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

Stoke Place gardener

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The gardener's house is in the kitchen-garden, centrally situated, so as to overlook the whole from the bed-rooms, which are three in number, over a parlour, kitchen, and back kitchen. Certain cupboards and other fixtures belong to the house, and therefore cost the in-coming occupier nothing: but we would strongly recommend to such gardeners as have it in their power, to introduce the custom of having all the principal articles of furniture, such as tables, chairs, chests of drawers, bedsteads and bedding, considered as belonging to the house, to be taken to by every occupant, from his master, at a valuation, on entering, and taken from him in the same manner at leaving. No money need be required to be paid by the entering gardener till his leaving, when he should merely pay to his employer the difference between the first valuation and the last. A very little reflection will convince gardeners and their employers that this plan would be the best for all parties. There are two excellent mushroom houses here, with brick arched roofs, Mr. Patrick having found that roofs for mushroom houses of which wood forms a part soon rot. One of these houses, which is for winter use, is heated with hot water; the other, for summer use, is not heated at all. In the latter was a very abundant crop, on the surface of a covering of clayey loam, like grafting clay, the second spit being used in order to avoid worms. The clay is much thicker, moister, and harder beaten than is usual among mushroom-growers. Mushroom beds treated in this manner are a week or two longer in coming into bearing, but they last nearly double the time of beds made up in the common way. Several pits and houses are heated by hot water on the level system, by a single pipe going out near the top of an open boiler, and gradually declining in its course, so as to enter, on its return, at the bottom. The boiler is drawn together at the top to a diameter of eight or ten inches, which may be covered with a lid. Where the situation admits, this is one of the simplest and cheapest modes that we know of circulating hot water. In the front of the house there are some fine old cedars; one, with a thick, straight, high top, which bears only male blossoms, while all the others have short trunks, spread out into numerous arms, and produce seed-cones. Mr. Patrick has observed that cedars of the former habit are always the handsomest trees. The house has two distinct fronts; and from the entrance front, and the approach to it, no idea can be formed of the splendid view which is obtained from the lawn front. This, in our eyes, is one of the greatest beauties in the management of a country house and grounds. The walks were everywhere entirely to our taste, having the grass not more than an inch above the level of the gravel, and having the verges clipped, and not cut, so that every appearance of newness and workmanship was avoided. The family residing abroad, the place was not, in other respects, in very high keeping. Opposite the entrance gates of this place there is a very neat Gothic cottage, having a highly kept lawn, beautifully varied with beds of flowers.