The Garden Guide

Book: History of Garden Design and Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 4: British Gardens (1100-1830)

Imitation of nature in garden design

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724. Gardening, as an art of design and taste, may be said to have been conducted mechanically, and copied from precedents, like civil architecture, till the middle of the eighteenth century; but, at this time, the writings of Addison, Pope, Shenstone, and G. Mason appeared; and in those, and especially in the Observations on Modern Gardening, by Whately, are laid down unalterable principles for the imitation of nature in the arrangement of garden scenery. The science of this department of the art may therefore be considered as completely ascertained; but it will probably be long before it be appropriated by gardeners, and applied in the exercise of the art as a trade. A somewhat better education in youth, and more leisure for reading in the periods usually devoted to constant bodily labour, will effect this change; and its influence on the beauty of the scenery of country residences, and on the face of the country at large, would be such as cannot be contemplated without a feeling of enthusiastic admiration. If this taste were once duly valued and paid for by those whose wealth enables them to employ first-rate gardeners, it would soon be produced. But the taste of our nobility does not, in general, take this turn, otherwise many of them would display a very different style of scenery around their mansions.