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

Stourhead trees

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We must not omit to mention a curious common spruce fir, which stands near the stone bridge we have condemned: three of the lower branches of this tree, resting on the ground, have taken root, and their points shot up into regular trees from 20 ft. to 30 ft. in height. The leading shoot of the parent tree appears to have been broken off at an early period, and the stem has in consequence put out a number of contending shoots, which reach the height of 30 ft. or 40 ft. from the ground. This tree, as well as some spruces at Syon, the Whim, and other places, proves most clearly, if proof were wanting, that the rooted cutting of a pine or fir branch may form a tree, as well as a seedling, though it does not always do so for some time. In another part of the grounds, beyond the ferry-boat passage, is Pyrus pinnatifida, grafted on a common thorn, a shoot from the stock forming an equally large tree with the scion. The road from Stourhead to Hindon is over undulating downs, apparently interminable in extent. At Willoughby Hedge Gate, a whole length picture of a shepherd arrested our attention, and we soon found that it was the work of the gatekeeper, Peter Hawkins, a self-taught artist, who has attained considerable proficiency in portrait-painting, not only without encouragement, but in opposition to the wishes of his father. The latter desired him to study other branches of knowledge; but he had no inclination for any thing but painting. This man, like Shindle, the porter at Tottenham Park (Vol. X. p. 418.), is evidently a genius; and, having the advantage of youth, it is much to be wished that some person of influence would be at the expense of supporting him a short time in London, where he would profit by having his talents brought into collision with genius of his own kind in a state of cultivation. We arrived at Hindon exceedingly fatigued, and shall there prepare ourselves by repose for examining Fonthill. (To be continued.)