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


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In crossing the country to Strathfieldsaye, we observed a remarkably large yew tree in the churchyard at Sulhampstead; and a long, broad ditch, completely covered with Sagittaria sagittifolia; on the margin of which was abundance of Symphytum officinale. We passed a number of other large yew trees, and found also that this tree, of a large size, was abundant in the park at Strathfieldsaye. At Mortimer Street, the vicarage house has a very beautiful flower-garden and shrubbery, with a piece of water, the beauty of which may be fully enjoyed by passengers on the road. The grounds consist of two banks of turf, which slope down to the pond, and the whole is considerably below the eye of a person walking along the road. It would be easy to shut it out by a hedge of the ordinary height, but we commend the taste and good feeling of the proprietor, in wishing his neighbours and the public to participate in his enjoyments. We know nothing of this vicar, not even his name; but we have little doubt that he is a good man. It seems to us that every man, in ornamenting his house, his garden, or his estate, however small it may be, ought to consider not only his own gratification, but the ornament and benefit of his country. He ought always to ask himself, what the passers by will think of what he is doing. We passed some plantations of firs planted in straight lines 6 ft. apart, and of oaks 12 ft. apart; the trees in both cases 20 ft. high. This mode of planting seems to be common in this part of the country, and indeed, it is the only mode by which plantations can be sytematically cultivated and managed with a view to profit. At Swallowfield we found similar plantations, but in a younger state, and with four rows of potatoes cultivated with the plough in every interval between the trees. In passing along this cross road, the turnings and intersections were numerous, and, as there were scarcely any houses, if we had not had a good map, we could hardly have found our way. A great deal has been said respecting building cottages along the main roads, instead of milestones; but would it not be of more use to build cottages at the intersections of all roads ? We do not, however, desire this; for so great are the advantages of aggregation, that, as soon as the mass of society is properly educated, they will seldom be content to live otherwise than in or near to towns and villages.