The Native Landscape Reader

The Native Landscape Reader

Edited by Robert E. Grese
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt5vkb90
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    The Native Landscape Reader
    Book Description:

    In this volume Robert E. Grese gathers together writings on naturebased landscape design and conservation by some of the country’s most significant practitioners, horticulturalists, botanists, and conservationists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Written with a strong conservation ethic, these essays often originally appeared in obscure, shortlived publications and are difficult to locate today, comprising a rich but hidden literature. Over many years of pioneering research into the work of Jens Jensen, O. C. Simonds, and other early landscape architects who advocated for the use of native plants and conservation, Grese encountered and began collecting these pieces. With this volume, he offers readers his trove. Purposely avoiding literature that is widely available, Grese shares as well his experience of discovery. His introduction provides perspective on the context of these writings and the principles they espouse, and his conclusion illuminates their relevance today with the emerging emphasis on sustainable design. This collection will appeal to general readers interested in the issues of sustainability, horticulture and gardening, and landscape design and preservation, as well as to historians, practitioners, and specialists. Published in association with Library of American Landscape History: http://lalh.org/

    eISBN: 978-1-61376-184-7
    Subjects: Botany & Plant Sciences, Architecture and Architectural History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Series Editorʹs Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Daniel J. Nadenicek
  4. Preface
    (pp. xiii-2)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 3-22)

    Growing concerns about the depletion of resources and global climate change have propelled many people, from landscape architects to professional stewards to home gardeners, to reexamine how we design and manage the land. From backyards to national parks, many have clamored for more “naturalness,” a reconnection with our environment, which could guide us in both the aesthetic and the ecological realms. Although some people believe that longing for naturalness is relatively new, perhaps originally spurred by Earth Day in 1970, there is in fact a rich history of thought about the native landscape and the design and management of American...

  6. PART I: APPRECIATION OF NATURE
    • [PART I: Introduction]
      (pp. 23-26)

      The authors in this section explore various ways of appreciating the native landscape at different scales, ranging from measured critiques of landscape scenery to fascination with an individual tree. Together, these essays demonstrate an evolving recognition of the native landscape as a source of national pride, as critical to scientific and artistic endeavors, and as essential to our own daily personal health and well-being. The attitudes promoted by the authors here helped to lay the groundwork for many of the conservation efforts undertaken in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as well as for our awareness today of humans’...

    • “Essay on American Scenery” (1835)
      (pp. 27-36)
      THOMAS COLE

      It is a subject that to every American ought to be of surpassing interest; for, whether he beholds the Hudson mingling waters with the Atlantic—explores the central wilds of this vast continent, or stands on the margin of the distant Oregon, he is still in the midst of American scenery—it is his own land; its beauty, its magnificence, its sublimity—all are his; and how undeserving of such a birthright, if he can turn towards it an unobserving eye, an unaffected heart!

      Before entering into the proposed subject, in which I shall treat more particularly of the scenery...

    • “In the Company of Trees” (1892)
      (pp. 37-39)
      DANSKE DANDRIDGE

      If one wishes to be taken into the intimate confidence of a great tree, and to get the full enjoyment of its strength and beauty, he should lie upon his back on the greensward beneath it, cross his arms under his head by way of pillow, and let the eye climb slowly up the mighty trunk from root to topmost limb. Thus have I lain beneath an ancient White Oak; thus watched the infinitely varied play of light and shade through the dense foliage; thus noted the delicate tracery of the leaves against the blue of the sky, and learned...

    • “The Love of Nature” (1892)
      (pp. 40-43)
      CHARLES SPRAGUE SARGENT and WILLIAM AUGUSTUS STILES

      One of the noticeable characteristics of this century is a growing love of natural scenery, but it may be questioned whether the love of nature is also growing, for a distinction must be made between the two. The first is a simple emotion—an instinct rather than a faculty—and, like all primitive instincts, it lies at the very foundation of being, having its roots somewhere in that mysterious region below consciousness. Perhaps it is stronger among the savage than it is among the civilized races of the world, but it is yet the birthright of every healthy child.

      The...

    • “Appreciation of Natural Beauty” (1898)
      (pp. 44-47)
      OSSIAN COLE SIMONDS

      If people could realize and enjoy the beauty around them, they would be happier and better, and the earth would gradually improve in appearance. They would see with pleasure the brightening tints of the willows and dogwoods that come with the first warm days of March, the tinge of brown caused by thousands of blossoms which a little later show in the distance, the graceful shape of the elm, then the reds and yellows that mark the place of the maples, and the varying shades of green as every gain in warmth and sunlight pushes out the young leaves from...

