The Garden Guide

Book: A treatise on the theory and practice of landscape gardening, adapted to North America,1841
Chapter: Section VII. Treatment of Ground-Formation of Walks

Rocks in scenic composition

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Rocks, either in detached fragments or large masses, enter into the composition of many scenes, and sometimes have an excellent effect. Indeed much of the spirit of picturesque scenery is often owing to the bold projections made by rocks in various forms. An overhanging cliff, or steep precipice, a moss-covered rocky bank, or even a group of rocks on a ledge, from which springs a tuft of trees and shrubs-all these give strength to a picturesque scene. Their effect may often be rendered more striking by art; sometimes by removing the earth or loose stones from the bottom of the precipice, so as greatly to increase its apparent height-for the perpendicular position is the finest in which rocks can be viewed. At other times the effect of a continuous range of rocks may be much improved by planting the summit, and making occasional breaks of verdure in the front surface. Rocks which are too apparent, and which cannot be removed, may be concealed with trees and vegetation, or partially covered with vines and creepers. The latter often have a beautiful effect in picturesque scenery, and we have seen very charming pictures formed of over-arching cliffs and groups of rock, upon which hung and rambled in luxuriant profusion, a rich mixture of climbing plants. Where rocks thus accidentally occur in beautiful scenes, to which they, if left bare, would be inimical, they may be wonderfully softened and brought into keeping by a covering of the honeysuckle, the Ivy, the Virginia creeper, and other species of the gayest and most luxuriant flowering vines.