By in Writing

Garden Design

Another Article From The Public Domain

This one is about gardening and was published in 1892. The writing style is fairly ornate! Why not see how you would write it, to mean the same but in a more modern style.

Garden Design

A beautiful house in a fair landscape is the most delightful scene of the cultivated earth—all the more so if there be an artistic garden—the rarest thing to find! The union—a happy marriage it should be—between the house beautiful and the ground near it is worthy of more thought than it has had in the past, and the best ways of effecting that union artistically should interest men more and more as our cities grow larger and our lovely English landscape shrinks back from them. The views of old writers will help us little, for a wholly different state of things has arisen in these mechanical days. My own view is that we have never yet got from the garden, and, above all, the home landscape, half the beauty which we may get by abolishing the needless formality and geometry which disfigure so many gardens, both as regards plan and flower planting. Formality is often essential in the plan of a flower garden near a house— never as regards the arrangements of its flowers or shrubs. To array these in lines or rings or patterns can only be ugly wherever done!

That men have never yet generally enjoyed the beauty that good garden design may give is clear from the fact that the painter is driven from the garden! The artist dislikes the common garden with its formality and bedding; he cannot help hating it! In a country place he will seek anything but the garden, but may, perhaps, be found near a wild Rose tossing over the pigsty. This dislike is natural and right, as from most flower gardens the possibility of any beautiful result is shut out! Yet the beautiful garden exists, and there are numbers of cottage gardens in Surrey or Kent that are as "paintable" as any bit of pure landscape!

Why is the cottage garden often a picture, and the gentleman's garden near, wholly shut out of the realm of art, a thing which an artist cannot look at long? It is the absence of pretentious "plan" in the cottage garden which lets the flowers tell their tale direct; the simple walks going where they are wanted; flowers not set in patterns; the walls and porch alive with flowers. Can the gentleman's garden then, too, be a picture? Certainly; the greater the breadth and means the better the picture should be. But never if our formal "decorative" style of design is kept to. Reform must come by letting Nature take her just place in the garden.

How Would You Rewrite It?


Picture Title: Rhianva. Terraced garden, but with picturesque planting and flower gardening

Image Credit »

You will need an account to comment - feel free to register or login.


VinceSummers wrote on February 24, 2020, 6:32 PM

I love the writing style. Of course, I am old. I would never make changes in this. However, if I were writing on the topic, I'd have done so differently. So I'll give it a makeover soon.

MegL wrote on February 25, 2020, 2:53 AM

Yes, I am old too and can read this with no problem, however, we may have been brought up with books and be used to reading a lot, whereas younger people may have had less reading and more TV.

VinceSummers wrote on February 25, 2020, 8:13 AM

You see, that's the rub... It's not that modern writing is superior, or that the world has finally escaped from the "old fogeys". It's that the world has lost focus, patience and scholarship due to the distractions so prominent in the so-called modern world.

Last Edited: February 25, 2020, 8:41 AM

VinceSummers wrote on February 25, 2020, 12:40 PM

Re-examining this abstract, I'm not certain it does not reflect the writer's opinion as much as anything. In fact, all of it could be summed up in a small paragraph, in my mind.

A garden is most artistic if nature, and not just the human spirit, is allowed to play its part. For the human spirit to dictate strict geometrical lines can do nothing but destroy the natural, glorious beauty of a garden, a garden even the artist would be proud to paint.

MegL wrote on February 25, 2020, 2:07 PM

Yes, I think you are right. An awful lot of old writing is just "fluff".

VinceSummers wrote on February 25, 2020, 6:59 PM

Dickens got paid by the word, hence the length of his works.

MegL wrote on February 26, 2020, 5:13 AM

Yes. He added in loads of descriptions of countryside, etc., that did not advance the story. I used to skip those sections in his books.

VinceSummers wrote on February 26, 2020, 7:40 AM

I toughed 'em out. There was even one book in which the actions goes to the U.S., and that was extreme, believe m!