    • “Influence of Parks on the Character of Children” (1898)
      (pp. 48-50)
      HORACE WILLIAM SHALER CLEVELAND

      The following paper was read by Mr. C. M. Loring, of Minneapolis, who gave the following interesting incidents in Mr. Cleveland’s Life:

      Eighty-six years ago a child was born in the old town of Salem, Mass. This child was reared under the grand old trees of that city until his twentieth year, when he started out on a mission to make beautiful everything he touched. He was one of the very first of the “park gardeners,” as he called himself, that we had in this country. He was associated with Copeland, one of the first writers on horticulture and floriculture....

    • The Outlook to Nature (1911)
      (pp. 51-66)
      LIBERTY HYDE BAILEY

      I sat at the window of a hotel chamber, musing at the panorama that comes and goes in a thousand cities. There were human beings pouring in and out, up and down, as if moved by some restless and relentless machinery. Most of them were silent and serious and went quickly on. Some sauntered, and returned again and again as if looking for something that they did not expect to find. Carriages went up and down in endless pageant. Trolley-cars rushed by, clanging and grinding as they headlonged into the side streets. Meretricious automobiles with gorgon-eyed drivers whirred into the...

    • “The Value of Natural Areas to Literature and Art” (1926)
      (pp. 67-69)
      SELDEN LINCOLN WHITCOMB

      Some few early American poets wrote of the skylark and the nightingale. They followed the easy path of inherited literary tradition, and did not seem to realize the wealth of new natural material at their very doors. Other poets, however, very soon discovered the poetic values of the whippoorwill, the passenger pigeon, and the ruby-throated humming-bird. Freneau, poet of the American Revolution, has a well known poem on the honeysuckle. A little later Bryant’s poem on the yellow violet almost marks an epoch in the poetic treatment of American flowers. Alexander Wilson may be considered, in a sense, as the...

    • “The Value of Natural Preserves to the Landscape Architect” (1926)
      (pp. 70-72)
      STANLEY WHITE

      Inasmuch as one of the chief interests of landscape architecture is the preservation of beautiful landscapes, nothing can be more evident than the importance to the profession and to those deriving benefits from its works of this movement to save various natural regions from possible injury or destruction. Landscape architects have always maintained a keen interest in such movements: as private practitioners in urging the development of organizations interested in natural preserves, and through their national professional society in formally supporting the movements in defence of our great national reservations against improper exploitation.

      Frederick Law Olmsted, in speaking of our...

    • “The Value to Silviculture of Reserved Areas of Natural Forest Types” (1926)
      (pp. 73-75)
      WILLIAM WILLARD ASHE

      The setting aside of vestigial units of the various forest types has three important objects in view: First, to supply the means for studying the laws which control the distribution of different species of trees. Second, to ascertain the factors which determine forest types. Third, to note the changes in such types induced by the artificial conditions which result from exploitation and silvicultural practice.

      The practical silviculturist is principally concerned with the last named of these objects. It is his function to modify natural conditions, often to a profound degree, in the interest of increased yields of commercially desirable species....

    • “The Value of Aquatic Preserves to Fisheries” (1926)
      (pp. 76-77)
      ARTHUR SPERRY PEARSE

      There are few “natural” environments for freshwater fishes in the United States. Artificially stocked streams, lakes, and ponds seldom produce such desirable fishes as are found in localities where the wilderness has not been disturbed by man. Great natural preserves like the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River should be kept as near their original condition as possible.

      In general the larger a fish preserve is, the better. It is highly desirable to keep the environmental complexes furnished by great rivers and lakes as complete as possible. Variety of habitats is necessary because many species do not carry on their...

    • “The Importance to Geography of the Preservation of Natural Areas” (1926)
      (pp. 78-79)
      STEPHEN SARGENT VISHER

      At least four of Geography’s several subdivisions will be aided by the preservation of natural areas. These are (1) Descriptive Geography, (2) Historical Geography, (3) Ecological Geography, and (4) Economic Geography.

      Descriptive geography is concerned not alone with describing relief features and the cultural additions. It considers likewise the vegetation and the characteristic animals. Preserved areas, where natural conditions can be studied readily facilitate good geographic descriptions intwo ways. First they afford examples of natural conditions. Only after type areas have been studied can a really good description of a region be written. Second, the setting aside of definite...

