This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
To strike out the seemingly rude and simple outlines of an arrangement for a villa residence, with its various accessories, requires a reflective mind, alike conversant with the forms of nature and principles of art. It is a subject, the details of which admit the exercise of the purest taste, and cannot be confined to the formality of mechanical rules. The only rules that can be adhered to, are those of elementary principles. The leading features to be constantly kept in view, are utility, appropriateness, and expression of purpose. The vegetable garden, stable, etc, should be of ready access from the house; walks should lead as directly and easily from point to point as circumstances will allow. Gentle curves in walks are always pleasing where appropriate; but if a straight line is seemingly more convenient, do not attempt a curve. Many minor details have to be secured, and their suitable introduction, forms in the aggregate an important consideration in the ultimate and matured plan, although individually they may appear neither interesting nor of much consequence. I have remarked that no mechanical rules can guide matters of taste. Numerous,circumstances in each individual case will confirm this assertion. No person of cultivated taste can, or will, adhere to rigid rules.
All our essays on rural taste and landscape gardening seem' to be deficient in general practical details, while at the same time they do not enter sufficiently into elementary principles.
In a recent number, I questioned " Whether more real progress would not follow from the promulgation of principles only, than in the enunciation of practical rules." In matters of taste this admits of no question, and those who would wish to qualify themselves as critics or advisers should carefully study such works as " Knight on Taste," "Price on the Picturesque," "Allison's Essays on Taste," "Wilson Flagg's Studies on the Field and Forest," "Addison' Pleasures of the Imagination," "Ruskin's" Works, especially his recent letters on the ** Elements of Drawing," " Burke's Essays on the Sublime and Beautiful," the latter more for its reasonings than its deductions, and "Kame's Elements of Criticism".
Several years ago, the late J. C. Loudon proposed to re-publish the writings of all the best early English authors on landscape gardening, and procured the copyright of Mr. Repton's works, and re-published them in one volume. With the others he made some progress, but his great work, the "Arboretum," involved him so deeply that he never commenced the re-publication of the older, and, in many respects, the better authors.
These old works are very scarce, and are procured with difficulty at high prices. An enterprising American publisher, who would carry out Mr. Loudon's idea respecting them, would do much more towards forming a correct taste in gardening than all the milk and water treatises (compilations ?) that have appeared in this country.
Mr. Saunders truly says, " All our essays on rural taste and landscape gardening seem to be deficient in general practical details, while at the same time they do not enter sufficiently into elementary principles".
Mr. Edward Kemp, of Birkenhead Park, has lately brought out a new and much enlarged edition of his little book on " How to lay out a Garden," illustrated with more than two hundred engravings, which can be procured at the office of The Horticulturist. This work contains more practical knowledge on the art of gardening than any other book with which I am acquainted. To Mr. Kemp are chiefly due the many fine features and charming effects produced in Birkenhead Park, originally a very unpromising piece of land, but now the finest park of its kind in the world.