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

Caversham Park Garden

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Caversham Park. - Aug. 9. We proceeded to this place through the village of Caversham (in which are many beautiful cottage gardens), up the hill road, and entered by the back approach. We must notice one of the cottage gardens, which has, in two angles, formed by small wings projecting from the front of the house, two small green-houses in the form of outside cupboards, with shelves full of pots of flowers, the glass doors being removed. We had never seen anything of this kind before; and we like it, not that we think it in good taste, but because it shows such a thorough love of plants. Every one who has read the descriptions of the fine old places of England, in Whately's Observations, &c., knows something of Caversham, and therefore we shall say nothing of the magnificent mansion, containing fifty rooms, and its broad gravelled terrace, 50 ft. wide and a furlong in length, on a perfect level. Though the mansion is dilapidated within, yet exteriorly it is in good repair. The place is worth visiting for the grandeur and beauty of the situation of the house, the terrace, and more especially the descending approach, which has been so finely described by Whately. The pleasure-ground scenery is now entirely overgrown, and only to be recognised by a few cedars and other trees. The kitchen-garden forms a deplorable ruin; the walls are overgrown with bushes, the hot-houses leaning in all directions, the back sheds roofless, and even the gardener's house, which held out till within these few years, uninhabitable. The commanding position of the mansion, and the extensive and varied prospect seen from it, are the same as they ever have been. Among the trees along the descending approach are a number of very large maples. [ Caversham Park was the site of a castle, home of William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke and Protector of the Realm, and later of the Earls of Warwick. The present building was erected after a fire in 1850.]