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History of Early American Landscape Design

Parmentier’s Horticultural and Botanical Garden

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Alternate Names: Horticultural Botanic Garden; Horticultural Garden; Parmentier’s Garden
Site Dates: 1825–1833
Site Owner: André Joseph Ghislain Parmentier (1780–1830); Sylvie Parmentier (1793–1882)
Associated People: Grant Thorburn (1773–1863), agent; George Fuller (d. 1830), laborer; Owen Redden (dates unknown), laborer; Dr. Adrian Vanderveer (1796–1857)
Location: Brooklyn, NY



  • Anonymous, June 6, 1825, advertisement for Parmentier’s Horticultural and Botanic Garden (Evening Post [New York])[1]
ANDREW PARMENTIER has established himself in America with a view to Horticulture, and has already set on foot a nursery of considerable extent and variety, of ornamental & fruit-bearing trees, at the cross-roads formed by the intersection of the Jamaica & Flatbush turnpikes. . . . He has also a fine collection of shrubs and flowers, in pots, for sale.
Mr. P. intends to devote particular care to adding to his collection, those European fruits and remarkable rare trees, which are as yet unknown here, or have not been generally introduced into the United States.
Mr. Parmentier will be happy to exhibit his garden and nursery to the ladies and gentlemen of New York, who may honor him with a visit.”

  • Anonymous, March 4, 1826, “On Landscape and Picturesque Gardens” (Evening Post [New York])[2]
Mr. ANDREW PARMENTIER, lately from Europe, where these gardens are generally adopted, has made at his place, at the division of the Jamaica and Flatbush turnpike, at Brooklyn, L. I. a garden of this kind, which will be the more interesting on account of the great variety of foreign trees and plants he has there introduced. —It is but half an hour’s walk from New York.
Mr. P. by the advice of several of his friends, will furnish plans of landscape and picturesque gardens; he will communicate to gentlemen who wish to see him, one collection of his drawings of cottages, rustic bridges; Dutch, Chinese, Turkish, French pavilions, temples, hermitages, rotundas, &c. For further particulars inquire personally or by letter, addressed to him, post paid, which will be attended to.”
  • A Horticulturist [pseud.], August 1, 1826, “To the Editor of the N. Y. Advertiser” (Commercial Advertiser)[3]
“Sir—I went yesterday to see the Garden owned by Mr. Andrew Parmentier. . . . The improvements he has made in that establishment, during the short time he has been there, are really astonishing; among which may be seen peach trees planted in April, 1825, which were inoculated in the same year, and are at present between three and four feet high, having been planted but 15 months. His flower plants, which are kept covered during the heat of the day by a simple and easy method, are by that means kept a long time in blossom, and form a charming and delightful view. There are always a great number in blossom, his collection amounting to above 5000 in pots. He has besides planted 20,000 grape vines, which will occupy at least five acres of ground, and are likely, in a very few years, to furnish the market of the city of New-York with an abundant supply of that excellent and wholesome fruit. Mr. Parmentier has arranged his garden in the picturesque style, with a rustic Belvidere placed at the corner of Jamaica road, which displays a most extensive perspective. It is the first of the kind erected in the United States, and will be covered with grape vines next fall. Mr. Parmentier was very polite and attentive to me, in showing me all the details of his large establishment, which contains 24 acres of land, and is surrounded with a solid stone fence.
“This Botanic Garden can be visited free of expense; and, as it is likely to become the most important one of the kind in the United States, strangers of taste visiting New-York, will find it to their gratification to view this garden, which is only two miles from New-York.”

  • Anonymous, May 19, 1827, “Mr. Parmentier’s Garden” (Evening Post [New York])[4]
“At the green houses in Mr. Parmentier’s Horticultural Garden in Brooklyn . . . the admirers of flowers may see many rare and elegant varieties of roses, together with many other curious and beautiful flowers now in blossom. . . . Mr. Parmentier has introduced into this country the species of rose with red petals emitting the perfume of tea, sometimes called the red tea rose of Florence; this is also in flower. The Napoleon rose, and the Maria Louisa rose, with a number of others, will also be in bloom in a few days. As these plants are cultivated in pots, their transportation may be safely effected at any season.”
  • Anonymous, January 4, 1828, “Rural Scenery” (New England Farmer 6: 187)[5]
Landscape and Picturesque Gardens.—Among the embellishments which attend the increase of wealth, the cultivation of the sciences, and the refinement of taste, none diversify and heighten the beauty of rural scenery, more than picturesque and landscape gardens. . . .
“For the introduction into this country of the design and execution of landscape and picturesque gardening, the public is much indebted to Mr. A. Parmentier, proprietor of the Horticultural Botanic Garden, Brooklyn, two miles from this city. His own garden, for which he made so advantageous a choice, may give us some idea of his taste. The borders are composed of every variety of trees and shrubs that are found in his nurseries. The walks are sinuous, adapted to the irregularity of the ground, and affording to visitors a continual change of scenery, which is not enjoyed in gardens laid out in even surfaces, and in right lines. His dwelling and French saloon are in accordance with the surrounding rural aspect. In his gardens are 25,000 vines planted and arranged in the manner of the vineyards of France.”

