In many parts of the country, the secondary blue limestone abounds, which, in the small masses found loose in the woods, covered with mosses and ferns, affords the very finest material for artificial rockwork.
After all, much the safest way is never to introduce rockwork of any description, unless we feel certain that it will have a good effect. When a place is naturally picturesque, and abounds here and there with rocky banks, etc., little should be done but to heighten and aid the expressions of these, if they are wanting in spirit, by adding something more; or softening and giving elegance to the expression, if too wild, by planting the same with beautiful shrubs and climbers. On a tame sandy level, where rocks of any kind are unknown, their introduction in rockworks, nine times in ten, is more likely to give rise to emotions of the ridiculous, than those of the sublime or picturesque.
Fountains are highly elegant garden decorations, rarely seen in this country; which is owing, not so much, we apprehend, to any great cost incurred in putting them up, or any want of appreciation of their sparkling and enlivening effect in garden scenery, as to the fact that there are few artisans here, as abroad, whose business it is to construct and fit up architectural, and other jets d'eau.
The first requisite, where a fountain is a desideratum, is a constant supply of water, either from a natural source or an artificial reservoir, some distance higher than the level of the surface whence the jet or fountain is to rise. Where there is a pond, or other body of water, on a higher level than the proposed fountain, it is only necessary to lay pipes under the surface to conduct the supply of water to the required spot; but where there is no such head of water, the latter must be provided from a reservoir artificially prepared, and kept constantly full.
There are two very simple and cheap modes of effecting this, which we shall lay before our readers, and one or the other of which may be adopted in almost every locality. The first is to provide a large flat cistern of sufficient size, which is to be placed under the roof in the upper story of one of the outbuildings, the carriage-house for example, and receive its supplies from the water collected on the roof of the building; the amount of water collected in this way from a roof of moderate size being much more than is generally supposed. The second is to sink a well of capacious size (where such is not already at command) in some part of the grounds where it will not be conspicuous, and over it to erect a small tower, the top of which shall contain a cistern and a wind-mill; which being kept in motion by the wind more or less almost every day in summer, will raise a sufficient quantity of water to keep the reservoir supplied from the well below. In either of these cases, it is only necessary to carry pipes from the cistern (under the surface, below the reach of frost) to the place where the jet is to issue; the supply in both these cases will, if properly arranged, be more than enough for the consumption of the fountain during the hours when it will be necessary for it to play, viz. from sunrise to evening.
The steam engine is often employed to force up water for the supply of fountains in many of the large public and royal gardens; but there are few cases in this country where private expenditures of this kind would be justifiable.
But where a small stream, or even the overflow of a perpetual spring, can be commanded, the hydraulic ram is the most perfect as well as the simplest and cheapest of all modes of raising water. A supply pipe of an inch in diameter is in many cases sufficient to work the ram and force water to a great distance; and where sufficient to fill a "driving pipe" of two inches diameter can be commanded, a large reservoir may be kept constantly filled.
A simple jet issuing from a circular basin of water, or a cluster of perpendicular jets (candelabra jets), is at once the simplest and most pleasing of fountains. Such are almost the only kinds of fountains which can be introduced with propriety in simple scenes where the predominant objects are sylvan, not architectural.
Weeping, or Tazza fountains, as they are called, are simple and highly pleasing objects, which require only a very moderate supply of water compared with that demanded by a constant and powerful jet. The conduit pipe rises through and fills the vase, which is so formed as to overflow round its entire margin. The ordinary jet and the tazza fountain may be combined in one, when the supply of water is sufficient, by carrying the conduit pipe to the level of the top of the vase, from which the water rises perpendicularly, then falls back into the vase and overflows as before.
A species of rustic fountain which has a good effect, is made by introducing the conduit pipe or pipes among the groups of rockwork alluded to, from whence (the orifice of the pipe being concealed or disguised) the water issues among the rocks either in the form of a cascade, a weeping fountain, or a perpendicular jet. A little basin of water is formed at the foot or in the midst of the rockwork; and the cool moist atmosphere afforded by the trickling streams, would offer a most, congenial site for aquatic plants, ferns, and mosses.
Fountains of a highly artificial character are happily situated only when they are placed in the neighborhood of buildings and architectural forms. When only a single fountain can be maintained in a residence, the center of the flower-garden, or the neighborhood of the piazza or terrace-walk, is, we think, much the most appropriate situation for it. There the liquid element, dancing and sparkling in the sunshine, is an agreeable feature in the scene, as viewed from the windows of the rooms; and the falling watery spray diffusing coolness around is no less delightful in the surrounding stillness of a summer evening.