the first great American landscape gardener, was born
at Newburgh, New York, on the Hudson River. The
Catskill Mountains, Hudson River and his father's
nursery had outstanding formative influence upon his
development. His books were:
Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Landscape
Gardening (1841). This was the frist and still is
one of the best American books on this subject.
Cottage Residences (1841). This was also
Fruits and Fruit Trees of America (1845).
This was published simultaneously in New York and
London. It had a greater influence on pomology than
any other book before or since.
Downing edited the magazine The
Horticulturist from 1846 until his untimely death
by drowning in a steamboat accident at 37 years of
In 1850 he visited the great estates in England and
in 1851 he was employed to lay out the grounds near
the Capitol, White House and Smithsonian Institute in
Downing in reality created American landscape
gardening and influenced country life in every aspect.
He stook for the simple, natural, and permanent as
opposed to the complex, artificial and ephemeral. He
was the first great American exponent of the English
or natural school of landscape gardening as opposed to
the Italian, Dutch and French artificial schools. He
had many pupils and was an inspiration to Frederick
Law Olmsted, who became the next great genius in
American landscape gardening. Olmsted became
responsible for Central Park in New York, which became
a guide for the great municipal park systems in this
By many persons Andrew J. Downing has been
considered the greatest single figure in the history
of American horticulture.