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Ornamental Planting for Parks and Public Grounds (Classic Reprint)

Ornamental Planting for Parks and Public Grounds (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from Ornamental Planting for Parks and Public Grounds

In a word, to shut off from those within the park a view of such features of a town-like character, as absolutely define the limits of a park and take away the deceptive and pleasing effect of its uncertain area.

The fundamental elements of any large park aro not its roads, walks, bridges, buildings, and other accessory features requisite for the public accommodation in the use of the grounds. These may rather be classed as necessary evils. The essential element is the landscape, its surface undulations of hill and dale, or lawn; its trees, shrubs, single or in mass, in grove or copse; its deep woods or open glades, and its broad stretches of greensward or water. All of these elements in their endless combinations are constantly modified by the varying conditions of the point of view, the atmosphere, and the seasons. The true ideal of park recreation, to persons worn by the harassing turmoil of city life, is the refreshing enjoyment of all that may be seen and felt amid the placid manifestations of nature embodied in the landscape.

There is nothing really different in the general theory of landscape gardening as applied to the ornamentation of parks from that theory as applied to ordinary grounds. The apparent difference lies in the special application to some particular individual undertaking.

In actual practice one park must be treated differently from other parks, this difference of treatment being dictated by the situation, surroundings, and topography. No general plan can be outlined that would suit the demands of every locality. The general idea and keynote, however, to most successful examples of park construction in this country (and there are no better examples abroad) is the simple and natural effects, or meadowlike stretches of lawn, circumscribed or bounded by ornamental plantations properly distributed and massed. The main repose and highest enjoyment of parks reside chiefly in these spots.

The sense of quiet repose ministered to by a large lawn surface is not satisfied by picturesque ground, however vigorously it may be planted, and as the need for quiet repose in this workaday world is more constant than the need for vigorous stimulus, a lack of pastoral, meadow-like stretches of lawn in a large public park will always be felt by the habitual visitor to be a serious disadvantage.

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