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

Hampstead Park flower garden

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There are several separate flower-gardens, each laid out with taste, and planted with the choicest species and varieties. Two of these flower-gardens have the beds surrounded by edgings of box, with gravel walks between, and open trelliswork summer-houses in the centre; and another has the beds on turf, and contains an octagon tea-room, very tastefully designed, and neatly finished and furnished. Under a wide-spreading common sycamore, of which there are many fine specimens at this place, projecting from a steep bank, there is a level semicircular platform bounded by a parapet wall, the coping to which is formed by a groove 6 in. wide and deep, on the top of the wall, filled with soil, and planted with sedums, saxifrages, and other rock and wall plants. The view over this parapet is to a wild wooded glen, with a rising bank of natural wood beyond; altogether a romantic scene. There are several green-houses, rather too green for our taste, because the woodwork is painted of that colour; but the plants within are excellently grown, as are those in a small hot-house. There is a wall for acclimatising tender plants, and for showy roses and climbers, on which, among other fine things frequently before named, are Billardiera longiflora, which is found perfectly hardy, and is now covered with its beautiful purple fruit. On the lawn in front of the house are numerous beds, rustic boxes, and several architectural ornaments, such as vases, &c.: but the latter, being placed on the turf, without any mural connection with the house, or any conspicuous architectural basement, are decidedly objectionable. Another garden contains a rustic arcade covered with creepers, which is very fine; and, in short, throughout the place there may be seen almost all the usual garden ornaments of the rustic and trellis kind. There is a boundary fence of woodwork, sawn and turned by machinery impelled by a water wheel; and so great are the economy and expedition produced by the employment of this power, that five men saw, plane, turn, and put together, in one day, nine panels of fence, each 9 ft. long, and 9.5 ft. high. There are numerous hybrid rhododendrons and azaleas, the types of most of which have been originated by Mr. Gowen, in the gardens at Highclere, and a variety of other articles and contrivances, of ingenuity and interest, all of which are admirably managed by the gardener, Mr. Dawkins.