    • “The Importance of Natural Areas to Biology and Agriculture” (1926)
      (pp. 80-82)
      VICTOR E. SHELFORD

      Some biological subjects are of course only remotely related to habitat questions; others can hardly proceed to certain conclusions without reference to habitat relations. An adequate interpretation of evolutionary relations can hardly be made without knowledge of environment. This is true even if natural selection operating on characters which arise from internal causes, is assumed to be the only cause of the origin of new forms. The geneticists have rarely separated environmental effects from purely hereditary phenomena. It is safe to assume that a considerable part of the phenomena described as hereditary is some form of environmental effect. The results...

  7. PART II: OUR AMERICAN FLORA
    • “The Neglected American Plants” (1851)
      (pp. 85-87)
      ANDREW JACKSON DOWNING

      It is an old and familiar saying that a prophet is not without honor except in his own country, and as we were making our way this spring through a dense forest in the State of New Jersey, we were tempted to apply this saying to things as well as people. How many grand and stately trees there are in our woodlands that are never heeded by the arboriculturist in planting his lawns and pleasure grounds; how many rich and beautiful shrubs that might embellish our walks and add variety to our shrubberies that are left to wave on the...

    • “American Trees for America” (1897)
      (pp. 88-90)
      CHARLES SPRAGUE SARGENT and WILLIAM AUGUSTUS STILES

      Looking at the matter broadly, comparatively little, in northern countries at least, has been accomplished toward beautifying the earth’s surface by transferring trees from one region to another, although a great deal of time, energy and money has been expended during the last two hundred years in the attempt to do it. It has given to Europe from America the Locust, the great southern Magnolia, the Negundo, the White Pine, several California conifers, the Arbor Vitae, one or two Thorns, and the Staghorn Sumach, as truly permanent and valuable additions to the native silva; China has really enriched Europe, as...

    • “Native Plants for Florida Gardens” (1894)
      (pp. 91-93)
      HENRY NEHRLING

      The hummock woods and swamps of Florida are rich in ornamental trees and shrubs, and the sandy Pinelands and flatwoods are rich in perennial and herbaceous plants. The beauty of the evergreen leaves and large flowers of the Magnolias, the delicious perfume of the Carolina Jessamine, the penetrating odor of the Spider Lily, all growing in the rich black soil on the edges of the lakes; the singular beauty of Holly,Icacorca paniculata, Myrsine floridanaand Cherry Laurel, the stateliness of the Loblolly Bay, the grandeur of the Live Oaks, the tropical picturesqueness of the Palmettos, always bring delight to...

    • “The Wild Gardens of the Sierra” (1896)
      (pp. 94-96)
      CHARLES H. SHINN

      Our California Sierra is five hundred miles long and seventy miles wide. The elevation is from 6,000 to nearly 15,000 feet. No great mountain range is more easy of access or better adapted to outdoor life. John Muir calls it not the Snowy Range, but the Range of Light, so marvelous are its sunbursts of morning, its clear noonday radiance from glacier-polished rocks and gleaming snows, its golden rivers of sunset, its alpine moonlights and starlights, its glories of blossoms of every hue, but chiefly white, blue, scarlet, golden, and all sorts of clear, vivid colors.

      Wonderful are the peaceful...

    • “Prairie Woodlands” (1894)
      (pp. 97-98)
      E. J. HILL

      When pioneers began to settle in our primeval forests, the natural impulse to plot in right lines led to the clearing of rectangular spaces, so that the surviving pieces of woodland are mostly bounded by straight lines. Time has, however, modified and beautified the abrupt and naked forest-borders that skirted the newly cleared fields. The taller trees along the margins have been overturned by the wind, lower ones have grown up with rounded tops and limbs which spread out to reach more light; an undergrowth of shrubs and herbs has sprung up by the enclosing fences, so that an unbroken...

    • “The American Hawthorns” (1892)
      (pp. 99-102)
      CHARLES SPRAGUE SARGENT and WILLIAM AUGUSTUS STILES

      Our American forests are rich in Hawthorns, nearly one-third of the forty species which are now known being found within the territory of the United States. They are scattered from Newfoundland to Vancouver Island and to Florida and Texas, and every state and territory, with the exception of Arizona, contains its representative of the genus. They are more common, however, in the east than in the west, and in the number of species and individuals the south is richer than the north. They abound in the country between the Red River and the Trinity, which must be considered the head-quarters...

