The Garden Guide

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

Small and large places

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So difficult is the task of giving general satisfaction, that I am aware I shall cause offence to some by mentioning their places; to others, by not mentioning them: to some, by having said too much; to others, by having said too little. Yet to establish principles from experience, and theory from practice, it was necessary to quote examples; I have therefore prefixed a list of those places only to which I refer in the course of the work. It will, perhaps, be observed, that some of these places are of great extent and importance, whilst others are so inconsiderable that they might have been omitted. But to the proprietor his own place is always important; and to the professor a small place may serve to illustrate the principles of his art; and his whole attention and abilities should be exerted, whether he is to build a palace or a cottage, to improve a forest or a single field. Well knowing that every situation has its facilities and its difficulties, I have never considered how many acres I was called upon to improve, but how much I could improve the subject before me, and have occasionally experienced more pleasure and more difficulties in a small flower-garden, than amidst the wildest scenery of rocks and mountains.