
art, all we can do, is to vary as much as possible the ground 
plan of groups, or the relative positions which the stems hu ve- 
to each other where they spring from the earth. This is 
considerable, even where a very few trees are used, of which 
any person may convince himself by placing a few dots on 
paper. 

In the composition of larger masses, similar rules must 
be observed as in the smaller groups, in order to prevent 
them from growing up in heavy, clumpish forms. The 
outline must be flowing, here projecting out into the grass, 
there receding back into the plantation, in order to take 
off all appearance of stiffness and regularity. Trees of 
medium and smaller size should be so interspersed with 
those of larger growth, as to break up all formal sweeps in 
the line produced by the tops of their summits, and occa- 
sionally, low trees should be planted on the outer edge of 
the mass, to connect it with the humble verdure of the 
surrounding sward. 

In many parts of the union,* where new residences are 
being formed, or where old ones are to be improved, the 
grounds will often be found, partially, or to a considerable 
extent, clothed with belts or masses of wood, either previ- 
ously planted, or preserved from the woodman's axe. How 
easily we may turn these to advantage in the natural style 
of Landscape Gardening; and by judicious trimming when 
too thick, or additions when too much scattered, elicit often 
the happiest effects, in a magical manner! 

* It is an interesting side-light on polities and history that we have 

ceased altogether, in these times of world polities, to speak of "the 

Union," meaning the United Stales. This was once the most natural 
and popular phrase. -- F. A. \V. 



58 Landscape Gardening 

Where there are large masses of wood to regulate and 
arrange, much skill, taste, and judgment are requisite to 
enable the proprietors to preserve only what is really beau- 
tiful and picturesque, and to remove all that is superfluous. 
Most of our native woods, too, have grown so closely, and 
the trees are consequently so much drawn up, that should 
the improver thin out any portion, at once, to single trees, 
he will be greatly disappointed if he expects them to stand 
long; for the first severe autumnal gale will almost cer- 
tainly prostrate them. The only method, therefore, is to 
allow them to remain in groups of considerable size at first, 
and to thin them out as is finally desired, when they have 
made stronger roots and become more inured to the influence 
of the sun and air. 

But to return to grouping; what we have already en- 
deavored to render familiar to the reader, may be called 
grouping in its simple meaning - - for general effect, and 
with an eye only to the natural beauty of pleasing forms. 
Let us now explain, as concisely as we may, the mode of 
grouping in the two schools of Landscape Gardening here- 
tofore defined, that is to say, grouping and planting for 
Beautiful effect, and for Picturesque effect; as we wish it 
understood that these two different expressions, in artificial 
landscape, are always to a certain extent under our control. 

Planting and Grouping to produce the Beautiful. The ele- 
mentary features of this expression our readers will remem- 
ber to be fulness and softness of outline, and perfectly 
luxuriant development. To insure these in plantations, we 
must commence by choosing mainly trees of graceful habit 
and flowing outlines; and of this class of trees, hereafter 
more fully illustrated, the American elm and the maple may 
be taken as the type. Next, in disposing them, they must 
usually be planted rather distant in the groups, and often 
singly. We do not mean by this, that close groups may 
not occasionally be formed, but there should be a predomi- 
nance of trees grouped at such a distance from each other 
as to allow a full development of the branches on every 
side. Or, when a close group is planted, the trees compos- 



\Vood ami Plantations 



59 



ing it should be usually of the same or a similar kind, in 
order that they may grow up together and form one finely 
rounded head. Rich creepers and blossoming vines, that 
grow in fine luxuriant wreaths and masses, are fit accom- 
paniments to occasional groups in this manner. Fig. 9 
represents a plan of trees grouped along a road or walk, so 
as to develop the Beautiful.* 




FIG. 9. TREES GROUPED TO PRODUCE THE BEAUTIFUL 

It is proper that w r e should here remark, that a distinct 
species of after treatment is required for the two modes. 
Trees, or groups, where the Beautiful is aimed at, should be 
pruned with great care, and indeed scarcely at all, except 
to remedy disease, or to correct a bad form. Above all, 
the full luxuriance and development of the tree should be 
encouraged by good soil, and repeated manurings when 
necessary; and that most expressively elegant fall and 
droop of the branches, which so completely denotes the 
Beautiful in trees, should never be warred against by any 
trimming of the lower branches, which must also be care- 

* The original figure is here reproduced, from which it may be re- 
marked that the grouping is both too scattered and too crowded to meet 
the modern taste. The best practitioners of the present day would make 
closer masses contrasting with wider open spaces. -- F. A. W. 



(10 



Landscape Gardening 



fully preserved against cattle, whose browsing line would 
soon efface this most beautiful disposition in some of our 
line lawn trees. Clean, smooth stems, fresh and tender 
bark, and a softly rounded pyramidal or drooping head, 
are the characteristics of a Beautiful tree. We need not 
add that gently sloping ground, or surfaces rolling in easy 
undulations, should accompany such plantations. 




FIG. 10. TREES GROUPED TO PRODUCE THE PICTURESQUE 

Planting and Grouping to produce the Picturesque. All 
trees are admissible in a picturesque place, but a predomi- 
nance must be used by the planter of what are truly called 
picturesque trees, of which the larch and fir tribe and 
some species of oak, may be taken as examples. In Pic- 
turesque plantations everything depends on intricacy and 
irregularity, and grouping, therefore, must often be done 
in the most irregular manner - - rarely, if ever, with single 
specimens, as every object should seem to connect itself 
with something else; but most frequently there should be 
irregular groups, occasionally running into thickets, and 
always more or less touching each other; trusting to after 
time for any thinning, should it be necessary. Fig. 10 may, 
as compared with Fig. 9, give an idea of picturesque 
grouping. 

There should be more of the wildness of the finest and 
most forcible portions of natural woods or forests, in the 



Wood and Plantations 61 

disposition of the trees; sometimes planting them closely, 
even two or three in the same hole, at others more loose 
and scattered. These will grow up into wilder and more 
striking forms, the barks will be deeply furrowed and rough, 
the limbs twisted and irregular, and the forms and outlines 
distinctly varied. They should often be intermixed with 
smaller undergrowth of a similar character, as the hazel, 
hawthorn, etc., and formed into such picturesque and strik- 
ing groups, as painters love to study and introduce into 
their pictures. Sturdy and bright vines, or such as are 
themselves picturesque in their festoons and hangings, 
should be allowed to clamber over occasional trees in a 
negligent manner; and the surface and grass, in parts of 
the scene not immediately in the neighborhood of the man- 
sion, may be kept short by the cropping of animals, or 
allowed to grow in a more careless and loose state, like that 
of tangled dells and natural woods. 

There will be the same open glades in picturesque as in 
beautiful plantations; but these openings, in the former, 
will be bounded by groups and thickets of every form, and 
of different degrees of intricacy, while in the latter the eye 
will repose on softly rounded masses of foliage, or single 
open groups of trees, with finely balanced and graceful 
heads and branches. 

In order to know how a plantation in the Picturesque 
mode should be treated, after it is established, we should 
reflect a moment on what constitutes picturesqueness in 
any tree. This will be found to consist either in a certain 
natural roughness of bark, or wildness of form and outline, 
or in some accidental curve of a branch of striking manner 
of growth, or perhaps of both these conjoined. A broken 
or crooked limb, a leaning trunk, or several stems springing 
from the same base, are frequently peculiarities that at once 
stamp a tree as picturesque. Hence, it is easy to see that 
the excessive care of the cultivator of trees in the graceful 
school to obtain the smoothest trunks, and the most sweep- 
ing, perfect, and luxuriant heads of foliage, is quite the 
opposite of what is the picturesque arboriculturist's ambi- 



62 Landscape Gardening 

lion. He desires to encourage a certain wildness of growth, 
and allows his trees to spring up occasionally in thickets to 
assist this effect; he delights in occasional irregularity of 
stem and outline, and he therefore suffers his trees here and 
there to crowd each other; he admires a twisted limb or a 
moss covered branch, and in pruning he therefore is careful 
to leave precisely what it would be the aim of the other to 
remove; and his pruning, where it is at all necessary, is 
directed rather towards increasing the naturally striking 
and peculiar habit of the picturesque tree, than assisting it 
in developing a form of unusual refinement and symmetry. 
From these remarks we think the amateur will easily divine 
that planting, grouping, and culture to produce the Beauti- 
ful, require a much less artistic eye (though much more care 
and attention) than performing the same operations to elicit 
the Picturesque. The charm of a refined and polished 
landscape garden, as we usually see it in the Beautiful 
grounds with all the richness and beauty developed by 
high culture, arises from our admiration of the highest per- 
fection, the greatest beauty 'of form, to which every object 
can be brought; and, in trees, a judicious selection, with 
high cultivation, will always produce this effect. 

But in the Picturesque landscape garden there is visible 
a piquancy of effect, certain bold and striking growths and 
combinations, which we feel at once, if we know them to be 
the result of art, to be the production of a peculiar species 
of attention - - not merely good, or even refined ornamental 
gardening. In short, no one can be a picturesque improver 
(if he has to begin with young plantations) who is not him- 
self something of an artist - - who has not studied nature 
with an artistical eye - - and who is not capable of imitat- 
ing, eliciting, or heightening, in his plantations or other 
portions of his residence, the picturesque in its many varia- 
tions. And we may add here, that efficient and charming as 
is the assistance which all ornamental planters will derive 
from the study of the best landscape engravings and pic- 
tures of distinguished artists, they are indispensably neces- 
sary to the Picturesque improver. In these he will often 



Wood and Plantations (Y.'> 

find embodied the choicest and most captivating studies 
from picturesque nature; and will see at a glance the effect 
of certain combinations of trees, which he might otherwise 
puzzle himself a dozen years to know how to produce. 

After all, as the Picturesque improver here will most gen- 
erally be found to be one who chooses a comparatively 
wild and wooded place, we may safely say that, if he has 
the true feeling for his work, he will always find it vastly 
easier than those who strive after the Beautiful; as the 
majority of the latter may be said to begin nearly anew - 
choosing places not for wildness and intricacy of wood, but 
for openness and the smiling, sunny undulating plain, where 
they must of course to a good extent plant anew. 

After becoming well acquainted with grouping, we 
should bring ourselves to regard those principles which 
govern our improvements as a whole. We therefore must 
call the attention of the improver to the two following 
principles, which are to be constantly in view: the produc- 
tion of a whole, and the proper connection of the parts. 

Any person who will take the trouble to reflect for a 
moment on the great diversity of surface, change of posi- 
tion, aspects, views, etc., in different country residences, 
will at once perceive how difficult, or, indeed, how impossible 
it is, to lay down any fixed or exact rules for arranging plan- 
tations in the modern style. What would be precisely 
adapted to a hilly rolling park, would often be found entirely 
unfit for adoption in a smooth, level surface, and the con- 
trary. Indeed, the chief beauty of the modern style is the 
variety produced by following a few leading principles and 
applying them to different and varied localities; unlike the 
geometric style, which proceeded to level, and arrange, and 
erect its avenues and squares, alike in every situation, with 
all the precision and certainty of mathematical demonstra- 
tion. 

In all grounds to be laid out, however, which are of a 
lawn or park-like extent, and call for the exercise of judg- 
ment and taste, the mansion or dwelling-house, being itself 
the chief or leading object in the scene, should form, as it 



64 Landscape Gardening 

were, the central point, to which it should be the object of 
the planter to give importance. In order to do this effec- 
tually, the large masses or groups of wood should cluster 
round, or form the background to the main edifice; and 
where the offices or out-buildings approach the same neigh- 
borhood, they also should be embraced. We do not mean 
by this to convey the idea, that a thick wood should be 
planted around and in the close neighborhood of the man- 
sion or villa, so as to impede the free circulation of air; but 
its appearance and advantages may be easily produced by 
comparatively loose plantation of groups well connected 
by intermediate trees, so as to give all the effect of a large 
mass. The front, and at least that side nearest the ap- 
proach road, will be left open, or nearly so; while the plan- 
tations in the background will give dignity and importance 
to the house, and at the same time effectually screen the 
approach to the farm buildings, and other objects which 
require to be kept out of view; and here both for the pur- 
poses of shelter and richness of effect, a good proportion of 
evergreens should be introduced. 

From this principal mass, the plantations must break off 
in groups of greater or less size, corresponding to the extent 
covered by it; if large, they will diverge into masses of 
considerable magnitude, if of moderate size, in groups made 
up of a number of trees. In the lawn front of the house, 
appropriate places will be found for a number of the most 
elegant single trees, or small groups of trees, remarkable for 
the beauty of their forms, foliage, or blossoms. Care must 
be taken, however, in disposing these, as well as many of 
the groups, that they are not placed so as, at some future 
time, to interrupt or disturb the finest points of prospect. 

In more distant parts of the plantations will also appear 
masses of considerable extent, perhaps upon the boundary 
line, perhaps in particular situations on the sides, or in the 
interior of the whole; and the various groups which are 
distributed between should be so managed as, though in 
most cases distinct, yet to appear to be the connecting links 
which unite these distant shadows in the composition, with 



Wood and Plantations (>."> 

the larger masses near the house. Sometimes several small 
groups will be almost joined together; at others the effect 
may be kept up by a small group, aided by a few neighbor- 
ing single trees. This, for a park-like place. Where the 
place is small, a pleasure-ground character is all that can 
be obtained. But by employing chiefly shrubs, and only 
a few trees, very similar and highly beautiful effects may 
be attained. 

The grand object in all this should be to open to the eye, 
from the windows or front of the house, a wide surface, par- 
tially broken up and divided by groups and masses of 
trees into a number of pleasing lawns or openings, differing 
in size and appearance, and producing a charming variety 
in the scene, either when seen from a given point or when 
examined in detail. It must not be forgotten that, as a 
general rule, the grass or surface of the lawn answers as the 
principal light, and the woods or plantations as the shadows, 
in the same manner in nature as in painting; and that these 
should be so managed as to lead the eye to the mansion as 
the most important object when seen from without, or cor- 
respond to it in grandeur and magnitude, when looked upon 
from within the house. If the surface is too much crowded 
with groups of foliage, breadth of light will be found 
wanting; if left too bare, there will be felt, on the other 
hand, an absence of the noble effect of deep and broad 
shadows. 

One of the loveliest charms of a fine park is, undoubtedly, 
variation or undulation of surface. Everything, accord- 
ingly, which tends to preserve and strengthen this pleasing 
character, should be kept constantly in view. Where, there- 
fore, there are no obvious objections to such a course, the 
eminences, gentle swells, or hills, should be planted, in 
preference to the hollows or depressions. By planting the 
elevated portions of the grounds, their apparent height is 
increased; but by planting the hollows, all distinction is 
lessened and broken up. Indeed, where there is but a 
trifling and scarcely perceptible undulation, the importance 
of the swells of surface already existing is surprisingly in- 



66 Landscape Gardening 

creased, when this course of planting is adopted; and the 
whole, to the eye, appears finely varied. 

Where the grounds of the residence to be planted are 
level, or nearly so, and it is desirable to confine the view, on 
any or all sides, to the lawn or park itself, the boundary 
groups and masses must be so connected together as from 
the most striking part or parts of the prospect (near the 
house for example) to answer this end. This should be 
done, not by planting a continuous, uniformly thick belt of 
trees round the outside of the whole; but by so arranging 
the various outer groups and thickets, that when seen from 
the given points they shall appear connected in one whole. 
In this way, there will be an agreeable variation in the 
margin, made by the various bays, recesses, and detached 
projections, which could not be so well effected if the whole 
were one uniformly unbroken strip of wood. 

But where the house is so elevated as to command a 
more extensive view than is comprised in the demesne 
itself, another course should be adopted. The grounds 
planted must be made to connect themselves with the sur- 
rounding scenery, so as not to produce any violent con- 
trast to the eye, when compared with the adjoining country. 
If then, as is most frequently the case, the lawn or pleasure- 
ground join, on either side or sides, cultivated farm lands, 
the proper connection may be kept up by advancing a few 
groups or even scattered trees into the neighboring fields. 
In the middle states there are but few cultivated fields, even 
in ordinary farms, where there is not to be seen, here and 
there, a handsome cluster of saplings or a few full grown 
trees; or if not these, at least some tall growing bushes along 
the fences, all of which, by a little exercise of this leading 
principle of connection, can, by the planter of taste, be 
made to appear with few or trifling additions, to divaricate 
from, and ramble out of the park itself. Where the park joins 
natural woods, connection is still easier, and where it bounds 
upon one of our noble rivers, lakes, or other large sheets 
of water, of course connection is not expected; for sudden 
contrast and transition is there both natural and beautiful. 



Wood and Plantations 67 

In all cases good taste will suggest that the more polished 
parts of the lawns and grounds should, whatever character 
is attempted, be those nearest the house. There the most 
rare and beautiful sorts of trees are displayed, and the 
entire plantations agree in elegance with the style of art 
evinced in the mansion itself. When there is much extent, 
however, as the eye wanders from the neighborhood of the 
residence, the whole evinces less polish; and gradually, 
towards the furthest extremities, grows ruder, until it assimi- 
lates itself to the wildness of general nature around. This, 
of course, applies to grounds of large extent, and must not 
be so much enforced where the lawn embraced is but mod- 
erate, and therefore comes more directly under the eye. 

It will be remembered that, in the foregoing section, we 
stated it as one of the leading principles of the art of Land- 
scape Gardening, that in every instance where the grounds 
of a country residence have a marked natural character, 
whether of beautiful or picturesque expression, the efforts 
of the improver will be most successful if he contributes 
by his art to aid and strengthen that expression. This 
should ever be borne in mind when we are commencing 
any improvements in planting that will affect the general 
expression of the scene, as there are but few country resi- 
dences in the United States of any importance which have 
not naturally some distinct landscape character; and the 
labors of the improver will be productive of much greater 
satisfaction and more lasting pleasure, when they aim at 
effects in keeping with the whole scene, than if no regard be 
paid to this important point. This will be felt almost 
intuitively by persons who, perhaps, would themselves be 
incapable of describing the cause of their gratification, but 
would perceive the contrary at once; as many arc unable 
to analyze the pleasure derived from harmony in music, 
while they at once perceive the introduction of discordant 
notes. 

We do not intend that this principle should apply so 
closely, that extensive grounds naturally picturesque shall 
have nothing of the softening touches of more perfect beauty; 



68 



Landscape Gardening 



or that a demesne characterized by the latter expression 
should not be occasionally enlivened with a few "smart 
touches" of the former. This is often necessary, indeed, to 
prevent tame scenery from degenerating into insipidity, or 
picturesque into wildness, too great to be appropriate in a 
country residence. Picturesque trees give new spirit to 
groups of highly beautiful ones, and the latter sometimes 




FIG. 11. PLAN OF FARM BEFORE IMPROVEMENT 



heighten by contrast the value of the former. All of which, 
however, does not prevent the predominance of the leading 
features of either style, sufficiently strong to mark it as such; 
while, occasionally, something of zest or elegance may be 
borrowed from the opposite character, to suit the wishes or 
gratify the taste of the proprietor. 

Ground Plans of Ornamental Plantations. To illustrate 
partially our ideas on the arrangement of plantations we 



Wood and Plcinlalions 



place before the reader two or three examples, premising 
that the small scale to which they are reduced prevents our 
giving to them any character beyond that of the general one 
of the design. The first (Fig. 11) represents a portion, say 
one third or one half, of a piece of property selected for a 
country seat, and which has hitherto been kept in tillage as 
ordinary farm land. The public road, a, is the boundary 



WS>5jl 

^ S - 




FIG. 12. PLAN OF SAME GROUNDS IMPROVED AS COUNTRY SEAT 



on one side: dd are prettily wooded dells or hollows, which, 
together with a few groups near the proposed site of the 
house, c, and a few scattered single trees, make up the ag- 
gregate of the original woody embellishments of the locality. 
In the next figure (Fig. 12) a ground plan of the place is 
given, as it would appear after having been judiciously laid 
out and planted, with several years' growth. At a, the 
approach road leaves the public highway and leads to the 



70 Landscape Gardening 

house at c; from whence paths of smaller size, b, make 
the circuit of the ornamental portion of the residence, 
taking advantage of the wooded dells, </, originally existing, 
which offer some scope for varied walks concealed from 
each other by the intervening masses of thicket. It will 
be seen here, that one of the largest masses of wood forms 
a background to the house, concealing also the out-build- 
ings; while, from the windows of the mansion itself, the 
trees are so arranged as to group in the most pleasing and 
effective manner; at the same time broad masses of turf 
meet the eye, and fine distant views are had through the 
vistas in the lines, ee. In this manner the lawn appears 
divided into four distinct lawns or areas bounded by groups 
of trees, instead of being dotted over with an unmeaning 
confusion of irregular masses of foliage. The form of these 
areas varies also with every change of position in the spec- 
tator, as seen from different portions of the grounds, or dif- 
ferent points in the walks; and they can be still further 
varied at pleasure by adding more single trees or small 
groups, which should always, to produce variety of outline, 
be placed opposite the salient parts of the wood, and not in 
the recesses, which latter they would appear to diminish or 
clog up. The stables are shown at /; the barn at g, and 
the kitchen garden adjacent at h; the orchard at /; and a 
small portion of the farm lands at k; a back entrance to 
the out-buildings is shown in the rear of the orchard. The 
plan has been given for a place of seventy acres, thirty of 
w'hich include the pleasure-grounds, and forty the adjoin- 
ing farm lands. 

Figure 13 is the plan of an American mansion residence 
of considerable extent, only part of the farm lands, /, being 
here delineated. In this residence, as there is no extensive 
view worth preserving beyond the bounds of the estate, 
the pleasure-grounds are surrounded by an irregular and 
picturesque belt of wood. A fine natural stream or rivulet, 
which ran through the estate, has been formed into a hand- 
some pond, or small lake, /, which adds much to the interest 
of the grounds. The approach road breaks off from the 



\Yood ami l y lunlalionx 



71 



highway at the entrance lodge, a, and proceeds in easy 
curves to the mansion, b; and the groups of trees on the 
side of this approach nearest the house, are so arranged 
that the visitor scarcely obtains more than a glimpse of the 
latter, until he arrives at the most favorable position for a 
first impression. From the windows of the mansion, at 




FIG. 13. PLAN OF A MANSION RESIDENCE LAID OUT IN THE 

NATURAL STYLE 



either end, the eye ranges over groups of flowers and shrubs; 
while, on the entrance front, the trees are arranged so as to 
heighten the natural expression originally existing there. On 
the other front, the broad mass of light reflected from the 
green turf at h, is balanced by the dark shadows of the 
picturesque plantations which surround the lake, and skirt 
the whole boundary. At /, a light, inconspicuous wire fence 



72 Landscape Gardening 

separates that portion of the ground, y, ornamented with 
flowering shrubs and kept mown by the scythe, from the 
remainder, of a park-like character, which is kept short by 
the cropping of animals. At c, are shown the stables, 
carriage house, etc., which, though near the approach road, 
are concealed by foliage, though easily accessible by a short 
curved road, returning from the house, so as not to present 
any road leading in the same direction, to detract from 
the dignity of the approach in going to it. A prospect 
tower, or rustic pavilion, on a little eminence overlooking 
the whole estate, is show r n at j. The small arabesque beds 
near the house are filled with masses of choice flowering 
shrubs and plants; the kitchen garden is shown at d, and 
the orchard at e. 

Suburban villa residences are, every day, becoming more 
numerous; and in laying out the grounds around them, and 
disposing the sylvan features, there is often more ingenuity, 
and as much taste required, as in treating a country resi- 
dence of several hundred acres. In the small area of from 
one half an acre to ten or twelve acres, surrounding often 
a villa of the first class, it is desirable to assemble many of 
the same features, and as much as possible of the enjoy- 
ment, which are to be found in a large and elegant estate. 
To do this, the space allotted to various purposes, as the 
kitchen garden, lawn, etc., must be judiciously portioned 
out, and so characterized and divided by plantations, that 
the whole shall appear to be much larger than it really is, 
from the fact that the spectator is never alknved to see the 
whole at a single glance; but while each portion is complete 
in itself, the plan shall present nothing incongruous or ill 
assorted. 

An excellent illustration of this species of residence is 
afforded the reader in the accompanying plan (Fig. 14) of 
the grounds of Riverside Villa. This pretty villa at Burl- 
ington, New Jersey (to which we shall again refer), was 
lately built, and the grounds, about six or eight acres in 
extent, laid out, from the designs of John Notman, Esq., 
architect, of Philadelphia; and while the latter promise a 



Wood (ind Plantations 



73 



large amount of beauty and enjoyment, scarcely anything 
which can be supposed necessary for the convenience or 
wants of the family, is lost sight of. 




FIG. 14. PLAN OF A SUBURBAN VILLA RESIDENCE 



The house, a, stands quite near the bank of the river, 
while one front commands fine water views, and the other 
looks into the lawn or pleasure grounds, b. On one side 
of the area is the kitchen garden, c, separated and con- 
cealed from the lawn by thick groups of evergreen and 



74 Landscape Gardening 

deciduous trees. At e, is a picturesque orchard, in which 
the fruil trees are planted in groups instead of straight lines, 
for the sake of effect. Directly under the windows of the 
drawing-room is the flower garden, /; and at g, is a seat. 
The walk around the lawn is also a carriage road, affording 
entrance and egress from the rear of the grounds, for garden 
purposes, as well as from the front of the house. At h, is 
situated the ice-house; d, hot-beds; j, bleaching green; 
/, gardener's house, etc. In the rear of the latter are the 
stables, which are not shown on the plan. 

The embellished farm (ferme ornee) is a pretty mode of 
combining something of the beauty of the landscape garden 
with the utility of the farm, and we hope to see small country 
seats of this kind become more general. As regards profit 
in farming, of course, all modes of arranging or distributing 
land are inferior to simple square fields; on account of the 
greater facility of working the land in rectangular plots. 
But we suppose the owner of the small ornamental farm to 
be one with whom profit is not the first and only considera- 
tion, but who desires to unite with it something to gratify 
his taste, and to give a higher charm to his rural occupa- 
tions. In Fig. 15, is shown part of an embellished farm, 
treated in the picturesque style throughout. The various 
fields, under grass or tillage, are divided and bounded by 
winding roads, a, bordered by hedges of buckthorn, cedar, 
and hawthorn, instead of wooden fences; the roads being 
wide enough to afford a pleasant drive or walk, so as to 
allow the owner or visitor to enjoy at the same time an 
agreeable circuit, and a glance at all the various crops and 
modes of culture. In the plan before us, the approach from 
the public road is at b; the dwelling at c; the barns and 
farm-buildings at d; the kitchen garden at e; and the 
orchard at /. About the house are distributed some groups 
of trees, and here the fields, g, are kept in grass, and are 
either mown or pastured. The fields in crops are desig- 
nated /?, on the plan; and a few picturesque groups of trees 
are planted, or allowed to remain, in these, to keep up the 
general character of the place. A low dell, or rocky thicket, 



Wood and Plantations 



75 



is situated at /. Exceedingly interesting and agreeable 
effects may be produced, at little cost, in a picturesque 
farm of this kind. The hedges may be of a great variety 
of suitable shrubs, and, in addition to those that we have 
named, we would introduce others of the sweet brier, the 
Michigan or prairie rose (admirably adapted for the pur- 
pose), the flowering crab, and the like - - beautiful and 




&"^L? 



FIG. 15. PLAN OF AN EMBELLISHED FARM (ferme ornee) 

fragrant in their growth and blossoms. These hedges we 
would cause to grow thick, rather by interlacing the branches, 
than by constant shearing or trimming, which would give 
them a less formal, and a more free and natural air. The 
winding lanes traversing the farm need only be gravelled 
near the house, in other portions being left in grass, which 
will need little care, as it will generally be kept short enough 
by the passing of men and vehicles over it. 

A picturesque or ornamental farm like this would be an 
agreeable residence for a gentleman retiring into the coun- 



76 Landscape Gardening 

try on a small farm, desirous of experimenting for himself 
with all the new modes of culture. The small and irregu- 
lar fields would, to him, be rather an advantage, and there 
would be an air of novelty and interest about the whole 
residence. Such an arrangement as this would also be 
suitable for a fruit farm near one of our large towns, the 
fields being occupied by orchards, vines, grass, and grain. 
The house and all the buildings should be of a simple, 
though picturesque and accordant character. 

The cottage ornee may have more or less ground attached 
to it. It is the ambition of some to have a great house and 
little land, and of others (among whom we remember the 
poet Cowley) to have a little house and a large garden. 
The latter would seem to be the more natural taste. When 
the grounds of a cottage are large, they will be treated by 
the landscape gardener nearly like those of a villa residence; 
when they are smaller a more quiet and simple character 
must be aimed at. But even where they consist of only a 
rood or two, something tasteful and pretty may be 
arranged. 

In making these arrangements, even in the small area 
of a fourth of an acre, we should study the same principles 
and endeavor to produce the same harmony of effects, as 
if we were improving a mansion residence of the first class. 
The extent of the operations, and the sums lavished, are 
not by any means necessarily connected with successful 
and pleasing results. The man of correct taste will, by the 
aid of very limited means and upon a small surface, be 
able to afford the mind more true pleasure, than the im- 
prover who lavishes thousands without it, creating no other 
emotion than surprise or pity at the useless expenditure 
incurred; and the Abbe Delille says nothing more true than 
that, 

" Ce noble emploi demand un artiste qui pense, 
Prodigue de genie, et non pas de depense." 

From the inspection of plans like these, the tyro may 
learn something of the manner of arranging plantations, 



Wood and Plantations 77 

and of the general effect of the natural style in particular 
cases and situations. But the knowledge they afford is so 
far below that obtained by an inspection of the effects in 
reality, that the latter should in all cases be preferred 
where it is practicable. In this style, unlike the ancient, 
it is almost impossible that the same plan should exactly 
suit any other situation than that for which it was intended, 
for its great excellence lies in the endless variety produced 
by its application to different sites, situations, and sur- 
faces; developing the latent capacities of one place and 
heightening the charms of another. 

But the leading principles as regards the formation of 
plantations, which we have here endeavored briefly to 
elucidate, are the same in all cases. After becoming famil- 
iar with these, should the amateur landscape gardener be 
at a loss how to proceed, he can hardly do better, as we 
have before suggested, than to study and recur often to the 
beautiful compositions and combinations of nature, dis- 
played in her majestic groups, masses, and single trees, as 
well as open glades and deep thickets; of which, fortu- 
nately, in most parts of our country, checkered here and 
there as it is with beautiful and picturesque scenery, there 
is no dearth or scarcity. Keeping these few principles in 
his mind, he will be able to detect new beauties and trans- 
fer them to his own estate; for nature is truly inexhaustible 
in her resources of the Beautiful. 

Classification of Trees as to Expression. The amateur 
who wishes to dispose his plantations in the natural style 
of Landscape Gardening so as to produce graceful or pic- 
turesque landscape, will be greatly aided by a study of the 
peculiar expression of trees individually and in composi- 
tion. The effect of a certain tree singly is often exceedingly 
different from that of a group of the same trees. To be 
fully aware of the effect of groups and masses requires con- 
siderable study, and the progress in this study may be 
greatly facilitated by a recurrence from groups in nature 
to groups in pictures. 

As a further aid to this most desirable species of informa- 



78 



Landscape Gardening 



lion we shall offer a few remarks on the principal varieties 
of character afforded by trees in composition. 

Almost all trees, with relation to forms, may be divided 
into three kinds, viz. round-headed trees, oblong or pyra- 
midal trees, and spiry-topped trees; and so far as the 
expressions of the different species comprised in these dis- 
tinct classes are concerned, they are, especially when viewed 
at a distance (as much of the wood seen in a prospect of 
any extent necessarily must be), productive of nearly the 
same general effects. 




FIG. 16. ROUND-HEADED TREE 

Round-headed trees compose by far the largest of these 
divisions. The term includes all those trees which have 
an irregular surface in their boughs, more or less varied in 
outline, but exhibiting in the whole a top or head compara- 
tively round; as the oak, ash, beech, and walnut. They 
are generally beautiful when young, from their smoothness, 
and the elegance of their forms; but often grow picturesque 
when age and time have had an opportunity to produce 
their wonted effects upon them. In general, however, the 
different round-headed trees may be considered as the most 



Wood and Plantations 79 

appropriate for introduction in highly-cultivated scenery, 
or landscapes where the character is that of graceful or 
polished beauty; as they harmonize with almost all 
scenes, buildings, and natural or artificial objects, uniting 
well with other forms and doing violence to no expression 
of scenery. From the numerous breaks in the surface of 
their foliage, which reflect differently the lights and produce 
deep shadows, there is great intricacy and variety in the 
heads of many round-topped trees; and therefore, as an 
outer surface to meet the eye in a plantation, they are 
much softer and more pleasing than the unbroken line 
exhibited by the sides of oblong or spiry-topped trees. The 
sky outline also, or the upper part of the head, varies 
greatly in round-topped trees from the irregularity in the 
disposition of the upper branches in different species, as 
the oak and ash, or even between individual specimens of 
the same kind of tree, as the oak, of which we rarely see 
two trees alike in form and outline, although they have 
the same characteristic expression; while on the other hand 
no two verdant objects can bear a greater general resem- 
blance to each other and show more sameness of figure than 
two Lombardy poplars. 

"In a tree," says Uvedale Price, "of which the foliage 
is everywhere full and unbroken, there can be but little 
variety of form; then, as the sun strikes only on the sur- 
face, neither can there be much variety of light and shade; 
and as the apparent color of objects changes according to 
the different degrees of light or shade in which they are 
placed, there can be as little variety of tint; and lastly, as 
there are none of these openings that excite and nourish 
curiosity, but the eye is everywhere opposed by one uni- 
form leafy screen, there can be as little intricacy as variety." 
From these remarks, it will be perceived that even among 
round-headed trees there may be great difference in the com- 
parative beauty of different sorts; and judging from the ex- 
cellent standard here laid down, it will also be seen how much 
in the eye of a painter a tree with a beautifully diversified 
surface, as the oak, surpasses in the composition of a scene 



80 



Landscape Gardening 



one with a very regular and compact surface and outline, as 
the horse-chestnut. In planting large masses of wood, 
therefore, or even in forming large groups in park scenery, 
round-headed trees of the ordinary loose and varied man- 
ner of growth common in the majority of forest trees, are 
greatly to be preferred to all others. When they cover 
large tracts, as several acres, they convey an emotion of 
grandeur to the mind; when they form vast forests of 
thousands of acres, they produce a feeling of sublimity; 
in the landscape garden when they stand alone, or in fine 
groups, they are graceful or beautiful. While young they 
have an elegant appearance; when old they generally be- 
come majestic or picturesque. Other trees may suit scenery 
or scenes of particular and decided characters, but round- 
headed trees are decidedly the chief adornment of general 
landscape. 




FIG. 17. SPIRY-TOPPED TREE 



Spiry-topped trees (Fig. 17) are distinguished by straight 
leading stems and horizontal branches, which are compara- 
tively small, and taper gradually to a point. The foliage 
is generally evergreen, and in most trees of this class hangs 



Wood and Plantations 81 

in parallel or drooping tufts from the branches. The vari- 
ous evergreen trees, composing the spruce and fir families, 
most of the pines, the cedar, and among deciduous trees, 
the larch, belong to this division. Their hue is generally 
much darker than that of deciduous trees, and there is a 
strong similarity, or almost sameness, in the different kinds 
of trees which may properly be called spiry-topped. 

From their sameness of form and surface this class of 
trees, when planted in large tracts or masses, gives much 
less pleasure than round-headed trees; and the eye is soon 
wearied with the monotony of appearance presented by 
long rows, groups, or masses, of the same form, outline, and 
appearance; to say nothing of the effect of the uniform 
dark color, unrelieved by the warmer tints of deciduous 
trees. Any one can bear testimony to this, who has trav- 
elled through a pine, hemlock, or fir forest, where he could 
not fail to be struck with its gloom, tediousness, and mon- 
otony, especially when contrasted with the variety and 
beauty in a natural wood of deciduous, round-headed trees. 

Although spiry-topped trees in large masses cannot be 
generally admired for ornamental plantations, yet they 
have a character of their own, which is very striking and 
peculiar, and we may add, in a high degree valuable to 
the Landscape Gardener. Their general expression when 
single or scattered is extremely spirited, wild, and pictur- 
esque; and when judiciously introduced into artificial scen- 
ery, they produce the most charming and unique effects. 
The situations where they have most effect is among 
rocks and in very irregular surfaces, and especially on 
the steep sides of high mountains, where their forms and 
the direction of their growth seem to harmonize with the 
pointed rocky summits. Fir and pine forests are extremely 
dull and monotonous in sandy plains and smooth surfaces 
(as in the pine barrens of the southern states); but among 
the broken rocks, craggy precipices, and otherwise end- 
lessly varied surfaces (as in the Alps, abroad, and the various 
rocky heights in the Highlands of the Hudson and the 
Alleghanies, at home) they are full of variety. 



82 



Landscape Gardening 



It will readily be seen, therefore, that spiry-topped trees 
should always be planted in considerable quantities in wild, 
broken, and picturesque scenes, where they will appear 
perfectly in keeping, and add wonderfully to the peculiar 
beauty of the situation. In all grounds where there are 
abruptly varied surfaces, steep banks, or rocky precipices, 
this class of trees lends its efficient aid to strengthen the 
prevailing beauty, and to complete the finish of the picture. 
In smooth, level surfaces, though spiry-topped trees cannot 




FIG. 18. OBLONG-HEADED TREE 



be thus extensively employed they are by no means to be 
neglected or thought valueless, but may be so combined 
and mingled with other round-headed and oblong-headed 
trees, as to produce very rich and pleasing effects. A tall 
larch or two, or a few spruces rising out of the centre of a 
group, give it life and spirit, and add greatly, both by con- 
trast of form and color, to the force of round-headed trees. 
A stately and regular white pine or hemlock, or a few 
thin groups of the same trees peeping out from amidst, or 
bordering a large mass of deciduous trees, have great power 



Wood (irul Plantations 83 

in adding to the interest which the same awakens in the 
mind of the spectator. 

Care must be taken, however, that the very spirited 
effect which is here aimed at, is not itself defeated by the 
over-anxiety of the planter, who, in scattering too profusely 
these very strongly marked trees, makes them at last so 
plentiful, as to give the whole a mingled and confused look, 
in which neither the graceful and sweeping outlines of the 
round-headed nor the picturesque summits of the spiry- 
topped trees predominate; as the former decidedly should, 
in all scenes where an expression of peculiarly irregular kind 
is not aimed at. 

The larch, to which we shall hereafter recur at some 
length, may be considered one of the most picturesque trees 
of this division; and being more rapid in its growth than 
most evergreens, it may be used as a substitute for, or in 
conjunction with them, where effect is speedily desired. 

Oblong-headed trees show heads of foliage more length- 
ened out, more formal, and generally more tapering, than 
round-headed ones. They differ from spiry-topped trees 
in having upright branches instead of horizontal ones, and 
in forming a conical or pyramidal mass of foliage, instead of 
a spiry, tufted one. They are mostly deciduous; and ap- 
proaching more nearly to round-headed trees than spiry- 
topped ones do, they may perhaps be more frequently in- 
troduced. The Lombardy poplar may be considered the 
representative of this division, as the oak is of the first, and 
the larch and fir of the second. Abroad, the oriental cypress, 
an evergreen, is used to produce similar effects in scenery. 

The great use of the Lombardy poplar, and other similar 
trees in composition, is to relieve or break into groups, 
large masses of wood. This it does very effectually, when 
its tall summit rises at intervals from among round-headed 
trees, forming pyramidal centres to groups where there was 
only a swelling and flowing outline. Formal rows, or 
groups of oblong-headed trees, however, are tiresome and 
monotonous to the last degree; a straight line of them be- 
ing scarcely better in appearance than a tall, stiff, gigantic 



84 Landscape Gardening 

hedge. Examples of this can be easily found in many 
parts of the Union where the crude and formal taste of 
proprietors, by leading them to plant long lines of Lom- 
bardy poplars, has had the effect of destroying the beauty 
of many a fine prospect and building.* 

Conical or oblong-headed trees, when carefully employed, 
are very effective for purposes of contrast, in conjunction 
with horizontal lines of buildings such as we see in Grecian 
or Italian architecture. Near such edifices, sparingly in- 
troduced, and mingled in small proportion with round- 
headed trees, they contrast advantageously with the long 
cornices, flat roofs, and horizontal lines that predominate 
in their exteriors. Lombardy poplars are often thus intro- 
duced in pictures of Italian scenery, where they sometimes 
break the formality of a long line of wall in the happiest 
manner. Nevertheless, if they should be indiscriminately 
employed, or even used in any considerable portion in the 
decoration of the ground immediately adjoining a building 
of any pretensions, they would inevitably defeat this pur- 
pose, and by their tall and formal growth diminish the 
apparent magnitude, as well as the elegance of the house. 

Drooping trees, though often classed with oblong-headed 
trees, differ from them in so many particulars, that they 
deserve to be ranked under a separate head. To this class 
belong the weeping willow, the weeping birch, the drooping 
elm, etc. Their prominent characteristics are gracefulness 
and elegance; and we consider them as unfit, therefore, to 
be employed to any extent in scenes where it is desirable to 
keep up the expression of a wild or highly picturesque char- 
acter. As single objects, or tastefully grouped in beautiful 
landscape, they are in excellent keeping, and contribute 
much to give value to the leading expression. 

When drooping trees are mixed indiscriminately with 

* la America the Lombardy poplar has now come to be a sort of 
shibboleth. The critical naturalists refuse it because of its exotic char- 
acter, while the architects and formalists use it with dangerous frequency. 
There is some criticism, too, of the Lombardy poplar as being a "cheap" 
tree, i.e., quickly grown and quickly lost. F. A. W. 



Wood and Phmlulions <Sf) 

other round-headed trees in the composition of groups or 
masses, much of their individual character is lost, as it 
depends not so much on the top (as in oblong and spiry 
trees) as upon the side branches, which are of course con- 
cealed by those of the adjoining trees. Drooping trees, 
therefore, as elms, birches, etc., are shown to the best 
advantage on the borders of groups or the boundaries of 
plantations. It must not be forgotten, but constantly kept 
in mind, that all strongly marked trees, like bright colors 
in pictures, only admit of occasional employment; and 
that the very object aimed at in introducing them will be 
defeated if they are brought into the lawn and park in 
masses, and distributed heedlessly on every side. An Eng- 
lish author very justly remarks, therefore, that the poplar, 
the willow, and the drooping birch, are "most dangerous 
trees in the hands of a planter who has not considerable 
knowledge and good taste in the composition of a land- 
scape." Some of them, as the native elm, from their 
abounding in our own woods, may appear oftener; while 
others which have a peculiar and exotic look, as the weep- 
ing willow, should only be seen in situations where they 
either do not disturb the prevailing expression, or (which 
is better) where they are evidently in good keeping. "The 
weeping willow," says Gilpin, with his usual good taste, "is 
not adapted to sublime objects. We wish it not to screen 
the broken buttress and Gothic windows of an abbey, or 
to overshadow the battlements of a ruined castle. These 
offices it resigns to the oak, whose dignity can support 
them. The weeping willow seeks an humble scene - - some 
romantic footpath bridge, which it half conceals, or some 
grassy pool over which it hangs its streaming foliage, 

- 'And dips 



Its pendent boughs, as if to drink." 

Having now described the peculiar characteristics of 
these different classes of round-headed, spiry-topped oblong, 
and drooping trees, we should consider the proper method 
by which a harmonious combination of the different forms 



86 Landscape (Gardening 

composing them may be made so as not to violate correct 
principles of taste. An indiscriminate mixture of their 
different forms would, it is evident, produce anything but 
an agreeable effect. For example, let a person plant to- 
gether in a group, three trees of totally opposite forms and 
expressions, viz., a weeping willow, an oak, and a poplar; 
and the expression of the whole would be destroyed by 
the confusion resulting from their discordant forms. On 
the other hand, the mixture of trees that exactly corresponds 
in their forms, if these forms, as in oblong or drooping trees, 
are similar, will infallibly create sameness. In order then 
to produce beautiful variety which shall neither on the 
one side run into confusion, nor on the other verge into 
monotony, it is requisite to give some little attention to the 
harmony of form and color in the composition of trees in 
artificial plantations. 

The only rules which we can suggest to govern the 
planter are these: First, if a certain leading expression is 
desired in a group of trees, together with as great a variety 
as possible, such species must be chosen as harmonize with 
each other in certain leading points. And, secondly, in 
occasionally intermingling trees of opposite characters, dis- 
cordance may be prevented, and harmonious expression 
promoted, by interposing other trees of an intermediate 
character. 

In the first case, suppose it is desired to form a group of 
trees, in which gracefulness must be the leading expression. 
The willow alone would have the effect; but in groups, 
willows alone produce sameness: in order therefore, to give 
variety, we must choose other trees which, while they differ 
from the willow in some particulars, agree in others. The 
elm has much larger and darker foliage, while it has also a 
drooping spray; the weeping birch differs in its leaves, but 
agrees in the pensile flow of its branches; the common 
birch has few pendent boughs, but resembles in the airy 
lightness of its leaves; and the three-thorned acacia, 
though its branches are horizontal, has delicate foliage of 
nearly the same hue and floating lightness as the willow. 



Wood and Plantations <S7 

Here \ve have a group of five trees, which is, in the whole, 
full of gracefulness and variety, while there is nothing in 
the composition inharmonious to the practised eye. 

To illustrate the second case, let us suppose a long sweep- 
ing outline of maples, birches, and other light, mellow- 
colored trees, which the improver wishes to vary and break 
into groups, by spiry-topped, evergreen trees. It is evi- 
dent, that if these trees were planted in such a manner as 
to peer abruptly out of the light-colored foliage of the 
former trees, in dark or almost black masses of tapering 
verdure, the effect would be by no means so satisfactory 
and pleasing, as if there were a partial transition from the 
mellow, pale green of the maples, etc., to the darker hues of 
the oak, ash, or beech, and finally the sombre tint of the 
evergreens. Thus much for the coloring; and if, in addi- 
tion to this, oblong-headed trees or pyramidal trees were 
also placed near and partly intermingled with the spiry- 
topped ones, the unity of the whole composition would be 
still more complete.* 

Contrasts, again, are often admissible in woody scenery; 
and we would not wish to lose" many of our most superb 
trees, because they could not be introduced in particular 
portions of landscape. Contrasts in trees may be so vio- 
lent as to be displeasing; as in the example of the groups 
of the three trees, the willow, poplar, and oak: or they 
may be such as to produce spirited and pleasing effects. 
This must be effected by planting the different divisions of 

* We are persuaded that very few persons are aware of the beauty, 
varied and endless, that may be produced by arranging trees with regard 
to their coloring. It requires the eye and genius of a Claude or a Poussin, 
to develop all these hidden beauties of harmonious combination. Gilpin 
rightly says, in speaking of the dark Scotch fir, "with regard to color in 
general, I think I speak the language of painting, when I assert that the 
picturesque eye makes little distinction in this matter. It has no attach- 
ment to one color in preference to another, but considers the beauty of 
all coloring as resulting, not from the colors themselves, but almost 
entirely from their harmony with other colors in their neighborhood. So 
that as the Scotch fir tree is combined or stationed, it forms a beautiful 
umbrage or a murky spot." - A. J. D. 



88 Landscape Gardening 

trees, first, in small leading groups, and then by effecting a 
union between the groups of different character, by inter- 
mingling those of the nearest similarity into and near the 
groups: in this way, by easy transitions from the drooping 
to the round-headed, and from these to the tapering trees, 
the whole of the foliage and forms harmonize well. 

"Trees," observes Mr. Whately, in his elegant treatise 
on this subject, "which differ in but one of these circum- 
stances, of shape, green, or growth, though they agree in 
every other, are sufficiently distinguished for the purpose 
of variety; if they differ in two or three, they become 
contrasts: if in all, they are opposite, and seldom group 
well together. Those, on the contrary, which are of one 
character, and are distinguished only as the characteristic 
mark is strongly or faintly impressed upon them, form a 
beautiful mass, and unity is preserved without same- 



55 

ness. 



There is another circumstance connected with the color 
of trees, that will doubtless suggest itself to the improver of 
taste, the knowledge of which may sometimes be turned 
to valuable account. We mean the effects produced in the 
apparent coloring of a landscape by distance, which paint- 
ers term aerial perspective. Standing at a certain position 
in a scene, the coloring is deep, rich, and full in the fore- 
ground, more tender and mellow in the middle-ground, and 
softening to a pale tint in the distance. 

"Where to the eye three well marked distances 
Spread their peculiar coloring, vivid green, 
Warm brown, and black opake the foreground bears 
Conspicuous: sober olive coldly marks 
The second distance; thence the third declines 
In softer blue, or lessening still, is lost 
In fainted purple. When thy taste is rnll'd 
To deck a scene where nature's self presents 
All these distinct gradations, then rejoice 
As does the Painter, and like him apply 
Thy colors; plant thou on each separate part 
Its proper foliage." 

* Observations on Modern Gardening. 



Wood and Plantations 89 

Advantage may occasionally be taken of this peculiarity 
in the gradation of color, in Landscape Gardening, by the 
creation, as it were, of an artificial distance. In grounds 
and scenes of limited extent, the apparent size and breadth 
may be increased, by planting a majority of the trees in 
the foreground, of dark tints, and the boundary with foliage 
of a much lighter hue. 

An acquaintance, individually, with the different species 
of trees of indigenous and foreign growth, which may be 
cultivated with success in this climate, is absolutely essen- 
tial to the amateur or the professor of Landscape Garden- 
ing. The tardiness or rapidity of their growth, the periods 
at which their leaves and flowers expand, the soils they 
love best, and their various habits and characters, are all 
subjects of the highest interest to him. In short, as a love 
of the country almost commences with a knowledge of its 
peculiar characteristics, the pure air, the fresh enamelled 
turf, and the luxuriance and beauty of the whole landscape; 
so the taste for the embellishment of rural residences must 
grow out of an admiration for beautiful trees, and the 
delightful effects they are capable of producing in the hands 
of persons of taste and lovers of nature. 

Admitting this, we think, in the comparatively meagre 
state of general information on this subject among us, we 
shall render an acceptable service to the novice, by giving 
a somewhat detailed description of the character and habits 
of most of the finest hardy forest and ornamental trees. 
Among those living in the country, there are many who care 
little for the beauties of Landscape Gardening, who are yet 
interested in those trees which are remarkable for the 
beauty of their forms, their foliage, their blossoms, or their 
useful purposes. This, we hope, will be a sufficient ex- 
planation for the apparently disproportionate number of 
pages which we shall devote to this part of our subject. 



CHAPTER IV 
TREATMENT OF GROUND 

- "Strength may wield the ponderous spade, 



May turn the clod and wheel the compost home; 
But elegance, chief grace the garden shows, 
And most attractive, is the fair result 
Of thought, the creature of a polished mind." 

COWPER. 

GROUND is undoubtedly the most unwieldy and pon- 
derous material that comes under the care of the 
Landscape Gardener. It is not only difficult to 
remove, the operations of the leveller rarely extending below 
two or three feet of the surface; but the effect produced by 
a given quantity of labor expended upon it is generally 
much less than when the same has been bestowed in the 
formation of plantations, or the erection of buildings. The 
achievements of art upon ground appear so trifling, too, 
when we behold the apparent facility with which nature has 
arranged it in such a variety of forms, that the former sink 
into insignificance when compared with the latter. 

For these reasons, the operations to be performed upon 
ground in this country, will generally be limited to the 
neighborhood of the house, or the scenery directly under 
the eye. Here, by judicious levelling and smoothing in 
some cases, or by raising gentle eminences with interposing 
hollows in others, much may be done at a moderate ex- 
pense, to improve the beauty of the surrounding landscape. 

Roads and uxilks are so directly connected with opera- 
tions on the surface of the ground, and with the disposition 
of plantations, which we have already made familiar to the 
reader, that we shall introduce in this place a few remarks 
relative to their direction and formation. 

The Approach is by far the most important of these 

90 



Treatment of (Ground 91 

routes. It is the private road, leading from the public 
highway directly to the house itself. It should therefore 
bear a proportionate breadth and size, and exhibit marks 
of good keeping, in accordance with the dignity of the 
mansion. 

In the ancient style of gardening, the approach was so 
formed as to enter directly in front of the house, affording 
a full view of that portion of the edifice, and no other. A 
line drawn as directly as possible, and evenly bordered on 
each side with a tall avenue of trees, was the whole expendi- 
ture of art necessary in its formation. It is true, the sim- 
plicity of design was often more than counterbalanced by 
the difficulty of levelling, grading, and altering the surface, 
necessary to please the geometric eye; but the rules were as 
plain and unchangeable, as the lines were parallel and 
undeviating. 

In the present more advanced state of Landscape Garden- 
ing, the formation of the approach has become equally a 
matter of artistical skill with other details of the art. The 
house is generally so approached, that the eye shall first 
meet it in an angular direction, displaying not only the 
beauty of the architectural fagade but also one of the end 
elevations, thus giving a more complete idea of the size, 
character, or elegance of the building: and instead of lead- 
ing in a direct line from the gate to the house, it curves in 
easy lines through certain portions of the park or lawn, until 
it reaches that object. 

If the point where the approach is to start from the 
highway be not already determined past alteration, it 
should be so chosen as to afford a sufficient drive through 
the grounds before arriving at the house, to give the stranger 
some idea of the extent of the whole property: to allo\v an 
agreeable diversity of surface over which to lead it: and 
lastly in such a manner as not to interfere with the con- 
venience of ready access to and from the mansion. 

This point being decided, and the other being the man- 
sion and adjacent buildings, it remains to lay out the road 
in such gradual curves as will appear easy and graceful, 



92 Landscape Gardening 

without verging into rapid turns or formal stiffness. Since 
the modern style has become partially known and adopted 
here, some persons appear to have supposed that nature 
"has a horror of straight lines," and consequently, believ- 
ing that they could not possibly err, they immediately ran 
into the other extreme, filling their grounds with zig-zag 
and regularly serpentine roads, still more horrible: which 
can only be compared to the contortions of a wounded 
snake dragging its way slowly over the earth. 

There are two guiding principles which have been laid 
down for the formation of approach roads. The first, that 
the curves should never be so great, or lead over surfaces 
so unequal, as to make it disagreeable to drive upon them; 
and the second, that the road should never curve without 
some reason, either real or apparent. 

The most natural method of forming a winding approach 
where the ground is gently undulating, is to follow, in some 
degree, the depressions of surface, and to curve round the 
eminences. This is an excellent method, so long as it does 
not lead us in too circuitous a direction, nor, as we before 
hinted, make the road itself too uneven. When either of 
these happens, the easy, gradual flow of the curve in the 
proper direction, must be maintained by levelling or grading, 
to produce the proper surface. 

Nothing can be more unmeaning than to see an approach, 
or any description of road, winding hither and thither, 
through an extensive level lawn, towards the house, with- 
out the least apparent reason for the curves. Happily, 
we are not, therefore, obliged to return to the straight line; 
but gradual curves may always be so arranged as to appear 
necessarily to wind round the groups of trees, which other- 
wise would stand in the way. Wherever a bend in the road 
is intended, a cluster or group of greater or less size and 
breadth proportionate to the curve, should be placed in the 
projection formed. These trees, as soon as they attain 
some size, if they are properly arranged, we may suppose 
to have originally stood there, and the road naturally to 
have curved, to avoid destroying them. 



Treatment of (iround 93 

This arrangement of trees bordering an extended approach 
road, in connection with the various other groups, masses, 
and single trees, in the adjacent lawn, will in most cases 
have the effect of concealing the house from the spectator 
approaching it, except, perhaps, from one or two points. 
It has, therefore, been considered a matter worthy of con- 
sideration, at what point or points the first view of the 
house shall be obtained. If seen at too great a distance, 
as in the case of a large estate, it may appear more diminu- 
tive and of less magnitude than it should; or, if first viewed 
in some other position, it may strike the eye of a stranger, 
at that point, unfavorably. The best, and indeed the only 
way to decide the matter, is to go over the whole ground 
covered by the approach route carefully, and select a spot 
or spots sufficiently near to give the most favorable and 
striking view of the house itself. This, if openings are to 
be made, can only be done in winter; but when the ground 
is to be newly planted, it may be prosecuted at any season. 

The late Mr. Repton, who was one of the most cele- 
brated English practical landscape gardeners, has laid 
down in one of his works, the following rules on the sub- 
ject, which we quote, not as applying in all cases, but to 
show what are generally thought the principal requisites 
of this road in the modern style. 

First. It ought to be a road to the house, and to that 
principally. 

Secondly. If it be not naturally the nearest road pos- 
sible, it ought artificially to be made to appear so. 

Thirdly. The artificial obstacles which make this road 
the nearest, ought to appear natural. 

Fourthly. Where an approach quits the high road, it 
ought not to break from it at right angles, or in such a 
manner as to rob the entrance of importance, but rather 
at some bend of the public road, from which a lodge or 
gate may be more conspicuous; and where the high road 
may appear to branch from the approach, rather than the 
approach from the high road. 

Fifthly. After the approach enters the park, it should 



94 Landscape Gardening 

avoid skirting along its boundary, which betrays the want 
of extent or unity of property. 

Si.iihli/. The house, unless very large and magnificent, 
should not be seen at so great a distance as to make it 
appear much less than it really is. 

Seventhli/. The first view of the house should be from 
the most pleasing point of sight. 

Eighthly. As soon as the house is visible from the 
approach, there should be no temptation to quit it (which 
will ever be the case if the road be at all circuitous), unless 
sufficient obstacles, such as water or inaccessible ground, 
appear to justify its course.* 

Although there are many situations where these rules 
must be greatly modified in practice, yet the improver will 
do well to bear them in mind, as it is infinitely more easy to 
make occasional deviations from general rules, than to carry 
out a tasteful improvement without any guiding principles. 

There are many fine country residences on the banks of 
the Hudson, Connecticut, and other rivers, where the pro- 
prietors are often much perplexed and puzzled, by the 
situation of their houses; the building presenting really 
two fronts, while they appear to desire only one. Such is 
the case when the estate is situated between the public 
road on one side, and the river on the other; and we have 
often seen the approach artificially tortured into a long 
circuitous route, in order finally to arrive at what the 
proprietor considers the true front, viz., the side nearest 
the river. When a building is so situated, much the most 
elegant effect is produced by having two fronts: one, the 
entrance front, with the porch or portico nearest the road, 
and the other, the river front, facing the water. The beauty 
of the whole is often surprisingly enhanced by this arrange- 
ment, for the visitor, after passing by the approach through 
a considerable portion of the grounds, with perhaps but 
slight and partial glimpses of the river, is most agreeably 
surprised on entering the house, and looking from the 
drawing-room windows of the other front, to behold another 

c Bepton's Inquiry into the Changes of Taste in Landscape Gardening. 



Treatment of Ground 95 

beautiful scene totally different from the last, enriched and 
ennobled by the wide-spread sheet of water before him. 
Much of the effect produced by this agreeable surprise 
from the interior, it will readily be seen, would be lost, if 
the stranger had already driven round and alighted on the 
river front. 

The Drive is a variety of road rarely seen among us, yet 
which may be made a very agreeable feature in some of 
our country residences, at a small expense. It is intended 
for exercise more secluded than that upon the public road, 
and to show the interesting portions of the place from the 
carriage, or on horseback. Of course it can only be formed 
upon places of considerable extent; but it enhances the 
enjoyment of such places very highly, in the estimation of 
those who are fond of equestrian exercises. It generally 
commences where the approach terminates, viz., near the 
house: and from thence, proceeds in the same easy curvi- 
linear manner through various parts of the grounds, farm 
or estate. Sometimes it sweeps through the pleasure 
grounds, and returns along the very beach of the river, 
beneath the fine overhanging foliage of its projecting bank; 
sometimes it proceeds towards some favorite point of view, 
or interesting spot on the landscape; or at others it leaves 
the la\vn and traverses the farm, giving the proprietor an 
opportunity to examine his crops, or exhibit his agricul- 
tural resources to his friends. 

Walks are laid out for purposes similar to drives, but 
are much more common, and may be introduced into every 
scene, however limited. They are intended solely for 
promenades, or exercise on foot, and should therefore be 
dry and firm, if possible, at all seasons when it is desirable 
to use them. Some may be open to the south, sheltered 
with evergreens, and made dry and hard for a warm pro- 
menade in winter; others formed of closely mown turf, 
and thickly shaded by a leafy canopy of verdure, for a cool 
retreat in the midst of summer. Others again may lead to 
some sequestered spot, and terminate in a secluded rustic 
seat, or conduct to some shaded dell or rugged eminence, 



Landscape Gardening 



where an extensive prospect can be enjoyed. Indeed, the 
genius of the place must suggest the direction, length, and 
number of the walks to be laid out, as no fixed rules can be 
imposed in a subject so everchanging and different. It 
should, however, never be forgotten, that the walk ought 
always to correspond to the scene it traverses, being rough 
where the latter is wild and picturesque, sometimes scarcely 
differing from a common footpath, and more polished as 
the surrounding objects show evidences of culture and high 
keeping. In direction, like the approach, it should take 
easy flowing curves, though it may often turn more abruptly 
al the interposition of an obstacle. The chief beauty of 
curved and bending lines in walks, lies in the new scenes 
which by means of them are opened to the eye. In the 
straight walk of half a mile the whole is seen at a glance, 
and there is too often but little to excite the spectator to 
pursue the search; but in the modern style, at every few 
rods, a new turn in the walk opens a new prospect to the 
beholder, and "leads the eye," as Hogarth graphically ex- 
pressed it, "a kind of wanton chase," continually affording 
new refreshment and variety. 

Fences are often among the most unsightly and offensive 
objects in our country seats. Some persons appear to have 
a passion for subdividing their grounds into a great number 
of fields; a process which is scarcely ever advisable even in 
common farms, but for which there can be no apology in 
elegant residences. The close proximity of fences to the 
house gives the whole place a confined and mean character. 
'The mind/' says Repton, "feels a certain disgust under a 
sense of confinement in any situation, however beautiful." 
A wide-spread lawn, on the contrary, where no boundaries 
are conspicuous, conveys an impression of ample extent 
and space for enjoyment. It is frequently the case that, 
on that side of the house nearest the outbuildings, fences 
are, for convenience, brought in its close neighborhood, and 
here they are easily concealed by plantations; but on the 
other sides, open and unobstructed views should be pre- 
served, by removing all barriers not absolutely necessary. 



Treatment of Ground 97 

Nothing is more common, in the places of cockneys who 
become inhabitants of the country, than a display imme- 
diately around the dwelling of a spruce paling of carpentry, 
neatly made, and painted white or green; an abomination 
among the fresh fields, of which no person of taste could 
be guilty. To fence off a small plot around a fine house, 
in the midst of a lawn of fifty acres, is a perversity which 
we could never reconcile, with even the lowest perception 
of beauty.* An old stone wall covered with creepers and 
climbing plants, may become a picturesque barrier a thou- 
sand times superior to such a fence. But there is never one 
instance in a thousand where any barrier is necessary. 
Where it is desirable to separate the house from the level 
grass of the lawn, let it be done by an architectural terrace 
of stone, or a raised platform of gravel supported by turf, 
which will confer importance and dignity upon the building, 
instead of giving it a petty and trifling expression. 

Verdant hedges are elegant substitutes for stone or wooden 
fences, and we are surprised that their use has not been 
hitherto more general. We have ourselves been making 
experiments for the last ten years with various hedge- 
plants, and have succeeded in obtaining some hedges which 
are now highly admired. Five or six years will, in this 
climate, under proper care, be sufficient to produce hedges 
of great beauty, capable of withstanding the attacks of 
every kind of cattle; barriers, too, which will outlast many 
generations. The common Arbor Vitse, which grows in 
great abundance in many districts, forms one of the most 
superb hedges, without the least care in trimming; f the 
foliage growing thickly dow^n to the very ground, and being 
evergreen, the hedge remains clothed the whole year. Our 
common thorns form hedges of great strength and beauty. 
They are indeed much better adapted to this climate than 

' Picket fences about farm and village dwellings were formerly con- 
sidered very stylish, but are now quite out of vogue. There was a lime, 
of course, when fences were necessary for protection from vagrant cattle, 
and the practice grew into custom from this necessity. -- F. A. W. 

f It is much better when trimmed annually in June. -- F. A. W. 



98 Landscape Gardening 

the English Hawthorn, which often suffers from the un- 
clouded radiance of our midsummer sun. In autumn, too, 
it loses its foliage much sooner than our native sorts, some 
of which assume a brilliant scarlet when the foliage is fading 
in autumn. In New England, the buckthorn * is preferred 
from its rapid and luxuriant growth; and in the middle 
states the osage orange is becoming a favorite for its glossy 
and polished foliage. The privet is a rapid growing shrub, 
well fitted for interior divisions. f Picturesque hedges are 
easily formed by intermingling a variety of flowering shrubs, 
sweet briers, etc., and allowing the whole to grow together 
in rich masses. For this purpose the Michigan rose is ad- 
mirably adapted at the north, and the Cherokee rose at 
the south. In all cases where hedges are employed in the 
natural style of landscape (and not in close connection 
with highly artificial objects, buildings, etc.), a more agree- 
able effect will be produced by allowing the hedge to grow 
somewhat irregular in form, or varying it by planting near 
it other small trees and shrubs to break the outline, than 
by clipping it in even and formal lines. Hedges may be 
obtained in a single season, by planting long shoots of the 
osier willow, or any other tree which throws out roots 
easily from cuttings. 

A simple and pleasing barrier, in good keeping with cot- 
tage residences, may be formed of rustic work, as it is 
termed.:}: For this purpose, stout rods of any of our native 
forest trees are chosen (cedar being preferable) with the 
bark on, six to ten feet in length; these are sharpened and 

The Buckthorn is perhaps the best plant where a thick screen is very 
speedily desired. It is not liable to the attack of insects; grows very 
thickly at the bottom, at once; and will make an efficient screen sooner 
than almost any other plant. A. J. D. 

t The osage orange has been much used for utility hedges in the 
middle states, but is objectionable for lawn use on account of its thorns. 
The privet (various species) has become the favorite ornamental hedge 
plant, though many other species are now planted. A few of these are 
hemlock, spruce, barberry, spirea, lilac, syringa, hydrangea. -- F. A. \Y. 

t This fancy for " rustic work" was very strong in Mr. Downing's time, 
but the fashion has now completely changed, and for the better. - 
F. A. \Y. 



Treatment of Ground 99 

driven into the ground in the form of a lattice, or wrought 
into any figures of trellis that the fancy may suggest. 
When covered with luxuriant vines and climbing plants, 
such a barrier is often admirable for its richness and variety. 

The sunken fence, fosse, or ha-ha, is an English invention, 
used in separating that portion of the lawn near the house, 
from the part grazed by deer or cattle, and is only a ditch 
sufficiently wide and deep to render communication difficult 
on opposite sides. When the ground slopes from the house, 
such a sunk fence is invisible to a person near the latter, and 
answers the purpose of a barrier without being in the least 
obtrusive.* 

In a succeeding section we shall refer to terraces with 
their parapets, which are by far the most elegant barriers 
for a highly decorated flower garden, or for the purpose of 
maintaining a proper connection between the house and the 
grounds, a subject which is scarcely at all attended to, or 
its importance even recognized as yet among us. 

* This contrivance has not been so frequently used in America as its 
merits would warrant. A good example is seen by thousands of visitors 
annually at Mt. Vernon. F. A. W. 



CHAPTER V 

TREATMENT OF WATER 

The dale 



With woods o'erhung, and shagg'd with mossy rocks, 
Whence on each hand the gushing waters play, 
And down the rough cascade white-dashing fall, 
Or gleam in lengthened vista through the trees. 

THOMSON. 

THE delightful and captivating effects of water in 
landscapes of every description, are universally 
known and admitted. The boundless sea, the broad 
full river, the dashing noisy brook, and the limpid meander- 
ing rivulet, are all possessed of their peculiar charms; and 
when combined with scenes otherwise finely disposed and 
well wooded, they add a hundred fold to their beauty. The 
soft and trembling shadows of the surrounding trees and 
hills, as they fall upon a placid sheet of water - - the bril- 
liant light which the crystal surface reflects in pure sun- 
shine, mirroring, too, at times in its resplendent bosom, all 
the cerulean depth and snowy whiteness of the overhanging 
sky, give it an almost magical effect in a beautiful landscape. 
The murmur of the babbling brook, that 

"In linked sweetness long drawn out," 

falls upon the ear in some quiet secluded spot, is inex- 
pressibly soothing and delightful to the mind; and the 
deeper sound of the cascade that rushes, with an almost 
musical dash, over its bed of moss-covered rock, is one of 
the most fascinating of the many elements of enjoyment 
in a fine country seat. The simplest or the most monot- 
onous view may be enlivened by the presence of water in 
any considerable quantity; and the most picturesque and 
striking landscape will, by its addition, receive a new charm, 

100 



Treatment of \Yalcr 101 



inexpressibly enhancing all ils former interest. In shorl, 
as no place can be considered perfectly complete without 
either a water view or water upon its own grounds, wher- 
ever it does not so exist and can be easily formed by arti- 
ficial means, no man will neglect to take advantage of so 
fine a source of embellishment as is this element in some 
of its varied forms. 

- Fleuvcs, ruisscaux, beaux lacs, claircs fontaines, 



Venez, portez partout la vie et la fralchcur? 

Ah! qui peut remplaccr votre aspect enchanteur? 

De pres il nous amuse, et de loin nous invite: 

C'est le premier qu'on cherche, et le dernier qu'on quitte. 

Vous fecondez les champs; vous repetez les cieux; 

Vous enchantez 1'oreille, et vous charmez les yeux." 

In this country, where the progress of gardening and 
improvements of this nature, is rather shown in a simple 
and moderate embellishment of a large number of villas 
and country seats, than by a lavish and profuse expendi- 
ture on a few entailed places, as in the residences of the 
English nobility, the formation of large pieces of water at 
great cost and extreme labor, would be considered both 
absurd and uncalled for. Indeed, when nature has so 
abundantly spread before us such an endless variety of 
superb lakes, rivers, and streams of every size and descrip- 
tion, the efforts of man to rival her great works by mere 
imitation, would, in most cases, only become ludicrous by 
contrast. 

When, however, a number of perpetual springs cluster 
together, or a rill, rivulet, or brook, runs through an estate 
in such a manner as easily to be improved or developed 
into an elegant expanse of water in any part of the grounds, 
we should not hesitate to take advantage of so fortunate a 
circumstance. Besides the additional beauty conferred upon 
the whole place by such an improvement, the proprietor 
may also derive an inducement from its utility; for the 
possession of a small lake, well stocked with carp, trout, 
pickerel, or any other of the excellent pond fish, which 
thrive and propagate extremely well in clear fresh water, is 
a real advantage which no one will undervalue. 



102 Landscape (iardeniny 

There is no department of Landscape Gardening which 
appears to have been less understood in this country than 
the management of water. Although there have not been 
many attempts made in this way, yet the occasional efforts 
that have been put forth in various parts of the country, in 
the shape of square, circular, and oblong pools of water, 
indicate a state of knowledge extremely meagre, in the art 
of Landscape Gardening. The highest scale to which these 
pieces of water rise in our estimation is that of respectable 
horse-ponds; beautiful objects they certainly are not. They 
are generally round or square, with perfectly smooth, flat 
banks on every side, and resemble a huge basin set down in 
the middle of a green lawn. 

Lakes or ponds are the most beautiful forms in which 
water can be displayed in the grounds of a country resi- 
dence. They invariably produce their most pleasing effects 
when they are below the level of the house; as, if above, 
they are lost to the view, and if placed on a level with the 
eye, they are seen to much less advantage. We conceive 
that they should never be introduced where they do not 
naturally exist, except with the concurrence of the follow- 
ing circumstances. First, a sufficient quantity of running 
water to maintain at all times an overflow, for nothing can 
be more unpleasant than a stagnant pool, as nothing is 
more delightful than pure, clear, limpid water; and sec- 
ondly, some natural formation of ground, in which the pro- 
posed water can be expanded, that will not only make it 
appear natural, but diminish, a hundred fold, the expense 
of formation. 

The finest and most appropriate place to form a lake, is 
in the bottom of a small valley, rather broad in proportion 
to its length. The soil there will probably be found rather 
clayey and retentive of moisture; and the rill or brook, if 
not already running through it, could doubtless be easily 
diverted thither. There, by damming up the lower part 
of the valley with a head of greater or less height, the water 
may be thrown back so as to form the whole body of the 
lake. 



Treatment of \Vulcr 103 



The first subject which will demand the attention, after 
the spot has been selected for the lake or pond, and the 
height of the head and consequent depth of water deter- 
mined upon, is the proposed form or outline of the whole. 
And, as we have already rejected all regular and geometric 
forms, in scenes where either natural or picturesque beauty 
is supposed to predominate, we must turn our attention to 
examples for imitation in another direction. 

If, then, the improver will recur to the most beautiful 
small natural lake within his reach, he will have a subject 
to study and an example to copy well worthy of imitation. 
If he examine minutely and carefully such a body of water, 
with all its accompaniments, he will find that it is not only 
delightfully wooded and overshadowed by a variety of 
vegetation of all heights, from the low sedge that grows on 
its margin, to the tall tree that bends its branches over its 
limpid wave; but he will also perceive a striking peculi- 
arity in its irregular outline. This, he will observe, is 
neither round, square, oblong, nor any modification of these 
regular figures, but full of bays and projections, sinuosities, 
and recesses of various forms and sizes, sometimes bold, 
and reaching a considerable way out into the body of the 
lake, at others, smaller and more varied in shape and con- 
nection. In the heights of the banks, too, he will probably 
observe considerable variety. At some places, the shore 
will steal gently and gradually away from the level of the 
water, while at others it will rise suddenly and abruptly, in 
banks more or less steep, irregular, and rugged. 

Rocks and stones covered with mosses, will here and there 
jut out from the banks, or lie along the margin of the water, 
and the whole scene will be full of interest from the variety, 
intricacy, and beauty of the various parts. If he will 
accurately note in his mind all these varied forms - - their 
separate outlines, the way in which they blend into one 
another, and connect themselves together, and the effect 
which, surrounding the water, they produce as a whole, he 
will have some tolerably correct ideas of the way in which 
an artificial lake ought to be formed. 



104 Landscape Gardening 

Let him go still further now, in imagination, and suppose 
the banks of this natural lake, without being otherwise 
altered, entirely denuded of grass, shrubs, trees, and verdure 
of every description, remaining characterized only by their 
original form and outline; this will give him a more com- 
plete view of the method in which his labors must com- 
mence; for uncouth and apparently mis-shapen as those 
banks are and must be, when raw and unclothed, to exhibit 
all their variety and play of light and shadow when verdant 
and complete, so also must the original form of the banks 
and margin of the piece of artificial water, in order finally 
to assume the beautiful or picturesque, be made to assume 
outlines equally rough and harsh in their raw and incom- 
plete state. 

It occasionally happens, though rarely, that around the 
hollow or valley where it is proposed to form the piece of 
water, the ground rises in such irregular form, and is so 
undulating, receding, and projecting in various parts, that 
when the water is dammed up by the head below, the 
natural outline formed by the banks already existing, is 
sufficiently varied to produce a pleasing effect without much 
further preparatory labor. This, when it occurs, is ex- 
ceedingly fortunate; but the examples are so unfrequent, 
that we must here make our suggestions upon a different 
supposition. 

When, therefore, it is found that the form of the intended 
lake would not be such as is desirable, it must be made so 
by digging. In order to do this with any exactness the 
improver should take his stand at that part of the ground 
where the dam or head is to be formed, and raising his 
levelling instrument to the exact height to which the in- 
tended lake will rise, sweep round with his eye upon the 
surrounding sides of the valley, and indicate by placing 
marks there, the precise line to which the water will reach. 
This can easily be done throughout the whole circumference 
by a few changes of position. 

When the outline is ascertained in this way, and marked 
out, the improver can, with the occasional aid of the leveller, 



Treatment of U > 



105 



easily determine where and how he can make alLcra lions 
and improvements. He will then excavate along the new 
margin, until he makes the water line (as shown by the 
instrument) penetrate to all the various bays, inlets, and 
curves of the proposed lake. In making these irregular 
variations, sometimes bold and striking, at others fainter 
and less perceptible, he can be guided, as we have already 




FIG. 19. POND SHORE PLANTED WITH IRIS, ETC. 

suggested, by no fixed rules, but such as he may deduce 
from the operations of nature on the same materials, or by 
imbuing his mind with the beauty of forms in graceful and 
refined art. In highly polished scenery, elegant curves and 
graceful sweeps should enter into the composition of the 
outline; but in wilder or more picturesque situations, more 
irregular and abrupt variations will be found most suitable 
and appropriate. 



106 Landscape Gardening 

The intended water outline once fully traced and under- 
stood, the workmen can now proceed to form the banks. 
All this time the improver will keep in mind the supposed 
appearance of the bank of a natural lake stripped of its 
vegetation, etc., which will greatly assist him in his progress. 
In some places the banks will rise but little from the water; 
at others one or two feet, and at others perhaps three, four, 
or six times as much. This they will do, not in the same 
manner in all portions of the outline, sloping away with a 
like gradual rise on both sides, for this would inevitably 
produce tameness and monotony, but in an irregular and 
varied manner; sometimes falling back gradually, some- 
times starting up perpendicularly, and again overhanging 
the bed of the lake itself. 

All this can be easily effected while the excavations of 
those portions of the bed which require deepening are going 
on. And the better portions of the soil obtained from the 
latter, will serve to raise the banks when they are too low. 

It is of but little consequence how roughly and irregu- 
larly the projections, elevations, etc., of the banks and out- 
lines are at first made, so that some general form and 
connection is preserved. The danger lies on the other side, 
viz., in producing a whole too tame and insipid; for we 
have found by experience, how difficult it is to make the 
best workmen understand how to operate in any other 
way than in regular curves and straight lines. Besides, 
newly moved earth, by settling and the influence of rains, 
etc., tends, for some time, towards greater evenness and 
equality of surface. 

