The Garden Guide

Book: Gardening tours by J.C. Loudon 1831-1842
Chapter: From London to Sheffield in the Spring of 1839

Birmingham Nurseries

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The Birmingham Nurseries. - We had only time to look at that of the Messrs. Pope, which, our readers know from the account given of their Catalogue in a former volume, contains one of the best collections of herbaceous plants in England, and perhaps only second to that in the Birmingham Botanic Garden. Aldershaw, near Lichfield, the Seat of the Rev. Burns Floyer, is a fine old place, laid out in what might be called the transition style adopted by Switzer in the latter years of his practice. A portion of the grounds directly on the lawn front of the house was bounded on the sides by straight walls, and terminated in front in a terrace walk and ha-ha. Beyond on one side is the park, and on the other, a wood laid out in what Switzer calls the rural style; that is, a wood or shrubbery, with numerous winding walks throughout, inosculating in various ways, and in all directions, so as to create a kind of confusion, "almost as good as a labyrinth." The present proprietor has taken down the wall which formerly separated the Elizabethan garden from the woody labyrinth; and this removal somewhat injures the effect of both, more especially of the Elizabethan garden. If we were called on to improve this place with a view to retaining the present house, we should recommend the wall to be rebuilt, and the Elizabethan garden restored. A new house, however, is said to be in contemplation, in a different part of the grounds, which will doubtless require new arrangements. Some fine old cedars and other trees have recently been blown down, but the magnificent beech, the dimensions of which are given in our Vol. XII. p. 311., still exists in the greatest vigour, and will probably long do so, as it stands close to a pond. One lesson which the gardener may learn from this place, is the advantage of keeping evergreen trees and shrubs from touching each other, in consequence of which they are feathered to the ground with branches.