The Garden Guide

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

Roman garden design in North Europe

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969. The gardening of the Romans was copied in France and Britain, with few variations beyond those dictated by necessity and the difference of climate. It was found to be perfectly beautiful and agreeable; and would have continued to prevail, had Britain continued in similar circumstances to those in which she was at the time of its introduction. But such has been the progress of improvement in this country, that the general face of nature became as it were an ancient garden, and every estate was laid out, bounded, and subdivided, by stripes of wood, rows of trees, canals, ponds, walls, and hedges. The credit or distinction to be obtained here, by continuing to employ the ancient style, could be no greater than what the Romans would have obtained by imitating nature. In their case, all the country was one scene of uncultivated, in ours it was one scene of cultivated, beauty. In this state of things the modern style was adopted, not solely from a wish to imitate the gardening of the Chinese, or to display a high degree of refinement in taste, but from the steady operation of the same motives which produced and continued the ancient style, a desire of distinction.