The Garden Guide

Book: History of Garden Design and Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 3: European Gardens (500AD-1850)

Mailmaison garden design

Previous - Next

226. English gardening during the consulate was little attended to. The garden of Malmaison was formed by the Empress Josephine in three years. It was laid out in the English style by Berthoud, assisted by the English gardener Hudson. Bonpland formed the botanical collection, which was chiefly obtained from the Hammersmith Nursery, and directed its culture; and Redoute lent his pencil to aid in its description. We saw Malmaison in 1815, and again in September, 1828, a few days before it was exposed for sale. The large hothouse which we saw on our first visit had disappeared before our second; and on its site stood a labourer's cottage. The cedar trees, and the large hippophaes, the tulip trees, the catalpas, the jujubes, and the Judas trees, still remained; but it would have been difficult to find any feature that could tell that it had once been laid out as an English garden. In this respect the difference between the natural and the geometrical style is worthy of notice. The most finished place in the natural style, when neglected, soon ceases to be recognised as a work of art; trees remain, but they may have been planted there by nature, and undulating lawns may very well pass for the original surface; but while a row of trees or a terrace remains, it bears the stamp of art, and proclaims itself to be the work of man.