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.
In the arrangement of trees at the time of planting or thinning, two principles require to be respected: first, always to maintain a balance in the composition; and second, there should be form and variety in the groups themselves.
What is meant by maintaining a balance, may be thus explained; In a group, and especially a small one, the centre should appear the highest. A group of three (Fig. 1) is much more pleasing than if the lowest were placed in the centre, as in Fig. 2. Again, three trees of different heights, so as to appear like steps, one above another, forming a line, or nearly so, either at equal distances, or otherwise (Fig. 5), would be much less beautiful than if arranged as in Fig. 4. A group of five trees, or more, with one or two tall ones, placed near together, and pretty central, though some may have crooked stems, yet, if they rise perpendicularly, produce an agreeable and natural effect, as in Fig. 3. When two only are planted, they should be placed at least so close together as to intermingle their branches; but the best effect is produced when two are placed so near to each other as, to all appearance, to form but one tree, as in the Wych Elm (Fig. G) and in another example of the Beech, in a future figure.
No one can plant a group of trees of considerable size, even for immediate effect, without, in the first place, having a variety of heights disposed somewhat in an irregular way. Thick planting must be resorted to in many instances, or how shall the pendulous inclination of stems or branches be produced that gives a graceful outline to the scene? The distance asunder must be carefully considered, or the unison in producing effect will be lost. The most pendulous or inclining forms must be left for the exterior of the groups, and so forth.
While the painter was studying nature only, the gardener, in the infancy of what is now called landscape-gardening, busied himself in cutting and slashing vegetation into all the most whimsical regular figures his ingenuity could invent. Geometry, with its lines and rules, was his text-bookt while the artist seized upon nature in all her varied forms, and habits, and hnes, exhibiting her as she appeared on the mountain steep, or in the seclnded dell, by the reedy river-side, on the margin of the placid lake, or on the umbrageous hill.
Thus, at the same time, were painters and gardeners employed; each occupied e same objects; the one forming real, the other painted scenery, but with very different intentions; the first was enamored of "neglect and accident;" the other seriously annoyed if a single leaf projected from the smooth surface his shears had made. The love of fine pictures and gardening, however, kept pace with each other, as indeed they should and mnst do; at last, the style of the painter's landscape captivated the connoisseurs of taste; the admirable scenes presented on canvas, were extolled by those who had studied nature, though not painters themselves, because they were, while taking liberties with her, true copies in the main of real or combined scenes; when these were compared with the then existing most labored dispositions of the garden, the latter sunk in public estimation, and soon the cry was: " Why is not every gardener a painter?"
This impression was so strong after the new light broke in upon the minds of students, that Kent, a painter by profession, was induced to become a landscape gardener, though that professional title was not then invented. He had a difficult and unpleasant task, for he aimed at producing immediate effect on the lawn at Kew, as he used to do on his canvas; but he soon found this was impracticable, as he had to wait many years before he could possibly see the full results of his growing trees and shrubs. (To. be continued).