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

Popularity of the picturesque in America

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There are always circumstances which must exert a controlling influence over amateurs, in this country, in choosing between the two. These are, fixed locality, expense, individual preference in the style of building, and many others which readily occur to all. The great variety of attractive sites in the older parts of the country, afford an abundance of opportunity for either taste. Within the last five years, we think the Picturesque is beginning to be preferred. It has, when a suitable locality offers, great advantages for us. The raw materials of wood, water, and surface, by the margin of many of our rivers and brooks, are at once appropriated with so much effect, and so little art, in the picturesque mode; the annual tax on the purse too is so comparatively little, and the charm so great! While, on one hand, the residences of a country of level plains usually allow only the beauty of simple and graceful forms; the larger demesne, with its swelling hills and noble masses of wood (may we not, prospectively, say the rolling prairie too?), should always, in the hands of the man of wealth, be made to display all the breadth, variety, and harmony of both the Beautiful and the Picturesque.