chapter  1
Primitive huts and wild gardens
WithWilliam M. Taylor
Pages 26

This chapter identifies different views of the natural world in the centuries leading up to the rise of modern biology. In Marc Antoine Laugier’s 1753 work, Essay on Architecture, he reflected upon the origins of architecture in the form of the first primitive hut. William Robinson developed an alternative to highly contrived, extensively bedded and costly managed grounds: the 'wild garden'. The design of the wild garden acknowledged the geographical specificity of botanical species, their hardiness derived from having grown in unique regions, situations and climatic zones as well as the pleasure to be had in their careful placement. Serving largely speculative or rhetorical purposes, the opposition of these terms has a history as long as a chain of being. Natural history made of the 'heroic' era of science one in which efforts to represent, catalogue and arrange all things have come to betoken human desires to impose a rational order on nature.