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

Ditton Park

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Ditton Park, Lord Montagu. - The surface is perfectly flat, but it is varied with abundance of fine old elms. The house, which is castellated, and was rebuilt, a few years ago, by Mr. Atkinson, is surrounded by a moat. It has altogether an excellent effect: and there are a very appropriate chapel, gardener's house, and two lodges; all built or repaired by Mr. Atkinson, who excels in castles and Gothic cottages; and, to satisfy us, only requires to give a little more boldness and freedom to his chimney tops, gable ends, and other prominent parts in the sky outline. Many convenient and comfortable cottages and villas are entirely spoiled as picturesque objects, for want of a continued attention to the "bold and free" in the production of their outlines. The kitchen-garden contains four acres, and was formed, about twenty-two years ago, by the present gardener, Mr. Anderson, a pupil of Mr. M'Donald of Dalkeith, who has been gardener here during a period of twenty-seven years. The wall trees, he told us, did remarkably well for some few years after planting, till their roots got down to the gravel, which lies 2 ft. below the surface. The apricots on pear plum stocks gave way first; but those on muscle plum stocks remain good to this day. Many of the trees in the open garden are cankered. The reason, in our opinion, is, that the borders have been cropped too severely, and too deeply dug; and the same reason applies to the quarters, where, in every garden, we are decidedly of opinion there ought to be no fruit trees at all. Considering that in this garden, as in most others, the number of hands has been lately much reduced, we found it in tolerable order. Mr. Anderson pointed out to us some sycamore trees here which every year are covered with honey dew; which dew, dropping on the shrubs beneath (such as box, holly, &c.), occasions their leaves to become black, and their branches to be covered with lichens; while shrubs of the same kinds, not under the drip of the sycamores, are perfectly healthy.