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

Englefield House flower garden

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In the flower-garden, conservatory, and stoves there was much to remark, but we were so "taken" with Mr. Greenshields, whom we found to be born in the parish adjoining that which was our own birthplace, that we did not pay sufficient attention to what was before us. We recollect, however, the impression made on us by the good tone of colour (that of Bath stone) of the hot-houses, from which a hint might be taken at Dropmore and other places; the good effects of enclosing the flues in stone cases, so as to regulate the admission of heated air; a remarkably fine Pergularia; a variety of capsicum, the true Indian, very desirable for pickling, and which Mr. Greenshields thinks ought to be extensively cultivated; numerous plants of ginger, here grown in large quantities for preserving; Cycas revoluta in remarkably large fine deep green foliage, which is chiefly produced by cutting over the old leaves in February, about a fortnight before the new ones begin to appear; a remarkably fine plant of Lagerstr£mia indica, with thirty trusses of flowers all expanded, one of them 1 ft. long and 6 in. in diameter; Angelonia salicifolia, here a favourite; Brugmansia arborea, finely in flower; Tacsonia peduncularis, on an open wall, very vigorous, but not yet in flower; large white fig trees against a wall in the flower-garden, which were not pruned till midsummer, as an experiment, to see whether it would check their growth; several pieces of rockwork, and one ridge of raised ground with common heath as undergrowth, and rhododendrons as bushes; a number of the more rare pines; such as Cedrus Deodara, Pinus Sabiniana, ponderosa, taxifolia, and Douglasii, &c.; the last, both here and at Dropmore, makes two shoots every season, grows as freely as the common spruce, or more so, and promises to be a valuable addition to our resinous timber trees. Gaillardia aristata is here difficult to keep through the winter, as are some of the new calceolarias. The scarlet thistle (Erythrolï¾µna conspicua) ripens its seeds by being sown in the autumn, either in the open air and sheltered, or under a cold frame. Myrtles against the walls have stood out many years, and have ripened their berries, from which young plants have been raised. Thunbergia alata is sown in February, as an annual, for beds and borders. The georginas, instead of being tied to stakes, are pegged down, so as to cover the whole surface of the bed with a mass of flowers, a practice which we do not recollect to have seen elsewhere. Datura Metel, a very distinct species, which, with D. ceratocaulon and Martynia proboscidea, forms a singular ornament to the flower-garden. The tall red stems of Phytolacca decandra are here, at White Knights, at Frogmore, and at the Botanic Garden at Twickenham, bold and imposing ornaments, and their beauty is still greater when in fruit than when in flower. Mr. Greenshields prefers fire heat (55ᆭ) to dung heat, for growing mushrooms; the former, he thinks, producing too much moisture.