The Garden Guide

Book: Fragments on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening, 1816
Chapter: Fragment XxvII. Gardens Of Ashridge.

Fencing at Ashridge

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FENCES. The most important of all things relating to a garden, is that which cannot contribute to its beauty, but without which a garden cannot exist; the fence must be effective and durable, or the irruption of a herd of deer, in one night, may lay waste the cost and labour of many years. Everything at Ashridge is on a great scale of substantial and permanent grandeur, and the fence to the gardens should, doubtless, be the same. The deep walled ha! ha ! invented by Brown, was seldom used by him but to give a view through some glade, or to afford security to a terrace-walk; from whence we might see two bulls fighting, without the possibility of danger: this cannot be said of that wire-bird-cage expedient, which has, of late years, been introduced to save the expense of a more lasting barrier; and though it may be sufficient to resist sheep, or even cows, for a few years, in the villas near London, yet the mind is not satisfied when a vicious stag approaches it with undaunted eye, and a mien not to be terrified [see figs. 217 and 218]. Add to this, the misery of viewing a landscape through a prison-bar, or misty gauze veil ranging above the eye. Besides, iron is a material of which we have had but little experience, except that it too soon decays. For this reason, a line is shewn on the map [u, s, in fig. 214], which may hereafter be adopted; and I must consider the present wire-fence only as a temporary expedient.