The Garden Guide

Book: History of Garden Design and Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 2: The Influence of Climates on Gardens

Landscape gardening and ancient gardens

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972. Landscape-gardening agrees with ancient gardening in no other circumstance than in that of employing the same material. It is an imitative art, like painting or poetry, and is governed by the same laws. The ancient style is an inventive and mixed art, like architecture, and governed by the same principles. The beauties which architecture and geometric gardening aimed at, were those of art and utility, in which art was every where avowed. The modern style of gardening, and the arts of poetry and painting, imitate nature; and, in doing so, the art employed is studiously concealed. Those arts, therefore, can never be compared, whose means are so different; and to say that landscape-gardening is an improvement on geometric gardening, is a similar misapplication of language, as to say that a lawn is an improvement on a cornfield, because it is substituted in its place. It is absurd, therefore, to despise the ancient style, because it has not the same beauties as the modern, to which it never aspired. It has beauties of a different kind, equally perfect in their manner as those of the modern style, and equally desirable under certain circumstances. The question, therefore, is not, whether we shall admit occasional specimens of obsolete gardening, for the sake of antiquity, but whether we shall admit specimens of a different style from that in general use, but equally perfect in its kind. (Ed. Encyc., art. Landscape-Gardening.)