The Garden Guide

Book: The Principles of Landscape Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 4: Private and Public Landscape Gardens

The ferme ornee, or villa farm

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1578. The ferme ornee, or villa farm, consists of a villa residence, with farm offices joined to the house, and with the ground laid out with a view to utility as well as beauty. Instead of deer, sheep may graze the park on the garden front, separated from the house by an architectural barrier, or, in some situations, by a platform of gravel, and walks and knots of flowers. A glacis of turf, with a light fence below the slope, will be sufficient protection from sheep or cattle, and yet will not impede the view of the lawn from the windows. The entrance front may be approached through grass fields, not separated by common hedges, but by picturesque fences in the modern, and double hedges and slips of planting in the geometric style. All the other constituent parts of a villa, such as plant-houses, gardens, orchards, pleasure-grounds, &c., may be added or not to a ferme ornee, according to the taste or means of its proprietor. Sometimes ornamental grounds are added to a common farm-house; and when this is the case the fanner's garden should not be placed adjoining the rick-yard, on account of the straw liable to be blown into it; and it should be well enclosed, to exclude poultry, pigs, and other domestic animals. Supposing the farm buildings to occupy three sides of a square, the farm-house to be placed in the middle of the south side, and the rick-yard to be placed beyond the north side; then the kitchen-garden may be placed adjoining the east or west side of the square; the grass-orchard, which may also be the drying-ground, and area for rearing young poultry, on the opposite and corresponding side; and a small flower-garden may serve as an entrance-court to the farm-house. But in the case of farmeries on a larger scale, where the house is detached from the farm yard, the three gardens should be united by a small portion of lawn, and a pond, so as to form about an acre (more or less, according to circumstances) of garden and pleasure-ground round the house. The part destined for the growth of culinary vegetables should be laid out in right-lined plots and borders; the orchard trees planted in rows or quincunx; and the flowers and flowering shrubs arranged in groups or in beds on turf. The most useful and prolific fruit trees should be chosen; including some plants of hops, and one or two walnut or chestnut trees in the exposed side of the orchard, if the climate is such as will ripen their fruits. No class of men have it in their power to form and cultivate a garden at less expense than farmers; but, unfortunately, few farmers have a taste for the subject; perhaps, because gardening is not sufficiently contrasted to agriculture, to afford the farmer that sort of relief sought for in recreative and pleasurable pursuits.