In arranging these outlines and banks, we should study 
the effect at the points from which they will generally be 
viewed. Some pieces of water in valleys, are looked down 
upon from other and higher parts of the demesne; others 
(and this is most generally the case) are only seen from the 
adjoining walk, at some point or points where the latter 
approaches the lake. They are most generally seen from 
one, and seldom from more than two sides. When a lake 
is viewed from above, its contour should be studied as a 



Treatment of \Yatcr 107 



whole; but when it is only seen from one or more sides or 
points, the beauty of the view from those positions can 
often be greatly increased by some trifling alterations in 
arrangement. A piece of water which is long and com- 
paratively narrow, appears extremely different in opposite 
points of view; if seen lengthwise from either extremity, 
its apparent breadth and extent is much increased; while, 
if the spectator be placed on one side and look across, it 
will seem narrow and insignificant. Now, although the 
form of an artificial lake of moderate size should never be 
much less in breadth than in length, yet the contrary is 
sometimes unavoidably the case; and being so, we should 
by all means avail ourselves of those well known laws in 
perspective, which will place them in the best possible 
position, relative to the spectator. 

If the improver desire to render his banks still more 
picturesque, resembling the choicest features of natural 
banks, he should go a step further in arranging his materials 
before he introduces the water, or clothes the margin with 
vegetation. In analysing the finest portions of natural 
banks, it will be observed that their peculiar characteristics 
often depend on other objects besides the mere ground of 
the surrounding banks, and the trees and verdure with 
which they are clothed. These are, rocks of various size, 
forms, and colors, often projecting out of or holding up the 
bank in various places; stones sometimes imbedded in the 
soil, sometimes lying loosely along the shore; and lastly, 
old stumps of trees with gnarled roots, whose decaying hues 
are often extremely mellow and agreeable to the eye. All 
these have much to do with the expression of a truly pic- 
turesque bank, and cannot be excluded or taken away from 
it without detracting largely from its character. There is 
no reason, therefore, in an imitation of nature, why we 
should not make use of all her materials to produce a similar 
effect; and although in the raw and rude state of the banks 
at first, they may have a singular and rather crude aspect, 
stuck round and decorated here and there with large rocks, 
smaller stones, and old stumps of trees; yet it must be 



108 Landscape (iardcning 

remembered thai this is only the chaotic state, from which 
the new creation is lo emerge more perfectly formed and 
completed; and also that the appearance of these rocks 
and slumps, when covered with mosses, and partially over- 
grown with a profusion of luxuriant vegetation and climb- 
ing plants, will be as beautifully picturesque after a little 
time has elapsed, as it is now uncouth and uninviting. 

Islands generally contribute greatly to the beauty of a 
piece of water. They serve, still further, to increase the 
variety of outline, and to break up the wide expanse of 
liquid into secondary portions, without injuring the effect 
of the whole. The striking contrast, too, between their 
verdure, the color of their margins, composed of variously 
tinted soils and stones, and the still, smooth water around 
them, - - softened and blended as this contrast is, by their 
shadows reflected back from the limpid element, gives 
additional richness to the picture. 

The distribution of islands in a lake or pond requires 
some judgment. They will always appear most natural 
when sufficiently near the shore, on either side, to maintain 
in appearance some connection with it. Although islands 
do sometimes occur near the middle of natural lakes, yet 
the effect is by no means good, as it not only breaks and 
distracts the effects of the whole expanse by dividing it into 
two distinct parts, but it always indicates a shallowness or 
want of depth where the water should be deepest. 

There are two situations where it is universally admitted 
that islands may be happily introduced. These are, at the 
inlet and the exit of the body of water. In many cases 
where the stream which supplies the lake is not remark- 
able for size, and will add nothing to the appearance of the 
whole view from the usual points of sight, it may be con- 
cealed by an island or small group of islands, placed at 
some little distance in front of it. The head or dam of a 
lake, too, is often necessarily so formal and abrupt, that it 
is difficult to make it appear natural and in good keeping 
with the rest of the margin. The introduction of an island 
or two, placed near the main shore, on cither side, and 



Treatment of \Valer 109 



projecting as far as possible before the dam, will greatly 
diminish this disagreeable formality, particularly if well 
clothed with a rich cover of shrubs and overhanging bushes. 

Except in these two instances, islands should be gener- 
ally placed opposite the salient points of the banks, or near 
those places where small breaks or promontories run out 
into the water. In such situations, they will increase the 
irregularity of the outline, and lend it additional spirit and 
animation. Should they, on the other hand, be seated in 
or near the marginal curve and indentations, they will only 
serve to clog up these recesses; and while their own figures 
are lost in these little bays where they are hidden, by lessen- 
ing the already existing irregularities, they will render the 
whole outline tame and spiritless.* 

On one or two of these small islands, little rustic habita- 
tions, if it coincide with the taste of the proprietor, may 
be made for different aquatic birds or waterfowl, which will 
much enliven the scene by their fine plumage. Among 
these the swan is pre-eminent, for its beauty and graceful- 
ness. Abroad, they are the almost constant accompani- 
ments of water in the ground of country residences; and 
it cannot be denied that, floating about in the limpid wave, 
with their snow-white plumage and superbly curved necks, 
they are extremely elegant objects. 

After having arranged the banks, reared up the islands, 
and completely formed the bed of the proposed lake, the 
improver will next proceed, at the proper period, to finish 
his labors by clothing the newly formed ground, in various 
parts, with vegetation. This may be done immediately, if 
it be desirable; or if the season be not favorable, it may be 
deferred until the banks, and all the newly formed earth, 
have had time to settle and assume their final forms, after 
the dam has been closed, and the whole basin filled to its 
intended height. 

* If one will consider for a moment the geologic forces by which 
islands are naturally formed, he will see that the suggestions given by 
Mr. Downing conform to the works of nature, and that they therefore 
assist toward a realization of the natural style. -- F. A. \Y. 



110 Landscape Gardening 

Planting the margins of pieces of water, if they should 
be of much extent, must evidently proceed upon the same 
leading principle that we have already laid down for orna- 
mental plantations in other situations. That is, there must 
be trees of different heights and sizes, and underwood and 
shrubs of lower growth, disposed sometimes singly, at 
others in masses, groups, and thickets: in all of which 
forms, connection must be preserved, and the whole must be 
made to blend well together, while the different sizes and 
contours will prevent any sameness and confusion. On 
the retreating dry banks, the taller and more sturdy de- 
ciduous and evergreen trees, as the oak, ash, etc., may be 
planted, and nearer by, the different willows, the elm, the 
alder, and other trees that love a moister situation, will 
thrive well. It is indispensably necessary, in order to pro- 
duce breadth of effect and strong rich contrasts, that under- 
wood * should be employed to clothe many parts of the 
banks. Without it, the stems of trees will appear loose 
and straggling, and the screen will be so imperfect as to 
allow a free passage for the vision in every direction. For 
this purpose, \ve have in all our woods, swamps, and along 
our brooks, an abundance of hazels, hawthorns, alders, 
spice woods, winter berries, azaleas, spireas, and a hundred 
other fine low shrubs, growing wild, which are by nature 
extremely well fitted for such sites, and will produce imme- 
diate effect on being transplanted. These may be inter- 
mingled, here and there, with the swamp button-bush which 
bears handsome white globular heads of blossoms, and the 
swamp magnolia, which is highly beautiful and fragrant. 
On cool north banks, among shelves of proper soil upheld 
by projecting ledges of rock, our native kalmias and rhodo- 
dendrons, the common and mountain laurels, may be made 
to flourish. The Virginia creeper, and other beautiful wild 
vines, may be planted at the roots of some of the trees to 
clamber up their stems, and the wild clematis so placed 
that its luxuriant festoons shall hang gracefully from the 

* In modern American vernacular the old English term "underwood" 
would usually be translated "-shrubs." - F. A. W. 



Treatment of \\'alcr 111 



projecting boughs of some of the overarching trees. Along 
the lower banks and closer margins, the growth of smaller 
plants will be encouraged, and various kinds of wild Terns 
may be so planted as partially to conceal, overrun, and 
hide the rocks and stumps of trees, while trailing plants, as 
the periwinkle and moneywort, will still further increase 
the intricacy and richness of such portions. In this way, 
the borders of the lake will resemble the finest portions of 
the banks of picturesque and beautiful natural dells and 
pieces of water, and the effect of the whole when time has 
given it the benefit of its softening touches, if it has been 
thus properly executed, will not be much inferior to those 
matchless bits of fine landscape. A more striking and 
artistical effect will be produced by substituting for native 
trees and shrubs, common on the banks of streams and lakes 
in the country, only rare foreign shrubs, vines, and aquatic 
plants of hardy growth, suitable for such situations.* 
While these are arranged in the same manner as the former, 
from their comparative novelty, especially in such sites, 
they will at once convey the idea of refined and elegant art. 
If any person will take the trouble to compare a piece of 
water so formed, when complete, with the square or circular 
sheets or ponds now in vogue among us, he must indeed be 
little gifted with an appreciation of the beautiful, if he do 
not at once perceive the surpassing merit of the natural 
style. In the old method, the banks, level, or rising on all 
sides, without any or but few surrounding trees, carefully 
gravelled along the edge of the water, or what is still worse, 
walled up, slope away in a tame, dull, uninteresting grass 
field. In the natural method, the outline is varied, some- 
times receding from the eye, at others stealing out, and 

* This preference for rare exotics frequently evinced by Mr. Downing 
was highly characteristic of him, his time and his disciples. It is a 
curious fact that within 50 years his lineal descendants in the landscape 
gardening cult should have excommunicated all foreign species and re- 
quired every plant to bring a certificate of American origin. Hut this is 
only one of the interesting deviations in the popular theory of I he natural 
style, showing that the idea has always been more or less conventional- 
ized. F. A. W. 



112 Landscape Gardening 

inviting the gaze - - the banks here slope off gently with a 
gravelly beach, and there rise abruptly in different heights, 
abounding with hollows, projections, and eminences, show- 
ing various colored rocks and soils, intermingled with a 
luxuriant vegetation of all sizes and forms, corresponding 
to the different situations. Instead of allowing the sun to 
pour down in one blaze of light, without any objects to 
soften it with their shade, the thick overhanging groups and 
masses of trees cast, here and there, deep cool shadows. 
Stealing through the leaves and branches, the sun-beams 
quiver and play upon the surface of the flood, and are 
reflected back in dancing light, while their full glow upon 
the broader and more open portions of the lake is relieved, 
and brought into harmony by the cooler and softer tints 
mirrored in the water from the surrounding hues and tints 
of banks, rocks, and vegetation. 

Natural.brooks and rivulets may often be improved greatly 
by a few trifling alterations and additions, when they chance 
to come within the bounds of a country residence. Occa- 
sionally, they may be diverted from their original beds 
when they run through distant and unfrequented parts of 
the demesne, and brought through nearer portions of the 
pleasure grounds or lawn. This, however, can only be 
done with propriety when there is a natural indication in 
the grounds through which it is proposed to divert it - - as 
a succession of hollows, etc., to form the future channel. 
Sometimes, a brisk little brook can be divided into smaller 
ones for some distance, again uniting at a point below, 
creating additional diversity by its varying form. The 
Abbe Delille has given us a fine image of a brook thus 
divided, in the following lines: 

"Plus loin, il se separe en deux ruisseaux agiles, 
Qui, se suivant 1'un 1'autre avec rapiditc, 
Dispulent de vitesse et de limpidite; 
Puis, rejoignant tous deux le lit qui Ics rassemble, 
Murmurent enehantes de voyager ensemble. 
Ainsi, toujours errant de detour en detour, 
Muol, bruyant, paisible, inquiet tour a tour, 
Sous mille aspects divers son cours se renouvelle." 



Treatment of \Valcr 113 



Brooks, rivulets, and even rills may frequently be greatly 
improved by altering the form of their beds in various 
places. Often by merely removing a few trifling obstruc- 
tions, loose stones, branches, etc., or hollowing away the 
adjoining bank for a short distance, fine little expanses or 
pools of still water may be formed, which are happily con- 
trasted with the more rugged course of the rest of the 
stream. Such improvements of these minor water courses 
are much preferable to widening them into flat, insipid, 
tame canals or rivers, which, though they present greater 
surface to the eye, are a thousand times inferior in the 
impetuosity of motion, and musical, "babbling sound," so 
delightful in rapid brooks and rivulets. 

Cascades and water-falls are the most charming features 
of natural brooks and rivulets. Whatever may be their 
size they are always greatly admired, and in no way is the 
peculiar stillness of the air, peculiar to the country, more 
pleasingly broken, than by the melody of falling water. 
Even the gurgling and mellow sound of a small rill, leaping 
over a few fantastic stones, has a kind of lulling fascination 
for the ear, and when this sound can be brought so near as 
to be distinctly heard at the residence itself, it is- peculiarly 
delightful. Now any one who examines a small cascade 
at all attentively, in a natural brook, will see that it is often 
formed in the simplest manner by the interposition of a few 
large projecting stones, which partially dam up the current 
and prevent the ready flow of the water. Such little cas- 
cades are easily imitated, by following exactly the same 
course, and damming up the little brook artificially; stu- 
diously avoiding, however, any formal and artificial dis- 
position of the stones or rocks employed. 

Larger water-falls and cascades cannot usually be made 
without some regular head or breastwork, to oppose more 
firmly the force of the current. Such heads may be formed 
of stout plank and well prepared clay; * or, which is greatly 

: It is found that strong loam or any tenacious earth we'll prepared by 
puddling or beating in water is equally impervious to water as clay; and 
may therefore be used for lining the sides or dams of bodies of made water 
when such materials are required. A. J. D. 



114 Landscape Gardening 

preferable, of good masonry laid in water cement. After 
a head is thus formed it must be concealed entirely from 
the eye by covering it both upon the top and sides with 
natural rocks and stones of various sizes, so ingeniously 
disposed, as ip appear fully to account for, or be the cause 
of the water-fall. 

The axe of the original backwoodsman appears to have 
left such a mania for clearing behind it, even in those 
portions of the Atlantic states where such labor should be 
for ever silenced, that some of our finest places in the 
country will be found much desecrated and mutilated by 
its careless and unpardonable use; and not only are fine 
plantations often destroyed, but the banks of some of our 
finest streams and prettiest rivulets partially laid bare by 
the aid of this instrument, guided by some tasteless hand. 
Wherever fine brooks or water courses are thus mutilated, 
one of the most necessary and obvious improvements is to 
reclothe them with plantations of trees and underwood. 
In planting their banks anew, much beauty and variety 
can often be produced by employing different growths, 
and arranging them as we have directed for the margins of 
lakes and ponds. In some places where easy, beautiful 
slopes and undulations of ground border the streams, gravel, 
soft turf, and a few simple groups of trees, will be the most 
natural accompaniments; in others where the borders of 
the stream are broken into rougher, more rocky, and pre- 
cipitous ridges, all the rich wildness and intricacy of low 
shrubs, ferns, creeping and climbing plants, may be brought 
in to advantage. Where the extent to be thus improved is 
considerable, the trouble may be lessened by planting the 
larger growth, and sowing the seeds of the smaller plants 
mingled together. Prepare the materials, and time and 
nature, with but little occasional assistance, will mature, 
and soften, and blend together the whole, in their own 
matchless and inimitable manner. 

From all that we have suggested in these limited remarks, 
it will be seen that we would only attempt in our opera- 
tions with water, the graceful or picturesque imitations of 



Treatment of Water 115 



natural lakes or ponds, and brooks, rivulets, and streams. 
Such are the only forms in which this unrivalled element 
can be displayed so as to harmonize agreeably with .natural 
and picturesque scenery. In the latter, there can be no 
apology made for the introduction of straight canals, 
round or oblong pieces of water, and all the regular forms 
of the geometric mode; because they would evidently be 
in violent opposition to the whole character and expression 
of natural landscape. In architectural, or flower gardens 
(on which we shall hereafter have occasion to offer some 
remarks), where a different and highly artificial arrange- 
ment prevails, all these regular forms, with various jets, 
fountains, etc., may be employed with good taste, and will 
combine well with the other accessories of such places. But 
in the grounds of a residence in the modern style, nature, 
if possible, still more purified, as in the great masterpieces 
of art, by an ideal standard, should be the great aim of 
the Landscape Gardener. And with water especially, only 
beautiful when allowed to take its own flowing forms and 
graceful motions, more than with any other of our materials, 
all appearance of constraint and formality should be avoided. 
If art be at all manifest, it should discover itself only, as in 
the admirably painted landscape, in the reproduction of 
nature in her choicest developments. Indeed, many of the 
most celebrated authors who have treated of this subject, 
appear to agree that the productions of the artist in this 
branch are most perfect as they approach most nearly to 
fac-similes of nature herself: and though art should have 
formed the whole, its employment must be nowhere dis- 
covered by the spectator; or as Tasso has more elegantly 
expressed the idea: 

"L'Arte che tutto fa, nulla si scopre." 



CHAPTER VI 

EMBELLISHMENTS 

Nature, assuming a more lovely face, 
Borrowing a beauty from the works of grace. 

COWPER. 

- Each odorous bushy shrub 

Fenced up the verdant wall; each beauteous flower; 
Iris all hues, Roses and Jessamine 
Rear'd high their flourished heads between, 
And wrought Mosaic. 

MILTON. 

IN our finest places, or those country seats where much 
of the polish of pleasure ground or park scenery is 
kept up, one of the most striking defects is the want 
of union between the house and the grounds. We are well 
aware that from the comparative rarity of anything like a 
highly kept place in this country, the want of this, which is 
indeed like the last finish to the residence, is scarcely felt at 
all. But this only proves the infant state of Landscape 
Gardening here, and the little attention that has been paid 
to the highest details of the art. 

If our readers will imagine, with us, a pretty villa, con- 
veniently arranged and well constructed, in short, complete 
in itself as regards its architecture, and at the same time, 
properly placed in a smooth well kept lawn, studded with 
groups and masses of fine trees, they will have an example 
often to be met with, of a place, in the graceful school of 
design, about which, however, there is felt to be a certain 
incongruity between the house, a highly artificial object, 
and the surrounding grounds, where the prevailing expres- 
sion in the latter is that of beautiful nature. 

Let us suppose, for further illustration, the same house 
and grounds with a few additions. The house now rising 
directly out of the green turf which encompasses it, we 

116 



Embellishments 117 



will surround by a raised platform or terrace, wide enough 
for a dry, firm walk, at all seasons; on the top of the wall 
or border of this terrace, we will form a handsome parapet, 
or balustrade, some two or three feet high, the details of 
which shall be in good keeping with the house, whether 
Grecian or Gothic. On the coping of this parapet, if the 
house is in the classical style, we will find suitable places, 
at proper intervals, for some handsome urns, vases, etc. 
On the drawing-room side of the house, that is, the side 
towards which the best room or rooms look, we will place 
the flower-garden, into which we descend from the terrace 
by a few steps. This flower-garden may be simply what 
its name denotes, a place exclusively devoted to the culti- 
vation of flowers, or (if the house is not in a very plain 
style, admitting of little enrichment) it may be an archi- 
tectural flower-garden. In the latter case, intermingled 
with the flowers, are to be seen vases, fountains, and some- 
times even statues; the effect of the fine colors and deep 
foliage of the former, heightened by contrast with the 
sculptured forms of the latter. 

If our readers will now step back a few rods with us and 
take a second view of our villa residence, with its supposed 
harmonizing accessories, we think they can hardly fail to 
be impressed at once with the great improvement of the 
whole. The eye now, instead of witnessing the sudden 
termination of the architecture at the base of the house, 
where the lawn commences as suddenly, will be at once 
struck with the increased variety and richness imparted to 
the whole scene, by the addition of the architectural and 
garden decorations. The mind is led gradually down from 
the house, with its projecting porch or piazzas, to the sur- 
rounding terrace crowned with its beautiful vases, and from 
thence to the architectural flower-garden, interspersed with 
similar ornaments. The various play of light afforded by 
these sculptured forms on the terrace; the projections and 
recesses of the parapet, with here and there some climbing 
plants luxuriantly enwreathing it, throwing out the mural 
objects in stronger relief, and connecting them pleasantly 



118 Landscape Gardening 

with the verdure of the turf beneath; the still further 
rambling off of vases, etc., into the brilliant i lower-garden, 
which, through these ornaments, maintains an avowed con- 
nection with the architecture of the house; all this, we think 
it cannot be denied, forms a rich setting to the architecture, 
and unites agreeably the forms of surrounding nature with 
the more regular and uniform outlines of the building. 

The effect will not be less pleasing if viewed from an- 
other point of view, viz., the terrace, or from the apart- 
ments of the house itself. From either of these points, the 
various objects enumerated, will form a rich foreground to 
the pleasure-grounds or park - - a matter which painters 
well know how to estimate, as a landscape is incomplete 
and unsatisfactory to them, however beautiful the middle 
or distant points, unless there are some strongly marked 
objects in the foreground. In fine, the intervention of these 
elegant accompaniments to our houses prevents us, as Mr. 
Hope has observed, "from launching at once from the 
threshold of the symmetric mansion, in the most abrupt 
manner, into a scene wholly composed of the most unsym- 
metric and desultory forms of mere nature, which are totally 
out of character with the mansion, whatever may be its 
style of architecture and furnishing." * 

The highly decorated terrace, as we have here supposed 
it, would, it is evident, be in unison with villas of a some- 
what superior style; or, in other words, the amount of 
enrichment bestowed upon exterior decoration near the 
house, should correspond to the style of art evinced in the 
exterior of the mansion itself. An humble cottage with 
sculptured vases on its terrace and parapet, would be in 
bad taste; but any Grecian, Roman, or Italian villa, where 
a moderate degree of exterior ornament is visible, or a 
Gothic villa of the better class, will allow the additional 
enrichment of the architectural terrace and its ornaments. 
Indeed the terrace itself, in so far as it denotes a raised dry 
platform around the house, is a suitable and appropriate 
appendage to every dwelling, of whatever class. 

* Essay on Ornamental Gardening, by Thomas Hope. 



Embellishments 119 



The width of a terrace around a house may vary from 
five to twenty feet, or more, in proportion as the building 
is of greater or less importance. The surrounding wall, 
which supports its level, may also vary from one to eight 
feet. The terrace, in the better class of English residences, 
is paved with smooth flag stones, or in place of this, a sur- 
face of firm well-rolled gravel is substituted. In residences 
where a parapet or balustrade would be thought too expen- 
sive, a square stone or plinth is placed at the angles or four 
corners of the terrace, which serves as the pedestal for a 
vase or urn. When a more elegant and finished appearance 
is desirable, the parapet formed of open work of stone, or 
wood painted in imitation of stone, rises above the level of 
the terrace two or three feet with a suitably bold coping. 
On this vases may be placed, not only at the corners, but 
at regular intervals of ten, twenty, or more feet. We have 
alluded to the good effect of climbers, here and there planted, 
and suffered to intermingle their rich foliage with the open 
work of the parapet and its crowning ornaments. In the 
climate of Philadelphia, the Giant Ivy, with its thick sculp- 
turesque looking masses of foliage, would be admirably 
suited to this purpose. Or the Virginia creeper (the ivy of 
America) may take its place in any other portion of the 
Union. To these we may add, the Chinese twining honey- 
suckle and the Sweet-scented Clematis, both deliciously 
fragrant in their blossoms, with many other fine climbers 
which will readily recur to the amateur. 

There can be no reason why the smallest cottage, if its 
occupant be a person of taste should not have a terrace 
decorated in a suitable manner.* This is easily and cheaply 
effected by placing neat flower-pots on the parapet, or 

' f Modern American taste, as expressed by leading architects, would 
not insist so strongly on terraces for every house. Indeed, such terraces 
are to be seen on only a small minority of the popular residences of the 
present, and their lack in the majority is not felt as a defect. Rather 
have the modern architects and landscape architects boon able to adapt 
the residence to the ground most effectively by other means, especially 
by foundation plantings, an expedient apparently little minded by Mr. 
Downing. -- F. A. W. 



120 Landscape Gardening 

border and angles of the terrace, with suitable plants grow- 
ing in them. 

Where there is a terrace ornamented with urns or vases, 
and the proprietor wishes to give a corresponding air of 
elegance to his grounds, vases, sundials, etc., may be placed 
in various appropriate situations, not only in the architec- 
tural flower-garden, but on the lawn, and through the 
pleasure-grounds in various different points near the house. 
We say near the house, because we think so highly arti- 
ficial and architectural an object as a sculptured vase, is 
never correctly introduced unless it appear in some way 
connected with buildings, or objects of a like architectural 
character. To place a beautiful vase in a distant part of 
the grounds, where there is no direct allusion to art, and 
where it is accompanied only by natural objects, as the 
overhanging trees and the sloping turf, is in a measure 
doing violence to our reason or taste, by bringing two 
objects so strongly contrasted, in direct union. But when 
we see a statue or a vase placed in any part of the grounds 
where a near view is obtained of the house (and its accom- 
panying statues or vases), the whole is accounted for, and 
we feel the distant vase to be only a part of, or rather a 
repetition of the same idea, - - in other words, that it forms 
part of a whole, harmonious and consistent. 

Vases of real stone, as marble or granite, are decorations 
of too costly a kind ever to come into general use among 
us. Vases, however, of equally beautiful forms, are manu- 
factured of artificial stone, of fine pottery, or of cast iron, 
which have the same effect, and are of nearly equal dura- 
bility, as garden decorations. 

A vase should never, in the open air, be set down upon 
the ground or grass, without being placed upon a firm base 
of some description, either a plinth or a pedestal. Without 
a base of this kind it has a temporary look, as if it had been 
left there by mere accident, and without any intention of 
permanence. Placing it upon a pedestal, or square plinth 
(block of stone), gives it a character of art, at once more 
dignified and expressive of stability. Besides this, the 



Embellishments 121 



pedestal in reality serves to preserve the vase in a perpen- 
dicular position, as well as to expose it fairly to the eye, 
which could not be the case were it put down, without any 
preparation, on the bare turf or gravel. 

Large vases are sometimes filled with earth and planted 
with choice flowering plants, and the effect of the blossoms 
and green leaves growing out of these handsome receptacles, 
is at least unique and striking. London objects to it in the 
case of an elegant sculptured vase, "because it is reducing a 
work of art to the level of a mere garden flower-pot, and 
dividing the attention between the beauty of the form of 
the vase and of its sculptured ornaments, and that of the 
plant which it contains." This criticism is a just one in 
its general application, especially when vases are consid- 
ered as architectural decorations. Oc- 
casional deviations, however, may be 
permitted, for the sake of producing 
variety, especially in the case of vases 
used as decorations in the flower-garden. 

A very pretty and fanciful substitute 
for the sculptured vase, and which may 
take its place in the picturesque land- 
scape, may be found in vases or baskets 

of rustic work, constructed of the branches 

..,., FIG. 20. RUSTIC 

and sections ot trees with the bark at- VASE 

tached.* Figure 20 is a representation of 
a pleasing rustic vase which we have constructed without 
difficulty. A tripod of branches of trees forms the pedestal. 
An octagonal box serves as the body or frame of the vase; 
on this, pieces of birch and hazel (small split limbs covered 
with the bark) are nailed closely, so as to form a sort of 
mosaic covering to the whole exterior. Ornaments of this 
kind, which may be made by the amateur with the assistance 
of a common carpenter, are very suitable for the decoration 
of the grounds and flower-gardens of cottages or pictur- 

' Reference has already been made to the vogue of this "rustic" 
work in Mr. Downing's time and to its happy disappearance from the 
gardens of our own days. -- F. A. \V. 




122 



Landscape Gardening 



esque villas. An endless variety of forms will occur to an 
ingenious artist in rustic work, which he may call in to the 
embellishment of rural scenes, without taxing his purse 
heavily. 



'T-;--.--. .^y'-y-^ "O^ 





FIG. 21. GRECIAN VASE 



FIG. 22. GRECIAN VASE 



Sundials are among the oldest decorations for the garden 
and grounds, and there are scarcely any which we think 
more suitable. They are not merely decorative, but have 
also an useful character, and may therefore be occasionally 




FIG. 23. MODERN VASE IN TERRA COTTA 

placed in distant parts of the grounds, should a favorite 
walk terminate there. When we meet daily in our walks 
for a number of years, with one of these silent monitors of 
the flight of lime, we become in a degree attached to it, and 



Embellishments 123 



really look upon il as gifted with a species of intelligence, 
beaming out when the sunbeams smile upon its dial-plate. 

The architectural flower-garden, as we have just re- 
marked, has generally a direct connection with the house, at 
least on one side by the terrace. It may be of greater or 
less size, from twenty feet square to half an acre in extent. 
The leading characteristics of this species of flower-garden, 
are the regular lines and forms employed in its beds and 
walks. The flowers are generally planted in beds in the 
form of circles, octagons, squares, etc., the center of the gar- 
den being occupied by an elegant vase, a sundial, or that 
still finer ornament, a fountain. In various parts of the gar- 
den, along the principal walks, or in the center of parterres, 
pedestals supporting vases, urns, or handsome flower-pots 
with plants, are placed. When a highly marked character 
of art is intended, a balustrade or parapet, resembling that 
of the terrace to which it is connected, is continued round 
the whole of this garden. Or in other cases the garden is 
surrounded by a thicket of shrubs and low trees, partly 
concealing it from the eye on all sides but one. 

It is evident that the architectural flower-garden is supe- 
rior to the general flower-garden, as an appendage to the 
house, on two accounts. First, because as we have already 
shown, it serves an admirable purpose in effecting a har- 
monious union between the house and the grounds. And 
secondly, because we have both the rich verdure and gay 
blossoms of the flowering plants, and the more permanent 
beauty of sculptured forms; the latter heightening the 
effect of the former by contrast, as well as by the relief 
they afford the eye in masses of light, amid surrounding 
verdure. 

There are several varieties of general flower-gardens, 
which may be formed near the house. Among these we 
will only notice the irregular flower-garden, the old French 
flower-garden, and the modern or English flower-garden. 

In almost all the different kinds of flower-gardens, two 
methods of forming the beds are observed. One is, to cut 
the beds out of the green turf, which is ever afterwards kept 



124 



Landscape Gardening 



well-mown or cut for the walks, and the edges pared; the 
other, to surround the beds with edgings of verdure, as 
box, etc., or some more durable material, as tiles, or cut 
stone, the walks between being covered with gravel. The 
turf is certainly the most agreeable for walking upon in the 
heat of summer, and the dry part of the day; while the 
gravelled flower-garden affords a dry footing at nearly all 
hours and seasons. 




FIG. 24. THE GARDEN SUN DIAL 

The irregular flower-garden * is surrounded by an irregu- 
lar belt of trees and ornamental shrubs of the choicest 
species, and the beds are varied in outline, as well as irregu- 
larly disposed, sometimes grouping together, sometimes 
standing singly, but exhibiting no uniformity of arrange- 
ment. 

This kind of flower-garden would be a suitable accom- 
paniment to the house and grounds of an enthusiastic lover 
of the picturesque, whose residence is in the Rural Gothic 
style, and whose grounds are also eminently varied and 
picturesque. Or it might form a pretty termination to a 

* This style of flower garden has gone completely out of fashion in 
America. F. A. W. 



Embellishments 125 



distant walk in the pleasure-grounds, where it would be 
more necessary that the flower-garden should be in keeping 
with the surrounding plantations and scenery than with 
the house. 

Where the flower-garden is a spot set apart, of any regu- 
lar outline, not of large size, and especially where it is 
attached directly to the house, we think the effect is most 
satisfactory when the beds or walks are laid out in sym- 
metrical forms. Our reasons for this are these: the flower- 
garden, unlike distant portions of the pleasure-ground 
scenery, is an appendage to the house, seen in the same 
view or moment with it, and therefore should exhibit some- 
thing of the regularity which characterizes, in a greater or 
less degree, all architectural compositions; and when a 
given scene is so small as to be embraced in a single glance 
of the eye, regular forms are found to be more satisfactory 
than irregular ones, which, on so small a scale, are apt to 
appear unmeaning. 

The French flower-garden is the most fanciful of the usual 
modes of laying out the area devoted to this purpose. The 
patterns or figures employed are often highly intricate, and 
require considerable skill in their formation. The walks 
are either of gravel or smoothly shaven turf, and the beds 
are filled with choice flowering plants. It is evident that 
much of the beauty of this kind of flower-garden, or indeed 
any other where the figures are regular and intricate, must 
depend on the outlines of the beds, or parterres of embroid- 
ery, as they are called, being kept distinct and clear. To 
do this effectually, low growing herbaceous plants or border 
flowers, perennials and annuals, should be chosen, such as 
will not exceed on an average, one or two feet in height. 

In the English flower-garden, the beds are either in sym- 
metrical forms and figures, or they are characterized by 
irregular curved outlines. The peculiarity of these gar- 
dens, at present so fashionable in England, is, that each 
separate bed is planted with a single variety, or at most 
two varieties of flowers. Only the most striking and showy 
varieties are generally chosen, and the effect, when the selec- 



126 



Landscape Gardening 



tion is judicious, is highly brilliant. Each bed, in its season, 
presents a mass of blossoms, and the contrast of rich colors 
is much more striking than in any other arrangement. No 
plants are admitted that are shy bloomers, or which have 
ugly habits of growth, meagre or starved foliage; the aim 
being brilliant effect, rather than the display of a great 
variety of curious or rare plants. To bring this about more 




FIG. 25. A BIRD BATH AS A GARDEN ORNAMENT 

perfectly, and to have an elegant show during the whole 
season of growth, hyacinths and other fine bulbous roots 
occupy a certain portion of the beds, the intervals being 
filled with handsome herbaceous plants, permanently 
planted, or with flowering annuals and green-house plants 
renewed every season. 

To illustrate the mode of arranging the beds and dispos- 
ing the plants in an English garden, we copy the description 
of the elegant flower-garden, on the lawn at Dropmore, 
the beds being cut out of the smooth turf. 

"As a general principle for regulating the plants in 
this figure, the winter and spring flowers ought, as 
much as possible, to be of sorts which admit of being 



Embellishments 127 



in the ground all the year: and the summer crop should 
be planted at intervals between the winter plants. Or 
the summer crop, having been brought forward in pots 
under glass, or by nightly protection, may be planted 
out about the middle of June, after the winter plants 
in pots are removed. A number of hardy bulbs ought 
to be potted and plunged in the beds in the months of 
October and November; and when out of bloom, in 
May or June, removed to the reserve garden and 
plunged there, in order to perfect their foliage and 
mature their bulbs for the succeeding season." 
There cannot be a question that this method of planting 
the flower-garden in groups and masses, is productive of 
by far the most, splendid effect. In England, where flower- 
gardens are carried to their greatest perfection, the pref- 
erence in planting is given to exotics which blossom con- 
stantly throughout the season, and which are kept in the 
greenhouse during winter, and turned out in the beds in 
the early part of the season, where they flower in the great- 
est profusion until frost; as fuchsias, salvias, lobelias, scar- 
let geraniums, etc., etc.* This mode can be adopted here 
\vhere a small green-house or frame is kept. In the absence 
of these, nearly the same effect may be produced by choos- 
ing the most showy herbaceous plants, perennial and bien- 
nial, alternating them with hardy bulbs, and the finer 
species of annuals. 

Where the proprietor of a country residence, or the ladies 
of a family, have a particular taste, it may be indulged at 

! In many English residences, the flower-garden is maintained in 
never-fading brilliancy by almost daily supplies from what is termed the 
reserve garden. This is a small garden out of sight, in which a great num- 
ber of duplicates of the species in the flower-garden are grown in pots 
plunged in beds. As soon as a vacuum is made in the flower-garden by 
the fading of any flowers, the same are immediately removed and their 
places supplied by fresh plants just ready to bloom, from the pots in the 
reserve garden. This, which is the ultimatum of refinement in flower- 
gardening, has never, to our knowledge, been attempted in this country. 
A. J. D. This use of the reserve garden is probably as common in 
America today as in England. -- F. A. \V. 



128 



Landscape Gardening 



pleasure in other and different Yarieties of the flower-garden. 
With some families there is a taste for botany, when a small 
botanic flower-garden may be preferred - - the herbaceous 
and other plants being grouped or massed in beds after the 
Linnaean, or the natural method. Some persons have an 
enthusiastic fondness for florist flowers, as pansies, carna- 
tions, dahlias, roses, etc.; others for bulbous plants, all of 
which may very properly lead to particular modes of laying 
out flower-gardens. 




<., V 



FIG. 26. GARDEN SEAT 

The desideratum, however, with most persons is, to have 
a continued display of blossoms in the flower-garden from 
the opening of the crocus and snowdrop in the spring, until 
the autumnal frosts cut off the last pale asters, or blacken 
the stems of the luxuriant dahlias in November. This may 
be done with a very small catalogue of plants if they are 
properly selected: such as flower at different seasons, con- 
tinue long time in bloom, and present fine masses of flowers. 
On the other hand, a very large number of species may be 
assembled together; and owing to their being merely botan- 
ical rarities, and not bearing fine flowers, or to their blos- 
soming chiefly in a certain portion of the season, or con- 
tinuing but a short period in bloom, the flower-garden \vill 
often have but an insignificant appearance. With a group 
of pansies and spring bulbs, a bed of ever-blooming China 
roses, some few eschscholtzias, the showy petunias, gilias, 



Embellishments 129 



and other annuals, and a dozen choree double dahlias, and 
some trailing verbenas, a limited spot, of a few yards in 
diameter, may be made productive of more enjoyment, so 
far as regards a continued display of llowers, than ten times 
that space, planted, as we often see flower-gardens here, 
with a heterogeneous mixture of everything the possessor 
can lay his hands on, or crowd within the inclosure. 

The mingled flower-garden, as it is termed, is by far the 
most common mode of arrangement in this country, though 
it is seldom well effected. The object in this is to dispose 
the plants in the beds in such a manner, that while there 
is no predominance of bloom in any one portion of the beds 
there shall be a general admixture of colors and blossoms 
throughout the entire garden during the whole season of 
growth. 

To promote this, the more showy plants should be often 
repeated in different parts of the garden, or even the same 
parterre when large, the less beautiful sorts being suffered 
to occupy but moderate space. The smallest plants should 
be nearest the walk, those a little taller behind them, and 
the largest should be furthest from the eye, at the back of 
the border, when the latter is seen from one side only, or 
in the centre, if the bed be viewed from both sides. A 
neglect of this simple rule will not only give the beds, when 
the plants are full grown, a confused look, but the beauty 
of the humbler and more delicate plants will be lost amid 
the tall thick branches of sturdier plants, or removed so 
far from the spectator in the walks, as to be overlooked. 

Considerable experience is necessary to arrange even a 
moderate number of plants in accordance with these rules. 
To perform it successfully, some knowledge of the habits 
of the plants is an important requisite; their height, time 
of flowering, and the colors of their blossoms. When a 
gardener, or an amateur, is perfectly informed on these 
points, he can take a given number of plants of different 
species, make a plan of the bed or all the beds of a flower 
garden upon paper, and designate the particular situation 
of each species. 



130 



Landscape Gardening 



The shrubbery is so generally situated in the neighbor- 
hood of the flower-garden and the house, that we shall 
here offer a few remarks on its arrangement and distri- 
bution. 

A collection of flowering shrubs is so ornamental, that 
to a greater or less extent it is to be found in almost every 
residence of the most moderate size: the manner in which 
the shrubs are disposed, must necessarily depend in a great 
degree upon the size of the grounds, the use or enjoyment 
to be derived from them, and the prevailing character of 
the scenery. 

It is evident, on a moment's reflection, that shrubs being 
intrinsically more ornamental than trees, on account of the 
beauty and abundance of their flowers, they will generally 
be placed near and about the house, in order that their gay 
blossoms and fine fragrance may be more constantly en- 
joyed, than if they were scattered indiscriminately over 
the grounds. 




FIG. 27. GARDEN GATE AND ROSE TRELLIS 



Where a place is limited in size, and the whole lawn and 
plantations partake of the pleasure-ground character, 
shrubs of all descriptions may be grouped with good effect, 
in the same manner as trees, throughout the grounds; the 
finer and rarer species being disposed about the dwelling, 



Embellishments 131 



and the more hardy and common sorts along the walks, 
and in groups, in different situations near the eye. 

When, however, the residence is of larger size, and the 
grounds have a park-like extent and character, the intro- 
duction of shrubs might interfere with the noble and digni- 
fied expression of lofty full grown trees, except perhaps they 
were planted here and there, among large groups, as under- 
wood; or if cattle or sheep were allowed to graze in the park, 
it would of course be impossible to preserve plantations of 
shrubs there. When this is the case, however, a portion 
near the house is divided from the park (by a wire fence or 
some inconspicuous barrier) for the pleasure-ground, where 
the shrubs are disposed in belts, groups, etc., as in the first 
case alluded to. 

There are two methods of grouping shrubs upon lawns 
which may separately be considered, in combination with 
beautiful and picturesque scenery. 

In the first case, where the character of the scene, of the 
plantations of trees, etc., is that of polished beauty, the 
belts of shrubs may be arranged similar to herbaceous 
flowering plants, in arabesque beds, along the walks. In 
this case, the shrubs alone, arranged with relation to their 
height, may occupy the beds; or if preferred, shrubs and 
flowers may be intermingled. 

Where picturesque effect is the object aimed at in the 
pleasure-grounds, it may be attained in another way; that 
is, by planting irregular groups of the most vigorous and 
thrifty growing shrubs in lawn, without placing them in 
regular dug beds or belts; but instead of this, keeping the 
grass from growing and the soil somewhat loose, for a few 
inches round their stems (which will not be apparent at a 
short distance). In the case of many of the hardier shrubs, 
after they become well established, even this care will not 
be requisite, and the grass only will require to be kept short 
by clipping it when the lawn is mown. 

As in picturesque scenes everything depends upon group- 
ing well, it will be found that shrubs may be employed 
with excellent effect in connecting single trees, or finishing 



132 Landscape Gardening 

a group composed of large trees, or giving fulness to groups 
of tall trees newly planted on a lawn, or effecting a union 
between buildings and ground. It is true that it requires 
something of an artist's feeling and perception of the pic- 
turesque to do these successfully, but the result is so much 
the more pleasing and satisfactory when it is well executed. 

When walks are continued from the house through dis- 
tant parts of the pleasure-grounds, groups of shrubs may be 
planted along their margins, here and there, with excellent 
effect. They do not shut out or obstruct the view like 
large trees, while they impart an interest to an otherwise 
tame and spiritless \valk. Placed in the projecting bay, 
round which the walk curves so as to appear to be a reason 
for its taking that direction, they conceal also the portion 
of the walk in advance, and thus enhance the interest 
doubly. The neighborhood of rustic seats, or resting points, 
are also fit places for the assemblage of a group or groups of 
shrubs. 

For the use of those who require some guide in the selection 
of species, \ve subjoin the accompanying list of hardy and 
showy shrubs, which are at the same time easily procured 
in the United States.* A great number of additional spe- 
cies and varieties, and many more rare, might be enumer- 
ated, but such will be sufficiently familiar to the connoisseur 
already; and what we have said respecting botanical rari- 
ties in flowering plants may be applied with equal force to 
shrubs, viz. that in order to produce a brilliant effect, a 
few well chosen species, often repeated, are more effective 
than a great and ill-assorted melange. 

In the following list, the shrubs are divided into two 
classes - - No. 1 designating those of medium size, or low 
growth, and No. 2, those which are of the largest size. 

* The reader may fairly be reminded that Mr. Downing was a most 
competent plantsman. Though longer experience and later introduc- 
tions have considerably changed the nurserymen's lists, this catalog of 
plants will still be useful and interesting. F. A. W. 



Embellishments 1 .' >: > 



FLOWERING IN APRIL 

1. Daphne mczereum, the Pink Mezereum, D. M. album, the white 

Mezereum. 

2. Shepherdia argentea, the Buffalo berry; yellow. 

1. Xanlhorhiza apiifolia, the parsley-leaved Yellow-root; brown. 

1. Cijdonia japonica, the Japan Quince; scarlet. 

1. Cydonia japonica alba, the Japan Quince; white. 

2. Amelanchier Botryapium, the snowy Medlar. 
1. Hihcs aureum, the Missouri Currant; yellow. 

1. Coronilla Ernerus, the Scorpion Senna; yellow. 

2. Magnolia conspicua, the Chinese chandelier Magnolia; white. 

MAY 

2. Crategus oxycantha, the scarlet Hawthorn. 

2. Cralcgus o.rycanlha, fl. plena, the double white Hawthorn. 

2. Chionanthus virginica, the white Fringe tree. 

1. Chionanthus latifolius, the broad-leaved Fringe tree; white. 

1. Azalea, many fine varieties; red, white, and yellow. 

1. Calycanlhus florida, the Sweet-scented-shrub; brown. 

1. Magnolia purpurea, the Chinese purple Magnolia. 

2. Halesia tetraptera, the silver Bell tree; white. 

2. Syringa vulgaris, the common white and red Lilacs. 

1. Syringa persica, the Persian Lilac; white and purple. 

1. Syringa persica laciniata, the Persian cut-leaved Lilac; purple. 

1. Kerria japonica, the Japan Globe flower, yellow. 

1. Lonicera tartarica, the Tartarian upright Honeysuckles; red and 

white. 
1. Philadelphus coronarius, the common Syringo, and the double 

Syringo; white. 

1. Spirxa hypericifolia, the St. Stephen's wreath; white. 
1. Spirxa corymbosa, the cluster flowering Spirea; white. 
1. Ribes sanguineum, the scarlet flowering Currant. 
1. Prunus nana, the double dwarf Almond; pink. 

1. Caragana arborescens, the Siberian Pea tree; yellow. 

2. Magnolia soulangeana, the Soulange Magnolia; purple. 

1. Pseonia moutan banksia, and rosea, the Chinese tree Pamoia; purple. 
1. Benlhamia frugifera, the red berried Benthamia; yellow. 

JUNE 

1. Amorpha fruticosa, the Indigo Shrub; purple. 

2. Colutea arborescens, the yellow Bladder-senna. 
1. Colutea cruenta, the red Bladder-senna. 

1. Cytisus capitalus, the cluster-flowered Cytisus; yellow. 



134 Landscape Gardening 

1. Stuartia inrginica, the white Stuartia. 

1. Cornus sanguinca, the bloody twig Dogwood; white. 

1. Hydrangea </ucrcifolia, the oak-leaved Hydrangea; white. 

2. Philadelphus grandiflorus, the large flowering Syringo; white. 
2. Viburnum Opulus, the Snow-ball; white. 

2. Magnolia glauca, the swamp Magnolia; white. 
1. Robinia hispida, the Rose-acacia. 

JULY 

1. Spirsea bella, the beautiful Spirea; red. 

2. Sop hora japonica, the Japan Sophora; white. 

2. Sophora japonica pendula, the weeping Sophora; white. 

2. Rhus Cot inns, the Venetian Fringe tree; yellow. (Brown tufts.) 

1. Ligustrum vulgare, the common Privet; white. 

2. Cytisus Laburnum, the Laburnum; yellow. 

2. Cytisus L. quercifolia, the oak-leaved Laburnum; white. 

1. Cytisus purpureus, the purple Laburnum. 

1. Cytisus argenteus, the silvery Cytisus; yellow. 

1. Cytisus nigricans, the black rooted Cytisus; yellow. 

2. Kolreuteria paniculata, the Japan Kolreuteria; yellow. 

AUGUST AND SEPTEMBER 

1. Clethra alnifolia, the alder-leaved Clethra; white. 

1. Symphoricarpos racemosa, the Snowberry; (in fruit) white. 

2. Hibiscus syriacus, the double purple, double white, double striped 

double blue, and variegated leaved Altheas. 

1. Spirsea tomentosa, the tomentose Spirea; red. 

2. Magnolia glauca thompsoniana, the late flowering Magnolia; white. 

1. Baccharis halmifolia, the Groundsel tree; white tufts. 

2. Euonymus europxus, the European Strawberry tree (in fruit), red. 
2. Euonymus europxus alba, the European Strawberry tree; the fruit 

white. 

2. Euonymus latifolius, the broad-leaved Strawberry tree; red. 
1. Daphne mezcreum autumnalis, the autumnal Mezereum. 

Besides the above, there are a great number of charming 
varieties of hardy roses, some of which may be grown in 
the common way on their own roots, and others grafted on 
stocks, two, three, or four feet high, as standards or tree- 
roses. The effect of the latter is wonderfully brilliant when 
they are in full bloom. Perhaps the situation where they 
are displayed to the greatest advantage is, in the center of 



Embellishments 135 



small round, oval, or square beds in the flower-garden 
where the remainder of the plants composing the bed are 
of dwarfish growth, so as not to hide the stem and head of 
the tree-roses. 

There are, unfortunately, but few evergreen shrubs that 
will endure the protracted cold of the winters of the northern 
states. The fine hollies, Portugal laurels, laurustinuses, etc., 
which are the glory of English gardens in autumn and winter, 
are not hardy enough to endure the depressed temperature 
of ten degrees below zero. South of Philadelphia, these 
beautiful exotic evergreens may be acclimated with good 
success, and will add greatly to the interest of the shrub- 
bery and grounds in winter. 

Beside the balsam firs and the spruce firs, the arbor 
vitse, and other evergreen trees, the following hardy species 
of evergreen shrubs may be introduced with advantage in 
the pleasure ground groups, viz: - 

Rhododendron maximum, the American rose bay or big Laurel; white 

and pink, several varieties (in shaded places). 
Kalmia latifolia, the common Laurel; several colors. 
Juniperus comrnunis suecia, the Swedish Juniper. 
Juniperus communis hibcrnia, the Irish Juniper. 
Buxus arborescens, the common Tree-box, the Gold striped Tree-box, 

and the Silver striped Tree-box. 
Ilex opaca, the American Holly. 
Cralegus pyracantha, the Evergreen Thorn. 
Mahonia aquifolium, the Holly leaved Barberry. 

The Conservatory or the greenhouse is an elegant and 
delightful appendage to the villa or mansion, when there is 
a taste for plants among the different members of a family. 
Those who have not enjoyed it, can hardly imagine the 
pleasure afforded by a well-chosen collection of exotic 
plants, which, amid the genial warmth of an artificial cli- 
mate, continue to put forth their lovely blossoms, and 
exhale their delicious perfumes, when all out-of-door nature 
is chill and desolate. The many hours of pleasant and 
healthy exercise and recreation afforded to the ladies of a 
family, where they take an interest themselves in the 



136 Landscape Gardening 

growth and vigor of the plants, are certainly no trifling 
considerations where the country residence is the place of 
habitation throughout the whole year. Often during the 
inclemency of our winter and spring months, there are days 
when either the excessive cold, or the disagreeable state 
of the weather, prevents in a great measure many persons, 
and especially females, from taking exercise in the open air. 
To such, the conservatory would be an almost endless 
source of enjoyment and amusement; and if they are true 
amateurs, of active exertion also. The constant changes 
which daily growth and development bring about in vege- 
table forms, the interest we feel in the opening of a favorite 
cluster of buds, or the progress of the thrifty and luxuriant 
shoots of a rare plant, are such as serve most effectually 
to prevent an occupation of this nature from ever becoming 
monotonous. 

The difference between the greenhouse and conservatory 
is, that in the former, the plants are all kept in pots and 
arranged on stages, both to meet the eye agreeably, and 
for more convenient growth; while in the conservatory, 
the plants are grown in a bed or border of soil precisely as 
in the open air. 

When either of these plant habitations is to be attached 
to the house, the preference is greatly in favor of the con- 
servatory. The plants being allowed more room, have 
richer and more luxuriant foliage, and grow and flower in a 
manner altogether superior to those in pots. The allusion 
to nature is also more complete in the case of plants growing 
in the ground; and from the objects all being on the same 
level, and easily accessible, they are with more facility 
kept in that perfect nicety and order which an elegant 
plant-house should always exhibit. 

On the other hand, the greenhouse will contain by far 
the largest number of plants, and the same may be more 
easily changed or renewed at any time; so that for a par- 
ticular taste, as that of a botanical amateur, who wishes 
to grow a great number of species in a small space, the 
greenhouse will be found preferable. Whenever either the 



Embellishments 137 



conservatory or greenhouse is of moderate size, and intended 
solely for private recreation, we would in every case, when 
such a thing is not impossible, have it attached to the house; 
communicating by a glass door with the drawing-room, or 
one of the living rooms. Nothing can be more gratifying 
than a vista in winter through a glass door down the walk 
of a conservatory, bordered and overhung with the fine 
forms of tropical vegetation, golden oranges glowing through 
the dark green foliage, and gay corollas lighting up the 
branches of Camellias and other floral favorites. Let us 
add the exulting song of a few Canaries, and the enchant- 
ment is complete. How much more refined and elevated 
is the taste which prefers such accessories to a dwelling, 
rather than costly furniture, or an extravagant display of 
plate! 

The best and most economical form for a conservatory 
is a parallelogram - - the deviation from a square being 
greater or less according to circumstances. When it is 
joined to the dwelling by one of its sides (in the case of 
the parallelogram form), the roof need only slope in one 
way, that is from the house. When one of the ends of the 
conservatory joins the dwelling, the roof should slope both 
ways from the center. The advantage of the junction in 
the former case, is, that less outer surface of the conserva- 
tory being exposed to the cold, viz. only a side and two 
ends, less fuel will be required; the advantage in the latter 
case is, that the main walk leading down the conservatory 
will be exactly in the line of the vista from the drawing- 
room of the dwelling. 

It is, we hope, almost unnecessary to state, that the roof 
of a conservatory, or indeed any other house where plants 
are to be well-grown, must be glazed. Opaque roofs prevent 
the admission of perpendicular light, without which the 
stems of vegetation are drawn up weak and feeble, and are 
attracted in an unsightly manner towards the glass in front. 
When the conservatory joins the house by one of its ends, 
and extends out from the building to a considerable length, 
the effect will be much more elegant; and the plants will 



138 Landscape Gardening 

thrive more perfectly, when it is glazed on all of the three 
sides, so as to admit light in every direction.* 

The best aspect for a conservatory is directly south; 
southeast and southwest are scarcely inferior. Even east 
and west exposures will do very well, where there is plenty 
of glass to admit light; for though our winters are cold, 
yet there is a great abundance of sun, and bright clear 
atmosphere, both far more beneficial to plants than the 
moist, foggy vapor of an English winter, which, though 
mild, is comparatively sunless. When the conservatory 
adjoins and looks into the flower-garden, the effect will be 
appropriate and pleasing. 

Some few hints respecting the construction of a con- 
servatory may not be unacceptable to some of our readers. 
In the first place, the roof should have a sufficient slope to 
carry off the rain rapidly, to prevent leakage; from 40 to 
45 degrees is found to be the best inclination in our climate. 
The roof should by no means be glazed with large panes, 
because small ones have much greater strength, which is 
requisite to withstand the heavy weight of snow that often 
falls during the winter, as well as to resist breakage by hail 
storms in summer. Four or eight inches by six, is the best 
size for roof-glass, f and with this size the lap of the panes 
need not be greater than one-eighth of an inch, while it 
would require to be one-fourth of an inch, were the panes 
of the usual size. On the front and sides, the sashes may 
be handsome, and filled in with the best glass; even plate 
glass has been used in many cases to our knowledge here.f 

* It need not be forgotten that very great improvements in green- 
house construction have been made since this chapter was written. The 
attached conservatory is now much more practicable and efficient than 
at that time. F. A. W. 

f Sixteen by twenty-four inches is now considered the standard size. 
-F. A. AY. 

t In the original edition the Author here proceeds to give practical 
suggestions regarding the heating of greenhouses and conservatories; 
but these directions are now so completely out of date that it seems better 
to omit them altogether. Instead of rewriting this portion of the book 
the Editor of the Seventh Edition prefers to recommend to the reader's 



Embellishments 139 



Whatever be the style of the architecture of the house, 
that of the conservatory should in every case conform to 
it, and evince a degree of enrichment according with that 
of the main building. 

Though a conservatory is often made an expensive lux- 
ury, attached only to the better class of residences, there 
is no reason why cottages of more humble character should 
not have the same source of enjoyment on a more moderate 
scale. A small greenhouse, or plant cabinet, as it is some- 
times called, eight or ten feet square, communicating with 
the parlor, and constructed in a simple style, may be 
erected and kept up in such a manner, as to be a source of 
much pleasure, for a comparatively trifling sum; and we 
hope soon to see in this country, where the comforts of 
life are more equally distributed than in any other, the 
taste for enjoyments of this kind extending itself with the 
means for realizing them, into every portion of the northern 
and middle states. 

Open and covered seats, of various descriptions, are among 
the most convenient and useful decorations for the pleasure 
grounds of a country residence. Situated in portions of 
the lawn or park, somewhat distant from the house, they 
offer an agreeable place for rest or repose. If there are 
certain points from which are obtained agreeable prospects 
or extensive views of the surrounding country, a seat, by 
designating those points, and by affording us a convenient 
mode of enjoying them, has a double recommendation to 
our minds. 

Open and covered seats are of two distinct kinds; one 
architectural, or formed after artist-like designs, of stone 
or wood, in Grecian, Gothic, or other forms; which may, 
if they are intended to produce an elegant effect, have vases 
on pedestals as accompaniments; the other, rustic, as they 
are called, which are formed out of trunks and branches of 
trees, roots, etc., in their natural forms. 

attention the advice of the professional greenhouse builders who may be 
relied on in matters of this sort, and without whose help no one should 
undertake to build a private plant. F. A. W. 



140 



Landscape Gardening 



There are particular sites where each of these kinds of 
seats, or structures, is, in good taste, alone admissible. In 
the proximity of elegant and decorated buildings where all 
around has a polished air, it would evidently be doing 
violence to our feelings and sense of propriety to admit 
many rustic seats and structures of any kind; but archi- 
tectural decorations and architectural seats are there cor- 




FIG. 28. A RUSTIC SEAT OF CEMENT 

rectly introduced. For the same reason, also, as we have 
already suggested, that the sculptured forms of vases, etc., 
would be out of keeping in scenes where nature is predomi- 
nant (as the distant wooded parts or walks of a residence), 
architectural, or, in other words, highly artificial seats, 
would not be in character: but rustic seats and structures, 
which, from the nature of the materials employed and the 
simple manner of their construction, appear but one remove 
from natural forms, are felt at once to be in unison with the 
surrounding objects. Again, the mural and highly artis- 



Embellishments 141 



tical vase and statue, most properly accompany the beauti- 
ful landscape garden; while rustic baskets, or vases, arc 
the most fitting decorations of the picturesque landscape 
garden. 

The simplest variety of covered architectural seat is the 
latticed arbor for vines of various descriptions, with the 
seat underneath the canopy of foliage; this may with more 
propriety be introduced in various parts of the grounds 
than any other of its class, as the luxuriance and natural 
gracefulness of the foliage which covers the arbor, in a 
great measure destroys or overpowers the expression of its 
original form. Lattice arbors, however, neatly formed of 
rough poles and posts, are much more picturesque and 
suitable for wilder portions of the scenery. 

The temple and the pavilion are highly finished forms of 
covered seats, which are occasionally introduced in splendid 
places, where classic architecture prevails. 

We consider rustic seats and structures as likely to be 
much preferred in the villa and cottage residences of the 
country. They have the merit of being tasteful and pic- 
turesque in their appearance, and are easily constructed 
by the amateur, at comparatively little or no expense. 
There is scarcely a prettier or more pleasant object for the 
termination of a long walk in the pleasure-grounds or park, 
than a neatly thatched structure of rustic work, with its 
seat for repose, and a view of the landscape beyond. On 
finding such an object, we are never tempted to think that 
there has been a lavish expenditure to serve a trifling pur- 
pose, but are gratified to see the exercise of taste and inge- 
nuity, which completely answers the end in view. 

A prospect tower is a most desirable and pleasant structure 
in certain residences. Where the view is comparatively 
limited from the grounds, on account of their surface being 
level, or nearly so, it often happens that the spectator, by 
being raised some twenty-five or thirty feet above the sur- 
face, finds himself in a totally different position, whence a 
charming bird's-eye view of the surrounding country is 
obtained. 



142 Landscape Gardening 

Those of our readers who may have visited the delightful 
garden and grounds of M. Parmentier, near Brooklyn, some 
half a dozen years since, during the life-time of that amiable 
and zealous amateur of horticulture, will readily remember 
the rustic prospect-arbor, or tower which was situated at 
the extremity of his place. It was one of the first pieces 
of rustic work of any size and displaying any ingenuity, 
that we remember to have seen here; and from its summit, 
though the garden walks afforded no prospect, a beautiful 
reach of the neighborhood for many miles was enjoyed. 

On a fcrme ornee, where the proprietor desires to give a 
picturesque appearance to the different appendages of the 
place, rustic work offers an easy and convenient method 
of attaining this end. The dairy is sometimes made a 
detached building, and in this country it may be built of 
logs in a tasteful manner with a thatched roof; the interior 
being studded, lathed, and plastered in the usual way. Or 
the ice-house, which generally shows but a rough gable and 
ridge roof rising out of the ground, might be covered with 
a neat structure in rustic work, overgrown with vines, 
which would give it a pleasing or picturesque air, instead 
of leaving it, as at present, an unsightly object which we 
are anxious to conceal. 

A species of useful decoration, which is perhaps more 
naturally suggested than any other, is the bridge. Where 
a constant stream, of greater or less size, runs through the 
grounds, and divides the banks on opposite sides, a bridge 
of some description, if it is only a narrow plank over a 
rivulet, is highly necessary. In pieces of artificial water 
that are irregular in outline, a narrow strait is often pur- 
posely made, with the view of introducing a bridge for 
effect. 

When the stream is large and bold, a handsome archi- 
tectural bridge of stone or timber is by far the most suitable; 
especially if the stream is near the house, or if it is crossed 
on the approach road to the mansion; because a character 
of permanence and solidity is requisite in such cases. But 
when it is only a winding rivulet or crystal brook, which 



Embellishments 11/5 



meanders along beneath the shadow of tufts of clustering 
foliage of the pleasure ground or park, a rustic bridge may 
be brought in with the happiest effect. 

Rockwork is another kind of decoration sometimes intro- 
duced in particular portions of the scenery of a residence. 
When well executed, that is, so as to have a natural and 
harmonious expression, the effect is highly pleasing. We 
have seen, however, in places where a high keeping and 
good taste otherwise prevailed, such a barbarous melange, 
or confused pile of stones mingled with soil, and planted 
over with dwarfish plants dignified with the name of rock- 
work, that we have been led to believe that it is much 
better to attempt nothing of the kind, unless there is a 
suitable place for its display, and at the same time, the 
person attempting it is sufficiently an artist, imbued with 
the spirit of nature in her various compositions and com- 
binations, to be able to produce something higher than a 
caricature of her works. 

The object of rockwork is to produce in scenery or por- 
tions of a scene, naturally in a great measure destitute of 
groups of rocks and their accompanying drapery of plants 
and foliage, something of the picturesque effect which such 
natural assemblages confer. To succeed in this, it is evi- 
dent that we must not heap up little hillocks of mould and 
smooth stones, in the midst of an open lawn, or the center 
of a flower-garden. But if we can make choice of a situa- 
tion where a rocky bank or knoll already partially exists, 
or would be in keeping with the form of the ground and 
the character of the scene, then we may introduce such 
accompaniments with the best possible hope of success. 

It often happens in a place of considerable extent, that 
somewhere in conducting the walks through the grounds, 
we meet with a ridge with a small rocky face, or perhaps 
\\ith a large rugged single rock, or a bank where rocky 
summits just protrude themselves through the surface. The 
common feeling against such uncouth objects, would direct 
them to be cleared away at once out of sight. But let us 
take the case of the large rugged rock, and commence our 



144 Landscape Gardening 

picturesque operations upon it. We will begin by collect- 
ing from some rocky hill or valley in the neighborhood of 
the estate, a sufficient quantity of rugged rocks, in size 
from a few pounds to half a ton or more, if necessary, pre- 
ferring always such as are already coated with mosses and 
lichens. These we will assemble around the base of a large 
rock, in an irregular somewhat pyramidal group, bedding 
them sometimes partially, sometimes almost entirely in soil 
heaped in irregular piles around the rock. The rocks must 
be arranged in a natural manner, avoiding all regularity and 
appearance of formal art, but placing them sometimes in 
groups of half a dozen together, overhanging each other, 
and sometimes half bedded in the soil, and a little distance 
apart. There are no rules to be given for such operations, 
but the study of natural groups, of a character similar to 
that which we wish to produce, will afford sufficient hints 
if the artist is 

"Prodigue de genie,"* 

and has a perception of the natural beauty which he desires 
to imitate. 

The rockwork once formed, choice trailing, creeping, and 
alpine plants, such as delight naturally in similar situations, 
may be planted in the soil which fills the interstices between 
the rocks: when these grow to fill their proper places, 
partly concealing and adorning the rocks with their neat 
green foliage and pretty blossoms, the effect of the whole, 
if properly done, will be like some exquisite portion of a 
rocky bank in wild scenery, and will be found to give an 
air at once striking and picturesque to the little scene 
where it is situated. 

In small places where the grounds are extremely limited, 
and the owner wishes to form a rockwork for the growth 
of alpine and other similar plants, if there are no natural 
indications of a rocky surface, a rockwork may sometimes 
be introduced without violating good taste by preparing 
natural indications artificially, if we may use such a term. 

* A favorite quotation of Air. Downing's; see page 76. 



Embellishments 1 !." 



If a few of the rocks to be employed in the rockwork are 
sunk half or three-fourths their depth in the soil near the 
site of the proposed rockwork, so as to have the appear- 
ance of a rocky ridge just cropping out, as the geologists 
say, then the rockwork will, to the eye of a spectator, seem 
to be connected with, and growing out of this rocky spur 
or ridge below: or, in other words, there will be an obvious 
reason for its being situated there, instead of its presenting 
aYsvholly artificial appearance. 

In a previous page, when treating of the banks of pieces 
of water formed by art, we endeavored to show how the 
natural appearance of such banks would be improved by 
the judicious introduction of rocks partially imbedded into 
and holding them up. Such situations, in the case of a 
small lake or pond, or a brook, are admirable sites for rock- 
work. Where the materials of a suitable kind are abun- 
dant, and tasteful ingenuity is not wanting, surprising 
effects may be produced in a small space. Caves and 
grottoes, where ferns and mosses would thrive admirably 
with the gentle drip from the roof, might be made of the 
overarching rocks arranged so as to appear like small nat- 
ural caverns. Let the exterior be partially planted with 
low shrubs and climbing plants, as the wild clematis, and 
the effect of such bits of landscape could not but be agreeable 
in secluded portions of the grounds. 

In many parts of the country, the secondary blue lime- 
stone abounds, which, in the small masses found loose in 
the woods, covered with mosses and ferns, affords the very 
finest material for artificial rockwork. 

After all, much the safest way is never to introduce 
rockwork of any description, unless we feel certain that it 
will have a good effect. When a place is naturally pic- 
turesque, and abounds here and there with rocky banks, 
etc., little should be done but to heighten and aid the 
expressions of these, if they are wanting in spirit, by adding 
something more: or softening and giving elegance to the 
expression, if too wild, by planting the same with beautiful 
shrubs and climbers. On a tame sandv level, where rocks 



146 Landscape Gardening 

of any kind are unknown, their introduction in rockworks, 
nine times in ten, is more likely to give rise to emotions of 
the ridiculous, than those of the sublime or picturesque. 

Fountains are highly elegant garden decorations, rarely 
seen in this country; which is owing, not so much, we 
apprehend, to any great cost incurred in putting them up, 
or any want of appreciation of their sparkling and enliven- 
ing effect in garden scenery, as to the fact that there are 
few artisans here, as abroad, whose business it is to construct 
and fit up architectural, and other jets d'eau. 

The first requisite, where a fountain is a desideratum, is 
a constant supply of water, either from a natural source 
or an artificial reservoir, some distance higher than the 
level of the surface whence the jet or fountain is to rise. 
Where there is a pond, or other body of water, on a higher 
level than the proposed fountain, it is only necessary to lay 
pipes under the surface to conduct the supply of water to 
the required spot; but where there is no such head of water, 
the latter must be provided from a reservoir artificially 
prepared, and kept constantly full. 

There are tw r o very simple and cheap modes of effecting 
this, which we shall lay before our readers, and one or the 
other of which may be adopted in almost every locality. 
The first is to provide a large flat cistern of sufficient size, 
which is to be placed under the roof in the upper story of 
one of the outbuildings, the carriage-house for example, 
and receive its supplies from the water collected on the 
roof of the building; the amount of water collected in this 
way from a roof of moderate size being much more than 
is generally supposed. The second is to sink a well of 
capacious size (where such is not already at command) in 
some part of the grounds where it will not be conspicuous, 
and over it to erect a small tower, the top of which shall 
contain a cistern and a wind-mill; which being kept in 
motion by the wind more or less almost every day in sum- 
mer, will raise a sufficient quantity of water to keep the 
reservoir supplied from the well below. In either of these 
cases, it is only necessary to carry pipes from the cistern 



Embellishments 147 



(under the surface, below the reach of frost) to the place 
where the jet is to issue; the supply in both these cases 
will, if properly arranged, be more than enough for the 
consumption of the fountain during the hours when it will 
be necessary for it to play, viz. from sunrise to evening. 

The steam engine is often employed to force up water 
for the supply of fountains in many of the large public and 
royal gardens; but there are few cases in this country 
where private expenditures of this kind would be justifiable. 

But where a small stream, or even the overflow of a 
perpetual spring, can be commanded, the hydraulic ram is 
the most perfect as well as the simplest and cheapest of all 
modes of raising water. A supply pipe of an inch in diam- 
eter is in many cases sufficient to work the ram and force 
water to a great distance; and where sufficient to fill a 
"driving pipe" of two inches diameter can be commanded, 
a large reservoir may be kept constantly filled. 

A simple jet issuing from a circular basin of water, or a 
cluster of perpendicular jets (candelabra jets), is at once the 
simplest and most pleasing of fountains. Such are almost 
the only kinds of fountains w 7 hich can be introduced with 
propriety in simple scenes where the predominant objects 
are sylvan, not architectural. 

Weeping, or Tazza fountains, as they are called, are 
simple and highly pleasing objects, which require only a 
very moderate supply of water compared with that de- 
manded by a constant and powerful jet. The conduit pipe 
rises through and fills the vase, which is so formed as to 
overflow round its entire margin. The ordinary jet and 
the tazza fountain may be combined in one, when the 
supply of water is sufficient, by carrying the conduit pipe 
to the level of the top of the vase, from which the water 
rises perpendicularly, then falls back into the vase and 
overflows as before. 

A species of rustic fountain which has a good effect, is 
made by introducing the conduit pipe or pipes among the 
groups of rockwork alluded to, from whence (the orifice of 
the pipe being concealed or disguised) the water issues 



148 Landscape Gardening 

among the rocks cither in the form of a cascade, a weeping 
fountain, or a perpendicular jet. A little basin of water is 
formed at the foot or in the midst of the rockwork; and 
the cool moist atmosphere afforded by the trickling streams, 
would offer a most congenial site for aquatic plants, ferns, 
and mosses. 

Fountains of a highly artificial character are happily 
situated only when they are placed in the neighborhood of 
buildings and architectural forms. When only a single 
fountain can be maintained in a residence, the center of the 
flower-garden, or the neighborhood of the piazza or terrace- 
walk, is, we think, much the most appropriate situation for 
it. There the liquid element, dancing and sparkling in the 
sunshine, is an agreeable feature in the scene, as viewed 
from the windows of the rooms; and the falling watery 
spray diffusing coolness around is no less delightful in the 
surrounding stillness of a summer evening. 

After all that we have said respecting architectural and 
rustic decorations of the grounds, we must admit that it 
requires a great deal of good taste and judgment, to intro- 
duce and distribute them so as to be in good keeping with 
the scenery of country residences. A country residence, 
where the house with a few tasteful groups of flowers and 
shrubs, and a pretty lawn, with clusters and groups of 
luxuriant trees, are all in high keeping and evincing high 
order, is far more beautiful and pleasing than the same 
place, or even one of much larger extent, where a profusion 
of statues, vases, and fountains, or rockwork and rustic 
seats, are distributed throughout the garden and grounds, 
while the latter, in themselves, show slovenly keeping, and 
a crude and meagre knowledge of design in Landscape 
Gardening. 

Unity of expression is the maxim and guide in this de- 
partment of the art, as in every other. Decorations can 
never be introduced with good effect, when they are at 
variance with the character of surrounding objects. A 
beautiful and highly architectural villa may, with the 
greatest propriety, receive the decorative accompaniments 



Embellishments 1 I'.i 



of elegant vases, sundials, or statues, should the proprietor 
choose to display his wealth and taste in this manner; but 
these decorations would be totally misapplied in the case 
of a plain square edifice, evincing no architectural style in 
itself. 

In addition to this, there is great danger that a mere 
lover of fine vases may run into the error of assembling 
these objects indiscriminately in different parts of his 
grounds, where they have really no place, but interfere 
with the quiet character of surrounding nature. He may 
overload the grounds with an unmeaning distribution of 
sculpturesque or artificial forms, instead of working up 
those parts where art predominates in such a manner, by 
means of appropriate decorations, as to heighten by con- 
trast the beauty of the whole adjacent landscape. 

With regard to pavilions, summer-houses, rustic seats, 
and garden edifices of like character, they should, if possible, 
in all cases be introduced where they are manifestly appro- 
priate or in harmony with the scene. Thus a grotto should 
not be formed in the side of an open bank, but in a deep 
shadowy recess; a classic temple or pavilion may crown a 
beautiful and prominent knoll, and a rustic covered seat 
may occupy a secluded, quiet portion of the grounds, where 
undisturbed meditation may be enjoyed. As our favorite 
Delille says: 

"Sachez ce qui convient on nuit au caractere. 
Un rcduit ccartc, dans un lieu solitaire, 
Peint mieux la solitude encore et 1' abandon. 
Montrez-vous done fidele a chaque expression; 
N'allez pas au grand jour offrir un ermitage: 
Ne cachez point un temple au fond d'un bois sauvage." 

LES JARDINS. 

Or if certain objects are unavoidably placed in situations 
of inimical expression, the artist should labor to alter the 
character of the locality. How much this can be done by 
the proper choice of trees and shrubs, and the proper 
arrangement of plantations, those who have seen the differ- 



150 Landscape Gardening 

ence in aspect or certain favorite localities of wild nature, 
as covered with wood, or as denuded by the axe, can well 
judge. And we hope the amateur, who has made himself 
familiar with the habits and peculiar expressions of different 
trees, as pointed out in this work, will not find himself at 
a loss to effect such changes, by the aid of time, with ease 
and facility. 



CHAPTER VII 
THE PHILOSOPHY OF RURAL TASTE* 

ALL travellers agree, that while the English people are 
far from being remarkable for their taste in the arts 
generally, they are unrivalled in their taste for land- 
scape gardening. So completely is this true, that wherever 
on the continent one finds a garden, conspicuous for the 
taste of its design, one is certain to learn that it is laid out 
in the "English style," and usually kept by an English 
gardener. 

Not, indeed, that the south of Europe is wanting in mag- 
nificent gardens, which are as essentially national in their 
character as the parks and pleasure grounds of England. 
The surroundings of the superb villas of Florence and Rome, 
are fine examples of a species of scenery as distinct and 
striking as any to be found in the world; but which, how- 
ever splendid, fall as far below the English gardens in 
interesting the imagination, as a level plain does below the 
finest mountain valley in Switzerland. In the English 
landscape garden, one sees and feels everywhere the spirit 
of nature, only softened and refined by art. In the French 
or Italian garden, one sees and feels only the effects of art, 
slightly assisted by nature. In one, the free and luxuriant 
growth of every tree and shrub, the widening and curving 
of every walk, suggests perhaps even a higher ideal of 
nature, - - a miniature of a primal paradise, as we would 
imagine it to have been by divine right; in the other, the 
prodigality of works of art, the variety of statues and vases, 
terraces and balustrades, united with walks marked by 
the same studied symmetry and artistic formality, and only 
mingled with just foliage enough to constitute a garden, 

* Original dale of August, 1849. 
151 



152 Landscape Gardening 

- all this suggests rather a statue gallery in the open air, 

- an accompaniment to the fair architecture of the man- 
sion, than any pure or natural ideas of landscape beauty. 

The only writer who has ever attempted to account for 
this striking distinction of national taste in gardening, which 
distinguishes the people of northern and southern Europe, 
is Humboldt. In his last great work --" Cosmos," he 
has devoted some pages to the consideration of the study 
of nature, and the description of natural scenery, - - a por- 
tion of the work in the highest degree interesting to every 
man of taste, as well as every lover of nature. 

In this portion he shows, we think, very conclusively, 
that certain races of mankind, however great in other gifts, 
are deficient in their perceptions of natural beauty; that 
northern nations possess the love of nature much more 
strongly than those of the south; and that the Greeks and 
Romans, richly gifted as they were with the artistic endow- 
ments, were inferior to other nations in a profound feeling 
of the beauty of nature. 

Humboldt also show^s that our enjoyment of natural land- 
scape gardening, which many suppose to have originated 
in the cultivated and refined taste of a later age, is, on the 
contrary, purely a matter of national organization. The 
parks of the Persian monarchs, and the pleasure gardens of 
the Chinese, were characterized by the same spirit of natural 
beauty which \ve see in the English landscape gardens, and 
w 7 hich is widely distinct from that elegant formality of the 
geometric gardens of the Greeks and Romans of several 
centuries later. To prove how 7 sound were the principles of 
Chinese taste, ages ago, he gives us a quotation from an 
ancient Chinese writer, Lieu-tscheu, which might well be the 
text of the most tasteful improver of the present day, and 
which we copy for the study of our ow r n readers. 

