The Garden Guide

Book: Gardening tours by J.C. Loudon 1831-1842
Chapter: London to Manchester in the Spring of 1831

Villa residences in 1831

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Villa Residences include those not enumerated as palaces (p. 389.), or starred as mansions (p. 385.). It gives us great pleasure to state that we found a few of these very much to our mind, and one or two almost perfect. The last were the work of ladies; Mrs. Robt. Philips of Heybridge, and Mrs. Corrie of Woodville. The style of planting and managing the groups of flowers on the lawn, in both these places, is entirely to our mind; and each displays more floral beauty, and neatness in less than an acre, than the large flower-gardens at Stowe, and the extensive flower-beds on the lawn at Stoneleigh Abbey, both very highly kept, do in ten acres. We hope to give plans of the beds, and lists of the flowers, in the gardens of both these ladies, in proof of what we assert. Mr. Barker's villa, in Monument Lane, Birmingham, ranks next in order to Heybridge. Moor Green, James Taylor, Esq., is all but perfect in its kind; but it wants botanical interest. As far as landscape-gardening is concerned, the Parsonage at Offchurch Bury is also nearly perfect, and eminently beautiful; but the flower-beds contain only a poor collection. The proprietor, the Rev. Matthew Wise, is the descendant and inheritor of the fortune of Mr. Wise, the gardener to Queen Anne, and ought to patronise botany as well as landscape-gardening. The villa of Wm. Bow, Esq., at Lower Broughton, and that of the Rev. J. Clowes of Broughton Old Hall, are both highly kept, and of the very highest floral and botanical interest. The faults of the villa residences which we have seen are, to a certain extent, those of the mansion residences; and there are other faults, both in the original laying out and in the keeping and management, which are also common to both. We shall pass over the ridiculous twisting and turning of walks, without real or apparent reason, which is so frequently met with, and rather dwell on the bad shapes and improper places of groups of shrubs and flowers on lawns. In several parts of this Magazine we have laid down the fundamental principles which ought to guide the placing of groups, viz. to arrange them so as to render them cooperating parts, with those which surround them, in the formation of one whole. It is not very easy to convey this principle to a mind that has not been a good deal cultivated in respect to the beauty of lines and forms; or to a person who has not had some practice in sketching landscape. All that can be done with grown-up gardeners is, to lay down a few rules derived from the above fundamental principle; and all that can be hoped from the adoption of these rules is, the avoiding of glaring errors.