    • “I Like Our Prairie Landscape” (1920)
      (pp. 103-106)
      JENS JENSEN

      My first impression of the prairie country was of its richness in flowers. It was one grand carpet of exquisite colors such as is fit for a Forest Cathedral, and such as nature only knows how to weave. Some of the color expressions were as dramatic as the afterglow of the setting sun. And above this carpet, like a flare of trumpets, rose the hawthorn and the western crabapple—the hawthorn garlanded with myriads of white roses, and the crabapple painting the edge of the prairie with its delicate virgin pink. Only on a flat, level plain is it possible...

  8. PART III: THE NATIVE LANDSCAPE AS A SOURCE OF INSPIRATION
    • [PART III: Introduction]
      (pp. 107-108)

      Reconciling landscape design with the forms and patterns of nature is clearly one of the central challenges of creating “native gardens.” The essays in this section reveal how various designers drew inspiration from the native landscape. Their approaches range from a general study of nature for its aesthetics to the structured analysis of ecological conditions and patterns that might be applied to design situations.

      The first article is also the earliest, published by Andrew Jackson Downing in 1851. Speaking to an audience who believed there to be a strong separation between nature and garden, Downing argues the value of native...

    • “A Few Hints on Landscape Gardening” (1851)
      (pp. 109-111)
      ANDREW JACKSON DOWNING

      November is, above all others, the tree-planting month over the wide Union. Accordingly, everyone who has a rood of land looks about him at this season to see what can be done to improve and embellish it. Some have bought new places where they have to build and create everything in the way of home scenery, and they, of course, will have their heads full of shade trees and fruit trees, ornamental shrubs and evergreens, lawns and walks, and will tax their imagination to the utmost to see in the future all the varied beauty which they mean to work...

    • “Landscape Art—An Inspiration from the Western Plains” (1906)
      (pp. 112-114)
      JENS JENSEN

      Broadly speaking this is the beginning of the American Renaissance, the constructive period in more than one art. From a western view it is pioneer life. The composer tries to form his composition from real life as he sees it on our plains. His material is more than interesting, but as his art is in the developing stage, false notes appear constantly to his mind; his compositions are subject to them. He, himself, is a part of the existing conglomeration. Pitched to the highest key, such real life of the West may at times fall into a chaos of uncertainty...

    • “The Prairie Spirit in Landscape Gardening (1916)
      (pp. 115-118)
      WILHELM MILLER

      The Middle West is evolving a new style of architecture, interior decoration, and landscape gardening, in an effort to create the perfect home amid the prairie states. This movement is founded on the fact that one of the greatest assets that any country or natural part of it can have, is a strong national or regional character, especially in the homes of the common people. Its westernism grows out of the most striking peculiarity of middle-western scenery, which is the prairie, i.e., flat or gently rolling land that was treeless when the white man came to southern Minnesota. On the...

    • “What Is Meant” and “The Native Landscape,” from The Natural Style in Landscape Gardening (1917)
      (pp. 119-129)
      FRANK A. WAUGH

      All the older men and women now living whose recollections of garden matters run back, say into the seventies, will remember the violent controversy then raging between the advocates of the formal garden on the one side and of the natural style on the other. Those were days of violent partisanship in all matters. In politics and religion people were habitually intolerant. In certain families it was held that to vote the democratic ticket was prima facie evidence of murder, arson, and embezzlement of funds. In other circles it was fully agreed that unless one were immersed into a particular...

    • “Thoughts on Planting Composition” (1929)
      (pp. 130-139)
      HAROLD A. CAPARN

      The frame of mind that is prone to classify things, that is, to group them in their proper relationship, is constructive and helpful so long as this is done to promote thought, but not if it is done to evade thought, to pigeonhole things that should not be pigeonholed, so that places for them can be settled without further consideration. If it is done to simplify a general subject by resolving it into its component parts in their due relation so that it may be viewed and better understood as a whole, the classification is plainly a good thing. It...

