The term grove referred to both natural and planted arrangements of trees, as indicated by [[Noah Webster]]’s definition of 1828. American gardeners such as [[Bernard M’Mahon]] (1806) realized the potential of indigenous vegetation and simply thinned existing trees to create so-called “natural” groves. Trees could also be planted where none existed to create “artificial” groves. Whether natural or artificial, groves of trees were an important element in the ornamental landscape, serving aesthetic and agricultural purposes. As Samuel Deane explained in the ''New-England Farmer'' (1790), groves could provide shade and windbreaks as well as syrup, firewood, and fruit. As a formal element, groves defined [[border]]s of gardens, created backdrops, and, as seen in the sketch of St. Augustine’s orange grove [Fig. 1], offered sites for collecting specific plants.
While generally composed of trees, groves sometimes included [[shrub]]s and flowers. These plants were also found in [[wood]]s, [[shrubberies]], and [[wilderness]]es, thus blurring the lines of distinctions between these features—several treatise writers and lexicographers defined groves, for example, as small [[wood]]s. The overlapping and indistinct uses of the terms “grove,” “[[wilderness]],” and “[[shrubbery]]” are exemplified by [[George Washington]]’s Washington’s notations on the garden at [[Mount Vernon]]. In 1782, he wrote that he would immediately plant groups of “[[shrub]]s and ornamental trees,” and decide later which constituted “the grove and which the [[wilderness]],” implying that the grove would ultimately be the less thickly planted of the two. To add to the confusion, [[George Washington|Washington]] on another occasion referred to the arrangement of trees and [[shrub]]s just south of his house as both a grove and a [[shrubbery]]. Texts from the 19th century mentioned [[shrub]]s and flowers in groves less frequently, because these types of plants were increasingly associated with [[shrubberies]]. Thus, as time passed, the distinction between the terms became more clearly drawn.
When attempting to distinguish groves from other features that employed trees (particularly [[wood]]s and [[clump]]s), treatise writers often focused on the question of whether groves should contain undergrowth. Various opinions emerged. Batty Langley argued in ''New Principles of Gardening'' (1728) for the inclusion of flowering [[shrub]]s with evergreens and deciduous trees. Thomas Whately, however, in ''Observations of Modern Gardening'' (1770), believed that a grove consisted of trees without undergrowth in contrast to [[wood]]s or [[clump]]s, which did contain undergrowth. Philip Miller, in ''The Gardeners Dictionary'' (1754), considered undergrowth as one factor that distinguished a “closed” grove from an “open” one. The “open” form of the feature was made by planting large trees at a distance that permitted tree tops to knit together to create a shady canopy for the [[walk]]s below. The “closed” type was composed of a denser planting of trees, [[shrub]]s, and flowers that could be arranged in figures cut through and circumscribed by [[walk]]s.
[[File:0018.jpg|thumb|Fig. 3, Pierre Pharoux, Plan of Sperenza, NY [detail], n.d. A “Public Grove” is situated on either side of the “[[Common]] Ground.”]]
The appellations “open” and “closed,” however, were not common in American discourse, despite [[Noah Webster|Noah Webster's]] inclusion of such distinctions in his definition. Although these adjectives were not employed to a significant degree, groves fitting these characteristics can be identified. [[Thomas Jefferson]], in his 1807 account of [[Monticello]], described his intention to trim the lower limbs of the trees in his grove, composed of a mixture of hardwoods and evergreens, “so as to give the appearance of open ground,” suggesting an “open” grove [Fig. 2]. [[Eliza Lucas Pinckney]], in 1742, evoked the sense of a “closed” grove when she delineated her collection of trees and flowers. Likewise, in 1776 [[George Washington]] suggested a similar type of grove for [[Mount Vernon]], which he described as an arrangement of flowering trees and evergreens underplanted with flowering [[shrub]]s.
[[File:0972.jpg|thumb|left|Fig. 4, Pierre Pharoux, “General Map of the honorable Wm. frederic Baron of Steuben’s Mannor” [detail], c. 1793.]]
[[George Washington|Washington]]’s Washington’s account of this “closed” grove also provides a significant clue as to the arrangement of plants. In his 1776 letter to Lund Washington, he specified that the trees “be Planted without any order or regularity,” an aesthetic in keeping with the recommendations of Langley, whose treatises were owned by [[George Washington|Washington]]. The texts of Langley and Miller exemplify the gradual shift away from formal or rectilinear arrangements of trees toward more irregular or “[[natural style|natural]]” designs. 17th-century groves might be planted in [[Geometric_style|geometrical]], or otherwise such patterned figures as “the star, the direct Cross, St. Andrew’s Cross,” described by A.-J. Dézallier d’Argenville (1712). By contrast, |Langley insisted that groves be planted with “regular Irregularity; not planting them. . . with their Trees in straight Lines ranging every Way, but in a rural Manner, as if they had receiv’d their Situation from Nature itself.” In contrast to authors of earlier treatises, 19th-century American writers, including Samuel Deane (1790), [[Bernard M’Mahon]] (1806) and the anonymous author of the ''New England Farmer'' (1828), advocated regular arrangements. Few if any signs, however, indicate that Americans made “closed” groves in [[Geometric_style|geometrical]] figures, such as those described in James. Pierre Pharoux’s unexecuted plans for the new town Sperenza, New York [Fig. 3], and for Baron von Steuben’s estate in Mohawk Valley, New York [Fig. 4], are rare exceptions.
[[File:0730.jpg|thumb|Fig. 5, William Russell Birch, “The Grove in Springland,” before 1805.]]
