The Garden Guide

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

Henry the Eigths garden at Nonsuch Palace

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The royal gardens of Henry VIII., at Nonsuch Palace, laid out in the beginning of the sixteenth century, may perhaps be taken as a type of the highest ideal of a garden at that period. Heutzner, in speaking of this place, after describing it as abounding in every species of costly magnificence, adds,- "This, which no equal has in art or fame, Britons deservedly do Nonsuch name." Loudon remarks that "these gardens are stated, in a survey taken in the year 1650, above a century after Henry's death, to have been cut and divided into several alleys, compartments, and rounds, set about with thorn hedges. On the north side was a kitchen garden, very commodious, and surrounded with a wall fourteen feet high. On the west was a wilderness severed from the little park by a hedge, the whole containing ten acres. In the privy gardens were fountains and basins of marble, one of which is 'set round with six lilac trees, which trees bear no fruit, but only a pleasant smell.' In the kitchen garden were seventy-two fruit trees and one lime tree. Lastly, before the palace, was a neat handsome bowling-green, surrounded with a balustrade of freestone." Another writer, describing Nonsuch when in perfection, says, "In the pleasure and artificial gardens are many columns and pyramids of marble, two fountains that spout water, one round and the other like a pyramid, upon which are perched small birds that stream water out of their bills. There is besides another pyramid of marble full of concealed pipes, which spirt upon all who come within their reach."