The Garden Guide

Book: History of Garden Design and Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 5: Gardens in Asia, America, Africa, Australia

Landscape garden in America

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842. Hyde Park, on the Hudson, is generally considered the first in point of landscape-gardening in America. Its proprietor, Dr. David Hosack, was a botanist, and a man of taste. The natural capacity of this seat for improvement has been taken advantage of in a very judicious manner; and every circumstance has been laid hold of, and acted upon, which could tend to beautify or adorn it. The mansion is splendid and conve- nient. The park is extensive, the rides numerous, and the variety of delightful distant views embrace every kind of scenery. The pleasure-grounds are laid out on just principles, and in a most judicious manner; and there is an excellent range of hothouses, with a collection of rare plants, remarkable for their variety, cleanliness, and handsome growth. (Gard. Mag., vol. viii. p. 282.) Mrs. Trullope, speaking of this villa, says, 'Hyde Park is the magnificent seat of Dr. Hosack : here the misty summit of the distant Kaatskill begins to form the outline of the landscape; and it is hardly possible to imagine a more beautiful place.' (Domestic Manners of the Americans, vol. ii. p. 206.) Mr. Stuart speaks in raptures of 'the view over the most beautiful of all beautiful rivers, from the magnificent terrace in the front of Dr. Hosack's house, situated in the most enviable of the desirable situations on the river.' Hyde Park, he says, 'is quite a show place, in the English sense of the word.' ( Three Years, &c., vol. ii. p. 549.) After the death of Dr. Hosack, the place lost some of its attractions, but was still far from suffering from neglect.