In either the regular or irregular arrangement, groves were often designed to accommodate garden structures or decorative elements. William Bentley (1791), for example, called attention to the [[pond]] with [[Statue|statuary]] found in the midst of the grove at Pleasant Hill, Joseph Barrell’s estate in Charlestown, Massachusetts; Margaret Bayard Smith (1809) recorded that [[Thomas Jefferson|Jefferson]] intended to place a monument to a friend in the midst of a grove at [[Monticello]]. William Russell Birch situated a Gothic chapel in the grove at Springland [Fig. 5].
In addition to providing settings for decorative objects, groves sometimes displayed rare or unusual tree specimens. At [[Mount Vernon]], [[George Washington|Washington]] contrasted his northern grove, to be made up entirely of locust trees, with his southern grove, to be planted with “clever,” “curious,” and “ornamental” trees and [[shrub]]s. At [[The Woodlands]], [[William Hamilton]] also filled his groves with rare ornamental trees.
[[File:0059.jpg|thumb|left|Fig. 6, [[Benjamin Henry Latrobe]], Spring house—elevation and plan, from “Buildings Erected or Proposed to be Built in Virginia,” 1795–99.]]
*[[George Washington|Washington, George]], August 19, 1776, in a letter to Lund Washington, describing [[Mount Vernon]], [[plantation]] of [[George Washington]], Fairfax County, VA (quoted in Riley 1989: 7)<ref>John P. Riley, ''The Icehouses and Their Operations at Mount Vernon'' (Mount Vernon, VA: Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, 1989), [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/items/itemKey/76PVTIZM view on Zotero].</ref>
:“Plant Trees in the room of all dead ones in proper time this Fall. and as I mean to have '''groves''' of Trees at each end of the dwelling House, that at the South end to range in a line from the South East Corner to Colo. Fairfax’s, extending as low as another line from the Stable to the dry Well, and towards the Coach House . . . from the No. Et. Corner of the other end of the House to range so as to show the Barn &ca. in the Neck. . . these Trees to be Planted without any order or regularity (but pretty thick, as they can at any time be thin’d) and to consist that at the North end, of locusts altogether. and that at the South, of all the clever kind of Trees (especially flowering ones) that can be got, such as Crab apple, Poplar, Dogwood, Sasafras, Laurel, Willow (especially yellow and Weeping Willow, twigs of which may be got from Philadelphia) and many others which I do not recollect at present; those to be interspersed here and there with ever greens such as Holly, Pine, and Cedar, also Ivy; to these may be added the Wild flowering [[Shrub]]s of the larger kind, such as the fringe Trees and several other kinds that might be mentioned.”
*[[George Washington|Washington, George]], December 25, 1782, describing [[Mount Vernon]], [[plantation]] of [[George Washington]], Fairfax County, VA (quoted in Johnson 1953: 87–88)<ref>Gerald W. Johnson, ''Mount Vernon: The Story of a Shrine'' (New York: Random House, 1953), [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/items/itemKey/F2JS5DHZ view on Zotero].</ref>
:“I wish that the afore-mentioned [[shrub]]s and ornamental and curious trees may be planted at both ends that I may determine hereafter from circumstances and appearances which shall be the '''grove''' and which the [[wilderness]]. It is easy to extirpate Trees from any spot but time only can bring them to maturity.”
*[[George Washington|Washington, George]], 1785 and 1786, describing [[Mount Vernon]], [[plantation]] of [[George Washington]], Fairfax County, VA (Jackson and Twohig, eds., 1978: 4:99, 107, 304)<ref>George Washington, ''The Diaries of George Washington'', ed. Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, 6 vols (Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 1978), [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/items/itemKey/9ZIIR3FT view on Zotero].</ref>
:“[March 7, 1785] Planted all my Cedars, all my Papaw, and two Honey locust Trees in my [[Shrubberies]] and two of the latter in my '''groves'''—one at each (side) of the House and a large Holly tree on the Point going to the Sein landing. . .
:“Finished Plowing the Ground adjoining the Pine '''Grove''', designed for Clover & Orchard grass Seed. . .
*[[C. M. (Charles Mason) Hovey|Hovey, C. M. (Charles Mason)]], November 1839, describing Elfin Glen, residence of P. Dodge, Salem, MA (''Magazine of Horticulture'' 5: 404)<ref>Charles Mason Hovey, “Notices of Gardens and Horticulture, in Salem, Mass.,” ''Magazine of Horticulture, Botany, and All Useful Discoveries and Improvements in Rural Affairs'' 5, no. 11 (November 1839): 401–16, [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/items/itemKey/25HW5NZ9 view on Zotero].</ref>
:“In front of the cottage, and extending to the limits of the garden, on the west, ornamental [[shrub]]s and forest trees are thickly planted, and are making a rapid and healthy growth; in a few years they will form a dense and shady '''grove'''.”
*[[C. M. (Charles Mason) Hovey|Hovey, C. M. (Charles Mason)]], March 1849, describing the residence of Gen. Elias W. Leavenworth, Syracuse, NY (''Magazine of Horticulture'' 15: 98)<ref>C. M. Hovey, “Notes of a Visit to Several Gardens & Nurseries in Western New York,” ''Magazine of Horticulture, Botany, and All Useful Discoveries and Improvements in Rural Affairs'' 15, no. 3 (March 1849): 97–105, [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/keywords_in_early_american_landscape_design/items/itemKey/T6A833UU view on Zotero].</ref>
:“. . . this [the fruit garden] and the house occupy about half of the ground: the other half has been made a most beautiful '''grove'''; this was done by a judicious cutting away of whole trees in some places, and by pruning and thinning the branches in others, leaving the whole a [[picturesque]] mass, which years of time and labor could not have produced.”

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