Page:Olmsted report on Portland, Oregon parks, 1903.djvu/13

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25
REPORT OF THE PARK BOARD

zoological garden, another to a botanical garden, another section may be devoted to popular amusements requiring more or less apparatus, fences, shelters and artificial constructions. The beauties which should characterize each section should be constantly kept in mind. It is to be presumed that those sections in which the landscape is the main consideration should be as nearly natural as possible. It seems sufficiently obvious, therefore, that park woods should not be planted as regularly as orchards, that park lakes should not he shaped to a succession of straight lines and that park meadows should not be graded to perfect planes, surrounded by formal terraces and bordered by rows of trees; but many equally inappropriate and artificializing things are done upon parks without any real necessity owing to a common confusion of ideas and to a defective artistic appreciation or to positive bad taste.

Even without the cultivated taste of an artist, the use of a trained intelligence in a conscientious effort to design and explain a comprehensive plan will do much to make clear what should and what should not be done in each of the main subdivisions of a park. The absence of such a general plan or a failure to comprehend and follow it will result in the hodge-podge of incongruities too often seen in parks. The portions which should be natural are often artificialized unnecessarily by gardening operations or by the introduction of buildings, fountains and all sorts of artificial ornaments, while the portions which might, in harmony with the uses to which they are put, be improved and decorated in a formal style are too informal. On the other hand, in the portion of a park actually devoted to extensive and conspicuous formal beds of tender plants and flowers, the drives and walks, lawns, shrubberies and tree plantations will often be strikingly informal. A general plan may provide places where the beauties of formal beds of tender plants and other gardening features may be enjoyed individually and collectively and places where those which are incongruous with each other may be separated by a systematic arrangement of plantations, which, while forming contrasting or harmonious backgrounds, separations, enclosures, screens and the like, yet will themselves form part of a complete whole.

The failure to have and to follow a well studied, comprehensive general plan has resulted in making many parks little better than a miscellaneous jumble of conflicting and incongruous incidents. There is an analogy between parks and buildings which illustrates the need of combining variety into a harmonious whole. It is well recognized that the exterior of a house should be designed as a harmonious whole. It is also obvious that the exterior walls of a house enclose various rooms devoted to various purposes and that the materials,