"What is it," says Lieu-tscheu, "that \ve seek in the 
pleasures of a garden? It has always been agreed that 
these plantations should make men amends for living at a 
distance from what would be their more congenial and 
agreeable dwelling place, in the midst of nature, free and 



The Philosophy of Rural Taste 153 

unconstrained. The art of laying out gardens consists, 
therefore, in combining cheerfulness of prospect, luxuriance 
and growth, shade, retirement and repose; so that the rural 
aspect may produce an illusion. Variety, which is the chief 
merit in the natural landscape, must be sought by the choice 
of ground, with alternation of hill' and dale, ilowing streams 
and lakes, covered with aquatic plants. Symmetry is 
wearisome, and a garden where every thing betrays con- 
straint and art becomes tedious and distasteful." 

We shall seek in vain, in the treatises of modern writers, 
for a theory of rural taste more concise and satisfactory 
than this of the Chinese landscape garden. 

Looking at this instinctive love of nature as a national 
characteristic, which belongs almost exclusively to distinct 
races, Humboldt asserts, that while the "profoundest feeling 
of nature speaks forth in the earliest poetry of the Hebrews, 
the Indians, and the Semitic and Indo-Germanic nations, it 
is comparatively wanting in the works of the Greeks and 
Romans." 

"In Grecian art," says he, "all is made to concentrate 
within the sphere of human life and feeling. The descrip- 
tion of nature, in her manifold diversity, as a distinct 
branch of poetic literature, \vas altogether foreign to the 
ideas of the Greeks. With them, the landscape is always 
the mere background of a picture, in the foreground 
of \vhich human figures are moving. Passion, breaking 
forth in action, invited their attention almost exclusively; 
the agitation of politics, and a life passed chiefly in public, 
withdrew men's minds from enthusiastic absorption in the 
tranquil pursuit of nature." 

On the other hand, the poetry of Britain, from a very 
early period, has been especially remarkable for the deep 
and instinctive love of natural beauty which it exhibits. 
And here lies the explanation of the riddle of the superiority 
of English taste in rural embellishment; that people en- 
joying their gardens the more as they embodied the spirit 
of nature, while the Italians, like the Greeks, enjoyed them 
the more as they embodied the spirit of art. 



154 Landscape Gardening 

The Romans, tried in the alembic of the great German 
writer, are found slill colder in their love of nature's charms 
than the Greeks. "A nation which manifested a marked 
predilection for agriculture and rural life might have justi- 
fied other hopes; but with all their capacity for practical 
activity, the Romans, in their cold gravity and measured 
sobriety of understanding, were, as a people, far inferior to 
the Greeks in the perception of beauty, far less sensitive 
to its influence, and much more devoted to the realities 
of every-day life, than to an idealizing contemplation of 
nature." 

Judging them by their writings, Humboldt pronounces 
the great Roman writers to be comparatively destitute of 
real poetic feeling for nature. Livy and Tacitus show, in 
their histories, little or no interest in natural scenery. Cicero 
describes landscape without poetic feeling. Pliny, though 
he rises to true poetic inspiration when describing the great 
moving causes of the natural universe, "has few individual 
descriptions of nature." Ovid, in his exile, saw little to 
charm him in the scenery around him; and Virgil, though 
he often devoted himself to subjects which prompt the en- 
thusiasm of a lover of nature, rarely glo\vs with the fire of a 
true worshipper of her mysterious charms. And not only 
were the Romans indifferent to the beauty of natural land- 
scape which daily surrounded them, but even to the sub- 
limity and magnificence of those wilder and grander scenes, 
into which their love of conquest often led them. The fol- 
lowing striking paragraph, from Humboldt's work, is at 
once eloquent and convincing on this point: 

"No description of the eternal snows of the Alps, when 
tinged in the morning or evening with a rosy hue, - - of the 
beauty of the blue glacier ice, or of any part of the grandeur 
of the scenery in Switzerland, - - have reached us from the 
ancients, although statesmen and generals, with men of 
letters in their train, were constantly passing from Helvetia 
into Gaul. All these travellers think only of complaining 
of the difficulties of the way; the romantic character of 
the scenery seems never to have engaged their attention. 



The Philosophy of Rural Taste 155 

It is even known thai Julius Caesar, when reluming to his 
legions, in Gaul, employed his lime while passing over the 
Alps in preparing a grammatical treatise, 'De Analogia." 

The corollary to be drawn from this learned and curious 
investigation of the history of national sensibility and taste, 
is a very clear and satisfactory one, viz., that as success, in 
"the art of composing a landscape" (as Humboldt signifi- 
cantly calls landscape gardening), depends on appreciation 
of nature, the taste of an individual as well as that of a 
nation, will be in direct proportion to the profound sensi- 
bility with which he perceives the beautiful in natural 
scenery. 

Our own observation not only fully confirms this theory, 
but it also leads us to the recognition of the fact, that among 
our countrymen, at the present day, there are two distinct 
classes of taste in rural art; first, the poetic or northern 
taste, based on a deep, instinctive feeling for nature; and 
second, the artistic or symmetric taste, based on a percep- 
tion of the beautiful, as embodied in works of art. 

The larger part of our countrymen inherit the northern 
or Anglo-Saxon love of nature, and find most delight in the 
natural landscape garden; but we have also not a fe\v to 
whom the classic villa, with its artistic adornments of vase 
and statue, urn and terrace, is an object of much more posi- 
tive pleasure than the most varied and seductive gardens, 
laid out with all the witchery of nature's own handiwork. 

It is not part of our philosophy to urge our readers to war 
against their organizations, to whichever path, in the 
Delectable Mountains, they may be led by them; but those 
who have not already studied "Cosmos" will, we trust, at 
least thank us for giving them the key to their natural bias 
towards one or the other of the two world-wide styles of 
ornamental gardening. 



CHAPTER VIII 
THE BEAUTIFUL IN GROUND* 

WE have sketched, elsewhere, the elements of the 
beautiful in a tree. Let us glance for a few mo- 
ments at the beautiful in ground. 

\Ye may have readers who think themselves not devoid 
of some taste for nature, but who have never thought of 
looking for beauty in the mere surface of the earth, whether 
in a natural landscape, or in ornamental grounds. Their 
idea of beauty is, for the most part, attached to the foliage 
and verdure, the streams of water, the high hills and the 
deep valleys, that make up the landscape. A meadow is 
to them but a meadow, and a ploughed field is but the 
same thing in a rough state. And yet there is a great and 
enduring interest, to a refined and artistic eye, in the mere 
surface of the ground. There is a sense of pleasure awak- 
ened by the pleasing lines into which yonder sloping bank 
of turf steals away from the eye, and a sense of ugliness and 
harshness, by the raw and broken outline of the abandoned 
quarry on the hillside, which hardly any one can be so 
obtuse as not to see and feel. Yet the finer gradations are 
nearly overlooked, and the charm of beautiful surface in a 
lawn is seldom or never considered in selecting a new site 
or improving an old one. 

\Ye believe artists and men of taste have agreed that all 
forms of acknowledged beauty are composed of curved 
lines; and we may add to this, that the more gentle and 
gradual the curves, or rather the farther they are removed 
from those hard and forcible lines which denote violence, 
the more beautiful are they. The principle applies as well 
to the surface of the earth as to other objects. The most 

* Original date of March, 18f>2. 
156 




7, 
? 

J 



X 

c/: 



13 

a 



(157) 



158 Landscape Gardening 

beautiful shape in ground is that where one undulation 
melts gradually and insensibly into another. Every one 
who lias observed scenery where the foregrounds were re- 
markable for beauty, must have been struck by this preva- 
lence of curved lines; and every landscape gardener well 
knows that no grassy surface is so captivating to the eye, as 
one where these gentle swells and undulations rise and 
melt away gradually into one another. Some poet, happy 
in his fancy, has called such bits of grassy slopes and swells, 
"earth's smiles;" and when the effect of the beauty and 
form of outline is heightened by the pleasing gradation of 
light and shade, caused by the sun's light, variously reflected 
by such undulations of lawn, the simile seems strikingly 
appropriate. With every change of position the outlines 
vary, and the lights and shades vary with them, so that the 
eye is doubly pleased by the beauty of form and chiaro- 
oscuro, in a lawn with gracefully undulating surface. 

A flat or level surface is considered beautiful by many 
persons, though it has no beauty in itself. It is, in fact, 
chiefly valued because it evinces art. Though there is no 
positive beauty in a straight or level line, it is often inter- 
esting as expressive of power, and we feel as much awed by 
the boundless prairie or desert, as by the lofty snow-capped 
hill. On a smaller scale, a level surface is sometimes agree- 
able in the midst of a rude and wild country by way of 
contrast, as a small, level garden in the Alps will sometimes 
attract one astonishingly, that would be passed by, un- 
noticed, in the midst of a flat and cultivated country. 

Hence, as there are a thousand men who value power, 
where there is one who can feel beauty, we see all ignorant 
persons who set about embellishing their pleasure-grounds, 
or even the site for a home, immediately commence levelling 
the surface. Once brought to this level, improvement can 
go no further, according to their views, since to subjugate or 
level, is the whole aim of man's ambition. Once levelled, 
you may give to grounds, or even to a whole landscape, ac- 
cording to their theory, as much beauty as you like. It is 
only a question of expense. 



The Beautiful in Ground I.7.) 

This is a fearful fallacy, however; fearful, oftentimes, to 
both the eye and the purse. If a dead level were the thing 
needful to constitute beauty of surface, then all Holland 
would be the Arcadia of landscape painters; and while 
Claude, condemned to tame Italy, would have painted the 
interior of inns, and groups of boors drinking (vide the 
Dutch School of art), Teniers, living in the dead level of 
his beautiful nature, would have bequeathed to the world 
pictures of his native land, full of the loveliness of meadows 
smooth as a carpet, or enlivened only by pollard willows and 
stagnant canals. It is not the less fearful to see, as we have 
often seen in this country, where new places are continually 
made, a finely varied outline of ground utterly spoiled by 
being graded for the mansion and its surrounding lawn, at 
an expense which would have curved all the walks, and 
filled the grounds with the finest trees and shrubs, if their 
surface had been left nearly or quite as nature formed it. 
Not much better, or even far worse, is the foolish fancy 
many persons have of terracing every piece of sloping 
ground, as a mere matter of ornament, where no terrace is 
needed. It may be pretty safely said that a terrace is 
always ugly unless it is on a large scale and is treated with 
dignity so as to become part of the building itself, or more 
properly be supposed to belong to it than to the grounds, 
like the fine, architectural terraces which surround the old 
English mansions. But little gardens thrown up into ter- 
races, are devoid of all beauty whatever, though they may 
often be rendered more useful or available in this way. 

The surface of ground is rarely ugly in a state of nature, 
because all nature leans to the beautiful, and the constant 
action of the elements goes continually to soften and wear 
away the harshness and violence of surface. What cannot 
be softened, is hidden and rounded by means of foliage, 
trees and shrubs, and creeping vines, and so the tendency to 
the curve is always greater and greater. But man often 
forms ugly surfaces of ground, by breaking up all natural 
curves, without recognizing their expression, by distribut- 
ing lumps of earth here and there, by grading levels in the 



160 Landscape Gardening 



midst of undulations, and raising mounds on perfectly 
smooth surfaces; in short, by regarding only the little he 
wishes to do in his folly, and not studying the larger part 
that nature has already done in her wisdom. As a common 
though accidental illustration of this, we may notice that 
the mere routine of tillage on a farm, has a tendency to 
destroy natural beauty of surface by ridging up the soil at 
the outsides of the field and thus breaking up that con- 
tinuous flow of line which delights the eye. 

Our object in these remarks is simply to ask our readers 
to think in the beginning, before they even commence any 
improvements on the surface of ground which they wish to 
embellish - - to think in what natural beauty really con- 
sists, and whether in grading, they are not wasting money, 
and losing that which they are seeking. It will be better 
still, if they will consider the matter seriously, when they 
are about buying a place, since, as we have before observed, 
no money is expended with so little to show for it, and so 
little satisfaction, as that spent in changing the original 
surface of the ground. 

Practically the rules we would deduce are the following: 
To select, always, if possible, a surface varied by gentle 
curves and undulations. If something of this character 
already exists, it may often be greatly heightened or im- 
proved at little cost. Very often, too, a nearly level surface 
may, by a very trifling addition, only adding a few inches in 
certain points, be raised to a character of positive beauty, 
by simply following the hints given by nature. 

When a surface is quite level by nature, we must usually 
content ourselves with trusting to planting, and the arrange- 
ment of walks, buildings, etc., to produce beauty and vari- 
ety; and we would always, in such cases, rather expend 
money in introducing beautiful vases, statues, or other works 
of positive artistic merit, than to terrace and unmake what 
character nature has stamped on the ground. 

Positively ugly and forbidding surfaces of ground, may be 
rendered highly interesting and beautiful, only by changing 
their character, entirely, by planting. Such ground, after 



The Beautiful in (iround 



this has been done, becomes only the skeleton of the fair 
outside of beauty and verdure that covers the forbidding 
original. Some of the most picturesque ravines and rocky 
hillsides, if stripped entirely of their foliage, would appear 
as ugly as they were before beautiful; and while this may 
teach the improver that there is no situation that may not 
be rendered attractive, if the soil will yield a growth of 
trees, shrubs, and vines, it does not the less render it worth 
our attention in choosing or improving a place, to examine 
carefully beforehand, in what really consists the beautiful 
in ground, and whether we should lose or gain it in our 
proposed improvements. 



CHAPTER IX 
THE BEAUTIFUL IN A TREE* 

IN what does the beauty of a tree consist? We mean of 
course what may strictly be called an ornamental 
tree, not a tree planted for its fruit in the orchard, or 
growing for timber in the forest, but standing alone in the 
lawn or meadow, growing in groups in the pleasure ground, 
overarching the roadside, or bordering some stately avenue. 
Is it not, first of all, that such a tree, standing where it can 
grow untouched, and develop itself on all sides, is one of the 
finest pictures of symmetry and proportion that the eye 
can anywhere meet with? The tree may be young, or it 
may be old, but if left to nature, it is sure to grow into 
some form that courts the eye and satisfies it. It may 
branch out boldly and grandly, like the oak; its top may 
be broad and stately, like the chestnut, or drooping and 
elegant, like the elm, or delicate and airy like the birch, but 
it is sure to grow into the type form, either beautiful or 
picturesque, that nature stamped upon its species, and 
which is the highest beauty that such tree can possess. 
It is true that nature plants some trees, like the fir and 
pine, in the fissures of the rock and on the edge of the 
precipice; that she twists their boughs and gnarls their 
stems by storms and tempests thereby adding to their 
picturesque power in sublime and grand scenery; but as 
a general truth, it may be clearly stated that the beautiful 
in a tree of any kind is never so fully developed as when, in 
a genial soil and climate, it stands quite alone, stretching 
its boughs upward freely to the sky and outward to the 
breeze and even downward towards the earth, almost touch- 
ing it with their graceful sweep, till only a glimpse of the 

* Original date of February, 1851. 
162 



The Beautiful in a Tree 



163 



fine trunk is had at its spreading base, and the whole top 
is one great globe of floating, waving, drooping, or sturdy 
luxuriance, giving one as perfect an idea of symmetry and 
proportion, as can be found short of the Grecian Apollo 
itself. 



*., 

- V 

" ---_^ I ( fl * 




FIG. 30. THE GRACEFUL NATIVE BIRCHES 



We have taken the pains to present this beau ideal of a 
fine ornamental tree to our readers in order to contrast it 
with another picture, not from nature, but by the hands of 
quite another master. 

This master is the man whose passion is to prune trees. 
To his mind there is nothing comparable to the satisfaction 
of trimming a tree. A tree in a state of nature is a no more 
respectable object than an untamed savage. It is running 
to waste with leaves and branches and has none of the look 
of civilization about it. Only let him use his saw for a short 



164 Landscape Gardening 

time upon any young specimen just growing into adoles- 
cence and throwing out its delicate branches like a fine 
fall of drapery to conceal its naked trunk, and you shall see 
how he will improve its appearance. Yes, he will trim up 
those branches till there is a tall, naked stem, higher than 
his head. That shows that the tree has been taken care 
of - - has been trimmed - - ergo, trained and educated into a 
look of respectability. This is his great point - - the funda- 
mental law of sylvan beauty in his mind - - a bare pole with 
a top of foliage at the end of it. If he cannot do this he 
may content himself with thinning out the branches to let 
in the light, or clipping them at the ends to send the head 
upwards, or cutting out the leader to make it spread later- 
ally. But though the trees formed by these latter modes 
of pruning are well enough, they never reach that exalted 
standard which has for its type a pole as bare as a ship's 
mast with only a flying studding-sail of green boughs at 
the end of it.* 

We suppose this very common pleasure - - for it must be 
a pleasure - - which so many persons find in trimming up 
ornamental trees is based on a feeling that trees growing 
quite in the natural way must be capable of some amelio- 
ration by art; and as pruning is usually acknowledged to 
be useful in developing certain points in a fruit tree, a like 
good purpose will be reached by the use of the knife upon 
an ornamental tree. But the comparison does not hold 
good, since the objects aimed at are essentially different. 
Pruning - - at least all useful pruning - - as applied to fruit 
trees, is applied for the purpose of adding to, diminishing, or 
otherwise regulating the fruitfulness of the tree; and this 
in many cases is effected at the acknowledged diminution 
of the growth, luxuriance and beauty of the trees, so far as 
spread of branches and prodigality of foliage go. But even 
here the pruner who prunes only for the sake of using the 
knife (like heartless young surgeons in hospitals) not un- 

' Some of our readers may not be aware that to cut off the side branches 
on a young trunk, actually lessens the growth in diameter of that trunk at 
once. - - A. J. D. 



The Beautiful in a Tree 165 

frequently goes loo far, injures the perfect maturity of 
the crop and hastens the decline of the tree by depriving 
it of the fair proportions which nature has established 
between the leaf and the fruit. 

But for the most part, we imagine that the practice we 
complain of is a want of perception of what is truly beautiful 
in an ornamental tree. It seems to us indisputable that 
no one who has any perception of the beautiful in nature 
could ever doubt for a moment that a fine single elm or oak 
such as we may find in the valley of the Connecticut or the 
Genesee, which has never been touched by the knife, is the 
most perfect standard of sylvan grace, symmetry, dignity, 
and finely balanced proportions that it is possible to con- 
ceive. One would no more wish to touch it with saw or 
axe (unless to remove some branch that has fallen into 
decay) than to give a nicer curve to the rainbow or add 
freshness to the dew-drop. If any of our readers who still 
stand by the priming-knife will only give themselves up to 
the study of such trees as these - - trees that have the most 
completely developed forms that nature stamps upon the 
species - - they are certain to arrive at the same conclusions. 
For the beautiful in nature, though not alike visible to 
every man, never fails to dawn sooner or later upon all who 
seek her in the right spirit. 

And in art too, no great master of landscape, no Claude, 
or Poussin, or Turner, paints mutilated trees, but trees of 
grand and majestic heads, full of health and majesty, or 
grandly stamped with the wild irregularity of nature in her 
sterner types. The few Dutch or French artists who are 
the exceptions to this, and have copied those emblems of 
pruned deformity - the pollard trees that figure in the 
landscapes of the Low Countries - - have given local truth- 
fulness to their landscapes at the expense of every thing like 
sylvan loveliness. A pollard willow should be the very type 
and model of beauty in the eye of the champion of the 
pruning saw. Its finest parallels in the art of mending 
nature's proportions for the sake of beauty are in the flat- 
tened heads of a certain tribe of Indians and the deformed 



Landscape Gardening 



feet of Chinese women. What nature has especially shaped 
for a delight to the eye and a fine suggestion to the spiritual 
sense as a beautiful tree, or the human form divine, man 
should not lightly undertake to remodel or clip of its fair 
proportions. 



CHAPTER X 

O.V THE DRAPERY OF COTTAGES AND 

GARDENS * 

OUR readers very well know that, in the country, when- 
ever any thing especially tasteful is to be done, 
when a church is to be "dressed for Christmas," a 
public hall festooned for a fair, or a salon decorated for a 
horticultural show, we have to entreat the assistance of the 
fairer half of humanity. All that is most graceful and 
charming in this way owes its existence to female hands. 
Over the heavy exterior of man's handiwork they weave a 
fairy-like web of enchantment, which, like our Indian sum- 
mer haze upon autumn hills, spiritualizes and makes poetical 
whatever of rude form or rough outlines may lie beneath. 

Knowing all this, as we well do, we write this essay 
especially for the eyes of the ladies. They are naturally 
mistresses of the art of embellishment. Men are so stupid, 
in the main, about these matters, that, if the majority of 
them had their own way, there would neither be a ringlet, 
nor a ruffle, a wreath, nor a nosegay left in the world. All 
would be as stiff and as meaningless as their own meagre 
black coats, without an atom of the graceful or romantic 
about them; nothing to awaken a spark of interest or stir 
a chord of feeling; nothing, in short, but downright, com- 
monplace matter-of-fact. And they undertake to defend 
it - - the logicians - - on the ground of utility and the spirit 
of the age! As if trees did not bear lovely blossoms as well 
as good fruit; as if the sun did not give us rainbows as 
well as light and warmth; as if there were not still mocking- 
birds and nightingales as well as ducks and turkeys. 

But enough of that. You do not need any arguments to 

* Original date of February, 1849 
167 




a 
o 



o 

a 
a 

0, 

2 
9 

a 
z 



ro 



O 



(168; 



Draper}/ of Collayex and (Gardens 169 

prove that grace is a quality as positive as electro-magnetism. 
Would that you could span the world with it as quickly as 
Mr. Morse with his telegraph. To come to the point, we 
want to talk a little with you about what we call the drapery 
of cottages and gardens; about those beautiful vines, and 
climbers, and creepers, which nature made on purpose to 
cover up every thing ugly, and to heighten the charm of 
every thing pretty and picturesque. In short, we want 
your aid and assistance in dressing, embellishing, and deco- 
rating, not for a single holiday, fair, or festival, but for 
years and for ever, the outsides of our simple cottages and 
country homes; wreathing them about with such peren- 
nial festoons of verdure, and starring them over with such 
bouquets of delicious odor, that your husbands and brothers 
would no more think of giving up such houses, than they 
would of abandoning you (as that beggarly Greek, The- 
seus, did the lovely Ariadne) to the misery of solitude on a 
desolate island. 

And what a difference a little of this kind of rural drapery, 
tastefully arranged, makes in the aspect of a cottage or 
farm house in the country! At the end of the village, for 
instance, is that old-fashioned stone house, which was the 
homestead of Tim Steady. First and last, that family lived 
there two generations; and every thing about them had a 
look of some comfort. But with the exception of a coat of 
paint, which the house got once in ten years, nothing was 
ever done to give the place the least appearance of taste. 
An old, half decayed ash tree stood near the south door, and 
a fe\v decrepit and wornout apple trees behind the house. 
But there w r as not a lilac bush, nor a syringa, not a rose 
bush nor a honeysuckle about the w T hole premises. You 
would never suppose that a spark of affection for nature, 
or a gleam of feeling for grace or beauty, in any shape, ever 
dawned within or around the house. 

Well, five years ago the place was put up for sale. There 
were some things to recommend it. There was a "good 
well of water;" the house was in excellent repair; and the 
location was not a bad one. But, though many went to 



170 Landscape hardening 

see it, and "liked the place tolerably well," yet there 
seemed to be a want of heart about it, that made it unat- 
tractive, and prevented people from buying it. 

It was a good while in the market; but at last it fell into 
the hands of the Widow Winning and her two daughters. 
They bought it at a bargain, and must have foreseen its 
capabilities. 

What that house and place is now, it would do your 
heart good to see. A porch of rustic trellis-work was built 
over the front doorway, simple and pretty hoods upon 
brackets over the windows, the dooryard was all laid out 
afresh, the wornout apple trees were dug up, a nice bit of 
lawn made around the house, and pleasant groups of shrub- 
bery (mixed with two or three graceful elms) planted about 
it. But, most of all, what fixes the attention, is the lovely 
profusion of flowering vines that enrich the old house, and 
transform what was a soulless habitation, into a home that 
captivates all eyes. Even the old and almost leafless ash 
tree is almost overrun with a creeper, which is stuck full 
of gay trumpets all summer, that seem to blow many a 
strain of gladness to the passers by. How many sorts of 
honeysuckle, clematises, roses, etc., there are on wall or 
trellis about that cottage, is more than we can tell. Cer- 
tain it is, however, that half the village walks past that 
house of a summer night, and inwardly thanks the fair 
inmates for the fragrance that steals through the air in its 
neighborhood: and no less certain is it that this house is 
now the "admired of all admirers," and that the Widow 
Winning has twice refused double the sum it went begging 
at when it was only the plain and meagre home of Tim 
Steady. 

Many of you in the country, as we well know, are com- 
pelled by circumstances to live in houses which some one 
else built, or which have, by ill-luck, an ugly expression in 
every board or block of stone, from the sill of the door to 
the peak of the roof. Paint won't hide it, nor cleanliness 
disguise it, however goodly and agreeable things they are. 
But vines will do both; or, what is better, they will, with 



Drapery of Cottages and Gardens 171 

their lovely, graceful shapes, and rich foliage and flowers, 
give a new character to the whole exterior. However ugly 
the wall, however bald the architecture, only give it this 
fair drapery of leaf and blossom, and nature will touch it at 
once with something of grace and beauty. 

"What are our favorite vines?" This is what you would 
ask of us, and this is what we are most anxious to tell you; 
as we see, already, that no sooner will the spring open, than 
you will immediately set about the good work. 

Our two favorite vines, then, for the adornment of cot- 
tages in the northern states, are the double Prairie Rose, 
and the Chinese Wistaria. Why we like these best, is 
because they have the greatest number of good qualities 
to recommend them. In the first place, they are hardy, 
thriving in all soils and exposures; in the second place, they 
are luxuriant in their growth, and produce an effect in a 
very short time - - after which, they may be kept to the 
limits of a single pillar on the piazza, or trained over the 
whole side of a cottage; in the last place, they are rich in 
the foliage, and beautiful in the blossom. 

Now there are many vines more beautiful than these in 
some respects, but not for this purpose, and taken alto- 
gether. For cottage drapery, a popular vine must be one 
that will grow anywhere, with little care, and must need 
no shelter, and the least possible attention, beyond seeing 
that it has something to run on, and a looking over, pruning, 
and tying up once a year - - say in early spring. This is 
precisely the character of these two vines; and hence we 
think they deserve to be planted from one end of the Union 
to the other. They will give the greatest amount of beauty, 
with the least care, and in the greatest number of places. 

The Prairie roses are, no doubt, known to most of you. 
They have been raised from seeds of the wild rose of Michi- 
gan, which clambers over high trees in the forests, and are 
remarkable for the profusion of their very double flowers 
(so double, that they always look like large pouting buds, 
rather than full-blown roses), and their extreme hardiness 
and luxuriance of growth, - - shoots of twenty feet, in a 



172 Landscape Gardening 

single year, being a not uncommon sight. Among all the 
sorts yet known, the Queen of the Prairies (deep pink), and 
Superba (nearly white), are the best.* 

\Ye wish we could give our fair readers a glance at a 
Chinese Wistaria in our grounds, as it looked last April. 
It covered the side of a small cottage completely. If they 
will imagine a space of 10 by 20 feet, completely draped 
with \Yistaria shoots, on which hung, thick as in a llower 
pattern, at least 500 clusters of the most delicate blossoms, 
of a tint between pearl and lilac, each bunch of bloom 
shaped like that of a locust tree, but eight inches to a foot 
long, and most gracefully pendant from branches just start- 
ing into tender green foliage; if, we say, they could see all 
this, as we saw it, and not utter exclamations of delight, then 
they deserve to be classed with those women of the nine- 
teenth century, who are thoroughly "fit for sea-captains." 

For a cottage climber, that will take care of itself better 
than almost any other, and embower door and windows 
with rich foliage and flowers, take the common Boursault 
Rose.f Long purplish shoots, foliage always fresh and 
abundant, and bright purplish blossoms in June, as thick 
as stars in a midnight sky, - all belong to this plant. 
Perhaps the richest and prettiest Boursault, is the one 
called by the nurserymen Amadis or Elegans; the flower a 
bright cherry-color, becoming crimson purple as it fades, 
with a delicate stripe of white through an occasional petal. 

There are two very favorite climbers that belong prop- 
erly to the middle states, as they are a little tender, and 
need protection to the north or east. One of them is the 
Japan Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica); the species with 
very dark, half evergreen leaves, and a profusion of lovely 
delicate white and fawn-colored blossoms. It is the queen 
of all honeysuckles for cottage walls, or veranda pillars; its 
foliage is always so rich; it is entirely free from the white 

These once most popular roses have now been almost supplanted 
by Crimson Rambler, Dorothy Perkins, Hiawatha and their like. 
F. A. \Y. 

t These varieties arc now little grown. -- F. A. W. 



Drapery of Cottages and Gardens 173 

aphis (which is the pest of the old sorts), and it blooms (as 
soon as the plant gets strong) nearly the whole summer, 
affording a perpetual feast of beauty and fragrance. The 
other, is the Sweet-scented Clematis ((,'. jlammula), the 
very type of delicacy and grace, whose flowers are broidered 
like pale stars over the whole vine in midsummer, and 
whose perfume is the most spiritual, impalpable, and yet 
far-spreading of all vegetable odors. 

All the honeysuckles are beautiful in the garden, though 
none of them, except the foregoing, and what are familiarly 
called the ' l trumpet honeysuckles," are fit for the walls of 
a cottage, because they harbor insects. Nothing, however, 
can well be prettier than the Red and Yellow Trumpet 
Honeysuckles, when planted together and allowed to inter- 
weave their branches, contrasting the delicate straw-color 
of the flower tunes of one, with the deep coral-red hue of 
those of the other; and they bloom with a welcome prodi- 
gality from April to December. 

Where you want to produce a bold and picturesque effect 
with a vine, nothing will do it more rapidly and completely 
than our native grapes. They are precisely adapted to the 
porch of the farmhouse, or to cover any building, or part 
of a building, where expression of strength rather than of 
delicacy is sought after. Then you will find it easy to 
smooth away all objections from the practical soul of the 
farmer, by offering him a prospect of ten bushels of fine 
Isabella or Catawba grapes a year, which you, in your 
innermost heart, do not value half so much as five or ten 
months of beautiful drapery! 

Next to the grape-vine, the boldest and most striking of 
hardy vines is the Dutchman's pipe (Aristolochia sipho). It 
is a grand twining climber, and will canopy over a large 
arbor in a short time, and make a shade under it so dense 
that not a ray of pure sunshine will ever find its way through. 
Its gigantic circular leaves, of a rich green, form masses 
such as delight a painter's eye, - - so broad and effective 
are they; and as for its flowers, which are about an inch 
and a half long, - - why, they are so like a veritable meer- 



174 Landscape Gardening 

schaum - that you cannot but laugh outright at the first 
sight of them. Whether Daphne was truly metamorphosed 
into the sweet (lower that bears her name, as Ovid says, we 
know not; but no one can look at the blossom of the Dutch- 
man's pipe vine, without being convinced that nature has 
punished some inveterately lazy Dutch smoker by turning 
him into a vine, which loves nothing so well as to bask in 
the warm sunshine, with its hundred pipes, dangling on all 
sides. 

And now, having glanced at the best of the climbers and 
twiners, properly so called (all of which need a little train- 
ing and supporting), let us take a peep at those climbing 
shrubs that seize hold of a wall, building, or fence, of them- 
selves, by throwing out their little rootlets into the stone or 
brick wall as they grow up, so that it is as hard to break up 
any attachments of theirs, when they get fairly established, 
as it was to part Hector and Andromache. The principal 
of these are the true Ivy of Europe, the Virginia Creeper or 
American Ivy, and the Trumpet Creepers (Bignonias or 
Tecomas) . 

These are all fine, picturesque vines, not to be surpassed 
for certain effects by anything else that will grow out of 
doors in our climate. You must remember, however, that, 
as they are wedded for life to whatever they cling to, they 
must not be planted by the sides of wooden cottages, which 
are to be kept in order by a fresh coat of paint now and 
then. Other climbers may be taken down, and afterwards 
tied back to their places; but constant, indissoluble inti- 
macies like these must be let alone. You will therefore 
always take care to plant them where thy can fix themselves 
permanently on a wall of some kind, or else upon some 
rough wooden building, where they will not be likely to be 
disturbed. 

Certainly the finest of all this class of climbers is the 
European Ivy. Such rich masses of glossy, deep green 
foliage, such fine contrasts of light and shade, and such a 
wealth of associations, is possessed by no other plant; the 
Ivy, to which the ghost of all the storied past alone tells 



Draper y of Cottages and Gardens 175 

its talc of departed greatness; the confidant of old ruined 
castles and abbeys; the bosom companion of solitude 
itself, - 

"Deep in your most sequestered bower 

Let me at last recline, 
Where solitude, mild, modest flower, 
Leans on her ivy'd shrine." 

True to these instincts, the Ivy does not seem to be 
naturalized so easily in America as most other foreign vines. 
We are yet too young - - this country of a great future, and 
a little past. 

The richest and most perfect specimen of it that we have 
seen, in the northern states, is upon the cottage of Washing- 
ton Irving, on the Hudson, near Tarrytown. He, who as 
you all know, lingers over the past with a reverence as fond 
and poetical as that of a pious Crusader for the walls of 
Jerusalem - - yes, he has completely won the sympathies 
of the Ivy, even on our own soil, and it has garlanded and 
decked his antique and quaint cottage, "Sunnyside," till 
its windows peep out from amid the wealth of its foliage, 
like the dark eyes of a Spanish Sefiora from a shadowy 
canopy of dark lace and darker tresses. 

The Ivy is the finest of climbers, too, because it is so 
perfectly evergreen. North of New York it is a little ten- 
der, and needs to be sheltered for a few years, unless it be 
planted on a north wall, quite out of the reach of the winter 
sun) ; and north of Albany, we think it will not grow at all. 
But all over the middle states it should be planted and 
cherished, wherever there is a wall for it to cling to, as the 
finest of all cottage drapery.* 

After this plant, comes always our Virginia Creeper, or 
American Ivy, as it is often called (Ampelopsis). It grows 
more rapidly than the Ivy, clings in the same way to wood 
or stone, and makes rich and beautiful festoons of verdure 

* The experience of another 70 years does not bear out Mr. Downing's 
recommendation of the English ivy. There are only a few localities, 
mostly on the eastern seaboard, where it can be used with satisfaction. 
-F. A. W. 



176 Landscape Gardening 

in summer, dying off in autumn, before the leaves fall, in 
the finest crimson. Us greatest beauty, on this account, 
is perhaps seen when it runs up in the centre of a dark cedar, 
or other evergreen, - - exhibiting in October the richest con- 
trast of the two colors. It will grow anywhere, in the cold- 
est situations, and only asks to be planted, to work out its 
own problem of beauty without further attention. This 
and the European Ivy are the two climbers, above all others, 
for the exteriors of our rural stone churches; to which they 
will give a local interest greater than that of any carving in 
stone, at a millionth part of the cost. 

The common Trumpet Creeper all of you know by heart. 
It is rather a wild and rambling fellow in its habits; but 
nothing is better to cover old outside chimneys, stone out- 
buildings, and rude walls and fences. The sort with large 
cup-shaped flowers is a most showy and magnificent climber 
in the middle states, where the winters are moderate, abso- 
lutely glowing in July with its thousands of rich orange-red 
blossoms, like clusters of bright goblets.* 

We might go on, and enumerate dozens more of fine 
twining shrubs and climbing roses; but that would only 
defeat our present object, which is not to give you a garden 
catalogue, but to tell you of half a dozen hardy shrubby 
vines, which we implore you to make popular; so that 
wherever we travel, from Maine to St. Louis, we shall see 
no rural cottages shivering in their chill nudity of bare walls 
or barer boards, but draped tastefully with something fresh, 
and green, and graceful: let it be a hop-vine if nothing 
better, - - but roses, and wistaria, and honeysuckles, if they 
can be had. How much this apparently trifling feature, if 
it could be generally carried out, would alter the face of the 
whole country, you will not at once be able to believe. 
\Yhat summer foliage is to a naked forest, what rich tufts of 
ferns are to a rock in a woodland dell, what "hyacinthine 
locks" are to the goddess of beauty, or wings to an angel, 
the drapery of climbing plants is to cottages in the country. 

One word or two about vines in the gardens and pleasure- 

* Given in Bailey's "Cyclopedia" as Campsis Chinensis. -- F. A. W. 




FIG. 32. CLIMBING ROSES ON A GARDEN GATE 



(177) 



178 Landscape Gardening 

grounds before we conclude. How to make arbors and 
trellises is no mystery, though you will, no doubt, agree with 
us, that the less formal and the more rustic the better.* 
But how to manage single specimens of fine climbers, in the 
lawn or garden, so as to display them to the best advantage, 
is not quite so clear. Small fanciful frames are pretty, but 
soon want repairs; and stakes, though ever so stout, will 
rot off at the bottom, and blow down in high winds, to 
your great mortification; and that, too, perhaps, when 
your plant is in its very court dress of bud and blossom. 

Now the best mode of treating single vines, when you 
have not a tree to festoon them upon, is one which many of 
you will be able to attain easily. It is nothing more than 
getting from the woods the trunk of a cedar tree, from ten 
to fifteen feet high, shortening-in all the side branches to 
within two feet of the trunk (and still shorter near the top), 
and setting it again, as you would a post, two or three feet 
deep in the ground. 

Cedar is the best; partly because it will last for ever, and 
partly because the regular disposition of its branches forms 
naturally a fine trellis for the shoots to fasten upon. 

Plant your favorite climber, whether rose, wistaria, or 
honeysuckle, at the foot of this tree. It will soon cover it 
from top to bottom, with the finest pyramid of verdure. 
The young shoots will ramble out on its side branches, and 
when in full bloom, will hang most gracefully or pictur- 
esquely from the ends. 

The advantage of this mode is that, once obtained, your 
support lasts for fifty years; it is so firm that winds do not 
blow it down; it presents every side to the kindly influences 
of sun and air, and permits every blossom that opens to 
be seen by the admiring spectator. 

* This strong recommendation of "rustic" architecture would not 
meet the modern taste; nor would the following plan of planting rustic 
cedar posts in the lawn for the support of climbing vines. This was once 
very much I he vogue, but the present editor feels compelled to disagree 
strongly with Mr. Downing's approval of it. --F. A. \V. 



CHAPTER XI 
A FEW HINTS ON LANDSCAPE GARDENING* 

NOVEMBER is, above all others, the tree-planting 
month over the wide Union. f Accordingly, every 
one who has a rood of land looks about him at 
this season to see what can be done to improve and em- 
bellish it. Some have bought new places where they have 
to build and create everything in the way of home scenery, 
and they, of course, will have their heads full of shade trees 
and fruit trees, ornamental shrubs and evergreens, lawns 
and walks, and will tax their imagination to the utmost to 
see in the future all the varied beauty which they mean to 
work out of the present blank fields that they have taken 
in hand. These, look for the most rapid-growing and effec- 
tive materials, with which to hide their nakedness, and 
spread something of the drapery of beauty over their prem- 
ises, in the shortest possible time. Others have already a 
goodly stock of foliage and shade, but the trees have been 
planted without taste, and by thinning out somewhat here, 
making an opening there, and planting a little yonder, they 
hope to break up the stiff boundaries, and thus magically 
to convert awkward angles into graceful curves, and har- 
monious outlines. Whilst others, again, whose gardens and 
pleasure grounds have long had their earnest devotion, are 
busy turning over the catalogues of the nurseries in search 
of rare and curious trees and shrubs to add still more novelty 
and interest to their favorite lawns and walks. As the 
pleasure of creation may be supposed to be the highest 

* Original date of November, 1851. 

t The advantages of November as a tree-planting month seem to be 
generally overlooked. Exclusive spring planting is too commonly ac- 
cepted as the only way. F. A. "\Y. 

179 



180 Landscape Gardening 

pleasure, and as the creation of scenery in landscape gar- 
dening is the nearest approach to the matter that \ve can 
realize in a practical way, it is not difficult to see that 
November, dreary as it may seem to I he cockneys who 
have rushed back to gas-lights and the paved streets of the 
city, is full of interest and even excitement to the real lover 
of the country. 

It is, however, one of the characteristics of the human 
mind to overlook that which is immediately about us, how- 
ever admirable, and to attach the greatest importance to 
whatever is rare, and difficult to be obtained. A remark- 
able illustration of the truth of this, may be found in the 
ornamental gardening of this country, which is noted for 
the strongly marked features made in its artificial scenery 
by certain poorer sorts of foreign trees, as well as the almost 
total neglect of finer native materials, that are indigenous 
to the soil. We will undertake to say, for example, that 
almost one-half of all the deciduous trees that have been 
set in ornamental plantations for the last ten years, have 
been composed, for the most part, of two very indifferent 
foreign trees -- the ailantus and the silver poplar.* When 
we say indifferent, we do not mean to say that such trees as 
the ailantus and the silver poplar, are not valuable trees in 
their way - - that is, that they are rapid growing, will thrive 
in all soils, and are transplanted with the greatest facility 

- suiting at once both the money-making grower and the 
ignorant planter; but we do say, that when such trees as 
the American elms, maples and oaks, can be raised with so 
little trouble - - trees as full of grace, dignity, and beauty, 
as any that grow in any part of the world - - trees, too, that 
go on gathering new beauty with age, instead of throwing 
up suckers that utterly spoil lawns, or that become, after 
the first few years, only a more intolerable nuisance every 
day- -it is time to protest against the indiscriminate use 
of such sylvan materials -no matter how much of "heav- 

* This is remarkable testimony. The popularity of the ailanlus and 
the silver poplar must have been short, for they cut a very unimportant 
figure in modern tree plantations. --F. A. \V. 



A Few Hints on Landscape Gardening 181 

enly origin," * or "silvery" foliage, they may have in their 
well sounding names. 

It is by no means the fault of the nurserymen that their 
nurseries abound in ailantuses and poplars while so many 
of our fine forest trees are hardly to be found. The nursery- 
men are bound to pursue their business so as to make it 
profitable, and if people ignore oaks and ashes, and adore 
poplars and ailantuses, nurserymen cannot be expected to 
starve because the planting public generally are destitute 
of taste. 

What the planting public need is to have their attention 
called to the study of nature - - to be made to understand 
that it is in our beautiful woodland slopes, with their undu- 
lating outlines, our broad river meadows studded with single 
trees and groups allowed to grow and expand quite in a 
state of free and graceful development, our steep hills, 
sprinkled with picturesque pines and firs, and our deep 
valleys, dark with hemlocks and cedars, that the real lessons 
in the beautiful and picturesque are to be taken, which will 
lead us to the appreciation of the finest elements of beauty 
in the embellishment of our country places - - instead of 
this miserable rage for "trees of heaven" and other fash- 
ionable tastes of the like nature. f There are, for example, 
to be found along side of almost every sequestered lawn by 
the roadside in the northern states, three trees that are 
strikingly remarkable for beauty of foliage, growth or flower, 
viz.: the tulip tree, the sassafras, and the pepperidge. The 
first is, for stately elegance, almost unrivalled among forest 
trees: the second, when planted in cultivated soil and 
allowed a fair chance, is more beautiful in its diversified 
laurel-like foliage than almost any foreign tree in our 
pleasure grounds: and the last is not surpassed by the 
orange or the bay in its glossy leaves, deep green as an 

The ailantus bears as one of its vernacular names the grandiloquent 
title of "Tree of Heaven." -- F. A. W. 

t This cult for native materials, thus clearly announced by Mr. 
Downing, was not always followed by him without deviation. At least 
it came to have much more partisan support and much greater popular 
acceptance among some of his successors. -- F. A. W. 



182 Landscape Gardening 

emerald in summer, and rich red as a ruby in autumn - 
and all of them freer from the attacks of insects than either 
larches, lindens, or elms, or a dozen other favorite foreign 
trees, - - besides being unaffected by the summer sun where 
horse chestnuts are burned brown, and holding their foliage 
through all the season like native born Americans, when 
foreigners shrivel and die; and yet we could name a dozen 
nurseries where there is a large collection of ornamental 
trees of foreign growth, but neither a sassafras, nor a pep- 
peridge, nor perhaps a tulip tree could be had for love or 
money. 

There is a large spirit of inquiry and a lively interest in 
rural taste, awakened on every side of us, at the present 
time, from Maine to the valley of the Mississippi; but the 
great mistake made by most novices is that they study 
gardens too much, and nature too little. Now gardens, in 
general, are stiff and graceless, except just so far as nature, 
ever free and flowing, reasserts her rights in spite of man's 
want of taste, or helps him when he has endeavored to w'ork 
in her own spirit. But the fields and woods are full of 
instruction, and in such features of our richest and most 
smiling and diversified country must the best hints for the 
embellishment of rural homes always be derived. And yet 
it is not any portion of the woods and fields that we wish our 
finest pleasure ground scenery precisely to resemble. We 
rather wisli to select from the finest sylvan features of 
nature, and to recompose the materials in a choicer manner, 
by rejecting any thing foreign to the spirit of elegance and 
refinement which should characterize the landscape of the 
most tasteful country residence -- a landscape in which all 
that is graceful and beautiful in nature is preserved - - all 
her most perfect forms and most harmonious lines - - but 
with that added refinement which high keeping and contin- 
ual care confer on natural beauty, without impairing its 
innate spirit of freedom, or the truth and freshness of its 
intrinsic character. A planted elm of fifty years, which 
stands in the midst of the smooth lawn before yonder man- 
sion, its long graceful branches towering up\vards like an 



A Few Hints on Landscape Gardening 183 

antique classical vase, and then sweeping lo the ground 
with a curve as beautiful as the falling spray of a fountain, 
has all the freedom of character of its best prototypes in 
the wild woods, with a refinement and a perfection of sym- 
metry which il would be next to impossible lo find in a 
wild tree. Let us take it then as the type of all true art 
in landscape gardening, which selects from natural mate- 
rials that abound in any country, its best sylvan features, 
and by giving them a better opportunity than they could 
otherwise obtain, brings about a higher beauty of develop- 
ment and a more perfect expression than nature itself offers. 
Study landscape in nature more, and the gardens and their 
catalogues less, is our advice to the rising generation of 
planters, who wish to embellish their places in the best and 
purest taste. 



CHAPTER XII 
HINTS TO RURAL IMPROVERS* 

ONE of the most striking proofs of the progress of re- 
finement in the United States is the rapid increase 
of taste for ornamental gardening and rural embel- 
lishment in all the older portions of the northern and middle 
states. 

It cannot be denied, that the tasteful improvement of a 
country residence is both one of the most agreeable and 
the most natural recreations that can occupy a cultivated 
mind. With all the interest and, to many, all the excite- 
ment of the more seductive amusements of society, it has 
the incalculable advantage of fostering only the purest 
feelings, and (unlike many other occupations of business 
men) refining, instead of hardening the heart. 
The great German poet, Goethe, says - 

"Happy the man who hath escaped the town, 
Him did an angel bless when he was born." 

This apostrophe was addressed to the devotee of country 
life as a member of a class, in the old world, where men, for 
the most part, are confined to certain walks of life by the 
limits of caste, to a degree totally unknown in this country. 
With us, country life is a leading object of nearly all 
men's desires. The wealthiest merchant looks upon his 

* Original date of July, 1848. 

It is as interesting as it is surprising to observe how completely the 
point of view and even the use of the English language have changed in 
70 years. No one now would think of addressing an essay to "rural 
improvers" nor of writing a chapter on "rural embellishments." Even 
"ornamental gardening" has now an unpleasant sound. Yet Mr. Down- 
ing in his day used the English language with the utmost care and refine- 
ment. F. A. W. 

184 



Hints to Rural Improvers 185 

country-seat as the best ultimatum of his laborious days in 
the counting-house. The most indefatigable statesman 
dates, in his retirement, from his "Ashland," or his "Linden- 
wold." Webster has his "Marshfield," where his scientific 
agriculture is no less admirable than his profound eloquence 
in the Senate. Taylor's well ordered plantation is not less 
significant of the man, than the battle of Buena Vista. 
Washington Irving's cottage, on the Hudson, is even more 
poetical than any chapter of his Sketch Book; and Cole, 
the greatest of our landscape painters, had his rural home 
under the very shadow of the Catskills. 

This is well. In the United States, nature and domestic 
life are better than society and the manners of towns. 
Hence all sensible men gladly escape, earlier or later, and 
partially or wholly, from the turmoil of the cities. Hence 
the dignity and value of country life is every day augment- 
ing. And hence the enjoyment of landscape or ornamental 
gardening - - which, \vhen in pure taste, may properly be 
called a more refined kind of nature, - - is every day be- 
coming more and more widely diffused. 

Those who are not as conversant as ourselves with the 
statistics of horticulture and rural architecture, have no 
just idea of the rapid multiplication of pretty cottages and 
villas in many parts of North America. The vast \veb of 
railroads which no\v interlaces the continent, though really 
built for the purposes of trade, cannot wholly escape doing 
some duty for the Beautiful as w T ell as the Useful. Hun- 
dreds and thousands, formerly obliged to live in the crowded 
streets of cities, now find themselves able to enjoy a country 
cottage, several miles distant, the old notions of time and 
space being half annihilated; and these suburban cottages 
enable the busy citizen to breathe freely, and keep alive 
his love for nature, till the time shall come w T hen he shall 
have wrung out of the nervous hand of commerce enough 
means to enable him to realize his ideal of the "retired 
life" of an American landed proprietor. 

The number of our country residences which are laid out, 
and kept at a high point of ornamental gardening, is cer- 



18(5 Landscape Gardening 

tainly not very large, though it is continually increasing. 
But \ve have no hesitation in saying that the aggregate 
sum annually expended in this way for the last five years, 
in North America, is not exceeded in any country in the 
world save one. 

England ranks before all other countries in the perfection 
of its landscape gardening; and enormous, almost incredible 
sums have been expended by her wealthier class upon their 
rural improvements. But the taste of England is, we 
have good reasons for believing, at its maximum; and the 
expenditure of the aristocracy is, of late, chiefly devoted to 
keeping up the existing style of their parks and pleasure 
grounds. In this country, it is quite surprising how rapid 
is the creation of new country residences, and how large 
is the aggregate amount continually expended in the con- 
struction of houses and grounds, of a character more or 
less ornamental. 

Granting all this, it cannot be denied that there are also, 
in the United States, large sums of money - - many mil- 
lions of dollars --annually, most unwisely and injudiciously 
expended in these rural improvements. \Yhile we gladly 
admit that there has been a surprising and gratifying ad- 
vance in taste within the last ten years, we are also forced 
to confess that there are countless specimens of bad taste, 
and hundreds of examples where a more agreeable and satis- 
factory result might have been attained at one-half the cost. 

Is it not, therefore, worth while to inquire a little more 
definitely what are the obstacles that lie in the way of form- 
ing satisfactory, tasteful, and agreeable country residences? 

The common reply to this question, when directly put in 
the face of any signal example of failure is - - "Oh, Mr. - 
is a man of no taste!" There is, undoubtedly, often but 
too much truth in this clean cut at the aesthetic capacities 
of the unlucky improver. But it by no means follows that 
it is always true. A man may have taste, and yet if he 
trusts to his own powers of direction, signally fail in tasteful 
improvements. 

\Ye should say that two grand errors are the fertile causes 



Hints to Rural Ini{)rurcrs 187 

of all the failures in the rural improvements of the United 
States at the present moment. 

The first error lies in supposing that good taste is a 
natural gift, which springs heaven-born into perfect ex- 
istence - - needing no cultivation or improvement. The 
second is in supposing that taste alone is sufficient to the 
production of extensive or complete works in architecture 
or landscape gardening. 

A lively sensibility to the beautiful, is a natural faculty, 
mistaken by more than half the world for good taste itself. 
But good taste, in the true meaning of the terms, or, more 
strictly, correct taste, only exists where sensibility to the 
beautiful, and good judgment, are combined in the same 
mind. Thus, a person may have a delicate organization, 
which will enable him to receive pleasure from everything 
that possesses grace or beauty, but with it so little power 
of discrimination as to be unable to select among many 
pleasing objects, those which, under given circumstances, 
are the most beautiful, harmonious, or fitting. Such a 
person may be said to have natural sensibility, or fine per- 
ceptions, but not good taste; the latter belongs properly to 
one who, among many beautiful objects, rapidly compares, 
discriminates, and gives due rank to each, according to its 
merit. 

Now, although that delicacy of organization, usually 
called taste, is a natural gift, which can no more be acquired 
than hearing can be by a deaf man, yet, in most persons, 
this sensibility to the beautiful may be cultivated and 
ripened into good taste by the study and comparison of 
beautiful productions in nature and art. 

This is precisely what we wish to insist upon, to all per- 
sons about to commence rural embellishments, who have 
not a cultivated or just taste; but only sensibility, or what 
they would call a natural taste. 

Three-fourths of all the building and ornamental garden- 
ing of America, hitherto, have been amateur performances 
- often the productions of persons who, with abundant 
natural sensibility, have taken no pains to cultivate it and 



188 Landscape Gardening 

form a correct, or even a good taste, by studying and com- 
paring the best examples already in existence in various 
parts of this or other countries. Now the study of the 
best productions in the fine arts is not more necessary to 
the success of the young painter and sculptor than that of 
buildings and grounds to the amateur or professional im- 
prover, who desires to improve a country residence well 
and tastefully. In both cases comparison, discrimination, 
the use of the reasoning faculty, educate the natural deli- 
cacy of perception into taste, more or less just and perfect, 
and enable it not only to arrive at beauty, but to select the 
most beautiful for the end in view.* 

There are at the present moment, without going abroad, 
opportunities of cultivating a taste in landscape gardening, 
quite sufficient to enable any one of natural sensibility to 
the beautiful, combined with good reasoning powers, to 
arrive at that point which may be considered good taste. 
There are, indeed, few persons who are aware how instruc- 
tive and interesting to an amateur, a visit to all the finest 
country residences of the older States, would be at the 
present moment. The study of books on taste is by no 
means to be neglected by the novice in rural embellish- 
ment; but the practical illustrations of different styles and 
principles, to be found in the best cottage and villa resi- 
dences, are far more convincing and instructive to most 
minds, than lessons taught in any other mode whatever. 

We shall not, therefore, hesitate to commend a few of the 
most interesting places to the study of the tasteful im- 
prover. By the expenditure of the necessary time and 
money to examine and compare thoroughly such places, he 
will undoubtedly save himself much unnecessary outlay; 
he will be able to seize and develop many beauties which 
would otherwise be overlooked; and, most of all, he will be 
able to avoid the exhibition of that crude and uncultivated 
taste, which characterizes the attempts of the majority of 

* Were Mr. Downing making his plea to the generation now living he 
would certainly insist on the services of the trained landscape architect. 
F. A. W. 



Hints to Rural Improvers 189 

beginners, who rather know how to enjoy beautiful grounds 
than how to go to work to produce them. 

For that species of suburban cottage or villa residence 
which is most frequent within the reach of persons of mod- 
erate fortunes, the environs of Boston afford the finest ex- 
amples in the Union. Averaging from five to twenty acres, 
they are usually laid out with taste, are well planted with a 
large variety of trees and shrubs, and above all, are ex- 
quisitely kept. As a cottage ornee, there are few places 
in America more perfect than the grounds of Colonel Perkins, 
or of Thos. Lee., Esq., at Brookline, near Boston. The 
latter is especially remarkable for the beauty of the lawn, 
and the successful management of rare trees and shrubs, 
and is a most excellent study for the suburban landscape 
gardener. There are many other places in that neighbor- 
hood abounding with interest; but the great feature of the 
gardens of Boston lies rather *in their horticultural than 
their artistic merit. In forcing and skilful cultivation, 
they still rank before any other of the country. Mr. Gush- 
ing's residence, near Watertown, has long been celebrated 
in this respect. 

An amateur who wishes to study trees, should visit the 
fine old places in the neighborhood of Philadelphia. A 
couple of days spent at the Bartram Garden, the Hamilton 
Place, and many of the old estates bordering the Schuylkill, 
will make him familiar \vith rare and fine trees, such as 
Salisburias, Magnolias, Virgilias, etc., of a size and beauty 
of growth that will not only fill him with astonishment, but 
convince him what effects may be produced by planting. 
As a specimen of a cottage residence of the first class, ex- 
quisitely kept, there are also few examples in America more 
perfect than Mrs. Camac's grounds, four or five miles from 
Philadelphia. 

For landscape gardening, on a large scale, and in its best 
sense, there are no places in America which compare with 
those on the east bank of the Hudson, between Hyde Park 
and the town of Hudson. The extent of the grounds, and 
their fine natural advantages of wood and lawn, combined 



190 Landscape Gardening 

with their grand and beautiful views, and the admirable 
manner in which these natural charms are heightened by 
art, place them far before any other residences in the United 
States in picturesque beauty. In a strictly horticultural 
sense, they are, perhaps, as much inferior to the best 
places about Boston as they are superior to them in the 
beauty of landscape gardening and picturesque effect. 

Among these places, those which enjoy the highest repu- 
tation, are Montgomery Place, the seat of Mrs. Edward 
Livingston, Blithewood, the seat of R. Donaldson, Esq., 
and Hyde Park, the seat of W. Langdon, Esq. The first 
is remarkable for its extent, for the wonderful variety of 
scenery - - wood, water, and gardenesque - - which it em- 
braces, and for the excellent general keeping of the grounds. 
The second is a fine illustration of great natural beauty, - 
a mingling of the graceful and grand in scenery, - - admir- 
ably treated and heightened by art. Hyde Park is almost 
too well kno\vn to need more than a passing notice. It is a 
noble site, greatly enhanced in interest lately, by the erec- 
tion of a fine ne\v mansion. 

The student or amateur in landscape gardening, \vho 
wishes to examine t\vo places as remarkable for breadth 
and dignity of effect as any in America, will not fail to go to 
the Livingston Manor, seven miles east of Hudson, and to 
Rensselaenvyck, a few miles from Albany, on the eastern 
shore. The former has the best kept and most extensive 
lawn in the Union; and the latter, with five or six miles of 
gravelled walks and drives, within its own boundaries, ex- 
hibits some of the cleverest illustrations of practical skill in 
laying out grounds that we remember to have seen. 

If no person, about to improve a country residence, would 
expend a dollar until he had visited and carefully studied, 
at least twenty places of the character of these which we 
have thus pointed out, we think the number of specimens of 
bad taste, or total want of taste, would be astonishingly 
diminished, ^'e could point to half a dozen examples 
within our o\vn knowledge, where ten days spent by their 
proprietors in examining what had already been done in 



Hints to Rural hnj>n>rcrs 191 

some of the best specimens of building and gardening in 
the country, could not but have prevented their proprietors 
from making their places absolutely hideous, and throwing 
away ten, twenty, or thirty thousand dollars. Ignorance 
is not bliss, nor is it economy, in improving a country- 
seat. 

We think, also, there can scarcely be a question that an 
examination of the best examples of taste in rural improve- 
ment at home, is far more instructive to an American, than 
an inspection of the finest country places in Europe; and 
this, chiefly, because a really successful example at home is 
based upon republican modes of life, enjoyment, and ex- 
penditure, - - which are almost the reverse of those of an 
aristocratic government. For the same reason, we think 
those places most instructive, and best worthy general 
study in this country, which realize most completely our 
ideal of refined country life in America. To do this, it is 
by no means necessary to have baronial possessions, or a 
mansion of vast extent. Xo more should be attempted 
than can be done well, and in perfect harmony with our 
habits, mode of life, and domestic institutions. Hence, 
smaller suburban residences, like those in the neighborhood 
of Boston, are, perhaps, better models, or studies for the 
public generally, than our grander and more extensive seals; 
mainly because they are more expressive of the means and 
character of the majority of those of our countrymen whose 
intelligence and refinement lead them to find their happinr^ 
in country life. It is better to attempt a small place, and 
attain perfect success, than to fail in one of greater extent. 

Having pointed out what we consider indispensable to 
be done, to assist in forming, if possible, a correct taste in 
those who have only a natural delicacy of organization, 
which they miscall taste, we may also add that good taste, 
or even a perfect taste, is often by no means sufficient for 
the production of really extensive works of rural architec- 
ture or landscape gardening. 

"'Taste," says Cousin, in his Philosophy of the Beautiful, 
"is a faculty indolent and passive; it reposes tranquilly in 



192 Landscape Gardening 

the contemplation of the Beautiful in Nature. Genius is 
proud and free; genius creates and reconstructs." 

He, therefore (whether as amateur or professor), who 
hopes to be successful in the highest degree, in the arts of 
relined building or landscape gardening, must possess not 
only taste to appreciate the beautiful, but genius to produce 
it. Do we not often see persons who have for half their 
lives enjoyed a reputation for correct taste, suddenly lose 
it when they attempt to embody it in some practical man- 
ner? Such persons have only the "indolent and passive," 
and not the "free and creative faculty." Yet there are a 
thousand little offices of supervision and control, where the 
taste alone may be exercised with the happiest results 
upon a country place. It is by no means a small merit to 
prevent any violations of good taste, if we cannot achieve 
any great work of genius. And we are happy to be able 
to say that we know many amateurs in this country who 
unite with a refined taste a creative genius, or practical 
ability to carry beautiful improvements into execution, 
which has already enriched the country with beautiful ex- 
amples of rural residences; and we can congratulate our- 
selves that, along with other traits of the Anglo-Saxon 
mind, we have by no means failed in our inheritance of 
that fine appreciation of rural beauty, and the power of 
developing it, which the English have so long possessed. 

We hope the number of those who are able to enjoy this 
most refined kind of happiness will every day grow more and 
more numerous; and that it may do so, we are confident we 
can give no better advice than again to commend beginners, 
before they lay a corner stone, or plant a tree, to visit and 
study at least a dozen or twenty of the acknowledged best 
specimens of good taste in America. 



CHAPTER XIII 

ON THE MISTAKES OF CITIZENS IN 
COUNTRY LIFE* 

NO one loves the country more sincerely or welcomes 
new devotees to the worship of its pure altars more 
warmly than ourselves. To those who bring here 
hearts capable of understanding the lessons of truth and 
beauty which the Good Creator has written so legibly on 
all his works; to those in whose nature is implanted a 
sentiment that interprets the tender and the loving, as well 
as the grand and sublime lessons of the universe, what a life 
full of joy, and beauty, and inspiration, is that of the country; 
to such, 

- "The deep recess of dusky groves, 



Or forest where the deer securely roves, 

The fall of waters and the song of birds, 

And hills that echo to the distant herds, 

Are luxuries, excelling all the glare 

The world can boast, and her chief fav'rites share." 

There are those who rejoice in our Anglo-Saxon inheri- 
tance of the love of conquest, and the desire for boundless 
territory, -- who exult in the "manifest destiny" of the 
race, to plant the standard of the eagle or the lion in every 
soil, and every zone of the earth's surface. We rejoice 
much more in the love of country life, the enjoyment of 
nature, and the taste for rural beauty, which we also inherit 
from our Anglo-Saxon forefathers, and to which, more than 
all else, they owe so many of the peculiar virtues of the 
race. 

With us as a people retirement to country life must come 
to be the universal pleasure of the nation. The successful 
* Original date of January, 1.S1'.). 
193 







:'* '' '-:>i 

m, 




. 

ST. 



w\ml&. 




C/J 

D 

t 



00 

O 

O 



a 
H 
Z 

a 



O 
2 

2 

cu 



ro 

6 



(194) 



Mistakes of Citizens in Country Life 195 

statesman, professional man, merchant, trader, mechanic, 
all look to it as the only way of enjoying the otium cum 
dignitate; and the great beauty and extent of our rural 
scenery, as well as the absence of any great national capital, 
with its completeness of metropolitan life, must render the 
country the most satisfactory place for passing a part of 
every man's days, who has the power of choice. 

It is not to be denied, however, that "retirement to the 
country," which is the beau ideal of all the busy and success- 
ful citizens of our towns, is not always found to be the 
Elysium which it has been fondly imagined. No doubt 
there are good reasons why nothing in this world should 
afford perfect and uninterrupted happiness. 

"The desire of the moth for the star" 

might cease, if parks and pleasure grounds could fill up the 
yearnings of human nature, so as to leave no aspirations for 
futurity. 

But this is not our present meaning. What we would 
say is that numbers are disappointed with country life and 
perhaps leave it in disgust without reason either from mis- 
taken views of its nature, of their own incapacities for 
enjoying it, or a want of practical ability to govern it. 

We might throw our views into a more concrete shape, 
perhaps, by saying that the disappointments in country 
life arise chiefly from two causes. The first is from expect- 
ing too much; the second, from undertaking too much. 

There are, we should judge from observation, many citi- 
zens who retire to the country, after ten or twenty years' 
hard service in the business and society of towns, and who 
carry with them the most romantic ideas of country life. 
They expect to pass their time in wandering over daisy- 
spangled meadows, and by the side of meandering streams. 
They will listen to the singing of birds, and find a perpetual 
feast of enjoyment in the charm of hills and mountains. 
Above all, they have an extravagant notion of the purity 
and the simplicity of country life. All its intercourse, as 
well as all its pleasures, are to be so charmingly pure, pas- 
toral, and poetical! 



196 Landscape Gardening 

What a disappointment to find that there is prose even 
in country life, - - that meadows do not give up their sweet 
incense, or corn-fields wave their rich harvests without care, 

-that "work-folks" are often unfaithful, and oxen stub- 
born, even a hundred miles from the smoke of towns or the 
intrigues of great cities. 

Another and a large class of those citizens who expect 
too much in the country are those who find to their aston- 
ment that the country is dull. They really admire nature 
and love rural life, but though they are ashamed to confess 
it they are "bored to death," and leave the country in 
despair. 

This is a mistake which grows out of their want of knowl- 
edge of themselves, and, we may add, of human nature 
generally. Man is a social, as well as a reflective and de- 
vout being. He must have friends to share his pleasures, 
to sympathize in his tastes, to enjoy with him the delights 
of his home, or these become wearisome and insipid. Cow- 
per has well expressed the want of this large class and their 
suffering when left wholly to themselves : - 

" I praise the Frenchman, his remark was shrewd, 
How sweet, how passing sweet, is solitude! 
But give me still a friend, in my retreat, 
Whom I may whisper solitude is sweet." 

The mistake made by this class, is that of thinking only 
of the beauty of the scenery where they propose to reside 
and leaving out of sight the equal charms of good society. 
To them, the latter, both by nature and habit, is a neces- 
sity, not to be wholly waived for converse of babbling 
brooks. And since there are numberless localities where 
one may choose a residence in a genial and agreeable coun- 
try neighborhood, the remedy for this species of discontent 
is as plain as a pikestaff. One can scarcely expect friends 
to follow one into country seclusion if one will, for the sake 
of the picturesque, settle on the banks of the Winnipissiogee. 
These latter spots are for poets, artists, naturalists; men, 
between whom and nature there is an intimacy of a wholly 



Mistakes of Citizens in Country Life 197 

different kind, and who find in the structure of a moss or 
the flight of a water fowl, the text to a whole volume of 
inspiration.* 

The third class of the disappointed, consists of those who 
are astonished at the cost of life in the country. They left 
town not only for the healthful breezes of the hilltops, but 
also to make a small income do the business of a large one. 
To their great surprise they find the country dear. Every 
thing they grow on their land costs them as much as when 
bought (because they produce it with hired labor); and 
every thing they do to improve their estate calls for a mint 
of money because with us labor is always costly. But in 
fact the great secret of the matter is this - - they have 
brought as many as possible of their town habits into the 
country, and find that a moderate income, applied in this 
way, gives less here than in town. To live economically 
in the country one must adopt the rustic habits of country 
life. Labor must be understood, closely watched, and even 
shared, to give the farm products at a cost likely to increase 
the income; and pates de foie gras, or perigord pies must be 
given up for boiled mutton and turnips. (And, between 
them and us, it is not so difficult as might be imagined, 
when the mistress of the house is a woman of genius, to give 
as refined an expression to country life with the latter as 
the former. The way of doing things is, in these matters, 
as important as the means.) 

Now a word or two, touching the second source of evil in 
country life, - undertaking too much. 

There is, apparently, as much fascination in the idea of a 
large landed estate as in the eye of a serpent. Notwith- 
standing our institutions, our habits, above all the continual 
distribution of our fortunes, every thing, in short, teaching 
us so plainly the folly of improving large landed estates, 
human nature and the love of distinction, every now and 
then, triumph over all. What a homily might there not be 
written on the extravagance of Americans! We can point 
at once to half a dozen examples of country residences 

* How great the change at Winnepissauke since that day! F. A. "\Y. 



198 Landscape Gardening 

that have cost between one and two hundred thousand 
dollars; and every one of which either already has been, or 
soon will be, enjoyed by others than those who constructed 
them. This is the great and glaring mistake of our wealthy 
men, ambitious of taste, - - that of supposing that only by 
large places and great expenditures can the problem of 
rural beauty and enjoyment be solved. The truth is, that 
with us, a large fortune does not and cannot (at least at 
the present time) produce the increased enjoyment which 
it does abroad. Large estates, large houses, large estab- 
lishments, only make slaves of their possessors; for the 
service, to be done daily by those who must hold aloft this 
dazzling canopy of wealth, is so indifferently performed, 
servants are so time-serving and unworthy in this country, 
where intelligent labor finds independent channels for itself, 
that the lord of the manor finds his life overburdened with 
the drudgery of watching his drudges. 

Hence the true philosophy of living in America is to be 
found in moderate desires, a moderate establishment, and 
moderate expenditures. We have seen so many more ex- 
amples of success in those of even less moderate size, that 
we had almost said, with Cowley "a little cheerful house, 
a little company, and a very little feast." * 

But among those who undertake too much, by far the 
largest class is that whose members do so through ignorance 
of what is to be done. 

Although the world is pretty well aware of the existence 
of professional builders and planters, still the majority of 
those who build and plant in this country do it without the 
advice of experienced persons. There is apparently a 
latent conviction at the bottom of every man's heart that 
he can build a villa or a cottage and lay out its grounds in 
a more perfect, or, at least, a much more satisfactory man- 
ner than any of his predecessors or contemporaries. Fatal 
delusion ! One may plead his own case in law, or even write 
a lay sermon, like Sir Walter Scott, with more chance of suc- 
cess than he will have in realizing, in solid walls, the perfect 

* An extremely sound philosophy for any land or any age. -- Editor. 



Mistakes of Citizens in Country Life 199 

model of beauty and convenience that floats dimly in his 
head. We mean this to apply chiefly to the production 
as a work of art. 

As a matter of economy, it is still worse. If the improver 
selects an experienced architect and contracts with a respon- 
sible and trustworthy builder he knows within twenty per 
cent at the farthest of what his edifice will cost. If he un- 
dertakes to play the amateur, and corrects and revises his 
work, as most amateurs do, while the house is in progress, 
he will have the mortification of paying twice as much as 
he should have done, without any just satisfaction at last. 

What is the result of this course of proceeding of the new 
resident in the country? That he has obtained a large and 
showy house, of which, if he is alive to improvement, he 
will live to regret the bad taste, and that he has laid the 
foundation of expenditures far beyond his income. 

He finds himself now in a dilemma, of which there are 
two horns. One of them is the necessity of laying out and 
keeping up large pleasure grounds, gardens, etc., to corre- 
spond to the style and character of his house. The other 
is to allow the house to remain in the midst of beggarly 
surroundings of meadow and stubble; or, at the most, with 
half executed and miserably kept grounds on every side 
of it. 

Nothing can be more unsatisfactory than either of these 
positions. If he is seduced into expenditures en grand sei- 
gneur to keep up the style in which the mansion or villa has 
been erected, he finds that instead of the peace of mind 
and enjoyment which he expected to find in the country 
he is perpetually nervous about the tight place in his in- 
come, - - constantly obliged to make an effort to maintain 
that which, when maintained, gives no more real pleasure 
than a residence on a small scale. 

If, on the other hand, he stops short, like a prudent man, 
at the mighty show of figures at the bottom of the builder's 
accounts, and leaves all about in a crude and unfinished 
condition, then he has the mortification, if possessed of the 
least taste, of knowing that all the grace with which he 



200 Landscape Gardening 

meant to surround his country home, has eluded his grasp 

-that he lives in the house of a noble, set in the fields of 
a sluggard. This he feels the more keenly after a walk over 
the grounds of some wiser or more fortunate neighbor who 
has been able to sweep the whole circle of taste, and better 
advised, has realized precisely that which has escaped the 
reach of our unfortunate improver. Is it any marvel that 
the latter should find himself disappointed in the pleasures 
of a country life? 

Do we thus portray the mistakes of country life in order 
to dissuade persons from retiring? Far from it. There is 
no one who would more willingly exhibit its charms in the 
most glowing colors. But we would not lure the traveller 
into an Arcadia without telling him that there are not only 
golden fruits, but also others, which may prove Sodom- 
apples if ignorantly plucked. We would not hang garlands 
of flowers over dangerous pits and fearful chasms. It is 
rather our duty and pleasure loudly to warn those who are 
likely to fall into such errors, and to open their eyes to the 
danger that lies in their paths; for the country is really full 
of interest to those who are fitted to understand it; nature 
is full of beauty to those who approach her simply and 
devoutly; and rural life is full of pure and happy influences, 
to those who are wise enough rightly to accept and enjoy 
them. 

What most retired citizens need in country life are objects 
of real interest, society, occupation. 

We place first, something of permanent interest; for, 
after all, this is the great desideratum. All men, with the 
fresh breath of the hay fields of boyhood floating through 
their memory, fancy that farming itself is the grand occu- 
pation and panacea of country life. This is a profound 
error. There is no permanent interest in any pursuit which 
we are not successful in; and farming, at least in the older 
states, is an art as difficult as navigation. We mean by 
this, profitable farming, for there is no constant satisfac- 
tion in any other; and though some of the best farmers in 
the Union are retired citizens, yet not more than one in 



Mistakes of Citizens in Country Life 201 

twenty succeeds in making his land productive. It is well 
enough, therefore, for the citizen about retiring, to look 
upon this resource with a little diffidence.* 

If our novice is fond of horticulture, there is some hope 
for him. In the first place, if he pursues it as an amuse- 
ment it is inexhaustible, because there is no end to new 
fruits and flowers, or to the combinations which he may 
produce by their aid. And besides this, he need not draw 
heavily on his banker, or purchase a whole township to 
attain his object. Only grant a downright taste for fruits 
and flowers, and a man may have occupation and amuse- 
ment for years in an hundred feet square of good soil. 

Among the happiest men in the country, as we have 
hinted, are those who find an intense pleasure in nature, 
either as artists or naturalists. To such men there is no 
weariness and they should choose a country residence, not 
so much with a view to what can be made by improving it, 
as to where it is, what grand and beautiful scenery sur- 
rounds it and how much inspiration its neighborhood will 
offer them. 

Men of society, as we have already said, should, in settling 
in the country, never let go the cord that binds them to their 
fellows. A suburban country life will most nearly meet 
their requirements; or, at least, they should select a site 
where some friends of congenial minds have already made 
a social sunshine in the "wilderness of woods and forests." 

Above all we should counsel all persons not to underrate 
the cost of building and improving in the country. Do not 
imagine that a villa, or even a cottage ornee, takes care of 
itself. If you wish for rural beauty at a cheap rate, either 
on the grand or the moderate scale, choose a spot where 
the two features of home scenery are trees and grass. You 
may have five hundred acres of natural park - that is to 
say, fine old woods, tastefully opened, and threaded with 
walks and drives, for less cost, in preparation and annual 
outlay, than it will require to maintain five acres of arti- 

* This particular caution is more imperative in 1921 than in 1849. - 
F. A. W. 



202 Landscape Gardening 

ficial pleasure grounds. A pretty little natural glen, filled 
with old trees and made alive by a clear perennial stream, 
is often a cheaper and more unwearying source of enjoy- 
ment than the gayest flower garden. Not that we mean to 
disparage beautiful parks, pleasure grounds, or flower-gar- 
dens; we only wish our readers about settling in the country 
to understand that they do not constitute the highest and 
most expressive kind of rural beauty, - - as they certainly 
do the most expensive. 

It is so hard to be content with simplicity! Why, we 
have seen thousands expended on a few acres of ground, 
and the result was, after all, only a showy villa, a green- 
house, and a flower garden, - - not half so captivating to 
the man of true taste as a cottage embosomed in shrubbery, 
a little park filled with a few fine trees, a law r n kept short 
by a flock of favorite sheep, and a knot of flowers woven 
gayly together in the green turf of the terrace under the 
parlor windows. But the man of wealth so loves to astonish 
the admiring world by the display of riches, and it is so 
rare to find those who comprehend the charm of grace and 
beauty in their simple dress! 

Note. --It seems certain that the attitude toward country life in 
America has greatly improved since Mr. Downing wrote this essay. 
Everybody understands better what country life, in its various forms, 
implies. Also the public taste in country living has risen by many 
degrees. F. A. W. 



CHAPTER XIV 
ON CITIZENS RETIRING TO THE COUNTRY* 

IN another essay we offered a few words to our readers 
on the subject of choosing a country seat. As the 
subject was only slightly touched upon we propose to 
say something more regarding it now. 

There are few or no magnificent country seats in America, 
if we take as a standard such residences as Chatsworth, 
Woburn, Blenheim, and other well known English places 
-with parks a dozen miles round, and palaces in their 
midst larger than our largest public buildings. But any 
one who notices in the suburbs of our towns and cities, and 
on the borders of our great rivers and railroads, in the older 
parts of the Union, the rapidity with which cottages and 
villa residences are increasing, each one of which costs 
from three, to thirty or forty thousand dollars, will find 
that the aggregate amount of money expended in American 
rural homes, for the last ten years, is perhaps larger than 
has been spent in any part of the world. Our Anglo- 
Saxon nature leads our successful business men always to 
look forward to a home out of the city; and the ease with 
which freehold property may be obtained here offers every 
encouragement to the growth of the natural instinct for 
landed proprietorship.! 

This large class of citizens turning country folk, which 
every season's revolution is increasing, which every suc- 
cessful business year greatly augments, and every fortune 
made in California helps to swell in number, is one which, 
perhaps, spends its means more freely, and with more of 
the feeling of getting its full value, than any other class. 

* Original date of February, 1852. 

t Such country estates have multiplied many fold and have increased 
enormously in magnificence by the expenditure of vast sums of money in 
the 69 years since this essay was written. -- F. A. \Y. 

