Samuel Bard (April 1, 1742 – May 24, 1821), was a professional physician and amateur botanist who designed several gardens in New York, including that at his country estate, Hyde Park.
- Bard, Samuel, April 1, 1764, letter from Edinburgh to John Bard (McVickar, 1822: 57-58)
"I heartily wish I could be with you at laying out your grounds, as I imagine I could be of some assistance, although I may find it impossible to convey my notions upon that subject in writing. From what I have as yet seen, I find those the most beautiful where nature is suffered to be our guide. The principal things to be observed in planning a pleasure ground, seem to me, to be the situation of the ground, and the storms and winds the country is most liable to. By the first, I mean, to distribute my plants according to the soil they most delight in; to place such as flourish most in a warm exposure and dry soil, upon the sunny side of a hill; while such as delight in the shade and moist ground, should be placed in the vallies. By this single precaution, one of the greatest beauties of a garden is obtained, which consists in the health and vigour of the plants which compose it. By considering well the predominant winds and storms of the health and vigour of the plants which compose it. By considering well the predominant winds and storms of the country, we are directed where to plant our large trees, so that they shall be at once an ornament, and afford a useful shelter to the smaller and more delicate plants. Next I think straight lines should be particularly avoided except where they serve to lead the eye to some distant and beautiful object—serpentine walks are much more agreeable. Another object deserving of attention seems to be, to place the most beautiful and striking objects, such as water, if possible, a handsome green-house, a grove of flowering shrubs, or a remarkably fine tree, in such situations, that from the house they may almost all be seen; but to a person walking, they should be artfully concealed until he suddenly, and unexpectedly, comes upon them; so that by the surprise, the pleasure may be increased: and if possible, I would contrive them so that they should contrast each other, which again greatly increases their beauty. The last thing I should mention, which, indeed, is not the least worthy of notice, is, to throw the flower garden, kitchen, and fruit garden, and if possible, the whole farm, into one, so that they may appear as links of the same chain, and may mutually contribute to the beauties of the whole. If you could send me an accurate plan of the situation of your ground, describing particularly the hollows, risings, and the opportunities you have of bringing water into it, the spot where you intend your house, and the situation of your orchard, I would consult some of my friends here about a proper plan, and I believe I know some who would assist us, and as I cannot obtain your gardener before November, if you sent the plan immediately, I shall be able to return it by him.
“In my last letter I sent you one from Dr. Hope, informing you of my having the prize; he has done me the honour to write also to Dr. Franklin upon the subject. He has also desired me to acquaint you, that a number of gentlemen here have formed themselves into an association for the importation of American seeds and plants, and would be much obliged to you to recommend a proper person as a correspondent.
- “I know of no one who would answer so well as Mr. Bartram.”
- Bard, Samuel, June 8, 1764, letter from London to John Bard (McVickar, 1822: 61)
- “I have lately received great pleasure and improvement in reading Lord Kames’s late work, and recommend it to your perusal, especially that part of it relating to gardening and architecture, before you go on in improving your place on the north river. He most justly condemns the cutting of gardens into formal parterres, or forcing nature in any respect; at the same time, points out, in a beautiful and philosophical manner, where we are implicitly to follow this amiable mistress, and when and how we may improve, by modest dress, her native beauties."
- Bard, Samuel, March 16, 1766, letter from London to Mary Bard (McVickar, 1822: 86-87)
- "Were I a man of fortune… I would have… in my gardens, alcoves and temples dedicated to the memory of my best friends, and adorned with their portraits. By these means, I could never experience the fatigue of being tired of myself; for thus I could always enjoy the choicest company, without the interruption of idle intruders."
- Bard, Samuel, July 22, 1776, letter from New York to Mary Bard at Hyde Park (McVickar, 1822: 106)
- “My little garden is in full luxuriance; it looks really beautiful, but alone, I cannot enjoy it. Oh! How I long for the time when we shall chase our little folks around the walks, and together cultivate and adorn it.”
- John McVickar, A Domestic Narrative of the Life of Samuel Bard, M. D., LL. D. (New York: A. Paul, 1822), view on Zotero