    • “A Juniper Landscape” (1931)
      (pp. 140-145)
      FRANK A. WAUGH

      Anyone with an eye for landscape beauty has sometime, perhaps frequently, been arrested by a hillside covered with old junipers. Such striking pictures are most abundant in the eastern seaboard states, from Maine to North Carolina, but they are also to be seen, with variations, in Michigan and the north-central states as far south as Tennessee. Altered to the famous juniper-pinyon association, they are also widely prevalent in New Mexico and Arizona. In brief, the juniper landscape is an unusually familiar one, as it is always arresting and often beautiful.

      The critical analysis of such a landscape type always presents...

    • “Natural Plant Groups” (1931)
      (pp. 146-150)
      FRANK A. WAUGH

      If we will look about on an open hillside or upland pasture until we find an undisturbed group of sumac (Rhus typhina, R. glabra, or R. copallina), we shall be able to make some interesting observations. A few measurements will show the group to have approximately the form shown in Diagram A; i.e., the plan will be generally circular, anywhere from ten to a hundred feet in diameter, and a central cross section will be a segment of an oval. This form is capable of easy biological interpretation: it is a clonal group starting from a seedling plant at the...

    • “Nature as the Great Teacher in Landscape Gardening” (1932)
      (pp. 151-156)
      OSSIAN COLE SIMONDS

      There is a saying which you have no doubt read or heard many times and yet you may not have taken it to heart and made it a part of your lives as you should. It is often applied to other arts as well as to landscape gardening, but seems especially adapted to the latter. It contains only five words which are: “Nature is the best teacher.” As I have grown older in years and experience, the importance of this saying has impressed me more and more until now the teaching of Nature seems almost to cover the whole subject...

    • “An Ecological Approach” (1933)
      (pp. 157-162)
      ELSA REHMANN

      Plant ecology is a comparatively new science. It had its origin at the turn of the century.*Scientists seemed no longer satisfied with the taxonomic study of plants nor even with a wider segregation in accordance with geographic and climatic differentiations. They found that vegetation was divided into distinct groupings through the inherent adaptation of plants to the environment in which they grew. These groups they called “plant associations.” The observations made as to what plants grow together and what they have in common as to soil, light, moisture, and temperature (all of which are the factors which make up...

  9. PART IV: NATURAL PARKS AND GARDENS
    • [PART IV: Introduction]
      (pp. 163-164)

      The authors in this section believed in the importance of educating people about native landscape design and wrote essays for both popular magazines and professional and scientific journals. Their subjects here range from private gardens to county parks, botanical gardens, and arboreta.

      The author of the first selection, J. Horace McFarland, was an important civic leader in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and ardent conservationist. Together with John Muir he fought for the protection of the Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park. He also advocated for the establishment of the National Park Service to manage the newly founded national parks and served...

    • “An American Garden” (1899)
      (pp. 165-170)
      J. HORACE MCFARLAND

      What else is a garden in America? Yet there are in our broad land not many real American gardens. Few realize that the trend of rural decoration and lawn adornment in our country has been, for the most part, distinctly imitative of European forms. It was natural that our forefathers, when they began, as Bacon puts it, to “garden wisely,” should look for models to their old homes across the Atlantic. In England and on the Continent the adornment of public and private grounds summed up generally as gardening is the growth of centuries of living beyond the struggle for...

    • “The Two Kinds of Bog Garden” The muck swamp that can be made glorious with cardinal flower and gentian, and the sphagnum bog that rejoices in orchids and pitcher plants—how to have a unique garden, instead of mosquitoes and unhealthful conditions, or a big bill for grading (1908)
      (pp. 171-175)
      WARREN H. MANNING

      I was greatly rejoiced when buying my summer home in Massachusetts, to find that the old farm included part of a sphagnum bog, and after maneuvering for several months I was able to buy enough land to control the whole of this precious little spot. For you must know that a sphagnum bog is a very much choicer thing than an ordinary plebeian swamp. Orchids will grow in it, and insectivorous plants, and the shyest members of the heath family.

      Sphagnum is that peculiar moss which is much used by florists, especially in orchid baskets. It is also the chief...

    • “What Is the Matter with Our Water Gardens?” How most people ruin the waterside by showy planting—the pictorial style illustrated by a prairie river landscape reproduced in miniature (1912)
      (pp. 176-182)
      WILHELM MILLER

      What a pity it is that Americans, who have such good taste in many other matters, have such low standards of beauty in gardening! Take the treatment of water, for instance. I presume that a hundred owners of brooks, ponds, lakes, river banks, and seaside places have showed me water gardens which seem to them perfectly beautiful, but to me are perfectly disgusting. They point with pride to flawless Colorado spruces reflected in the water, grand old purple beeches, superb specimens of cut-leaved Japanese maples, weeping pink-flowered dogwood, and everything that is rare, costly, and brilliant. Every detail is faultless...

