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

Taplow Lodge

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Taplow Lodge, Mrs. Tunno. - This is a pleasing place, of considerable extent. A striking feature, in approaching to the entrance front, is a detached conservatory with glass on all sides, and an architectural elevation, by Mr. Robert Stewart of Great Russell Street. The head gardener here, Mr. Holland, who is one of our correspondents, showed us remarkably fine crops of melons and Ribston pippins, the latter apple having this season produced large crops everywhere. A small conical-shaped tree of the Hawthornden apple was so laden with fruit from the base to the summit, that it presented a perfect cone of apples, the stem of the tree being totally concealed, and even great part of the leaves. Mr. Holland grows succory here in the open garden, during the summer season, and, in winter, he plants the loots in boxes, and places them under a stage in a house for forcing flowers, thus producing tender, crisp, and finely flavoured salad throughout the winter. The Cucumis flexuosus, or snake gourd, is here grown to great perfection as a curiosity; one plant being raised from seed every year. Of four fruit now on this plant, one measured 7 ft. 1 in.; another, 6 ft. 5 in.; and a third, 5 ft. 5 in. The fourth was impregnated, and swelling for producing seeds for the following season. It may be noticed here, for the sake of those who are not aware of the fact, that when gardeners wish cucumbers or gourds of any sort to grow long, and not thick, they prevent them from being fecundated by extracting the style and stigma immediately before the flower opens. The fruit grows slower when thus treated, but becomes much longer. When gardeners wish cucumbers to swell rapidly, so as to be cut early, not only are the stamens allowed to come to perfection, but the male flower is brought into contact with the female flower artificially. A Cunninghamia has here lived three years in the open ground without the slightest protection; and a bed of Fuchsia gracilis, five years. Some fine tree pelargoniums, on the lawn, we were informed, were of the variety called Rickett's seedling: the flowers were of a brilliant scarlet, and the plants of uncommon vigour, with from 80 to 100 flowers on one truss or umbel. The yellow rose likes this dry gravelly soil, and flowers in it freely, producing perfect flowers. What is very remarkable here is, that fine crops of melons are grown in pits entirely without the aid of bottom heat. Rock melons, grown in this manner, frequently weigh 8 lbs. Grange's broccoli is here cultivated, and produces heads all the year round. There is an elegant aviary for canaries, on a board against which are some verses by one of the Misses Tunno, addressing the birds on the subject of their want of liberty, which do equal credit to the head and heart of the authoress.