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

Lawrentian Villa Drayton Green

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Mrs. Lawrence's Villa, Drayton Green. - July 27. This place, of limited extent, and possessing no material advantage except that of a dry soil on a subsoil of gravel, has been rendered a perfect bijou of floricultural beauty by the exertions and taste of Mrs. Lawrence. All the most rare and beautiful hardy flowers and peat earth shrubs are here assembled, and beautifully disposed in groups, in the natural or picturesque manner, on the smoothest lawn; interspersed with a few trees, and decorated with fountains, statuary, vases, rockwork, and basketwork. There is a green-house full of choice articles; and there is not a plant that is not grown in the very highest degree of perfection, or a scene that is not in the highest order and keeping. Among the plants that struck us as profusely covered with bloom, and beautifully grown, were the single and double Clematis florida, the yellow Chinese and yellow Noisette roses, the Calandrinia grandiflora, Petunia ph£nicea and nyctaginiflora; all the new fuchsias; Salpiglossis picta, atropurpurea, and Barclayana; Schizanthus pinnatus, retusus, and Hookeri; Verbena chamï¾µdrifolia, and others; showy nicotianas, Lupinus mutabilis, and others; Clarkia, Maurandya Barclayana; Salvia angustifolia, with its exquisitely blue blossoms; Anagallis Webbiana, and others, &c. A straight line or row of shrubs, used as a screen, is successfully varied by acute triangular projections on the turf, in the manner of what mantua-makers call vandykes (in allusion to the style of shirt-collar usually found in Vandyke's portraits); the triangles are of irregular size, at different distances of from 3 ft. to 5 ft., and are filled with flowers. The lawn here is one of the most beautifully kept we ever saw; and it is shaven with the mowing machine alone, with only the assistance of shears at the roots of the shrubs. Mrs. Lawrence attributes much of the high order and keeping of the whole to the care and attention of her head gardener Mr. Cornelius, brother to the foreman of that name in the hot-houses of Messrs. Lee's nursery.