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 walled garden

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In a walled flower-garden, on a declivity facing the south, and concealed by wood, are innumerable valuable plants. The exterior of the wall is varied by piers and arches of ivy, the panels between being filled in with choice deciduous climbers and roses. In this garden we found fine collections of carnations, pinks, and other florist's flowers; beds of hybrid ixias, and other hybrid Irideï¾µ, raised by that enthusiastic vegetable hybridiser, the Hon. and Rev. William Herbert of Spofforth, brother to the late Earl of Caernarvon, whose garden has been described by a correspondent. (VI. 531.) We were delighted to find here that Gladiolus natalensis propagates so readily by offsets, that one bulb will produce 100 in a season, which, when well treated, will flower the following year. We trust soon to see it in every cottage garden. Cypella Herberti, a beautiful ixia-like plant, was in flower. In the plant stove there is a good collection of epiphytes, well grown, especially rhinanthera. Plumieria bicolor was in flower; and also a large plant of Lagerstr£mia indica, besides numerous smaller or more common articles. The crops of grapes, peaches, and pines, in the houses and pits in this garden, were good. To produce a moist heat from hot-water pipes in the pine-pits, Mr. Carton (the very excellent gardener) had them covered with moss, which he watered occasionally with clear water; and, if we remember correctly, occasionally with horse-dung water, in order to produce ammoniacal gas to destroy insects, and carbonic gas to nourish the plants. The practice of watering with horse-dung water, we believe, originated with Mr. Pillans, late foreman to Mr. Forrest at Syon, and now head-gardener to Lord Ducie at Woodchester Park, near Minchinhampton, Gloucestershire; who, we hope, will favour our readers with an account of this and some of his other new and valuable practices. We observed a number of vines, in pots, raised from the eye the same season, which were expected to produce several bunches of fruit each the next year. The cuttings of the vines are first planted in very small pots, and shifted, as they advance in growth, into pots of larger size, till the latter are, at last, a foot in diameter, when they are placed in large saucers, and fed with liquid manure. The pots are placed at the back of the house, close under the glass, and the shoots are trained on wires down the slope, so as to give the leaves every advantage of sun and heat. It is expected that each vine will produce five or six bunches of grapes; those of Mr. Pillans, similarly treated, having produced 450 lb. of grapes from seventy pots; the vines, when the fruit was ripe, not being more than eighteen months from the eye. This may be considered as the extraordinary result of extraordinary skill, attention, and perseverance. It may be useful and commendable in gentlemen's gardens; but, as it requires much more labour, as well as skill, than can be afforded by most persons who wish to grow grapes, it is not intended to supersede the simpler and more certain modes. It may be considered as a prize essay.