The Garden Guide

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

Sheffield Botanic Planting

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The herbaceous arrangement is placed by itself in beds; and there is a reserve ground, and pits and frames for preparing plants for being turned out into the flower-beds and borders. There is a part of the garden devoted to rustic work and rockwork, which is well managed, and forms a fine contrast to the open scenery and scientific part. An attempt has been made to combine a zoological garden; but, as might have been expected, it has not succeeded. In fact, the filth, stench, roaring, howling, and other annoyances incident to carnivorous animals, are altogether inconsistent with the repose which is essential to a botanic garden, and to the enjoyment of garden scenery of every kind. The range of hot-houses in the Sheffield Garden is judiciously placed, and very handsome; and the separate divisions are well stocked with plants, thriving as well as could be desired. Among these we observed the largest plant of Clianthus puniceus which we have anywhere seen (perhaps 7 ft. high, and as much in diameter), and which was covered with an amazing quantity of bloom. Near it is a plant of Sutherlandia &&&, noticed in Mr. Marnock's Magazine, vol. iv. p. 41., which is 5 ft. high, with fine bright scarlet flowers. A fine plant of Cytisus &&& has been constantly in bloom, summer and winter, for three years without intermission, and may be safely recommended as a most desirable conservatory shrub. There are also some large bananas and plams, and many other fine stove plants which where formerly under Mr. Marnock's care in the conservatory at Britton Hall. In the stove, the Orchidaceï¾µ and ferns are planted on roots, stumps of trees, and rockwork, so as to have a very picturesque effect, and the vigour of the plants is equal to any thing which we have seen. In the open air we found various green-house plants which had stood the winter, among which Melaleuca squarrosa and some leptospermums seemed to be the hardest. A part of the range of houses is of iron and curvilinear, and a part is of wood in the ridge and furrow manner of Mr. Paxton. The sheds to these houses and all the pits and preparatory structures, are most judiciously contrived and managed; and though placed close behind the grand range, yet owing to the steepness of the ground, they enjoy enough of sun for every requisite purpose. We observed here the fine effect of looking through the glass windows of a conservatory, to young trees in the open ground not much larger than those in the conservatory, and of the same general appearance. It seemed to extend the conservatory, and the enjoyments it affords, to a comparatively unlimited space; and to harmonise much better with what is within, than the view of distant scenery. A distant landscape, seen from the terrace walk in front of a conservatory or green-house, has always a very fine effect; but we do not recollect a single instance in which this is the case, where a landscape is seen through the glass of a conservatory. The truth seems to be, that the mind, in a conservatory or green-house, is so much occupied with the new kind of scenery within, that it is disturbed by any circumstance which obtrudes on it the ordinary kind of scenery without. The mind is as incapable of attending to two subjects at one time, as the eye is incapable of seeing more at any one time than is included under a certain angle.