203 



204 Landscape Gardening 

But do they get its full value? Are there not many 
who arc disgusted with the country after a few years' trial, 
mainly because they find country places and country life 
as they have tried them more expensive than a residence 
in town? And is there not something that may be done to 
w r arn the new beginners of the dangers of the voyage of 
pleasure on which they are about to embark with the 
fullest faith that it is all smooth water? 

We think so: and as we are daily brought into contact 
with precisely this class of citizens, seeking for and building 
country places, we should be glad to be able to offer some 
useful hints to those who are not too wise to find them of 
value 

Perhaps the foundation of all the miscalculations that 
arise, as to expenditure in forming a country residence, is 
that citizens are in the habit of thinking everything in the 
country cheap. Land in the town is sold by the foot, in 
the country by the acre. The price of a good house in 
town is, perhaps, three times the cost of one of the best 
farms in the country. The town buys everything: the coun- 
try raises everything. To live on your own estate, be it 
one acre or a thousand, to have your own milk, butter 
and eggs, to raise your own chickens and gather your own 
strawberries, with nature to keep the account instead of 
your grocer and market-woman, that is something like a 
rational life; and more than rational, it must be cheap. 
So argues the citizen about retiring, not only to enjoy his 
otium cum dignitate, but to make a thousand dollars of 
his income produce him more of the comforts of life than 
two thousand did before. 

Well, he goes into the country. He buys a farm (run 
down with poor tenants and bad tillage). He builds a new 
house, with his own ignorance instead of architect and 
master-builder, and is cheated roundly by those who take 
advantage of this masterly ignorance in the matter of bricks 
and mortar; or he repairs an old house at the full cost of a 
new one, and has an unsatisfactory dwelling forever after- 
wards. He undertakes high farming, and knowing nothing 



Citizens Retiring to the Country 205 

of the practical economy of husbandry, every bushel of 
corn that he raises costs him the price of a bushel and a 
half in the market. Used in town to a neat and orderly 
condition of his premises, he is disgusted with old tottering 
fences, half drained fields and worn-out pastures, and em- 
ploys all the laboring force of the neighborhood to put his 
grounds in good order. 

Now there is no objection to all this for its own sake. 
On the contrary, good buildings, good fences, and rich 
pasture fields are what especially delight us in the country. 
What then is the reason that, as the country place gets to 
wear a smiling aspect, its citizen owner begins to look serious 
and unhappy? Why is it that country life does not satisfy 
and content him? Is the country, which all poets and 
philosophers have celebrated as the Arcadia of this world, 

- is the country treacherous? Is nature a cheat, and do 
seed-time and harvest conspire against the peace of mind 
of the retired citizen? 

Alas! It is a matter of money. Everything seems to be 
a matter of money now-a-days. The country life of the 
old world, of the poets and romancers, is cheap. The 
country life of our republic is dear. It is for the good of 
the many that labor should be high, and it is high labor 
that makes country life heavy and oppressive to such men 

- only because it shows a balance, increasing year after 
year, on the wrong side of the ledger. Here is the source 
of all the trouble and dissatisfaction in what may be called 
the country life of gentlemen amateurs, or citizens, in this 
country- -"it don't pay." Land is cheap, nature is beau- 
tiful, the country is healthy, and all these conspire to draw 
our well-to-do citizen into the country. But labor is dear, 
experience is dearer, and a series of experiments in un- 
profitable crops the dearest of all; and our citizen friend 
himself, as we have said, is in the situation of a man who 
has set out on a delightful voyage, on a smooth sea, and 
with a cheerful ship's company; but who discovers, also, 
that the ship has sprung a leak - - not large enough to 
make it necessary to call all hands to the pump - - not 



206 Landscape Gardening 

large enough perhaps to attract anybody's attention but 
his own, but quite large enough to make it certain that he 
must leave her or be swamped - - and quite large enough 
to make his voyage a serious piece of business. 

Everything which a citizen does in the country, costs 
him an incredible sum. In Europe (heaven save the masses), 
you may have the best of laboring men for twenty or thirty 
cents a day. Here you must pay them a dollar,* at least 
our amateur must, though the farmers contrive to get their 
labor for eight or ten dollars a month and board. The 
citizen's home once built, he looks upon all heavy expendi- 
tures as over; but how many hundreds, perhaps thou- 
sands, has he not paid for out-buildings, for fences, for 
roads, etc. Cutting down yonder hill, which made an ugly 
blotch in the view, -- it looked like a trifling task; yet 
there were $500 swept clean out of his bank account, and 
there seems almost nothing to show for it. You would not 
believe now that any hill ever stood there - - or at least 
that nature had not arranged it all (as you feel she ought 
to have done), just as you see it. Your favorite cattle and 
horses have died, and the flock of sheep have been sadly 
diminished by the dogs, all to be replaced - - and a careful 
account of the men's time, labor and manure on the grain 
fields, shows that for some reason that you cannot under- 
stand, the crop - - which is a fair one, has actually cost you 
a trifle more than it is worth in a good market. 

To cut a long story short, the larger part of our citizens 
who retire upon a farm to make it a country residence, are 
not aware of the fact that capital cannot be profitably 
employed on land in the Atlantic states without a thor- 
oughly practical knowledge of farming.^ A close and syste- 

* Think of those exorbitant days, when farm laborers got a dollar 
for twelve hours' work! -- F. A. W. 

t Mr. Downing, after the fashion of his time, used italics very freely 
in his essays. Following the taste of our time I have put most of his 
italics into Roman type; but in this case I have allowed it to stand as he 
wrote it, sorry only that I cannot underscore his statement further. His 
observation is just as true and just as important now as it was in 1852. - 
F. A. W. 



Citizens Retiring to the Country 207 

malic economy, upon a good soil, may enable, and does 
enable some gentlemen farmers lhal we could name, lo 
make a good profit out of their land, but citizens who 
launch boldly into farming, hiring farm laborers at high 
prices, and trusting operations to others that should be 
managed under I he master's eye, are very likely to find 
Iheir farms a sinking fund that will drive them back into 
business again. 

To be happy in any business or occupation (and country 
life on a farm is a matter of business), we must have some 
kind of success in it; and there is no success without profit, 
and no profit without practical knowledge of farming. 

The lesson that we would deduce from these reflections 
is this; that no mere amateur should buy a large farm for 
a country residence with the expectation of finding pleasure 
and profit in it for the rest of his life, unless, like some 
citizens that we have known - - rare exceptions - - they have 
a genius for all manner of business, and can master the 
whole of farming, as they would learn a running hand in 
six easy lessons. Farming, in the older states, where the 
natural wealth of the soil has been exhausted, is not a 
profitable business for amateurs - - but quite the reverse. 
And a citizen who has a sufficient income without farming 
had better not damage it by engaging in so expensive 
an amusement. 

"But we must have something to do; we have been busy 
near all our lives, and cannot retire into the country to fold 
our hands and sit in the sunshine to be idle." Precisely 
so. But you need not therefore ruin yourself on a large 
farm. Do not be ambitious of being great landed propri- 
etors. Assume that you need occupation and interest, and 
buy a small piece of ground - - a few acres only - - as few 
as you please - - but without any regard for profit. Leave 
that to those who have learned farming in a more practical 
school. You think, perhaps, that you can find nothing to 
do on a few acres of ground. But that is the greatest of 
mistakes. A half a dozen acres, the capacities of which 
are fully developed, will give you more pleasure than five 




Q 
2 
D 

O 

CC 

O 



H 

qj 
j 



9 

w 



CO 



O 

fi 



(208) 



Citizens Retiring to the Country 209 

hundred poorly cultivated. And the advantage for you 
is that you can, upon your few acres, spend just as little or 
just as much as you please. If you wish to be prudent, 
lay out your little estate in a simple way, with grass and 
trees, and a few walks, and a single man may then take 
care of it. If you wish to indulge your taste, you may fill 
it with shrubberies, and arboretums, and conservatories, 
and flower-gardens, till every tree and plant and fruit in the 
whole vegetable kingdom, of really superior beauty and 
interest, is in your collection. Or, if you wish to turn a 
penny, you will find it easier to take up certain fruits or 
plants and grow them to high perfection so as to command 
a profit in the market than you will to manage the various 
operations of a large farm. We could point to ten acres 
of ground from which a larger income has been produced 
than from any farm of five hundred acres in the country. 
Gardening, too, offers more variety of interest to a citizen 
than farming; its operations are less rude and toilsome, 
and its pleasures more immediate and refined. Citizens, 
ignorant of farming, should therefore buy small places 
rather than large ones, if they wish to consult their own 
true interest and happiness. 

But some of our readers who have tried the thing may 
say that it is a very expensive thing to settle oneself and 
get well established, even on a small place in the country. 
And so it is, if we proceed upon the fallacy, as we have 
said, that everything in the country is cheap. Labor is 
dear; it costs you dearly to-day, and it will cost you dearly 
tomorrow and the next year. Therefore in selecting a 
site for a home in the country always remember to choose 
a site where nature has done as much as possible for you. 
Don't say to yourself as many have done before you - 
"Oh! I want occupation, and I rather like the new place 
- raw and naked though it may be. I will create a para- 
dise for myself. I will cut down yonder hill that intercepts 
the view, I will level and slope more gracefully yonder 
rude bank, I will terrace this rapid descent, I will make a 
lake in yonder hollow." Yes, all this you may do for occu- 



210 Landscape Gardening 

pation, and find it very delightful occupation too, if you 
have the income of Mr. Astor. Otherwise, after you have 
spent thousands in creating your paradise and chance to 
go to some friend who has bought all the graceful undula- 
tions and sloping lawns and sheets of water, natural, ready 
made -- as they may be bought in thousands of purely 
natural places in America, for a few hundred dollars, - - it 
will give you a species of pleasure-ground-dyspepsia to see 
how foolishly you have wasted your money. And this 
more especially when you find, as the possessor of the most 
finished place in America finds, that he has no want of 
occupation, and that far from being finished, he has only 
begun to elicit the highest beauty, keeping and complete- 
ness of which his place is capable. 

It would be easy to say a great deal more in illustration 
of the mistakes continually made by citizens going into the 
country; of their false ideas of the cost of doing everything; 
of the profits of farming; of their own talent for making an 
income from the land, and their disappointment, growing 
out of a failure of all their theories and expectations. But 
we have perhaps said enough to cause some of our readers 
about to take the step to consider whether they mean to 
look upon country life as a luxury they are willing to pay 
so much a year for, or as a means of adding something to 
their incomes. Even in the former case they are likely to 
underrate the cost of the luxury, and in the latter they 
must set about it with the frugal and industrial habits of 
the real farmer, or they will fail. The safest way is to 
attempt but a modest residence at first, and let the more 
elaborate details be developed, if at all, only when we have 
learned how much country life costs, and how far the ex- 
penditure is a wise one. Fortunately it is art and not nature 
which costs money in the country, and therefore the beauty 
of lovely scenery and fine landscapes (the right to enjoy 
miles of which may often be had for a trifle), in connection 
with a very modest and simple place, will give more lasting 
satisfaction than gardens and pleasure grounds innumerable. 
Persons of moderate means should, for this reason, always 



Citizens Retiring to the Country 211 

secure, in their fee simple, as much as possible of natural 
beauty, and undertake the elaborate improvement of only 
small places which will not become a burden to them. 
Millionaires, of course, w r e leave out of the question. They 
may do what they like. But most Americans buying a 
country place may take it for their creed, that 

Man wants but little land below, 
Nor wants that little dear. 



CHAPTER XV 

HOW TO CHOOSE A SITE FOR A COUNTRY 

SEAT* 

HOW to choose the site for a country house is a sub- 
ject now occupying the thoughts of many of our 
countrymen, and therefore is not undeserving a 
few words from us at the present moment. 

The greater part of those who build country seats in the 
United States are citizens who retire from the active pur- 
suits of town to enjoy, in the most rational way possible, 
the fortunes accumulated there, that is to say in the crea- 
tion of beautiful and agreeable rural homes. 

Whatever may be the natural taste of this class, their 
avocations have not permitted them to become familiar 
with the difficulties to be encountered in making a new 
place or the most successful way of accomplishing all that 
they propose to themselves. Hence we not unfrequently 
see a very complete house surrounded for years by very 
unfinished and meagre grounds. Weary with the labor and 
expense of levelling earth, opening roads and walks, and 
clothing a naked place with new plantations, all of which he 
finds far less easily accomplished than building brick walls 
in the city, the once sanguine improver often abates his 
energy, and loses his interest in the embellishment of his 
grounds before his plans are half perfected. 

All this arises from a general disposition to underrate the 
difficulty and cost of making plantations and laying the 
groundwork of a complete country residence. Landscape 
gardening, where all its elements require to be newly ar- 
ranged, where the scenery of a place requires to be almost 

* Original date of December, 1847. The problem is still a live one. 
But the old English term "country seat" has disappeared from American 
use. We now say "country place," "country home," or some more 
pretentious persons speak of their "country estates." The average city 
man, however, prefers above all else to refer to "my farm." - F. A. W. 

212 



How to Choose a Site for a Country Seal 213 

wholly created, is by no means either a cheap or rapid 
process. Labor and patience must be added to taste, time 
and money, before a bare site can be turned into smooth 
lawns and complete pleasure grounds. 

The best advice which the most experienced landscape 
gardener can give an American about to select ground for 
a country residence is, therefore, to choose a site where 
there is natural wood, and where nature offers the greatest 
number of good features ready for a basis upon which to 
commence improvements. 

We have already so often descanted on the superiority 
of trees and lawns to all other features of ornamental places 
untied that our readers are not, we trust, slow to side with 
us in a thorough appreciation of their charms. 

Hence when a site for a country place is to be selected 
(after health and good neighborhood), the first points are, 
if possible, to secure a position where there is some existing 
\vood, and where the ground is so disposed as to offer a 
natural surface for a fine lawn. These two points secured, 
half the battle is fought, for the framework or background 
of foliage being ready grown, immediate shelter, shade, and 
effect is given as soon as the house is erected; and a surface 
well shaped for a lawn (or one which requires but trifling 
alterations) once obtained, all the labor and cost of grading 
is avoided, and a single season's thorough preparation gives 
you velvet to walk about upon. 

Some of our readers, no doubt, will say this is excellent 
advice, but unfortunately not easily followed. So many 
are forced to build on a bare site, "and begin at the begin- 
ning." 

This is no doubt occasionally true, but in nine cases out 
of ten, in this country, our own observation has convinced 
us that the choice of a poor location is the result of local 
prejudice, or want of knowledge of the subject, rather than 
of necessity. 

How frequently do we see men paying large prices for 
indifferent sites, when at a distance of half a mile there are 
one or more positions on which nature has lavished treas- 



214 Landscape Gardening 

ures of wood and water, and spread out undulating sur- 
faces, which seem absolutely to court the finishing touches 
of the rural artist. Place a dwelling in such a site and it 
appropriates all nature's handiwork to itself in a moment. 
The masses of trees are easily broken into groups that have 
immediately the effect of old plantations, and all the minor 
details of shrubbery, walks, and flower and fruit gardens, 
fall gracefully and becomingly into their proper positions. 
Sheltered and screened and brought into harmony with the 
landscape, these finishing touches serve in turn to enhance 
the beauty and value of the original trees themselves. 

We by no means wish to deter those who have an abun- 
dance of means, taste, enthusiasm and patience, from under- 
taking the creation of entire new scenery in their country 
residences. There are few sources of satisfaction more 
genuine and lasting than that of walking through extensive 
groves and plantations, all reared by one's own hands - 
to look on a landscape which one has transformed into 
leafy hills and wood-embowered slopes. We scarcely re- 
member more real delight evinced by any youthful devotee 
of our favorite art, in all the fervor of his first enthusiasm, 
than has been expressed to us by one of our venerable 
ex-Presidents,* now in a ripe old age, when showing us, 
at various times, fine old forest trees, oaks, hickories, etc., 
which have been watched by him in their entire cycle 
of development, from the naked seeds deposited in the 
soil by his own hands, to their now furrowed trunks and 
umbrageous heads! 

But it must be confessed that it is throwing away a 
large part of one's life and that too, more especially, 
when the cup of country pleasures is not brought to the 
lips till one's meridian is well nigh past - - to take the whole 
business of making a landscape from the invisible carbon 
and oxygen waiting in soil and atmosphere, to be turned 
by the slow alchemy of ten or twenty summers' growth 

* Undoubtedly this refers to Mr. Downing's intimate friend, John 
Quincy Adams, to whom his book on "Landscape Gardening" was 
dedicated. F. A. W. 



How to Choose a Site for a Country Seat 215 

into groves of weeping elms and groups of overshadowing 
oaks! 

Those, therefore, who wish to start with the advantage 
of a good patrimony from nature will prefer to examine 
what mother Earth has to offer them in her choicest nooks 
before they determine on taking hold of some meagre 
scene where the woodman's axe and the ploughman's fur- 
row have long ago obliterated all the original beauty of the 
landscape. If a place cannot be found well wooded, per- 
haps a fringe of wood or a background of forest foliage can 
be taken advantage of. These will give shelter and serve 
as a groundwork to help on the effects of the ornamental 
planter. We have seen a cottage or a villa site dignified 
and rendered attractive forever by the possession of even 
three or four line trees of the original growth judiciously 
preserved and taken as the nucleus of a whole series of 
belts and minor plantations. 

There is another most striking advantage in the posses- 
sion of considerable wooded surface, properly located, in a 
country residence. This is the seclusion and privacy of 
the walks and drives, which such bits of woodland afford. 
Walks, in open lawn, or even amid belts of shrubbery, are 
never felt to have that seclusion and comparative solitude 
which belong to the wilder aspect of woodland scenes. And 
no contrast is more agreeable than that from the open 
sunny brightness of the lawn and pleasure grounds, to the 
retirement and quiet of a woodland walk. 

Again it is no small matter of consideration to many per- 
sons settling in the country, the production of picturesque 
effect, the working out of a realm of beauty of their own, 
without any serious inroads into their incomes. One's pri- 
vate walks and parterres, unluckily, cannot be had at the 
cost of one's daily bread and butter - - though the Beautiful 
overtops the useful, as stars outshine farthing candles. But 
the difference of cost between keeping up a long series of 
walks, in a place mainly composed of ilower-garden, shrub- 
bery, and pleasure grounds, compared with another, where 
there are merely lawns and sylvan scenery, is like that 



216 Landscape Gardening 

between maintaining a chancery suit, or keeping on pleas- 
ant terms with your best friend or favorite country neigh- 
bor. Open walks must be scrupulously neat, and broad 
sunshine and rich soil make weeds grow faster than a new 
city in the best "western diggins," and your gardener has 
no sooner put the series of walks in perfect order than he 
looks over his shoulder and beholds the enemy is there to be 
conquered over again. On the other hand woodland walks 
are swept and repaired in the spring, and like some of those 
gifted individuals, "born neat," they require no more atten- 
tion than the rainbow to remain fresh and bright till the 
autumn leaves begin to drop again. 

Our citizen reader, therefore, who wishes to enjoy his 
country seat as an elegant sylvan retreat with the greatest 
amount of beauty and enjoyment and the smallest care 
and expenditure will choose a place naturally well wooded, 
or where open glades and bits of lawn alternate with masses 
or groups, and, it may be, with extensive tracts of well- 
grown wood. A house once erected on such a site, the 
whole can very easily be turned into a charming labyrinth 
of beautiful and secluded drives and walks. And as our 
improver cultivates his eye and his taste, nature will cer- 
tainly give him fresh hints; she will tell him how by open- 
ing a glade here, and piercing a thicket there, by making 
underwood occasionally give place to soft turf, so as to 
show fine trunks to the greatest advantage, and thereby 
bringing into more complete contrast some wilder and more 
picturesque dell, all the natural charms of a place may be 
heightened into a beauty far more impressive and significant 
than they originally possessed. 

Why man's perception of the Beautiful seems clouded 
over in most uncultivated natures and is only brought out 
by a certain process of refining and mental culture, as the 
lapidary brings out, by polishing, all the rich play of colors 
in a stone that one passes by as a common pebble, we leave to 
the metaphysicians to explain. Certain it is that we see oc- 
casionally lamentable proofs of the fact in the treatment of 
nature's best features, by her untutored children. More than 



How to Choose a Site for a Country Scat 217 

one instance do we call to mind of settlers in districts of 
country where there are masses and great woods of trees 
that the druids would have worshipped for their grandeur 
sweeping them all down mercilessly with their axes, and 
then planting with the supremest satisfaction, a straight 
line of paltry saplings before their doors! It is like ex- 
changing a neighborhood of proud and benevolent yeo- 
manry, honest and free as the soil they spring from, for a 
file of sentinels or gens d'armes, that watch over one's out- 
goings and incomings, like a chief of police! * 

Most happily for our country and its beautiful rural 
scenery this spirit of destruction, under the rapid develop- 
ment of taste that is taking place among us, is very fast 
disappearing. "Woodman, spare that tree," is the choral 
sentiment that should be instilled and taught at the agri- 
cultural schools, and re-echoed by all the agricultural and 
horticultural societies in the land. If we have neither old 
castles nor old associations, \ve have at least, here and there, 
old trees that can teach us lessons of antiquity not less 
instructive and poetical than the ruins of a past age. 

Our first hint, therefore, to persons about choosing a 
site for a country place is, in all possible cases, to look for a 
situation where there is some natural wood. With this 
for the warp - - strong, rich, and permanent - - you may 
embroider upon it all the gold threads of fruit and floral 
embellishment with an effect equally rapid and successful. 
Everything done upon such a groundwork will tell at once; 
and since there is no end to the delightful task of perfecting 
a country place, so long as there are thirty thousand species 
of plants known, and at least thirty millions of varied 
combinations of landscape scenery possible, we think there 
is little fear that the possessor of a country place will not 
find sufficient interest for the employment of his time, 
mind, and purse, if he really loves the subject, even though 
he find himself in possession of a fee-simple of a pretty 
number of acres of fine wood. 

* This fine passage reveals the nobility of the character of Andrew 
Jackson Downing most clearly and graciously. -- F A. W. 



CHAPTER XVI 
HOW TO ARRANGE COUNTRY PLACES* 

HOW to lay out a country place? That is a question 
about which we and our readers might have many 
a long conversation, if we could be brought on 
familiar terms, colloquially speaking, with all parts of the 
Union where rural improvements are going on. As it is 
we shall touch on a few leading points this month which 
may be considered of universal application. 

These cardinal points within the bounds of a country 
residence, are (taking health and pleasant locality for 
granted), convenience, comfort, or social enjoyment, and 
beauty; and we shall touch on them in a very rambling 
manner. 

Innumerable are the mistakes of those novices in forming 
country places, who reverse the order of these three condi- 
tions, and placing beauty first (as, intellectually consid- 
ered, it deserves to be), leave the useful, convenient, and 
comfortable pretty much to themselves, or, at least, con- 
sider them entitled only to a second place in their considera- 
tion. In the country places which they create the casual 
visitor may be struck with many beautiful effects; but 
when a trifling observation has shown him that this beauty 
is not the result of a harmony between the real and the 
ideal, - - or, in other words, between the surface of things 
intended to be seen and the things themselves, as they 
minister to our daily wants, then all the pleasure vanishes 
and the opposite feeling takes its place. 

To begin at the very root of things, the most defective 
matter in laying out our country places (as we know from 
experience) is the want of forethought and plan regarding 

* Original date of March, 1850. 
218 



flow to Arrange Country Places 219 

the location of what may be called the kitchen offices. 
By this, we refer, of course, to that wing or portion of a 
country house containing the kitchen, with its storeroom, 
pantry, scullery, laundry, wood-house, and whatever else, 
more or less, may be included under this head.* 

Our correspondent, Jeffreys, has, in his usual bold manner, 
pointed out how defective, in all cases (where the thing is 
not impossible), is a country house with a kitchen below 
stairs; and we have but lamely apologized for the practice 
in some houses by the greater economy of such an arrange- 
ment. But in truth we quite agree with him that no 
country house is complete unless the kitchen offices are on 
the same level as the principal floor containing the living 
apartments. 

At first thought our inexperienced readers may not see 
precisely what this has to do with laying out the grounds 
of a country place. But, indeed, it is the very starting point 
and fundamental substratum on which the whole thing 
rests. There can be no complete country place, however 
large or small, in which the greatest possible amount of 
privacy and seclusion is not attained within its grounds, 
especially within that part intended for the enjoyment of 
the family. Now it is very clear that there can be no seclu- 
sion where there is no separation of uses, no shelter, no por- 
tions set apart for especial purposes, both of utility and 
enjoyment. First of all, then, in planning a country place, 
the house should be so located that there shall be at least 
two sides; an entrance side, which belongs to the living, or 
best apartments of the house; and a kitchen side (or "blind 
side"), complete in itself, and more or less shut out from all 
observation from the remaining portions of the place. 

This is as indispensable for the comfort of the inmates of the 
kitchen as those of the parlor. By shutting off completely 
one side of the house by belts or plantations of trees and 
shrubbery from the rest, you are enabled to make that part 

* In the office parlance of landscape architects of l'>121 these arc 
always grouped under the one term "service," and the endeavor is made 
to dispose them all in one "service urea." - F. A. \\ . 



220 Landscape Gardening 

more extensive and complete in itself. The kitchen yard, 
the clothes-drying ground, the dairy, and all the structures 
which are so practically important in a country house, have 
abundant room and space, and the domestics can perform 
their appointed labors with ease and freedom, without dis- 
turbing the different aspect of any other portion of the 
grounds. There are few new sites where there is not natur- 
ally a "blind side" indicated; a side where there is a fringe 
of wood, or some natural disposition of surface, which 
points it out as the spot where the kitchen offices should 
be placed, in order to have the utmost shelter and privacy, 
- at the same time leaving the finer glades, openings, and 
views for the more refined, social and beautiful portions of 
the residence. Wherever these indications are wanting they 
must be created by artificial planting of belts and groups of 
trees and shrubs, - - not in stiff and formal lines like fences, 
but in an irregular and naturally varied manner, so as to 
appear as if formed of a natural copse, or rather so as not 
to attract special attention at all. 

We are induced to insist upon this point the more strenu- 
ously because, along with the taste for the architecture of 
Pericles (may we indulge the hope that he is not permitted 
to behold the Greek architecture of the new world!) which 
came into fashion in this country fifteen or twenty years 
ago, came also the fashion of sweeping away everything that 
was not temple-like about the house. Far from recognizing 
that man lives a domestic life, that he cooks, washes, 
bakes and churns in his country house, and, therefore, that 
kitchen offices (tastefully concealed if you please, but still 
ample) are a necessary, and therefore truthful part of his 
dwelling, - - they went upon the principle that if man had 
fallen, and was no longer one of the gods, he might still live 
in a temple dedicated to the immortals. A clear space on 
all sides, pediments at each end, and perhaps a colonnade 
all round; this is the undomestic, uncomfortable ideal of 
half the better country houses in America. 

Having fixed upon and arranged the blind side of the 
house - - which, of course, will naturally be placed so as to 



How to Arrange Country Places 221 

connect itself directly with the stable and other out-build- 
ings, - - the next point of attack is the kitchen garden. 
This is not so easily disposed of as many imagine. All 
persons of good taste agree that however necessary, satis- 
factory, and pleasant a thing a good kitchen garden is, it 
is not, aesthetically, considered a beautiful thing; and it 
never accords well with the ornamental portions of a coun- 
try place, where the latter is large enough to have a lawn, 
pleasure grounds, or other portions that give it an orna- 
mental character. The fruit trees (and we include now, 
for the sake of conciseness, kitchen and fruit garden), the 
vegetables, and all that makes the utility of the kitchen 
garden, never harmonize with the more graceful forms of 
ornamental scenery. Hence the kitchen garden in a com- 
plete country place should always form a scene by itself, 
and should also be shut out from the lawn or ornamental 
grounds by plantations of trees and shrubs. A good local- 
ity as regards soil is an important point to be considered in 
determining its site; and it will usually adjoin the space 
given to the kitchen offices, or that near the stable or barns, 
or perhaps lie between both so that it also is kept on the 
blind side of the house. 

After having disposed of the useful and indispensable 
portions of the place, by placing them in the spots at once 
best fitted for them at least interfering with the convenience 
and beauty of the remaining portions, let us now turn to 
what may properly be called the ornamental portion of the 
place. 

This may be confined to a mere bit of lawn, extending a 
few feet in front of the parlor windows, or it may cover a 
number of acres, according to the extent of the place and 
the taste and means of the owner. 

Be that as it may, the groundwork of this part should, in 
our judgment, always be lawn. There is in the country no 
object which at all seasons and times gives the constant 
satisfaction of the green turf of a nicely kept lawn. If your 
place is large, so much larger and broader is the good effect 
of the lawn, as it stretches away over gentle undulations, 



222 Landscape Gardening 

alternately smiling and looking serious, in the play of sun- 
shine and shade that rests upon it. If it is small - - a 
mere bit of green turf before your door- -then it forms the 
best and most becoming setting to the small beds and 
masses of ever-blooming roses, verbenas, and gay annuals 
with which you embroider it like a carpet. 

Lawn there must be, to give any refreshment to the spirit 
of 'man in our country places; for nothing is so intolerable 
to the eye as great ilower-gardens of parched earth, lying 
half (baked in the meridian sun of an American summer. 
And though no nation under the sun may have such lawns 
as the British, because Britain lies in the lap of the sea, 
with a climate always more or less humid, yet green and 
pleasant lawns most persons may have in the northern 
states, who will make the soil deep and keep the grass well 
mown. 

To mow a large surface of lawn - - that is to say, many 
acres - - is a thing attempted in but few places in America, 
from the high price of labor. But a happy expedient comes 
in to our aid to save labor and trouble and produce all the 
good effect of a well-mown lawn. We mean sheep and 
wdre fences. Our neighbor and correspondent, Mr. Sargent, 
of Wodenethe, on the Hudson, who passed a couple of 
years abroad curiously gleaning all clever foreign notions 
that were really worth naturalizing at home, has already 
told our readers how wire fences may be constructed round 
lawns or portions of the pleasure grounds so that only a 
strip round the house need be mown while the extent of 
the lawn is kept short by sheep. This fence, which costs 
less than any tolerable looking fence of other materials, is 
abundantly strong to turn both sheep and cattle and is 
invisible at the distance of 40 or 50 rods. Mr. Sargent is not 
a theorist, but has actually inclosed his own lawn of several 
acres in this way, and those who have examined the plan 
are struck with the usefulness and economy of the thing in 
all ornamental country places of considerable extent. 

We have said nothing as yet of the most important feature 
of all country places - - trees. A country place without 



How to Arrange Country Places 22:5 

trees is like a caliph without his beard, in other words, it is 
not a country place. We shall assume, therefore, that all 
proprietors who do not already possess this indispensable 
feature will set about planting with more ardor than Walter 
Scott ever did. It is the one thing needful for them; and 
deep trenching, plentiful manuring, and sufficient mulch- 
ing are the powerful auxiliaries to help them forward in the 
good work. 

It is, of course, impossible for us to tell our readers how to 
arrange trees tastefully and well under all circumstances in 
this short chapter. We can offer them, however, tw r o or 
three hints as to arrangement which they may perhaps 
profit by. 

The first principle in ornamental planting is to study 
the character of the place to be improved and to plant in 
accordance with it. If your place has breadth and sim- 
plicity, and fine open views, plant in groups, and rather 
sparingly, so as to heighten and adorn the landscape, not 
shut out and obstruct the beauty of prospect which nature 
has placed before your eyes. Scattered groups, with con- 
tinuous reaches or vistas between, produce the best effect 
in such situations. In other and more remote parts of the 
place greater density of foliage may serve as a contrast. 

In residences where there is little or no distant view the 
contrary plan must be pursued. Intricacy and variety must 
be created by planting. Walks must be led in various 
directions and concealed from each other by thickets and 
masses of shrubs and trees and occasionally rich masses of 
foliage not forgetting to heighten all, however, by an occa- 
sional contrast of broad, unbroken surface of lawn. 

In all country places, and especially in small ones, a great 
object to be kept in view in planting is to produce as perfect 
seclusion and privacy within the grounds as possible. We 
do not entirely feel that to be our own which is indiscrimi- 
nately enjoyed by each passer-by and every man's individu- 
ality and home-feeling is invaded by the presence of un- 
bidden guests. Therefore, while you preserve the beauty 
of the view, shut out, by boundary belts and thickets, all 



224 Landscape Gardening 

eyes but those that are fairly within your own grounds. 
This will enable you to feel at home all over your place and 
to indulge your individual taste in walking, riding, reciting 
your next speech or sermon, or wearing any peculiarly rustic 
costume, without being suspected of being a "queer fellow" 
by any of your neighbors; while it will add to the general 
beauty and interest of the country at large, - - since, in 
passing a fine place, we always imagine it finer than it is, if 
a boundary plantation, by concealing it, forces us to depend 
wholly on the imagination. 



CHAPTER XVII 

THE MANAGEMENT OF LARGE COUNTRY 

PLACES* 

COUNTRY places that may properly be called orna- 
mental f are increasing so fast, especially in the 
neighborhood of the large cities, that a word or two 
more touching their treatment will not be looked upon as 
out of place here. 

All our country residences may readily be divided into 
two classes. The first and largest class is the suburban 
place of from five to twenty or thirty acres; the second is 
the country-seat, properly so called, which consists of from 
thirty to five hundred or more acres. 

In all suburban residences, from the limited extent of 
ground, and the desire to get the utmost beauty from it, the 
whole, or at least a large part of the ornamental portion, 
must be considered only as pleasure grounds - - a term used 
to denote a garden scene, consisting of trees, shrubs, and 
flowers, generally upon a basis of lawn, laid out in walks of 
different styles, and kept in the highest order. The aim in 
this kind of residence is to produce the greatest possible 
variety within a given space and to attain the utmost 
beauty of gardening as an art by the highest keeping and 
culture which the means of the proprietor will permit. 

Of this kind of pleasure ground residence, we have number- 
less excellent examples, and perhaps nowhere more admir- 
able specimens than in the neighborhood of Boston. Both 

* Original date of March, 1851. 

f Attention has been called elsewhere in this volume to Mr. Downing's 

habitual use of this word "ornamental" -a word which has become 

unfashionable and distasteful to the present generation. It is well to 

remember that this word carried no unpleasant connotations in his day. 

-F. A. W. 

225 



226 Landscape Gardening 

in design and execution these little places will, at the present 
moment, bear very favorable comparison with many in 
older countries. The practical management of such places 
is also very well understood and they need no especial 
mention in these remarks. 

But in the larger country places there are ten instances of 
failure for one of success. This is not owing to the want of 
natural beauty, for the sites are picturesque, the surface 
varied, and the woods and plantations excellent. The fail- 
ure consists, for the most part, in a certain incongruity and 
want of distinct character in the treatment of the place as 
a whole. They are too large to be kept in order as pleasure 
grounds, while they are not laid out or treated as parks. 
The grass which stretches on all sides of the house is partly 
mown for lawn, and partly for hay; the lines of the farm 
and the ornamental portion of the grounds meet in a con- 
fused and unsatisfactory manner, and the result is a resi- 
dence pretending to be much superior to a common farm 
and yet not rising to the dignity of a really tasteful country- 
seat. 

It appears to us that a species of country place particu- 
larly adapted to this country, has not, as yet, been at- 
tempted, though it offers the largest possible satisfaction at 
the least cost. 

We mean a place which is a combination of the park-like 
and pastoral landscape. A place in which the chief fea- 
tures should be fine forest trees, either natural or planted, 
and scattered over a surface of grass, kept short by the 
pasturage of fine cattle. A place, in short, where sylvan 
and pastoral beauty, added to large extent and great facility 
of management, would cost no more than a much smaller 
demesne where a large part is laid out, planted, and kept 
in an expensive though still unsatisfactory manner. 

There are sites of this kind, already prettily wooded, 
which may be had in many desirable localities at much 
cheaper rates than the improved sites. On certain portions 
of the Hudson, for instance, we could purchase to-day finely 
wooded sites and open glades, in the midst of fine scenery 




FIG. 35. NATURAL WOODLAND JUNIPERS 



(227) 



228 Landscape Gardening 

- in fact what could, with very trifling expense be turned 
into a natural park - - at $60 per acre, while the improved 
sites will readily command 3200 or $300 per acre. 

Considerable familiarity with the country-seats on the 
Hudson, enables us to state that, for the most part, few 
persons keep up a fine country place, counting all the 
products of the farm land attached to it, without being 
more or less out of pocket at the end of the year. And yet 
there are very few of the large places that can be looked 
upon as examples of tolerable keeping. 

The explanation of this lies in the high price of all kinds 
of labor, which costs us nearly double or treble what it 
does on the other side of the Atlantic, and the compara- 
tively small profits of land managed in the expensive way 
common on almost all farms attached to our Atlantic coun- 
try-seats. The remedy for this unsatisfactory condition of 
the large country places is, we think, a very simple one - 
that of turning a large part of their areas into park meadow, 
and feeding it, instead of mowing and cultivating it.* 

The great and distinguishing beauty of England, as every 
one knows, is its parks. And yet the English parks are 
only very large meadows, studded with oaks and elms - 
and grazed - - profitably grazed, by deer, cattle, and sheep. 
We believe it is a commonly received idea in this country, 
with those who have not travelled abroad, that English 
parks are portions of highly-dressed scenery - - at least that 
they are kept short by frequent mowing, etc. It is an 
entire mistake. The mown lawn with its polished garden 
scenery, is confined to the pleasure grounds proper - - a spot 
of greater or less size, immediately surrounding the house, 
and wholly separated from the park by a terrace wall, or an 
iron fence, or some handsome architectural barrier. The 
park, which generally comes quite up to the house on one 
side, receives no other attention than such as belongs to 

* Although condilions have changed greatly for the better since 
Mr. Downing wrote these lines, the practice of pasturing park lands with 
cattle or sheep has not become popular. It seems quite possible that 
this practice might still be extended, and the recommendation of Mr. 
Downing to that effect may now be renewed. -- F. A. W. 



Management of Larye Country Places 229 

the care of Ihe animals that graze in it. As most of these 
parks afford excellent pasturage, and though apparently 
one wide, unbroken surface, they are really subdivided into 
large fields, by wire or other invisible fences, they actually 
pay a very fair income to the proprietor, in the shape of 
good beef, mutton, and venison. 

Certainly, nothing can be a more beautiful sight in its 
way, than the numerous herds of deer, short-horned cattle 
and fine sheep, which embroider and give life to the scenery 
of an English country home of this kind.* There is a quiet 
pastoral beauty, a spaciousness and dignity, and a simple 
feeling of nature about it which no highly decorated pleasure 
grounds or garden scenery can approach, as the continual 
surrounding of a .country residence. It is, in fact, the 
poetical idea of Arcadia, a sort of ideal nature, softened 
refined, and ennobled, without being made to look artificial. 

Of course any thing like English parks, so far as regards 
extent, is almost out of the question here; simply because 
land and fortunes are widely divided here, instead of being 
kept in large bodies, intact, as in England. Still, as the 
first class country-seats of the Hudson now command from 
$50,000 to $75,000, it is evident that there is a growing 
taste for space and beauty in the private domains of repub- 
licans. What we wish to suggest now is simply that the 
greatest beauty and satisfaction may be had here, as in 
England (for the plan really suits our limited means bet- 
ter), by treating the bulk of the ornamental portion as 
open park pasture, and thus getting the greatest space and 
beauty at the least original expenditure and with the largest 
annual profit. 

To some of our readers who have never seen the thing 
the idea of a park pastured by animals almost to the very 
door will seem at variance with all decorum and elegance. 
This, however, is not actually the case. The house should 

* All attempts to render our native deer really tame in home grounds 
have, so far as we know, failed among us, though with patience the thing 
may doubtless he done. It would be well worth while to import the finer 
breeds of the English deer, which are thoroughly domesticated in their 
habits, and the most beautiful animals for a park. A. J. D. 



230 Landscape Gardening 

either stand on a raised terrace of turf, which, if it is a fine 
mansion, may have a handsome terrace wall, or if a cottage, 
a pretty rustic or trellis fence, to separate it from the park. 
Directly around the house, and stretching on one or more 
sides, in the rear, lie the more highly dressed portions of 
the scene, which may be a flower-garden and shrubbery 
set in a small bit of lawn kept as short as velvet - - or may 
be pleasure grounds, fruit, and kitchen-gardens, so multi- 
plied as to equal the largest necessities of the place and 
family. All that is to be borne in mind is, that the park 
may be as large as you can afford to purchase - - for it may 
be kept up at a profit - - while the pleasure grounds and 
garden scenery, may, with this management, be compressed 
into the smallest space actually deemed necessary to the 
place, thereby lessening labor and bestowing that labor in 
a concentrated space, where it will tell. 

The practical details of keeping the stock upon such a 
place, are familiar to almost every farmer. Of course in 
a country place only comely animals would be kept, and a 
preference would be given to breeds of fine stock that "take 
on flesh" readily, and command the best price in the market. 
In cases where an interest is taken in breeding cattle pro- 
vision must be made in the shape of hay and shelter for the 
whole year round; but we imagine the most profitable, as 
well as least troublesome mode, to the majority of gentle- 
men proprietors would be to buy the suitable stock in the 
spring, put it in good condition, and sell it again in the 
autumn. The sheep would also require to be folded at 
night to prevent the flocks from being ravaged by dogs. 

With this kind of arrangement and management of a 
country place the owner would be in a position to reap the 
greatest enjoyment with the least possible care. To coun- 
try gentlemen ignorant of farming, such an extent of park, 
with its drives and walks, along with its simplicity of man- 
agement, would be a relief from a multitude of embarrassing 
details; while to those who have tried, to their cost, the 
expenses of keeping a large place in high order, it would be 
an equal relief to the debtor side of the cash account. 



CHAPTER XVIII 
COUNTRY PLACES IN AUTUMN* 

NOVEMBER, which is one of the least interesting 
months to those who come into the country to 
admire the freshness of spring or the fulness of 
summer and early autumn, is one of the most interesting 
to those who live in the country or who have country places 
which they wish to improve. 

When the leaves have all dropped from the trees, when 
the enchantment and illusion of summer are over, and 
"the fall" (our expressive American word for autumn) has 
stripped the glory from the sylvan landscape, then the rural 
improver puts on his spectacles, and looks at his demesne 
with practical and philosophical eyes. Taking things at 
their worst, as they appear now, he sets about finding out 
what improvements can be made and how the surroundings 
which make his home can be so arranged as to offer a 
fairer picture to the eye or a larger share of enjoyments 
and benefits to the family in the year that is to come. 

The end of autumn is the best month to buy a country 
place, and the best to improve one. You see it then in the 
barest skeleton expression of ugliness or beauty, with all 
opportunity to learn its defects, all its weak points visible, 
all its possible capacities and suggestions for improvement 
laid bare to you. If it satisfy you now, either in its present 
aspect or in what promise you see in it of order and beauty 
after your moderate plans are carried out, you may buy it 
with the full assurance that you will not have cause to 
repent when you learn to like it better as seen in the fresher 
and fairer aspect of its summer loveliness. 

As a season for rural improvements the fall is preferable 

* Original date of December, 1850. 
231 



232 Landscape Gardening 

to the spring, partly because the earth is dryer and more 
easily moved and worked, and partly because there is more 
time to do well what we undertake. In the middle states 
line autumnal weather is often continued till the middle of 
December, and as long as the ground is open and mellow 
the planting of hardy trees may be done with the best 
chances of success. The surface may be smoothed, drains 
made, walks and roads laid out, and all the heavier opera- 
tions on the surface of the earth - - so requisite as a ground- 
work for lawns and pleasure grounds, kitchen or ilower- 
gardens - - may be carried on more cheaply and efficiently 
than amid the bustle and hurry of spring. And when sharp 
frosty nights fairly set in, then is the time to commence the 
grander operations of transplanting. Then is the time for 
moving large trees, elms, maples, etc., a few of which will 
give more effect to a new and bare site than thousands of 
the young things which are the despair of all improvers of 
little faith and ardent imaginations. With two or three 
"hands," a pair of horses or oxen, a "stone boat," or low 
sled, and some ropes or "tackle," the removal of trees 
twenty-five feet high, and six or eight inches in the diameter 
of the stem is a very simple and easy process. A little 
practice will enable a couple of men to do it most perfectly 
and efficiently; and if only free-growing trees, like elms, 
maples, lindens, or horse-chestnuts, are chosen, there is no 
more doubt of success than in planting a currant bush. 
Two or three points we may, however, repeat, for the benefit 
of the novice, viz., to prepare the soil thoroughly by digging 
a large hole, trenching it two-and-a-half feet deep, and filling 
it with rich soil; to take up the tree with a good mass of 
roots inclosed in a ball of frozen earth; * and to reduce the 
ends of the limbs, evenly all over the top, in order to lessen 

* This is easily done by digging a trench all round, leaving a ball about 
four or five feet in diameter, undermining it well, and leaving it to freeze 
for one or two nights. Then turn the tree down, place the uplifted side 
of the ball upon the "stone boat;" right the trunk, and get the whole 
ball firmly upon the sled, and then the horses will drag it easily to its new 
position. A. J. D. 



Country Places in Aulunm 233 

the demand for sustenance, made on the roots the first 
summer after removal. 

This is not only the season to plant very hardy trees, it 
is also the time to feed those which are already established 
and are living on too scanty an income. And how many 
trees are there upon lawns and in gardens -- shade trees 
and fruit trees - - that are literally so poor that they are 
starving to death! Perhaps they have once been luxuriant 
and thrifty and have borne the finest fruit and blossoms 
so that their owners have smiled and said pleasant words 
in their praise as they passed beneath their boughs. Then 
they had a good subsistence, the native strength of the 
soil passed into their limbs and made them stretch out and 
expand with all the vigor of a young Hercules. Now, alas, 
they are mossy and decrepit, the leaves small, the blossoms 
or fruit indifferent. And yet they are not old. Nay, they 
are quite in the prime of life. If they could speak to their 
master or mistress, they would say "First of all, give us 
something to eat. Here are we, tied hand and foot to one 
spot where we have been feeding this dozen or twenty 
years until we are actually reduced to our last morsel. 
What the gardener has occasionally given us in his scanty 
top-dressing of manure has been as a mere crust thrown out 
to a famished man. If you wish us to salute you next 
year with a glorious drapery of green leaves - - the deepest, 
richest green, and start into new forms of luxuriant growth 
-feed us. Dig a trench around us, at the extremity of our 
roots, throw away all the old worn-out soil you find there, 
and replace it with some fresh soil from the lower corner of 
some rich meadow where it has lain fallow for years growing 
richer every day. Mingle this with some manure, some 
chopped sods, anything that can allay our thirst and satisfy 
our hunger for three or four years to come, and see what a 
new leaf - - yes, what volumes of new leaves we will turn 
over for you next year. We are fruit trees, perhaps, and 
you wish us to bear fair and excellent fruit. Then you must 
also feed us. The soil is thin, and contains little that we 
can digest; or it is old, and 'sour' for the want of being 



234 Landscape Gardening 

aired. Remove all the earth for several yards about us, 
baring some of our roots, and perhaps shortening a few. 
Trench the ground where our new roots will ramble next 
year twenty inches deep. Mingle the top and bottom soil, 
rejecting the worst parts of it, and making the void good 
- very good - - by manure, ashes, and decaying leaves. 
Then you shall have bushels of fair and fine pears and 
apples where you now have pecks of spotted and deformed 
fruit." 

Such is the sermon which the "tongues in trees" preach 
to those who listen to them at this season of the year. We 
do not mean to poets or lovers of nature (for to them they 
have other and more romantic stories to tell), but to the 
earnest, practical, working owners of the soil, especially to 
those who grudge a little food and a little labor, in order 
that the trees may live contented, healthy, beautiful, and 
fruitful lives. We have written it down here in order that 
our readers when they walk round their gardens and grounds 
and think "the work of the season is all done" may not be 
wholly blind and deaf to the fact that the trees are as capable, 
in their way, of hunger and thirst as the cattle in the farm- 
yards; and since, at the oftenest, they only need feeding 
once a year, now is the cheapest and the best time for doing 
it. The very frosts of winter creep into the soil, loosened 
by stirring at this season, and fertilize, while they crumble 
and decompose it. Walk about, then, and listen to the 
sermon which your hungry trees preach.* 

The use of commercial fertilizers has developed greatly in more 
recent years. The best modern practice with elderly fruit trees consists 
in cultivating the soil, giving a fair allowance of fertilizer or barnyard 
manure, pruning out dead or diseased wood and giving three or four 
timely sprayings each year. -- F. A. W. 



CHAPTER XIX 
THE NEGLECTED AMERICAN PLANTS* 

IT is an old and familiar saying that a prophet is not 
without honor except in his own country, and as we 
were making our way this spring through a dense 
forest in the State of New Jersey, we were tempted to 
apply this saying to things as well as people. How many 
grand and stately trees there are in our woodlands that 
are never heeded by the arboriculturist in planting his lawns 
and pleasure grounds; how many rich and beautiful shrubs 
that might embellish our walks and add variety to our 
shrubberies that are left to wave on the mountain crag or 
overhang the steep side of some forest valley; how many 
rare and curious flowers that bloom unseen amid the depths 
of silent woods or along the margin of wild water-courses! 
Yes, our hothouses are full of the heaths of New Holland 
and the Cape, our parterres are gay with the verbenas and 
fuchsias of South America, our pleasure grounds are studded 
with the trees of Europe and Northern Asia, while the 
rarest spectacle in an American country place is to see 
above three or four native trees, rarer still to find any but 
foreign shrubs, and rarest of all to find any of our native 
wild flowers. 

Nothing strikes foreign horticulturists and amateurs so 
much, as this apathy and indifference of Americans to 
the beautiful sylvan and floral products of their own country. 
An enthusiastic collector in Belgium first made us keenly 
sensible of this condition of our countrymen, last summer, 
in describing the difficulty he had in procuring from any 
of his correspondents here American seeds or plants, even of 
well known and tolerably abundant species, by telling us 
that amateurs and nurserymen who annually import from 
him every new and rare exotic that the richest collections 

* Original date of May, 1851. 
235 



236 



Landscape Garden ing 



of Europe possessed, .could scarcely be prevailed upon to 
make a search for native American plants, far more beau- 
tiful, which grow in the woods not ten miles from their 




FIG. 36. NATIVE FLOWERING DOGWOOD 

own doors. Some of them were wholly ignorant of such 
plants except so far as a familiarity with their names in the 
books may be called an acquaintance. Others knew them 



The Neglected American Plants 237 

but considered them "wild plants," and therefore too little 
deserving of attention lo be worth the trouble of collecting 
even for curious foreigners. "And so," he continued, "in a 
country of azaleas, kalmias, rhododendrons, cypripediums, 
magnolias and nyssas, - - the loveliest flowers, shrubs, and 
trees of temperate climates, - - you never put them in your 
gardens, but send over the water every year for thousands 
of dollars worth of English larches and Dutch hyacinths. 
Voila le gout Republicain!" 

In truth, we felt that we quite deserved the sweeping sar- 
casm of our Belgian friend. We had always, indeed, excused 
ourselves for the well known neglect of the riches of our 
native ilora by saying that what we can see any day in the 
woods is not the thing by which to make a garden distin- 
guished, and that since all mankind have a passion for 
novelty, where, as in a fine foreign tree or shrub, both 
beauty and novelty are combined, so much the greater is 
the pleasure experienced. But, indeed, one has only to go 
to England, where "American plants" are the fashion (not 
undeservedly, too), to learn that he knows very little about 
the beauty of American plants. The difference between a 
grand oak or magnolia, or tulip-tree, grown with all its 
graceful and majestic development of head, in a park where 
it has nothing to interfere with its expansion but sky and 
air, and the same tree shut up in a forest, a quarter of a 
mile high, with only a tall gigantic mast of a stem, and a 
tuft of foliage at the top, is the difference between the best 
bred and highly cultivated man of the day, and the best 
buffalo hunter of the Rocky Mountains, with his sinewy 
body tattooed and tanned till you scarcely know what is 
the natural color of the skin. A person accustomed to the 
wild Indian only, might think he knew perfectly well what 
a man is, and so indeed he does, if you mean a red man. 
But the "civilizee" is not more different from the aboriginal 
man of the forest than the cultivated and perfect garden 
tree or shrub (granting always that it takes to civilization, 
which some trees, like Indians, do not), than a tree of the 
pleasure grounds differs from a tree of the woods. 



238 Landscape Gardening 

Perhaps the finest revelation of this sort in England is 
the clumps and masses of our mountain laurel and our 
azaleas and rhododendrons, which embellish the English 
pleasure grounds. In some of the great country seats, 
whole acres of lawn, kept like velvet, are made the ground- 
work upon which these masses of the richest foliaged and 
the gayest flowering shrubs are embroidered. Each mass is 
planted in a round or oval bed of deep, rich sandy mould, 
in which it attains a luxuriance and perfection of form and 
foliage almost as new to an American as to a Sandwich 
Islander. The Germans make avenues of our tulip-trees, 
and in the South of France, one finds more planted magnolias 
in the gardens than there are, out of the woods, in all the 
United States. It is thus, by seeing them away from home 
where their merits are better appreciated and more highly 
developed, that one learns for the first time what our gar- 
dens have lost, by our having none of these ''American 
plants" in them. 

The subject is one which should be pursued to much 
greater length than we are able to follow it in the present 
article. Our woods and swamps are full of the most exqui- 
site plants, some of which would greatly embellish even 
the smallest garden. But it is rather to one single feature 
in the pleasure grounds that we would at this moment direct 
the attention, and that is the introduction of two broad- 
leaved evergreen shrubs that are abundant in every part 
of the middle states, and that are, nevertheless, seldom to 
be seen in any of our gardens or nurseries from one end of 
the country to the other. The defect is the more to be 
deplored, because our ornamental plantations, so far as 
they are evergreen, consist almost entirely of pines and 
firs - - all narrow-leaved evergreens - - far inferior in rich- 
ness of foliage to those we have mentioned. 

The native holly grows from Long Island to Florida, and 
is quite abundant in the woods of New Jersey, Maryland, 
and Virginia. It forms a shrub or small tree, varying from 
four to forty feet in height, clothed with foliage and berries 
of the same ornamental character as the European holly, 



The Neglected American Plants 239 

except that the leaf is a shade lighter in its green. The 
plant, too, is perfectly hardy, even in the climate of Boston, 
while the European holly is quite too tender for open air 
culture in the middle states, notwithstanding that peaches 
ripen here in orchards, and in England only on walls. 

The American laurel, or Kalmia, is too well known in all 
parts of the country to need any description. And what 
new shrub, we would ask, is there, whether from the Him- 
alayas or the Andes, whether hardy or tender, which sur- 
passes the American laurel when in perfection as to the 
richness of its dark green foliage or the exquisite delicacy 
and beauty of its gay masses of flowers? If it came from 
the highlands of Chili and were recently introduced it 
would bring a guinea a plant, and no grumbling! 

Granting all this, let our readers who wish to decorate 
their grounds with something new and beautiful undertake 
now, in this month of May (for these plants are best trans- 
planted after they have commenced a new growth), to 
plant some laurels and hollies. If they would do this quite 
successfully they must not stick them here and there among 
other shrubs in the common border, but prepare a bed or 
clump in some cool, rather shaded aspect - - a north slope 
is better than a southern one - - where the subsoil is rather 
damp than dry. The soil should be sandy or gravelly, 
with a mixture of black earth well decomposed, or a cart- 
load or two of rotten leaves from an old wood, and it should 
be at least eighteen or twenty inches deep to retain the 
moisture in a long drought. A bed of these fine evergreens 
made in this way will be a feature in the grounds, which 
after it has been well established for a few years will con- 
vince you far better than any words of ours of the neglected 
beauty of our American plants.* 

: It is interesting to recall that, subsequent to the time of Mr. Down- 
ing's writing, there developed in this country a much better appreciation 
of our native plants. Doubtless Mr. Downing's advocacy had much to 
do with bringing them into better favor. At the present lime native 
species are widely used by the best gardeners and landscape architects. 
F. A. W. 



CHAPTER XX 
A WORD IN FAVOR OF EVERGREENS* 

""T~YTHAT is the reason," said an intelligent European 
\f\ horticulturist to us lately, "that the Americans 
employ so few evergreens in their ornamental 
plantations? Abroad they are the trees most sought after, 
most highly prized, and most valued in landscape gardening, 
and that, too, in countries where the winters are compara- 
tively mild and short. Here in the northern United States, 
where this season is both long and severe, and where you 
have, in your forests, the finest evergreens, they are only 
sparingly introduced into lawns or pleasure grounds." 

Our friend is right. There is a lamentable poverty of 
evergreens in the grounds of many country places in this 
country. Our plantations are mostly deciduous; and while 
there are thousands of persons who plant, in this country, 
such trashy trees (chiefly fit for towns) as the ailanthus, 
there is not one planter in a hundred but contents himself 
with a few fir trees as the sole representatives of the grand 
and rich foliaged family of evergreens. 

They forget that, as summer dies, evergreens form the 
richest background to the kaleidoscope coloring of the 
changing autumn leaves; that in winter, they rob the chilly 
frost-king of his sternest terrors; that in spring, they give a 
southern and verdant character to the landscape in the 
first sunny day when not even the earliest poplar or willow 
has burst its buds. 

More than this, - - to look at the useful as well as the 
picturesque, - - they are the body guards, the grenadiers, 
the outworks and fortifications, which properly defend the 
house and grounds from the cold winds and the driving 
storms that sweep pitilessly over unprotected places in 

* Original date of May, 1848. 
240 



A Word in Favor of Evergreens 211 

many parts of the country. Well grown belts of evergreens, 
pines and firs, which 

in conic forms arise, 



And with a pointed spear divide the skies," 

have, in their congregated strength, a power of shelter and 
protection that no inexperienced person can possibly under- 
stand. Many a place, almost uninhabitable from the rude 
blasts of wind that sweep over it, has been rendered com- 
paratively calm amd sheltered; many a garden, so exposed 
that the cultivation of tender trees and plants was almost 
impossible, has been rendered mild and genial in its climate 
by the growth of a close shelter, composed of masses and 
groups of evergreen trees. 

Compared with England, - - that country whose parks 
and pleasure grounds are almost wholly evergreen, because 
her climate is so wonderfully congenial to their culture that 
dozens of species grow with the greatest luxuriance there, 
which neither France, Germany, nor the northern United 
States will produce - - we say, compared with England, the 
variety of evergreens which it is possible for us to cultivate 
is quite limited. Still, though the variety is less, the gen- 
eral effect that may be produced is the same; and there is 
no apology for our neglecting, at least, the treasures that 
lie at our very gates, and by our road-sides - - the fine 
indigenous trees of our country. These are within every 
one's reach; and even these, if properly introduced, would 
give a perpetual richness and beauty to our ornamental 
grounds, of which they are at this time, with partial excep- 
tions, almost destitute. 

As we are addressing ourselves now chiefly to beginners 
or those who have hitherto neglected this branch of arbori- 
culture, we may commence by mentioning at the outset 
four evergreen trees worthy of attention, indeed, of almost 
universal attention in our ornamental plantations. Those 
are the Hemlock, the White Pine, the Norway Spruce, and 
the Balsam Fir. 

We place the hemlock first, as we consider it beyond all 



242 Landscape (iar 



question the most graceful and beautiful evergreen tree 
commonly grown in (his connlry. In ils wild haunts, by 
the side of sonic sleep mountain, or on Hie dark wooded 
hanks of some deep valley, it is most often a grand and 
picturesque tree; when, as in some parts of the northern 
stales, il covers counlless acres of wild forest land, it be- 
comes gloomy and monotonous. Hence there are few of 
our readers, unfamiliar as they are with il but in these 
phases, who have the least idea of its striking beauty when 
grown alone in a smooth lawn, ils branches extending freely 
on all sides and sweeping the ground, ils loose spray and 
full feathery foliage Moating freely in the air and its propor- 
tions full of I he tinest symmetry and harmony. For airy 
gracefulness, and the absence of thai stiffness more or less 
prevalent in most evergreens, we must be allowed, therefore, 
to claim I he Mrsl place for I he hemlock, as a tree for the 
lawn or park. 

t'nforluualely the hemlock has the reputation of being a 
dillicult tree to transplant; and though we have seen a 
thousand of them removed with scarcely the loss of half a 
dozen plants, yet we are bound to confess, that, with the 
ordinary rude handling of the common gardener it is often 
impatient of removal. The truth is all evergreens are far 
more lender in their roots than deciduous trees. They 
will not bear thai exposure to the sun and air, even for a 
short period, which seems to have little effect upon most 
deciduous trees. Once fairly dried and shrivelled, their 
roots are slow to regain their former vital power, and the 
plant in consequence dies. 

This point well understood and guarded against, the 
hemlock is by no means a difficult tree to remove from the 
nurseries.* When taken from I he woods, it is best done 
with a fro/en ball of earth in the winter; or, if the soil is 
sufficiently tenacious, with a damp ball in the spring. 

* In the mil-scries lliis, and other evergreens, over four feet, should be 
regularly root pruned; i.e., the longest roots shortened with a spade e\ei v 
year. Treated thus, there is no diUieully whatever in removing trees of 
ten or twelve feet hi.^li. A.. I. D. 



.1 \\'oril in l''<tr<u <>f /></<//< 



Of ;ill I he well kiio\\n pines, we .^i\c I lie preference lo 
our native While I'ine lor ornamental purposes. The sol' I 
and agreeable hue of its pliant foliage, the excellent lonn ol' 
the tree, and ils adaptation lo a ^real variel\ of soils and 
sites, are all recommeiida I ions not easily overlooked. 

Resides it hears transplanting particularly \\ell, and is, 

on this aceonnl also, more generally seen than an\ other 
species in onr ornamental plantations. Bid ils especial 
merit as an ornamental tree is the perpetually line, rich, 
lively ijreen of ils foliage. In the northern stales many 
evergreens lose their bright color in mid-winter, owin.n l> 
Ihe severity of (he cold; and though lhe\ regain it quickly 
in the lirsl mild days of spring, yet this temporary diniLM- 
ness, at the season when verdure is rarest and most pi i/.ed 
is undeniably a ijreal defect. liolh the hemlock and the 
\\hite |)ine are exceptions. Kven in the greatest depression 
of the thermometer known to our neighbors on the "dis- 
puted boundary" line,* we believe the verdure of these 
trees is the same line unchanging ^reeii. A.yain, this thin 
summer i^rowlh is of such a soft and lively color, thai they 
are (unlike some of Ihe other pines, the red cedar, etc.) as 
pleasant lo look upon, even in .June, as any fresh and full 
foliated deciduous tree rejoicing in all its full breadth of 
ne\\ summer robes. We place the while pine, therefore, 
amon^ the first in the regards of the ornamental planter. 

Perhaps the most popular foreign evergreen in this 
country is the Norway spruce. In fact it is so useful and 
valuable a tree that it is destined to become much more 
popular still. So hardy lhal it is used as a nurse plant to 
break off the wind in exposed sites and shelter more lender 
trees in yonn^ plantations; so readily adapting itself lo 
any sile lhal it thrives upon all soils, from liijil sand or 
dry gravel, lo deep moist loam or clay: so accommodating 
in ils habits that it will jL>row under the shade of other 
trees or in the most exposed positions: there is no planter 
of new places or improver of old ones who will not find it 
necessary lo call it in lo his assistance. Then a^ain the 

* iM(MlllllL> the ( '.;m;i(ll:ni INK 



244 Landscape Gardening 

variety of purposes for which this tree may be used is so 
indefinite. Certainly there are few trees more strikingly 
picturesque than a fine Norway spruce, 40 or 50 years old, 
towering up from a base of thick branches which droop 
and fall to the very lawn, and hang off in those depending 
curves which make it such a favorite with artists. Any 
one who wishes ocular demonstration of the truth of this, 
will do well to daguerreotype in his mind (for certainly, 
once seen, he can never forget them) the fine specimens on 
the lawn at the seat of Col. Perkins, near Boston; or two 
or three, still larger, and almost equally well developed, in 
the old Linnaean Garden of Mr. Winter, at Flushing, Long 
Island. 

The Norway spruce, abroad, is thought to grow rapidly 
only on soils somewhat damp. But this is not the case in 
America. We saw lately a young plantation of them of 
10 or 12 years growth in the ground of Capt. Forbes, of 
Milton Hill, near Boston, on very high and dry gravelly 
soil, many of which made leading shoots last season of 
three or four feet. Their growth may be greatly promoted, 
as indeed may that of all evergreens, by a liberal top- 
dressing of ashes, applied early every spring or autumn.* 

Little seems to be known in the United States, as yet, of 
the great value of the Norway spruce, for hedges. We 
have no doubt whatever that it will soon become the favor- 
ite plant for evergreen hedges, as the buckthorn and Osage 
orange are already for deciduous hedges in this country. 
So hardy as to grow everywhere, so strong, and bearing the 
shears so well, as to form an almost impenetrable wall of 
foliage, it is precisely adapted to thousands of situations in 
the northern half of the Union, where an unfailing shelter, 
screen, and barrier, are wanted at all seasons. 

The balsam fir is a neat, dark green evergreen tree, per- 
haps more generally employed for small grounds and plan- 
tations than any other by our gardeners. In truth it is 

* Unfortunately the Norway spruce is short-lived. After reaching 
the age of 40 to 50 years it deteriorates rapidly. In the states of the 
middle west and south it can hardly be grown at all. -- F. A. W. 



A Word in Favor of Evergreens 21.") 

better adapted to small gardens, yards, or narrow lawns, 
than for landscape gardening on a large scale, as its beauty 
is of a formal kind; and though the tree often grows to 
thirty or forty feet, its appearance is never more pleasing 
than when it is from ten to fifteen or twenty feet high. The 
dark green hue of its foliage, which is pretty constant at all 
seasons, and the comparative ease with which it is trans- 
planted, will always commend it to the ornamental im- 
prover. But as a full grown tree, it is not to be compared 
for a moment, to any one of the three species of evergreens 
that we have already noticed; since it becomes stiff and 
formal as it grows old, instead of graceful or picturesque, 
like the hemlock, white pine, or Norway spruce. Its chief 
value is for shrubberies, small gardens, or courtyards, in a 
formal or regular style. The facility of obtaining it, added 
to the excellent color of its foliage, and the great hardiness 
of the plant, induce us to give it a place among the four 
evergreens worthy of the universal attention of our orna- 
mental planters. 

The Arbor Vitse, so useful for hedges and screens, is, we 
find, so rapidly becoming popular among our planters that 
it needs little further commendation. 

For a rapid growing, bold, and picturesque evergreen, 
the Austrian pine is well deserving of attention. We find 
it remarkably hardy, adapting itself to all soils (though 
said to grow naturally in Austria on the lightest sands). 
A specimen here grew nearly three feet last season; and 
its bold, stiff foliage, is sufficiently marked to arrest the 
attention among all other evergreens.* 

The Swiss stone pine (Pinus cembra) we find also perfectly 
hardy in this latitude. This tree produces an eatable ker- 
nel, and though of comparatively slow growth, is certainly 
one of the most interesting of the pine family. The Italian 
stone pine, and the pinaster, are also beautiful trees for the 
climate of Philadelphia. The grand and lofty pines of Cali- 
fornia, the largest and loftiest evergreen trees in the world, 

The Austrian pine has proved to be one of the hardiest and most 
successful evergreens in the plains stales. - F. A. W. 



246 Landscape Gardening 

are not yet to be found, except as small specimens here and 
there in the gardens of curious collectors in the United 
States. But we hope, with our continually increasing inter- 
course with western America, fresh seeds will be procured 
by our nurserymen, and grown abundantly for sale. The 
great Californian silver fir (Abies grandis) grows 200 feet 
high, with cones 6 inches long, and fine silvery foliage; and 
the noble silver fir (A. nobilis) is scarcely less striking. "I 
spent three weeks," says Douglass, the botanical traveller, 
"in a forest composed of this tree, and, day by day, could 
not cease to admire it." Both these fine fir trees grow in 
northern California, where they cover vast tracts of land, 
and, along with other species of pine, form grand and majestic 
features in the landscape of that country. The English have 
been before us in introducing these natives of our western 
shores; for we find them, though at high prices, now offered 
for sale in most of the large nurseries in Great Britain. 

The most beautiful evergreen tree in America, and, per- 
haps - - when foliage, flowers, and perfume are considered, 
- in the world, is the Magnolia grandiilora of our southern 
States. There where it grows in the deep alluvial soil of 
some river valley to the height of 70 or 80 feet, clothed with 
its large, thick, deep green, glossy leaves, like those of a 
gigantic laurel, covered in the season of its bloom with 
large, pure white blossoms that perfume the whole woods 
about it with their delicious odor; certainly, it presents a 
spectacle of unrivalled sylvan beauty. Much to be de- 
plored is it, that north of New York it will not bear the 
rigor of the winters, and that we are denied the pleasure of 
seeing it grow freely in the open air. At Philadelphia it is 
quite hardy; and in the Bartram Garden, at Landreth's, and 
in various private grounds near that city, there are fine 
specimens 20 or 30 feet high growing without protection 
and blooming every year. 

Wherever the climate will permit the culture of this 
superb evergreen, the ornamental planter would be un- 
pardonable, in our eyes, not to possess it in considerable 
abundance. 



CHAPTER XXI 
HINTS ON FLOWER GARDENS* 

WE are once more unlocked from the chilling embraces 
of the Ice-King! APRIL, full of soft airs, balm- 
dropping showers, and fitful gleams of sunshine, 
brings life and animation to the millions of embryo leaves 
and blossoms, that, quietly folded up in the bud, have slept 
the mesmeric sleep of a northern winter - - April, that first 
gives us of the northern states our proper spring flowers, 
which seem to succeed almost by magic to the barrenness of 
the month gone by. A few pale snowdrops, sun-bright 
crocuses, and timidly blushing mezereums, have already 
gladdened us, like the few faint bars of golden and ruddy 
light that usher in the full radiance of sunrise; but April 
scatters in her train as she goes out, the first richness and 
beauty that really belong to a temperate spring. Hyacinths, 
and daffodils, and violets, bespread her lap and fill the air 
with fragrance, and the husbandman beholds with joy his 
orchards gay with the thousand blossoms - - beautiful har- 
bingers of luscious and abundant crops. 

All this resurrection of sweetness and beauty, inspires us 
with a desire to look into the flower garden, and to say a 
few words about it and the flowers themselves. We trust 
there are none of "our parish," who, though they may not 
make flower gardens, can turn away with impatient or 
unsympathizing hearts from flowers themselves. If there 
are such, we must, at the very threshold of the matter, 
borrow a homily for them from that pure and eloquent 
preacher, Mary Howitt: 

"God might have made the earth bring forth 

Enough for great and small, 
The oak tree and the cedar tree, 
Without a flower at all. 

* Original date of April, 1847. 

247 



248 Landscape Gardening 

"Our outward life requires them not - 

Then wherefore had they birth? 
To minister delight to man, 
To beautify the earth. 

; 'To comfort man, to whisper hope 

Whene'er his faith is dim; 
For who so careth for the flowers, 
Will much more care for him!" 

Now, there are many genuine lovers of flowers who have 
attempted to make flower gardens - - in the simplicity of 
their hearts believing it to be the easiest thing in the world 
to arrange so many beautiful annuals and perennials into 
"a living knot of wonders" -who have quite failed in 
realizing all that they conceived of and fairly expected 
when they first set about it. It is easy enough to draw 
upon paper a pleasing plan of a flower garden, whether in 
the geometric, or the natural, or the "gardenesque" style, 
that shall satisfy the eye of the beholder. But it is far 
more difficult to plant and arrange a garden of this kind in 
such a way as to afford a constant succession of beauty, 
both in blossom and leaf. Indeed, among the hundreds of 
avowed flower-gardens which we have seen in different 
parts of the country, public and private, we cannot name 
half-a-dozen which are in any considerable degree satis- 
factory. 

The two leading faults in all our flower gardens, are the 
want of proper selection in the plants themselves, and a 
faulty arrangement, by which as much surface of bare soil 
meets the eye as is clothed with verdure and blossoms. 

Regarding the first effect, it seems to us that the entire 
beauty of a flower garden almost depends upon it. How- 
ever elegant or striking may be the design of a garden, that 
design is made poor or valueless, when it is badly planted 
so as to conceal its merits, or filled with a selection of un- 
suitable plants, which, from their coarse or ragged habit of 
growth, or their remaining in bloom but a short time, give 
the whole a confused and meagre effect. A flower garden, 
deserving the name, should, if possible, be as rich as a piece 



Hints on Flower Gardens 249 

of embroidery, during the whole summer and autumn. In 
a botanical garden, or the collection of a curious amateur, 
one expects to see variety of species, plants of all known 
forms, at the expense of everything else. But in a flower- 
garden, properly so called, the whole object of which is to 
afford a continual display of beautiful colors and delicious 
odors, we conceive that everything should 'be rejected (or 
only most sparingly introduced), which does not combine 
almost perpetual blooming, with neat and agreeable habit of 
growth. 

The passion for novelty and variety among the lovers of 
flowers, is as great as in any other enthusiasts. But as 
some of the greatest of the old painters are said to owe the 
success of their masterpieces to the few colors they em- 
ployed, so we are confident the most beautiful flower gardens 
are those where but few species are introduced, and those 
only such as possess the important qualities we have 
alluded to. 

Thus among flowering shrubs, taking for illustration the 
tribe of Roses, we would reject, in our choice flower garden, 
nearly all the old class of roses, which are in bloom for a 
few days and but once a year, and exhibit during the rest 
of the season, for the most part, meagre stems and dingy 
foliage. We would supply their place by Bourbons, Per- 
petuals, Bengals, etc., roses which offer an abundance of 
blossoms and fine fresh foliage during the whole growing 
season. Among annuals, we would reject everything short- 
lived, and introduce only those like the portulaccas, ver- 
benas, petunias, mignonette, Phlox drummondii, and the 
like, which are always in bloom, and fresh and pretty in 
habit.* 

After this we would add to the effect of our selection of 
perpetual blooming plants, by abandoning altogether the 

" Some of the most beautiful of the perpetual blooming plants for the 
flower-garden, are the salvias, bouvardias, scarlet geraniums, etc., properly 
green-house plants, and requiring protection in a pit or warm cellar in 
winter. Bedded out in May, they form rich flowering masses till the frosts 
of autumn. A. J. D. 



250 



Landscape Gardening 



old method of intermingling species and varieties of all 
colors and habits of growth, and substitute for it the oppo- 
site mode of grouping or massing colors and particular 
species of plants. Masses of crimson and white, of yellow 
and purple, and the other colors and shades, brought boldly 
into contrast, or disposed so as to form an agreeable har- 
mony, will attract the eye, and make a much more forcible 



'^ ;; 
:*V5 -^fc 



.,- 





r 



. - _ 

fe s <^*i*- 




FIG. 37. FLOWER BED PHLOX AND KOCHIA 

and delightful impression, than can ever be produced by a 
confused mixture of shades and colors, nowhere distinct 
enough to give any decided effect to the whole. The effect 
of thus collecting masses of colors in a flower garden in 
this way, is to give it what the painters call breadth of 
effect, which in the other mode is entirely frittered away 
and destroyed.* 

* II is hard to believe now how far in advance of the times was Down- 
ing's doctrine of mass effects, here clearly enunciated, so far in advance 
of the times, indeed, that Downing himself did not always rise to it. - 
F. A. W. 



Hints on Flower Gardens 251 

This arranging plants in patches or masses, each composed 
of the same species, also contributes to do away in a great 
degree with the second fault which we have alluded to as a 
grievous one in most of our flower gardens - - that of the 
exhibition of bare surface of soil - - parts of beds not cov- 
ered by foliage and flowers. 

In a hot climate, like that of our summers, nothing is more 
unpleasing to the eyes or more destructive to that expres- 
sion of softness, verdure, and gayety, that should exist in 
the flower garden, than to behold the surface of the soil in 
any of the beds or parterres unclothed with plants. The 
dryness and parched appearance of such portions goes far to 
impair whatever air of freshness and beauty may be im- 
parted by the flowers themselves. Now whenever beds 
are planted with a heterogeneous mixture of plants, tall 
and short, spreading and straggling, it is nearly impossible 
that considerable parts of the surface of the soil should not 
be visible. On the contrary, where species and varieties 
of plants, chosen for their excellent habits of growth and 
flowering, are planted in masses, almost every part of the 
surface of the beds may be hidden from the eye, which we 
consider almost a sine qua non in all good flower gardens. 

Following out this principle - - on the whole perhaps the 
most important in all flower gardens in this country - - that 
there should, if possible, be no bare surface soil visible, our 
own taste leads us to prefer the modern English style of 
laying out flower gardens upon a groundwork of grass or 
turf, kept scrupulously short. Its advantage over a flower 
garden composed only of beds with a narrow edging and 
gravel walks, consists in the greater softness, freshness and 
verdure of the green turf, which serves as a setting to the 
flower beds, and heightens the brilliancy of the flowers 
themselves. Still, both these modes have their merits, and 
each is best adapted to certain situations, and harmonizes 
best with its appropriate scenery. 

There are two other defects in many of our flower gardens, 
easily remedied, and about which we must say a word or 
two in passing. 



252 Landscape Gardening 

One of these is the common practice, brought over here 
by gardeners from England, of forming raised convex beds 
for flowering plants. This is a very unmeaning and injurious 
practice in this country, as a moment's reference to the 
philosophy of the thing will convince any one. In a damp 
climate, like that of England, a bed with a high convex 
surface, by throwing off the superfluous water, keeps the 
plants from suffering by excess of wet, and the form is an 
excellent one. In this country, where most frequently our 
flower gardens fail from drouth, what sound reason can be 
given for forming the beds with a raised and rounded sur- 
face of six inches in every three feet, so as to throw off four- 
fifths of every shower? The true mode, as a little reflec- 
tion and experience will convince any one, is to form the 
surface of the bed nearly level, so that it may retain its 
due proportion of the rains that fall. 

