The Garden Guide

Book: Observations on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening, 1803
Chapter: Preface, Containing some observations on taste

Amateurish landscape gardeners

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IN every other polite Art, there are certain established rules or general principles, to which the professor may appeal in support of his opinions; but in Landscape Gardening every one delivers his sentiments, or displays his taste, as whim or caprice may dictate, without having studied the subject, or even thought it capable of being reduced to any fixed rules. Hence it has been doubted, whether each proprietor of his own estate, may not be the most proper person to plan its improvement. Had the art still continued under the direction of working gardeners, or nurserymen, the proprietor might supersede the necessity of such landscape gardeners, provided he had previously made this art his study; but not, (as it is frequently asserted) because the gentleman who constantly resides at his place, must be a better judge of the means of improving it, than the professor whose visits are only occasional: for if this reason for a preference were granted, we might with equal truth assert, that the constant companion of a sick man has an advantage over his physician.