  • Viator [pseud.], August 15, 1828, “Nurseries and Gardens on Long Island” (New England Farmer 7: 25)[6]
“At Brooklyn we called at the celebrated Horticultural Garden of Mr. ANDRE PARMENTIER. This is a recent establishment begun in 1825. It contains 20 acres, and is surrounded by a wall of masonry, after the manner which we are told is practised on the old continent. . . . This garden, so far as completed, has been laid out by the very intelligent proprietor in the most modern style and with great taste; for in the branch of ornamental and picturesque gardening, Mr. Parmentier, it is believed, greatly excels.”

  • Anonymous, October 3, 1828, “Parmentier’s Horticultural Garden, Near Brooklyn” (New England Farmer 7: 85)[7]
“To the left of the garden an avenue leads to a Rustic Arbor curiously constructed of the crooked limbs of trees, in their rough state, covered with bark and moss; from the top of this arbor a view of the whole garden, and the surrounding scenery is exhibited, extending to Staten Island, the bay, Governor’s Island, and the city; at some distance from the rustic arbor is the French saloon, a beautiful oval, skirted with privet. . . .
“The green-house department, although not so extensive as some in our vicinity, contains many beautiful plants exhibited with the same tasteful arrangement which characterizes the whole of Mr. Parmentier’s establishment; even the method in disposing the pots according to some principle of grouping or contrasting the color and size of the flowers, entertains the eye, and shows the variety of ways in which a skillful gardener may distribute his materials to produce picturesque effect.”

  • Anonymous, March 17, 1831, describing an act of arson at Parmentier’s Horticultural and Botanic Garden (American [New York])[8]
“We regret to be obliged to state, that the barn and outhouses attached to Madame Parmentier’s garden, near Brooklyn, were destroyed last night by fire, together with carts, garden tools and a horse. . . . [W]e are authorized by one of Mrs. Parmentier’s neighbors to offer a reward of one hundred dollars for the apprehension and conviction of the incendiary.”

  • Anonymous, November 26, 1831, advertisement for the sale of Parmentier’s Horticultural and Botanic Garden (Commercial Advertiser [New York])[9]
“The Horticultural Garden of the Late Andrew Parmentier, Is Offered For Sale. The reputation of this establishment is not confined to the vicinity of New-York, but is well known throughout the United States, and different parts of Europe. It is situated two miles from the city of New-York, at Brooklyn, Long Island, at the junction of the Jamaica and Flatbush Roads, and contains 24 acres.
“The Grounds are in a very high state of cultivation, and laid out with judgment and taste. The situation is very healthy, and the view very extensive, commanding the Bay, the city, &c. The garden is enclosed by a pointed stone fence, and inside of that is a hawthorn hedge. The Nursery contains a fine and extensive collection of Fruit, Forest and Ornamental Trees; also, a splendid collection of Roses and Herbaceous Plants,—the object of its late Proprietor having always been to collect every new variety.
“On the premises are a Dwelling House, two Laborers’ Houses, seven Cisterns, and a never-failing Pump of excellent Water—four Green and Hot Houses, containing a rich variety of rare exotics.
“The advantages to be derived by any person who wishes to engage in the occupation of Gardening, by the purchase of this property, are very great: the business already secured is very extensive, and the prospect of increased encouragement is such as to warrant the belief that the purchase of the property will amply repay the enterprise of any one who may engage in the business.
“Terms will be made known by applying to Mrs. Parmentier, on the premises.”

