The Garden Guide

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

Modern English gardening at Blenheim and Chatsworth

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As the modern style owes its origin mainly to the English, so it has also been developed and carried to its greatest perfection in the British Islands. The law of primogeniture, which has there so long existed, in itself, contributes greatly to the continual improvement and embellishment of those vast landed estates, that remain perpetually in the hands of the same family. Magnificent buildings, added to by each succeeding generation, who often preserve also the older portions with the most scrupulous care; wide spread parks, clothed with a thick velvet turf, which, amid their moist atmosphere, preserves during great part of the year an emerald greenness- studded with noble oaks and other forest trees which number centuries of growth and maturity; these advantages, in the hands of the most intelligent and the wealthiest aristocracy in the world, have indeed made almost an entire landscape garden of "merry England." Among a multitude of splendid examples of these noble residences, we will only refer the reader to the celebrated Blenheim, the seat of the Duke of Marlborough, where the lake alone (probably the largest piece of artificial water in the world) covers a surface of two hundred acres: Chatsworth, the varied and magnificent seat of the Duke of Devonshire, where there are scenes illustrative of almost every style of the art: and Woburn Abbey, the grounds of which are full of the choicest specimens of trees and plants, and where the park, like that of Ashbridge, Arundel Castle, and several other private residences in England, is only embraced within a circumference of from ten to twenty miles.