The Garden Guide

Book: Gardening tours by J.C. Loudon 1831-1842
Chapter: London to Manchester in the Spring of 1831

Single trees on lawns

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A second grand fault in almost all places, whether large or small, is the manner in which single trees are planted. The number of places which are thus disfigured has astonished us. We have elsewhere observed (Treatise on Country Residences) that single trees and small groups are, in landscape-gardening, what the last touches given to a picture are in landscape-painting. By a singular perversity of purpose, where a landscape-gardener has been employed to lay out a place, and form the general outlines of the masses of plantation, the putting in of the single trees is left to be done afterwards, by degrees, by the gardener, forester, or bailiff, for the time being. Every one thinks he can tell where a single tree is wanted, or will look well: "at all events," say such persons, "right or wrong, a single tree cannot do much harm." It can be no disparagement to gardeners, to affirm that there is not one of them in a hundred who has acquired the sort of knowledge requisite for the purpose of planting what are called single trees. For this purpose, a painter's eye is indispensable; and a gardener may be at the very head of his profession as a horticulturist, a florist, and an arboriculturist, and be, in addition, an excellent botanist, and yet be altogether without a painter's eye.