1. Dutch Gardening, as an Art of Design and Taste
152. The Dutch are generally considered as having a particular taste in gardening; yet their gardens, Hirschfeld observes, appear to differ little in design from those of the French. The characteristics of both are symmetry, and abundance of ornaments. The only difference to be remarked is, that the gardens of Holland are more confined, more covered with frivolous ornaments, and more intersected with still and often muddy pieces of water. The gardens of Ryswick, Houslaerdyk, and Sorgvliet were, in the beginning of the last century, the most remarkable for geometrical beauty of form, richness in trees and plants, and careful preservation. It is singular, our author observes, that the Dutch are fond of intersecting their gardens with canals and ditches of stagnant water, which, so far from being agreeable, are muddy and ugly, and fill the air with unwholesome vapours. Yet they carry this taste, which has no doubt originated in the nature of their country, to the East Indies; and the numerous country-houses belonging to the Dutch settlement in Batavia are all furnished with gardens and canals like those in the neighbourhood of Amsterdam; as if to render the unwholesome air of that country still more dangerous. Every field is there crossed by a canal; and houses on eminences are surrounded at great expense by moats and drawbridges like those of the Hague. Such is the influence of habit and the love of country.