Next to this is the defect of not keeping the walks in 
flower gardens full of gravel. In many instances that we 
could name, the level of the gravel in the walk is six inches 
below that of the adjoining bed or border of turf. This 
gives a harsh and ditch-like character to the walks, quite at 
variance with the smoothness and perfection of details 
\vhich ought especially to characterize so elegant a portion 
of the grounds as this in question. "Keep the walks brimful 
of gravel," was one of the maxims most strongly insisted 
on by the late Mr. London, and one to which we fully 
subscribe.* 

* Originally this essay closed with a description, somewhat detailed, 
of a flower garden belonging to Baron von Hiigel near Vienna, drawn 
from a German magazine, which description has been dropped from the 
present edition as having no practical interest at this time. F. A. W. 



CHAPTER XXII 
A CHAPTER ON ROSES* 

AFRESH bouquet of midsummer roses stands upon 
the table before us. The morning dew-drops hang 
heavy as emeralds, upon branch and buds; soft 
and rich colors delight the eye with their lovely hues, and 
that rose-odor, which, every one feels, has not lost anything 
of its divine sweetness since the first day the flower bloomed 
in that heaven-garden of Eve, fills the air. Yes, the flowers 
have it; and if we are not fairly forced to say something 
this month in behalf of roses, then was Dr. Darwin mistaken 
in his theory of vegetable magnetism. 

We believe it was that monster, the Duke of Guise, who 
always made his escape at the sight of a rose. If there are 
any "outside barbarians" of this stamp among the readers of 
our "flowery land," let them glide out while the door is 
open. They deserve to be drowned in a butt of attar of 
roses --the insensibles! We can well afford to let them go, 
indeed; for we feel that we have only to mention the name 
of a rose, to draw more closely around us the thousands of 
the fairer and better part of our readers, with whom it is 
the type of everything fair and lovely on earth. 

"Dear flower of heaven and love! thou glorious thing 
That lookest out the garden nooks among; 
Rose, that art ever fair and ever young; 
Was it some angel on invisible wing 
Hover'd around thy fragrant sleep, to fling 
His glowing mantle of warm sunset hues 
O'er thy unfolding petals, wet with dews, 
Such as the flower-fays to Titania bring? 
() flower of thousand memories and dreams, 
That take the heart with faintness, while we gaze 

* Original dale of August, 1848. 
253 



254 



Landscape Gardening 



On the rich depths of thy inwoven maze; 
From the green banks of Eden's blessed streams 
I dream'd thee brought, of brighter days to tell 
Long pass'd, but promised yet with us to dwell." 

If there is any proof necessary that the rose has a diviner 
origin than all other flowers, it is easily found in the unvary- 
ing constancy of mankind to it for so many long centuries. 




FIG. 38. PUBLIC ROSE GARDEN, MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. 



Fashions there have been innumerable, in ornaments of all 
sorts, from simple sea-shells, worn by Nubian maidens, to 
costly diamonds, that heightened the charms of the proudest 
court beauty - silver, gold, precious stones - - all have their 
season of favor, and then again sink into comparative neg- 
lect; but a simple rose has ever been and will ever be the 
favorite emblem and adornment of beauty. 



A Chapter on Roses 255 

"Whatsoe'er of beauty 
Yearns, and yet reposes, 
Blush, and bosom, and sweet breath, 
Took a shape in roses." - LEKIH IlrxT. 

Now the secret of this perpetual and undying charm 
about the rose, is not to be found in its color - there are 
bright lilies, and gay tiger-flowers, and dazzling air-plants, 
far more rich and vivid: it is not alone in fragrance, - -for 
there are violets and jasmines with "more passionate sighs 
of sweetness;" it is not in foliage, for there arc laurels 
and magnolias, with leaves of richer and more glossy green. 
Where, then, does this secret of the world's six thousand 
years' homage lie? 

In its being a type of infinity. Of infinity! says our most 
innocent maiden reader, who loves roses without caring why, 
and who does not love infinity, because she does not under- 
stand it. Roses, a type of infinity, says our theological 
reader, who has been in the habit of considering all flowers 
of the field, aye, and the garden, too, as emblems of the 
short-lived race of man --"born to trouble as the sparks 
fly upward." Yes, we have said it, and for the honor of the 
rose we will prove it, that the secret of the world's devotion 
to the rose, - - of her being the queen of flowers by accla- 
mation always and forever, is that the rose is a type of 
infinity. 

In the first place, then, the rose is a type of infinity, be- 
cause there is no limit to the variety and beauty of the 
forms and colors which it assumes. From the wild rose, 
whose sweet, faint odor is wasted in the depths of the silent 
wood, or the eglantine, whose wreaths of fresh sweet blossoms 
embroider even the dusty road sides, 

"Starring each bush in lanes and glades," 

to that most perfect, full, rounded, and odorous flower, that 
swells the heart of the florist as he beholds its richness and 
symmetry, what an innumerable range of shades, and forms, 
and colors! And, indeed, with the hundreds and thousands 
of roses of modern times, we still know little of all the varied 



256 Landscape Gardening 

shapes which the plant has taken in by-gone days, and 
which have perished with the thousand other refinements 
and luxuries of the nations who cultivated and enjoyed 
them.* 

All this variety of form, so far from destroying the admira- 
tion of mankind for the rose, actually increases it. This 
very character of infinity, in its beauty, makes it the symbol 
and interpreter of the affections of all ranks, classes, and 
conditions of men. The poet, amid all the perfections of 
the parterre, still prefers the scent of the woods and the 
air of freedom about the original blossom, and says - 

"Fur dearer to me is the wild flower that grows 
Unseen by the brook where in shadow it flows." 

The cabbage-rose, that perfect emblem of healthful rural 
life, is the pride of the cottager; the China rose, which 
cheats the window of the crowded city of its gloom, is the 
joy of the daughter of the humblest day laborer; the delicate 
and odorous tea rose, fated to be admired and to languish in 
the drawing-room or the boudoir, wins its place in the 
affections of those of most cultivated and fastidious tastes; 
while the moss rose unites the admiration of all classes, com- 

* Many of our readers may not be aware to what perfection the 
culture of flowers was once carried in Rome. During Csesar's reign, so 
abundant had forced flowers become in that city, that when the Egyp- 
tians, intending to compliment him on his birthday, sent him roses in 
midwinter, they found their present almost valueless from the profusion 
of roses in Home. The following translation of Martial's Latin Ode to 
Csesar upon this present, will give some idea of the state of floricul- 
ture then. There can scarcely be a doubt that there were hundreds of 
sorts of roses known to, and cultivated by the Romans, now entirely lost. 

"The ambitious inhabitants of the land, watered by the Nile, have 
sent llicc. () Caesar, the roses of winter, as a present, valuable for its 
novelty. But the boatman of Memphis will laugh at the gardens of 
Pharaoh as soon as he has taken one step in thy capital city; for the 
spring in all its charms, and the flowers in their fragrance and beauty, 
equal the glory of the fields of Ptestum. Wherever he wanders, or casts 
his eyes, every street is brilliant with garlands of roses. And thou, O 
Nile! must yield to the fogs of Rome. Send us thy harvests, and we 
will send thee roses." A. J. D. 



A. Chapter on Roses 2o7 



ing in as it does with its last added charm, to complete the 
circle of perfection. 

Again, there is the infinity of associations which float like 
rich incense about the rose, and that, after all, bind it most 
strongly to us; for they represent the accumulated wealth 
of joys and sorrows, which has become so inseparably con- 
nected with it in the human heart. 

"What were life without a rose!" 

seems to many, doubtless, to be a most extravagant apos- 
trophe; yet, if this single flower were to be struck out of 
existence, what a chasm in the language of the heart would 
be found without it! What would the poets do? They 
would find their finest emblem of female loveliness stolen 
away. Listen, for instance, to old Beaumont and Fletcher: 

-"Of all flowers, 
Methinks a Rose is best; 
It is the very emblem of a maid; 
For when the west wind courts her gently, 
How modestly she blows and paints the sun 
With her chaste blushes! When the north wind comes near her, 
Rude and impatient, then, like chastity, 
She locks her beauties in her bud again, 
And leaves him to base briars." 



What would the lovers do? What tender confessions, hith- 
erto uttered by fair half-open buds and bouquets, more elo- 
quent of passion than the Nouvelle Heloise, would have to 
be stammered forth in miserable clumsy words! How many 
doubtful suits would be lost - - how many bashful hearts 
would never venture - - how many rash and reckless adven- 
turers would be shipwrecked, if the tender and expressive 
language of the rose were all suddenly lost and blotted out! 
What could we place in the hands of childhood to mirror 
back its innocent expression so truly? What blossoms could 
bloom on the breast of the youthful beauty so typical of the 
infinity of hope and sweet thoughts, that lie folded up in her 
own heart, as fair young rose-buds? What wreath could 
so lovingly encircle the head of the fair young bride as that 



258 Landscape Gardening 

of white roses, full of purity and grace? And, last of all, 
what blossom, so expressive of human affections, could we 
find at the bier to take the place of the rose; the rose, 
sacred to this purpose for so many ages, and with so many 
nations, 

"because its breath 



Is rich beyond the rest; and when it dies 
It doth bequeath a charm to sweeten death." 

BARRY CORNWALL. 

The rose is not only infinite in its forms, hues, types, and 
associations, but it deserves an infinite number of admirers. 
This is the explanation of our desire to be eloquent in its 
behalf. There are, unfortunately, some persons who, how- 
ever lovely, beautiful, or perfect a thing may be in itself, 
will never raise their eyes to look at it, or open their hearts 
to admire it, unless it is incessantly talked about. 

We have ahvays observed, however, that the great diffi- 
culty with those who like to talk about fruits and flowers is, 
when once talking, to stop. There is no doubt whatever, 
that we might go on, therefore, and fill this whole number 
with roses, rosariums, rosaries, and rose-water, but that 
some of our western readers, who are looking for us to give 
them a cure for the pear-blight, might cry out "a blight 
on your roses!" We must, therefore, grow more syste- 
matic and considerate in our remarks. 

We thought some years ago that we had seen that ultima 
thule--"a perfect rose." But we were mistaken! Old 
associates, familiar names, and long cherished sorts have 
their proper hold on our affections; but --we are bound 
to confess it - - modern florists have coaxed and teased 
nature till she has given them roses more perfect in form, 
more airy, rich and brilliant in color, and more delicate and 
exquisite in perfume, than any that our grandfathers knew 
or dreamed of. And, more than all, they have produced 
roses - - in abundance, as large and fragrant as June roses 
-that blossom all the year round. If this unceasingly 
renewed perpetuity of charms does not complete the claims 



A Chapter on Roses 259 

of the rose to infinity, as far as any plant can express that 
quality, then are we no metaphysician. 

There is certainly something instinctive and true in that 
favorite fancy of the poets - - that roses are the type or 
symbol of female loveliness - 

"Know you not our only 

Rival flower the human? 
Loveliest weight, on lightest foot - 
Joy-abundant woman," 

sings Leigh Hunt for the roses. And, we will add, it is 
striking and curious that refined and careful culture has the 
same effect on the outward conformation of the rose that it 
has on feminine beauty. The tea and the Bourbon roses 
may be taken as an illustration of this. They are the last 
and finest product of the most perfect culture of the garden; 
and do they not, in their graceful airy forms, their subdued 
and bewitching odors, and their refined and delicate colors, 
body forth the most perfect symbol of the most refined and 
cultivated Imogen or Ophelia that it is possible to conceive? 
We claim the entire merit of pointing this out, and leave it 
for some poet to make himself immortal by! 

There are odd, crotchety persons among horticulturists, 
who correspond to old bachelors in society, that are never 
satisfied to love any thing in particular, because they have 
really no affections of their own to fix upon any object, and 
who are always, for instance, excusing their want of devo- 
tion to the rose, under the pretence that among so many 
beautiful varieties it is impossible to choose. 

Undoubtedly there is an embarras de richesses in the mul- 
titude of beautiful varieties that compose the groups and 
subdivisions of the rose family. So many lovely forms and 
colors are there, dazzling the eye, and attracting the senses, 
that it requires a man or woman of nerve as well as taste, 
to decide and select. Some of the great rose-growers con- 
tinually try to confuse the poor amateur by their long cata- 
logues, and by their advertisements about "acres of roses." 
(Mr. Paul, an English nurseryman, published, in June last, 



260 Landscape Gardening 

that he had 70,000 plants in bloom at once!) This is 
puzzling enough, even to one that has his eyes wide open, 
and the sorts in full blaze of beauty before them. What, 
then, must be the quandary in which the novice, not yet 
introduced into the aristocracy of roses, whose knowledge 
only goes up to a "cabbage-rose," or a "maiden's blush," 
and who has in his hand a long list of some great collector 
- \vhat, we say, must be his perplexity, when he suddenly 
finds amidst all the renowned names of old and new world's 
history, all the aristocrats and republicans, heroes and hero- 
ines of past and present times - - Napoleon, Prince Ester- 
hazy, Tippoo Saib, Semiramis, Duchess of Sutherland, 
Princesse Clementine, with occasionally such touches of 
sentiment from the French rose-growers, as Souvenir d'un 
Ami, or Nid d' Amour (nest of love!) etc., etc. In this 
whirlpool of rank, fashion, and sentiment, the poor novi- 
tiate rose-hunter is likely enough to be quite wrecked; and 
instead of looking out for a perfect rose, it is a thousand to 
one that he finds himself confused amid the names of princes, 
princesses, and lovely duchesses, a vivid picture of whose 
charms rises to his imagination as he reads the brief words 
"pale flesh, wax-like, superb," or "large, perfect form, beau- 
tiful," or "pale blush, very pretty;" so that it is ten to one 
that Duchesses, not Roses, are all the while at the bottom 
of his imagination! 

Now, the only way to help the rose novices out of this 
difficulty, is for all the initiated to confess their favorites. 
No doubt it will be a hard task for those who have had 
butterfly fancies, - - coquetting first with one family and 
then with another. But we trust these horticultural flirts 
are rare among the more experienced of our gardening 
readers, - - persons of sense, who have laid aside such follies, 
as only becoming to youthful and inexperienced amateurs. 

We have long ago invited our correspondents to send us 
their "confessions," which, if not as mysterious and fas- 
cinating as those of Rousseau, would be found far more 
innocent and wholesome to our readers. Mr. Buist (whose 
new nursery grounds, near Philadelphia, have, we learn, 



A Chapter on Roses 261 



been a paradise of roses this season), has already sent us his 
list of favorites, which we have before made public, to the 
great satisfaction of many about to form little rose-gardens. 
Dr. Yalk, also, has indicated his preferences. And to en- 
courage other devotees - - more experienced than ourselves 
-we give our own list of favorites, as follows: 
First of all roses, then, in our estimation, stands the 
Bourbons (the only branch of the family, not repudiated by 
republicans). The most perpetual of all perpetuals, the 
most lovely in form, of all colors, and many of them of the 
richest fragrance; and, for us northerners, most of all, 
hardy and easily cultivated, we cannot but give them the 
first rank. Let us, then, say - 

HALF A DOZEN BOURBON ROSES * 

Souvenir de Malmaison, pale flesh color. 

Paul Joseph, purplish crimson. 

Hermosa, deep rose. 

Queen, delicate fawn color. 

Dupetit Thouars, changeable carmine. 

Acidalie, white. 

Souvenir de Malmaison is, take it altogether, - - its con- 
stant blooming habit, its large size, hardiness, beautiful 
form, exquisite color, and charming fragrance, - - our favor- 
ite rose; the rose which, if we should be condemned to 
that hard penance of cultivating but one variety, our choice 
would immediately settle upon. Its beauty suggests a 
blending of the finest sculpture and the loveliest feminine 
complexion. 

Second to the Bourbons, we rank the Remontantes, as the 
French term them; a better name than the English one - 
perpetuals; for they are by no means perpetual in their 
blooming habit, when compared with the Bourbons, China, 

* It has seemed best to keep this chapter intact as first written by 
Mr. Downing. So many new roses have been introduced since his day, 
however, that his recommendations of particular varieties cannot be 
expected to cover the field at this time. In an appendix there has been 
given therefore a modern list of the best varieties now available in 
American nurseries. F. A. W. 



262 Landscape Gardening 

or tea roses. They are, in fact, June roses, that bloom two 
or three times in the season, whenever strong new shoots 
spring up; hence, no name so appropriate as Remontante, 
- sending up new flower shoots. We think this class of 
roses has been a little overrated by rose-growers. Its great 
merit is the true, old-fashioned rose character of the blos- 
soms, - - large and fragrant as a damask or Provence rose. 
But in this climate, Remontantes cannot be depended on 
for a constant supply of flowers, like Bourbon roses. Here 
are our favorites: 

HALF A DOZEN REMONTANTES 

La Reine, deep rose, very large. 
Duchess of Sutherland, pale rose. 
Crimson Perpetual, light crimson. 
Aubernon, brilliant crimson. 
Lady Alice Peel, fine deep pink. 
Madam Dameme, dark crimson. 

Next to these come the China roses, less fragrant, but 
everlastingly in bloom, and with very bright and rich colors. 

HALF A DOZEN CHINA ROSES 

Mrs. Bosanquet, exquisite pale flesh color. 

Madame Breon, rose. 

Eugene Beauharnais, bright crimson. 

Clara Sylvain, pure white. 

Cramoisie Superieurc, brilliant crimson. 

Virginale, blush. 

The tea roses, most refined of all roses, unluckily, require 
considerable shelter and care in winter, in this climate; but 
they so richly repay all, that no rose-lover can grudge them 
this trouble. Tea roses are, indeed, to the common garden 
varieties what the finest porcelain is to vulgar crockery 
ware. 

HALF A DOZEN TEA ROSES 

Safrano, the buds rich deep fawn. 

Souvenir d'un Ami, salmon, shaded with rose. 

Goubault, bright rose, large and fragrant. 

Devoniensis, creamy while. 

Bougere, glossi; bronze. 

Josephine Malton, beautiful shaded white. 



A Chapter on Roses 263 

We thought to give noisettes the go-by; but the saucy, 
rampant little beauties climb up and thrust their clusters of 
bright blossoms into our face, and will be heard. So here 
they are: 

HALF A DOZEN NOISETTES 

Solfaterre, bright sulphur, large. 

Jaunc Dcsprez, large bright fawn. 

Cloth of Gold, pure yellow, fine. 

Aimee Vibert, pure white, very free bloomer. 

Fellenberg, brilliant crimson 

Joan of Arc, pure white. 

"Girdle of Venus! does he call this a select list?" ex- 
claims some leveller, who expected us to compress all rose 
perfections into half a dozen sorts; when here we find, on 
looking back, that W 7 e have thirty, and even then, there is 
not a single moss rose, climbing rose, Provence rose, damask 
rose, to say nothing of "musk roses," "microphylla roses," 
and half a dozen other divisions that we boldly shut our 
eyes upon! Well, if the truth must come out, we confess it 
boldly, that we are worshippers of the everblooming roses. 
Compared with them, beautiful as all other roses may be 
and are (we can't deny it), they have little chance of favor 
with those that we have named, which are a perpetual 
garland of sweetness. It is the difference between a smile 
once a year, and a golden temper, always sweetness and 
sunshine. Why, the everblooming roses make a garden of 
themselves! Not a day without rich colors, delicious per- 
fume, luxuriant foliage. No, take the lists as they are - 
too small by half; for we cannot cut a name out of them. 

And yet, there are a few other roses that ought to be in 
the smallest collection. That finest of all rose-gems, the 
Old Red Moss, still at the head of all moss roses, and its curi- 
ous cousin, the Crested Moss, must have their place. Those 
fine hardy climbers, that in northern gardens will grow in 
any exposure, and cover the highest walls or trellises with 
garlands of beauty, - -the Queen of the Prairies and Balti- 
more Belle (or, for southern gardens, say - - Laure Davoust, 
and Greville, and Ruga Ayrshire); that iinest and richest 



264 Landscape Gardening 

of all yellow roses, the double Persian Yellow, and half a 
dozen of the gems among the hybrid roses, such as Chenedole, 
George the Fourth, Village Maid, Great Western, Fulgetis, 
Blanchefleur; we should try, at least, to make room for 
these also. 

If we were to have but three roses, for our own personal 
gratification, they would be - 

Souvenir de Malmaison, 
Old Red Moss, 
Gen. Dubourg. 

The latter is a Bourbon rose, which, because it is an old 
variety, and not very double, has gone out of fashion. We, 
however, shall cultivate it as long as we enjoy the blessing 
of olfactory nerves; for it gives us, all the season, an abun- 
dance of flowers, with the most perfect rose scent that we 
have ever yet found; in fact, the true attar of Rose. 

There are few secrets in the cultivation of the rose in this 
climate. First of all, make the soil deep; and, if the sub- 
soil is not quite dry, let it be well drained. Then remember, 
that what the rose delights to grow in is loam and rotten 
manure. Enrich your soil, therefore, with well-decomposed 
stable manure; and if it is too sandy, mix fresh loam from 
an old pasture field; if it is too clayey, mix river or pit sand 
with it. The most perfect specific stimulus that we have 
ever tried in the culture of the rose, is what Mr. Rivers 
calls roasted turf, which is easily made by paring sods from 
the lane sides, and half charring them. It acts like magic 
upon the little spongioles of the rose; making new buds and 
fine fresh foliage start out very speedily, and then a succes- 
sion of superb and richly colored flowers. We recommend it, 
especially, to all those who cultivate roses in old gardens, 
where the soil is more or less worn out. 

And now, like the Persians, with the hope that our fair 
readers "may sleep upon roses, and the dew that falls may 
turn into rose-water," we must end this rather prolix chapter 
upon roses. 



CHAPTER XXIII 
A TALK WITH FLORA AND POMONA * 

WE beg leave to inform such of our readers as may be 
interested, that we have lately had the honor of a 
personal interview with the distinguished deities 
that preside over the garden and the orchard, Flora and 
Pomona. 

The time was a soft balmy August night; the scene was a 
leafy nook in our own grounds, where, after the toils of the 
day, we were enjoying the dolce far niente of a hammock, 
and wondering at the necessity of any thing fairer or diviner 
than rural nature, and such moonlight as then filled the 
vaulted heaven, bathed the tufted foreground of trees, the 
distant purple hills, and 

"Tipt with silver all the fruit tree tops." 

It was a scene for an artist; yet, as we do not write for 
the Court Journal, we must be pardoned for any little 
omission in the costumes or equipages of the divinities 
themselves. Indeed, we were so thoroughly captivated with 
the immortal candor and freshness of the goddesses, that 
we find many of the accessories have escaped our memory. 
Pomona's breath, however, when she spoke, filled the air 
with the odor of ripe apricots, and she held in her left hand 
a fruit, which we immediately recognized as one of the golden 
apples of the Hesperides, (of which she knew any gardener 
upon earth would give his right hand for a slip), and which 
in the course of our interview, she acknowledged was the 

* Original date of September, 1847. It is hoped that the reader of 
to-day is not so thoroughly steeped in the Mutt and Jeff humor of the 
colored Sunday supplement as to miss the pleasant and restrained chaffing 
of this essay. The pecadillos here satirized have not altogether disap- 
peared from the horticultural world. -- F. A. W. 

265 



266 Landscape Gardening 

only sort in the mythological gardens which excels the 
Newtown Pippin. Her lips had the dewy freshness of the 
ruddiest strawberries raised by Mr. Longworth's* favorite 
old Cincinnati market woman; and there was a bright 
sparkle in her eye, that assured us there is no trouble with 
the curculio in the celestial orchards. 

But if we were charmed with the ruddy beauty of Pomona, 
we were still more fascinated by the ideal freshness and 
grace of Flora. She wore on her head a kind of fanciful 
crown of roses, which were not only dewy moss roses, of 
the loveliest shades imaginable, but the colors themselves 
changed every moment, as she turned her head, in a manner 
that struck us quite speechless with admiration. The 
goddess observing this, very graciously remarked that these 
roses were the true perpetuals, since they not only really 
bloomed always, but when plucked, they retained their 
brilliancy and freshness for ever. Her girdle was woven in 
a kind of green and silver pattern of jasmine leaves and 
starry blossoms, but of a species far more lovely than any 
in Mr. Paxton's Magazine. She held a bouquet in her 
hand, composed of sweet scented camellias, and violets as 
dark as sapphire, which she said her gardener had brought 
from the new planet Neptune; and unique and fragrant 
blossoms continually dropped from her robe, as she walked 
about, or raised her arms in gestures graceful as the swing- 
ing of a garland wooed by the west wind. 

After some stammering on our own part, about the honor 
conferred on an humble mortal like ourselves - - rare visits 
of the goddesses to earth, etc., they, understanding, prob- 
ably, what Mr. Beecher f calls our "amiable fondness for 
the Hudson," obligingly put us at our ease, by paying us 
some compliments on the scenery of the Highlands, as seen 
at that moment from our garden seat, comparing the broad 
river, radiant with the chaste light of the moon, to some 

* Referring to Nicholas Longworth of Cincinnati, famous horticul- 
turist and grape grower, who still has a grandson in Congress. 

t Referring to the famous Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, at that time 
editing a horticultural column in Indiana. 



A Talk with Flora and Pomona 207 

favorite lake owned by the immortals, of whose name, we 
are sorry to say, we are at this moment entirely oblivious. 

Our readers will not, of course, expect us to repeat all 
that passed during this enchanting interview. But, as we 
are obliged to own that the visit was not altogether on our 
own behalf, or rather that the turn of the discourse held 
by our immortal guests showed that it was chielly intended 
to be laid before the readers of the Horticulturist, we lose 
no time in putting the latter en rapport. 

Pomona opened the discourse by a few graceful remarks, 
touching the gratification it gave them that the moderns, 
down to the present generation, had piously recognized her 
guardian rights and those of her sister Flora, even while those 
of many of the other Olympians, such as Jupiter, Pan, Vul- 
can, and the like, were nearly forgotten. The wonderful fond- 
ness for fruits and flowers, growing up in the western world, 
had, she declared, not escaped her eye, and it received her 
warmest approbation. She said something that we do not 
quite remember, in the style of that good old phrase, of 
"making the wilderness blossom like the rose," and de- 
clared that Flora intended to festoon every cottage in 
America with double Michigan roses, Wistarias, and sweet- 
scented vines. For her own part, she said, her people were 
busy enough in their invisible superintendence of the orchard 
planting now going on at such a gigantic rate in America, 
especially in the Western States. Such was the fever in 
some of those districts, to get large plantations of fruit, that 
she could not, for the life of her, induce men to pause long 
enough to select their ground or the proper sorts of fruit 
to be planted. As a last resort, to keep them a little in 
check, she was obliged, against her better feelings, to allow 
the blight to cut off part of an orchard now and then.* 
Otherwise the whole country would be filled up with poor 
miserable odds and ends from Europe - - " Beurres and 
Bergamots, with more sound in their French names, than 
flavor under their skins." 

* At this time the Rev. Henry Ward Beecher was writing his elaborate 
(and unfortunately forgotten) thesis on the pear blight. - !'. A. W. 



268 Landscape Gardening 

These last words, we confess, startled us so much, that 
we opened our eyes rather widely, and called upon the name 
of Dr. Van Mons, the great Belgian - - spoke of the grati- 
tude of the pomological world, etc. To our surprise, Po- 
mona declared that she had her doubts about the Belgian 
professor - - she said he was a very crotchety man, and 
although he had devoted his life to her service, yet he had 
such strange whims and caprices about improving fruits by 
a regular system of degeneration or running them out, that 
she could make nothing of him. "Depend upon it," she 
said, "many of his sorts are worthless, - - most of them have 
sickly constitutions, and," she added, with some emphasis, 
snapping her fingers as she spoke, "I would not give one 
sound healthy seedling pear, springing up under natural 
culture in your American soil, for all that Dr. Van Mons 
ever raised!" [We beg our readers to understand that these 
were Pomona's words and not ours.] She gave us, after 
this, very special charge to impress it upon her devotees in 
the United States, not to be too much smitten with the love 
of new names, and great collections. It gave her more sat- 
isfaction to see the orchards and fruit-room of one of her 
liege subjects teeming with the abundance of the few sorts 
of real golden merit, than to see whole acres of new varieties 
that have no other value than that of novelty. She said, 
too, that it was truly amazing how this passion for collecting 
fruits - - a genuine monomania - - grew upon a poor mortal, 
when he was once attacked by it; so that indeed, if he could 
not add every season at least fifty new sorts from the con- 
tinent, with some such outlandish names, (which she said 
she would never recognize), as Beurre bleu d'ete nouveau de 
Scrowsywowsy, etc., he would positively hang himself in a 
fit of the blues! 

Pomona further drew our attention in some sly remarks 
that were half earnest and half satire, to the figure that 
many of these "Belgian pericarps" cut at those handsome 
levees, which her votaries among us hold in the shape of 
the great September exhibitions. She said it was really 
droll to see, at such shows as those of our two large cities, 



A 1\dk with Flora and Pomona 269 

where there was a profusion of ripe and luscious fruit, that 
she would have been proud of in her own celestial orchards 
to see there intermingled some hundred or so mean 
looking, hard green pears, that never had ripened, or never 
did, would, or could ripen, so as to be palatable to any but 
a New Zealander. "Do solicit my friends there, for the 
sake of my feelings," said she, "to give the gentlemen who 
take such pleasure in exhibiting this degenerate foreign 
squad, a separate 'green room' for themselves." To this 
remark we smiled and bowed low, though we would not 
venture to carry out her suggestion for the world. 

We had a delightful little chat with Flora, about some 
new plants which she told us grew in certain unknown 
passes in the Rocky Mountains, and mountainous parts of 
Mexico, that will prove quite hardy with us, and which 
neither Mr. Fortune nor the London Horticultural Society 
know anything about. But she finally informed us, that 
her real object in making herself visible on the earth at 
present, with Madam Pomona, was to beg us to enter her 
formal and decided protest against the style of decorations 
called after her name, and which had, for several years past, 
made the otherwise brilliant Autumnal Horticultural Shows 
in our quarter of the globe so disagreeable an offering to her. 
"To call the monstrous formations, which, under the name of 
temples, stars, tripods, and obelisks - - great bizarre masses 
of flowers plastered on wooden frames - - to call these after 
her name, 'Floral designs,' was," she said, "even more 
than the patience of a goddess could bear." If those who 
make them are sincerely her devoted admirers, as they 
profess to be, she begged us to say to them, that, unless 
they had designs upon her flow of youth and spirits, that 
had hitherto been eternal, she trusted they would hereafter 
desist. 

We hereupon ventured to offer some apology for the 
offending parties, by saying they were mostly the work of 
the "bone and sinew' of the gardening profession, men 
with blunt fingers but earnest souls, who worked for days 
upon what they fancied was a worthy offering to be laid 



270 Landscape Gardening 

upon her altars. She smiled, and said the intention was 
accepted, but not its results, and hinted something about 
the same labor being performed under the direction of the 
more tasteful eye of ladies, who should invent and arrange, 
while the fingers of honest toil wrought the ruder outline 
only. 

Flora then hinted to us, how much more beautiful flowers 
were when arranged in the simplest forms, and said, when 
combined or moulded into shapes or devices, nothing more 
elaborate or artificial than a vase form is really pleasing. 
Baskets, moss-covered and flower-woven, she said, were 
thought elegant enough for Paradise itself. 'There are not 
only baskets," continued she, "that are beautiful lying 
down, and showing inside a rich mosaic of flowers - - each 
basket, large or small, devoted, perhaps, to some one choice 
flower in its many varieties; but baskets on the tops of 
mossy pedestals, bearing tasteful emblems interwoven on 
their sides; and baskets hanging from ceilings, or high 
festooned arches - - in which case they display in the most 
graceful and becoming manner, all manner of drooping and 
twining plants, the latter stealing out of the nest or body of 
the basket, and waving to and fro in the air they perfume." 
"Then there is the garland," continued our fair guest; "it 
is quite amazing, that since the days of those clever and 
harmonious people, the Greeks, no one seems to know any- 
thing of the beauty of the garland. Now in fact nothing is 
more beautiful or becoming than flowers woven into tasteful 
garlands or chaplets. They form a circle- - that emblem of 
eternity, so full of dread and mystery to you mortals - - and 
the size is one that may be carried in the hand or hung up, 
and it always looks lovely. Believe me, nothing is prettier 
in my eyes, which, young as they look, have had many 
thousands of your years of experience, than a fresh, green 
garland woven with bright roses." 

As she said this, she seized a somewhat common basket 
that lay near us, and passing her delicate lingers over it, as 
she plucked a few flowers from the surrounding plants, she 
held it, a picture of magical verdure and blossoms, aloft in 



A Talk with Flora and Pomona '271 

the air over our heads, while on her arm she hung a garland 
as exquisitely formed and proportioned as if cut in marble, 
with, at the same time, all the airiness which only flowers 
can have. The effect was ravishing! simplicity, delicacy, 
gracefulness, and perfume. The goddess moved around us 
with an air and in an attitude compared with which the 
glories of Titian and Raphael seem tame and cold, and as 
the basket was again passing over our head, we were just 
reaching out our hand to detain the lovely vision, when, 
unluckily, the parti-colored dog that guards our demesne, 
broke into a loud bark; Pomona hastily seized her golden 
apple; Flora dropped our basket (which fell to the ground 
in its wonted garb of plain willow), and both vanished into 
the dusky gloom of the night shadows; at that moment, 
suddenly rising up in our hammock, we found we had been 
dreaming. 



CHAPTER XXIV 
INFLUENCE OF HORTICULTURE 

THE multiplication of horticultural societies is taking 
place so rapidly of late, in various parts of the 
country, as to lead one to reflect somewhat on their 
influence, and that of the art they foster, upon the character 
of our people. 

Most persons, no doubt, look upon them as performing a 
work of some usefulness and elegance, by promoting the 
culture of fruits and flowers, and introducing to all parts of 
the country the finer species of vegetable productions. In 
other words, they are thought to add very considerably to 
the amount of physical gratifications which every American 
citizen endeavors, and has a right to endeavor, to assemble 
around him. 

Granting all the foregoing, we arc inclined to claim also, 
for horticultural pursuits, a political and moral influence 
vastly more significant and important than the mere grati- 
fication of the senses. We think, then, in a few words, that 
horticulture and its kindred arts, tend strongly to fix the 
habits, and elevate the character, of our whole rural popu- 
lation. 

One does not need to be much of a philosopher to remark 
that one of the most striking of our national traits, is the 
spirit of unrest. It is the grand energetic element which 
leads us to clear vast forests, and settle new states, with a 
rapidity unparalleled in the world's history; the spirit, 
possessed with which, our yet comparatively scanty people 
do not find elbow-room enough in a territory already in 
their possession, and vast enough to hold the greatest of 
ancient empires; which drives the emigrant's wagon across 
vast sandy deserts to California, and over Rocky Moun- 
tains to Oregon and the Pacific; which builds up a great 

272 



Influence of Horticulture 273 

State like Ohio in 30 years, so populous, civilized and pro- 
ductive, that the bare recital of its growth sounds like a 
genuine miracle to European ears; and which overruns 
and takes possession of a whole empire, like that of Mexico, 
while the cabinets of old monarchies are debating whether 
or not it is necessary to interfere and restore the balance of 
power in the new world as in the old. 

This is the grand and exciting side of the picture. Turn 
it in another light, and study it, and the effect is by no 
means so agreeable to the reflective mind. The spirit of 
unrest, followed into the bosom of society, makes of man a 
feverish being, in whose Tantalus' cup repose is the unat- 
tainable drop. Unable to take root anywhere, he leads, 
socially and physically, the uncertain life of a tree trans- 
planted from place to place, and shifted to a different soil 
every season. 

It has been shrewdly said that what qualities we do not 
possess, are always in our mouths. Our countrymen, it 
seems to us, are fonder of no one Anglo-Saxon word than 
the term settle.* It was the great object of our forefathers 
to find a proper spot to settle. Every year, large numbers 
of our population from the older States go west to settle; 
while those already west, pull up, with a kind of desperate 
joy, their yet new-set stakes, and go farther west to settle 
again. So truly national is the word, that all the business 
of the country, from State debts to the products of a truck 
farm, are not satisfactorily adjusted till they are "settled;" 
and no sooner is a passenger fairly on board one of our river 
steamers, than he is politely and emphatically invited by a 
sable representative of its executive power, to ''call at the 
captain's office and settle.'" 

Yet, as a people, we are never settled. It is one of the 
first points that strikes a citizen of the old world, where 
something of the dignity of repose, as well as the value of 
action, enters into their ideal of life. De Tocqueville says, 
in speaking of our national trait: 

* Anglo-Saxon sath-lian, from the verb sedan, to set, to cease from 
motion, to fix a dwelling-place, to repose, etc. A. J. D. 



274 Landscape Gardening 

"At first sight, there is something surprising in this strange 
unrest of so many happy men, restless in the midst of 
abundance. The spectacle itself is, however, as old as the 
world. The novelty is to sec a whole people furnish an 
exemplification of it. 

"In the United States a man builds a house to spend his 
latter years in, and sells it before the roof is on; he brings a 
field into tillage, and leaves other men to gather the crops; 
he embraces a profession, and gives it up; he settles in a 
place, which he soon after leaves, in order to carry his 
changeable longings elsewhere. If his private affairs leave 
him any leisure he instantly plunges into the vortex of poli- 
tics; and if at the end of a year of unremitting labor, he 
finds he has a few days' vacation, his eager curiosity whirls 
him over the vast extent of the United States, and he will 
travel fifteen hundred miles in a few days, to shake off his 
happiness." 

Much as we admire the energy of our people, we value no 
less the love of order, the obedience to law, the security and 
repose of society, the love of home, and the partiality to 
localities endeared by birth or association, of which it is in 
some degree the antagonist. And we are therefore deeply 
convinced that whatever tends, without checking due energy 
of character, but to develop along with it certain virtues 
that will keep it within due bounds, may be looked upon as 
a boon to the nation. 

Now the difference between the son of Ishmael, who lives 
in tents, and that man who has the strongest attachment to 
the home of his fathers, is, in the beginning, one mainly of 
outward circumstances. He whose sole property is a tent 
and a camel, whose ties to one spot are no stronger than the 
cords which confine his habitation to the sandy floor of the 
desert, who can break up his encampment at an hour's 
notice, and choose a new and equally agreeable site, fifty 
miles distant, the next day - - such a person is very little 
likely to become much more strongly attached to any one 
spot of earth than another. 

The condition of a western emigrant is not greatly dissimi- 



Influence of Horticulture 12 /f> 

lar. That long covered wagon, which is the Noah's ark of 
his preservation, is also the concrete essence of house and 
home to him. He emigrates, he "squats," he "locates," 
but before he can be fairly said to have a fixed home, the 
spirit of unrest besets him; he sells his "diggins" to some 
less adventurous pioneer, and tackling the wagon of the 
wilderness,' migrates once more. 

It must not be supposed, large as is the infusion of rest- 
lessness in our people, that there are not also large excep- 
tions to the general rule. Else there would never be grow- 
ing villages and prosperous towns. Nay, it cannot be over- 
looked by a careful observer, that the tendency "to settle" 
is slowly but gradually on the increase, and that there is, in 
all the older portions of the country, growing evidence that 
the Anglo-Saxon love of home is gradually developing itself 
out of the Anglo-American love of change.* 

It is not difficult to see how strongly horticulture con- 
tributes to the development of local attachments. In it 
lies the most powerful philtre that civilized man has yet 
found to charm him to one spot of earth. It transforms 
what is only a tame meadow and a bleak aspect, into an 
Eden of interest and delights. It makes all the difference 
between Araby the blest, and a pine barren. It gives a 
bit of soil, too insignificant to find a place in the geography 
of the earth's surface, such an importance in the eyes of its 
possessor, that he finds it more attractive than countless 
acres of unknown and unexplored territory. In other 
words, it contains the mind and soul of the man, mate- 
rialized in many of the fairest and richest forms of nature, 
so that he looks upon it as tearing himself up, root and 
branch, to ask him to move a mile to the right or the left. 
Do we need to say more, to prove that it is the panacea 
that really "settles" mankind? 

* The philosophy of Mr. Downing in this chapter is profound and his 
analysis of American character most penetrating. The evil effects of this 
spirit of unrest and the desirability of neutralizing it through the simul- 
taneous cultivation of the soil and of home ties were never more manifest 
than in these days of revolution and reconstruction following the World 
War. F. A. W. 



276 Landscape Gardening 

It is not, therefore, without much pleasurable emotion, 
that we have had notice lately of the formation of five new 
horticultural societies, the last at St. Louis, and most of 
them west of the Alleghanies. Whoever lives to see the 
end of the next cycle of our race, will see the great valleys 
of the West the garden of the world; and we watch with 
interest the first development, in the midst of the busy 
fermentation of its active masses, of that beautiful and 
quiet spirit, of the joint culture of the earth and the heart, 
that is destined to give a tone to the future character of its 
untold millions. 

The increased love of home and the garden, in the older 
states, is a matter of every-day remark; and it is not a little 
curious, that just in proportion to the intelligence and set- 
tled character of its population, is the amount of interest 
manifested in horticulture. Thus, the three most settled 
of the original States, we suppose to be Massachusetts, 
New York and Pennsylvania; and in these states horti- 
culture is more eagerly pursued than in any others. The 
first named state has now seven horticultural societies; the 
second, seven; the third, three. Following out the com- 
parison in the cities, we should say that Boston had the 
most settled population, Philadelphia the next, and New 
York the least so of any city in the Union; and it is well 
known that the horticultural society of Boston is at this 
moment the most energetic one in the country, and that it 
is stimulated by the interest excited by societies in all its 
neighboring towns. The Philadelphia society is exceedingly 
prosperous; while in New York, we regret to say, that the 
numerous efforts that have been made to establish firmly a 
society of this kind have not, up to this time, resulted in 
any success whatever. Its mighty tide of people is as yet 
too much possessed with the spirit of business and of un- 
rest." * 

* "The New-York Horticultural Society" was organized in the spring 
of 1852, and is already in a flourishing condition. G. W. G. 



CHAPTER XXV 
ON FEMININE TASTE IN RURAL AFFAIRS* 

WHAT a very little fact sometimes betrays the na- 
tional character; and what an odd thing this 
national character is! Look at a Frenchman. He 
cats, talks, lives in public. He is only happy when he has 
spectators. In town, on the boulevards, in the cafe, at 
places of public amusement, he is all enjoyment. But in the 
country - - ah, there he never goes willingly; or else, he only 
goes to sentimentalize, or to entertain his town friends. 
Even the natural born country people seem to find nature 
and solitude ennuyani, and so collect in little villages to 
keep each other in spirits! The Frenchman eats and sleeps 
almost any where; but he is never "at home but when he 
is abroad." 

Look, on the other hand, at John Bull. He only lives 
what he feels to be a rational life, when he lives in the coun- 
try. His country place is to him a little Juan Fernandez 
island; it contains his own family, his own castle, every- 
thing that belongs to him. He hates the smoke of town; 
he takes root in the soil. His horses, his dogs, his trees, are 
not separate existences; they are parts of himself. He is 
social with a reservation. Nature is nearer akin to him 
than strange men. His dogs are truly attached to him; he 
doubts if his fellows are. People often play the hypocrite; 
but the trees in his park never deceive him. Home is to 
him the next best place to heaven. 

And only a little narrow strait of water divides these two 
nations! 

Shall we ever have a distinct national character? Will a 

country, which is settled by every people of the old world, 

- a dozen nations, all as distinct as the French and the 

* Original date of April, 1849. 
277 



278 



Landscape Gardening 



English, - - ever crystallize into a symmetrical form - 
something distinct and homogeneous? And what will that 
national character be? 

Certainly no one, who looks at our comparative isola- 
tion --at the broad ocean that separates us from such 
external influences - - at the mighty internal forces of new 
government and new circumstances, which continually act 
upon us, - - and, above all, at the mighty vital force of the 




- 



FIG. 39. TRUMPET NARCISSUS ALONG THE GARDEN WALK 

Yankee Constitution, which every year swallows hundreds 
of thousands of foreigners, and digests them all; no one can 
look reflectingly on all this, and not see that there is a 
national type, which will prevail over all the complexity, 
which various origin, foreign manners, and different religions 
bring to our shores. 

The English are, perhaps, the most distinct of civilized 
nations, in their nationality. But they had almost as mixed 
an origin as ourselves, Anglo-Saxon, Celts, Roman, 



Feminine Taste in Rural Affairs 279 

Danish, Norman; all these apparently discordant elements, 
were fused so successfully into a great and united people. 

That a hundred years hence will find us quite as distinct 
and quite as developed, in our national character, we cannot 
doubt. What that character will be, in all its phases, no one 
at present can precisely say; but that the French and English 
elements will largely influence it in its growth, and yet, that 
in morals, in feeling, and in heart, we shall be entirely dis- 
tinct from either of those nations, is as clear to us as a summer 
noon. 

We are not going into a profound philosophical disserta- 
tion on the political or the social side of national character. 
We want to touch very slightly on a curious little point that 
interests us; one that political philosophers would think 
quite beneath them; one that moralists would not trouble 
themselves about; and one that we are very much afraid 
nobody else will think worth notice at all; and therefore we 
shall set about it directly. 

What is the reason American ladies don't love to work in 
their gardens? 

It is of no use whatever, that some fifty or a hundred of 
our fair readers say, "we do." We have carefully studied 
the matter, until it has become a fact past all contradiction. 
They may love to "potter" a little. Three or four times in 
the spring they take a fancy to examine the color of the soil 
a few inches below the surface; they sow some China 
asters, and plant a few dahlias, and it is all over. Love 
flowers, with all their hearts, they certainly do. Few things 
are more enchanting to them than a fine garden; and 
bouquets on their center tables are positive necessities, with 
every lady, from Maine to the Rio Grande. 

Now, we certainly have all the love of nature of our Eng- 
lish forefathers. We love the country; and a large part of 
the millions, earned every year by our enterprise, is spent in 
creating and embellishing country homes. But, on the con- 
trary, our wives and daughters only love gardens as the 
French love them - - for the results. They love to walk 
through them; they enjoy the beauty and perfume of their 



280 Landscape Gardening 

products, but only as amateurs. They know no more of 
that intense enjoyment of her who plans, creates, and 
daily watches the growth of those gardens or flowers, - - no 
more of absolute, living enjoyment, which the English have 
in out-of-door pursuits, than a mere amateur, who goes 
through a fine gallery of pictures, knows of the intensified 
emotions which the painters of those pictures experienced 
in their souls, when they gazed on the gradual growth and 
perfected splendor of their finest masterpieces. 

As it is plain, from our love of the country, that we are 
not French at heart, this manifestation that we complain 
of, must come from our natural tendency to copy the social 
manners of the most polished nation in the world. And it 
is indeed quite wonderful how, being scarcely in the least 
affected by the morale, we still borrow almost instinctively, 
and entirely without being aware of it, so much from la belle 
France. That our dress, mode of life, and intercourse, is 
largely tinged with French taste, every traveller notices. 
But it goes farther. Even the plans of our houses become 
more and more decidedly French. We have had occasion, 
lately, to make considerable explorations in the domestic 
architecture of France and England, and we have noticed 
some striking national peculiarities. One of these relates to 
the connection of the principal apartments. In a French 
house, the beau ideal is to have everything ensuite; all the 
rooms open into each other; or, at least, as many of the 
largest as will produce a fine effect. In an English house, 
every room is complete in itself. It may be very large, and 
very grand, but it is all the worse for being connected with 
any other room; for that destroys the privacy which an 
Englishman so much loves. 

Does any one, familiar with the progress of building in the 
United States for the last ten years, desire to be told which 
mode we have followed? And yet, there are very few who 
are aware that our love of folding-doors, and suites of 
apartments, is essentially French. 

Now our national taste in gardening and outdoor em- 
ployments, is just in the process of formation. Honestly 



Feminine Taste in Rural Affairs 281 

and ardently believing that the loveliest and best women in 
the. world are those of our own country, we cannot think of 
their losing so much of their own and nature's bloom, as 
only to enjoy their gardens by the results, like the French, 
rather than through the development, like the English. 
We would gladly show them how much they lose. We 
would convince them, that only to pluck the fullblown 
flower, is like a first introduction to it, compared with the 
lifelong friendship of its mistress, who has nursed it from 
its first two leaves; and that the real zest of our enjoyment 
of nature, even in a garden, lies in our looking at her, not 
like a spectator who admires, but like a dear and intimate 
friend, to whom, after long intimacy, she reveals sweets 
wholly hidden from those who only come to her in full dress, 
and in the attitude of formal visitors. 

If any one wishes to know how completely and intensely 
English women enter into the spirit of gardening, he has 
only to watch the wife of the most humble artisan who 
settles in any of our cities. She not only has a pot of 
flowers - - her back yard is a perfect curiosity shop of botan- 
ical rarities. She is never done with training, and watering 
and caring for them. And truly, they reward her well; 
for who ever saw such large geraniums, such fresh daisies, 
such ruddy roses! Comparing them with the neglected 
and weak specimens in the garden of her neighbor, one 
might be tempted to believe that they had been magnetized 
by the charm of personal fondness of their mistress, into a 
life and beauty not common to other plants. 

Mr. Colman, in his "European Tour," seems to have 
been struck by this trait, and gave so capital a portrait of 
rural accomplishments in a lady of rank he had the good 
fortune to meet, that we cannot resist the temptation of 
turning the picture to the light once more: 

"I had no sooner, then, entered the house, where my visit had been 
expected, than I was met with an unaffected cordiality, which at once 
made me at home. In the midst of gilded halls, and hosts of liveried 
servants, of dazzling lamps and glittering mirrors, redoubling the high- 
est triumphs of art and of taste; in the midst of books, and statues, and 



282 Landscape Gardening 

pictures, and all the elegancies and refinements of luxury; in the midst 
of titles, and dignitaries, and ranks allied to regal grandeur, there was 
one object which transcended and eclipsed them all, and showed how 
much the nobility of character surpassed the nobility of rank, the beauty 
of refined and simple manners all the adornments of art, the scintilla- 
tions of the soul, beaming from the eyes, the purest gems that ever 
glittered in a princely diadem. In person, education and improvement, 
in quickness of perception, in facility and elegance of expression, in 
accomplishments and taste, in a frankness and gentleness of manner, 
tempered by a modesty which courted confidence and inspired respect, 
and in a high moral tone and sentiment, which, like a bright halo, seemed 
to encircle the whole person,--! confess the fictions of poetry become 
substantial, and the beau ideal of my youthful imagination was realized. 
" In the morning I first met her at prayers; for, to the honor of England, 
there is scarcely a family, among the hundreds whose hospitality I have 
shared, where the duties of the day are not preceded by family worship; 
and the master and the servant, the parent and the child, the teacher and 
the taught, the friend and the stranger, come together to recognize and 
strengthen the sense of their common equality, in the presence of their 
common Father, and to acknowledge their equal dependence upon his care 
and mercy. She was then kind enough to tell me, after her morning's 
arrangements, she claimed me for the day. She first showed me her chil- 
dren, whom, like the Roman mother, she deemed her brightest jewels, and 
arranged their studies and occupations for the day. She then took me 
two or three miles on foot, to visit a sick neighbor; and, while performing 
this act of kindness, left me to visit some of the cottages upon the estate, 
whose inmates I found loud in the praises of her kindness and benefac- 
tions. Our next excursion was to see some of the finest, and largest, and 
most aged trees in the park, the size of which was truly magnificent; and 
I sympathized in the veneration which she expressed for them, which was 
like that with which one recalls the illustrious memory of a remote pro- 
genitor. Our next visit was to the green-houses and gardens; and she 
explained to me the mode adopted there, of managing the most delicate 
plants, and of cultivating, in the most economical and successful manner, 
the fruits of a warmer region. From the garden we proceeded to the 
cultivated fields; and she informed me of the system of husbandry pur- 
sued on the estate, the rotation of crops, the management and applica- 
tion of manures, the amount of seed sown, the ordinary yield, and the 
appropriation of the produce, with a perspicuous detail of the expenses 
and results. She then undertook to show me the yards and offices, the 
byres, the feeding stalls, the plans for saving, increasing, and managing 
the manure; the cattle for feeding, for breeding, the milking stock, the 
piggery, the poultry yard, the stables, the harness-rooms, the implement- 
rooms, the dairy. She explained to me the process of making the differ- 
ent kinds of cheese, and the general management of the milk, and the 
mode of feeding the stock; and then, conducting me into the bailiff's 



Feminine Taste in Rural Affairs 283 

house, she exhibited to me I lie Farm Journal, and the whole systematic 
mode of keeping the accounts and making the returns, with which she 
seemed as familiar as if they were the accounts of her own wardrobe. 
This did not finish our grand tour; for, on my return, she admitted me 
into her boudoir, and showed me the secrets of her own admirable house- 
wifery, in the exact accounts which she kept of every thing connected 
with the dairy, the market, the table, and the drawing-room, and the 
servant's hall. All this was done with a simplicity and a frankness, 
which showed an absence of all consciousness of any extraordinary merit 
in her own department, and which evidently sprang solely from a kind 
desire to gratify a curiosity on my part, which, I hope, under such cir- 
cumstances, was not unreasonable. 

"A short hour after this brought us into another relation; for the 
dinner bell summoned us, and this same lady was found presiding over a 
brilliant circle of the highest rank and fashion, with an ease, elegance, 
wit, intelligence, and good humor, with a kind attention to every one's 
wants, and unaffected concern for every one's comfort, which would lead 
one to suppose that this was her only and her peculiar sphere. Now I 
will not say how many mud-puddles we had waded through, and how 
many manure heaps we had crossed, and what places we had explored, 
and how every farming topic was discussed; but I will say that she 
pursued her object without any of that fastidiousness and affected deli- 
cacy, which pass with some persons for refinement, but which, in many 
cases, indicate a weak, if not a corrupt mind. . . . 

"Now I do not say that the lady to whom I have referred was her- 
self the manager of the farm; that rested entirely with her husband; but 
I have intended simply to show how gratifying to him must have been 
the lively interest and sympathy which she took in concerns which nec- 
essarily so much engaged his time and attention; and how the country 
would be divested of that dullness and ennui, so often complained of as 
inseparable from it, when a cordial and practical interest is taken in 
the concerns which belong to rural life. I meant also to show and 
this and many other examples, which have come under my observation, 
emphatically do show that an interest in, and familiarity with, even 
the most humble occupations of agricultural life, are not inconsistent 
with the highest refinements of taste, the most improved cultivation of 
the mind, and elegance, and dignity of manners, unsurpassed in the 
highest circles of society." 

This picture is thoroughly English; and who do our 
readers suppose this lady was? Mr. Colman puts his finger 
on his lips, and declares that however much he may be 
questioned by his fair readers at home, he will make no dis- 
closures. But other people recognize the portrait; and we 
understand it is that of the Duchess of Portland. 




(284) 



Feminine Taslc in Rural Affairs '2<S.) 

Now, as a contrast to tliis, here is a little fragment -a 
mere bit - - but enough to show the French feeling about 
country life. It is from one of Madame de Sevignc's 
charming letters; and, fond of society as she was, she cer- 
tainly had as much of love of the country as belongs to her 
class and sex on her side of the channel. It is part of a 
letter written from her country home. She is writing to 
her daughter, and speaking of an expected visit from one of 
her friends: 

"It follows that, after I have been to see her, she will conic lo see 
me, when, of course, I shall wish her to find my garden in good order; 
my walks in good order those fine walks, of which you are so fond. 
Attend also, if you please, to a little suggestion in passing. You are 
aware that haymaking is going forward. Well, I have no haymakers. 
I send into the neighboring fields to press them into my service; there 
are none to be found; and so all my own people are summoned to make 
hay instead. But do you know what haymaking is? I will tell you. 
Haymaking is trie prettiest thing in the world. You play at turning the 
grass over in a meadow; and as soon as you know that, yon know how to 
make hay." 

Is it not capital? We italicize her description of hay- 
making, it is so French, and so totally unlike the account 
that the Duchess would have given Mr. Colman. Her 
garden, too; she wanted to have it put in order before her 
friend arrived. She would have shown it, not as an English 
woman would have done, to excite an interest in its rare 
and beautiful plants, and the perfection to which they had 
grown under her care, but that it might give her friend a 
pleasant promenade. 

Now we have not the least desire, that American wives 
and daughters should have anything to do with the rough 
toil of the farm or the garden, beyond their own household 
province. We delight in the chivalry which pervades this 
whole country, in regard to the female character, and which 
even foreigners have remarked as one of the strongest 
national characteristics.* But \ve \vould gladly have them 

* M. Chevalier, one of the most intelligent of recent French travellers, 
says, in his work on this country -- "Not only docs the American me- 



286 Landscape Gardening 

seize on that happy medium, between the English pas- 
sion for everything out of doors, and the French taste for 
nothing beyond the drawing room. Everything which re- 
lates to the garden, the lawn, the pleasure grounds, should 
claim their immediate interest. And this, not merely to 
walk out occasionally and enjoy it; but to know it by heart; 
to do it, or see it all done; to know the history of any plant, 
shrub, or tree, from the time it was so small as to be invisible 
to all but their eyes, to the time when every passer-by stops 
to admire and enjoy it; to live, in short, not only the in- 
door but the out-of-door life of a true woman in the country. 
Every lady may not be ' ; born to love pigs and chickens" 
(though that is a good thing to be born to); but, depend 
upon it, she has been cut off by her mother nature with less 
than a shilling's patrimony, if she does not love trees, flow- 
ers, gardens, and nature, as if they were all part of herself. 
We half suspect, if the truth must be told, that there is a 
little affectation or coquetry among some of our fair readers, 
in this want of hearty interest in rural occupation. We 
have noticed that it is precisely those who have the smallest 
gardens, and, therefore, who ought most naturally to wish 
to take the greatest interest in their culture themselves, - 
it is precisely those who depend entirely upon their gardener. 
They rest with such entire faith on the chivalry of our sex, 
that they gladly permit everything to be done for them, 
and thus lose the greatest charm which their garden could 
give - - that of a delightful personal intimacy. 

chanic and farmer relieve, as much as possible, his wife from all severe 
labor, all disagreeable employments, but there is also, in relation to them, 
and to women in general, a disposition to oblige, that is unknown among 
us, even in men who pique themselves upon cultivation of mind and 
literary education." * 

" We buy our wives with our fortunes, or we sell ourselves to them for 
their dowries. The American chooses her, or rather he offers himself to 
her for her beauty, her intelligence, and the qualities of her heart; it is 
the only dowry which he seeks. Thus, while we make of thai which is 
most sacred a matter of business, these traders affect a delicacy, and an 
elevation of sentiment, which would have done honor to the most perfect 
models of chivalry." 



Feminine Taste in Rural Affairs 287 

Almost all the really enthusiastic and energetic lady gar- 
deners that we have the pleasure of knowing, belong to the 
wealthiest class in this country. We have a neighbor on 
the Hudson, for instance, whose pleasure grounds cover 
many acres, whose flower garden is a miracle of beauty, and 
who keeps six gardeners at work all the season. But there 
is never a tree transplanted that she does not see its roots 
carefully handled; not a walk laid out that she does not 
mark its curves; not a parterre arranged that she does not 
direct its colors and grouping, and even assist in planting it. 
No matter what guests enjoy her hospitality, several hours 
every day are thus spent in out-of-door employment; and 
from the zeal and enthusiasm with which she always talks 
of everything relating to her country life, we do not doubt 
that she is far more rationally happy now, than when she 
received the homage of a circle of admirers at one of the 
most brilliant of foreign courts. 

On the table before us, lies a letter from a lady of fortune 
in Philadelphia, whose sincere and hearty enthusiasm in 
country life always delights us. She is one of those beings 
who animate everything she touches, and would make a 
heart beat in a granite rock, if it had not the stubbornness 
of all "facts before the flood." She is in a dilemma now 
about the precise uses of lime (which has staggered many 
an old cultivator, by the way), and tells the story of her 
doubts with an earnest directness and eloquence that one 
seeks for in vain in the essays of our male chemico-horti- 
cultural correspondents. We are quite sure that there will 
be a meaning in every fruit and flower which this lady plucks 
from the garden, of which our fair friends, who are the dis- 
ciples of the Sevigne school, have not the feeblest con- 
ception. 

There are, also, we fear, those who fancy that there is 
something rustic, unfeminine and unrefined, about an interest 
in country out-of-door matters. Would we could present 
to them a picture which rises in our memory, at this mo- 
ment, as the finest of all possible denials to such a theory. 
In the midst of the richest agricultural region of the northern 



288 Landscape Gardening 

States, lives a lady- -a young, unmarried lady; mistress of 
herself; of some thousands of acres of the finest lands; and 
a mansion which is almost the ideal of taste and refinement. 
Very well. Does this lady sit in her drawing room all day, 
to receive her visitors? By no means. You will find her, 
in the morning, either on horseback or driving a light car- 
riage with a pair of spirited horses. She explores every 
corner of the estate; she visits her tenants, examines the 
crops, projects improvements, directs repairs, and is thor- 
oughly mistress of her whole demesne. Her mansion opens 
into the most exquisite garden of flowers and fruits, every 
one of which she knows by heart. And yet this lady, so 
energetic and spirited in her enjoyment and manage- 
ment in out-of-door matters, is, in the drawing room, 
the most gentle, the most retiring, the most refined of 
her sex. 

A word or two more, and upon what ought to be the most 
important argument of all. Exercise, fresh air, health, - 
are they not almost synonymous? The exquisite bloom on 
the cheeks of American girls, fades, in the matron, much 
sooner here than in England, - - not alone because of the 
softness of the English climate, as many suppose. It is 
because exercise, so necessary to the maintenance of health, 
is so little a matter of habit and education here, and so 
largely insisted upon in England ; and it is because exercise, 
when taken here at all, is taken too often as a matter of 
duty; that it is then only a lifeless duty, and has no soul in 
it; while the English woman, who takes a living interest in 
her rural employments, inhales new life in every day's 
occupation, and plants perpetual roses in her cheeks, by the 
mere act of planting them in her garden. 

"But, Mr. Downing, think of the hot sun in this country, 
and our complexions!" 

Yes, yes, we know it. But get up an hour earlier, fair 
reader, put on your broadest sun-bonnet, and your stoutest 
pair of gloves, and try the problem of health, enjoyment and 
beauty, before the sun gets too ardent. A great deal may 
be done in this way; and after a while, if your heart is in 



Feminine Taste in Rural A/Jairs 



the right place for ruralitics, you will find the occupation 
so fascinating that you will gradually lind yourself able to 
enjoy keenly what was at first only a very irksome sort of 
duty. 



CHAPTER XXVI 
A SPRING GOSSIP * 

TF any man feels no joy in the spring, then has he no 
warm blood in his veins!" So said one of the old 
dramatists, two hundred years ago; and so we repeat 
his very words in this month of May, eighteen hundred and 
fifty. Not to feel the sweet influences of this young and 
creative season, is indeed like being blind to the dewy 
brightness of the rainbow, or deaf to the rich music of the 
mocking-bird. Why, everything feels it; the gushing, noisy 
brook; the full-throated robin; the swallows circling and 
sailing through the air. Even the old rocks smile, and look 
less hard and stony; or at least try to by the help of the 
moss, lately grown green in the rain and sunshine of April. 
And, as Lowell has so finely said, 

"Every clod feels a stir of might, 
An instinct within it that reaches and towers; 

And grasping blindly above it for light, 
Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers." 

From the time when the maple hangs out its little tufts of 
ruddy threads on the wood side, or the first crocus aston- 
ishes us with its audacity in embroidering the ground with 
gold almost before the snow has left it, until June flings us 
her first garlands of roses to tell us that summer is at hand, 
all is excitement in the country - real poetic excitement - 
some spark of which even the dullest souls that follow the 
oxen must feel. 

"No matter how barren the past may have been, 
Tis enough for us now that the leaves are green." 

And you, most sober and practical of men, as you stand in 
your orchard and see the fruit trees all dressed in spring 

* Original date of May, 1850. 
290 



A Spring Gossip 291 



robes of white, and pink, and blush, and immediately set 
about divining what a noble crop you will have, "if noth- 
ing happens" - - meaning, thereby, if everything happens as 
nature for the most part makes it happen - - you, too, are a 
little of a poet in spite of yourself. You imagine - - you 
hope - - you believe - - and, from that delicate gossamer 
fabric of peach blossoms, you conjure out of the future, 
bushels of downy, ripe, ruddy, and palpable, though melting 
rareripes, every one of which is such as was never seen but 
at prize exhibitions, when gold medals bring out horticul- 
tural prodigies. If this is not being a poet - - a practical 
one, if you please, but still a poet - - then are there no gay 
colors in peacocks' tails. 

And as for our lady readers in the country, who hang over 
the sweet firstlings of the flowers that the spring gives us, 
\vilh as fresh and as pure a delight every year as if the world 
(and violets) were just new born, and had not been con- 
vulsed, battered, and torn by earthquakes, wars, and revo- 
lutions, for more than six thousand years; why, we need 
not waste time in proving them to be poets, and their lives 
- or at least all that part of them passed in delicious ram- 
bles in the woods, or sweet toils in the garden - - pure 
poetry. However stupid the rest of creation may be, they, 
at least, see and understand that those early gifts of the 
year, yes, and the very spring itself, are types of fairer and 
better things. They, at least, feel that this wonderful resur- 
rection of life and beauty out of the death-sleep of winter, 
has a meaning in it that should bring glad tears into our 
eyes, being, as it is, a foreshadowing of that transformation 
and awakening of us all in the spiritual spring of another 
and a higher life. 

The flowers of spring are not so gay and gorgeous as those 
of summer and autumn. Except those flaunting gentlemen- 
ushers the Dutch tulips (which, indeed, have been coaxed 
into gay liveries since Mynheer fell sick of flori-mania), the 
spring blossoms are delicate, modest, and subdued in color, 
and with something more of freshness and vivacity about 
them than is common in the lilies, roses, and dahlias of a 



292 Landscape Gardening 

later and hotter time of the year. The fact that the violet 
blooms in the spring, is of itself enough to make the season 
dear to us. We do not now mean the pansy, or three-col- 
ored violet- -the Johnny-jump-up of the cottager -- that 
little, roguish coquette of a blossom, all animation and 
boldness -- but the true violet of the poets; the delicate, 
modest, retiring violet, dim, 

"But sweeter than the lid's of Juno's eyes, 
Or Cytherea's breath." 

The flower that has been loved, and praised, and petted, and 
cultivated, at least three thousand years, and is not in the 
least spoiled by it; nay, has all the unmistakable freshness 
still, of a nature ever young and eternal. 

There is a great deal, too, in the associations that cluster 
about spring flowers. Take that early yellow flower, popu- 
larly known as "Butter and Eggs," and the most common 
bulb in all our gardens, though introduced from abroad. It 
is not handsome, certainly, although one always welcomes 
its hardy face with pleasure; but when we know that it 
suggested that fine passage to Shakespeare - 

"Daffodils 

That come before the swallow dares, and take 
The winds of March with beauty" 

we feel that the flower is for ever immortalized; and though 
not half so handsome as our native blood-root, with its 
snowy petals, or our wood anemone, tinged like the first 
blush of morning, yet still the daffodil, embalmed by poesy, 
like a fly in amber, has a value given it by human genius 
that causes it to stir the imagination more than the most 
faultless and sculpture-like camellia that ever bloomed in 
marble conservatory. 

A pleasant task it would be to linger over the spring 
flowers, taking them up one by one, and inhaling all their 
fragrance and poetry, leisurely - whether the cowslips, 
hyacinths, daisies, and hawthorns of the garden, or the 
honeysuckles, trilliums, wild moccasins, and liverworts of 



A Spring Gossip 293 



the woods. But we should grow garrulous on the subject 
and the season, if we were to wander thus into details. 

Among all the flowers of spring, there are, however, few 
that surpass in delicacy, freshness, and beauty, that common 
and popular thing, an apple blossom. Certainly, no one would 
plant an apple tree in his park or pleasure ground; for, like 
a hard day-laborer, it has a bent and bowed-down look in its 
head and branches, that ill accord with the graceful bending 
of the elm, or the well-rounded curve of the maple. But as 
the day laborer has a soul, which at one time or another 
must blossom in all its beauty, so too has the apple-tree a 
llower that challenges the world to surpass it, whether for 
the delicacy with which the white and red are blended - 
as upon the cheek of fairest maiden of sixteen - - or the 
wild grace and symmetry of its cinquefoil petals, or the 
harmony of its coloring heightened by the tender verdure of 
the bursting leaves that surround it. We only mention 
this to show what a wealth of beauty there is in common 
and familiar objects in the country; and if any of our town 
readers are so unfortunate as never to have seen an apple 
orchard in full bloom, then have they lost one of the fairest 
sights that the month of April has in her kaleidoscope. 

Spring, in this country, is not the tedious jade that she is 
in England, - - keeping one waiting from February till June, 
while she makes her toilet, and fairly puts her foot on the 
daisy-spangled turf. For the most part, she comes to us 
with a quick bound; and, to make amends for being late, 
she showers down such a wealth of blossoms, that our 
gardens and orchards, at the end of April, look as if they 
were turned into fairy parterres, so loaded are they - 
especially the fruit trees - - with beauty and promise. An 
American spring may be said to commence fairly with the 
blossom of the apricot or the elm tree, and end with the 
ripening of the first strawberries. 

To end with strawberries! AY hat a finale to one's life. 
More sanguinary, perhaps (as there is a stain left on one's 
fingers sometimes), but not less delicious than to 

"Die of a rose in aromatic pain." 



294 Landscape Gardening 

But it is a fitting close to such a beautiful season to end with 
such a fruit as this. We believe, indeed, that strawberries, 
if the truth could be known, are the most popular of fruits. 
People always affect to prefer the peach, or the orange, or 
perhaps the pear; but this is only because these stand well 
in the world -- are much talked of - - and can give "the 
most respectable references." But take our word for it, 
if the secret preference, the concealed passion, of every 
lover of fruit could be got at, without the formality of a 
public trial, the strawberry would be found out to be the 
little betrayer of hearts. Was not Linnaeus cured of the 
gout by them? And did not even that hard-hearted mon- 
ster, Richard the III, beseech "My Lord of Ely' to send 
for some of "the good strawberries" from his garden at 
Holborn? Nay, an Italian poet has written a whole poem, 
of nine hundred lines or more, entirely upon strawberries. 
"Strawberries and sugar" are to him what "sack and sugar" 
was to Falstaff - - "the indispensable companion - - the 
sovereign remedy for all evil - - the climax of good." In 
short, he can do no more in wishing a couple of new married 
friends of his the completest earthly happiness, than to 
say- 

"E a dire chc ogni cosa lieta vada, 
Su le Fragole il zucchero le cada." 

In short, to sum up all that earth can prize, 
May they have sugar to their strawberries! 

There are few writers who have treated of the spring and 
its influences more fittingly than some of the English essay- 
ists; for the English have the key to the poetry of rural life. 
Indeed, we cannot perhaps give our readers greater pleasure 
than by ending this article with the following extract from 
one of the papers of that genial and kindly writer, Leigh 
Hunt: 

"The lightest thoughts have their roots in gravity; and 
the most fugitive colors of the world are set off by the 
mighty background of eternity. One of the greatest pleas- 
ures of so light and airy a thing as the vernal season, arises 



Spring Gossip 295 



from the consciousness that the world is young again; that 
the spring has come round; that we shall not all cease, and 
be no world. Nature has begun again, and not begun for 
nothing. One fancies somehow that she could not have 
the heart to put a stop to us in April or May. She may 
pluck away a poor little life here and there; nay, many 
blossoms of youth, - - but not all, - not the whole garden 
of life. She prunes, but does not destroy. If she did, 
if she were in the mind to have done with us, - - to look 
upon us as a sort of experiment not worth going on with, 
as a set of ungenial and obstinate compounds, which re- 
fused to co-operate in her sweet designs, and could not be 
made to answer in the working, - - depend upon it, she 
would take pity on our incapability and bad humors, and 
conveniently quash us in some dismal, sullen winter's day, 
just at the natural dying of the year, most likely in Novem- 
ber; for Christmas is a sort of spring itself -- a winter 
flowering. We care nothing for arguments about storms, 
earthquakes, or other apparently unseasonable interrup- 
tions of our pleasures. We imitate, in that respect, the 
magnanimous indifference, or what appears to be such, of 
the great mother herself, knowing that she means us the 
best in the gross; and also that we may all get our remedies 
for these evils in time, if we will only co-operate. People 
in South America, for instance, may learn from experience, 
and build so as to make a comparative nothing of those 
rockings of the ground. It is of the gross itself that we 
speak; and sure we are, that with an eye to that, Nature 
does not feel as Pope ventures to say she does, or sees 'with 
equal eye' 

'Atoms or systems into ruin hurl'd, 
And now a bubble burst, and now a world.' 

"He may have flattered himself that he should think it a 
fine thing for his little poetship to sit upon a star, and look 
grand in his own eyes, from an eye so very dispassionate; but 
Nature, who is the author of passion, and joy, and sornm. 
does not look upon animate and inanimate, depend upon it, 



296 Landscape Gardening 

with the same want of sympathy. 'A world' full of hopes, 
and loves, and endeavors, and of her own life and loveli- 
ness, is a far greater thing in her eyes, rest assured, than a 
'bubble;' and, a fortiori, many worlds, or a 'system,' far 
greater than the 'atom,' talked of with so much complacency 
by this divine little whipper-snapper. Ergo, the moment 
the kind mother gives promise of a renewed year, with these 
green and budding signals, be certain she is not going to 
falsify them; and that being sure of April, we are sure as 
far as November. As for an existence any further, that, 
we conceive, depends somewhat upon how we behave our- 
selves; and therefore we would exhort everybody to do 
their best for the earth, and all that is upon it, in order that 
it and they may be thought worth continuance. 

"What! Shall we be put into a beautiful garden, and 
turn up our noses at it, and call it a 'vale of tears,' and all 
sorts of bad names (helping thereby to make it so), and yet 
confidently reckon that nature will never shut it up, and 
have done with it, or set about forming a better stock of 
inhabitants? Recollect, we beseech you, dear ' Lord Worldly 
Wiseman,' and you, 'Sir Having,' and my 'Lady Greedy,' 
that there is reason for supposing that man was not always 
an inhabitant of this very fashionable world, and somewhat 
larger globe; and that perhaps the chief occupant before 
him was only an inferior species to ourselves (odd as you 
may think it), who could not be brought to know what a 
beautiful place he lived in, and so had a different chance 
given him in a different shape. Good heavens! If there 
were none but mere ladies and gentlemen, and city-men, 
and soldiers, upon earth, and no poets, readers, and milk- 
maids, to remind us that there is such a thing as Nature, we 
really should begin to tremble for Almacks and Change 
Alley (the 'upper ten' and Wall-street), about the 20th of 
next October." 



CHAPTER XXVII 
ECONOMY IN GARDENING* 

MR. COLMAN, in his Agricultural Tour,f remarks, 
that his observations abroad convinced him that 
the Americans are the most extravagant people 
in the world; and the truth of the remark is corroborated 
by the experience of every sensible traveller that returns 
from Europe. The much greater facility of getting money 
here, makes us more regardless of system in its expendi- 
ture; and the income of many an estate abroad, amounting 
to twenty thousand dollars, is expended with an exactness, 
and nicety of calculation, that would astonish persons in 
this country, who have only an income of twenty hundred 
dollars. Abroad, it is the study of those who have, how to 
save; or, in the case of spending, how to get the most for 
their money. At home, it seems to be the desire of every 
body to get and, having obtained wealth, to expend it in 
the most lavish and careless manner. 

There are, again, many who wish to be economical in 
their disbursements, but find, in a country where labor is 
one of the dearest of commodities, J that every thing which 
is attained by the expenditure of labor, costs so much more 
than they had supposed, that moderate "improvements" 

* Original date of May, 1849. 

t This and several other references to Mr. Colman's "Agricultural 
Tour" show that Mr. Downing was deeply impressed. Rev. Henry Col- 
man of Massachusetts, after making extended agricultural surveys in 
this country, visited Europe (1843) and wrote extensively of his travels 
and observations. Besides several volumes of letters he published two 
volumes of "European Agriculture and Rural Economy," in Boston 
(1846-48). --F. A. W. 

$ At the lime this was written, fairly good farm labor generally re- 
ceived SI 5 a month "and board." A high price for agricultural labor 
was $1 a day, often working "from sun-up to sun-down." - F. A. \V. 

297 



298 Landscape Gardening 

- as \vc call all kinds of building and gardening in this 
country - in a short time consume a handsome competence. 

The fact, that in no country is labor better paid for than 
in ours, is one that has much to do with the success and 
progress of the country itself. Where the day laborer is 
so poorly paid, that he must, of necessity, always be a day 
laborer, il follows, inevitably, that the condition of the 
largest number of human beings in the state must remain 
nearly stationary. On the other hand, in a community 
where the industrious, prudent, and intelligent day laborer 
can certainly rise to a more independent position, it is 
equally evident that the improvement of national character, 
and the increase of wealth, must go on rapidly together. 

But, just in proportion to the ease with which men 
accumulate wealth, will they desire to spend it; and, in 
spending it, to obtain the utmost satisfaction which it can 
produce. Among the most rational modes of doing this, in 
the country, are building and gardening: and hence, every 
year, we find a greater number of our citizens endeavoring 
to realize the pleasures of country life. 

Now building is sufficiently cheap with us. A man may 
build a comfortable cottage for a few hundred dollars, which 
abroad would cost a few thousands. But the moment he 
touches a spade to the ground, to plant a tree, or to level a 
hillock, that moment his farm is taxed three or four times 
as heavily as in Europe; and as he builds in a year, but 
"gardens" all his life, it is evident that his out-of-door 
expenses must be systematized, or economized, or he will 
find his income greatly the loser by it. Many a citizen, who 
has settled in the country with the greatest enthusiasm, has 
gone back to town in disgust at the unsuspected cost of 
country pleasures. 

And yet, there are ways in which economy and satis- 
factory results may be combined in country life. There arc 
always two ways of arriving at a result; and, in some cases, 
that mode least usually pursued is the better and more 
satisfactory one. 

