The Garden Guide

Book: Landscape Gardening and Landscape Architecture, edited by John Claudius Loudon (J.C.L )
Chapter: Introduction by J.C. Loudon

Editorial Note 1

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Our first idea was to amalgamate the contents of the proposed five volumes into one general treatise; but a little reflection convinced us that the different schools would not be so distinctly marked by this mode of proceeding, and that the result would have a tendency to present only one system of laying out grounds to the young gardener, instead of several. There is a beautiful unity of system and manner of thinking in most of the works which we intend to reprint, which would have been, in a great measure, destroyed, by breaking them up into fragments, and scattering these under the different heads, which must necessarily have been done in forming a general treatise. The great advantage of treating of the different schools separately, and so as strongly to impress each on the mind of the young gardener, is, that he will thereby acquire a knowledge how to effect the same object according to different systems; and hence, in practice, he will be able either to adopt the style or school best calculated for the situation, climate, and circumstances in which he is placed, or to adopt and combine such parts of different styles and schools as may best attain the object in view in the given locality. This we consider to be the most effectual mode of preventing mannerism, or the adoption of one style, school, or system, as better than all the others, and employing it indiscriminately in every situation, though under widely different circumstances. This last mode was always adopted in the time of Kent and Brown; and hence that sameness which characterizes the artificial features of all the places laid out by those artists. The only safeguard against the continuance of this system, especially among gardeners, is the dissemination of a knowledge of different styles and schools; by which the idea that any one of them is better than another will be neutralized, and the true art of laying out grounds shewn to consist in the choice and application of a school, or of parts of different schools, adapted to the particular case under consideration. Art and Nature would thus be more harmoniously combined, and country residences produced of a more distinctive and interesting character.