From his writings may be derived a certain knowledge of his convictions upon various points, which are not only interesting, but go to show in what direction his influence must have been exerted. He evidently was satisfied with Humboldt's explanation given in his "Cosmos" of the cause of the two different styles of gardening — a fundamental racial difference between the people of Northern and Southern Europe. So Downing adopted the broad minded attitude that since America had drawn her people from both sections of that continent, both styles of gardening were permissible depending upon the fundamental feeling of the owner of the garden.
DeWint, a grandniece of President John Quincy Adams.For the next 14 years Downing improved his knowledge of horticulture by study and long, observant walks in the nearby hills.
Books by Andrew Jackson Downing
In the year 1849 Mr. Downing finally resolved to devote his entire energies to architecture and building and with this in view he visited Europe in the summer of 1850 after publishing "The Architecture of Country Houses, including Designs for Cottages, Farmhouses and Villas." This trip was full of rich experience and practical value, as he visited the great English country-seats, where he was an honored guest, saw boundless parks, cultivated landscape and spacious villas, and with these met the best of English society which to him was the ideal of perfect human intercourse.
Downing, Andrew Jackson (1815-1852) - Notice …
Downing advises those who are choosing land for country places to secure trees or woods already grown to good size, because, he writes;"the most important feature of all country places — trees"; and, "A country place without trees, is like a caliph without a beard; in other words, it is not a country place" — And to quote again: "By the judicious employment of trees in the embellishment of a country residence, we may effect the greatest alterations and improvements within the scope of Landscape Gardening." and then Downing gives page after page of detailed advice, illumined by sketches, on the ways of handling the planting, as regards its arrangement and grouping, its character of foliage and the mixtures to be selected, nearly all of which is interesting reading and valuable instruction to the planter of today. That his dissertation "On Wood and Plantations" appeals so strongly to us today is proof that Downing's ideas were founded on true principles and there is withal, a practical common sense in what he writes, which makes his observations carry weight.
Gardening History Timeline: 1800 - 1899
In the matter of the arrangement and character of the planting Downing recognized two distinct expressions to be sought, either the beautiful or the picturesque.
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Downing laid down the principle that to make a country place a success, it was essential to make a distinct separation between the living or "ornamental portion of the place," as he calls it and the service portion. This distinction, he held, should be made in the plan of the house first and then should extend directly to the grounds. The kitchen offices should look onto the service side of the house and in this direction should be located the stable, barns, kitchen garden and other utilitarian parts. Then he advised separating this service part from the ornamental or living part by "belts or plantations of trees and shrubbery."