The price of the cheapest labor in the country generally, 



Economy in Gardening 299 

averages 80 cents to $1 per day. Now we have no wish 
whatever to lower the price of labor; we would rather feel 
that, by and by, we could afford to pay even more. But 
we wish either to avoid unnecessary expenditure for labor 
in producing a certain result, or to arrive at some mode of 
insuring that the dollar a day, paid for labor, shall be fairly 
and well earned. 

Four-fifths of all the gardening labor performed in the 
eastern and middle states is performed by Irish emigrants.* 
Always accustomed to something of oppression on the part 
of landlords and employers, in their own country, it is not 
surprising that their old habits stick close to them here; 
and as a class, they require far more watching to get a fair 
day's labor from them than many of our own people. On 
the other hand, there is no workman who is more stimulated 
by the consciousness of working on his own account than 
an Irishman. He will work stoutly and faithfully, from 
early to late, to accomplish a job of his own seeking, or 
which he has fairly contracted for, and accomplish it in a 
third less time than if \vorking by the day. 

The deduction which experienced employers in the coun- 
try draw from this, is, never to employ "rough hands," or 
persons whose ability and steadiness have not been well 
proved, by the day or month, but always by contract, piece 
or job. The saving to the employer is large; and the 
laborer, while he gets fairly paid, is induced, by a feeling of 
greater independence, or to sustain his own credit, to labor 
faithfully and without wasting the time of his employer. 

We saw a striking illustration of this lately, in the case of 
two neighbors, - - both planting extensive orchards, and re- 
quiring, therefore, a good deal of extra labor. One of them 
had all the holes for his trees dug by contract, of good size, 
and two spades deep, for six cents per hole. The other had 
it executed by the day, and by the same class of labor, - 
foreigners, newly arrived. We had the curiosity to ask a 
few questions, to ascertain the difference of cost in the two 
cases; and found, as we expected, that the cost in the day's 

* This situation also has changed since 1849. -- F. A. W. 



300 Landscape Gardening 

work system was about ten cents per hole, or more than a 
third beyond what it cost by the job. 

Now, whether a country place is large or small, there is 
always, in the course of the season, more or less extra work 
to be performed. The regular gardener, or workman, must 
generally be hired by the day or month; though we know 
instances of everything being done by contract. But all 
this extra work can, in almost all cases, be done by contract, 
at a price greatly below what it would otherwise cost. 
Trenching, subsoiling, preparing the ground for orchards or 
kitchen gardens, or even ploughing, and gathering crops, 
may be done very much cheaper by contract than by day's 
labor. 

In Germany, the whole family, including women and 
children, work in the gardens and vineyards; and they 
always do the same here when they have land in their own 
possession. Now in every garden, vineyard, or orchard, 
there is a great deal of light work, that may be as well per- 
formed by the younger members of such a family as by any 
others. Hence, we learn that the Germans, in the large 
vineyards now growing on the Ohio, are able to cultivate 
the grape more profitably than other persons; and hence, 
German families, accustomed to this kind of labor, may 
be employed by contract in doing certain kinds of horticul- 
tural labors, at a great saving to the employer. 

Another mode of economizing, in this kind of expendi- 
ture, is by the use of all possible labor saving machines. 
One of our correspondents - - a practical gardener - - rec- 
ommended, in our last number, that the kitchen garden, in 
this country, in places of any importance, should always be 
placed near the stables, to save trouble and time in carting 
manure; and should be so arranged as to allow the plough 
and cultivator to be used, instead of the spade and hoe. 
This is excellent and judicious advice, and exactly adapted 
to this country. In parts of Europe where garden labor 
can be had for 20 cents a day, the kitchen garden may 
properly be treated with such nicety that not only good 
vegetables, but something ornamental shall be attained by 



Ecomomi in (Gardening 301 

it. But here, where the pay is as much for one man's 
labor as that of five men's labor is worth in Germany, it is 
far better to cheapen the cost of vegetables, and pay for 
ornamental work where it is more needed. 

So, too, with regard to every instance, where the more 
cheap and rapid working of an improved machine, or im- 
plement, may be substituted for manual labor. In several 
of the largest country seats on the Hudson, where there is 
so great an extent of walks and carriage road, that several 
men would be employed almost constantly in keeping them 
in order, they are all cleaned of weeds in a day by the aid 
of the horse hoe for gravel walks. In all such cases as 
these, the proprietor not only gets rid of the trouble and 
care of employing a large number of workmen, but of the 
annoyance of paying more than their labor is fairly worth 
for the purpose in question. 

There are many modes of economizing in the expenditures 
of a country place, which time, and the ingenuity of our 
countrymen will suggest, with more experience. But there 
is one which has frequently occurred to us, and which is so 
obvious that we are surprised that no one has adopted it. 
We mean the substitution, in country places of tolerable 
size, of fine sheep, for the scythe, in keeping the lawn in 
order.* 

No one now thinks of considering his place in any way 
ornamental, who does not keep his lawn well mown, - - not 
once or twice a year, for grass, but once or twice a month, 
for "velvet." This, to be sure, costs something; but, for 
general effect, the beauty of a good lawn and trees is so 
much greater than that of mere flowers, that no one, who 
values them rightly, would even think of paying dearly for 
the latter, and neglecting the former. 

Now, half a dozen or more sheep, of some breed service- 
able and ornamental, might be kept on a place properly 
arranged, so as to do the work of two mowers, always keep- 
ing the lawn close and short, and not only without expense, 
but possibly with some profit. No grass surface, except a 
* A suggestion quite as -timely after the lapse of 70 years. F. A. W. 



302 Landscape Gardening 

short lawn, is neater than one cropped by sheep; and, for a 
certain kind of country residence, where the picturesque or 
pastoral, rather than the studiously elegant, is desired, 
sheep would heighten the interest and beauty of the scene. 

In order to use sheep in this way, the place should be so 
arranged that the flower garden and shrubbery shall be 
distinct from the lawn. In many cases in England, a small 
portion, directly round the house, is inclosed with a wire 
fence, woven in a pretty pattern (worth three or four shillings 
a yard). This contains the flowers and shrubs, on the 
parlor side of the house, with a small portion of lawn dressed 
by the scythe. All the rest is fed by the sheep, which are 
folded regularly every night, to prevent accident from dogs. 
In this way, a beautiful lawn-like surface is maintained 
without the least annual outlay. We commend the prac- 
tice for imitation in this country. 



CHAPTER XXVIII 
A CHAPTER ON LA\YNS* 

LANDSCAPE GARDENING embraces, in the circle 
of its perfections many elements of beauty certainly 
not a less number than the modern chemists count 
as the simplest conditions of matter. But with something 
of the feeling of the old philosophers, who believed that 
earth, air, fire and water, included everything in nature, we 
like to go back to plain and simple facts of breadth and 
importance enough to embrace a multitude of little details. 
The great elements then, of landscape gardening, as we 
understand it, are trees and grass. 

Trees -- delicate, beautiful, grand, or majestic trees - 
pliantly answering to the wooing of the softest west wind, 
like the willow; or bravely and sturdily defying centuries 
of storm and tempest, like the oak - - they are indeed the 
great "princes, potentates, and people," of our realm of 
beauty. But it is not to-day that we are permitted to sing 
triumphal songs in their praise. 

In behalf of the grass - - the turf, the lawn, - - then, we 
ask our readers to listen to us for a short time. And by this 
we do not mean to speak of it in a moral sense, as did the 
inspired preacher of old, when he gravely told us that "all 
ilesh is grass;" or in a style savoring of the vanities of 
costume, as did Prior, when he wrote the couplet, 

"Those limbs in lawn and softest silk arrayed, 
From sunbeams guarded, and of winds afraid." 

Or with the keen relish of the English jockey whose only 
idea of "the turf" is that of the place nature has specially 
provided him upon which to race horses. 

* Original date of November, 1846. 
303 



304 



Landscape Gardening 



Neither do we look upon grass at the present moment 
with the eyes of our friend Tom Thrifty, the farmer, who 
cuts "three tons to the acre." We have in our present 
mood no patience with the tall and gigantic fodder, by this 
name, that grows in the fertile bottoms of the West, so tall 
that the largest Durham is lost to view while walking 
through it. 



\ 




FIG. 41. A WELL-MOULDED LAWN 

No, we love most the soft turf which, beneath the flicker- 
ing shadows of scattered trees, is thrown like a smooth 
natural carpet over the swelling outline of the smiling earth. 
Grass, not grown into tall meadows, or wild bog tussocks, 
but softened and refined by the frequent touches of the 
patient mower, till at last it becomes a perfect wonder of 
tufted freshness and verdure. Such grass, in short, as 
Shakespeare had in his mind, when he said, in words since 
echoed ten thousand times, 

"How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon that bank;" 



A Chapter on Lawns 305 

or Ariosto, in his Orlando - 

"The approaching night, not knowing where to pass, 
She checks her reins, and on the velvet grass, 
Beneath the umbrageous trees, her form she throws, 
To cheat the tedious hours with brief repose." 

In short, the ideal of grass is a lawn, which is, to a meadow, 
what "Bishop's lawn" is to homespun Irish linen. 

With such a lawn, and large and massive trees, one has 
indeed the most enduring sources of beauty in a country 
residence. Perpetual neatness, freshness and verdure in the 
one; ever expanding beauty, variety and grandeur in the 
other - - what more does a reasonable man desire of the 
beautiful about him in the country? Must we add flowers, 
exotic plants, fruits? Perhaps so, but they are all, in an 
ornamental light, secondary to trees and grass, where these 
can be had in perfection. Only one other grand element is 
needed to make our landscape garden complete - - water. 
A river, or a lake, in which the skies and the "tufted trees" 
may see themselves reflected, is ever an indispensable fea- 
ture to a perfect landscape. 

How to obtain a fine lawn is a question which has no 
doubt already puzzled many of our readers. They have 
thought, perhaps, that it would be quite sufficient to sow 
with grass seeds, or lay down neatly with sods, any plat of 
common soil, to mow it occasionally, to be repaid by the 
perpetual softness and verdure of an "English lawn." 

They have found, however, after a patient trial in several 
seasons, that an American summer, so bright and sunny as 
to give us, in our fruits, almost the ripeness and prodigality 
of the tropics, does not, like that of Britain, ever moist and 
humid, naturally favor the condition of fine lawns. 

Beautiful as our lawns usually are in May, June, Sep- 
tember, and October, yet in July and August, they too often 
lose that freshness and verdure which is for them what the 
rose-bloom of youth is to a beauty of seventeen- their 
most captivating feature. 

There are not wanting admirers of fine lawns, who, wit- 



306 Landscape Gardening 

nessing this summer searing, have pronounced it an im- 
possible thing to produce a fine lawn in this country. To 
such an opinion we can never subscribe, for the very suffi- 
cient reason that we have seen over and over again admir- 
able lawns wherever they have been properly treated. Fine 
lawns are therefore possible in all the northern half of the 
Union. What then are the necessary conditions to be ob- 
served, what the preliminary steps to be taken in order to 
obtain them? Let us answer in a few words - - deep soil, the 
proper kinds of grasses and frequent mowing. 

First of all, for us, deep soil. In a moist climate where 
showers or fogs give all vegetable nature a weekly succes- 
sion of baths, one may raise a pretty bit of turf on a bare 
board with half an inch of soil. But here it does not require 
much observation or theory to teach us that if any plant is 
to maintain its verdure through a long and bright summer 
with alternate periods of wet and drouth it must have a 
deep soil in which to extend its roots. We have seen the 
roots of common clover, in trenched soil, which had de- 
scended to the depth of four feet ! A surface drouth, or dry 
weather, had little power over a plant whose little fibres 
were in the cool moist understratum of that depth. And a 
lawn which is well established on thoroughly trenched soil, 
will remain, even in midsummer, of a fine dark verdure when 
upon the same soil untrenched every little period of dryness 
would give a brown and faded look to the turf. 

The most essential point being a deep soil, we need not 
say that in our estimation any person about to lay down a 
permanent lawn, whether of fifty acres or fifty feet square, 
must provide himself against failure by this groundwork of 
success. 

Little plats of ground are easily trenched with the spade. 
Large lawn surfaces are only to be managed (unless ex- 
pense is not a consideration), with the subsoil plow. With 
this grand developer of resources, worked by two yoke of 
oxen, let the whole area to be laid down be thoroughly 
moved and broken up two feet deep. The autumn or early 
winter is the best season for performing this, because the 



A Chapter on Lawns 307 

surface will have ample time to settle, and take a proper 
shape before spring. 

After being plowed, subsoiled and harrowed, let the whole 
surface be entirely cleared of even the smallest stone. It 
is quite impossible to mow a lawn well that is not as smooth 
as ground can be made. Manure, if necessary, should be 
applied while subsoiling. We say, if necessary, for if the 
land is strong and in good heart it is not needed. The 
object in a lawn, it will be remembered, is not to obtain 
a heavy crop of hay, but simply to maintain perpetual 
verdure. Rich soil would defeat our object by causing a 
rank growth and coarse stalks, w^hen we wish a short growth 
and soft herbage. Let the soil, therefore, be good, but not 
rich; depth, and the power of retaining moisture, are the 
truly needful qualities here. If the land is very light and 
sandy (the worst naturally), we would advise a mixture of 
loam or clay; which indeed subsoiling, when the substratum 
is heavy, will often most readily effect. 

The soil thus prepared lies all winter to mellow and settle 
with the kindly influences of the atmosphere and frost 
upon it. As early in the spring, as it is in friable working 
condition, stir it lightly with the plough and harrow, and 
make the surface as smooth as possible- - we do not mean 
level, for if the ground is not a flat, nothing is so agreeable 
as gentle swells or undulations. But quite smooth the sur- 
face must be. 

Now for the sowing; and here a farmer would advise you 
to "seed down with oats," or some such established agri- 
cultural precept. Do not listen to him for a moment! 
What you desire is a close turf, and therefore sow nothing 
but grass; and do not suppose you are going to assist a 
weak growing plant by sowing along with it a coarser 
growing one to starve it. 

* Mr. Downing apparently means to say that subsoiling will bring up 
some of the clay subsoil and mix it with the more sandy surface soil. 
Attention should be directed, however, to the fact that subsoiling, a 
practice not greatly in vogue at the present time, is actually a damage 
to light sandy soils. In such soils bottom drainage may be too free, and 
a further opening of the subsoil will only make matters worse. - V. \. W. 



308 Landscape Gardening 

Choose if possible a calm day and sow your seed as evenly 
as you can. The seed to be sown is a mixture of red-top 
(Agrostis vulgaris) and white clover (Trifolium repens), which 
are hardy short grasses, and on the whole make the best 
and most enduring lawn for this climate.* The proportion 
should be about three-fourths red-top to one-fourth white 
clover. The seed should be perfectly clean; then sow four 
bushels of it to the acre; not a pint less as you hope to walk 
upon velvet! Finish the whole by rolling the surface 
evenly and neatly. 

A few soft vernal showers and bright sunny days will 
show you a coat of verdure bright as emerald. By the first 
of June you will find it necessary to look about for your 
mower. 

And this reminds us to say a word about a lawn scythe. 
You must not suppose, as many ignorant people do, that a 
lawn can be mown with a brush hook or a common meadow 
scythe for cutting hay in the fastest possible manner. It 
can only be done with a broad-bladed scythe, of the most 
perfect temper and quality, which will hold an edge like a 
razor. When used it should be set low so as to be level 
with the plane of the grass; when the mower is erect, he 
will mow without leaving any marks and with the least 
possible exertion. 

After your lawn is once fairly established, there are but 
two secrets in keeping it perfect - - frequent mowing and 
rolling. Without the first it will soon degenerate into a 
coarse meadow; the latter will render it firmer, closer, 
shorter, and finer every time it is repeated. 

A good lawn must be mown every ten days or fortnight. 
The latter may be assumed as the proper average time in 

* We learn the blue-grass of Kentucky makes a fine lawn at the West, 
1ml with this we have no experience. -- A. ,J. D. A more modern pre- 
scription is the following: Kentucky Blue grass, Poa pratensis, 9 Ibs.; 
Rhode Island Bent grass, Agrostis canina, 3 Ibs.; Red Top, Agrostis alba 
inilyaris, 4 Ibs.; English Rye, Loliurn perenne, 3 Ibs.; White Clover 
(optional) Trifolium repent, 1 Ib. The seed should be put in on a very 
quiet day, seventy-five to one hundred pounds of "fancy recleaned" seed 
per acre being used, or about one-half pound per square rod. F. A. W. 



A Chapter on Lawns ;>()9 

this climate. Ten days is the usual limit of growth for 
the best kept lawns in England, and it is surprising how 
soon a coarse and wiry bit of sward will become smooth 
turf, under the magic influences of regular and oft repeated 
mowing and rolling. 

Of course a lawn can only be cut when the grass is damp, 
and rolling is best performed directly after rain. The 
English always roll a few hours before using the scythe. 
On large lawns a donkey or light horse may be advan- 
tageously employed in performing this operation.* 

There are but few good lawns yet in America, but we 
have great pleasure in observing that they are rapidly mul- 
tiplying. Though it may seem a heavy tax to some, yet 
no expenditure in ornamental gardening is, to our mind, 
productive of so much beauty as that incurred in producing 
a well-kept lawn. Without this feature no place, however 
great its architectural beauties, its charms of scenery, or 
its collections of flowers and shrubs, can be said to deserve 
consideration in point of landscape gardening; and with it 
the humble cottage grounds will possess a charm which is, 
among pleasure grounds, what a refined and graceful man- 
ner is in society - - a universal passport to admiration. 

* The modern triplex horse lawn mower is one of the most practical 
tools of the present day, though the lighter motor-driven mowers answer 
very well. F. A. W. 



CHAPTER XXIX 
TREATMENT OF LAWNS* 

AS a lawn is the ground-work of a landscape garden, 
and as the management of a dressed grass surface 
is still a somewhat ill-understood subject with us, 
some of our readers will, perhaps, be glad to receive a very 
few hints on this subject. 

The unrivalled beauty of the "velvet lawns" of England 
has passed into a proverb. This is undoubtedly owing, in 
some measure, to their superior care and keeping, but 
mainly to the highly favorable climate of that moist and 
sea-girt land. In a very dry climate it is nearly impos- 
sible to preserve that emerald freshness in a grass surface, 
that belongs only to a country of "weeping skies." During 
all the present season, on the Hudson, where we write, the 
constant succession of showers has given us, even in the 
heat of midsummer, a softness and verdure of lawn that 
can scarcely be surpassed in any climate or country. 

Our climate, however, is in the middle states one of too 
much heat and brilliancy of sun, to allow us to keep our 
lawns in the best condition without considerable care. 
Beautifully verdant in spring and autumn, they are often 
liable to suffer from drought in midsummer. On sandy 
soils, this is especially the case, while on strong loamy soils, 
a considerable drought will be endured without injury to 
the good appearance of the grass. It therefore is a sugges- 
tion worthy of the attention of the lover of a fine lawn, who 
is looking about for a country residence, to carefully avoid 
one where the soil is sandy. The only remedy in such a 
soil is a tedious and expensive one, that of constant and 
plentiful top-dressing with a compost of manure and heavy 

* From the Appendix to " Landscape Gardening." 

310 



Treatment of Lawns 311 

soil - - marsh mud - - swamp muck, or the like. Should it 
fortunately be the case (which is very rare) that the sub- 
stratum is loamy, deep, ploughing, or trenching, by bring- 
ing up and mixing with the light surface soil some of the 
heavier earth from below, will speedily tend to remedy the 
evil. 

In almost all cases where the soil is of good strength, a 
permanent lawn may be secured by preparing the soil 
deeply before finally laying it down. This may be done 
readily, at but little outlay, by deep ploughing - - a good 
and cheap substitute for trenching - - that is to say making 
the plough follow three times in the same furrow. This, 
with manure, if necessary, will secure a depth of soil suffi- 
cient to allow the roots of plants to strike below the effects 
of a surface drought. 

In sowing a lawn, the best mixture of grasses that we can 
recommend for this climate, is a mixture of red-top and 
white clover - - two natural grasses found by almost every 
roadside - - in the proportion of three fourths of the former 
to one of the latter. 

There is a common and very absurd notion current (which 
we have several times practically disproved), that, in order 
to lay down a lawn well, it is better to sow the seed along 
with that of some grain; thus, starving the growth of a 
small plant by forcing it to grow with a larger and coarser 
one. A whole year is always lost by this process - - in- 
deed more frequently two. Many trials have convinced us 
that the proper mode is to sow a heavy crop of grass at 
once, and we advise him who desires to have speedily a 
handsome turf, to follow the English practice, and sow 
three to four bushels of seed to the acre. If this is done 
early in the spring, he will have a lawn-like surface by mid- 
summer, and a fine close turf the next season. 

After this, the whole beauty of a lawn depends on fre- 
quent mowing. Once a fortnight at the furthest, is the 
rule for all portions of the lawn in the neighborhood of the 
house, or near the principal walks. A longer growth than 
this will leave yellow and coarser stubble after mowing, 



312 Landscape Gardening 

instead of a soft velvet surface. A broad-bladed scythe, 
set nearly parallel to the surface, is the instrument for the 
purpose, and with it a clever mower will be able to shave 
within half an inch of the ground, without leaving any 
marks. To free the surface from worm casts, etc., it is a 
common practice to roll the previous evening as much as 
may be mown the next day. 

As the neatness of a well kept lawn depends mainly upon 
the manner in which it is mown, and as this again can only 
be well done where there are no inequalities in the ground, it 
follows that the surface should be kept as smooth as pos- 
sible. Before sowing a lawn, too much pains cannot be 
taken to render its surface smooth and even. After this, in 
the spring, before the grass starts, it should be examined, 
and all little holes and irregularities filled up, and the same 
should be looked over at any annual top-dressing that may 
take place. The occasional use of a heavy roller, after 
rain, will also greatly tend to remedy all defects of this 
nature. 

Where a piece of land is long kept in lawn, it must have 
an occasional .top-dressing every two or three years, if the 
soil is rich, or every season, if it is poor. As early as pos- 
sible in the spring is the best time to apply such a top- 
dressing, which may be a compost of any decayed vegetable 
or animal matter - - heavier and more abounding with 
marsh mud, etc., just in proportion to the natural lightness 
of the soil. Indeed almost every season the lawn should 
be looked over, all weeds taken out, and any poor or im- 
poverished spots plentifully top-dressed, and, if necessary, 
sprinkled with a little fresh seed. Wood ashes, either fresh 
or leached, is also one of the most efficient fertilizers of a 
lawn. 

We can already, especially in the finer places on the Hud- 
son, and about Boston, boast of many finely kept lawns, 
and we hope every day, as the better class of country resi- 
dences increases, to see this indispensable feature in tasteful 
grounds becoming better understood and more universal. 



CHAPTER XXX 
TRANSPLANTING OF TREES* 

THERE is no subject on which the professional horti- 
culturist is more frequently consulted in America, 
than transplanting trees. And, as it is an essential 
branch of Landscape Gardening - - indeed, perhaps, the 
most important and necessary one to be practically under- 
stood in the improvement or embellishment of new country 
residences - - we shall offer a few remarks here, with the 
hope of rendering it a more easy and successful practice in 
the hands of amateurs. 

The first and most important consideration in transplant- 
ing should be the preservation of the roots. By this we 
do not mean a certain bulk of the larger and more important 
ones only, but as far as possible all the numerous small 
fibres and rootlets so indispensably necessary in assisting 
the tree to recover from the shock of removal. The coarser 
and larger roots serve to secure the tree in its position, and 
convey the fluids; but it is by means of the small fibrous 
roots, or the delicate and numerous points of these fibres 
called spongioles, that the food of plants is imbibed, and 
the destruction of such is manifestly in the highest degree 
fatal to the success of the transplanted tree. To avoid this 
as far as practicable, we should, in removing a tree, com- 
mence at such a distance as to include a circumference 
large enough to comprise the great majority of the roots. 

* In the early editions of "Landscape Gardening" Mr. Downing in- 
troduced rather extensive appendices. Of these Mr. Sargent saved only 
two for the Sixth Edition, viz., the one on "Transplanting of Trees" and 
one on the "Treatment of Lawns." These contain much interesting and 
original matter from Mr. Downing, and are accordingly reproduced in the 
present edition. The modern reader, however, will remark with surprise 
the extent to which English authors were quoted, English practice imi- 
tated and English opinion venerated. -- F. A. W. 

313 



314 Landscape Gardening 

At that distance from the trunk we shall find most of the 
smaller roots, which should be carefully loosened from the 
soil, with as little injury as possible; the earth should be 
gently and gradually removed from the larger roots, as we 
proceed onward from the extremity of the circle to the 
centre, and when we reach the nucleus of roots surrounding 
the trunk, and fairly undermine the whole, we shall find 
ourselves in possession of a tree in such a perfect condition, 
that even when of considerable size, we may confidently 
hope for a speedy recovery of its former luxuriance after 
being replanted. 

Now to remove a tree in this manner, requires not only a 
considerable degree of experience, which is only to be ac- 
quired by practice, but also much patience and perseverance 
while engaged in the work. It is not a difficult task to 
remove, in a careless manner, four or five trees in a day, of 
fifteen feet in height, by the assistance of thee or four men, 
and proper implements of removal, while one or two trees 
only can be removed if the roots and branches are preserved 
entire or nearly so. Yet in the latter case, if the work be 
well performed, we shall have the satisfaction of beholding 
the subjects, when removed, soon taking fresh root, and 
becoming vigorous healthy trees, with fine luxuriant heads, 
while three-fourths of the former will most probably perish, 
and the remainder struggle for several years, under the loss 
of so large a portion of their roots and branches, before they 
entirely recover, and put on the appearance of handsome 
trees. 

When a tree is carelessly transplanted, and the roots much 
mutilated, the operator feels obliged to reduce the top 
accordingly; as experience teaches him, that although the 
leaves may expand, yet they will soon perish without a 
fresh supply of food from the roots. But when the largest 
portion of the roots are carefully taken up with the tree, 
pruning should be less resorted to, and thus the original 
symmetry and beauty of the head retained. When this is 
the case, the leaves contribute as much, by their peculiar 
action in elaborating the sap, towards re-establishing the 




FIG. 42. SOCIAL HOUR UNDER THE PAULOWNIA TREE 



(315) 



316 Landscape Gardening 

tree, as the roots; and indeed the two act so reciprocally 
with each other, that any considerable injury to the one 
always affects the other. "The functions of respiration, 
perspiration, and digestion," says Professor Lindley, "which 
are the particular offices of leaves, are essential to the health 
of a plant; its healthiness being in proportion to the degree 
in which these functions are duly performed. The leaf is 
in reality a natural contrivance for exposing a large surface 
to the influence of external agents, by whose assistance the 
crude sap contained in the stem is altered, and rendered 
suitable to the particular wants of the species, and for 
returning into the general circulation, the fluids in their 
matured condition. In a word, the leaf of a plant is its 
lungs and stomach traversed by a system of veins." * All 
the pruning, therefore, that is necessary, when a tree is 
properly transplanted, will be comprised in paring smooth 
all bruises or accidental injuries, received by the roots or 
branches during the operation, or the removal of a few that 
may interfere with elegance of form in the head. 

Next in importance to the requisite care in performing the 
operation of transplanting, is the proper choice of individual 
trees to be transplanted. In making selections for removal 
among our fine forest trees, it should never be forgotten that 
there are two distinct kinds of subjects, even of the same 
species of every tree, viz. those that grow among and are sur- 
rounded by other trees or woods, and those which grow alone, 
in free open exposures, where they are acted upon by the 
winds, storms, and sunshine, at all times and seasons. The 
former class it will always be exceedingly difficult to trans- 
plant successfully even with the greatest care, while the 
latter may always be removed with comparatively little 
risk of failure. 

Any one who is at all familiar with the growth of trees in 
woods or groves somewhat dense, is also aware of the great 
difference in the external appearance between such trees 
and those which stand singly in open spaces. In thick 
woods, trees are found to have tall, slender trunks, with 
* Lindley, " Theory of Horticulture." 



Transplanting of Trees 317 

comparatively few branches except at the top, smooth and 
thin bark, and they are scantily provided with roots, but 
especially with the small fibres so essentially necessary to 
insure the growth of the tree when transplanted. Those, 
on the other hand, which stand isolated, have short thick 
stems,' numerous branches, thick bark, and great abundance 
of root and small fibres. The latter, accustomed to the full 
influence of the weather, to cold winds as well as open sun- 
shine have what Sir Henry Steuart has aptly denominated 
the "protecting properties," well developed; being robust 
and hardy, they are well calculated to endure the violence 
of the removal, while trees growing in the midst of a wood 
sheltered from the tempests by their fellows, and scarcely 
ever receiving the sun and air freely except at their topmost 
branches, are too feeble to withstand the change of situa- 
tion, when removed to an open lawn, even when they are 
carefully transplanted. 

"Of trees in open exposures," says Sir Henry, "we find 
that their peculiar properties contribute, in a remarkable 
manner, to their health and prosperity. In the first place, 
their shortness and greater girth of stem, in contradistinc- 
tion to others in the interior of woods, are obviously in- 
tended to give the former greater strength to resist the 
winds, and a shorter lever to act upon the roots. Secondly, 
their larger heads, with spreading branches, in consequence 
of the free access of light, are as plainly formed for the 
nourishment as well as the balancing of so large a trunk, and 
also for furnishing a cover to shield it from the elements. 
Thirdly, their superior thickness and induration of bark is, 
in like manner, bestowed for the protection of the sap-ves- 
sels, that lie immediately under it, and which, without such 
defence from cold, could not perform their functions. 
Fourthly, their greater number and variety of roots are for 
the double purpose of nourishment and strength; nourish- 
ment to support a mass of such magnitude, and strength 
to contend with the fury of the blast. Such are the obvious 
purposes for which the unvarying characteristics of trees in 
open exposures are conferred upon them. Nor are they 



318 Landscape Garden inn 

conferred equally and indiscriminately upon all trees so 
situated. They seem, by the economy of nature, to be 
peculiar adaptations to the circumstances and wants of 
each individual, uniformly bestowed in the ratio of exposure, 
greater where that is more conspicuous, and uniformly de- 
creasing, as it becomes less." * 

Trees in which the protecting properties are well devel- 
oped are frequently to be met with on the skirts of woods; 
but those standing singly here and there, through the culti- 
vated fields and meadows of our farm lands, where the roots 
have extended themselves freely in the mellow soil, are the 
finest subjects for removal into the lawn, park, or pleasure 
ground. 

The'machine used in removing trees of moderate size is of 
simple construction, consisting of a pair of strong wheels 
about five feet high, a stout axle, and a pole about twelve 
feet long. In transplanting, the wheels and axle are brought 
close to the trunk of the tree, the pole is firmly lashed to the 
stem, and when the soil is sufficiently removed and loosened 
about the roots, the pole, with the tree attached, is drawn 
down to a horizontal position by the aid of men and a pair 
of horses. When the tree is thus drawn out of the hole, it 
is well secured and properly balanced upon the machine, the 
horses are fastened in front of the mass of roots by gearings 
attached to the axle, and the whole is transported to the 
destined location. 

In order more effectually to insure the growth of large 
specimens when transplanted, a mode of preparing before- 
hand a supply of young roots, is practised by skilful opera- 
tors. This consists in removing the top soil, partially un- 
dermining the tree, and shortening back many of the roots; 
and afterwards replacing the former soil by rich mould, or 
soil well manured. This is suffered to remain at least one 
year, and often three or four years; the tree, stimulated by 
the fresh supply of food, throws out an abundance of small 
fibres, which render success, when the time for removal 
arrives, comparatively certain. 

* Stcuart, The Planter's Clinch-," p. 105. 



Transplanting of Trees 319 

It may be well to remark here, that before large trees arc 
transplanted into their final situations, the latter should be 
well prepared by trenching, or digging the soil two or three 
feet deep, intermingling throughout the whole a liberal por- 
tion of well decomposed manure, or rich compost. To those 
who are in the habit of planting trees of any size in unpre- 
pared grounds, or that merely prepared by digging one spil 
deep, and turning in a little surface manure, it is incon- 
ceivable how much more rapid is the growth, and how 
astonishingly luxuriant the appearance of trees when re- 
moved into ground properly prepared. It is not too much 
to affirm, that young trees under favorable circumstances - 
in soil so prepared - - will advance more rapidly, and attain 
a larger stature in eight years, than those planted in the 
ordinary way, without deepening the soil, will in twenty 
- and trees of larger size in proportion; a gain of growth 
surely worth the trilling expense incurred in the first in- 
stance. And the same observation will apply to all plant- 
ing. A little extra labor and cost expended in preparing the 
soil will, for a long time, secure a surprising rapidity of 
growth.* 

\Vhere expense is not so much an object as success, \ve cannot too. 
deeply impress upon planters the necessity of making very deep, and very 
wide holes, or pits, as they are called in England. These pits should be 
four to five feet deep, and not less than ten to sixteen feet in diameter, 
and neither round nor square, but star-shaped, or cross-shaped, of such a 
form as would be produced by placing one equilateral triangle upon 
another, or two parallelograms across each other, so as to form a Greek 
cross. 

The object of departing from the square, or round form, is to intro- 
duce the growing fibres of the young trees into the firm and poor soil, by 
degrees, and not all at once, as in the round or square-hole manner. 

When a tree is planted in the round or square pit, surrounded outside 
of it by poor, hard soil, it is very much in the same situation as if its roots 
were confined in a tub or box. 

The dove-tailing, so to speak, of the prepared soil, and of the moisture 
it will retain, with the hard, impenetrable soil by which it is surrounded, 
will gradually prepare tin- latter for being penetrated by the roots of the 
trees, and prevent the sides of the pit from giving the same check to those 
roots, which the sides of the pot or tub do to the plant contained in it. 
In the preparation of these holes, the lower spot, or hard-pan, should be 



320 Landscape Gardening 

In the actual planting of the tree, the chief point lies in 
bringing every small fibre in contact with the soil, so that 
no hollows or interstices are left, which may produce mouldi- 
ness and decay of the roots. To avoid this, the soil must 
be pulverized with the spade before filling in, and one of 
the workmen, with his hands and a flat dibble of wood, 
should fill up all cavities, and lay out the small roots before 
covering them in their natural position. When watering is 
thought advisable (and we practise it almost invariably), it 
should always be done while the planting is going forward. 
Poured in the hole when the roots are just covered with the 
soil, it serves to settle the loose earth compactly around the 
various roots, and thus both furnishes a supply of moisture, 
and brings the pulverized mould in proper contact for 
growth. Trees well watered when planted in this way, will 
rarely require it afterwards; and should they do so, the 
better way is to remove two or three inches of the top soil, 
and give the lower stratum a copious supply; when the 
water having been absorbed, the surface should again be 
replaced. There is no practice more mischievous to newly 
moved trees, than that of pouring water, during hot weather, 
upon the surface of the ground above the roots. Acted 
upon by the sun and wind, this surface becomes baked, and 
but little water reaches the roots; or just sufficient, perhaps, 
to afford a momentary stimulus, to be followed by increased 
sensibility to the parching drought. 

With respect to the proper seasons for transplanting, we 
may remark that, except in extreme northern latitude, 
autumn planting is generally preferred for large, hardy, de- 
ciduous trees. It may commence as soon as the leaves fall, 
and may be continued until winter. In planting large trees 
in spring, we should commence as early as possible, to give 
them the benefit of the April rains; if it should be deferred 
to a later period, the trees will be likely to suffer greatly by 
the hot summer sun before they are well established. 

thrown out, and ten to twelve- inches of stone substituted, for the double 
purpose of drainage, and retention of moisture in dry weather. H. W. 
SARGENT. 



Transplanting of Trees 321 

The transplanting of evergreens is generally considered 
so much more difficult than that of deciduous trees, and so 
many persons who have tolerable success in the latter, fail 
in the former, that we may perhaps be expected to point out 
the reason of these frequent failures. 

Most of our horticultural maxims are derived from Eng- 
lish authors and among them, that of always planting ever- 
greens either in August or late in autumn. At both these 
seasons, it is nearly impossible to succeed in the temperate 
portions of the United States, from the different character 
of our climate at these seasons. The genial moisture of the 
English climate renders transplanting comparatively easy 
at all seasons, but especially in winter, while in this country, 
our Augusts are dry and hot, and our winters generally dry 
and cold. If planted in the latter part of summer, ever- 
greens become parched in their foliage, and soon perish. If 
planted in autumn or early winter, the severe cold that en- 
sues, to which the newly disturbed plant is peculiarly alive, 
paralyses vital action, and the tree is so much enfeebled that, 
when spring arrives, it survives but a short period. The 
only period, therefore, that remains for the successful re- 
moval of evergreens here, is the spring.* When planted as 
early as practicable in the spring, so as to have the full bene- 
fit of the abundant rains so beneficial to vegetation at that 
season, they will almost immediately protrude new shoots 
and regain their former vigor. 

Evergreens are, in their roots, much more delicate and 
impatient of dryness than deciduous trees; and this should 
be borne in mind while transplanting them. For this 
reason, experienced planters always choose a wet or misty 
day for their removal; and, in dry weather, we would 
always recommend the roots to be kept watered and covered 

* It is surpassing strange that at this point, where Mr. Downing most 
clearly broke with English practice and most definitely indicated the 
grounds for the horticultural independence of America, his conclusions 
should not be sustained by later generations. The most experienced 
American planters of this day transplant evergreens freely in August, 
many of them preferring that month; and this procedure is successful 
even on the dry hot wind-swept central plains. -- F. A. W. 



322 Landscape Gardening 

from the air by mats during transportation. When proper 
regard is paid to this point, and to judicious selection of 
the season, evergreens will not be found more difficult of 
removal than other trees. 

Another mode of transplanting large evergreens, which is 
very successfully practised among us, is that of removing 
them with frozen balls of earth in mid-winter. When skil- 
fully performed, it is perhaps the most complete of all modes, 
and is so different from the common method, that the objec- 
tion we have just made to winter planting does not apply 
to this case. The trees to be removed are selected, the 
situations chosen, and the holes dug, while the ground is 
yet open in autumn. When the ground is somewhat 
frozen, the operator proceeds to dig a trench around the 
tree at some distance, gradually undermining it, and leav- 
ing all the principal mass of roots embodied in the ball of 
earth. The whole ball is then left to freeze pretty thoroughly 
(generally till snow covers the ground), when a large sled 
drawn by oxen is brought as near as possible, the ball of 
earth containing the tree rolled upon it, and the whole is 
easily transported to the hole previously prepared, where 
it is placed in the proper position, and as soon as the weather 
becomes mild, the earth is properly filled in around the ball. 
A tree, either evergreen or deciduous, may be transplanted 
in this way, so as scarcely to show, at the return of growth, 
any ill effects from its change of location. 



CHAPTER XXXI 
OUR COUNTRY VILLAGES* 

WITHOUT any boasting it may safely be said that 
the natural features of our common country (as 
the speakers in Congress call her) are as agreeable 
and prepossessing as those of any other land, whether merry 
England, la belle France, or the German fatherland. We 
have greater lakes, larger rivers, broader and more fertile 
prairies than the old world can show; and if the Alleghanies 
are rather dwarfish when compared to the Alps, there are 
peaks and summits, "castle hills" and volcanoes, in our 
great backbone range of the Pacific - - the Rocky Moun- 
tains - - which may safely hold up their heads along with 
Mont Blanc and the Jungfrau. 

Providence, then, has blessed this country - - our coun- 
try --with "natural born" features which we may look 
upon and be glad. But how have we sought to deform the 
fair landscape here and there by little, miserable shabby- 
looking towns and villages; not miserable and shabby- 
looking from the poverty and wretchedness of the inhabi- 
tants - for in no land is there more peace and plenty - 
but miserable and shabby-looking from the absence of taste, 
symmetry, order, space, proportion, - - all that constitutes 
beauty. Ah, well and truly did Cowper say, 

"God made Ihc country, but man made the town." 

For in the one we everywhere see utility and beauty har- 
moniously combined, while the other presents us but too 
often the reverse, that is to say, the marriage of utility and 
deformity. 

Some of our readers may remind us that we have already 

* Original date of June, 1850. 
323 



324 Landscape Gardening 

preached a sermon from this text. No matter; we should 
be glad to preach fifty; yes, or even establish a sect, as 
that seems the only way of making proselytes now, - - whose 
duty it should be to convert people living in the country 
towns to the true faith; we mean the true rural faith, viz., 
that it is immoral and uncivilized to live in mean and un- 
couth villages, where there is no poverty, or want of intelli- 
gence in the inhabitants; that there is nothing laudable in 
having a pianoforte and mahogany chairs in the parlor 
where the streets outside are barren of shade trees, destitute 
of sidewalks, and populous with pigs and geese. 

We are bound to admit (with a little shame and humilia- 
tion, - - being a native of New York, the "Empire State"), 
that there is one part of the Union where the millennium of 
country towns, and good government and rural taste has 
not only commenced but is in full domination. We mean, 
of course, Massachusetts. The traveller may go from one 
end of that state to the other, and find flourishing villages 
with broad streets lined with maples and elms, behind 
which are goodly rows of neat and substantial dwellings, 
full of evidences of order, comfort and taste. Throughout 
the whole state no animals are allowed to run at large in 
the streets of towns and villages. Hence so much more 
cleanliness than elsewhere; so much more order and neat- 
ness; so many more pretty rural lanes; so many inviting 
flower gardens and orchards, only separated from the 
passer-by by a low railing or hedge instead of a formidable 
board fence. Now if you cross the state line into New 
York - - a state of far greater wealth than Massachusetts, 
as long settled and nearly as populous -- you feel directly 
that you are in the land of "pigs and poultry," in the least 
agreeable sense of the word. In passing through villages 
and towns the truth is still more striking as you go to the 
south and west; and you feel little or nothing of that sense, 
of "how pleasant it must be to live here," which the traveller 
through Berkshire, or the Connecticut valley, or the pretty 
villages about Boston, feels moving his heart within him. 
You are rather inclined to wish there were two new com- 



Our Country Villages 325 

mandments, viz.: thou shall plant trees, to hide the naked- 
ness of the streets; and thou shalt not keep pigs, except in 
the back yard ! * 

Our more reflective and inquiring readers will naturally 
ask why is this better condition of things - - a condition 
that denotes better citizens, better laws, and higher civili- 
zation - - confined almost wholly to Massachusetts? To 
save them an infinite deal of painstaking, research and in- 
vestigation, we will tell them in a few words. That state 
is better educated than the rest. She sees the advantage, 
morally and socially, of orderly, neat, tasteful villages; in 
producing better citizens, in causing the laws to be respected 
in making homes dearer and more sacred, in making domes- 
tic life and the enjoyment of property to be more truly and 
rightly estimated. 

And these are the legitimate and natural results of this 
kind of improvement we so ardently desire in the outward 
life and appearance of rural towns. If our readers suppose 
us anxious for the building of good houses, and the planting 
of street avenues, solely that the country may look more 
beautiful to the eye and that the taste shall be gratified 
they do us an injustice. This is only the external sign by 
which we would have the country's health and beauty known, 
as we look for the health and beauty of its fair daughters in 
the presence of the rose on their cheeks. But as the latter 
only blooms lastingly there when a good constitution is 
joined with healthful habits of mind and body, so the 
tasteful appearance which we long for in our country 
towns we seek as the outward mark of education, moral 
sentiment, love of home, and refined cultivation, which 

* We believe we must lay this latter sin at the doors of our hard- 
working emigrants from the Emerald Isle. Wherever they settle, they 
cling to their ancient fraternity of porkers; and think it "no free country 
where pigs can't have their liberty." Newburgh is by no means a well- 
planned village, though scarcely surpassed for scenery; but we believe 
it may claim the credit of being the only one among all the towns, cities 
and villages of New York, where pigs and geese have not the freedom of 
the streets. A. J. D. This savory footnote has been retained for its 
remarkable historic interest. F. A. W. 



326 Landscape Gardening 

makes the main difference between Massachusetts and 
Madagascar. 

We have in a former number said something as to the 
practical manner in which "graceless villages" may be im- 
proved. We have urged the force of example in those who 
set about improving their own property, and shown the 
influence of even two or three persons in giving an air of 
civilization and refinement to the streets and suburbs of 
country towns. There is not a village in America, however 
badly planned at first or ill-built afterwards, that may not 
be redeemed in a great measure by the aid of shade trees 
in the streets and a little shrubbery in the front yards, and 
it is never loo late or too early to project improvements of 
this kind. Every spring and every autumn should witness 
a revival of associated efforts on the part of selectmen, 
trustees of corporations, and persons of means and influence, 
to adorn and embellish the external conditions of their 
towns. Those least alive to the result as regards beauty, 
may be roused as to the effects of increased value given to 
the property thus improved, and villages thus rendered 
attractive and desirable as places of residence. 

But let us now go a step further than this. In no coun- 
try, perhaps, are there so many new villages and towns laid 
out every year as in the United States. Indeed so large is 
the number that the builders and projectors are fairly at a 
loss for names, ancient and modern history having been 
literally worn threadbare by the godfathers, until all asso- 
ciation \\ith great heroes and mighty deeds is fairly beg- 
gared by this re-christening going on in our new settlements 
and future towns, as yet only populous to the extent of six 
houses. And notwithstanding the apparent vastness of our 
territory, the growth of new towns and new states is so 
wonderful - - fifteen or twenty years giving a population of 
hundreds of thousands, where all was wilderness before - 
that the plan and arrangement of new towns ought to be a 
matter of national importance. And yet, to judge by the 
manner in which we see the thing done, there has not, in 
the whole duration of the republic, been a single word said 



Our Country Villages .TJ7 

or a single plan formed calculated to embody past experi- 
ence, or to assist in any way the laying out of a village or 
town.* 

We have been the more struck by this fact in observing 
the efforts of some companies who have lately, upon the 
Hudson, within some twenty or more miles of New York, 
undertaken to lay out rural villages with some pretension 
to taste and comfort, and aim, at least, at combining the 
advantages of the country with easy railroad access to 
them. 

Our readers most interested in such matters as this (and, 
taking our principal cities together, it is a pretty large class), 
will be interested to know what is the beau-ideal of these 
companies who undertake to buy tracts of land, lay them 
out in the best manner, and form the most complete and 
attractive rural villages, in order to tempt those tired of the 
wayworn life of sidewalks into a neighborhood where, with- 
out losing society, they can see the horizon, breathe the 
fresh air, and walk upon elastic greensward. 

Well, the beau-ideal of these newly-planned villages is 
not down to the zero of dirty lanes and shadeless roadsides; 
but it rises, we are sorry to say, no higher than streets lined 
on each side with shade trees and bordered with rows of 
houses. For the most part those houses - - cottages, we 
presume - - are to be built on fifty-foot lots; or if any buyer 
is not satisfied with that amount of elbow room, he may 
buy two lots, though certain that his neighbor will still be 
within twenty feet of his fence. And this is the sum total of 
the rural beauty, convenience, and comfort, of the latest 
plan for a rural village in the Union. f The buyer gets 
nothing more than he has in town save his little patch of 

* Since 1850, when this was written, town planning has become known 
as an art, a science and a profession, and the many glorious achievements 
in this field would greatly warm the spirit of Andrew Jackson Downing. 
Let us believe that in these good works his spirit is still marching on. - 
F. A. W. 

t We say plan, but we do not mean to include in this such villages as 
Northampton, Brookline, etc., beautiful and tasteful as they are. But 
they are in Massachusetts! A. J. D. 



328 Landscape Gardening 

back and front yard, a little peep down the street, looking 
one way at the river, and the other way at the sky. So far 
from gaining any thing which all inhabitants of a village 
should gain by the combination, one of these new villagers 
actually loses; for if he were to go by himself, he would 
buy land cheaper, and have a fresh landscape of fields and 
hills around him, instead of houses on all sides, almost as 
closely placed as in the city, which he has endeavored to 
fly from. 

Now a rural village - - newly planned in the suburbs of a 
great city, and planned, too, specially for those whose cir- 
cumstances will allow them to own a tasteful cottage in 
such a village - - should present attractions much higher 
than this. It should aim at something higher than mere 
rows of houses upon streets crossing each other at right 
angles, and bordered with shade trees. Any one may find 
as good shade trees and much better houses in certain 
streets of the city which he leaves behind him; and if he is 
to give up fifty conveniences and comforts long enjoyed in 
town for the mere fact of fresh air he had better take board 
during the summer months in some snug farmhouse as 
before. 

The indispensable desiderata in rural villages of this kind, 
are the following: 1st, a large open space, common, or park, 
situated in the middle of the village, not less than twenty 
acres, and better, if fifty or more in extent. This should be 
well planted with groups of trees, and kept as a lawn. The 
expense of mowing it would be paid by the grass in some 
cases; and in others, a considerable part of the space might 
be inclosed with a wire fence and fed by sheep or cows like 
many of the public parks in England. 

This park would be the nucleus or heart of the village, 
and would give an essentially rural character. Around it 
should be grouped all the best cottages and residences of the 
place; and this would be secured by selling no lots fronting 
upon it of less than one-fourth of an acre in extent. Wide 
streets, with rows of elms or maples, should diverge from 
the park on each side, and upon these streets smaller lots, 




OH 

a 

Q 



ffi 

a 



Q 

z 

D 
O 

^- 

6 



H 
U 



J* 

z 






(329) 



330 Landscape Gardening 

but not smaller than one hundred feet front, should be sold 
for smaller cottages.* 

In this way, we would secure to our village a permanent 
rural character; first, by the possession of a large central 
space always devoted to park or pleasure ground and always 
held as joint property and for the common use of the whole 
village; second, by the imperative arrangement of cottages 
or dwellings around it, in such a way as to secure in all 
parts of the village sufficient space, view, circulation of air, 
and broad, well-planted avenues of shade trees. 

After such a village was built, and the central park 
planted a few years the inhabitants would not be contented 
with the mere meadow and trees, usually called a park in 
this country. By submitting to a small annual tax per 
family, they could turn the whole park, if small, or consid- 
erable portions, here and there, if large, into pleasure grounds. 
In the latter there would be collected, by the combined 
means of the village, all the rare, hardy shrubs, trees, and 
plants, usually found in the private grounds of any amateur 
in America. Beds and masses of ever-blooming roses, 
sweet-scented climbers, and the richest shrubs, would thus 
be open to the enjoyment of all during the whole growing 
season. Those who had neither the means, time, nor incli- 
nation, to devote to the culture of private pleasure grounds, 
could thus enjoy those which belonged to all. Others might 
prefer to devote their own garden to fruits and vegetables, 
since the pleasure grounds, which belonged to all, and which 
all would enjoy, would, by their greater breadth and mag- 
nitude, offer beauties and enjoyments which few private 
gardens can give.f 

* Modern practice has not 'justified this specification for a 20-acre 
park at the village center. A small green, common or civic center of 
one to three acres is thought best, the larger parks being placed at the 
periphery of the town or at the termini of radiating trolley lines, where 
special scenery or other attractions justify. --F. A. W. 

t At this point also American taste has failed to work out along the 
lines of Mr. Downing's own likes. The botanical garden or other col- 
lection of plants is nowadays favored by few landscape architects, if 
any, and is as seldom asked for by clients. Public parks in particular, 



Our (lountrij Villages 331 

The next step, after the possession of such public pleasure 
grounds, would be the social and common enjoyment of 
them. Upon the well-mown glades of lawn, and beneath 
the shade of the forest trees, would be formed rustic seats. 
Little arbors would be placed near, where in midsummer 
evenings ices would be served to all who wished them. And, 
lit lie by little, the musical taste of the village (with the help 
of those good musical folks, the German emigrants) would 
organize itself into a band, which would occasionally delight 
the ears of all frequenters of the park with popular airs. 

Do we overrate the mental and moral influences of such a 
common ground of entertainment as this when we say that 
the inhabitants of such a village, enjoying in this way a 
common interest in flowers, trees, the fresh air, and sweet 
music daily, would have something more healthful than the 
ordinary life of cities, and more refining and elevating than 
the common gossip of country villages? 

"Ah! I see, Mr. Editor, you are a bit of a communist." 
By no means. On the contrary, we believe, above all things 
under heaven, in the power and virtue of the individual home. 
We devote our life and humble efforts to raising its condition. 
But people must live in towns and villages, and therefore let 
us raise the condition of towns and villages, and especially of 
rural towns and villages, by all possible means! 

But we are republican; and, shall we confess it, \ve are a 
little vexed that as a people generally, we do not see how 
much in America we lose by not using the advantages of 
republicanism. We mean now, for refined culture, physical 
comfort, and the like. Republican education we are now 
beginning pretty well to understand the value of, and it 
will not be long before it will be hard to find a native citizen 
who cannot read and write. And this comes by making 
every man see what a great moral and intellectual good 
comes from cheerfully bearing a part in the burden of popu- 

are developed either as scenery or as playgrounds, not as museums. This 
may be only a matter of fashion and not a final expression of national 
character, but for the present it seems to represent the best taste of 
America. F. A. W. 



332 Landscape Gardening 

lar education. Let us next take up popular refinement in 
the arts, manners, social life, and innocent enjoyments, and 
we shall see what a virtuous and educated republic can 
really become. 

Besides this, it is the proper duty of the state - - that is, 
the people - - to do in this way what the reigning power does 
in a monarchy. If the kings and princes in Germany and 
the sovereign of England, have made magnificent parks and 
pleasure gardens and thrown them wide open for the en- 
joyment of all classes of the people (the latter, after all, 
having to pay for it), may it not be that our sovereign 
people will (far more cheaply, as they may) make and sup- 
port these great and healthful sources of pleasure and re- 
finement for themselves in America? We believe so; and 
we confidently wait for the time when public parks, public 
gardens, public galleries, and tasteful villages shall be among 
the peculiar features of our happy republic. 



CHAPTER XXXII 

ON THE IMPROVEMENT OF COUNTRY 

VILLAGES * 

" ~|~F you or any man of taste wish to have a fit of the 
blues let him come to the village of .1 have 
just settled here; and all my ideas of rural beauty 
have been put to flight by what I see around me every day. 
Old wooden houses out of repair, and looking rickety and 
dejected; new wooden houses, distressingly lean in their 
proportions, chalky white in their clapboards, and spinachy 
green in their blinds. The church is absolutely hideous, - 
a long box of cardboard, with a huge pepperbox on the top. 
There is not a tree in the streets; and if it were not for fields 
of refreshing verdure that surround the place, I should have 
the ophthalmia as well as the blue-devils. Is there no way 
of instilling some rudiments of taste into the minds of 
dwellers in remote country places?" 

We beg our correspondent, from whose letter we quote the 
above paragraph, not to despair. There are always wise 
and good purposes hidden in the most common events of 
life; and we have no doubt Providence has sent him to the 
village of - , as an apostle of taste, to instil some ideas 
of beauty and fitness into the minds of its inhabitants. 

That the aspect of a large part of our rural villages, out of 
New England, is distressing to a man of taste is undeniable. 
Not from want of means; for the inhabitants of these 
villages are thriving, industrious people, and poverty is 
very little known there. Not from want of materials; for 
both nature and the useful arts are ready to give them 
everything needful, to impart a cheerful, tasteful, and in- 
viting aspect to their homes; but simply from a poverty of 

* Original date of June, 1849. 
333 



334 Landscape Gardening 

ideas and a dormant sense of the enjoyment to be derived 
from orderly, tasteful, and agreeable dwellings and streets, 
do these villages merit the condemnation of all men of taste 
and right feeling. 

The first duty of an inhabitant of forlorn neighborhoods, 
like the village of , is to use all possible influence to 
have the streets planted with trees. To plant trees costs 
little trouble or expense to each property holder; and once 
planted, there is some assurance that, with the aid of time 
and nature, we can at least cast a graceful veil over the 
deformity of a country home, if we cannot wholly remodel 
its features. Indeed a village whose streets are bare of 
trees ought to be looked upon as in a condition not less piti- 
able than a community without a schoolmaster, or a teacher 
of religion; for certain it is, when the affections are so dull, 
and the domestic virtues so blunt that men do not care how 
their own homes and villages look, they care very little for 
fulfilling any moral obligations not made compulsory by the 
strong arm of the law; while, on the other hand, show us a 
Massachusetts village, adorned by its avenues of elms, and 
made tasteful by the affection of its inhabitants and you also 
place before us the fact, that it is there where order, good 
character, and virtuous deportment most of all adorn the 
lives and daily conduct of its people. 

Our correspondents who, like the one just quoted, are 
apostles of taste, must not be discouraged by lukewarmness 
and opposition on the part of the inhabitants of these grace- 
less villages. They must expect sneers and derision from 
the ignorant and prejudiced; for, strange to say, poor human 
nature does not love to be shown that it is ignorant and 
prejudiced; and men who would think a cowshed good 
enough to live in, if only their wants were concerned, take 
pleasure in pronouncing every man a visionary whose ideas 
rise above the level of their own accustomed vision. But, 
as an offset to this, it should always be remembered that 
there are two great principles at the bottom of our national 
character, which the apostle of taste in the most benighted 
graceless village may safely count upon. One of these is 



The Improvement of Country Villages 335 

the principle of imitation, which will never nllow a Yankee 
to be outdone by his neighbors; and the other, the principle 
of progress, which will not allow him to stand still when he 
discovers that his neighbor has really made an improvement. 

Begin then by planting the first half-dozen trees in the 
public streets. "They will grow," as Sir Walter observed, 
''while you sleep;" and once fairly settled in their new con- 
gregation, so that they get the use of their arms, and espe- 
cially of their tongues, it is quite extraordinary what sermons 
they will preach to those dull and tasteless villagers. Not 
a breeze that blows but you will hear these tongues of theirs 
(which some look upon merely as leaves) whispering the 
most eloquent appeals to any passer by. There are some 
doubtless whose auriculars are so obtuse that they do not 
understand this language of the trees; but let even one of 
these walk home in a hot July day, when the sun that shines 
on the American continent has a face brighter than Cali- 
fornia gold, and if he does not return thanks devoutly for 
the cool shade of our half dozen trees, as he approaches 
them and rests beneath their cool boughs, then is he a 
worse heathen than any piratical Malay of the Indian Ocean. 
But even such a man is sometimes convinced by an appeal 
to the only chord that vibrates in the narrow compass of 
his soul, - - that of utility, - - when he sees with surprise a 
fine row of trees in a village stretching out their leafy 
canopy as a barrier to a destructive fire that otherwise 
would have crossed the street and burnt down the other 
half of the best houses in the village. 

The next step to improve the graceless village is to per- 
suade some of those who are erecting new buildings to 
adopt more tasteful models. And by this \ve mean not 
necessarily what builders call a "fancy house," decorated 
with various ornaments that are supposed to give beauty 
to a cottage; but rather to copy some design, or some other 
building, where good proportions, pleasing form and fitness 
for the use intended give the beauty sought for without call- 
ing in the aid of ornaments, which may heighten but never 
create beauty. If you cannot find such a house ready built 



336 Landscape Gardening 

to copy from, procure works where such designs exist, or 
slill better, a rough and cheap sketch from a competent 
architect, as a guide. Persuade your neighbor, who is about 
to build, that even if his house is to cost but $600, there is 
no economy that he can practise in the expenditure of that 
sum so indisputable or which he will so completely realize 
the value of afterwards as $10 or $20 worth of advice, with a 
few pen or pencil marks to fix the ideas upon paper, from an 
architect of acknowledged taste and judgment. Whether 
the house is to look awkward and ugly or whether it is to 
be comfortable and pleasing for years all depend upon the 
idea of that house which previously exists in somebody's 
mind, - - either architect, owner, or mechanic, - - whoever 
in short conceives what that house shall be before it becomes 
"a local habitation," or has any name among other houses 
already born in the hitherto graceless village. 

It is both surprising and pleasant to one accustomed to 
watch the development of the human soul to see the gradual 
but certain effect of building one really good and tasteful 
house in a graceless village. Just as certain as there is a 
dormant spark of the love of beauty, which underlies all 
natures extant, in that village, so certain will it awaken at 
the sight of that house. You will hear nothing about it; 
or if you do, perhaps you may, at first, even hear all kinds of 
facetious comments on Mr. -'s new house. But next 
year you will find the old mode abandoned by him who builds 
a new house. He has a new idea; he strives to make his 
dwelling manifest it; and this process goes on till by-and-by 
you wonder what new genius has so changed the aspect of 
this village and turned its neglected, bare, and lanky streets 
into avenues of fine foliage, and streets of neat and tasteful 
houses. 

It is an old adage that "a cobbler's family has no shoes." 
We are forced to call the adage up for an explanation of 
the curious fact that in five villages out of six in the United 
States there does not appear to have been room enough in 
which properly to lay out the streets or place the houses. 
Why on a continent so broad that the mere public lands 



The Improvement of Country Villages 337 

amount lo an area of fifty acres for every man, woman, and 
child in the commonwealth, there should not be found space 
sufficient to lay out country towns so that the streets shall 
be wide enough for avenues and the house-lots broad enough 
to allow sufficient trees and shrubbery to give a little privacy 
and seclusion, is one of the unexplained phenomena in the 
natural history of our continent, which, along with the 
boulders and glaciers, we leave to the learned and ingenious 
Professor Agassiz. Certain it is our ancestors did not bring 
over this national trait from England; for in that small, and 
yet great kingdom, not larger than one of our largest states, 
there is one city - - London - - which has more acres devoted 
to public parks, than can be numbered for this purpose in all 
America. 

It may appear too soon to talk of village greens and village 
squares or small parks planted with trees and open to the 
common enjoyment of the inhabitants in the case of grace- 
less villages, where there is yet not a shade-tree standing in 
one of the streets. But this will come gradually; and all 
the sooner, just in proportion as the apostles of taste mul- 
tiply in various parts of the country. Persons interested 
in these improvements and who are not aware of what has 
been done in some parts of New England, should immedi- 
ately visit New Haven and Springfield. The former city 
is a bower of elms; and the inhabitants who now walk be- 
neath spacious avenues of this finest of American trees 
speak with gratitude of the energy, public spirit and taste 
of the late Mr. Hillhouse, who was the great apostle of taste 
for that city, years ago, when the streets were as bare as 
those of the most graceless villages in the land. And what 
stranger has passed through Springfield and not recognized 
immediately a superior spirit in the place, which long since 
suggested and planted the pretty little square which now 
ornaments the town? 

But we should be doing injustice to the principle of prog- 
ress, to which we have already referred, if we did not men- 
tion here the signs of the times which we have lately noticed; 
signs that prove the spirit of rural improvement is fairly 



338 Landscape Gardening 

awake over this broad continent. We have received ac- 
counts within the last month of the doings of ornamental 
tree associations lately formed in five different states from 
New Hampshire to Tennessee. The object of these associ- 
ations is to do precisely what nobody in particular thinks il 
his business to do; that is, to rouse the public mind to the 
importance of embellishing the streets of towns and villages 
and to induce everybody to plant trees in front of his own 
premises. 

While we are writing this, we have received the printed 
report of one of these associations, The Rockingham Farm- 
ers' Club, of Exeter, New Hampshire. The whole report is 
so much to the point, that we republish it entire in our 
Domestic Notices of the month; but there is so much 
earnest enthusiasm in the first paragraph of the report, and 
it is so entirely apposite to our present remarks, that we 
must also introduce it here: 

"Why are not the streets of all our villages shaded and 
adorned with trees? Why are so many of our dwellings 
still unprotected from the burning heat of summer, and the 
pelting of the pitiless storms of winter? Is it because in 
New England hearts, hurried and pressed as they are by 
care and business, there is no just appreciation of the im- 
portance of the subject? Or is it the failure in the attempt, 
which almost every man has made once in his life, in this 
way to ornament his home, has led many to the belief that 
there is some mystery passing the comprehension of com- 
mon men about this matter of transplanting trees? The 
answer may be found, we apprehend, partly in each of the 
reasons suggested. Ask your neighbor why he has not 
more trees about his home, and he will tell you that they are 
of no great use, and besides that it is very difficult to make 
them grow; that he has tried it once or twice and they have 
all died. Now these, the common reasons, are both ill- 
founded. It is of use for every man to surround himself 
with objects of interest, to cultivate a taste for the beautiful 
in all things, and especially in the works of nature. It is of 
use for every family to have a home, a pleasant, happy 



The Irnprori'incnt of Country Villages 339 

home, hallowed by purifying influences. It is of use thai 
every child should be educated, not only in sciences, and 
arts, and dead languages, but that his affections and his 
taste should be developed and refined; that the book of 
nature should be laid open to him; and that he should 
learn to read her language in the flower and the leaf, written 
everywhere, in the valley and on the hill-side, and hear it 
in the songs of birds and the murmuring of the forest. If 
you would keep pure the heart of your child and make his 
youth innocent and happy, surround him with objects of 
interest and beauty at home. If you would prevent a 
restless spirit, if you would save him from that lowest 
species of idolatry, 'the love of money,' and teach him to 
'love what is lovely,' adorn your dwellings, your places of 
worship, your schoolhouses, your streets and public squares, 
with trees and hedges, and lawns and flowers, so that his 
heart may early and ever be impressed with the love of 
Him who made them all." 

What more can we add to this eloquent appeal from the 
committee of a farmer's club in a village of New Hampshire? 
Only to entreat other farmers' clubs to go and do likewise; 
other ornamental tree societies to carry on the good work of 
adorning the country; other apostles of taste not to be dis- 
couraged, but to be unceasing in their efforts, till they see 
the clouds of ignorance and prejudice dispersing; and, finally, 
all who live in the country and have an affection for it to take 
hold of this good work of rural improvement till not a grace- 
less village can be found from the Penobscot to the Rio 
Grande, or a man of intelligence who is not ashamed to be 
found living in such a village. 



CHAPTER XXXIII 
SHADE-TREES IN CITIES* 

T^v OWN with the ailanthus!" is the cry we hear on all 
f sides, town and country, now that this "tree of 
heaven" (as the catalogues used alluringly to call 
it) has penetrated all parts of the Union, and begins to show 
its true character. Down with the ailanthus! "Its blos- 
soms smell so disagreeably that my family are made ill by 
it," says an old resident on one of the squares in New York, 
where it is the only shade for fifty contiguous houses. "We 
must positively go to Newport, papa, to escape these horrible 
ailanthuses," exclaim numberless young ladies, who find that 
even their best Jean Maria Farina affords no permanent 
relief since their front parlors have become so celestially 
embowered. "The vile tree comes up all over my garden," 
say fifty owners of surburban lots who have foolishly been 
tempted into bordering the outside of their "yards" with 
it, having been told that it grows so "surprising fast." "It 
has ruined my lawn for fifty feet all round each tree," says 
the country gentlemen, who, seduced by the oriental beauty 
of its foliage, have also been busy for years dotting it in 
open places here and there in their pleasure grounds. In 
some of the cities southward, the authorities, taking the 
matter more seriously, have voted the entire downfall of the 
whole species, and the Herods who wield the besom of 

* Original date of August, 18f>2. 

The subject of shade trees, and especially their use in villages, was 
very dear lo Mr. Downing's heart and he wrote of it frequently and copi- 
ously. It is fair to believe that his preaching had its effect, for the result, 
speaking in general terms, has gone in the direction he wished. Ameri- 
can cities and I owns have done much better of late years, though hun- 
dreds of them still have far to go. -- F. A. W. 

340 



Shade-Trees in Cities 341 

sylvan destruction, have probably made a clean sweep of 
the first born of celestials, in more towns than one south of 
Mason and Dixon's line this season. 

Although we think there is picturesqueness in the free 
and luxuriant foliage of the ailanthus, we shall see its down- 
fall without a word to save it. We look upon it as an usurper 
in rather bad odor at home, which has come over to this land 
of liberty, under the garb of utility,* to make foul the air 
with its pestilent breath and devour the soil with its inter- 
meddling roots - - a tree that has the fair outside and the 
treacherous heart of the Asiatics, and that has played us so 
many tricks that we find we have caught a Tartar which it 
requires something more than a Chinese wall to confine 
within its limits. 

Down with the ailanthus! therefore, we cry with the popu- 
lace. But we have reasons besides theirs, and now that the 
favorite has fallen out of favor with the sovereigns we may 
take the opportunity to preach a funeral sermon over its 
remains that shall not, like so many funeral sermons, be a 
bath of oblivion-waters to wash out all memory of its vices. 
For if the Tartar is not laid violent hands upon and kept 
under close watch even after the spirit has gone out of the 
old trunk and the coroner is satisfied that he has come to a 
violent end - - lo, we shall have him upon us tenfold in the 
shape of suckers innumerable - - little Tartars that will beget 
a new dynasty and overrun our grounds and gardens again 
without mercy. 

The vices of the ailanthus - - the incurable vices of the 
by-gone favorite - - then, are twofold. In the first place, it 
smells horribly, both in leaf and flower, and instead of sweet- 
ening and purifying the air, fills it with a heavy, sickening 
odor; | in the second place, it suckers abominably, and 

The ailanthus, though originally from China, was first introduced 
into this country from Europe, as the "Tanner's sumac" but the mis- 
take was soon discovered, and its rapid growth made it a favorite with 
planters. -- A. J. D. 

f Two acquaintances of ours, in a house in the upper part of the city 
of New York, are regularly driven out by the ailanthus malaria every 
season. A. J. D. 



342 Landscape Gardening 

thereby overruns, appropriates, and reduces to beggary all 
the soil of every open piece of ground where it is planted. 
These are the mortifications which everybody feels sooner 
or later who has been seduced by the luxuriant outstretched 
welcome of its smooth round arms, and the waving and 
beckoning of its graceful plumes, into giving it a place in 
their home circle. For a few years, while the tree is grow- 
ing, it has, to be sure, a fair and specious look. You feel 
almost, as you look at its round trunk shooting up as straight 
and almost as fast as a rocket, crowned by such a luxuriant 
tuft of verdure, that you have got a young palm tree before 
your door, that can whisper tales to you in the evening of 
that "Flowery Country" from whence you have borrowed 
it, and you swear to stand by it against all slanderous asper- 
sions. But alas! you are greener in your experience than 
the Tartar in his leaves. A few years pass by; the sapling 
becomes a tree, its blossoms fill the air with something that 
looks like curry-powder, and smells like the plague. You 
shut down the windows to keep out the unbalmy June air 
if you live in town, and invariably give a wide berth to the 
heavenly avenue if you belong to the country. 

But we confess openly that our crowning objection to this 
petted Chinaman or Tartar who has played us so falsely is 
a patriotic objection. It is that he has drawn away our 
attention from our own more noble native American trees 
to waste it on this miserable pigtail of an Indiaman. What 
should we think of the Italians, if they should forswear their 
own orange trees and figs, pomegranates and citrons, and 
plant their streets and gardens with the poison sumac-tree 
of our swamps? And what must a European arboriculturist 
think, who travels in America, delighted and astonished at 
the beauty of our varied and exhaustless forests - - the 
richest in the temperate zone - - to see that we neither value 
nor plant them, but fill our lawns and avenues with the 
cast-off nuisances of the gardens of Asia and Europe? 

And while in the vein, we would include in the same 
category another less fashionable, but still much petted 
foreigner, that has settled among us with a good letter of 



Shade-Trees in Cities 



credit, but who deserves not his success. We mean the 
abele or silver poplar. There is a pleasant flutter in his 
silver-lined leaves, but when the timber is a foot thick you 
shall find the air unpleasantly filled every spring with the 
fine white down which flies from the blossom, while the 
suckers which are thrown up from the roots of the mature 
trees are a pest to all grounds and gardens, even worse than 
those of the ailanthus. Down with the abeles! 

Oh! that our tree-planters, and they are an army of 
hundreds of thousands in this country, ever increasing with 
the growth of good taste - - oh ! that they knew and could 
understand the surpassing beauty of our native shade trees. 
More than forty species of oak are there in North America 
(Great Britain has only two species - - France only five), 
and we are richer in maples, elms, and ashes, than any 
country in the old world. Tulip trees and magnolias from 
America are the exotic glories of the princely grounds of 
Europe. But (saving always the praiseworthy partiality in 
New England for our elms and maples), who plants an 
American tree - - in America? And \vho, on the contrary, 
that has planted shade trees at all in the United States for 
the last fifteen years has not planted either ailanthuses or 
abele poplars? We should like to see that discreet, saga- 
cious individual, who has escaped the national ecstasy for 
foreign suckers. If he can be found, he is more deserving a 
gold medal from our horticultural societies, than the grower 
of the most mammoth pumpkin or elephantine beet that 
will garnish the cornucopia of Pomona for 1852. 

In this confession of our sins of commission in planting 
filthy suckers, and omission in not planting clean natives, 
we must lay part of the burden at the door of the nursery- 
men.* (It has been found a convenient practice -- this 
shifting the responsibility - - ever since the first trouble 
about trees in the Garden of Eden.) 

'Well! then, if the nurserymen will raise ailanthuses 
and abeles by the thousands," reply the planting community, 

* It need not be forgotten that Mr. Downing was himself a nursery- 
man. F. A. \Y. 



344 Landscape Gardening 

"and telling us nothing about pestilential odors and suckers, 
tell us a great deal about 'rapid growth, immediate effect - 
beauty of foliage - - rare foreign trees,' and the like, it is 
not surprising that we plant what turn out, after twenty 
years' trial, to be nuisances instead of embellishments. It 
is the business of the nurserymen to supply planters with 
the best trees. If they supply us with the worst, who sins 
the most, the buyer or the seller of such stuff?" 

Softly, good friends. It is the business of the nursery- 
men to make a profit by raising trees. If you will pay just 
as much for a poor tree, that can be raised in two years 
from a sucker as for a valuable tree that requires four or 
five years, do you wonder that the nurserymen will raise 
and sell you ailanthuses instead of oaks? It is the business 
(duty, at least) of the planter to know what he is about to 
plant; and though there are many honest traders, it is a 
good maxim that the Turks have --"Ask no one in the 
bazaar to praise his own goods." To the eyes of the nur- 
serymen a crop of ailanthuses and abeles is "a pasture in 
the valley of sweet waters." But go to an old homestead 
where they have become naturalized and you will find that 
there is a bitter aftertaste about the experience of the 
unfortunate possessor of these sylvan treasures of a far-off 
country.* 

The planting intelligence must therefore increase if we 
would fill our grounds and shade our streets with really 
valuable ornamental trees. The nurserymen will naturally 
raise what is in demand, and if but ten customers offer in 
five years for the overcup oak, while fifty come of a day for 
the ailanthus, the latter will be cultivated as a matter of 
course. 

The question immediately arises, what shall we use in^ 
stead of the condemned trees? What, especially, shall we 

* We may as well add for the benefit of the novice, the advice to shun 
all trees that are universally propagated by suckers. It is a worse in- 
heritance for a tree than drunkenness for a child, and more difficult to 
eradicate. Even ailanthuses and poplars from seed have tolerably 
respectable habits as regards radical things. A. J. D. 



Shade-Trees in Cities 



use in the streets of cities? Many- -nay, the majority of 
shade trees - - clean and beautiful in the country - - are so 
infested with worms and insects in towns as to be worse 
than useless. The sycamore has failed, the linden is de- 
voured, the elm is preyed upon by insects. \Ve have rushed 
into the arms of the Tartar, partly out of fright, to escape 
the armies of caterpillars and cankerworms that have taken 
possession of better trees! 

Take refuge, friends, in the American maples. Clean, 
sweet, cool, and umbrageous, are the maples; and, much 
vaunted as ailanthuses and poplars are, for their lightning 
growth, take our word for it, that it is only a good go-off 
at the start. A maple at twenty years, or even at ten, if the 
soil is favorable, will be much the finer and larger tree. No 
tree transplants more readily, none adapts itself more easily 
to the soil, than the maple. For light soils and the milder 
parts of the Union, say the Middle and Western States, the 
silver maple, with drooping branches, is at once the best 
and most graceful of street trees. For the North and East, 
the soft maple and the sugar maple.* If any one wishes to 
know the glory and beauty of the sugar maple as a street 
tree, let him make a pilgrimage to Stockbridge, in Massa- 
chusetts! If he desires to study the silver maple there is no 
better school than Burlington, New Jersey. These are two 
towns almost wholly planted with these American trees, of 
the sylvan adornings of which any "native" may well be 
proud. The inhabitants neither have to abandon their front 
rooms from the smell nor lose the use of their back yards by 
the suckers. And whoever plants either of these three 
maples may feel sure that he is earning the thanks instead of 
the reproaches of posterity. 

The most beautiful and stately of all trees for an avenue 
- and especially for an avenue street in town - - is an 
American tree that one rarely sees planted in America t - 
never, that we remember, in any public street. We mean 

* By the soft maple is probably meant the red maple. -- F. A. \V. 
f Though there are grand avenues of it in the royal parks of Germany 
raised from American seed. -- A. J. D. 



346 Landscape Gardening 

the tulip tree, or liriodendron. What can be more beautiful 
than its trunk, finely proportioned, and smooth as a Grecian 
column? \Yhat more artistic than its leaf, cut like an 
arabesque in a Moorish palace? What more clean and 
luslrous than its tufts of foliage, dark green and rich as 
deepest emerald? What more lily-like and specious than 
its blossoms, golden and bronze shaded? and what fairer 
and more queenly than its whole figure, stately and regal as 
that if Zenobia? For a park tree, to spread on every side, 
it is unrivalled, growing a hundred and thirty feet high, 
and spreading into the finest symmetry of outline.* For a 
street tree, its columnar stem, beautiful either with or with- 
out branches - - with a low head or a high head - - foliage 
over the second story or under it - - is precisely what is most 
needed. A very spreading tree, like the elm, is always 
somewhat out of place in town, because its natural habit is 
to extend itself laterally. A tree with the habit of the tulip, 
lifts itself into the finest pyramids of foliage, exactly suited 
to the usual width of town streets, and thus embellishes and 
shades without darkening and incumbering them. Besides 
this, the foliage of the tulip tree is as clean and fresh at all 
times as the bonnet of a fair young quakeress, and no insect 
mars the purity of its rich foliage. 

