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 Garden

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Englefield House, R. P. Benyon de Beauvoir, Esq., is most nobly situated on the side of a considerable hill, covered with fine old wood. From the road the house (which is a building extended in length, with a tower-like projection at each end) is seen rising through the wood. There is nothing done in the way of pleasure-ground around it, but there is a most excellent kitchen-garden, managed by one of the best cultivators in England, Mr. Greenshields, author of an excellent paper on the pine-apple, in the Horticultural Transactions, quoted in our Encyc. of Gard., and also in this Magazine (Vol. I. p. 426.). Adjoining the kitchen-garden there is a flower-garden, with a conservatory, and a plant stove. The wall trees and other particulars respecting this place have been noticed by our correspondent, Mr. Saunders, (Vol. VI. p. 655.) The transplanted trees, which he there speaks of, are, however, plums against a wall, and not standard pears. The garden has been lately enlarged, and some new walls have been built: in one direction, where it is proposed to extend the garden still farther, Mr. Greenshields has put up a wavy 4 in. wall, 10 ft. high, which forms a very good fruit wall in the meantime, and can be removed at very little expense. This wall has no piers, and the coping is of semi-oval bricks (see Ency. of Gard., ᄎ 1567. 2d edition). Mr. Greenshields grows the winter Auchan pear here to very great perfection, and has now some trees trained in the en quenouille manner, but more systematically, and, indeed, more in the balloon manner, which have good crops. He intends to have balloons rising one out of another, each smaller than that below, so that the tree, when finished, will appear like a tapering column of pears, stuck into one another with the broad ends uppermost. The object is to gain room for kitchen crops, and to produce something new and varied in appearance. Much of his success, in our opinion, will depend on his being able to dispense with the use of the knife, and to substitute disbudding. The great advantage of this operation is, that it adjusts the strength of the roots to the required top or branches; whereas, when shoots are left on till it becomes necessary to cut them off with a knife, they have already done mischief, by over-strengthening the root. There is no man whom we know, who understands this subject so well as Mr. Main; and we would very strongly recommend his little work on vegetable physiology to every young gardener. We shall be disappointed, if, when the doctrine of disbudding comes to be thoroughly understood, it does not effect a very considerable change in the mode of managing every description of fruit tree which requires to be trained in any particular form, or kept within any particular dimensions less than what are natural to it. The Kerry pippin is a favourite apple here, and the standards of it are laden with fruit quite down to the ground. All the kitchen crops are cultivated in drills; even to lettuces and radishes. We saw remarkably fine Italian celery, a variety which Mr. Greenshields considers so much superior, both in flavour and crispness, to all others, that he does not cultivate any of them. He has sent a quantity of the seed to Mr. M'Arthur, of the Connaught Square nursery, through whom we hope it will be distributed all over the country. The pine-apples here appear to be of a particular variety of queen, which is very prolific in suckers, every plant having four or five, and some more. One of the peculiarities of Mr. Greenshields's mode of growing pines is, that of planting them deep in the pot. We never saw pines looking better, or a finer show of fruit.