    • “Making a Small Garden Look Large” Where many types of wild beauty find themselves at home on a 100 × 300 ft. lot only five minutes by trolley from the business center of an Illinois city (1924)
      (pp. 183-185)
      ARTHUR G. ELDREDGE

      This is the story of how an unpromising city lot was developed into a unique garden and landscape. The property is 100 x 300 ft. extending from the city street to the Rock River. The contours are what many people would call undesirable. Sometime after Mr. Howell purchased the land someone said to him: “I always gave you credit for having sense, but now I know you have none. It will cost more to fill than the lot is worth.” The new owner proceeded to make a “bad” lot “worse,” by digging the ravine deeper. In the workings of his...

    • “Natural Parks and Gardens” (1930)
      (pp. 186-199)
      JENS JENSEN and RAGNA B. ESKIL

      It will probably be news to most people who have driven over the extensive park system of Chicago that as late as 1885 little seventeen-acre Union Park that lies over on the West Side not far from the scene of the Haymarket Riot was the important park of the city. It had the zoölogical garden, and people came from far and far to see the bears and the eagles and the monkeys. Lincoln Park had just gone through its transformation from a cemetery to a park. Columbus Park was waste land; Douglas, Garfield and Humboldt parks were only partly developed,...

    • “A Story for Ravinians” (1936)
      (pp. 200-201)
      MAY THEILGAARD WATTS

      West of Chicago lies a bungalow and cottonwood suburb with a catalpa tree, or a distorted mulberry, or a round bed of cannas, in the exact center of each front lawn. Not long ago these streets were cut through rich woods. There were red oaks, white oaks, sugar maples, and lindens above, and yellow violets, ironwood, elderberries, wood anemones below.

      A certain family bought a lot out there. They enjoyed the beauty of texture in the varied foliage of the forest undergrowth.

      “We are tired of the neat smug scenery of Rogers Park,” they said. “Here is a different beauty,...

    • “On Improving the Property” (1980)
      (pp. 202-204)
      MAY THEILGAARD WATTS
  10. PART V: RESTORATION AND MANAGEMENT OF THE NATIVE LANDSCAPE
    • [PART V: Introduction]
      (pp. 205-208)

      In recent years, we have recognized the need for greater attention to ongoing management as well as restoration in our efforts to preserve the ecological integrity of nature. Yet the idea of management is not new. Discussions about restoration and management as parts of an overall conservation strategy can be traced to the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when ideas about forestry, nature preserves, arboreta, and public parks were emerging. In this section, issues of landscape management are treated as they relate to forestry, to parks as preserves, and to both wilderness and recreational resource policy.

      H. W. S....

    • The Culture and Management of Our Native Forests, for Development as Timber or Ornamental Wood (1882)
      (pp. 209-223)
      HORACE WILLIAM SHALER CLEVELAND

      Man’s progress from barbarism to civilization is indicated by the degree of skill he has attained in the cultivation of those products of the earth which minister to his necessities and comfort. As long as the natural resources are sufficient to supply his primary wants of food and clothing, he will make no effort to increase them, and it is only as he is driven by the necessities of increasing demand and diminishing supply that he exerts himself to secure relief by artificial means.

      The first efforts of the savage at cultivation are of the rudest description, and just in...

    • “The Use of the Axe” (1889)
      (pp. 224-228)
      FREDERICK LAW OLMSTED and J. B. HARRISON

      It has been said of our frontier settlers that they seemed to bear a grudge against trees, and to be engaged in a constant, indiscriminate warfare with them. If this were so, a strong reaction has since set in, of which a notable manifestation appears in the fact that with regard to no other matter pertaining to the public grounds of our cities has public interest taken so earnest, strenuous, and effective a form as in respect to the protection of their plantations against the axe.

      It has occurred repeatedly of late years that ladies and gentlemen, seeking their pleasure...

    • “Landscape Forestry in the Metropolitan Reservations” (1896–1897)
      (pp. 229-249)
      CHARLES ELIOT

      January 8, 1896.