We know very well that the tulip tree is considered diffi- 
cult to transplant. It is, the gardeners will tell you, much 
easier to plant ailanthuses, or, if you prefer, maples. Ex- 
actly, so it is easier to walk than to dance; but as all people 
who wish to be graceful in their gait learn to dance (if they 
can get an opportunity), so all planters who wish a pecu- 
liarly elegant tree will learn how to plant the liriodendron. 
In the first place the soil must be light and rich - - better 
than is at all necessary for the maples - - and if it cannot 
be made light and rich, then the planter must confine him- 
self to maples. Next, the tree must be transplanted just 
about the time of commencing its growth in the spring, and 

* At Wakcficld, the fine country-seat of the Fisher family, near Phila- 
delphia, are several tulip-trees on the lawn, over one hundred feet high, 
and three to six feet in diameter. A. J. D. 



Shade-trees in Cities 317 

the roots must be cut as little as possible, and not suffered 
to get dry till replanted. 

There is one point which, if attended to as it is in nurseries 
abroad, would render the tulip tree as easily transplanted 
as a maple or a poplar. \Ye mean the practice of cutting 
round the tree every year in the nursery till it is removed. 
This develops a ball of fibres, and so prepares the tree for 
the removal that it feels no shock at all.* Nurserymen 
could well afford to grow tulip trees to the size suitable for 
street planting and have them twice cut or removed before- 
hand, so as to enable them to warrant their growth in any 
good soil, for a dollar apiece. (And we believe the average 
price at which the thousands of noisome ailanthuses that 
now infest our streets have been sold, is above a dollar.) 
No buyer pays so much and so willingly, as the citizen who 
has only one lot front, and five dollars each has been no 
uncommon price in New York for "trees of heaven." 

After our nurserymen have practised awhile this prepara- 
tion of the tulip trees for the streets by previous removals, 
they will gradually find a demand for the finer oaks, beeches, 
and other trees now considered difficult to transplant for 
the same cause, and about which there is no difficulty at all 
if this precaution is taken. Any body can catch suckers in 
a still pond, but a trout must be tickled with dainty bait. 
Yet true sportsmen do not for this reason, prefer angling 
with worms about the margin of stagnant pools when they 
can whip the gold-spangled beauties out of swift streams 
with a little skill and preparation, and we trust that in 
future no true lover of trees will plant suckers to torment his 
future days and sight, when he may, with a little more pains, 
have the satisfaction of enjoying the shade of the freshest 
and comeliest of American forest trees.f 

: In many continental nurseries, this annual preparation in the nur- 
sery, takes place until fruit trees of bearing size can be removed without 
the slightest injury to the crop of the same year. A. J. D. The same 
method is now extensively practiced with shade trees in American nur- 
series. -- F. A. \V. 

f It seems unkind to criticise Mr. Downing's choice of trees, but modern 
experience does not fully bear him out. The tulip tree, which he praises 



348 Landscape Gardening 

so highly, has not proved at all satisfactory for street planting. Neither 
has the white pine and some of the other trees which he favored. At the 
same time it appears that the despised ailanthus still holds those crowded 
city streets where, for reeking coal smoke and other untoward conditions, 
no other tree will grow. F. A. W. 



CHAPTER XXXIV 
TREES IN TOWNS AND VILLAGES* 

THE man who loves not trees, to look at them, to lie 
under them, to climb up them (once more a school- 
boy), would make no bones of murdering Mrs. 
Jeffs. In what one imaginable attribute that it ought to 
possess is a tree deficient? Light, shade, shelter, coolness, 
freshness, music, all the colors of the rainbow, dew and 
dreams dropping through their soft twilight, at eve and 
morn, - - dropping direct, soft, sweet, soothing, restorative 
from heaven. \Vithout trees, how, in the name of wonder, 
could we have had houses, ships, bridges, easy chairs, or 
coffins, or almost any single one of the necessaries, comforts, 
or conveniences of life? Without trees, one might have 
been born with a silver spoon in his mouth, but not another 
with a wooden ladle." 

Every man, who has in his nature a spark of sympathy with 
the good and beautiful, must involuntarily respond to this 
rhapsody of Christopher North's in behalf of trees - - the 
noblest and proudest drapery that sets off the figure of our 
fair planet. Every man's better sentiments would invol- 
untarily lead him to cherish, respect, and admire trees. 
And no one who has sense enough rightly to understand the 
wonderful system of life, order, and harmony, that is in- 
volved in one of our grand and majestic forest trees, could 
ever destroy it unnecessarily without a painful feeling, we 
should say, akin at least to murder in the fourth degree. 

Yet it must be confessed that it is surprising when, from 
the force of circumstances what the phrenologists call the 
principle of destructiveness gets excited, how sadly men's 
better feelings are warped and smothered. Thus old sol- 

* Original date of March, 1847. 
349 




w 

cc 



3 

K 
ce 

H 
C/3 

en 



C/2 

s 

a 
z 

<; 
O 





o 
z 






(350) 



Trees in Towns and Villages 351 

diers sweep away ranks of men with as little compunction 
as the mower swings his harmless scythe in a meadow; and 
settlers, pioneers, and squatters, girdle and make a clearing 
in a centennial forest, perhaps one of the grandest that ever 
God planted, with no more remorse than we have in brush- 
ing away dusty cobwebs. We are not now about to de- 
claim against war, as a member of the peace society, or 
against planting colonies and extending the human family, 
as would a disciple of Dr. Malthus. These are probably 
both wise means of progress in the hands of the Great 
Worker. 

But it is properly our business to bring men back to their 
better feelings when the fever of destruction is over. If 
our ancestors found it wise and necessary to cut down vast 
forests, it is all the more needful that their descendants 
should plant trees. We shall do our part, therefore, towards 
awakening again that natural love of trees which this long 
warfare against them - - this continual laying the axe at 
their roots - - so common in a new country, has in so many 
places well nigh extinguished. We ought not to cease till 
every man feels it to be one of his moral duties to become a 
planter of trees; until every one feels, indeed, that, if it is 
the most patriotic thing that can be done to make the earth 
yield two blades of grass instead of one, it is far more so to 
cause trees to grow where no foliage has waved and flut- 
tered before - - trees, which are not only full of usefulness 
and beauty always, but to which old Time himself grants 
longer leases than he does to ourselves; so that he who 
plants them wisely, is more certain of receiving the thanks 
of posterity than the most persuasive orator or the most 
prolific writer of his day and generation. 

The especial theme of our lamentation touching trees at 
the present moment is the general neglect and inattention 
to their many charms, in country towns and villages. We 
say general, for our mind dwells with unfeigned delight 
upon exceptions -- many beautiful towns and villages in 
New England, where the verdure of the loveliest elms waves 
like grand lines of giant and graceful plumes above the 



352 Landscape Gardening 

house tops, giving an air of rural beauty that speaks louder 
for the good habits of the inhabitants than the pleasant 
sound of a hundred church bells. We remember North- 
ampton, Springfield, New Haven, Stockbridge, and others, 
whose long and pleasant avenues are refreshing and beauti- 
ful to look upon. We do not forget that large and sylvan 
park, with undulating surface, the Boston Common, or that 
really admirable city arboretum of rare trees, Washington 
Square of Philadelphia. Their groves are as beloved and 
sacred in our eyes as those of the Deo-dar are to the devout 
Brahmins. 

But these are, we are sorry to be obliged to say, only the 
exceptions to the average condition of our country towns. 
As an offset to them, how many towns, how many villages, 
could we name, where rude and uncouth streets bask in the 
summer heat, and revel in the noontide glare, with scarcely 
a leaf to shelter or break the painful monotony! Towns 
and villages, where there is no lack of trade, no apparent 
want of means, where houses are yearly built, and children 
weekly born, but where you might imagine, from their bar- 
renness, that the soil had been cursed and had refused to 
support the life of a single tree. 

What must be done in such cases? There must be at 
least one right-feeling man in every such Sodom. Let him 
set vigorously at work, and if he cannot induce his neighbors 
to join him, he must not be disheartened - - let him plant 
and cherish carefully a few trees, if only half a dozen. They 
must be such as will grow vigorously, and like the native 
elm, soon make themselves felt and seen wherever they may 
be placed. In a very few years they will preach more elo- 
quent orations than gray goose quills can write. Their lux- 
uriant leafy arms, swaying and waving to and fro, will make 
more convincing gestures than any member of congress or 
stump speaker; and if there is any love of nature dormant 
in the dusty hearts of the villagers, we prophesy that in a 
very short time there will be such a general yearning after 
green trees that the whole place will become a bower of 
freshness and verdure. 



Trees in Towns and Villages 



In some parts of Germany the government makes it a 
duty for every landholder to plant trees in the highways 
before his property; and in a few towns that we have heard 
of no young bachelor can take a wife till he has planted a 
tree. We have not a word to say against either of these 
regulations. But Americans, it must be confessed, do not 
like to be over-governed, or compelled into doing even beau- 
tiful things. We therefore recommend as an example to all 
country towns that most praiseworthy and successful mode 
of achieving this result adopted by the citizens of North- 
ampton, Massachusetts. 

This, as we learn, is no less than an Ornamental Tree 
Society, an association whose business and pleasure it is to 
turn dusty lanes and bald highways into alleys and avenues 
of coolness and verdure. Making a "wilderness blossom 
like the rose," is scarcely more of a miracle than may be 
wrought by this simple means. It is quite incredible how 
much spirit such a society, composed at first of a few really 
zealous arboriculturists, may beget in a country neighbor- 
hood. Some men there are in every such place who are too 
much occupied with what they consider more important 
matters ever to plant a single tree unsolicited. But these 
are readily acted upon by a society which works for the 
public good and which moves an individual of this kind 
much as a town meeting moves him, by the greater weight 
of numbers. Others there are who can only be led into 
tasteful improvement by the principle of imitation, and 
who consequently will not begin to plant trees till it is the 
fashion to do so. And again others who grudge the trifling 
cost of putting out a shade tree, but who will be shamed 
into it by the example of every neighbor around them - 
neighbors who have been stimulated into action by the 
zeal of the society. And last of all, as we have learned, 
there is here and there an instance of some slovenly and 
dogged farmer who positively refuses to take the trouble to 
plant a single twig by the roadside. Such an individual 
the society commiserate and beg him to let them plant the 
trees in front of his estate at their own cost. 



354 Landscape Gardening 

In this way, little by little, the Ornamental Tree Society 
accomplishes its ends. In a few years it has the satisfaction 
of seeing its village the pride of the citizens -- for even 
Lhose who were the most tardy to catch the planting fever, 
are at last - - such is the silent and irresistible influence of 
sylvan beauty - - the loudest champions of green trees - 
and the delight of all travellers, who treasure it up in their 
hearts as one does a picture drawn by poets and colored by 
the light of some divine genius. 

We heartily commend, therefore, this plan of Social Plant- 
ing Reform to every desolate, leafless, and repulsive town 
and village in the country. There can scarcely be one where 
there are not three persons of taste and spirit enough to 
organize such a society; and once fairly in operation, its 
members will never cease to congratulate themselves on 
the beauty and comfort they have produced, Every tree 
which they plant, and which grows up in after years into a 
giant trunk and grand canopy of foliage, will be a better 
monument (though it may bear no lying inscription) than 
many an unmeaning obelisk of marble or granite. 

Let us add a few words respecting the best trees for adorn- 
ing the streets of rural towns and villages. With the great 
number and variety of fine trees which flourish in this 
country there is abundant reason for asking, "where shall we 
choose? ' : And although we must not allow ourselves space 
at this moment to dwell upon the subject in detail we may 
venture two or three hints about it. 

Nothing appears to be so captivating to the mass of 
human beings as novelty. And there is a fashion in trees 
which sometimes has a sway no less rigorous than that of a 
Parisian modiste. Hence while we have the finest indige- 
nous ornamental trees in the world growing in our native 
forests, it is not an unusual thing to see them blindly over- 
looked for foreign species that have not half the real charms 
and not a tenth part of the adaptation to our soil and 
climate. 

Thirty years ago there was a general Lombardy poplar 
epidemic. This tall and formal tree, striking and admirable 



Trees in Towns and Villages 355 

enough, if very sparingly introduced in landscape planting, 
is, of all others, most abominable in its serried stiffness and 
monotony when planted in avenues or straight lines. Yet 
nine-tenths of all the ornamental planting of that period 
was made up of this now decrepit and condemned tree. 

So too, we recall one or two of our villages where the soil 
would have produced any of our finest forest trees, yet 
where the only trees thought worthy of attention by the 
inhabitants are the ailanthus and the paper mulberry. 

The principle which would govern us if we were planting 
the streets of rural towns is this: Select the finest indigenous 
tree or trees, such as the soil and climate of the place will bring 
to the highest perfection. Thus if it were a neighborhood 
where the elm flourished peculiarly well, or the maple, or the 
beech, we would directly adopt the tree indicated. We 
would then, in time, succeed in producing the finest possible 
specimens of the species selected: while, if we adopted, for 
the sake of fashion or novelty, a foreign tree, we should 
probably only succeed in getting poor and meagre specimens. 

It is because this principle has been, perhaps accidentally, 
pursued, that the villages of New England are so celebrated 
for their sylvan charms. The elm is, we think, nowhere 
seen in more majesty, greater luxuriance, or richer beauty, 
than in the valley of the Connecticut; and it is because the 
soil is so truly congenial to it, that the elm-adorned streets 
of the villages there elicit so much admiration. They are 
not only well planted with trees, but with a kind of tree 
which attains its greatest perfection there. Who can forget 
the fine lines of the sugar-maple in Stockbridge, Massachu- 
setts? They are in our eyes the rural glory of the place. 
The soil there is their own, and they have attained a beau- 
tiful symmetry and development. Yet if, instead of maples, 
poplars or willows had been planted, how marked would 
have been the difference of effect. 

There are no grander or more superb trees than our 
American oaks. Those who know them only as they grow 
in the midst, or on the skirts of a thick forest, have no 
proper notion of their dignity and beauty when planted and 



356 Landscape Gardening 

grown in an avenue, or where they have full space to de- 
velop. Now there are many districts where the native 
luxuriance of the oak woods points out the perfect adapta- 
tion of the soil for this tree. If we mistake not, such is 
the case where that charming rural town in this state, Can- 
andaigua, stands. Yet we confess we were not a little 
pained in walking through the streets of Canandaigua the 
past season to find them mainly lined with that compara- 
tively meagre tree, the locust. How much finer and more 
imposing, for the long principal street of Canandaigua, 
would be an avenue of our finest and hardiest native oaks, 
rich in foliage and grand in every part of their trunks and 
branches.* 

Though we think our native elm or sugar maple and two 
or three of our oaks the finest of street trees for country 
villages, yet there are a great many others which may be 
adopted, when the soil is their own, with the happiest effect. 
What could well be more beautiful, for example, for a village 
with a deep, mellow soil, than a long avenue of that tall 
and most elegant tree, the tulip-tree or whitewood? For a 
village in a mountainous district, like New Lebanon, in this 
state, we would perhaps choose the white pine, which would 
produce a grand and striking effect. In Ohio, the cucumber- 
tree would make one of the noblest and most admirable 
avenues, and at the south what could be conceived more 
captivating than a village whose streets were lined with 
rows of Magnolia grandiflora? We know how little com- 
mon minds appreciate these natural treasures; how much 
the less because they are common in the woods about them. 
Still, such are the trees which should be planted; for fine 
forest trees are fast disappearing, and planted trees, grown 
in a soil fully congenial to them, will, as we have already said, 
assume a character of beauty and grandeur that will arrest 
the attention and elicit the admiration of every traveller. 

* The oak is easily transplanted from the nurseries, though not 
from the woods, unless in the latter ease, it has been prepared a year be- 
forehand by shortening the roots and branches. -- A. J. D. The oaks 
are nowadays being very successfully used in street planting throughout 
the eastern and southern states. F. A. W. 



Trees in Towns and Villages of)7 

The variety of trees for cities - - densely crowded cities - 
is but small; and this chieily because the warm brick walls 
are such hiding-places and nurseries for insects that many 
fine trees - - fine for the country and for rural towns - 
become absolute pests in the cities. Thus, in Philadelphia, 
we have seen, with regret, whole rows of the European 
linden cut down within the last ten years, because this tree, 
in cities, is so infested with odious worms that it often be- 
comes unendurable. On this account that foreign tree, the 
ailanthus, the strong scented foliage of which no insect will 
attack, is every day becoming a greater metropolitan favor- 
ite. The maples are among the thriftiest and most accept- 
able trees for large cities, and no one of them is more 
vigorous, cleaner, hardier, or more graceful than the silver 
maple. 

We must defer any further remarks for the present; but 
we must add, in conclusion, that the planting season is at 
hand. Let every man, whose soul is not a desert, plant 
trees; and that not alone for himself, within the bounds of 
his own demesne, but in the streets, and along the rural 
highways of his neighborhood. Thus he will not only lend 
grace and beauty to the neighborhood and county in which 
he lives, but earn, honestly and well, the thanks of his 
fellowmen. 



CHAPTER XXXV 
ON PLANTING SHADE TREES* 

NOW that the season of the present is nearly over; now 
that spring with its freshness of promise, summer 
with its luxury of development, and autumn with 
its fulfilment of fruitfulness, have all laid their joys and 
benefits at our feet, we naturally pause for a moment to see 
what is to be done in the rural plans of the future. 

The planting season is at hand. Our correspondence 
with all parts of the country informs us that at no previous 
time has the improvement of private grounds been so active 
as at present. New and tasteful residences are everywhere 
being built. New gardens are being laid out. New orchards 
of large extent are rapidly being planted. In short, the 
horticultural zeal of the country is not only awake - - it is 
brimful of energy and activity. 

Private enterprise being thus in a fair way to take care of 
itself, we feel that the most obvious duty is to endeavor to 
arouse a corresponding spirit in certain rural improvements 
of a more public nature. 

We therefore return again to a subject which we dwelt 
upon at some length last spring - - the planting of shade- 
trees in the streets of our rural towns and villages. 

Pleasure and profit are certain sooner or later to awaken a 
large portion of our countrymen to the advantages of im- 
proving their own private grounds. But we find that it is 
only under two conditions that many public improvements 
are carried on. The first is, when nearly the whole of the 
population enjoy the advantages of education, as in New 
England. The second is, when a few of the more spirited 
and intelligent of the citizens move the rest by taking the 

* Original date of November, 1847. 
358 



Planting Shade Trees 359 

burden in the beginning upon their own shoulders by selling 
the example themselves, and by most zealously urging all 
others to follow. 

The villages of New England, looking at their sylvan 
charms, are as beautiful as any in the world. Their archi- 
tecture is simple and unpretending - - often, indeed, meagre 
and unworthy of notice. The houses are surrounded by 
inclosures full of trees and shrubs, with space enough to 
afford comfort, and ornament enough to denote taste. But 
the main street of the village is an avenue of elms, positively 
delightful to behold. Always wide, the overarching boughs 
form an aisle more grand and beautiful than that of any 
old Gothic cathedral. Not content, indeed, with one ave- 
nue, some of these villages have, in their wide, single street, 
three lines of trees, forming a double avenue, of which any 
grand old palace abroad might well be proud. Would that 
those of our readers whose souls are callous to the charms 
of the lights and shadows that bedeck these bewitching 
rural towns and villages, would forthwith set out on a 
pilgrimage to such places as Northampton, Springfield, New 
Haven, Pittsfield, Stockbridge, Woodbury, and the like. 

When we contrast with these lovely resting places for the 
eye, embowered with avenues of elms, gracefully drooping 
like fountains of falling water, or sugar maples swelling and 
towering up like finely formed antique vases, some of the 
uncared for towns and villages in our own state, we are 
almost forced to believe that the famous common schools of 
New England teach the aesthetics of art, and that the beauty 
of shade trees is the care of especial professorships. Homer 
and Virgil, Cicero, Manilus, and Tully, shades of the great 
Greeks and Romans! - - our citizens have named towns after 
you, but the places that bear your names scarcely hold 
leafy trees enough to renew the fading laurels round your 
heads! - -while the direct descendants of stern Puritans, 
who had a holy horror of things ornamental, who cropped 
their hair, and made penalties for indulgences in fine linen, 
live in villages overshadowed by the very spirit of rural 
elegance! 



360 



Landscape Gardening 



It is neither from a want of means, or want of time, or 
any ignorance of what is essential to the beauty of body 
or of mind, that we see this neglect of the public becoming- 
ness. There are numbers of houses in all these villages, 
that boast their pianos, while the last Paris fashions are 
worn in the parlors, and the freshest periodical literature of 




FIG. 45. GOOD SHADE TREES ON HOMI: GROUNDS 



both sides of the Atlantic fills the centre-tables. But while 
the comfort and good looks of the individual are sufficiently 
cared for, the comfort and good looks of the town are sadly 
neglected. Our education here stops short of New England. 
\Ye are slow to feel that the character of the inhabitants is 
always, in some degree, indicated by the appearance of the 



Planting Shade Trees 361 

town. It is, unluckily, no one's especial business to orna- 
ment the streets. No one feels it a reproach to himself, that 
verdure and beauty do not hang like rich curtains over the 
street in which he lives. And thus a whole village or town 
goes on from year to year, in a shameless state of public 
nudity and neglect, because no one feels it his particular 
duty to persuade his neighbors to join in making the town 
in which he lives a gem of rural beauty, instead of a sorry 
collection of uninteresting houses.* 

It is the frequent apology of intelligent persons who live 
in such places, and are more alive to this glaring defect than 
the majority, that it is impossible for them to do anything 
alone, and their neighbors care nothing about it. 

One of the finest refutations of this kind of delusion exists 
in New Haven. All over the Union, this town is known as 
the "City of Elms." The stranger always pauses, and 
bears tribute to the taste of its inhabitants, while he walks 
beneath the grateful shade of its lofty rows of trees. Yet a 
large part of the finest of these trees were planted, and the 
whole of the spirit which they have inspired, was awakened 
by one person - Mr. Hillhouse. He lived long enough to 
see fair and lofty aisles of verdure, where, before, were only 
rows of brick or wooden houses; and, we doubt not, he en- 
joyed a purer satisfaction than many great conquerors who 
have died w r ith the honors of capturing kingdoms, and de- 
molishing a hundred cities, f 

Let no person, therefore, delay planting shade trees him- 
self, or persuading his neighbors to do the same. Wherever 
a village contains half a dozen persons zealous in this ex- 
cellent work of adorning the country at large, let them form 
a society and make proselytes of those who are slow to be 
moved otherwise. A public spirited man in Boston does a 
great service to the community and earns the thanks of his 

We now have these duties delegated, in many cities and towns, to 
tree wardens, city foresters, park superintendents, town planning hoards 
or other responsible and sometimes competent -- persons. -- F. A. \V. 
f It is a matter of general regret that the famous New Haven green 
should have lost its elms in recent years. It will be many a long summer 
before that remarkable town common resumes its former glory. -- !'. \. \V. 



362 Landscape Gardening 

countrymen by giving fifty thousand dollars to endow a 
professorship in a college; let the public spirited man of 
the more humble village in the interior also establish his 
claim to public gratitude by planting fifty trees annually 
along its public streets in quarters where there is the least 
ability or the least taste to be awakened in this way, or 
where the poverty of the houses most needs something to 
hide them, and give an aspect of shelter and beauty. Hun- 
dreds of public meetings are called, on subjects not half so 
important to the welfare of the place as this, whose object 
would be to direct the attention of all the householders to 
the nakedness of their estates, in the eyes of those who most 
love our country, and would see her rural towns and village 
homes made as attractive and pleasant as they are free and 
prosperous. 

We pointed out in a former article the principle that 
should guide those who are about to select trees for streets 
of rural towns - - that of choosing that tree which the soil 
of the place will bring to the highest perfection. There are 
two trees, however, which are so eminently adapted to this 
purpose in the Northern States, that they may be univer- 
sally employed. These are the American weeping elm and 
the silver maple. They have, to recommend them, in the 
first place, great rapidity of growth; in the second place, 
the graceful forms which they assume; in the third place, 
abundance of fine foliage; and lastly, the capacity of adapt- 
ing themselves to almost every soil where trees will thrive 
at all.* 

These two trees have broad and spreading heads, fit for 
wide streets and avenues. That fine tree, the Dutch elm,f 
of exceedingly rapid growth and thick dark green foliage, 
makes a narrower and more upright head than our native 
sort, and, as well as the sugar maple, may be planted in 

* The weeping elm has not fulfilled Mr. Downing's expectations; the 
silver maple has more than done so. It is now planted by hundreds of 
thousands along the streets of middle western cities and towns. -- F. A. W. 

f The Dutch elm has almost disappeared from American nurseries 
and from American landscape practice, but it is still a good sort of tree. 
F. A. W. 



Planting Shade Trees 363 

streets and avenues, where there is but little room for the 
expansion of wide spreading tops. 

No town where any of these trees are extensively planted 
can be otherwise than agreeable to the eye, whatever may 
be its situation or the style of its dwellings. To villages 
prettily built they will give a character of positive beauty 
that will both add to the value of property and increase the 
comfort and patriotism of the inhabitants. 



CHAPTER XXXVI 

//OU r TO POPULARIZE THE TASTE FOR 

PLANTING * 

HOW to popularize that taste for rural beauty which 
gives to every beloved home in the country its 
greatest outward charm and to the country itself 
its highest attraction is a question which must often occur 
to many of our readers. A traveller never journeys through 
England without lavishing all the epithets of admiration on 
the rural beauty of that gardenesque country; and his 
praises are as justly due to the wayside cottages of the 
humble laborers (whose pecuniary condition of life is far 
below that of our numerous small householders) as to the 
great palaces and villas. Perhaps the loveliest and most 
fascinating of the cottage homes, of which Mrs. Hemans has 
so touchingly sung, are the clergymen's dwellings in that 
country; dwellings, for the most part, of very moderate 
size, and no greater cost than are common in all the most 
thriving and populous parts of the Union, but which, owing 
to the love of horticulture and the taste for something above 
the merely useful which characterizes their owners as a 
class, are for the most part radiant with the bloom and em- 
bellishment of the loveliest flowers and shrubs. 

The contrast with the comparatively naked and neglected 
country dwellings that are the average rural tenements of 
our country at large is very striking. Undoubtedly this is 
in part owing to the fact that it takes a longer time, as 
Lord Bacon said a century ago, "to garden finely than to 
build stately." But the newness of our civilization is not 
sufficient apology. If so we should be spared the exhibition 
of gay carpets, fine mirrors and furniture in the "front 
parlor," of many a mechanic's, working-man's, and farmer's 

* Original date of July, 1852. 
364 



How to Popularize the Taste for Planting 365 

comfortable dwelling, where the "bare and bald" have 
pretty nearly supreme control in the "front yard." 

What we lack perhaps more than all is not the capacity to 
perceive and enjoy the beauty of ornamental trees and 
shrubs --the rural embellishment alike of the cottage and 
the villa - - but we are deficient in the knowledge and the 
opportunity of knowing how beautiful human habitations 
are made by a little taste, time, and means, expended in this 
way. 

Abroad it is clearly seen that the taste has descended 
from the palace of the noble and the public parks and gardens 
of the nation to the hut of the simple peasant; but here, 
while our institutions have wisely prevented the perpetu- 
ation of accumulated estates that would speedily find their 
expression in all the luxury of rural taste, we have not yet 
risen to that general diffusion of culture and competence 
which may one day give to the many what in the old world 
belongs mainly to the favored few. In some localities, where 
that point has in some measure been arrived at already the 
result that we anticipate has, in a good degree, already been 
attained. And there are probably more pretty rural homes 
within ten miles of Boston owned by those who live in them 
and have made them, than ever sprang up in so short a 
space of time in any part of the world. The taste once 
formed there, it has become contagious, and is diffusing 
itself among all conditions of men and gradually elevating 
and making beautiful the whole neighborhood of that popu- 
lous city. 

In the country at large, however, even now, there cannot 
be said to be anything like a general taste for gardening or 
for embellishing the houses of the people. We are too 
much occupied with making a great deal to have reached 
that point when a man or a people thinks it wiser to under- 
stand how to enjoy a little well, than to exhaust both mind 
and body in getting an indefinite more.* And there are also 

*This penetrating criticism of American life still rests heavily at our 
door. The fact yet gives deep concern to all those who love America 
and would prefer to see more spiritual ideals making headway. F. A. \V. 



3(56 Landscape Gardening 

many who would gladly do something to give a sentiment 
to their houses, but are ignorant both of the materials and 
the way to set about it. Accordingly they plant odorous 
ailanthuses and filthy poplars to the neglect of graceful and 
salubrious maples. 

The influence of commercial gardens on the neighborhood 
where they are situated is one of the best proofs of the 
growth of taste. They show that our people have no obtuse- 
ness of faculty as to what is beautiful, but only lack in- 
formation and example to embellish with the heartiest good 
will. Take Rochester, N. Y., for instance, which, at the 
present moment, has perhaps the largest and most active 
nurseries in the Union. We are confident that the aggre- 
gate planting of fruits and ornamental trees within fifty 
miles of Rochester during the last ten years has been twice 
as much as has taken place in the same time in any three of 
the southern states. Philadelphia has long been famous for 
her exotic gardens, and now even the little yard plats of the 
city dwellings, are filled with roses, jasmines, lagestrcemias 
and the like. Such facts as these plainly prove to us that 
only give our people a knowledge of the beauty of fine trees 
and plants and the method of cultivating them, and there is 
no sluggishness or inaptitude on the subject in the public 
mind. 

In looking about for the readiest method of diffusing a 
knowledge of beautiful trees and plants, and thereby bet- 
tering our homes and our country several means suggest 
themselves which are worthy of attention. 

The first of these is, by what private individuals may do. 

There is scarcely a single fine private garden in the coun- 
try which does not possess plants that are perhaps more or 
less coveted, or would at least be greatly prized by neighbors 
who do not possess, and perhaps cannot easily procure 
them. Many owners of such places cheerfully give away 
to their neighbors any spare plants that they may possess; 
but the majority decline, for the most part, to give away 
plants at all, because the indiscriminate practice subjects 
them to numerous and troublesome demands upon both the 



How to Popularize the 'J'aslc for mauling 'M\7 

time and generosity of even the most liberally disposed. 
But every gentleman who employs a gardener could well 
afford to allow that gardener to spend a couple of days in a 
season in propagating some one or two really valuable trees, 
shrubs, or plants, that would be a decided acquisition to 
the gardens of his neighborhood. One or two specimens of 
such tree or plant thus raised in abundance might be dis- 
tributed freely during the planting season, or during a given 
week of the same, to all who would engage to plant and take 
care of them in their own grounds, and thus this tree or 
plant would soon become widely distributed about the whole 
adjacent country. Another season still another desirable 
tree, or plant might be taken in hand and when ready for 
home planting might be scattered broadcast among those 
who desire to possess it, and so the labor of love might go 
on as convenience dictated till the greater part of the gar- 
dens, however small, within a considerable circumference 
would contain at least several of the most valuable, useful, 
and ornamental trees and shrubs for the climate. 

The second means is by what the nurserymen may do. 

We are very well aware that the first thought which will 
cross the mind of a selfish and narrow-minded nurseryman 
(if any such read the foregoing paragraph) is that such a 
course of gratuitous distribution of good plants, on the part 
of private persons, will speedily ruin his business. But he 
was never more greatly mistaken, as both observation and 
reason will convince him. Who are the nurseryman's best 
customers? That class of men who have long owned a 
garden, whether it be half a rood or many acres, who have 
never planted trees or, if any, have but those not worth 
planting? Not at all. His best customers are those who 
have formed a taste for trees by planting them, and who, 
having got a taste for improving, are seldom idle in the 
matter and keep pretty regular accounts with the dealers in 
trees. If you cannot get a person who thinks he has but 
little time or taste for improving his place to buy trees, 
and he will accept a plant, or a fruit-tree, or a shade tree, 
now and then from a neighbor whom he knows to be "curi- 



368 Landscape Gardening 

ous in such things," - by all means, we say to the nursery- 
man, encourage him to plant at any rate and all rates. 

If I hat man's tree turns out to his satisfaction he is an 
amateur, one only beginning to pick the shell, to be sure, but 
an amateur full fledged by-and-by. If he once gets a taste 
for gardening downright - if the flavor of his own rare- 
ripes touch his palate but once, as something quite differ- 
ent from what he has always, like a contented, ignorant 
donkey, bought in the market -- if his Malmaison rose, 
radiant with the sentiment of the best of French women, and 
the loveliness of intrinsic bud-beauty once touches his 
hitherto dull eyes, so that the scales of his blindness to the 
fact that one rose differs from another, fall off for ever - 
then we say, thereafter he is one of the nurseryman's best 
customers. Begging is both too slow and too dependent a 
position for him and his garden soon fills up by ransacking 
the nurseryman's catalogues, and it is more likely to be 
swamped by the myriad of things which he would think 
very much alike (if he had not bought them by different 
appellations), than by any empty spaces waiting for the 
liberality of more enterprising cultivators. 

And thus, if the nurseryman can satisfy himself with our 
reasoning that he ought not object to the amateur's be- 
coming a gratuitous distributor of certain plants, we would 
persuade him for much the same reason, to follow the example 
himself. Xo person can propagate a tree or plant with so 
little cost and so much ease as one whose business it is to do 
so. And we may add, no one is more likely to know the 
really desirable varieties of trees or plants than he is. No 
one so well knows as himself that the newest things - - most 
zealously sought after at high prices - - are by no means those 
which will give the most permanent satisfaction in a family 
garden. And accordingly it is almost always the older and 
well-tried standard trees and plants, those that the nursery- 
man can best afford to spare, those that he can grow most 
cheaply, that he would best serve the diffusion of popular 
taste by distributing gratis. We think it would be best for 
all parties if the variety were very limited, and we doubt 



How to Popularize the Taste for Planting 

whether the distribution of two valuable hardy trees or 
climbers for five years, or till they became so common all 
over the surroundings as to make a distinct feature of em- 
bellishment, would not be more serviceable than dissemi- 
nating a larger number of species. It may appear to some 
of our commercial readers an odd recommendation to urge 
them to give away precisely that which it is their business 
to sell, but we are not talking at random when we say most 
confidently that such a course, steadily pursued by ama- 
teurs and nurserymen throughout the country for ten years, 
would increase the taste for planting and the demand for 
trees five hundred fold.* 

The third means is by what the horticultural societies 
may do. 

\\ e believe there are now about forty horticultural soci- 
eties in North America. Hitherto they have contented 
themselves year after year with giving pretty much the 
same old schedule of premiums for the best cherries, cab- 
bages, and carnations, all over the country, till the stimulus 
begins to wear out, somewhat like the effects of opium or 
tobacco, on confirmed habitues. Let them adopt our 
scheme of popularizing the taste for horticulture by giving 
premiums of certain select small assortments of standard 
fruit trees, ornamental trees, shrubs, and vines (purchased 
by the society of the nurserymen) to the cultivators of such 
small gardens, suburban door-yards, or cottage inclosures, 
within a distance of ten miles round, as the inspecting com- 
mittee shall decide to be best worthy, by their air of neat- 
ness, order, and attention, of such premiums. In this way 
the valuable plants will fall into the right hands, the vendor 
of trees and plants will be directly the gainer, and the 
stimulus given to cottage gardens and the spread of the 
popular taste will be immediate and decided. 

5 Record should be made of the very great influence for good exer- 
cised by the nurserymen of America during the past 100 years, not only 
in the particular manner recommended by Mr. Downing, but in many 
other ways. It need not go unremembered in this connection that Mr. 
Downing hiinsdf was first of all a nurseryman. - F. A. \V. 



370 Landscape Gardening 

'Tall oaks from little acorns grow" is a remarkably trite 
aphorism, but one the truth of which no one who knows the 
aptitude of our people or our intrinsic love of refinement and 
elegance will underrate or gainsay. If, by such simple 
means as we have here pointed out, our great farm on this 
side of the Atlantic, with the water-privilege of both oceans, 
could be made to wear a little less the air of Canada-thistle- 
dom, and show a little more sign of blossoming like the rose, 
we should look upon it as a step so much nearer the millen- 
nium. In Saxony the traveller beholds with no less sur- 
prise and delight on the road between Wiessenfels and 
Halle quantities of the most beautiful and rare shrubs and 
flowers growing along the foot-paths and by the sides of the 
hedges which line the public promenades. The custom pre- 
vails there among private individuals who have beautiful 
gardens of annually planting some of their surplus material 
along these public promenades for the enjoyment of those 
who. have no gardens. And the custom is met in the same 
beautiful spirit by the people at large, for in the main, those 
embellishments that turn the highway into pleasure grounds 
are respected and grow and bloom as if within the inclosures. 
Does not this argue a civilization among these "down- 
trodden nations" of central Europe, that would not be 
unwelcome in this, our land of equal rights and free schools? 



CHAPTER XXXVII 
PUBLIC CEMETERIES AND PUBLIC GARDENS * 

ONE of the most remarkable illustrations of the popular 
taste in this country is to be found in the rise and 
progress of our rural cemeteries. 

Twenty years ago nothing better than a common grave- 
yard, filled with high grass and a chance sprinkling of weeds 
and thistles, was to be found in the Union. If there were 
one or two exceptions, like the burial ground at New Haven, 
where a few willow trees broke the monotony of the scene, 
they existed only to prove the rule more completely. 

Eighteen years ago Mount Auburn, about six miles from 
Boston, was made a rural cemetery. It was then a charm- 
ing natural site, finely varied in surface, containing about 
80 acres of land and admirably clothed by groups and masses 
of native forest trees. It was tastefully laid out, monuments 
were built, and the whole highly embellished. No sooner 
was attention generally roused to the charms of this first 
American cemetery, than the idea took the public mind by 
storm. Travellers made pilgrimages to the Athens of New 
England, solely to see the realization of their long cherished 
dream of a resting place for the dead, at once sacred from 
profanation, dear to the memory, and captivating to the 
imagination. 

Not twenty years have passed since that time; and, at 
the present moment, there is scarcely a city of note in the 
whole country that has not its rural cemetery. The three 
leading cities of the north, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, 
have, each of them, besides their great cemeteries, - 
Greenwood, Laurel Hill, Mount Auburn, - - many others of 
less note, but any of which would have astonished and 

* Original date of July, 1849. 
371 



372 Landscape Gardening 

delighted their inhabitants twenty years ago. Philadelphia 
has, we learn, nearly twenty rural cemeteries at the present 
moment, several of them belonging to distinct societies, 
sects or associations, while others are open to all.* 

The great attraction of these cemeteries, to the mass of 
the community, is not in the fact that they are burial 
places or solemn places of mediation for the friends of the 
deceased, or striking exhibitions of monumental sculpture, 
though all these have their influence. All these might be 
realized in a burial ground planted with straight lines of 
willows and sombre avenues of evergreens. The true secret 
of the attraction lies in the natural beauty of the sites and 
in the tasteful and harmonious embellishment of these sites 
by art. Nearly all these cemeteries were rich portions of 
forest land, broken by hill and dale and varied by copses 
and glades, like Mount Auburn and Greenwood, or old 
country-seats richly wooded with fine planted trees, like 
Laurel Hill. Hence, to an inhabitant of the town, a visit 
to one of these spots has the united charm of nature and 
art, - - the double wealth of rural and moral associations. 
It awakens at the same moment the feeling of human 
sympathy and the love of natural beauty implanted in 
every heart. His must be a dull or a trifling soul that 
neither swells with emotion nor rises with admiration at 
the varied beauty of these lovely and hallowed spots. 

Indeed, in the absence of great public gardens, such as we 
must surely one day have in America, our rural cemeteries 
are doing a great deal to enlarge and educate the popular 
taste in rural embellishment. They are for the most part 
laid out with admirable taste; they contain the greatest 
variety of trees and shrubs to be found in the country, 
and several of them are kept in a manner seldom equalled 
in private places, f 

\Ye made a rough calculation from some data obtained at Phila- 
delphia lately, by which we find that, including Hie cost of the lots, more 
than a million and a half dollars have been expended in the purchase and 
decoration of cemeteries in that neighborhood alone. -- A. J. D. 

t Laurel Hill is especially rich in rare trees. \Ye saw last month almost 
every procurable species of hardy tree and shrub growing there, among 



Public Cemeteries and Public (iardcns 



The character of each of the three great cemeteries is 
essentially distinct. Greenwood, the largest, and unques- 
tionably the finest, is grand, dignified, and park-like. It 
is laid out in a broad and simple style, commands noble 
ocean views, and is admirably kept. Mount Auburn is 
richly picturesque in its varied hill and dale, and owes its 
charm mainly to this variety and intricacy of sylvan fea- 
tures. Laurel Hill is a charming pleasure ground, filled 
with beautiful and rare shrubs and flowers; at this season, 
a wilderness of roses, as well as fine trees and monuments.* 

To enable the reader to form a correct idea of the influence 
which these beautiful cemeteries constantly exercise on the 

others, the Cedar of Lebanon, the Deodar Cedar, the Paulowina, the 
Araucaria, etc. Rhododendrons and Azaleas, were in full bloom; and 
the purple Beeches, the weeping Ash, rare Junipers, Pines, and deciduous 
trees were abundant in many parts of the grounds. Twenty acres of new 
ground have just been added to this cemetery. It is a better arboretum 
than can easily be found elsewhere in the country. -- A. J. D. 

* Few things are perfect; and beautiful and interesting as our rural 
cemeteries now are, more beautiful and interesting than anything of the 
same kind abroad, we cannot pass by one feature in all, marked by the 
most violent bad taste; we mean the hideous ironmongery which they all 
more or less display. Why, if the separate lots must be inclosed with 
iron railings, the railings should not be of simple and unobtrusive, pat- 
terns, we are wholly unable to conceive. As we now see them, by far 
the greater part are so ugly as to be positive blots on the beauty of the 
scene. Fantastic conceits and gimcracks in iron might be pardonable 
as adornments of the balustrade of a circus or a temple of Comus; but 
how reasonable beings can tolerate them as inclosures to the quiet grave 
of a family and in such scenes of sylvan beauty is mountain high above 
our comprehension. 

But this is not all; as if to show how far human infirmity can go, we 
noticed lately several lots in one of these cemeteries, not only inclosed 
with a most barbarous piece of irony, but the gate of which was positively 
ornamented with the coat of arms of the owner, accompanied by a brass 
doorplate, on which was engraved the owner's name and city residence! 
All the world has amused itself with the epitaph on a tombstone in Pere 
la Chaise, erected by a wife to her husband's memory in which, after 
recapitulating the many virtues of Ihc departed, the bereaved one con- 
cludes with --"his disconsolate widow still continues the business. No. 
, Rose-street, Paris." We really have some doubts if the disconsolate 
widow's epitaph advertisement is not in better taste than the cemetery 
brass doorplate immortality of our friends at home. A. J. D. 



374 Landscape Gardening 

public mind it is only necessary to refer to the rapidity with 
which they have increased in fifteen years, as we have just 
remarked. To enable them to judge how largely they 
arouse public curiosity, we may mention that at Laurel 
Hill, four miles from Philadelphia, an account was kept 
of the number of visitors during last season; and the sum 
total, as we were told by one of the directors, was nearly 
30,000 persons who entered the gates between April and 
December, 1818. Judging only from occasional observa- 
tions, we should imagine that double that number visit 
Greenwood, and certainly an equal number, Mount Auburn, 
in a season.* 

We have already remarked that, in the absence of public 
gardens, rural cemeteries in a certain degree supplied their 
place. But does not this general interest, manifested in 
these cemeteries, prove that public gardens, established in a 
liberal and suitable manner near our large cities would be 
equally successful? If 30,000 persons visit a cemetery in 
a single season, would not a large public garden be equally 
a matter of curious investigation? Would not such gardens 
educate the public taste more rapidly than anything else? 
And would not the progress of horticulture as a science and 
an art be equally benefited by such establishments? The 
passion for rural pleasures is destined to be the predominant 
passion of all the more thoughtful and educated portion of 
our people, and any means of gratifying their love for orna- 
mental or useful gardening will be eagerly seized by hun- 
dreds of thousands of our countrymen. 

Let us suppose a joint-stock company formed in any of 
our cities for the purpose of providing its inhabitants with 
the luxury of a public garden. A site should be selected 
with the same judgment which has already been shown by 
the cemetery companies. It should have a varied surface, 

* An interesting and significant comparison may be made between 
1848 and the present. There are now several public parks and play- 
grounds in the United States where the annual attendance exceeds one 
million, and at least one where the figure reaches approximately five 
million. F. A. W. 




FIG. 46. ORNAMENTAL MULLEINS IN A PUBLIC GAIUM-;.\ 



(375) 



376 Landscape Gardening 

a good position, sufficient natural wood, with open space and 
good soil enough for the arrangement of all those portions 
which require to be newly planted. 

Such a garden might, in the space of fifty to one hundred 
acres, afford an example of the principal modes of laying out 
grounds, thus teaching practical landscape gardening. It 
might contain a collection of all the hardy trees and shrubs 
that grow in this climate, each distinctly labelled, so that 
the most ignorant visitor could not fail to learn something 
of trees. It might have a botanical arrangement of plants 
and a lecture-room where at the proper season lectures on 
botany could be delivered, and the classes which should 
resort there could study with the growing plants under 
their eyes. It might be laid out so as, in its wooded posi- 
tion, to afford a magnificent drive for those who chose so to 
enjoy it; and it might be furnished with suitable ices and 
other refreshments, so that, like the German gardens, it 
would be the great promenade of all strangers and citizens, 
visitors, or inhabitants of the city of whose suburbs it 
would form a part. 

But how shall such an establishment be supported? 
Cemeteries are sustained by the prices paid for lots, which, 
though costing not a large sum each, make an enormous sum 
in the aggregate. 

We answer, by a small admission fee. Only those who 
are shareholders would (like those owning lots in a ceme- 
tery) have entrance for their horses and carriages. This 
privilege alone would tempt hundreds to subscribe, thus 
adding to the capital, while the daily resort of citizens and 
strangers would give the necessary income; for no traveller 
would leave a city possessing such a public garden as we 
have described without seeing that, its most interesting 
feature. The finest band of music, the most rigid police, the 
certainty of an agreeable promenade and excellent refresh- 
ments, would, we think, as surely tempt a large part of the 
better class of the inhabitants of our cities to such a resort 
here as in Germany. If the road to Mount Auburn is now 
lined with coaches, continually carrying the inhabitants of 



Public (.'< ;?;< VrnV.s- <in<l Public Gardens 



Boston by thousands and tens of thousands, is it not likely 
that such a garden, full of the most varied instruction, 
amusement, and recreation, would be ten times more vis- 
ited? Fetes might be held there, horticultural societies 
would make annual exhibitions there, and it would be the 
general holiday-ground of all who love to escape from the 
brick walls, paved streets, and stifling atmosphere of towns. 

Would such a project pay? This is the home question of 
all the calculating part of the community, who must open 
their purse-strings to make it a substantial reality. 

We can only judge by analogy. The mere yearly rent of 
Barnum's Museum in Broadway is, we believe, about 
810,000 (a sum more than sufficient to meet all the annual 
expenses of such a garden); and it is not only paid, but very 
large profits have been made there. Now, if hundreds of 
thousands of the inhabitants of cities like New York will 
pay to see stuffed boa-constrictors and un-human Belgian 
giants, or incur the expense and trouble of going five or six 
miles to visit Greenwood, we think it may safely be esti- 
mated that a much larger number would resort to a public 
garden, at once the finest park, the most charming drive, the 
most inviting pleasure ground, and the most agreeable prom- 
enade within their reach. That such a project, carefully 
planned, and liberally and judiciously carried out, would 
not only pay, in money, but largely civilize and refine the 
national character, foster the love of rural beauty, and in- 
crease the knowledge of and taste for rare and beautiful 
trees and plants, we cannot entertain a reasonable doubt. 

It is only necessary for one of the three cities which first 
opened cemeteries to set the example, and the thing once 
fairly seen it becomes universal. The true policy of repub- 
lics is to foster the taste for great public libraries, sculpture 
and picture galleries, parks, and gardens, which all may 
enjoy, since our institutions wisely forbid the growth of 
private fortunes sufficient to achieve these desirable results 
in any other way. 

.Vo/e. -- Experience has hardly curried out Mr. Downin.y's ideas, per- 
haps for the very reason that, soon after the time of his writing, it became 




z 

w 
a 
- 
< 

a 



03 

o, 

< 
z 

HH 

C/3 

KH 

K 



BC 

tq 

o 



(378) 



Public Cemeteries and Public Gardens 379 

the general policy in America for cities to provide free public parks and 
playgrounds. However certain resorts have been maintained very suc- 
cessfully under corporate ownership, frequently as attractions for trans- 
portation companies; or they have been maintained, like Atlantic City 
and Coney Island, by the concessionaries. Mr. Downing'* reasoning 
was sound; but Americans have simply found another route to the same 
objective. F. A. W. 



CHAPTER XXXVIII 
THE NEW YORK PARK * 

THE leading topic of town gossip and newspaper para- 
graphs just now in New York is the new park pro- 
posed by Mayor Kingsland. Deluded New York 
has until lately contented itself with the little dooryards of 
space - - mere grass-plats of verdure - - which form the 
squares of the city, in the mistaken idea that they are 
parks. The fourth city in the world (with a growth that 
will soon make it the second), the commercial metropolis of 
a continent spacious enough to border both oceans, has not 
hitherto been able to afford sufficient land to give its citi- 
zens, the majority of whom live there the whole year round, 
any breathing space for pure air, any recreation ground for 
healthful exercise, any pleasant roads for riding or driving, 
or any enjoyment of that lovely and refreshing natural 
beauty from which they have, in leaving the country, re- 
luctantly expatriated themselves for so many years, perhaps 
forever. Some few thousands, more fortunate than the rest, 
are able to escape for a couple of months into the country 
to find repose for body and soul in its leafy groves and pleas- 
ant pastures or to inhale new life on the refreshing seashore. 
But in the mean time the city is always full. Its steady 

* Original date of August, 1851. 

* It might be said that this essay on "The New York Park" has only 
a historic interest. Certainly it is of the utmost value from the standpoint 
of history, but il must seem worth while to everyone to review the devel- 
opment of the city park idea in America. In this development Mr. 
Downing played an important role. Another essay entitled "A Talk 
about Public Parks and Gardens," and dated October, 1848, has been 
omitted from the present edition, but it does not seem proper to neglect 
altogether the very important connection between the work of Mr. 
Downing in that lime and our present enjoyment of splendid park sys- 
tems in all American cities. -- F. A. \V. 

380 



The Xciu York Park 381 

population of five hundred thousand souls is always there, 
always on the increase. Every ship brings a live cargo 
from over-peopled Europe, to fill up its over-crowded lodging 
houses; every steamer brings hundreds of strangers to fill 
its thronged thoroughfares. Crowded hotels, crowded 
streets, hot summers, business pursued till it becomes a 
game of excitement, pleasure followed till its votaries are 
exhausted, where is the quiet reverse side of this picture of 
town life, intensified almost to distraction? 

Mayor Kingsland spreads it out to the vision of the 
dwellers in this arid desert of business and dissipation - - a 
green oasis for the refreshment of the city's soul and body. 
He tells the citizens of that feverish metropolis, as every 
intelligent man will tell them who knows the cities of the 
old world, that New York, and American cities generally, 
are voluntarily and ignorantly living in a state of complete 
forgetfulness of nature, and her innocent recreations. That, 
because it is needful in civilized life for men to live in cities, 
- yes, and unfortunately too, for children to be born and 
educated without a daily sight of the blessed horizon, - - it 
is not, therefore, needful for them to be so miserly as to live 
utterly divorced from all pleasant and healthful intercourse 
with gardens, and green fields. He informs them that cool 
umbrageous groves have not forsworn themselves within 
town limits, and that half a million of people have a right 
to ask for the greatest happiness of parks and pleasure 
grounds, as well as for paving stones and gas lights. 

Now that public opinion has fairly settled that a park is 
necessary, the parsimonious declare that the plot of one 
hundred and sixty acres proposed by Mayor Kingsland is ex- 
travagantly large. Shortsighted economists! If the future 
growth of the city were confined to the boundaries their 
narrow vision would fix, it would soon cease to be the com- 
mercial emporium of the country. If they were the pur- 
veyors of the young giant, he would soon present the sorry 
spectacle of a robust youth magnificently developed but 
whose cxlremeties had outgrown every garment that they 
had provided to cover his nakedness. 



382 Landscape Gardening 

These timid tax payers, and men nervous in their private 
pockets of the municipal expenditures, should take a lesson 
from some of their number to whose admirable foresight 
we owe the unity of materials displayed in the New York 
City Hall. Every one familiar with New York has won- 
dered or smiled at the apparent perversity of taste which 
gave us a building, in the most conspicuous part of the city, 
and devoted to the highest municipal uses, three sides of 
which arc pure white marble, and the fourth of coarse 
brown stone. But few of those who see that incongruity 
know that it was dictated by the narrow-sighted frugality 
of the common council who were its building committee, 
and who determined that it would be useless to waste 
marble on the rear of the City Hall, "since that side would 
only be seen by persons living in the suburbs." 

Thanking Mayor Kingsland most heartily for his pro- 
posed new park, the only objection we make to it is that it 
is too small. One hundred and sixty acres of park for a 
city that will soon contain three-quarters of a million of 
people! It is only a child's playground. Why London has 
over six thousand acres either within its own limits, or in 
the accessible suburbs, open to the enjoyment of its popula- 
tion - - and six thousand acres composed too, either of the 
grandest and most lovely park scenery, like Kensington and 
Richmond, or of luxuriant gardens, filled with rare plants, 
hot-houses and hardy shrubs and trees, like the National 
Garden at Kew. Paris has its Garden of the Tuileries, 
whose alleys are lined with orange trees two hundred years 
old, whose parterres are gay with the brightest flowers, 
whose cool grooves of horse-chestnuts, stretching out to 
the Elysian Fields, are in the very midst of the city. Yes, 
and on its outskirts are Versailles (three thousand acres of 
imperial groves and gardens there also), and Fontainbleau, 
and St. Cloud, with all the rural, scenic, and palatial beauty 
that the opulence of the most profuse of French monarchs 
could create, all open to the people of Paris. Vienna has 
its great Prater, to make which, would swallow up most of 
the unimproved part of New York city. Munich has a 



The Xcw York Park :i.s:> 

superb pleasure ground of five hundred acres, which makes 
the Arcadia of her citizens. Even the smaller towns are 
provided with public grounds to an extent that would beggar 
the imagination of our short sighted economists, who would 
deny a greenery to New York; Frankfort, for example, is 
skirted by the most beautiful gardens, formed upon the 
platform which made the old ramparts of the city- gar- 
dens filled with the loveliest plants and shrubs, tastefully 
grouped along walks over two miles in extent. 

Looking at the present government of the city as about 
to provide, in the People's Park, a breathing zone and 
healthful place for exercise for a city of half a million of 
souls, we trust they will not be content with the limited 
number of acres already proposed. Five hundred acres is 
the smallest area that should be reserved for the future 
wants of such a city, now, while it may be obtained. Five 
hundred acres may be selected between Thirty-ninth-street 
and the Harlem River, including a varied surface of land, a 
good deal of which is yet waste area, so that the whole may 
be purchased at something like a million of dollars. In that 
area there would be space enough to have broad reaches of 
park and pleasure grounds, with a real feeling of the breadth 
and beauty of green fields, the perfume and freshness of 
nature. In its midst would be located the great distrib- 
uting reservoirs of the Croton aqueduct, formed into lovely 
lakes of limpid water, covering many acres, and heightening 
the charm of the sylvan accessories by the finest natural 
contrast. In such a park the citizens who would take 
excursions in carriages or on horseback could have the sub- 
stantial delights of country roads and country scenery and 
forget for a time the rattle of the pavements and the glare 
of brick walls. Pedestrians would find quiet and secluded 
walks when they wished to be solitary, and broad alleys filled 
with thousands of happy faces when they would be gay. The 
thoughtful denizen of the town would go out there in the 
morning, to hold converse with the whispering trees, and the 
weary tradesmen in the evening, to enjoy an hour of happi- 
ness by mingling in the open space with all the world. 



Landscape Gardening 



The many beauties and utilities that would gradually 
i*ro\v out of a great park like this in a great city like New 
York suggest themselves immediately and forcibly. Where 
would be found so fitting a position for noble works of art, 
the statues, monuments, and buildings commemorative at 
once of the great men of the nation, of the history of the age 
and country, and the genius of our highest artists? In the 
broad area of such a verdant zone would gradually grow up, 




FIG. 48. A JAPANESE PARK 

as the wealth of the city increases, winter gardens of glass, 
like the great Crystal Palace, where the whole people could 
luxuriate in groves of the palms and spice trees of the 
tropics, at the same moment that sleighing parties glided 
swiftly and noiselessly over the snow-covered surface of 
the country-like avenues of the wintry park without. Zo- 
ological Gardens, like those of London and Paris, would 
gradually be formed by private subscription or public funds, 
where thousands of old and young would find daily pleas- 
ure in studying natural history, illustrated by all the wildest 
and strangest animals of the globe, almost as much at home 



The New York Park :',,s:> 

in their paddocks and jungles as if in their native forests; 
and Horticultural and Industrial Societies would hold their 
annual shows there, and great expositions of the arts would 
take place in spacious buildings within the park, far more 
fittingly than in the noise and din of the crowded streets of 
the city. 

We have had said nothing of the social influence of such 
a great park in New York. But this is really the most in- 
teresting phase of the whole matter. It is a fact not a little 
remarkable that, ultra democratic as are the political ten- 
dencies of America, its most intelligent social tendencies are 
almost wholly in a contrary direction. And among the 
topics discussed by the advocates and opponents of the new 
park, none seem so poorly understood as the social aspect of 
the thing. It is, indeed, both curious and amusing to see 
the stand taken on the one hand by the million, that the park 
is made for the "upper ten," who ride in fine carriages, and, 
on the other hand, by the wealthy and refined, that a park 
in this country will be "usurped by rowdies and low people." 
Shame upon our republican compatriots who so little un- 
derstand the elevating influences of the beautiful in nature 
and in art when enjoyed in common by thousands and 
hundreds of thousands of all classes without distinction! 
They can never have seen how all over France and Ger- 
many the whole population of the cities pass their afternoons 
and evenings together in the beautiful public parks and 
gardens. How they enjoy together the same music, breathe 
the same atmosphere of art, enjoy the same scenery, and 
grow into social freedom by the very influences of easy 
intercourse, space and beauty that surround them. In 
Germany, especially, they have never seen how the highest 
and the lowest partake alike of the common enjoyment - 
the prince seated beneath the trees on a rush-bottomed 
chair, before a little wooden table, supping his coffee or his 
ice, with the same freedom from state and pretension as 
the simplest subject. Drawing-room conventionalities arc 
too narrow for a mile or two of spacious garden landscape, 
and one can be happy with ten thousand in the social free- 



386 Landscape Gardening 

dom of a community of genial influences, without the un- 
utterable pang of not having been introduced to the company 
present. 

These social doubters who thus intrench themselves in 
the sole citadel of exclusiveness in republican America, mis- 
take our people and their -destiny. If we would but have 
listened to them our magnificent river and lake steamers, 
those real palaces of the million, would have had no velvet 
couches, no splendid mirrors, no luxurious carpets. Such 
costly and rare appliances of civilization, they would have 
told us, could only be rightly used by the privileged fami- 
lies of wealth, and would be trampled upon and utterly 
ruined by the democracy of the country who travel one 
hundred miles for half a dollar. And yet these, our floating 
palaces and our monster hotels, with their purple and fine 
linen, are they not respected by the majority who use 
them, as truly as other palaces by their rightful sovereigns? 
Alas, for the faithlessness of the few, who possess, regarding 
the capacity for culture of the many, who are wanting. 
Even upon the lower platform of liberty and education that 
the masses stand in Europe, we see the elevating influences 
of a wide popular enjoyment of galleries of art, public 
libraries, parks and gardens, which have raised the people 
in social civilization and social culture to a far higher level 
than we have yet attained in republican America. And yet 
this broad ground of popular refinement must be taken in 
republican America, for it belongs of right more truly here 
than elsewhere. It is republican in its very idea and tend- 
ency. It takes up popular education where the common 
school and ballot-box leave it, and raises up the working 
man to the same level of enjoyment with the man of leisure 
and accomplishment. The higher social and artistic ele- 
ments of every man's nature lie dormant within him, and 
every laborer is a possible gentleman, not by the possession 
of money or fine clothes, but through the refining influence 
of intellectual and moral culture. Open wide, therefore, the 
doors of your libraries and picture galleries, all ye true 
republicans! Build halls where knowledge shall be freely 



The New York Park 387 

diffused among men, and not shut up within the narrow 
walls of narrower institutions. Plant spacious parks in your 
cities and unloose their gates as wide as the gates of morning 
to the whole people. As there are no dark places at noon- 
day, so education and culture - - the true sunshine of the 
soul --will banish the plague spots of democracy; and 
the dread of the ignorant exclusive who has no faith in the 
refinement of a republic, will stand abashed in the next 
century before a whole people whose system of voluntary 
education embraces (combined with perfect individual free- 
dom), not only common schools of rudimentary knowledge, 
but common enjoyments for all classes in the higher realms 
of art, letters, science, and social recreations. Were our 
legislators but wise enough to understand to-day the des- 
tinies of the New World, the gentility of Sir Philip Sidney, 
made universal, would be not half so much a miracle fifty 
years hence in America as the idea of a whole nation of 
laboring men reading and writing was, in his day, in 
England. 



APPENDIX I 
LIST OF ROSES 

List of Roses recommended by Prof. A. C. Beal, for New York and 
the Northeastern states (Bailey's Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture; 
V: 3009). See page 261. 

Hybrid Perpetual. - - Alfred Colomb, A. K. Williams, Anna 
de Diesbach, Baron de Bonstetten, Baroness Rothschild, 
Captain Christy, Captain Hayward, Clio, Dr. O'Donel 
Browne, Duke of Edinburgh, Duke of Teck, Frau Karl 
Druschki, General Jacqueminot, George Arends, Gloire de 
Chedane Guinoisseau, Gloire Lyonnaise, Hugh Dickson, 
J. B. Clark, John Hopper, Lady Helen Stewart, Madam 
Gabriel Luizet, Magna Charta, Margaret Dickson, Marshall 
P. Wilder, Mrs. John Laing, Mrs. R. G. Sharman-Crawford, 
Oscar Cordel, Paul Neyron, Prince Camille de Rohan, 
Ulrich Brunner. 

Hybrid Tea. - - Antoine Rivoire, Augustine Guinoisse, 
British Queen, Caroline Testout, Chateau de Clos Vougeot, 
Chrissie Mackellar, Dean Hole, Dorothy Page Roberts, 
Duchess of Sutherland, Duchess of Westminster, Earl of 
Warwick, Edith Part, Etoile de France, Francis Scott Key, 
Frau Lilla Rautenstrauch, Geoffrey Henslow, George Dick- 
son, Grace Molyneux, Gruss an Teplitz, Gustav Gruner- 
wald, Hector MacKenzie, Irish Brightness, Jonkheer J. L. 
Mock, Kaiserin Augusta Victoria, Killarney, Killarney 
Queen, Konigin Carola, Lady Alice Stanley, Lady Ashtown, 
La France, Laurent Carle, Lieutenant Chaure, Madame 
Jules Grolez, Madame Hector Leuillot, Madame Segond 
Weber, Marquise de Sinety, Mevrouw Dora Van Tets, Mon- 
sieur Joseph Hill, Mrs. A. R. Waddell, Mrs. Wakefield, 
Christie-Miller, Old-Gold, Prince de Bulgarie, Queen Mary, 
Simplicity, Souvenir du President Carnot, Souvenir de 

388 



Appendix 389 

Gustav Prat, Sunburst, Viscountess Folkestone, Welleslcy, 
White Killarney, Willowmere. 

Pernctiana. - - Arthur R. Goodwin, Louise Catherine Bres- 
lau, Lyon, Madame Ruau, Rayon d'Or, Soleil d'Or. 

Pohjantha or Baby Rambler. - - Bordure, Catherine Zci- 
met, Cecile Brunner, Clothilde Soupert, Ellen Poulsen, 
George Elgar, Gruss an Aachen, Leonie Lamesch, Louise 
Walter, Madame Jules Gouchault, Maman Turbat. Marie 
Brissonet, Marie Pavie, Mignonette, Mosella, Mrs. W. H. 
Cutbush, Schneekopf, Triomphe Orleanais. 

Moss Roses. - - Blanche Moreau, Comtesse de Murinais, 
Crested Moss, Crimson Glove, Princess Adelaide. 

Hybrid Sweetbriers. - - Amy Robsart, Anne of Geierstein, 
Brenda, Catherine Seyton, Edith Bellenden, Flora Mclvor, 
Green Mantle, Jeannie Deans, Julie Mannering, Lady Pen- 
zance, Lord Penzance, Lucy Ashton, Lucy Bertram, Meg 
Merrilies, Minna, Rose Bradwardine. 

Hardy Yellow Roses. - - Austrian Copper, Harrison's Yel- 
low, Persian Yellow. 

Bourbon and Noisette. - - Beauty of Rosemawr, Burbank, 
Caroline Marniesse, Champion of the World, Hermosa, Mrs. 
Paul, Souvenir de la Malmaison. 

Hybrid China and Gallica Roses. - - Madame Plantier, 
Rosa Mundi, York and Lancaster. 

Rugosa Hybrids. - - Agnes Emily Carman, Conrad Ferdi- 
nand Meyer, Madame Georges Bruant, Madame Lucien 
Villeminot, Nova Zembla, Perfection 1'Hay, Blanc Double 
de Coubert. 

Climbing roses, large-flowered types. Baltimore Belle, 
Christine Wright, Climbing American Beauty, Countess 
M. H. Chotek, Dr. W. Van Fleet, May Queen, Prairie 
Queen, Ruby Queen, Tausendschon, W. C. Egan. 

Climbing roses, many-flowered types. - - Count Zeppelin, 
Crimson Rambler, Dawson, Dorothy Perkins, Excelsa, Gar- 
denia, Goldfinch, Lady Gay, Lady Godiva, Minnehaha, 
Mrs. F. W. Flight, Mrs. H. M. Walsh, Rene Andre, Rubin, 
Source d'Or, Thalia, Trier, Wartburg, White Dorothy. 

Climbing roses, single-flowered types. - - American Pillar, 



390 Landscape Gardening 

Bonnie Belle, Delight, Eisenach, Evangeline, Jersey Beauty, 
Hiawatha, Leuchtstern, Paradise, Pink Roamer, Silver 
Moon. 

Tea-scented roses. - - Duchess de Brabant, Harry Kirk, 
Helen Gould, Isabella Sprunt, Madame Lambard, Madame 
Joseph Schwartz, Maman Cochet, Marie Lambert, Mrs. 
Herbert Hawksworth, Papa Gontier, Princess de Sagan, 
Souvenir de Catherine Gillot, William R. Smith, White 
Maman Cochet. 

Climbing Tea and other tender roses. - - Birdie Blye, 
Climbing Testout, Madame Alfred Carriere, Madame 
Driout, Mrs. Robert Peary, Reine Marie Henriette. 

Bengal roses. - - Archduke Charles, Douglas, Lucullus, 
Madame Eugene Marlitt, Maddalena Scalarandis, Queen's 
Scarlet, and Viridiflora. 

Single Hybrid Tea roses. - - lona, Irish Beauty, Irish 
Brightness, Irish Elegance, Irish Harmony, Irish Modesty, 
and Simplicity. 



APPENDIX II 
MEMOIR * 

ANDREW JACKSON DOWNING was born at New- 
burgh, upon the Hudson, on the spot where he 
always lived and which he always loved more than 
any other, on the 30th of October, 1815. His father and 
mother were both natives of Lexington, Massachusetts, and, 
upon their marriage, removed to Orange County, New York, 
where they settled, some thirty or forty miles from New- 
burgh. Presently, however, they came from the interior of 
the county to the banks of the river. The father built a 
cottage upon the highlands of Newburgh, on the skirts of the 
town, and there his five children were born. He had begun 
life as a wheelwright, but abandoned the trade to become a 
nurseryman, and after working prosperously in his garden 
for twenty-one years, died in 1822. 

Andrew was born many years after the other children. 
He was the child of his parents' age, and, for that reason, 
very dear. He began to talk before he could walk, when 
he was only nine months old, and the wise village gossips 
shook their heads in his mother's little cottage, and pro- 
phesied a bright career for the precocious child. At eleven 
months that career manifestly began, in the gossips' eyes, 
by his walking bravely about the room: a handsome, cheer- 
ful, intelligent child, but quiet and thoughtful, petted by 

This memoir is from the pen of George William Curtis, one of the 
best-known and wisest literary men of his day, and an intimate personal 
friend of Mr. Downing. It was written in 1853 for the collection of 
"Rural Essays," edited by Mr. Curtis. 

In the volume of "Rural Essays" appears also another tribute from 
another literary celebrity of the day in the form of a letter to Mr. Down- 
ing's friends by Miss Friedrika Bremer. It has been thought best to 
omit this letter from the present edition, but students and lovers of 
Downing should not fail to search it out and read it. --F. A. W. 

391 



392 Landscape Gardening 

the elder brothers and sister, standing sometimes in the 
door, as he grew older, and watching the shadows of the 
clouds chase each other over the Fishkill mountains upon 
the opposite side of the river; soothed by the universal 
silence of the country, while the constant occupation of the 
father, and of the brother who worked with him in the 
nursery, made the boy serious, by necessarily leaving him 
much alone. 

In the little cottage upon the Newburgh highlands, look- 
ing down upon the broad bay which the Hudson river there 
makes, before winding in a narrow stream through the high- 
lands of West Point, and looking eastward across the river 
to the Fishkill hills, which rise gradually from the bank 
into a gentle mountain boldness, and northward, up the 
river, to shores that do not obstruct the horizon, - - passed 
the first years of the boy's life, thus early befriending him 
with one of the loveliest of landscapes. While his father 
and brother were pruning and grafting their trees, and the 
other brother was busily at work in the comb factory, 
where he was employed, the young Andrew ran alone 
about the garden, playing his solitary games in the presence 
of the scene whose influence helped to mould his life, and 
which, even so early, filled his mind with images of rural 
beauty. His health, like that of most children born in 
their parents' later years, was not at all robust. The father, 
watching the slight form glancing among his trees, and the 
mother, aware of her boy sitting silent and thoughtful, had 
many a pang of apprehension, which was not relieved by 
the ominous words of the gossips that it was "hard to raise 
these smart children," - the homely modern echo of the 
old Greek fancy, "Whom the gods love die young." 

The mother, a thrifty housekeeper and a religious woman, 
occupied with her many cares, cooking, mending, scrub- 
bing, and setting things to rights, probably looked forward 
with some apprehension to the future condition of her sen- 
sitive Benjamin, even if he lived. The dreamy, shy ways 
of the boy were not such as indicated the stern stuff that 
enables poor men's children to grapple with the world. 



Appendix 393 

Left to himself, his will began to grow imperious. The 
busy mother could not severely scold her ailing child; but 
a sharp rebuke had probably often been pleasantcr to him 
than the milder treatment that resulted from affectionate 
compassion, but showed no real sympathy. It is evident, 
from the tone in which he always spoke of his childhood, 
that his recollections of it were not altogether agreeable. 
It was undoubtedly clouded by a want of sympathy, which 
he could not understand at the time, but which appeared 
plainly enough when his genius came into play. It is the 
same kind of clouded childhood that so often occurs in 
literary biography, where there was great mutual affection 
and no ill feeling, but a lack of that instinctive apprehension 
of motives and aims, which makes each one perfectly toler- 
ant of each other. 

When Andrew was seven years old, his father died, and 
his elder brother succeeded to the management of the nur- 
sery business. Andrew's developing tastes led him to the 
natural sciences, to botany and mineralogy. As he grew 
older he began to read the treatises upon these favorite 
subjects, and went, at length, to an academy at Mont- 
gomery, a town not far from Newburgh, and in the same 
county. Those who remember him here, speak of him as a 
thoughtful, reserved boy, looking fixedly out of his large, 
dark brown eyes, and carrying his brow a little inclined 
forward, as if slightly defiant. He was a poor boy, and 
very proud. Doubtless that indomitable will had already 
resolved that he should not be the least of the men that he 
and his schoolfellows would presently become. He was 
shy, and made few friends among the boys. He kept his 
own secrets, and his companions do not remember that he 
gave any hint, while at Montgomery Academy, of his pecu- 
liar power. Neither looking backward nor forward, was 
the prospect very fascinating to his dumb, and probably a 
little dogged, ambition. Behind were the few first years of 
childhood, sickly, left much alone in the cottage and garden, 
with nothing in those around him (as he felt without know- 
ing it) that strictly sympathized with him; and yet, as 



394 Landscape Gardening 

always in such cases, of a nature whose development craved 
the most generous sympathy: these few years, too, cast 
among all the charms of a landscape which the Fishkill 
hills lifted from littleness, and the broad river inspired with 
a kind of grandeur; years, which the universal silence of 
the country, always so imposing to young imaginations, 
and the rainbow pomp of the year, as it came and went up 
and down the river-banks and over the mountains, and the 
general solitude of country life, were not very likely to 
enliven. Before, lay a career of hard work in a pursuit 
which rarely enriches the workman, with little apparent 
promise of leisure to pursue his studies or to follow his 
tastes. It is natural enough, that in the midst of such 
prospects, the boy, delicately organized to appreciate his 
position, should have gone to his recitations and his play in 
a very silent - - if not stern - - manner, all the more reserved 
and silent for the firm resolution to master and not be 
mastered. It is hard to fancy that he was ever a blithe 
boy. The gravity of maturity came early upon him. Those 
who saw him only in later years can, probably, easily see 
the boy at Montgomery Academy, by fancying him quite as 
they knew him, less twenty or twenty-five years. One by 
one, the boys went from the academy to college, or into 
business, and when Andrew was sixteen years old, he also 
left the academy and returned home. 

He, too, had been hoping to go to college; but the family 
means forbade. His mother, anxious to see him early set- 
tled, urged him, as his elder brothers were both doing well 
in business - - the one as a nurseryman, and the other, who 
had left the comb factory, practising ably and prosper- 
ously as a physician - - to enter as a clerk into a drygoods 
store. That request explains the want of delight with which 
he remembered his childhood: because it shows that his 
good, kind mother, in the midst of her baking, and boiling, 
and darning the children's stockings, made no allowance - 
as how should she, not being able to perceive them - - for 
the possibly very positive tastes of her boy. Besides, the 
first duty of each member of the poor household was, as she 



Appendix 395 

justly conceived, lo get a living; and as Andrew was a 
delicate child, and could not lift and carry much, nor brave 
the chances of an out-door occupation, it was better that he 
should be in the shelter of a store. He, however, a youth 
of sixteen years, fresh from the studies, and dreams, and 
hopes of the Montgomery Academy, found his first duty lo 
be the gentle withstanding of his mother's wish; and quite 
willing to "settle," if he could do it in his own way, joined 
his brother in the management of the nursery. He had no 
doubt of his vocation. Since it was clear that he must 
directly do something, his fine taste and exquisite appreci- 
ation of natural beauty, his love of natural forms, and the 
processes and phenomena of natural life, immediately de- 
termined his choice. Not in vain had his eyes first looked 
upon the mountains and the river. Those silent compan- 
ions of his childhood claimed their own in the spirit with 
which the youth entered upon his profession. To the poet's 
eye began to be added the philosopher's mind; and the 
great spectacle of Nature which he had loved as beauty, 
began to enrich his life as knowledge. Yet I remember, as 
showing that with all his accurate science he was always a 
poet, he agreed in many conversations that the highest 
enjoyment of beauty was quite independent of use; and 
that while the pleasure of a botanist who could at once 
determine the family and species of a plant, and detail all 
the peculiarities and fitness of its structure, was very great 
and inappreciable, yet that it was upon a lower level than 
the instinctive delight in the beauty of the same flower. 
The botanist could not have the highest pleasure in the 
flower if he were not a poet. The poet would increase the 
variety of his pleasure, if he were a botanist. It was this 
constant subjection of science to the sentiment of beauty 
that made him an artist, and did not leave him an artisan; 
and his science was always most accurate and profound, 
because the very depth and delicacy of his feeling for beauty 
gave him the utmost patience to learn, and the greatest 
rapidity to adapt, the means of organizing to the eye the 
ideal image in his mind. 



396 Landscape Gardening 

About this time the Baron de Liderer, the Austrian Con- 
sul General, who had a summer retreat in Newburgh, began 
to notice the youth, whose botanical and mineralogical 
tastes so harmonized with his own. Nature keeps fresh 
the feelings of her votaries, and the Baron, although an old 
man, made hearty friends with Downing; and they ex- 
plored together the hills and lowlands of the neighborhood, 
till it had no more vegetable nor mineral secrets from the 
enthusiasts. Downing always kept in the hall of his house, 
a cabinet, containing mineralogical specimens collected in 
these excursions. At the house of the Baron, also, and in 
that of his wealthy neighbor, Edward Armstrong, Downing 
discovered how subtly cultivation refines men as well as 
plants, and there first met that polished society whose ele- 
gance and grace could not fail to charm him as essential to 
the most satisfactory intercourse, while it presented the 
most entire contrast to the associations of his childhood. 
It is not difficult to fancy the lonely child, playing unheeded 
in the garden, and the dark, shy boy, of the Montgomery 
Academy, meeting with a thrill of satisfaction, as if he had 
been waiting for them, the fine gentlemen and ladies at the 
Consul General's, and the wealthy neighbor's, Air. Arm- 
strong, at whose country-seat he was introduced to Air. 
Charles Augustus Murray, when, for the first time, he saw 
one of the class that he never ceased to honor for their 
virtues and graces - - the English gentleman. At this time, 
also, the figure of Raphael Hoyle, an English landscape 
painter, flits across his history. Congenial in taste and 
feeling, and with varying knowledge, the t\vo young men 
rambled together over the country near Newburgh, and 
while Hoyle caught upon canvas the colors and forms of the 
flowers, and the outline of the landscape, Downing instructed 
him in their history and habits, until they wandered from 
the actual scene into discussions dear to both, of art, and 
life, and beauty; or the artist piqued the imagination of 
his friend with stories of English parks, and of Italian 
vineyards, and of cloud-capped Alps, embracing every zone 
and season, as they rose, --while the untravelled youth 



Appcndi.r 397 



looked across the river to the Fishkill hills, and imagined 
Switzerland. This soon ended. Raphael I loyle died. The 
living book of travel and romantic experience, in which the 
youth who had wandered no farther than to Montgomery 
Academy and to the top of the South Beacon, - the highest 
hill of the Fishkill range, - - had so deeply read of scenes 
and a life that suited him, was closed forever. 

