“A Rothschild once remarked that no garden, however humble, should lack less than 2 ½ acres of rough woodland.”
This is the funniest thing in a stunningly ill-written review of some book or other about gardens. Its major virtue is that of being the first sentence.
Taking the opposite of ‘no garden’ to be ‘every garden’, and of ‘lack’ to be ‘have’, the corollary of this statement is that every garden should have less than 2 ½ acres of rough woodland. The reviewer is right in suggesting, later in the review, that some gardens fail this rigorous test; but mine, I am proud to say, is not one of them. Its acreage of rough woodland is indeed considerably less than this stipulated maximum.
What would be interesting, and therefore not supplied by either A. Rothschild or the reviewer, would be the required ratio between rough woodland and other things, such as smooth woodland. Imagine, for example, that this might be one unit of rough woodland to five of the other sorts of land, and that your tiny garden measures 10ʹ x 15ʹ. You are thus allowed 30 square feet, or 6ʹ x 5ʹ, of rough woodland. Clearly the trees would have to be bonsais; but what would make it rough? I can only imagine an undergrowth of rather tatty aubrietia.