International Styles

Garden Planting


During the study of the forms of ground and the disposal of water, planting is always present to the mind as needful to the perfection of the scene, and a painter-like perception is necessary to combine them with effect; indeed the artist must have many other qualifications, in ordinary with the painter, superadded to those more obviously essential to the landscape gardener, before he is capable of giving reality to the pictures of his imagination.

The principles on which the painter works are equally applicable to this study. The materials which nature and art supply are represented by his palette; the laws which govern the character, compositions, arrangements, and linear harmonies of the one, apply as correctly to the other. In point of light and shade, each seeks and disposes them with the same relations of effect and balance: the same knowledge of harmony, opposition, contrast, expression and gradation is necessary; and both direct them by similar laws and scientific principles. Their practice however differs in this ; the painter sees on the instant all he desires to produce, but the other artist's labours are those of anticipation: time alone can perfect his works, and show the fulfilment of his wishes. Like the works of the sculptor, his objects are subject to new appearances with every change of the spectator's movement; and no artist better knows the difficulty of associating blended forms, so that at every point of view they shall be graceful and pleasing.

A picture may be painted with three decided features: the foreground, the middle, and the distance; but in the actual disposition of similar machinery, it must be remembered that, by the spectator's movement, they change places, and the foreground becomes the middle or the distant, so each character must be suitable to all. From these facts it must be evident, that the mere amateur is not accomplished for the purposes of ornamental improvement, and his failure will be complete when architectural decorations are to be added to those of nature, an union always accompanied with difficulty, and only to be reconciled by the man of science.

The planting of the boundary having been considered, so far as it encloses the property, it will be needful to view it in connection with the whole plot; and as nature is to be followed in all things, to examine her operations and endeavour to imitate them. When we find a naturally over wooded property, and seek to improve it by expanding the lawns and pastures, and by selecting groups and assemblages of trees to remain insulated within them, it will be seen that two or three kinds of forest trees prevail as the native tenants of the soil; and although many others are found interspersed, that they seem chance thrown, or as strangers hospitably received - such are the bold and broad workings of nature, and which are too often rejected for afiected variety.

In forming a home on a similar place of ground, that is yet without trees, it is on this principle that the plantations ought to be made, so that when the whole has arrived at maturity, these decorations of the place shall seem to be derived from nature without the aid of art. In the disposition of single trees, of groups, or masses, nature ought to be imitated in her most effective and agreeable productions; to do which, it is necessary to understand something of the rationale of her proceedings; on this knowledge, also, such further decorations ought to be added as will increase the effect and beauty of the scenery, and transform the wilds of the forest into the abode of the rational and tasteful being, the man of reflection and of taste. Toward the employment of these additions, an acquaintance with the following points is necessary, on which a few hints are therefore introduced.




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