The Garden Guide

Book: Gardening tours by J.C. Loudon 1831-1842
Chapter: Middlesex, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Wilshire, Dorsetshire, Hampshire, Sussex, and Kent in the Summer of 1832

Bear Wood kitchen garden

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The kitchen-garden appeared to us too small, and its situation too low: the wall trees do not thrive; the peaches, in particular, being much infested with the mildew, though the nectarines have escaped. We would recommend the entire renewal of the trees on a border 18 in. deep, seldom to be stirred, and never cropped. The place in general was in good order and keeping. It was shown to us by the gardener, Mr. Howard; who, after accompanying us over all the walks about the lawn, rode with us along the drives; which display numerous fine old oaks and beeches; sometimes the one tree growing in such close contact with the other as to give the appearance of their both springing from the same root. In two or three instances there is an oak squeezed in between two beeches, as if it had been cleft-grafted. There are many thousands of young oaks, of vigorous growth, all self-sown, and from 15 ft. to 30 ft. high, coming up among ferns (Pteris aquilina), some of the fronds of which are 6 ft. and some even 10 ft. high. The islands, and the promontories and shores of the pieces of water, are very judiciously planted: in general, artificial islands are wholly covered with wood, and shores are either one mass of plantation, or are left wholly bare; but, here, trees and lawn are interspersed as they ought to be. Near the house, and in some other places, trees have been transplanted so as to form small groups; and the roots of these have been most judiciously raised a little above the surface, so that each tree rises, as it were, from a slight irregular protuberance; than which nothing gives a more natural appearance, since this protuberance is invariably observed at the roots of trees which have been self-sown, and which are thinly scattered over any surface. Nothing can be more unnatural in its kind than the straight stem of a tree rising abruptly out of a level surface, without the slightest preparation or basement; it looks as if the tree had been cut over from somewhere else, and stuck into the ground.