July 5th, 2012
Just a quick post to keep you guys busy while I try to finish some work that needs eh.. finalizing. And a request for information, to keep you extra occupied (and because I don’t have the time).
In the past two months I‘ve seen several instances of a garden feature I knew existed, but just never saw in real life before. It is the sudden narrowing of a garden walk, created by two trees planted fairly close to each other on either side of the path. This means the path itself narrows a little, although initially the squeezing effect may be limited. As the root base of the trees grows broader, the path gets narrower every year.
I wonder whether this practise is visible (or ever mentioned) in the works and writings of -for example- Miller, Whately, Walpole, Hirschfeld, Pückler, Repton, Loudon, etc.?
I first saw it in the garden of Sanssouci, near the Antikentempel in the Rehgarten. This part of the garden was altered by Peter Joseph Lenné [from 1836 onwards]. I do not have a photo -which is a pity, because it was the best one yet: the trees were planted quite close together, almost forming a gate and briefly turning the path into a single file passage, before resuming to its normal width.
The other examples I found closer to home. At Eyckenstein in Maartensdijk there is one in a part of the garden that might just be on the edge of the garden designed by L.A. Springer [in 1882-1883]. At Stania State in the north of the country, there is an example in the garden behind the house [1821, design by L.P. Roodbaard]. In the nearby garden of Vijversburg, created by the same architect, this feature is also used [ca. 1843].
The feature seems to be very 19th century. I know of no examples dating back to the 18th century. But it does have that playful weirdness about it that many early landscape style garden features have. And I like those a lot, so it would be great to know when this started.
If anyone knows or can point to a reference, please let me know in a comment. And more examples are more than welcome!
A question: when did landscape architects start planting two trees close together on either side of a garden path, so the casual visitor feels the path narrows considerably?