The Garden Guide

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

Sheffield Botanic Conservatory

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There is a noble broad terrace walk in front of the houses, and another which proceeds from it at right angles down the slope; and it may be useful to those laying out walks on slopes, to state that the inclination of this terrace walk, though at the rate of about five eighths of an inch to a foot, or about 1 in 20, is quite agreeable to walk on, both up and down, backwards and forwards. In a practical point of view, this fact will be found of considerable importance; for example, in laying out terraces or Italian gardens, or public promenades. Judging from the view of the walk and the hot-houses on the wrapper of Mr. Marnock's Magazine, we were not prepared to find this the case. The whole of the garden was in good order, though the number of men employed was only three; a circumstance which may well make us blush for the state of the metropolitan public gardens. The secret of this economical and effective keeping is, that the mowing of the grass, the hoeing of the dug clumps, and the weeding of the walks, is all let out to common labourers; so that the duties of the professional gardeners are confined to the houses, the reserve gardens, and the planting out of the articles in beds. There is very little training of plants against walls or trellises, which is another source of the saving of professional labour. On the whole, as we have said before, this garden is worthy of being taken as a model for the laying out, planting, and mode of management of public botanic gardens. Mr. Marnock has evidently an excellent taste in landscape-gardening; and may be regarded, in this point of view, as a valuable acquisition to the part of the country in which he is situated. We learn with regret, that, like other institutions of the same kind, the Sheffield Garden is but indifferently supported; but, for the benefit of others, we hope sooner or later to give a plan of it in this Magazine. The Sheffield Cemetery consists of several acres of varied surface, on a bank opposite to that on which the botanic garden is placed, and each contributes to the effect of the other. It is laid out, as cemeteries on an irregular surface necesstarily must be, with winding walks, and these are judiciously interspersed with trees and shrubs by Mr. Marnock. In one precipitous part the sandstone rock is cut down perpendicularly, which may easily be formed into catacombs at some future time. In a central situation is a handsome chapel iin the charised style, and at the upper end of the ground is the officiating minister's house.