Qualifications necessary to be a landscape-gardener
He must have the knowledge and ability to practice every aspect of gardening: although as a vocation he will spend the whole of his life acquiring the art. He will have begun his apprenticeship to attain the rank of the skilled craftsman although the skills required for landscape gardening are more extensive than other crafts.
The aspiring landscape-gardener needs to be physically fit and have a good basic education. As landscaping is an art form he will also need to have an aptitude for drawing and designing and be able to discern the aesthetics, and understand the principals, of good design and know the method of construction; like painting and sculpture the landscape-gardener will use spaces, foliage textures and, when making up a basic composition for parterre work, be able to create moresques and arabesques and other various patterns. This will draw on his ability to use geometry in planning, sectioning, measuring and alignment, and as well as a having a basic understanding of architecture, he must also be competent in arithmetic so as to be able to make accurate calculations for supplies and materials.
All these disciplines will have been acquired during his apprenticeship. After which he will be doing practical spadework with other trainees. He will learn how to cultivate soils; he will learn how to make ornamental plant supports; he will have learnt how to mark out designs on the ground; he will have practiced trimming the parterre hedging and using appropriate tools for making fences and all the other particular tasks needed to embellish the pleasure garden.
Then there is the utility garden, which produces fruit and edible plants, and which requires just as much intelligence and skill as the other. Here he needs to know the different types of soil and, more importantly, the diverse elements that include climate, aspect, wind, lunar gravity and appraisal of weather conditions. The gardener must have a knowledge of plants, which is a vast science: knowing their natures, cultivation needs, sowing seasons, when to propagate, transplant etc, etc……..
Translated by John Cope-Tylee from Jacques Boyceau Traité Du Jardinage 1638 Ch XIII ‘Des qualitez réquises au Jardinier’.
Plus ça change c’est la même chose!