The Garden Guide

Book: A treatise on the theory and practice of landscape gardening, adapted to North America,1841
Chapter: Section III. On Wood.

Sweeping outlines and colored foliage

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To illustrate the second case, let us suppose a long sweeping outline of maples, birches, and other light, mellow-colored trees, which the improver wishes to vary and break into groups, by spiry-topped, evergreen trees. It is evident, that if these trees were planted in such a manner as to peer abruptly out of the light-colored foliage of the former trees, in dark or almost black masses of tapering verdure, the effect would be by no means so satisfactory and pleasing, as if there were a partial transition from the mellow, pale green of the maples, etc., to the darker hues of the oak, ash, or beech, and finally the sombre tint of the evergreens. Thus much for the coloring; and if, in addition to this, oblong-headed trees or pyramidal trees were also placed near and partly intermingled with the spiry-topped ones, the unity of the whole composition would be still more complete.* (* We are persuaded that very few persons are aware of the beauty, varied and endless, that may be produced by arranging trees with regard to their coloring. It requires the eye and genius of a Claude or a Poussin, to develope all these hidden beauties of harmonious combination. Gilpin rightly says, in speaking of the dark Scotch fir, "with regard to color in general, I think I speak the language of painting, when I assert that the picturesque eye makes little distinction in this matter. It has no attachment to one color in preference to another, but considers the beauty of all coloring as resulting, not from the colors themselves, but almost entirely from their harmony with other colors in their neighborhood. So that as the Scotch fir tree is combined or stationed, it forms a beautiful umbrage or a murky spot."