This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V18", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Some of our larger cities are now turning their attention to the forming of botanic gardens, for the amusement and instruction of the people. There is no reason why these gardens may not be artistic as well as botanically useful, and we take pleasure in introducing to our readers the following from the Garden, with which we entirely agree:
"There is a phrase in last week's Nature which well illustrates the ideas of a certain school of botanists as to design in botanical gardens. The writer, speaking of the proposed changes in the Oxford Botanic Gardens, deprecates ' transforming a botanic garden into a pleasure ground, in which the needs of study must once more be subordinated to artistic effect.' With reference to the words in italics, as well might it be said to young artists, ' It is wrong to learn painting under the influence of a noble gallery of pictures!' If anything is wrong and foolish, it is the suggestion that botanical study cannot be pursued in a garden artistically beautiful. The greater the natural beauty in a garden the more likely is the student to become a lover of plants and a good botanist. Who, for example, would not rather study plants on Mr. Backhouse's beautiful rock-garden than on many ugly excrescences that we need not name in public gardens? Is not the study of trees more attractive as they stand in groups round a glade in a beautiful park than in some narrow old botanic garden where their naturally stately forms are crammed into narrow beds, as in many old-fashioned botanic gardens? Are the plants in Glasnevin, which is, in parts, a picturesque and beautiful garden, any the less interesting or attractive than in the old Chelsea Garden, which consists of a series of squares, and beds, and walks? Surely the herbarium and not the garden is the place for packing plants closely together in a 'systematic' manner."