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

Oxford Botanic hot houses

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The two principal compartments of the garden are devoted to herbaceous plants; the one to British and the other to European and American-species: the arrangement in both cases is Linnï¾µan. So badly are the flues in the hot-houses constructed, that Mr. Baxter informed us it required a whole afternoon's attendance to the fire to generate any sensible heat. In the central green-house there is no flue at all, but a small iron stove against the back wall behind the stage; and, what will amuse gardeners who have not seen the contrivances of the same kind on the Continent, there is a small iron four-wheeled waggon, which, in severe weather, is filled with burning charcoal, and drawn backwards and forwards along the front path by the gardener. There can be little doubt but that Bobart, who was a German, and the first gardener here, imported this waggon from his own country. In the library and museum, Mr. Baxter pointed out to us the herbariums of Gerarde, Dillenius, Morrison, and other old and eminent botanists; the first two volumes of Rudbeck's Campi Elysii, folio, full of wood engravings of plants of all countries, very scarce; this being the only copy of the first volume in England. There are only three copies of this volume, and six of the second, in the world: all the rest, with the whole of the copies of the remaining ten volumes of the work, were destroyed by fire; and grief for their loss is supposed to have occasioned Rudbeck's death. Every young gardener knows the genus Rudbeckia, named after this eminent, but unfortunate, botanist: he will now have some interesting ideas, which he can associate with the name when he sees the plant. It is much to be desired that a Biographical Dictionary of eminent Botanists and Naturalists were published, from which gardeners and others might draw a few ideas to associate with the commemorative names of plants. We made an attempt at this, in the first pages of our notes to the Encyclopï¾µdia of Plants; but, finding that we could not do it satisfactorily, for want of proper data, we gave it up. It would require a German botanist to undertake such a herculean task.