The Garden Guide

Book: A treatise on the theory and practice of landscape gardening, adapted to North America,1841
Chapter: Section I. Historical Sketches.

Absurdities of the ancient style of gardening

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Whatever may have been the absurdities of the ancient style, it is not to be denied that in connexion with highly decorated architecture, its effect, when in the best taste- as the Italian-is not only splendid and striking, but highly suitable and appropriate. Sir Walter Scott, in an essay on landscape embellishment, says, "if we approve of Palladian architecture, the vases and balustrades of Vitruvius, the enriched entablatures and superb stairs of the Italian school of gardening, we must not, on this account, be construed as vindicating the paltry imitations of the Dutch, who clipped yews into monsters of every species, and relieved them with painted wooden figures. The distinction between the Italian and Dutch is obvious. A stone hewn into a gracefully ornamented vase or urn, has a value which it did not before possess: a yew hedge clipped into a fortification, is only defaced. The one is a production of art, the other a distortion of nature."