Little record is left of these years of application, of work, 
and study. The Fishkill hills and the broad river, in whose 
presence he had always lived, and the quiet country around 
Newburgh, which he had so thoroughly explored, began to 
claim some visible token of their influence. It is pleasant 
to know that his first literary works were recognitions of 
their charms. It shows the intellectual integrity of the 
man, that despite glowing hopes and restless ambition for 
other things, his first essay was written from his experience; 
it was a description of the " Danskamer," or Devil's Dancing- 
Ground - - a point on the Hudson, seven miles above New- 
burgh - - published in the New York Rlirror. A description 
of Beacon Hill followed. 

He wrote, then, a discussion of novel-reading, and some 
botanical papers, which were published in a Boston journal. 
Whether he was discouraged by the ill success of these 
attempts, or perceived that he was not yet sufficient master 
of his resources to present them properly to the public, does 
not appear, but he published nothing more for several years. 
Perhaps he knew that upon the subjects to which his nat- 
ural tastes directed his studies, nothing but experience spoke 
with authority. Whatever the reason of his silence, how- 
ever,- he worked on unyieldingly, studying, proving, suc- 
ceeding; finding time, also, to read the poets and the 
philosophers, and to gain that familiarity with elegant lit- 
erature which always graced his own composition. Of this 
period of his life, little record, but great results, remain. 
With his pen, and books, and microscope, in the red house, 
and his priming-knife and sharp eye in the nursery and 
garden, he was learning, adapting, and triumphing, - - and 
also, doubtless, dreaming and resolving. If any stranger 



398 Landscape Gardening 

wishing to purchase trees at the nursery of the Messrs. 
Downing, in Newburgh, had visited that pleasant town, and 
transacted business with the younger partner, he would 
have been perplexed to understand why the younger part- 
ner with his large knowledge, his remarkable power of 
combination, his fine taste, his rich cultivation, his singular 
force and precision of expression, his evident mastery of his 
profession, w r as not a recognized authority in it, and why 
he had never been heard of. For it was remarkable in 
Downing, to the end, that he always attracted attention 
and excited speculation. The boy of the Montgomery 
Academy carried that slightly defiant head into the arena 
of life, and seemed always too much a critical observer not 
to challenge wonder, sometimes, even, to excite distrust. 
That was the eye which in the vegetable world had scanned 
the law through the appearance, and followed through the 
landscape the elusive line of beauty. It was a full, firm, 
serious eye. He did not smile with his eyes as many do, 
but they held you as in a grasp, looking from under their 
cover of dark browns. 

The young man, now twenty years old or more, and hard 
at work, began to visit the noble estates upon the banks of 
the Hudson, to extend his experience, and confirm his nascent 
theories of art in landscape-gardening. Studying in the 
red cottage, and working in the nursery upon the Newburgh 
highlands, he had early seen that in a new, and unworked, 
and quite boundless country, with every variety of kindly 
climate and available soil, where fortunes arose in a night, 
an opportunity was offered to Art, of achieving a new and 
characteristic triumph. To touch the continent lying 
chaotic, in mountain, and lake, and forest, with a finger that 
should develop all its resources of beauty, for the admira- 
tion and benefit of its children, seemed to him a task worthy 
the highest genius. This was the dream that dazzled the 
silent years of his life in the garden, and inspired and 
strengthened him in every exertion. As he saw more and 
more of the results of this spirit in the beautiful Hudson 
country-seats, he was, naturally, only the more resolved. To 



Appendix 399 



lay out one garden well, in conformity with the character of 
the surrounding landscape, in obedience to the truest taste, 
and to make a man's home, and its grounds, and its accesso- 
ries, as genuine works of art as any picture or statue that the 
owner had brought over the sea, was, in his mind, the first 
step toward the great result. 

At the various places upon the river, as he visited them 
from time to time, he was received as a gentleman, a scholar, 
and the most practical man of the party, would necessarily 
be welcomed. He sketched, he measured; "in a walk he 
plucks from an overhanging bough a single leaf, examines its 
color, form and structure; inspects it with his microscope, 
and, having recorded his observations, presents it to his 
friend, and invites him to study it, as suggestive of some of 
the first principles of rural architecture and economy." No 
man enjoyed society more, and none ever lost less time. His 
pleasure trips from point to point upon the river were the 
excursions of the honey-bee into the flower. He returned 
richly laden; and the young partner, feeling from childhood 
the necessity of entire self-dependence, continued to live 
much alone, to be reserved, but always affable and gentle. 
These travels were usually brief, and strictly essential to his 
education. He was wisely getting ready; it would be so 
fatal to speak without authority, and authority came only 
with much observation and many years. 

But, during these victorious incursions into the realms of 
experience, the younger partner had himself been conquered. 
Directly opposite the red cottage, upon the other side of the 
river, at Fishkill Landing, lay, under blossoming locust trees, 
the estate and old family mansion of John P. De Wint, Esq. 
The place had the charms of a "moated grange," and was 
quite the contrast of the elegant care and incessant cultiva- 
tion that marked the grounds of the young man in Newburgh. 
But the fine old place, indolently lying in luxuriant decay, 
was the seat of boundless hospitality and social festivity. 
The spacious piazzas, and the gently sloping lawn, which 
made the foreground of one of the most exquisite glimpses of 
the Hudson, rang all summer long with happy laughter. 



400 Landscape Gardening 

Under those blossoming locust trees were walks that led to 
the shore, and the moon hanging over Cro' Nest recalled to 
all loiterers along the bank the loveliest legends of the river. 
In winter the revel shifted from the lawn to the frozen river. 
One such gay household is sufficient nucleus for endless 
enjoyment. From the neighboring West Point, only ten 
miles distant, came gallant young officers, boating in summer, 
and skating in winter, to serenade under the locusts, or join 
the dance upon the lawn. Whatever was young and gay was 
drawn into the merry maelstrom, and the dark-haired boy 
from Newburgh, now grown, somehow, to be a gentleman 
of quiet and polished manner, found himself, even when in 
the grasp of the scientific coils of Parmentier, Repton, Price, 
London, Lindley, and the rest, - - or busy with knife, clay, 
and grafts, - - dreaming of the grange beyond the river, and 
of the Marianna he had found there. 

Summer lay warm upon the hills and river; the land- 
scape was yet untouched by the scorching July heats; and 
on the seventh of June, 1838, - - he being then in his twenty- 
third year, - - Downing was married to Caroline, eldest 
daughter of J. P. De Wint, Esq. At this time, he dissolved 
the business connection with his elder brother, and continued 
the nursery by himself. There w r ere other changes also. 
The busy mother of his childhood was busy no longer. She 
had now been for several years an invalid, unable even to 
\valk in the garden. She continued to live in the little red 
cottage which Downing afterwards removed to make way 
for a green-house. Her sons were men now, and her daughter 
a woman. The necessity for her own exertion was passed, 
and her hold upon life was gradually loosened, until she died 
in 1839. 

Downing now considered himself ready to begin the 
career for which he had so long been preparing; and very 
properly his first work was his own house, built in the garden 
of his father, and only a few rods from the cottage in which 
he was born. It was a simple house, in an Elizabethan style, 
by which he designed to prove that a beautiful, and durable, 
and convenient mansion, could be built as cheaply as a poor 



Appendix 101 

and tasteless temple, which seemed to be, at that time, the 
highest American conception of a fine residence. In this 
design he entirely succeeded. His house, which did not, 
however, satisfy his malurer eye, was externally very simple, 
but extremely elegant; indeed, its chief impression was that 
of elegance. Internally it was spacious and convenient, very 
gracefully proportioned and finished, and marked every 
where by the same spirit. Wherever the eye fell, it detected 
that a wiser eye had been before it. All the forms and colors, 
the style of the furniture, the frames of the mirrors and pic- 
tures, the patterns of the carpets, were harmonious, and it 
was a harmony as easily achieved by taste as discord by 
vulgarity. There was no painful conformity, no rigid monot- 
ony, there was nothing finical nor foppish in this elegance 

- it was the necessary result of knowledge and skill. While 
the house was building, he lived with his wife at her father's. 
He personally superintended the work, which went briskly 
forward. From the foot of the Fishkill hills beyond the river, 
other eyes superintended it, also, scanning, with a telescope, 
the Newburgh garden and growing house; and, possibly, 
from some rude telegraph, as a white cloth upon a tree, or a 
blot of black paint upon a smooth board, Hero knew whether 
at evening to expect her Leander. 

The house was at length finished. A graceful and beauti- 
ful building stood in the garden, higher and handsomer than 
the little red cottage - - a very pregnant symbol to any poet 
who should chance that way and hear the history of the 
architect. 

Once fairly established in his house, it became the seat of 
the most gracious hospitality, and was a beautiful illustra- 
tion of that "rural home" upon whose influence Downing 
counted so largely for the education and intelligent patrio- 
tism of his countrymen. His personal exertions were unre- 
mitting. He had been for some time projecting a work 
upon his favorite art of Landscape Gardening, and presently 
began to throw it into form. His time for literary labor was 
necessarily limited by his superintendence of the nursery. 
But the book was at length completed, and in the year IS 11, 



402 Landscape Gardening 

the Author being then twenty-six years old, Messrs. Wiley 
& Putnam published in Xew York and London, "A Treatise 
on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening adapted 
to North America, with a view to the Improvement of 
Country Residences. With Remarks on Rural Architecture. 
By A. J. Downing." The most concise and comprehensive 
definition of Landscape Gardening that occurs in his works, 
is to be found in the essay, "Hints on Landscape Gardening." 
"It is an art," he says, "which selects from natural materials 
that abound in any country its best sylvan features, and by 
giving them a better opportunity than they could otherwise 
obtain, brings about a higher beauty of development and 
more perfect expression than nature herself offers." Trie 
preface of the book is quite without pretence. 'The love 
of country," says our author, with a gravity that overtops 
his years, "is inseparably connected with the love of home. 
Whatever, therefore, leads man to assemble the comforts and 
elegancies of life around his habitation, tends to increase 
local attachments, and render domestic life more delightful; 
thus, not only augmenting his own enjoyment, but strength- 
ening his patriotism, and making him a better citizen. And 
there is no employment or recreation which affords the mind 
greater or more permanent satisfaction than that of culti- 
vating the earth and adorning our own property. 'God 
Almighty first planted a garden; and, indeed, it is the parent 
of human pleasures,' says Lord Bacon. And as the first 
man was shut out from the garden, in the cultivation of 
which no alloy was mixed with his happiness, the desire to 
return to it seems to be implanted by nature, more or less 
strongly, in every heart." 

This book passed to instant popularity, and became a 
classic, invaluable to the thousands in every part of the 
country who were waiting for the master-word which should 
tell them what to do to make their homes as beautiful as 
they wished. Its fine scholarship in the literature and his- 
tory of rural art; its singular dexterity in stating the great 
principles of taste, and their application to actual circum- 
stances, with a clearness that satisfied the dullest mind; its 



403 



genial grace of style, illuminated by the sense of that beauty 
which it was its aim to indicate, and with a cheerfulness 
which is one of the marked characteristics of Downing as an 
author; the easy mastery of the subject, and its intrinsic 
interest; - - all these combined to secure to the book the posi- 
tion it has always occupied. The testimony of the men 
most competent to speak with authority in the matter was 
grateful, because deserved, praise. Loudon, the editor of 
"Repton's Landscape Gardening," and perhaps at the time 
the greatest living critic in the department of rural art, at 
once declared it "a masterly work;" and after quoting freely 
from its pages, remarked : " We have quoted largely from this 
work, because in so doing we think we shall give a just idea of 
the great merit of the author." Dr. Lindley, also, in his " Gar- 
dener's Chronicle," dissented from "some minor points," but 
said: " On the whole, we know of no work in which the funda- 
mental principles of this profession are so well or so concisely 
expressed:" adding, "No English landscape gardener has 
written so clearly, or with so much real intensity." 

The "quiet, thoughtful, and reserved boy" of the Mont- 
gomery Academy had thus suddenly displayed the talent 
which was not suspected by his school-fellows. The younger 
partner had now justified the expectation he aroused; and the 
long, silent, careful years of study and experience insured 
the permanent value of the results he announced. The fol- 
lowing year saw the publication of the " Cottage Residences," 
in which the principles of the first volume were applied in 
detail. For the same reason it achieved a success similar to 
the "Landscape Gardening." Rural England recognized 
its great value. Loudon said: "It cannot fail to be of great 
service." Another said: "We stretch our arm across the 
'big water' to tender our Yankee coadjutor an'English shake 
and a cordial recognition." These welcomes from those 
who knew what and why they welcomed, founded Downing's 
authority in the minds of the less learned, while the simplicity 
of his own statements confirmed it. From the publication 
of the "Landscape Gardening" until his death, he continued 
to be the chief American authority in rural art. 



404 Landscape Gardening 

European honors soon began to seek the young gardener 
upon the Hudson. He had been for some time in corre- 
spondence with Loudon, and the other eminent men of the 
profession. He was now elected corresponding member of 
the Royal Botanic Society of London, of the Horticultural 
Societies of Berlin, the Low Countries, etc. Queen Anne 
of Denmark sent him "a magnificent ring," in acknowl- 
edgment of her pleasure in his works. But, as the years 
slowly passed, a sweeter praise saluted him than the Queen's 
ring, namely, the gradual improvement of the national rural 
taste, and the universal testimony that it was due to Down- 
ing. It was found as easy to live in a handsome house as in 
one that shocked all sense of propriety and beauty. The 
capabilities of the landscape began to develop themselves to 
the man who looked at it from his windows, with Downing' s 
books in his hand. Mr. Wilder says that a gentleman "who 
is eminently qualified to form an enlightened judgment," 
declared that much of the improvement that has taken place 
in this country during the last twelve years, in rural archi- 
tecture and in ornamental gardening and planting, may be 
ascribed to him. Another gentleman, "speaking of subur- 
ban cottages in the West," says: "I asked the origin of so 
much taste, and w r as told it might principally be traced to 
'Downing's Cottage Residences' and the 'Horticulturist.' 
He was naturally elected an honorary member of most of 
the Horticultural Societies in the country; and as his interest 
in rural life was universal, embracing no less the soil and 
cultivation, than the plant, and flower, and fruit, with the 
residence of the cultivator, he received the same honor from 
the Agricultural Associations. 

Meanwhile his studies were unremitting; and in 1845 
Wiley & Putnam published in New York and London "The 
Fruits and Fruit Trees of America," a volume of six hundred 
pages. The duodecimo edition had only lineal drawings. 
The large octavo was illustrated with finely colored plates, 
executed in Paris, from drawings made in this country from 
the original fruits. It is a masterly resume of the results 
of American experience in the history, character, and growth 



Appendix 10,") 



of fruit, to the date of its publication. The fourteenth edi- 
tion was published in the year 1852. 

It was in May of the year 1846 that I first saw Downing. 
A party was made up under the locusts to cross the river 
and pass the day at "Highland Gardens," as his place was 
named. The river at Newburgh is about a mile wide, and 
is crossed by a quiet country ferry, whence the view down- 
ward toward the West Point Highlands, Butter Hill, Sugar- 
Loaf, Cro' Nest, and Skunnymunk, is as beautiful a river 
view as can be seen upon a summer day. It w f as a merry 
party which crossed, that bright May morning, and broke, 
with ringing laughter, the silence of the river. Most of us 
were newly escaped from the city, where we had been block- 
aded by the winter for many months, and although often 
tempted by the warm days that came in March, opening the 
windows on Broadway and ranging the blossoming plants in 
them, to believe that summer had fairly arrived, we had 
uniformly found the spring to be that laughing lie which the 
poets insist it is not. There was no doubt longer, however. 
The country was so brilliant with the tender green that it 
seemed festally adorned, and it was easy enough to believe 
that human genius could have no lovelier nor loftier task than 
the development of these colors, and forms, and opportu- 
nities, into their greatest use and adaptation to human life. 
"God Almighty first planted a garden, and, indeed, it is the 
first of human pleasures." Lord Bacon said it long ago, and 
the bright May morning echoed it, as we crossed the river. 

I had read Downing's books; and they had given me the 
impression, naturally formed of one who truly said of him- 
self, "Angry volumes of politics have we written none: but 
peaceful books, humbly aiming to weave something more 
into the fair garland of the beautiful and useful that encircles 
this excellent old earth." 

His image in my mind was idyllic. I looked upon him as 
a kind of pastoral poet. I had fancied a simple, abstracted 
cultivator, gentle and silent. We left the boat and drove 
to his house. The open gate admitted us to a smooth ave- 
nue. We had glimpses of an arbor-vitee hedge, - - a small 



406 Landscape Gardening 

and exquisite lawn - - rare and ilowering trees, and bushes 
beyond - - a lustrous and odorous thicket - - a gleam of the 
river below- "a feeling" of the mountains across the river 
- and were at the same moment alighting at the door of the 
elegant mansion, in which stood, what appeared to me a 
tall, slight Spanish gentleman, with thick black hair worn 
very long, and dark eyes fixed upon me with a searching 
glance. He w r as dressed simply in a costume fitted for the 
morning hospitalities of his house, or for the study, or the 
garden. His welcoming smile was reserved, but genuine, - 
his manner singularly hearty and quiet, marked by the easy 
elegance and perfect savo ir fairc which would have adorned 
the Escurial. We passed into the library. The book- 
shelves were let into the wall, and the doors covered with 
glass. They occupied only part of the walls, and upon the 
space above each was a bracket with busts of Dante, Milton, 
Petrarch, Franklin, Linnseus, and Scott. There was a large 
bay window opposite the fireplace. The forms and colors 
of this room were delightful. It was the retreat of an ele- 
gantly cultivated gentleman. There were no signs of work 
except a writing-table, with pens, and portfolios, and piles of 
letters. 

Here we sat and conversed. Our host entered into every 
subject gayly and familiarly, with an appreciating deference 
to differences of opinion, and an evident tenacity of his own, 
all the while, which surprised me, as the peculiarity of the 
most accomplished man of the world. There was a certain 
aristocratic hauteur in his manner, a constant sense of per- 
sonal dignity, which comported with the reserve of his smile 
and the quiet welcome. His intellectual attitude seemed to 
be one of curious criticism, as if he were sharply scrutinizing 
all that his affability of manner drew forth. No one had a 
readier generosity of acknowledgment, and there was a nega- 
tive flattery in his address and attention, which was very 
subtle and attractive. In all allusions to rural affairs, and 
matters with which he was entirely familiar, his conversation 
was not in the slightest degree pedantic, nor positive. He 
spoke of such things with the simplicity of a child talking of 



Appendix 107 

his toys. The workman, the author, the artist were entirely 
subjugated in him to the gentleman. That was his favorite 
idea. The gentleman was the full flower, of which all the 
others were suggestions and parts. The gentleman is, to the 
various powers and cultivations of the man, what the tone 
is to the picture, which lies in no single color, but in the har- 
mony of the whole. The gentleman is the final bloom of the 
man. But no man could be a gentleman without original 
nobleness of feeling and genuineness of character. Gentle- 
ness was developed from that by experience and study, as 
the delicate tinge upon precious fruits, by propitious circum- 
stances and healthy growth. 

In this feeling, which was a constituent of his character, 
lay the secret of the appearance of hauteur that was so often 
remarked in him, to which Miss Bremer alludes, and which 
all his friends perceived, more or less distinctly. Its origin 
was, doubtless, twofold. It sprang first from his exquisite 
mental organization, which instinctively shrunk from what- 
ever was coarse or crude, and which made his artistic taste 
so true and fine. That easily extended itself to demand the 
finest results of men, as of trees, and fruits, and flowers; and 
then committed the natural error of often accepting the 
appearance of this result, where the fact was wanting. 
Hence he had a natural fondness for the highest circles of 
society - - a fondness as deeply founded as his love of the 
best possible fruits. His social tendency was constantly 
toward those to whom great wealth had given opportunity 
of that ameliorating culture, - - of surrounding beautiful 
homes with beautiful grounds, and filling them with refined 
and beautiful persons, which is the happy fortune of few. 
Hence, also, the fact that his introduction to Mr. Murray 
was a remembered event, because the mind of the boy 
instantly recognized that society to which, by affinity, he 
belonged; and hence, also, that admiration of the character 
and the life of the English gentleman, which was life-long 
with him, and which made him, when he went to England, 
naturally and directly at home among them. From this, 
also, came his extreme fondness for music, although he had 



408 Landscape Gardening 

very little ear; and often when his wife read to him any 
peculiarly beautiful or touching passage from a book, he 
was quite unable to speak, so much was he mastered by his 
emotion. Besides this delicacy of organization, which makes 
aristocrats of all who have it, the sharp contrast between his 
childhood and his mature life doubtlessly nourished a kind 
of mental protest against the hard discomforts, want of 
sympathy, and misunderstandings of poverty. 

I recall but one place in which he deliberately states this 
instinct of his, as an opinion. In the paper upon " Improve- 
ment of Vegetable Races," April, 1852, he says: 'We are 
not going to be led into a physiological digression on the 
subject of the inextinguishable rights of a superior organiza- 
tion in certain men, and races of men, which Nature every 
day reaffirms, notwithstanding the socialistic and demo- 
cratic theories of our politicians." But this statement only 
asserts the difference of organization. No man was a truer 
American than Downing; no man more opposed to all kinds 
of recognition of that difference in intellectual organization 
by a difference of social rank. That he considered to be the 
true democracy which asserted the absolute equality of 
opportunity; -- and, therefore, he writes from Warwick 
Castle, a place which in every way could charm no man more 
than him: "but I turned my face at last westward toward 
my native land, and with uplifted eyes thanked the good 
God that, though to England, the country of my ancestors, it 
had been given to show the growth of man in his highest 
development of class or noble, to America has been reserved 
the greater blessing of solving for the world the true problem 
of ail humanity, - - that of the abolition of all castes, and the 
recognition of the divine rights of every human soul." On 
that May morning, in the library, I remember the conver- 
sation, drifting from subject to subject, touched an essay 
upon "Manners," by Mr. Emerson, then recently published; 
and in the few words that Mr. Downing said, lay the germ of 
what I gradually discovered to be his feeling upon the sub- 
ject. This hauteur was always evident in his personal in- 
tercourse. In his dealings with workmen, with publishers, 



A l)])cn<li.i 409 



with men of affairs of all kinds, fhe same feeling, which 
they called "stiffness," "coldness," "pride," "haughtiness," 
or "reserve," revealed itself. That first morning it only 
heightened in my mind the Spanish impression of the dark, 
slim man, who so courteously welcomed us at his door. 

It was May, and the magnolias were in blossom. Under 
our host's guidance, we strolled about his grounds, which, 
although they comprised but some five acres, were laid out 
in a large style, that greatly enhanced their apparent extent. 
The town lay at the bottom of the hill, between the garden 
and the water, and there was a road just at the foot of the 
garden. But so skilfully were the trees arranged, that all 
suspicion of town or road was removed. Lying upon the 
lawn, standing in the door, or sitting under the light piazza 
before the parlor windows, the enchanted visitor saw only 
the garden ending in the thicket, \vhich was so dexterously 
trimmed as to reveal the loveliest glimpses of the river, each 
a picture in its frame of foliage, but which was not cut low 
enough to betray the presence of road or town. You fancied 
the estate extended to the river; yes, and probably owned 
the river as an ornament, and included the mountains 
beyond. At least, you felt that here was a man who knew 
that the best part of the landscape could not be owned, but 
belonged to every one who could appropriate it. The 
thicket seemed not only to conceal, but to annihilate, the 
town. So sequestered and satisfied \vas the guest of that 
garden, that he was quite careless and incurious of the world 
beyond. I have often passed a week there without washing 
to go outside the gate, and entirely forgot that there was any 
town near by. Sometimes, at sunset or twilight, we stepped 
into a light w r agon, and turning up the hill, as we came out 
of the grounds, left Newburgh below, and drove along roads 
hanging over the river, or, passing Washington's Headquar- 
ters, trotted leisurely along the shore. 

Within his house it was easy to understand that the home 
was so much the subject of his thought. Why did he wish 
that the landscape should be lovely, and the houses graceful 
and beautiful, and the fruit fine, and the flowers perfect, but 



410 Landscape Gardening 

because these were all dependencies and ornaments of home, 
and home was the sanctuary of the highest human affection. 
This was the point of departure of his philosophy. Nature 
must serve man. The landscape must be made a picture in 
the gallery of love. Home was the pivot upon w r hich turned 
all his theories of rural art. All his efforts, all the grasp of 
genius, and the cunning of talent, were to complete, in a 
perfect home, the apotheosis of love. It is in this fact that 
the permanence of his influence is rooted. His works are 
not the result of elegant taste, and generous cultivation, and 
a clear intellect, only; but of a noble hope that inspired taste, 
cultivation, and intellect. This saved him as an author 
from being wrecked upon formulas. He was strictly scien- 
tific, few men in his department more so; but he was never 
rigidly academical. He always discerned the thing signified 
through the expression; and, in his own art, insisted that if 
there was nothing to say, nothing should be said. He knew 
perfectly well that there is a time for discords, and a place 
for departures from rule, and he understood them when they 
came, - - which was peculiar and very lovely in a man of 
so delicate a nervous organization. This led him to be 
tolerant of all differences of opinion and action, and to be 
sensitively wary of injuring the feelings of those from whom 
he differed. He was thus scientific in the true sense. In 
his department he was wise, and we find him writing from 
\Yarwick Castle again, thus: "Whoever designed this front, 
made up as it is of lofty towers and irregular walls, must 
have been a poet as well as architect, for its composition 
and details struck me as having the proportions and con- 
gruity of a fine scene in nature, which we feel is not to be 
measured and defined by the ordinary rules of art." 

His own home was his finest work. It was materially 
beautiful, and spiritually bright with the purest lights of 
affection. Its hospitality was gracious and graceful. It 
consulted the taste, wishes, and habits of the guest, butTwith 
unobtrusiveness, that the favorite flower every morning by 
the plate upon the breakfast-table, seemed to have come 
there as naturally, in the family arrangements, as the plate 



Appendix 111 

itself. He held his house as the steward of his friends. His 
social genius never suffered a moment to drag wearily by. 
No man was so necessarily devoted to his own affairs, - - no 
host ever seemed so devoted to his guests. Those guests 
were of the most agreeable kind, or, at least, they seemed so 
in that house. Perhaps the interpreter of the House Beauti- 
ful, she who - - in the poet's natural order - - was as "moon- 
light unto sunlight," was the universal solvent. By day, 
there were always books, conversation, driving, working, 
lying on the lawn, excursions into the mountains across the 
river, visits to beautiful neighboring places, boating, botan- 
izing, painting, - - or whatever else could be done in the 
country, and done in the pleasantest way. At evening, 
there was music, - - fine playing and singing, for the guest 
was thrice welcome who was musical, and the musical were 
triply musical there, - - dancing, charades, games of every 
kind, - - never suffered to flag, always delicately directed, - 
and in due season some slight violation of the Maine Law. 
Mr. Downing liked the Ohio wines, with which his friend, 
Mr. Longworth, kept him supplied, and of which he said, with 
his calm good sense, in the "Horticulturist," August, 1850, 
-"We do not mean to say that men could not live and 
breathe just as well if there were no such thing as wine 
known; but that since the time of Noah men will not be con- 
tented with merely living and breathing; and it is therefore 
better to provide them with proper and wholesome food and 
drink, than to put improper aliments within their reach." 
Charades were a favorite diversion, in which several of his 
most frequent guests excelled. He was always ready to 
take part, but his reserve and self-consciousness interfered 
with his success. His social enjoyment was always quiet. 
He rarely laughed loud. He preferred rather to sit with a 
friend and watch the dance or the game from a corner, than 
to mingle in them. He wrote verses, but never showed 
them. They were chiefly rhyming letters, clever and grace- 
ful, to his wife, and her sisters, and some intimate friends, 
and to a little niece, of whom he was especially fond. One 
evening, after vainly endeavoring to persuade a friend that 



412 Landscape Gardening 

he was mistaken in the kind of a fruit, he sent him the follow- 
ing characteristic lines: 

"TO THE DOCTOR, ON HIS PASSION FOR THE 'DUCHESS OF 
OLDENBURGH.' ' 

"Dear Doctor, I write you this little effusion, 
On learning you're still in that fatal delusion 
Of thinking the object you love is a Duchess, 
When 'tis only a milkmaid you hold in your clutches; 
Why, 'tis certainly plain as the spots in the sun, 
That the creature is only a fine Dutch Mignonne. 
She is Dutch there is surely no question of that, - 
She's so large and so ruddy --so plump and so fat; 
And that she's a Mignonne a beauty most moving, 
Is equally proved by your desperate loving; 
But that she's a Duchess I flatly deny, 
There's such a broad twinkle about her deep eye; 
And glance at the russety hue of her skin - 
A lady a noble -- would think it a sin! 
Ah no, my dear Doctor, upon my own honor, 
I must send you a dose of the true Bella donna!" 

I had expressed great delight with the magnolia, and 
carried one of the flowers in my hand during our morning 
stroll. At evening he handed me a fresh one, and every 
day while I remained, the breakfast-room was perfumed by 
the magnolia that was placed beside my plate. This deli- 
cate thoughtfulness was universal with him. He knew all 
the flowers that his friends especially loved; and in his notes 
to me he often wrote, "the magnolias are waiting for you," 
as an irresistible allurement - - which it was very apt to prove. 
Downing was in the library when I came down the morning 
after our arrival. He had the air of a man who has been 
broad awake and at work for several hours. There was 
the same quiet greeting as before - - a gay conversation, 
glancing at a thousand things - - and breakfast. After 
breakfast he disappeared; but if, at any time, an excursion 
was proposed, - - to climb some hill, to explore some mead- 
ows rich in rhododendron, to visit some lovely lake, - - he 
was quite ready, and went with the same unhurried air that 
marked all his actions. Like Sir Walter Scott, he was pro- 



413 



ducing results implying close application and labor, but 
without any apparent expense of time or means. His step 
\vas so leisurely, his manner so composed, there was always 
such total absence of weariness in all he said and did, that 
it was impossible to believe he was so diligent a worker. 

But this composure, this reticence, this leisurely air, were 
all imposed upon his manner by his regal will. He was 
under the most supreme self-control. It was so absolute as 
to deprive him of spontaneity and enthusiasm. In social 
intercourse he was like two persons: the one conversed with 
you pleasantly upon every topic, the other watched you 
from behind that pleasant talk, like a sentinel. The delicate 
child, left much to himself by his parents, naturally grew 
wayward and imperious. But the man of shrewd common 
sense, with his way to make in the world, saw clearly that 
that waywardness must be sternly subjugated. It was so, 
and at the usual expense. What the friend of Downing most 
desired in him w^as a frank and unreserved flow' of feeling, 
which should drown out that curious, critical self-conscious- 
ness. He felt this want as much as any one, and often play- 
fully endeavored to supply it. It doubtless arose, in great 
part, from too fine a nervous organization. Under the mask 
of the finished man of the world he concealed the most 
feminine feelings, which often expressed themselves with 
pathetic intensity to the only one in whom he unreservedly 
confided. 

This critical reserve behind the cordial manner invested 
his whole character with mystery. The long dark hair, the 
firm dark eyes, the slightly defiant brow, the Spanish mien, 
that welcomed us that May morning, seemed to me always 
afterward, the symbols of his character. A cloud wrapped 
his inner life. Motives, and the deeper feelings, were lost 
to view in that obscurity. It seemed that within this cloud 
there might be desperate struggles, like the battle of the 
Huns and Romans, invisible in the air, but of which no token 
escaped into the experience of his friends. He confronted 
circumstances with the same composed and indomitable 
resolution, and it was not possible to tell whether he were 



414 Landscape Gardening 

entertaining angels, or wrestling with demons, in the secret 
chambers of his soul. There are passages in letters to his 
wife which indicate, and they only by implication, that his 
character was tried and tempered by struggles. Those 
most intimate letters, however, are full of expressions of 
religious faith and dependence, sometimes uttered with a 
kind of clinging earnestness, as if he well knew the value of 
the peace that passes understanding. But nothing of all 
this appeared in his friendly intercourse with men. He had, 
however, very few intimate friends among men. His warm- 
est and most confiding friendships were with women. In 
his intercourse with them, he revealed a rare and beautiful 
sense of the uses of friendship, which united him very closely 
to them. To men he was much more inaccessible. It can- 
not be denied that the feeling of mystery in his character 
affected the impression he made upon various persons. It 
might be called as before, "haughtiness," "reserve," "cold- 
ness," or "hardness," but it was quite the same thing. It 
repelled many who were otherwise most strongly attracted 
to him by his books. In others, still, it begot a slight dis- 
trust, and suspicion of self-seeking upon his pprt. 

I remember a little circumstance, the impression of which 
is strictly in accordance with my feeling of this singular 
mystery in his character. We had one day been sitting in 
the library, and he had told me his intention of building a 
little study and working-room, adjoining the house: "but I 
don't know," he said, "where or how to connect it with the 
house." But I was very well convinced that he would 
arrange it in the best possible manner, and was not surprised 
when he afterward wrote me that he had made a door 
through the wall of the library into the new building. This 
door occupied just the space of one of the book-cases let into 
the wall, and, by retaining the double doors of the book-case 
precisely as they were, and putting false books behind the 
glass of the doors, the appearance of the library was entirely 
unaltered, while the whole apparent book-case, doors and 
all, swung to and fro, at his will, as a private door. During 
my next visit at his house, I was sitting very late at night in 



Appendix II.") 



the library, with a single candle, thinking that every one IKK! 
long since retired, and having quite forgotten in the perfectly 
familiar appearance of the room, that the little change had 
been made, when suddenly one of the book-cases flew out 
of the wall, turning upon noiseless hinges, and, out of the 
perfect darkness behind, Downing darted into the room, 
while I sat staring like a benighted guest in the Castle of 
Otranto. The moment, the place, and the circumstance, 
were entirely harmonious with my impression of the man. 

Thus, although, upon the bright May morning, I had 
crossed the river to see a man of transparent and simple 
nature, a lover and poet of rural beauty, a man who had 
travelled little, who had made his own way into polished 
and cultivated social relations, as he did into everything 
which he mastered, being altogether a self-made man- -I 
found the courteous and accomplished gentleman, the quiet 
man of the world, full of tact and easy dignity, in whom it 
was easy to discover that lover and poet, though not in the 
form anticipated. His exquisite regard for the details of 
life, gave a completeness to his household, which is nowhere 
surpassed. Fitness is the first element of beauty, and every 
thing in his arrangement was appropriate. It was hard 
not to sigh, when contemplating the beautiful results he 
accomplished by taste and tact, and at comparatively 
little pecuniary expense, to think of the sums elsewhere 
squandered upon an insufficient and shallow splendor. Yet, 
as beauty was, with Downing, life, and not luxury, although 
he was, in feeling and by actual profession the Priest of 
Beauty, he was never a Sybarite, never sentimental, never 
weakened by the service. In the dispositions of most men 
devoted to beauty, as artists and poets, there is a vein of 
languor, a leaning to luxury, of which no trace was even 
visible in him. His habits of life were singularly regular. 
He used no tobacco, drank little wine, and was no gour- 
mand. But he was no ascetic. He loved to entertain 
Sybarites, poets, and the lovers of luxury: doubtless from 
a consciousness that he had the magic of pleasing them more 
than they had ever been pleased. He enjoyed the pleasure 



416 Landscape Gardening 

of his guests. The various play of different characters 
entertained him. Yet with all his fondness for fine places, 
he justly estimated the tendency of their influence. He 
was not enthusiastic, he was not seduced into blindness by 
his own preferences, but he maintained that cool and accu- 
rate estimate of things and tendencies which always made 
liis advice invaluable. Is there any truer account of the 
syren influence of a superb and extensive country-seat than 
the following from the paper: "A Visit to Montgomery 
Place." "It is not, we are sure, the spot for a man to plan 
campaigns of conquest, and we doubt, even, whether the 
scholar whose ambition it is 

" l<> scorn delights, 
And live laborious days," 

would not find something in the air of this demesne so 
soothing as to dampen the fire of his great purposes, and 
dispose him to believe that there is more dignity in repose, 
than merit in action." 

So, certainly, I believe, as the May days passed, and 
found me still lingering in the enchanted garden. 

In August, 1846, "The Horticulturist" was commenced 
by Mr. Luther Tucker, of Albany, who invited Mr. Downing 
to become the editor, in which position he remained, writing 
a monthly leader for it, until his death. These articles are 
contained in the present volume. Literature offers no more 
charming rural essays. They are the thoughtful talk of a 
country gentleman, and scholar, and practical workman, 
upon the rural aspects and interests of every month in the 
year. They insinuate instruction, rather than directly 
teach, and in a style mellow, mature, and cheerful, adapted 
to every age and every mood. By their variety of topic 
and treatment, they are, perhaps, the most complete memo- 
rial of the man. Their genial simplicity fascinated all kinds 
of persons. A correspondence which might be called affec- 
tionate, sprang up between the editor and scores of his 
readers. They wanted instruction and advice. They con- 
fided to him their plans and hopes; to him - - the personally 



Appendix 117 

unknown "we" of their monthly magazine the reserved 
man whom publishers and others found "stiff," and "cold," 
and "a little haughty," and whose fine points of character 
stood out, like sunny mountain peaks against a mist. These 
letters, it appears, were personal, and full of feeling. The 
writers wished to know the man, to see his portrait, and many 
requested him to have it published in the "Horticulturist." 
When in his neighborhood, these correspondents came to 
visit him. They were anxious "to see the man who had 
written books which had enabled them to make their houses 
beautiful, - - which had helped their wives in the flower- 
garden, and had shown them how, with little expense, to 
decorate their humble parlors, and add a grace to the barren- 
ness of daily life." All this was better than Queen Anne's 
"magnificent ring." 

Meanwhile, business in the nursery looked a little 
threatening. Money was always dropping from the hos- 
pitable hand of the owner. Expenses increased - - affairs 
became complicated. It is not the genius of men like 
Downing to manage the finances very skilfully. 'Every 
tree that he sold for a dollar, cost him ten shillings;" 
which is not a money-making process. He was perhaps 
too lavish, too careless, too sanguine. "Had his income 
been a million a minute, he would always have been in 
debt," says one who knew him well. The composed manner 
was as unruffled as ever; the regal will preserved the usual 
appearance of things, but in the winter of 1846-7 Mr. Down- 
ing w r as seriously embarrassed. It was a very grave juncture, 
for it \vas likely that he would be obliged to leave his house 
and begin life again. But his friends rallied to the rescue. 
They assured to him his house and grounds; and he, without 
losing time, without repining, and with the old determina- 
tion, went to work more industriously than ever. His atten- 
tion \vas unremitting to the "Horticulturist," and to all the 
projects he had undertaken. His interest in the manage- 
ment of the nursery, however, decreased, and he devoted 
himself with more energy lo rural architecture and landscape 
gardening, until he gradually discontinued altogether the 



418 Landscape Gardening 

raising of trees for sale. His house was still the resort of the 
most brilliant society; still -- as it always had been, and 
was, until the end - - the seat of beautiful hospitality. He 
was often enough perplexed in his affairs - - hurried by the 
monthly recurring necessity of "the leader," and not quite 
satisfied at any time until that literary task was accom- 
plished. His business confined and interested him; his large 
correspondence was promptly managed; but he was still san- 
guine, under that Spanish reserve, and still spent profusely. 
He had a thousand interests; a State agricultural school, 
a national agricultural bureau at Washington, designing pri- 
vate and public buildings, laying out large estates, pursuing 
his own scientific and literary studies, and preparing a work 
upon Rural Architecture. From his elegant home he was 
scattering, in the Horticulturist, pearl-seed of precious sug- 
gestion, which fell in all kinds of secluded and remote 
regions, and bore, and are bearing, costly fruit. 

In 1849, Mr. John Wiley published "Hints to Young 
Architects, by George Wightwick, Architect; with Addi- 
tional Notes and Hints to Persons about Building in this 
Country, by A. J. Downing." It was a work preparatory 
to the original one he designed to publish, and full of most 
valuable suggestions. For in every thing he was American. 
His sharp sense of propriety as the primal element of beauty, 
led him constantly to insist that the place, and circumstances, 
and time, should always be carefully considered before any 
step was taken. The satin shoe was a grace in the parlor, 
but a deformity in the garden. The Parthenon was perfect 
in a certain climate, under certain conditions, and for certain 
purposes. But the Parthenon as a country mansion in the 
midst of American woods and fields was unhandsome and 
offensive. His aim in building a house was to adapt it to the 
site, and to the means and character of the owner. 

It was in the autumn of 1849 that Frederika Bremer 
came to America. She had been for several years in inti- 
mate correspondence with Mr. Downing, and was closely 
attracted to him by a profound sympathy with his view of 
the dignity and influence of the home. He received Miss 



Appendix 419 



Bremcr upon her arrival, and she went with him to his house, 
where she staid several weeks, and wrote there the introduc- 
tion to the authorized American edition of her works. It 
is well for us, perhaps, that as she has written a work upon 
"The Homes of the United States," she should have taken 
her first impression of them from that of Mr. Downing. 
During all her travels in this country she constantly corre- 
sponded with him and his wife, to whom she was very 
tenderly attached. Her letters were full of cheerful humor 
and shrewd observation. She went bravely about alone, 
and was treated, almost without exception, with con- 
sideration and courtesy. And after her journey was over, 
and she was about to return home, she came to say 
farewell where she had first greeted America, in Downing's 
garden. 

In this year he finally resolved to devote himself entirely 
to architecture and building, and, in order to benefit by the 
largest variety of experience in elegant rural life, and to 
secure the services of an accomplished and able architect, 
thoroughly trained to the business he proposed, Mr. Downing 
went to England in the summer of 1850, having arranged 
with Messrs. D. Appleton & Co. for the publication of 
"The Architecture of Country Houses; including Designs 
for Cottages, Farm-houses, and Villas." 

Already in correspondence with the leading Englishmen 
in his department, Mr. Downing was at once cordially 
welcomed. He showed the admirable, and not the un- 
friendly, cpaalities of his countrymen, and was directly 
engaged in a series of visits to the most extensive and 
remarkable of English country seats, where he was an 
honored guest. The delight of the position was beyond 
words to a man of his peculiar character and habits. He 
saw on every hand the perfection of elegant rural life, which 
was his ideal of life. He saw the boundless parks, the cul- 
tivated landscape, the tropics imprisoned in glass; he s;i\\ 
spacious Italian villas, more Italian than in Italy; every 
various triumph of park, garden, and country house. But 
with these, also, he met in the pleasantest way much fine 



420 Landscape Gardening 

English society, which was his ideal of society. There was 
nothing wanting to gratify his fine and fastidious taste; 
but the passage already quoted from his letter at Warwick 
Castle shows how firmly his faith w r as set upon his native 
land, while his private letters are full of affectionate longing 
to return. It is easy to figure him moving with courtly 
grace through the rooms of palaces, gentle, respectful, low 
in tone, never exaggerating, welcome to lord and lady for 
his good sense, his practical knowledge, his exact detail; 
pleasing the English man and woman by his English sym- 
pathies, and interesting them by his manly and genuine, 
not boasting, assertions of American genius and success. 
Looking at the picture, one remembers again that earlier 
one of the boy coming home from Montgomery Academy, 
in Orange County, and introduced at the wealthy neigh- 
bor's to the English gentleman. The instinct that remem- 
bered so slight an event secured his appreciation of all that 
England offered. No American ever visited England with 
a mind more in tune with all that is nobly characteristic 
of her. He remarked, upon his return, that he had been 
much impressed by the quiet, religious life and habits which 
he found in many great English houses. It is not a point 
of English life often noticed, nor presupposed, but it was 
doubly grateful to him, because he was always a Christian 
believer, and because all parade was repugnant to him. 
His letters before his marriage, and during the last years 
of his life, evince the most genuine Christian faith and 
feeling. 

His residence in England was very brief - - a summer 
trip. He crossed to Paris and saw French life. Fortunately, 
as his time was short, he saw more in a day than most men 
in a month, because he was prepared to see, and knew where 
to look. He found the assistant he wished in Mr. Calvert 
Vaux, a young English architect, to whom he was introduced 
by the Secretary of the Architectural Association, and with 
whom, so mutual was the satisfaction, he directly concluded 
an agreement. Mr. Vaux sailed with him from Liverpool 
in September, presently became his partner in business, and 



Appendix 121 



commanded, lo the end, Mr. Downing's unreserved confi- 
dence and respect. 

I remember a Christmas visit to Downing in 1850, after 
his return from Europe, when we all danced to a fiddle upon 
the marble pavement of the hall, by the light of rustic 
chandeliers wreathed with Christmas green, and under the 
antlers, and pikes, and helmets, and breastplates, and 
plumed hats of cavaliers, that hung upon the walls. The 
very genius of English Christmas ruled the revel. 

During these years he was engaged in superintending 
the various new editions of his works, and looking forward 
to larger achievements with maturer years. He designed 
a greatly enlarged edition of the "Fruit-Trees," and spoke 
occasionally of the "Shade-Trees," as a work which would 
be of the greatest practical value. He was much interested 
in the establishment of the Pomological Congress, was chair- 
man of its fruit committee from the beginning, and drew 
up the "Rules of American Pomology." Every moment 
had its work. There was not a more useful man in America; 
but his visitor found still the same quiet host, leisurely, 
disengaged; picking his favorite flowers before breakfast; 
driving here and there, writing, studying, as if rather for 
amusement; and at twilight stepping into the wagon for a 
loitering drive along the river. 

His love of the country and faith in rural influences were 
too genuine for him not to be deeply interested in the im- 
provement of cities by means of public parks and gardens. 
Not only for their sanitary use, but for their elegance and 
refining influence, he was anxious that all our cities should 
be richly endowed with them. He alluded frequently to 
the subject in the columns of his magazine, and when it was 
resolved by Congress to turn the public grounds in Wash- 
ington, near the Capitol, White House, and Smithsonian 
Institute, into a public garden and promenade, Downing was 
naturally the man invited by the President, in April, 1851, 
to design the arrangement of the grounds and to superintend 
their execution. All the designs and much of the work were 
completed before his death. This new labor, added to the 



422 Landscape Gardening 

rest, while it increased his income, consumed much of his 
time. He went once every month to Washington, and was 
absent ten or twelve days. 

He was not suffered to be at peace in this position. There 
were plenty of jealousies and rivalries, and much sharp 
questioning about the $2500 annually paid to an accom- 
plished artist for laying out the public grounds of the Amer- 
ican Capital, in a manner worthy the nation, and for reclaim- 
ing many acres from waste and the breeding of miasma. At 
length the matter was discussed in Congress. On the 2Hh 
March, 1852, during a debate upon various appropriations, 
Mr. Jones, of Tennessee, moved to strike out the sum of 
$12,000, proposed to complete the improvements around the 
President's house; complained that there were great abuses 
under the proviso of this appropriation, and declared, quite 
directly, that Mr. Downing was overpaid for his services. 
Mr. Stanton, of Kentucky, replied:- - "It is astonishing to 
my mind - - and I have no doubt to the minds of others - 
with what facility otherwise intelligent and respectable 
gentlemen on this floor can deal out wholesale denunciations 
of men about whom they know nothing, and will not inform 
themselves; and how much the legislation of the country is 
controlled by prejudices thus invoked and clamor thus 
raised." After speaking of the bill under which the improve- 
ments were making, he continued: "The President was 
authorized to appoint some competent person to superin- 
tend the carrying out of the plan adopted. He appointed 
Mr. Downing. And who is he? One of the most accom- 
plished gentlemen in his profession in the Union; a man 
known to the world as possessing rare skill as a 'rural archi- 
tect' and landscape gardener, as well as a man of great 
scientific intelligence. * * * * I deny that he has neglected 
his duties, as the gentleman from Tennessee has charged. 
Instead of being here only three days in the month, he has 
been here vigilantly discharging his duties at all times when 
those duties required him to be here. He has superin- 
tended, directed, and carried out the plan adopted, as fully 
as the funds appropriated have enabled him' to do. If all 



Appendix 123 

the officers of the Government had been as conscientious and 
scrupulous in the discharge of their duties as he has been 
since his appointment, there would be no ground for re- 
proaches against those who have control of the Government.' 7 

Mr. Downing was annoyed by this continual carping and 
bickering, and anxious to have the matter definitely ar- 
ranged, he requested the President to summon the Cabinet. 
The Secretaries assembled, and Mr. Downing \vas presented. 
He explained the case as he understood it, unrolled his plans, 
stated his duties, and the time he devoted to them, and the 
salary he received. He then added, that he wished the 
arrangement to be clearly understood. If the President and 
Cabinet thought that his requirements were extravagant, 
he was perfectly willing to roll up his plans, and return home. 
If they approved them, he would gladly remain, but upon 
the express condition that he was to be relieved from the 
annoyances of the quarrel. The President and Cabinet 
agreed that his plans were the best, and his demands reason- 
able; and the work went on in peace from that time. 

The year 1852 opened upon Downing, in the garden where 
he had played and dreamed alone, while the father tended 
the trees; and to which he had clung, with indefeasible 
instinct, when the busy mother had suggested that her 
delicate boy would thrive better as a drygoods clerk. He 
was just past his thirty-sixth birthday, and the Fishkill 
mountains, that had watched the boy departing for the 
academy where he was to show no sign of his power, now 
beheld him, in the bloom of manhood, honored at home and 
abroad - - no man, in fact, more honored at home than he. 
Yet the honor sprang from the work that had been achieved 
in that garden. It was there he had thought, and studied, 
and observed. It was to that home he returned from his 
little excursions, to ponder upon the new things he had seen 
and heard, to try them by the immutable principles of taste, 
and to test them by rigorous proofs. It was from that home 
that he looked upon the landscape which, as it allured his 
youth, now satisfied his manhood. The mountains, upon 
whose shoreward slope his wife was born under the blossom- 



424 Landscape Gardening 

ing locusts on the very day on which he was born in the 
Newburgh garden, smiled upon his success and shared it. 
He owed them a debt he never disavowed. Below his house 
flowed the river of which he so proudly wrote in the preface 
to the "Fruit-Trees" - "A man born on the banks of one 
of the noblest and most fruitful rivers in America, and whose 
best days have been spent in gardens and orchards, may 
perhaps be pardoned for talking about fruit-trees." Over the 
gleaming bay which the river's expansion at Newburgh 
forms, glided the dazzling summer days; or the black 
thunder-gusts swept suddenly out from the bold highlands 
of West Point; or the winter landscape lay calm around the 
garden. From his windows he saw all the changing glory 
of the year. New York was of easy access by the steamers 
that constantly passed to and from Albany and the river 
towns, and the railroad brought the city within three hours 
of his door. It brought constant visitors also, from the city 
and beyond; and scattered up and down the banks of the 
Hudson were the beautiful homes of friends, with whom he 
was constantly in the exchange of the most unrestrained hos- 
pitality. He added to his house the working-room commu- 
nicating with the library by the mysterious door, and was 
deeply engaged in the planning and building of country- 
houses in every direction. Among these I may mention, as 
among the last and finest, the summer residence of Daniel 
Parish, Esq., at Newport, R. I. Mr. Downing knew that 
Newport was the great social exchange of the country, that 
men of wealth and taste yearly assembled there, and that a 
fine house of his designing erected there would be of the 
greatest service to his art. This house is at once simple, 
massive, and graceful, as becomes the spot. It is the work 
of an artist, in the finest sense, harmonious with the bare 
cliff and the sea. But even where his personal services 
were not required, his books were educating taste, and his 
influence was visible in hundreds of houses that he had 
never seen. He edited, during this year, Mrs. London's 
''Gardening for Ladies," which was published by Mr. John 
Wiley. No man was a more practically useful friend to 



425 



thousands who did not know him. Yet if, at any lime, 
while his house was full of visitors, business summoned him, 
as it frequently did, he slipped quietly out of the gate, left 
the visitors to a care as thoughtful and beautiful as his own, 
and his house was made their home for the lime they chose 
to remain. Downing was in his thirty-seventh year, in the 
fulness of his fame and power. The difficulties of the failure 
were gradually disappearing behind him like clouds rolling 
away. He stood in his golden prime, as in his summer gar- 
den; the Future smiled upon him like the blue Fishkill hills 
beyond the river. That Future, also, lay beyond the river. 

At the end of June, 1852, I went to pass a few days with 
him. He held an annual feast of roses with as many friends 
as he could gather and his house could hold. The days of 
my visit had all the fresh sweetness of early summer, and 
the garden and the landscape were fuller than ever of grace 
and beauty. It was an Arcadian chapter, with the roses and 
blossoming figs upon the green-house wall, and the music 
by moonlight, and reading of songs, and tales, and games 
upon the lawn, under the Warwick vase. Boccaccio's groups 
in their Fiesole garden, were not gayer; nor the blithe circle 
of a summer's day upon Sir Walter Vivian's lawn. Indeed 
it was precisely in Downing's garden that the poetry of such 
old traditions became fact - - or rather the fact was lifted 
into that old poetry. He had achieved in it the beauty of an 
extreme civilization, without losing the natural, healthy 
vigor of his country and time. 

One evening - - the moon was full - - we crossed in a row- 
boat to the Fishkill shore, and floated upon the gleaming 
river under the black banks of foliage to a quaint old country 
house, in whose small library the Society of the Cincinnati 
was formed, at the close of the Revolution, and in whose 
rooms a pleasant party was gathered that summer evening. 
The doors and windows were open . We stood in the rooms 
or loitered upon the piazza, looking into the unspeakable 
beauty of the night. A lady was pointed out to me as the 
heroine of a romantic history- -a handsome woman, with 
the traces of hard experience in her face, standing in that 



426 Landscape Gardening 

little peaceful spot of summer moonlight, as a child snatching 
a brief dream of peace between spasms of mortal agony. 
As we returned at midnight across the river, Downing told 
us more of the stranger lady, and of his early feals of swim- 
ming from Newburgh to Fishkill; and so we drifted home- 
ward upon the oily calm with talk, and song, and silence - 
a brief, beautiful voyage upon the water, where the same 
summer, while yet unfaded should see him embarked upon 
a longer journey. In these last days he was the same gen- 
erous, thoughtful, quiet, effective person I had always found 
him. Friends peculiarly dear to him were in his house. 
The Washington work was advancing finely: he was much 
interested in his Newport plans, and we looked forward to 
a gay meeting there in the later summer. The time for his 
monthly trip to Washington arrived while I was still his 
guest. "We shall meet in Newport," I said. "Yes," he an- 
swered, "but you must stay and keep house with my wife 
until I return." 

I was gone before he reached home again, but, with 
many who wished to consult him about houses they were 
building, and with many whom he honored and wished to 
know, awaited his promised visit at Newport. 

Mr. Downing had intended to leave Newburgh with his 
wife upon Tuesday, the 27th of July, when they would have 
taken one of the large river steamers for New York. But 
his business prevented his leaving upon that day, and it 
was postponed to Wednesday, the 28th of July, on which 
day only the two smaller boats, the "Henry Clay" and the 
"Armenia" were running. Upon reaching the wharf, Mr. 
and Mrs. Downing met her mother, Mrs. De Wint, with 
her youngest son and daughter, and the lady who had been 
pointed out as the heroine of a tragedy. But this morning 
she was as sunny as the day, which was one of the loveliest 
of summer. 

The two steamers were already in sight, coming down 
the river, and there was a little discussion in the party as 
to which they would take. But the "Henry Clay' was 
the largest and reached the wharf first. Mr. Downing and 



Vll 



his party embarked, and soon perceived that the two boats 
were desperately racing. The circumstance was, however, 
too common to excite any apprehension in the minds of the 
party, or even to occasion remark. They sat upon the deck 
enjoying the graceful shores that fled by them - - a picture 
on the air. Mr. Downing was engaged in lively talk with 
his companion, who had never been to Newport and was 
very curious to see and share its brilliant life. They had 
dined, and the boat was within twenty miles of New York, 
in a broad reach of the river between the Palisades and the 
town of Yonkers, when Mrs. Downing observed a slight 
smoke blowing toward them from the centre of the boat. 
She spoke of it, rose, and said they had better go into the 
cabin. Her husband replied, no, that they were as safe 
where they then were as anywhere. Mrs. Downing, how- 
ever, went into the cabin where her mother was sitting, 
knitting, with her daughter by her side. There was little 
time to say anything. The smoke rapidly increased; all who 
could reach it hurried into the cabin. The thickening smoke 
poured in after the crowd, who were nearly suffocated. 

The dense mass choked the door, and Mr. Downing's 
party instinctively rushed to the cabin windows to escape. 
They climbed through them to the narrow passage between 
the cabin and the bulwarks of the boat, the crowd pressing 
heavily, shouting, crying, despairing, and suffocating in the 
smoke that now fell upon them in black clouds. Suddenly 
Mr. Downing said, "They are running her ashore, and we 
shall all be taken off." He led them round to the stern of 
the boat, thinking to escape more readily from the other side, 
but there saw a person upon the shore waving them back, 
so they returned to their former place. The flames began 
now to crackle and roar as they crept along the woodwork 
from the boiler, and the pressure of the throng toward the 
stern was frightful. Mr. Downing was seen by his wife to 
step upon the railing, with his coat tightly buttoned, ready 
for a spring upon the upper deck. At that moment she was 
borne away by the crowd and saw him no more. Their 
friend, who had been conversing with Mr. Downing, was 



428 Landscape Gardening 

calm but pale with alarm. "What will become of us?" said 
one of these women, in this frightful extremity of peril, as 
they held each other's hands and were removed from all 
human help. "May God have mercy upon us," answered 
the other. 

Upon the instant they were separated by the swaying 
crowd, but Mrs. Downing still kept near her mother, and 
sister, and brother. The flames were now within three 
yards of them, and her brother said, " \Ye must get over- 
board." Yet she still held some books and a parasol in 
her hand, not yet able to believe that this was Death creep- 
ing along the deck. She turned and looked for her husband. 
She could not see him and called his name. Her voice 
was lost in that wild whirl and chaos of frenzied despair, 
and her brother again said to her, "You must get over- 
board." In that moment the daughter looked upon the 
mother - - the mother, who had said to her daughter's 
husband when he asked her hand, "She has been the comfort 
of her mother's heart, and the solace of her hours," and 
she saw that her mother's face was "full of the terrible 
reality and inevitable necessity" that awaited them. The 
crowd choked them, the flames darted toward them; the 
brother helped them upon the railing and they leaped into 
the water. 

Mrs. Downing stretched out her hands, and grasped 
two chairs that floated near her, and lying quietly upon 
her back, was buoyed up by the chairs; then seizing another 
that was passing her, and holding two in one hand and one 
in the other, she floated away from the smoking and blazing 
wreck, from the shrieking and drowning crowd, past the 
stern of the boat that lay head in to the shore, past the 
blackened fragments, away from the roaring death struggle 
into the calm water of the river, calling upon God to save 
her. She could see the burning boat below her, three 
hundred yards, perhaps, but the tide was coming in, and 
after floating some little distance up the river a current 
turned her directly toward the shore. Where the water 
was yet too deep for her to stand, she was grasped by a 



Append i. i l'_! ( .) 



man, drawn toward the bank, and there, finding thai she 
could stand, she was led out of the water by two men. 
With the rest of the bewildered, horror-stunned people, 
she walked up and down the margin of the river looking 
for her husband. Her brother and sister met her as she 
walked here - - a meeling more sad than joyful. Still the 
husband did not come, nor the mother, nor that friend 
who had implored the mercy of God. Mrs. Downing was 
sure that her husband was safe. He had come ashore 
above - - he was still floating somewhere - - he had been 
picked up - - he had swam out to some sloop in the river - 
he was busy rescuing the drowning - - he was doing his duty 
somewhere - - he could not be lost. 

She was persuaded into a little house, where she sat at 
a window until nightfall, watching the wreck and the con- 
fusion. Then she was taken home upon the railroad. The 
neighbors and friends came to her to pass the night. They 
sat partly in the house and partly stood watching at the 
door and upon the piazza, waiting for news from the mes- 
sengers who came constantly from the wreck. Mr. Vaux 
and others left directly for the wreck, and remained there 
until the end. The wife clung to her hope, but lay very 
ill, in the care of the physician. The day dawned over 
that blighted garden, and in the afternoon they told her 
that the body of her husband had been found, and they 
were bringing it home. A young woman who had been 
saved from the wreck and sat trembling in the house, then 
said what until then it had been impossible for her to say, 
that, at the last moment, Mr. Downing had told her how 
to sustain herself in the water, but that before she was 
compelled to leap, she sa\v him struggling in the river with 
his friend and others clinging to him. Then she heard 
him utter a prayer to God, and saw him no more. Another 
had seen him upon the upper deck, probably just after 
his wife lost sight of him, throwing chairs into the river 
to serve as supports; nor is it too improbable that the 
chairs upon which his wife floated to shore were among 
those he had so thoughtfully provided. 



430 Landscape Gardening 

In the afternoon, they brought him home, and laid him 
in his library. A terrific storm burst over the river and 
crashed among the hills, and the wild sympathy of nature 
surrounded that blasted home. But its master lay serene 
in the peace of the last prayer he uttered. Loving hands 
had woven garlands of the fragrant blossoms of the Cape 
jessamine, the sweet clematis, and the royal roses he loved 
so well. The next morning was calm and bright, and he 
was laid in the graveyard, where his father and mother 
lie. The quiet Fishkill mountains, that won the love of the 
shy boy in the garden, now watch the grave of the man, 
who was buried, not yet thirty-seven years old, but with 
great duties done in this world, and with firm faith in the 
divine goodness. 

"Unwatch'd, the garden bough shall sway, 
The tender blossom flutter down, 
Unloved, that beech will gather brown, 
This maple burn itself away; 

"Unloved, the sun-flower, shining fair 

Ray round with flame her disk of seed, 
And many a rose-carnation feed 
With summer spice the humming air. 

"Unloved, by many a sandy bar 

The brook shall babble down the plain, 
At noon, or when the lesser wain 
Is twisting round the polar star; 

"Uncared for, gird the windy grove, 

And flood the haunts of hern and crake; 
Or into silver arrows break, 
The sailing moon in creek and cove; 

"Till from the garden and the wild, 
A fresh association blow, 
And year by year, the landscape grow 
Familiar to the stranger's child; 

"As, year by year, the laborer tills 

His wonted glebe, or lops the glades; 
And year by year our memory fades 
From all the circle of the hills." 



APPENDIX III 

TO THE MEMORY OF 
ANDREW JACKSON DOWNING * 

By FRANK A. WAUGH 

NEWBURGH has fine parks. It is surrounded by the 
most ingratiating natural landscape. In the fore- 
ground flows one of the noblest and most beautiful 
of all the rivers of the world. Yet for none of these has 
this body of men come here today. This great interna- 
tional association meets here, drawn by the memory of one 
eminent name, - - the name of a man whose genius stands 
out like a steadfast beacon light through all the crowding 
events of three-quarters of a century of American history. 

Andrew Jackson Downing was born in this town of New- 
burgh, October 30, 1815, and here he lived the whole of that 
short and wonderful life which until this day breathes its 
inspiration upon us. He was the youngest of his family, 
the child of his parents' age, physically weak and slender, 
but mentally a giant. His parents were poor, and Andrew 
was reared on the great American diet of plain living and 
hard work. He had little schooling, the principal feature of 
his formal training being an attendance of a few months on 
the Academy in the neighboring town of Montgomery. But 
he did have the large benefit of work in his father's nursery 
and of quiet association with this rich and noble landscape, 
-two things which left a marked impress upon his character 
and showed their influence conspicuously in his life's work. 

* On August 24, 1914, the American Association of Park Superintend- 
ents held its annual convention at Xewburgh, N.Y., in commemoration 
of the centenary of Mr. Downing's birth, at which time this memorial 
address was delivered. 

431 



432 Landscape Gardening 

When he was about sixteen years old, and his school days 
ended, he had the good fortune to form a warm personal 
friendship with Baron von Liderer, then the Austrian consul- 
general in America, who had a summer home here in New- 
burgh. This acquaintance led to others, and introduced 
the rapidly developing boy to the company of refined and 
talented men and women who were to be, aside from this 
ever-blessed landscape, his principal source of education. 

During these years of early manhood he worked hard in 
the nursery, but harder still upon his studies, scientific, 
literary and artistic. He was already forming those high 
ambitions and noble dreams which made him the first of 
our American landscape gardeners, - - for us the discoverer 
of a new art and the founder of a new profession. His first 
work - - and said by competent witnesses to be his greatest 
- was the building of his own house and the development 
of his own grounds. According to all accounts this must 
have been most consummately done. He then began to 
develop the general practice of the landscape gardener in 
much the same form as it is now followed by leading men 
in the profession. His work was largely on private places in 
the neighborhood of New York and Newport, his most 
famous public project having been the grounds in Washing- 
ton about the Capitol, the White House and the Smith- 
sonian Institution. In the summer of 1850, while on a 
most inspiring visit to England, he found a young architect 
by the name of Calvert Vaux, - - a name afterward famous 
in America - - whom he brought home with him to be his 
partner in this professional practice. 

For us to-day it is impossible to forget that he was one of 
the first and ablest advocates of the public park, - - in insti- 
tution then almost unknown and unheard of in America. 
He aided powerfully with tongue and pen in the strenuous 
fight to establish Central Park, New York, an institution 
which has had an incalculable influence in shaping American 
park plans and policies ever since. 

Parallel with his development as a landscape gardener 
ran his equally notable development as a man of letters. 



He quickly became known as the greatest American writer 
in the field of rural affairs and as a literary artist of genuine 
talent. His first and most unqiialiiied success was his book 
on "Landscape Gardening," which was published in 1841, 
when he was twenty-six years old, a book which stands to- 
day as a classic and a masterpiece. The following year saw 
the publication of his "Cottage Residences." In 1815, 
when he was thirty years old, he gave the world "The 
Fruits and Fruit Trees of America," another epoch-making 
work in a totally different field. In 1846, he became the 
editor of the "Horticulturist," and in this office did the most 
notable literary work of his whole career. In 1850, he put 
out his "Architecture of Country Houses." In 1852, he 
edited the American edition of Mrs. Loudon's "Gardening 
for Ladies." In the meantime his other works had sold so 
freely that he had been obliged to prepare several new edi- 
tions, each one a great advance upon its predecessor. 

Then on July 28, 1852, came his tragic and untimely 
death. When we think of all that he might have accom- 
plished with a few more years of life in this period of his 
capable maturity we are compelled for ourselves to share 
the grief of those friends of 1852 who were never able suffi- 
ciently to mourn his loss. 

These rough outlines of a great and many-sided life must 
serve our present needs. It is not for me at this late day to 
add anything to the memorial prepared by his own intimate 
friends. Nor could I presume to revise the estimate of his 
character given by such competent authority as his dis- 
tinguished literary biographer, George William Curtis. It 
does seem fair, however, for us in our day to try once more 
the measure of his genius and to endeavor to count what 
portions of his work have lived to help us. This at least his 
sorrowing friends could not do in 1852. 

Andrew Jackson Downing must be remembered to us 
first of all as a nurseryman. It was in this field that his life 
began. In this field he learned great lessons which yielded 
him the most substantial and obvious help in other lines of 
work. Moreover it was through his nursery work that he 



431 Landscape Gardening 

reached and profoundly influenced hundreds of men in other 
parts of the country. It is probably true that Downing's 
staunchest personal disciples were the men who formed 
their attachment to him at this point. 

His architectural work was of very considerable conse- 
quence. While undoubtedly it represents that part of his 
thought which has proved of least worth to us in our gene- 
ration, yet it was credited in its time with far-reaching 
influence for good. In any study of his intellect and charac- 
ter it is obligatory to take into the account the wide, serious 
and faithful study which he gave to this subject. 

We are to remember him also as a writer. There are 
those who believe that his greatest achievements were in 
the field of literature. This was obviously the opinion of 
his biographer, George William Curtis. It is easy to join in 
this opinion when we view those numerous books of his in 
their several fields and in their several editions; when we 
consider especially those masterly essays contributed to 
the "Horticulturist;" and still more when we look at all 
these achievements in the light of the later development of 
a whole realm of country life literature, now an enormous 
but then an untouched field. 

The literary fame rests upon a most substantial basis, 
seeing his product had both matter and style. He had real 
first-hand information to communicate. Much more than 
that, he had sound personal opinions, the product of careful 
study by a most extraordinary mind. This information and 
these opinions were offered to the world in the best literary 
dress of the times, - - in a style clear, finished, distinguished. 
Yet it seems to me that we in this day are most of all 
indebted to Downing for his achievements in the field of 
landscape architecture. There have been many capable 
nurserymen in America, hundreds of other writers of ability, 
other architects of greater influence, but Downing was 
without a question the founder of American Landscape 
Gardening. It is here that his work is still the freshest and 
most vital. 

As I look over the work of our great leader in the field of 



Appendi.i' 435 

landscape gardening I see three different aspects of il, in 
each of which his powerful character has impressed itself 
on following generations. First and probably least was the 
professional work in the design of private and public grounds. 
At the present time none of his authentic works exist except 
in the most fragmentary condition, and the records of his 
designs are too meager to be given much careful study. Yet 
in his own day and in the immediately succeeding years his 
work was seen by all aspiring young landscape architects and 
to them was inspiration, law and gospel. 

Next, and easily superior to his executed works, were his 
writings, and preeminently his book on "Landscape Garden- 
ing." The influence of these books and essays has been and 
still is of immeasurable proportions. 

The third feature of his service to us, and one which seems 
to have been widely overlooked, was his practical establish- 
ment in America of the profession of landscape architecture, 
as it is now fashionably called, though he always spoke of it 
under the good English term of landscape gardening. Other 
men had unquestionably practiced this art in America 
before him; but his genius soared so far above all else that 
had ever been done as to put the whole profession upon a 
new plane. Other men found it easy to follow in the path 
which he had opened. Several of these disciples did so well 
under his inspiration as to have preserved their names to 
the present day. Frank J. Scott and H. W. S. Cleveland 
may be named as examples of this immediate discipleship. 

Out of this story, which we necessarily trace with so 
much difficulty, of the personal influence of Downing in the 
beginnings of the profession, there emerges however one 
conspicuous incident. Calvert Vaux has already been men- 
tioned as coming to America in 1850 to be associated with 
Downing in his professional work. This very able and 
well-trained young architect doubtless had a considerable 
influence upon his acute and impressionable partner; but 
it is quite as certain that the stronger qualities of Downing 
left their impress upon Vaux. The professional work under- 
taken by them jointly was continued by Vaux after Down- 



436 Landscape Gardening 

ing's death. And then a few years later another most 
fortunate juncture occurred when Vaux in his turn became 
professionally associated with the late Frederick Law 
Olmsted. With the long and notable career of Olmsted 
landscape architecture became an established and recognized 
profession, and one in which the highest ideals were so firmly 
fixed as never again to be lost or obscured. This triple 
association of Downing, Vaux and Olmsted must ever form 
the great opening chapter in the history of the landscape 
profession in America. 

Finally, and most of all, as we remember Andrew Jackson 
Downing we come to realize that he was a man of rare and 
extraordinary gifts, - - a genius in the large and good mean- 
ing of the word. Any man beginning life in a new country, 
in poverty, almost without education, and \vith the handi- 
cap of physical weakness, who before the age of thirty-seven 
years reaches a position of commanding importance in four 
separate fields, such as pomology, architecture, landscape 
gardening and literature, and who in each field leaves work 
to last a century, - - such a man is more than a genius, he is 
a prodigy. His powers obviously and altogether transcend 
those of ordinary men. 

Yet in Downing these prodigous faculties were so mixed 
and tempered with warm human qualities as to be largely 
lost to sight. We have been told that in his associations 
with most men he was reserved, even cold; but in the writ- 
ings through which we chiefly know him he is always frank 
and friendly, - - the most cordial and genial of companions. 
\\'e have learned so much to love the memory of the man 
as to forget the sum total of his genius. And to-day as we 
revisit the scenes he loved so well and bless ourselves with 
the inspiration of his memory, and try again to measure 
the bequest of his life to us, we need not let our admiration 
for his work in pomology, or literature or landscape garden- 
ing stint our thought of his larger genius; nor need we dwell 
so long upon his superhuman genius as to lose our hold 
upon the man of flesh and blood who still commands the love 
and admiration of our common human hearts. 



INDEX 



American Plants, 235 
American Trees, 345 
Ancient Style, 53 

Animals on Residence Grounds, 229 
Approach, 90 
Arbors, 141 

Arrangement of Country Places, 
218 

Beauties and Principles of the Art, 
27 

Beautiful in Ground, 156 

Beautiful in [Landscape Garden- 
ing, 39 

Beautiful in a Tree, 162 

Beautiful Illustrated, 29 

Beautiful and Picturesque Com- 
pared, 28 

"Beaverwyck," 17 

"Belmont," 20 

Bird Bath, 126 

"Blithewood," 13 

Bridges, 142 

Brooks and Rivulets, 112 

Cascades and Waterfalls, 113 
Cemeteries and Public Gardens, 371 
Central Park, New York, 380 
Choosing a Site for a Country 

Place, 212 
Citizens Retiring to the Country, 

203 

City Trees, 340 
"Clermont," 11 
Colman, Rev. Henry, quoted, 281- 

297 

Coloring of Trees, 87 
Conservatory, 135 



Contrast in Planting, 87 
Cost of Operations, 205 
Cottage Ornee, 76 
Country Places in Autumn, 231 
Country Villages, 323 

Downing's Home, 20 
Downing's Home Grounds, 50 
Drapery of Cottages and Gardens, 

167 
Drives, 95 

Economy in Gardening, 297 
Embellished Farm, 74 
Embellishments, 116 
Evergreens, 240 
Evergreens, Transplanting, 321 
Exotic Plants, 111 
Expression of Trees, 77 
"Ellerslie," 16 
English Style, 6 
Expression, 47 

Feminine Taste in Rural Affairs, 

277 

Fences, 96 

Flora and Pomona, 265 
Flower Gardens, 123-247 
Fountains, 146 

Garden Gate, 130 

Garden Seat, 128 

Geometrical Style, 28-54 

Grading the Lawn, 157 

Ground Plans of Ornamental Plan- 
tations, 68 

Grouping to Produce the Beautiful, 
58 



437 



438 



Index 



Grouping to Produce the Pictur- 
esque, 60 
Grouping of Trees, 56 

"Ha-Ha," 99 

Harmony, 46 

Hedge Plants, 98 

Hedges, 97 

Historical Sketches, 1 

Horticultural Societies, 276-369 

How to Popularize the Taste for 

Planting, 364 
Humboldt, quoted, 152 
"Hyde Park," 12 

Improvement of Country Villages, 

333 

Influence of Horticulture, 272 
Islands, 108 

"Kenwood," 16 

Lakes, 102 

Landscape Gardening, 179 

Landscape Gardening Defined, 2 

Lawns, 303 

Lawn Grasses, 308 

"Lemon Hill," 10 

"Livingston Manor," 13 

Loudon as a Landscape Gardener, 4 

Management of Large Country 

Places, 225 

McMahon, Bernard, 8 
Memoir by George William Curtis, 

391 

Memoir by Frank A. Waugh, 431 
Mistakes of Citizens in Country 

Life, 193 
Modern American Home Garden, 

36 

Modern Style, 55 
"Montgomery Place," 15 
"Monte Video," 19 



Natural Style, 6-41 
New Haven, Conneclicul, 361 
New Jersey State Hospital, 26 
New York Park, 380 
Nurseries, 366 

Oblong-Headed Tree, 82 

Parmentier, Andre, 9 

"Perkins Estate," Brookline, 21 

Picturesque Illustrated, 31 

Picturesque in Landscape Garden- 
ing, 40 

"Pine Bank," 21 

Planting Lists, 132 

Planting Shade Trees, 358 

Planting Street Trees, 337 

Ponds, 102 

Principles of Landscape Gardening, 
27 

Privacy, 223 

Prospect Towers, 141 

Pruning, 164 

Repton as a Landscape Gardener, 4 

Repton, Humphrey, quoted, 93 

Reserve Garden, 127 

"Riverside Villa," 72 

Roads and Walks, 90 

Rockingham Farmers' Club, 338 

Rock-work, 143 

Root Pruning, 347 

Roses, 253 

Roses, List of, 388 

Roses, List by Mr. Downing, 261 

Round-Headed Trees; 78 

Rural Improvements, 151 

Sargent, H. W., footnote, 319 
Seats, 139 

Shade Trees in Cities, 340 
Sheep on Lawn, 301 
Shore Planting, 107 
Shrubbery, 130 
Spiry-Topped Tree, 80 



Index 



439 



Spring Gossip, 290 

Spring Flowers, 293 

"Stenton," 24 

Sub-soiling, 307 

Suburban Villa Residence, Plan, 73 

Terraces, 118 
Topography, 156 
Town Commons, 328 
Town Parks, 328 
Town Planning, 327 
Transplanting Trees, 179-231-313 
Treatment of Grounds, 90 
Treatment of Lawn, 310 
Treatment of Water, 100 
Trees, 162 

Trees in Formal Gardening, 52 
Trees in Towns and Villages, 349 



Underwood, 110 

Unity, 44 

Unity of Expression, 148 

Variety, 46 

Vases, 120 

Village Improvement, 333 

Vines, 167 

Walks, 95 

"Waltham House," 11 

Water, 100 

W r hately, Thos., quoted, 88 

"Wodenthe," 16 

Women in Garden Work, 279 

Wood and Plantations, 49 

"Woodlands," 9 



University of Toronto 
Library 



DO NOT 

REMOVE 

THE 

CARD 

FROM 

THIS 

POCKET 




Acme Library Card Pocket 

Under Pat. "Ref. Index File" 
Made by LIBRARY BUREAU