      We beg leave to submit the following suggestions concerning the work in the three woodland reservations:—

      From the date of the acquiring of these reservations to the present time, the forces employed have been engaged in two principal works: (1) removing dead wood, both standing and fallen; (2) constructing preliminary roads on the lines of the old wood paths. Two winters have already been devoted to the first-named work, and two summers to the second. The reservations have been opened to carriages and horseback riders, and the preliminary roads are now quite sufficiently numerous. The work of...

    • “Report of the Landscape Architect” (1904)
      (pp. 250-258)
      JENS JENSEN

      The movement for the acquisition of large forest park areas within Cook County is in embryo. This fact is evidenced by the absence of surveys defining the existing forest areas.

      The study of the vegetation indigenous to the forest tracts of this county, which furnishes the basis for this part of the report, has been extensive and has covered a period of more than fifteen years. It has been made partly in the interest of botanical science and largely for the purpose of obtaining an intimate acquaintance with the distribution of the flora in this and adjoining counties.

      One of...

    • “Parks as Preservers of Native Plants (1915)
      (pp. 259-263)
      LARS PETER JENSEN

      In the making of parks no material is of greater importance than plants. Even in parks, whose space is utilized for playgrounds, some trees and shrubs are essential, the trees for the purpose of providing shade and the shrubs for the relief of some of the harsh lines, which are always essentially associated with this form of a park, and for boundary plantations. Of plant material, that native to the region in which the park is located is, of course, indispensable and of the greatest importance. While we should, by all means, utilize the many splendid plants introduced from other...

    • “The Dunes of Northern Indiana” (1917)
      (pp. 264-266)
      JENS JENSEN

      The world is full of things that add to human intellect and life. Perhaps least consideration and least appreciation are given to those things that form an interesting part of Mother Earth herself. We give first consideration, it seems, to things that have a commercial value; in other words, man-made things. The fine arts are of the man-made variety; but the inspiration or source from which they spring is found in the great outdoors. All art has its root in the primitive, unadulterated beauty made by the hand of the Great Master. Without this source creative art would be impossible....

    • Testimony at the Hearing on the Proposed Sand Dunes National Park (1917)
      (pp. 267-270)
      HENRY CHANDLER COWLES

      Mr. Secretary, ladies, and gentlemen, I certainly heartily second all that has been said in regard to Mr. Mather’s very large part in making our national parks useful. I feel, however, that if we do not cease making parks outside of the periphery of our country, the name of the department may have to be changed from “Department of the Interior” to “Department of the Exterior.” [Laughter and applause.] Therefore I second very heartily the move toward the establishment of a national park in this great Central West. For 20 years I have been studying the dunes more than anything...

    • “The Last Stand of the Wilderness” (1926)
      (pp. 271-276)
      ALDO LEOPOLD

      How many of those whole-hearted conservationists who berate the past generation for its short-sightedness in the use of natural resources have stopped to ask themselves for what new evils the next generation will berate us?

      Has it ever occurred to us that we may unknowingly be just as short-sighted as our forefathers in assuming certain things to be inexhaustible, and becoming conscious of our error only after they have practically disappeared?

      Today it is hard for us to understand why our prodigious waste of standing timber was allowed to go on—why the exhaustion of the supply was not earlier...

    • “Ecological Garden and Arboretum at the University of Wisconsin” (1937)
      (pp. 277-286)
      PAUL B. RIIS

      Fair and fruitful, Wisconsin ranks high among the best of the agricultural states in the union. Abundantly blessed with fertile soils, productive valleys, matchless lakes, forested ridges, rolling hills and prairies, a land attractively warm with promises, it held out cordial welcome to thrifty pioneers, who were happy to settle amid these pleasant surroundings and till their fruitful soil. Its present day, well-ordered civic and industrial life are eloquent testimonials of splendid achievements, of hopes realized. Well balanced and rich stores of natural resources, resting upon a solid foundation laid in the mist of ages, millions of years ago, abundantly...

  11. Epilogue
    (pp. 287-294)

    This collection of writings about the native landscape is by no means complete. In making my selection, I strove to represent a diversity of ideas and people who advocated for greater appreciation, understanding, and conservation of our native landscape heritage in North America. Some of the ideas express biases and attitudes prevalent in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but many are equally relevant today. In this closing section, I want to reflect briefly on the key themes and offer thoughts for the future.

    Many of the authors included inThe Native Landscape Readerregarded our native landscape as something...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 295-298)
  13. Works Cited
    (pp. 299-306)
  14. Index
    (pp. 307-317)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 318-319)