The Garden Guide

Book: A treatise on the theory and practice of landscape gardening, adapted to North America,1841
Chapter: Section IV. Deciduous Ornamental Trees

William Gilpin on oak trees

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The oak, says Gilpin, "is confessedly the most picturesque tree in itself, and the most accommodating in composition. It refuses no subject either in natural or in artificial landscape. It is suited to the grandest, and may with propriety be introduced into the most pastoral. It adds new dignity to the ruined tower and the Gothic arch; and by stretching its wild, moss-grown branches athwart their ivied walls, it gives them a kind of majesty coeval with itself; at the same time its propriety is still preserved if it throws its arms over the purling brook or the mantling pool, where it beholds "Its reverend image in the expanse below." Milton introduces it happily even in the lowest scene- "Hard by a cottage chimney smokes, From between two aged oaks."