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

Park Place

Previous - Next

Park Place, - Maitland, Esq. - We walked over the whole of the ruins, as they may be called, of this once magnificent place, in company with the excellent and very intelligent gardener, Mr. White; and often did we think of what it must have been in the time of the Prince de Ligne, when he went over it with its then proprietor, General Conway. At that time between forty and fifty men were employed in keeping it in order, and now there are only three, with one woman, kept for the same purpose. To expect any thing like high keeping, therefore, is quite out of the question, though it is really wonderful how much Mr. White has been able to effect with means so circumscribed. We cannot help deeply regretting that such a place is not kept up as it ought to be. It is grievous to see General Conway's buildings all going to decay, with the single exception of the druidical temple, presented to him by the inhabitants of the island of Jersey, where he was some time governor; and the rustic bridge, over which the public road is carried, and under which there is a vista to the Thames. Near the house are some magnificent old trees, particularly a cedar planted by George III., and supposed to be the most stately cedar tree in England, which we doubt not may be the case: if any surpass it, it must be some of those at Whitton. The soil in most parts of these grounds is a strong clay, very hard and dry in summer; and yet on this numerous rows of spruce fir trees have recently been planted, a tree which prefers soft soil in a low moist situation. In consequence of this, these trees, though not more than 10 ft. high, are covered with cones. Perhaps there is no tree for which the soil and situation are so ill adapted. The Thames, as seen from the Druid's temple, contains an island, which, with the banks, and the general outline of both the island and the river, might afford an excellent lesson to landscape-gardeners in imitating tame rivers in level parks. [Park Place Estate is between Remenham and Wargrave (opposite Henley-on-Thames)].