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

Highclere garden design

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To show how thoroughly Lord Caernarvon had appreciated the principles of this practice, we copy an extract from his memorandum book, written at least forty years ago: - " 'The best way of planting large beech trees of any size is, to cut in the lateral branches, not close to the body, in the beginning of February; and, in the autumn following (or even in the same spring), to cut round the roots, and fill the earth in; letting it stand till the succeeding autumn, or longer, by which time the tree will have made young branches and young roots, and be in vigour, and fit, upon removal, to push immediate roots. It should be taken up without cutting the roots much more, and put into a hole with the earth in mud, filled in and well staked. The young roots will immediately strike, and the young branches shoot. Planting in earth made thick mud is an excellent way. The tree should be planted level with the ground; it suffers, if sunk below the level of the ground. The top or leading branch of a beech, indeed of any tree, should not be cut off.' "When riding round the grounds at Highclere, the fine taste which dictated the position of the masses of trees, and of single trees, is obvious: how much attention was bestowed upon this point by the above-named nobleman, another extract from his memorandum book will show; and it will, at the same time, afford a useful lesson to all planters and place improvers. "'In planting single trees about the house, great care should be taken not to hide the house from essential parts of the park; for, though they might be of advantage, when seen from the house, yet, viewed from Smart's Hill, Tent Hill, Hopgood Hill, also from Guines's Coppice, the head of a single tree may hide the house, though you may see under it from the house. Great care has been taken in placing the present trees; which might have been placed better, choosing their position from the house only, but, I think, could not have been placed any where else, taking into consideration the necessity of keeping the view of the house clear for the beauty of the above-named spots, giving at the same time sufficient grove near the house. The best way to ascertain the position of a tree is to fix a white pole, with a white rag hung to it, and then ride round the park to the heights from whence the house is seen. Till I adopted this plan, I was obliged to take away trees inadvertently planted, which is extremely mortifying.'