The Garden Guide

Book: A treatise on the theory and practice of landscape gardening, adapted to North America,1841
Chapter: Appendix. II. Description of an English Suburban residence, CHESHUNT COTTAGE.

Cheshunt Cottage in London 23

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The walks are filled to the brim with gravel, kept firmly rolled, and the grass margins are clipt, but never cut, because the gravel, being almost as high as the turf, the latter can never sink down, and swell out over the former. This it invariably does when the turf is a few inches higher than the gravel, and, hence, paring off the part of the turf which had projected was originally, no doubt, adopted only as a remedy for the evil, though it is now erroneously practised by gardeners as an evidence of care and good keeping. As much of the beauty of the walk depends upon the beauty of its boundary, the feeling that this boundary is likely to be disturbed every time the walk is cleaned, or the adjoining turf mown, is extremely disagreeable. The freshly pared turf becomes a spot or scar in the scene, withdrawing the attention from the walk itself, and from the adjoining grounds, to a point, or rather a line, which is in itself of little consequence, but which, by the paring, is obtruded on the eye, so as to destroy all allusion to stability. We are displeased with the paring of the edges, because it conveys the idea that the walks are not finished, or that they are liable to be disturbed in this way from time to time, and nothing, either in grounds or in buildings, is more unsatisfactory than an apparent want of stability or fixedness. It is as much the nature of the ground to be fixed and immovable, as it is of trees and shrubs to increase in growth, and hence, any operation, such as clipping, which seems to stop the growth of the one, is as unsatisfactory to the eye as paring, which seems to derange the fixed state of the other. Would that we could impress this on the minds of all gardeners and their employers!