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

Spring Grove Joseph Banks

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Spring Grove, formerly the seat of the late Sir Joseph Banks, is now the property of Henry Pownall, Esq. This gentleman has considerably improved the grounds by removing a wall which separated the kitchen-garden and part of the pleasure-grounds from a moat; and by turfing a part of the kitchen-garden, and laying it out as pleasure-ground. We observed some of the new plants introduced by the Horticultural Society thriving beautifully in the flower-beds; and some of the new pears, particularly Chapman's, grafted by Mr. Oldacre on the branches of old trees, producing abundant crops. Mr. Hutchinson, the present very intelligent gardener, is of opinion that standard fruit trees, with long-extended, depending, or dangling branches, which can be moved in all directions by the wind, are always more likely to produce fruit than trees with branches fixed against walls or espaliers; though they may not always be able to ripen their fruit equally well. Every one who has seen this place, even from the road, in Sir Joseph Banks's time, must recollect the fruit trees, with their branches trained downwards, from the top of the wall. This wall being now removed, some of the trees which remain have a very singular appearance: we can only compare them to leaves of the Borassus flabelliformis, with their footstalks stuck in the ground, and the greater part of the palm of the leaf turned downwards. There are here beds of the American cranberry, in dry soil, not peat, bearing abundant crops. Mr. Oldacre built a small pit in the melon-ground for growing his favourite St. Peter's grape. On enquiring for this pit, we were informed that, the glass roof having been removed, the walls were raised; and it has been turned into the head gardener's house. This is one of the most economical and ingenious modes of procuring a gardener's house that we ever heard of; but we cannot say much in favour either of its commodiousness or its comfort. Both the head gardener here Mr. Hutchinson, and his foreman Mr. Adamson, are naturalists; both have collections of indigenous shells, and the latter has a small cabinet of British insects, collected, arranged, and named by himself. On the bridge at the sixteenth milestone, and on various other bridges near London, there are copings of cast iron; which we cannot but consider as in bad taste, and by no means likely to last so long as stone, brick, or Roman cement.