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

Fairbairns Oxford Nursery

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Fairbairn's Nursery is close to the garden of St. John's. It is of very limited extent, but contains several forcing-houses and pits, and a number of good things. Mr. Fairbairn's great object in this nursery is to force strawberries, cucumbers, and flowers; finding that, at Oxford, these pay better than any thing else. One of his forcing-houses is heated by a smoke-flue from one of Witty's stoves, which has been improved in construction by Mr. Edwards, ironmonger, of Oxford. Mr. Fairbairn has another garden, chiefly for growing fruits and culinary vegetables, which, being at some distance, we did not go to see. The pits, in which he grows cucumbers all the winter, were heated by hot water. The pipes are conducted along the bottom of the pit; over these are placed narrow one-inch boards, about an inch apart, and over these a layer of turves. On these turves is placed a bed of mould, 18 in. thick, in which the plants are grown. We do not altogether approve of this plan, which, under a careless gardener, must be liable to some of the principal objections to a common hot-bed, viz., that of over-heating the roots, and that of having no power to produce a dry atmosphere. One pipe under the bed, and one over it at the front, would, we think, have been better.