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

Strathfieldsaye kitchen garden

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The kitchen-garden is of considerable extent, with several forcing houses and pits. Altogether, it is better than could be expected in a place which had been so long neglected; and it is made the very most of by Mr. Cooper. Mr. Cooper was educated as a gardener at Bulstrode, in the high and palmy days of gardening, under Mr. Haycroft, who studied the horticulture of the Dutch in Holland, and introduced at Bulstrode the forcing of fruit trees in Dutch pits. Mr. Cooper has done the same thing here, and he finds that peaches and apricots in pits, like those at Hylands, without heat, either from flues, dung, or any other means than are afforded by the sun and retained by a covering of glass, ripen their fruit a month sooner than the trees on the open walls. It is a great advantage to Mr. Cooper, that he has been educated under Mr. Haycroft; for, while it does not prevent him from trying every other manner of forcing, it enables him to adopt the Dutch mode with confidence. Our countrymen, the Scotch gardeners, on the other hand, are not only practically unacquainted with the Dutch mode, but they have the prejudices of us Scots to contend with, against adopting any thing with which we are not well acquainted. There are, however, exceptions among Scotch gardeners; and, among others, we may name our esteemed correspondent, Mr. Wood of Deepdene. Mr. Cooper forces 25 sorts of figs; the duke, like ourselves, esteeming that fruit beyond all others. Some trees which Mr. Cooper has removed from a wall to a forcing-house are 45 years old. There is a vinery stocked with plants 6 years old, producing an excellent crop. Mr. Cooper has invented a very excellent utensil for sending cut flowers to London, or to any distance, without injury: it is simply a cylinder of tin, or of any other suitable material, of 3 or 4 feet in length, and 8 or 9 inches in diameter. In the centre of this is a cylinder of tin of an inch in diameter, which fits into sockets in the bottom and in the lid. Round this small cylinder the flowers are tied as they are upon a maypole; the pole so charged is inserted in the socket in the bottom, then the tube is filled with water, and corked, and the lid put on, in which is a socket, which embraces the tube. The case may now be sent to any distance, the water keeping the flowers cool and fresh.