  • S., J. W., February 1832, “Parmentier’s Garden, Near Brooklyn,” (Gardener’s Magazine 8: 70–72)[10]
“I have compiled from different authorities . . . an account of one of the first botanic gardens which has ever been established in this country, viz. that of Parmentier about two miles from Brooklyn, Long Island. The following map . . . will serve to convey some idea of the general disposition of the whole; but I am confident that neither plan nor description can furnish any adequate idea of the particular beauties of the place. Its establishment may, indeed, be looked upon as an epoch in the history of American horticulture; as, though the various branches of that science were before understood and practised by most of our gardeners, it had not attained its full perfection until the arrival of M. Parmentier. . . . [T]he garden of M. Parmentier is, perhaps, the most striking instance we have of all the different departments of gardening being combined extensively and with scientific skill. The rapidity with which this garden was formed added to its effect. Nearly twenty-five acres of ground were originally enclosed; and the inhabitants of the vicinity beheld, with astonishment, in the short space of three years, one of the most stony, rugged, sterile pieces of ground on the whole island, which seemed to bid defiance to the labours of man, stored with the most luxuriant fruit, and blooming with the most beautiful flowers. . . .
“In the northern parts of the garden are nurseries, containing young plants of every kind of tree which is to be found in the beds. To the left of the garden, an avenue leads to a rustic arbour, in the grotesque style, constructed of the crooked limbs of trees in their rough state, covered with bark and moss: from the top of this arbour, a view of the whole garden and the surrounding scenery is obtained; including Staten Island, the Bay, Governor’s Island, and the city of New York. . . .
“In short, this establishment is well worthy of notice as one of the few examples in the neighbourhood of New York, of the art of laying out a garden so as to combine the principles of landscape-gardening with the conveniences of the nursery or orchard.”

  • Anonymous, June 20, 1833, “Mrs. Parmentier’s Garden” (New-York Spectator)[11]
“Those ladies and gentlemen who have not entirely yielded themselves to languor and repose during the brightest hours of the morning, would find themselves richly repaid by a visit to the “garden of roses” (as we must be permitted to call it) of Mrs. Parmentier. . . . A lady’s taste is visible in the neatness and floral embellishments of Mrs. Parmentier’s Garden, and though there is a large domain to superintend, and though a vast variety of trees and Shrubbery for the ornament and for use, call for attention in the liberal department of the nursery, yet nothing is neglected—all is equally subject to the most assiduous care and preserving industry.”

  • Anonymous, October 23, 1833, “Parmentier’s Garden” (Evening Post [New York])[12]
“We learn that Mrs. Parmentier has recently disposed of, at private sale, the ground now occupied by her as a Garden, for the sum of fifty-three thousand dollars. . . . The rage for speculation in Brooklyn, has enabled Mrs. Parmentier to retire from active life, with a competency for herself and interesting daughters—the just reward of virtuous and well-spent lives.”

  • Downing, A. J., 1849, A Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening, 4th ed. (1849: 459–60)[13]
“Those of our readers who may have visited the delightful garden and grounds of M. Parmentier, near Brooklyn, some half a dozen years since . . . will readily remember the rustic prospect-arbor or tower, Fig. 87, which was situated at the extremity of his place . . . from its summit, though the garden walks afforded no prospect, a beautiful reach of neighborhood for many miles was enjoyed.”


Other References


  1. Advertisement, Evening Post [New York] (June 6, 1825): 3, view on Zotero.
  2. “On Landscape and Picturesque Gardens,” Evening Post [New York] (March 4, 1826): 3, view on Zotero.
  3. A Horticulturist [pseud.], “To the Editor of the N. Y. Advertiser,” Commercial Advertiser (August 1, 1826): 2, view on Zotero.
  4. “Mr. Parmentier’s Garden,” Evening Post [New York] (May 19, 1827): 2, view on Zotero.
  5. “Rural Scenery,” New England Farmer 6, no. 24 (January 4, 1828): 187, view on Zotero.
  6. Viator [pseud.], “Nurseries and Gardens on Long Island,” New England Farmer 7, no. 4 (August 15, 1828): 25, view on Zotero.
  7. Anonymous, October 3, 1828, “Parmentier’s Horticultural Garden, Near Brooklyn,” New England Farmer 7, no. 11: 84–85, view on Zotero.
  8. American [New York] (March 17, 1831): 2, view on Zotero.
  9. Advertisement, Commercial Advertiser [New York] (November 26, 1831): 3, view on Zotero.
  10. J. W. S., “Foreign Notices: —North America,” The Gardeners’ Magazine, and Register of Rural and Domestic Improvement 8, no. 36 (February 1832): 70–77, view on Zotero.
  11. “Mrs. Parmentier’s Garden,” New-York Spectator (June 20, 1833): 1, view on Zotero.
  12. “Parmentier’s Garden,” Evening Post (October 23, 1833): 2, view on Zotero.
  13. A. J. Downing, A Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening, 4th ed. (New York: George P. Putnam; London: Longman, Brown, Green & Longman, 1849), view on Zotero.

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