The Garden Guide

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

Old French gardens

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The old French gardens differ little from those of Italy, if we except that, with the same formality, they have more of theatrical display-frequently substituting gilt trellises and wooden statues for the exquisite marble balustrades and sculptured ornaments of the Italians. But we must not forget the crowning glory of the Geometric style, the gardens of Louis XIV. at Versailles. A prince whose grand idea of a royal garden was not compassed under two hundred acres devoted to that purpose, and who, when shown the bills of cost in their formation, amounting to two hundred millions of francs, quietly threw them into the fire, could scarcely fail, whatever the style of art adopted, in producing a scene of great splendor. He was fortunate, too, in his gardener, Le Notre, whose ideas, scarcely less superb than those of his master, kept pace so closely with his fancies, that he received the honor of knighthood, and was made general director of all the buildings and gardens of the time.