Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Landscape Gardening The Aims Of Landscape Gardening Part I


THE purpose of this series of articles is to help make our country more beautiful. “ Our country ” refers especially to the United States, although in preparing the text the author has also had in mind all those parts of Canada in which climatic conditions, general appearance, and habits of thought are similar to our own, and he further acknowledges a sympathy with Thomas Paine’s statement, “ The world is my country.” One’s country includes all individual homes and the thoroughfares that make them accessible, all public grounds such as city squares, school and church yards, parks, cemeteries, railroad rights of way, golf courses, national monuments, parks and forests, all streams and lakes, all shores and all land upon which one may walk without feeling that he is trespassing. It includes the atmosphere, with its rain and sunshine, its fogs and clouds, its hail and snow, its storms and calms. It comprises night and day and all the seasons. It includes the rocks, and all material and living things within its boundaries.
Why seek to make the country beautiful? To many persons this question and its answer may seem unnecessary; the love of the beautiful is so nearly universal. To say that anything looks well usually secures its adoption or approval. Still, there are some persons who seem to be indifferent to appearances, and for them a few thoughts may be helpful.
Nature, from the greatest snow-covered mountains and broadest seas to the tiniest pollen-grain or smallest of spores, is beautiful and perfect. Happiness comes in largest measure to those who live in closest harmony with nature. It has been said that beauty pays, and this is undoubtedly true. A farm that looks well, other conditions being equal, will sell for more than one that appears bare and ugly or slovenly. A beautiful horse or cow, or an attractive dish or tool, will bring the highest price. But if one thinks of dollars and cents only, one does not get the full meaning of the word “pays.” Beauty pays by giving pleasure to those who see it. One can help to make one’s country more beautiful by making its home grounds, its road-
sides, its river banks, its parks, intrinsically better in appearance and by opening the eyes of those who fail to see such beauty as already exists.
The art that accomplishes this has usually been called landscape-gardening, and is the youngest of the arts. It was given a special impetus in the latter part of the eighteenth and the first part of the nineteenth centuries. To be sure, beautiful gardens and landscapes have existed since the time of the Garden of Eden, but the desire to create beautiful scenery and to treat its creation in a professional way first appeared in Europe at a comparatively recent date. It was the result of the effort to improve and organize the landscape. Repton, in the introduction to his “Sketches and Hints on Landscape Gardening,” published in 1795, said,
“I have adopted the term Landscape Gardening, as most proper, because the art can only be advanced and perfected by the united powers of the landscape painter and the practical gardener.” The powers of the practical gardener are such as are common in all agricultural pursuits, and presuppose some knowledge of soils, fertilizers, tillage, planting, spraying, and the care of plants in general. The power of the landscape painter as applied to pictures formed by real objects, to the creation of landscapes, to the study, appreciation, and development of beautiful scenery is the distinguishing feature of the art now under consideration. What power has the landscape painter? He depicts scenery upon canvas. One looks at his productions and realizes the warmth of spring sunshine in a valley,
the majesty of a mountain, the force of the ocean, the beauty of the pink glow of evening on the snow, the charm of woods, running streams, water margins, and open glades. One almost feels the wind, the warmth of a summer evening, the cool atmosphere
of the morning, the dampness of a rainy day, or the cold but delightful beauty of winter. How does the painter get this power? He learns how to draw and how to use pencils, charcoal, crayons, water-colors, oils, and pigments in the schools, but his chief inspiration, the source of his real power, comes from the out-of-doors. He looks abroad over the land, his range of vision stretching away on nearly horizontal lines to distant points. His canvas rests upon the easel in a nearly vertical position so that he can glance easily from the object he is depicting to the representation of that object

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