The Garden Guide

Book: History of Garden Design and Gardening
Chapter: Forward 1 Garden History

Introduction to Gardening

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[Note:J.C. Loudon's "History of Garden Design and Gardening" was published as Part 1, Book 1 of JC Loudon's " Encyclopedia of Gardening". This edition was (1) edited by JCL in 1834 (2) re-published by Jane Web Loudon in 1850 (3) scanned, edited and re-titled by Tom Turner (TT) in 2005 (4) published in copyright, with Loudon's paragraph numbers retained so that scholars can find page numbers from the printed edition]. THE chief business of private life in the country, consists in the occupations of house-wiffery or domestic economy, agriculture, and gardening. Gardening, the branch to which we here confine ourselves, as compared with agriculture, is the cultivation of a limited spot, by manual labour, for culinary and ornamental products; but, relative to the present improved state of the art, it may be defined the formation and culture, by manual labour, of a scene more or less extended, for various purposes of utility, ornament, and recreation. Thus gardening, like most other arts, had its origin in the supply of a primitive want; and, as wants grew into desires, and desires increased, and became more luxurious and refined, its objects and its province extended; till from an enclosure of a few square yards, containing, as Horace Walpole has said, �a gooseberry bush and a cabbage,� such as may be seen before the door of a hut on the borders of a common, it has expanded to a park of several miles in circuit, its boundaries lost in forest scenery, � a palace bosomed in wood near its centre; � the intermediate space varied by artificial lakes or rivers, plantations, pleasure-grounds, lawns, flower-gardens, hot-houses, orchards, and kitchen-gardens:�producing for the table of the owner and his guests, the fruits, flowers, and culinary vegetables of every climate of the world! � displaying the finest verdant landscapes to invite him to exercise and recreation, by walking over velvet turf, or along smooth and firm gravel walks, sheltered, shady, or open, in near scenes; or gliding with horses and chariots through �rides� and �drives� �of various view� in distant ones. From such a variety of products and objects, and so extended a scene of operations, have arisen the different branches of gardening as an art; and from the general use of gardens, and of their products by all ranks, have originated their various kinds, and the different forms which this art has assumed as a trade or business of life. Gardening is practised for private use and enjoyment, in town, suburban, cottage, villa, and mansion gardens;�for public recreation, in umbrageous and verdant promenades, parks, and other places, in and near to large towns;�for public instruction, in botanic and experimental gardens;�for public example, in national or royal gardens; � for the purpose of commerce, in market, orchard, seed, physic, florists', and nursery gardens;� and for the purpose of ornamenting places of burial, in planted cemeteries. To aid in what relates to designing and laying out gardens, artists or professors have arisen; and the performance of the operative part is the only source of living of a numerous class of serving gardeners, who acquire their art by the regular routine of apprenticeship; by the study of botany; by the perusal of various works connected with the science of gardening, as well as works on the practice, of the art; and by labouring in gardens for some years as journeymen. The products of the kitchen-garden form important articles of human food for all ranks of society; and furnish the chief luxuries of the table for the rich, and a main support for the families of the poor. A garden, to a workman residing in the country, forms a deposit for his spare labour and that of his family, and is therefore a certain source of profit, as well as of pleasurable recreation. One of the first objects of a colonist, on arriving at a new settlement, is to plant a garden, as at once a proof of possession and a pledge of immediate enjoyment; and, indeed, the history of the civilisation of mankind bears evidence that there are few benefits which a cultivated people can bestow on savage tribes, greater than that of distributing among them the seeds of good fruits and culinary vegetables, and teaching them their culture. The pleasure attending the pursuit of gardening is conducive to the health both of the body and of the mind; and a taste for the enjoyment of gardens is so natural to man, as to be almost universal. Our first most endearing and most sacred associations, Mrs. Hofland observes, are connected with gardens; our most simple and most refined perceptions of beauty are combined with them; and the very condition of our being compels us to the cares, and rewards us with the pleasures attached to them. (White Knights.) Gardening has been the inclination of kings, and the choice of philosophers, Sir William Temple has observed; and the Prince de Ligne, after sixty years' experience, affirms, that the love of gardens is the only passion which augments with age:� �Je voudrois,� he says, �echauffer tout l'univers de mon gout pour les jardins. Il me semble qu'il est impossible qu'un mechant puisse l'avoir. Il n'est point de vertus que je ne suppose a celui qui aime a parler et a faire des jardins. Peres de famille, inspires la jardinomanie a vos enfans.� (Memoires et Lettres, tom. i.) That which makes the cares of gardening more necessary, or at least more excusable, Sir William Temple adds, is, that all men eat fruit who can get it: so that the choice is only, whether one w ll eat good or bad; and all things produced in a garden, whether of salads or fruits, a poor man will eat better who has a garden of his own, than a rich man who has none. To add to the value and extend the variety of garden productions, new plants have been introduced from every quarter of the globe; and the indigenous fruits and culinary vegetables have been improved by selection, and by various processes of culture. To diffuse instruction on the subjects of botany and gardening, numerous books have been written, societies have been established, and premiums held out for rewarding individual merit; and where professorships of rural economy exist, gardening may be said to form a part of public instruction. A varied and voluminous mass of knowledge has thus accumulated on the subject of gardening, which must be more or less necessary for every one to be acquainted with who would practise the art with success, or understand when it is well practised for him by others. To combine as far as practicable the whole of this knowledge, and to arrange it in a systematic form, adapted both for study and reference, is the object of the present work. The sources from which we have selected it, are principally the works of modern British authors of decided reputation and merit; sometimes recurring to ancient or continental authors, and occasionally, though rarely, to our own observation and experience; �observation in all the departments of gardening, chiefly in Britain, but partly also on the Continent; and experience during nearly forty years' practice as a landscape gardener and garden architect. With this purpose in view, Gardening is here considered, in Part I. As to its origin, progress, and present state- Book 1. Among the different nations of the world. Book 2. Under different political and geographical circumstances. Part II. As a science founded on, and aided by- Book 1. The study of the vegetable kingdom. Book 2. The study of the natural agents of vegetable growth and culture. Book 3. The study of the principles of landscape-gardening. Book 4. The study of entomology as applied to gardens Book 5. The study of book-keeping, &c. Part III. As an art adapted to the climate of Britain, comprehending a knowledge of- Book 1. The mechanical agents employed in gardening. Book 2. The operations of gardening. Book 3. The practice of horticulture. Book 4. The practice of floriculture. Book 5. The practice of arboriculture. Book 6. The practice of landscape-gardening. Part IV. Statistically in Britain - Book 1. As to its present state. Book2. As to its future progress. A kalendarial Index to those parts of the work which treat of culture and manage-merit, points out the operations as they are to be performed in the order of time and of the seasons; and a General Index affords references to every part of the work in alphabetical order, and is, in short, a comprehensive Dictionary of Gardening. As the gardening and the agriculture of every country depend essentially on the climate and the natural history of that country, we have inserted frequent references to those paragraphs, in the Encyclopᄉdia of Geography, which give descriptions of the physical geography and of the natural productions of different countries to which it would be useful for the readers of the Encyclopᄉdia of Gardening to refer: and as gardening and agriculture are intimately connected; and plants, which in some countries are cultivated in gardens, are, in others, grown in the fields; we have, when treating of countries or plants where this is the case, referred to those paragraphs in the Encyclopedia of Agri-culture which supply what is wanting in the Encyclopᄉdia of Gardening.