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

Bryanston House

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Bryanston House, J. Portman, Esq. - The house, like that of Langton, is in a bottom, with the meadows of the Stour and a fine reach of the river in front; but it is placed much higher, backed by steeper hills, and commands much bolder ground on the opposite side of the river. Arrived at the house, and looking from the windows, and afterwards walking along the grassy terraces, this appears a truly noble place; but, analysed, it has the great and glaring faults of many places formed like it sixty or seventy years ago. In the first place, the approach, which need not have exceeded a furlong in length on a level, or gradual ascent, is drawn out to upwards of a mile, by first ascending a steep hill, immediately on entering by the lodge, and next descending one still steeper, immediately before making a quick turn round to the entrance front of the house. No approach was ever worse contrived; and our impression is, that the sooner a short and level one is made the better. The entrance of the house is also the lawn front, so that the flower beds are obliged to be placed in a walled garden by themselves. This walled garden is replete with appropriate beauty, and in one part of it contains all the hot-houses and pits. In the two last we found excellent crops; particularly of pines and grapes. The grapes grown here are almost entirely the Muscats and Frontignans; of one white variety of the latter there is here one of the only three plants which are believed to be in England. The grapes are round and of a large size, and the flavour is exquisite. We hope Mr. Rogers will send cuttings of it to the London Horticultural Society. As the Frontignans are known to produce crops only in soil where the bottom is perfectly dry, and the soil not deep; and, as the bottom here is a dry chalk, the crops are abundant every year. Indeed, we never saw such crops before of this grape. There are also many Cape, Australian, and other green-house plants, in the open air, which are found to stand the winter with little or no protection. Among these are Verbena chamï¾µdrifolia, Calceolaria bicolor, Lobelia fulgens and speciosa, and several acacias, metrosideroses, melaleucas, psoraleas, &c. [The present Bryanston House was designed for the Portman family by Norman Shaw, in 1897, and is now (2005) a school]