The Garden Guide

Book: A treatise on the theory and practice of landscape gardening, adapted to North America,1841
Chapter: Section II. Beauties and Principles of the Art of Landscape Gardening

Imitation of nature in landscape gardening

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But this is scarcely Landscape Gardening in the true sense of the word, although apparently so understood by many writers. By Landscape Gardening, we understand not only an imitation, in the grounds of a country residence, of the agreeable forms of nature, but an expressive, harmonious, and refined imitation.* In Landscape Gardening, we should aim to separate the accidental and extraneous in nature, and to preserve only the spirit, or essence. This subtle essence lies, we believe, in the expression more or less pervading every attractive portion of nature. And it is by eliciting, preserving, or heightening this expression, that we may give our landscape gardens a higher charm, than even the polish of art can bestow. (* "Thus, there is a beauty of nature and a beauty of art. To copy the beauty of nature cannot be called being an artist in the highest sense of the word, as a mechanical talent only is requisite for this. The beautiful in art depends on ideas; and the true artist, therefore, must possess, together with the talent for technical execution, that genial power which revels freely in rich forms, and is capable of producing and animating them. It is by this, that the merit of the artist and his production is to be judged; and these cannot be properly estimated among those barren copyists which we find so many of our flower, landscape, and portrait painters to be. But the artist stands much higher in the scale, who, though a copyist of visible nature, is capable of seizing it with poetic feeling, and representing it in its more dignified sense; such, for example, as Raphael, Poussin, Claude, &c."-WEINBREUNER.)