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

White Knights gardening

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White Knights has been celebrated in the gardening world from the middle of the last century, when it was laid out as a ferme ornee, and attracted the attention of Whately, Shenstone, Pope, and all the amateurs of landscape-gardening of the time; but its beauties as a ferme ornee were as nothing, when compared with those created by the Marquess of Blandford, "regardless," as the auctioneers say, "of expense." It is said to be the intention of Mr. Cholmeley to sell this estate; and we most sincerely hope that, if he does so, it may fall into the hands of some one who will keep it up properly. We do not care for having the hot-houses restored, nor are we exceedingly anxious that herbaceous plants or flowers of any kind should be continued in the house-garden, for that is already sufficiently crowded with trees and shrubs: what we chiefly desire is, to see all the rare trees and shrubs preserved, and new species added to them as they are introduced. We would remove all the common articles and duplicates from the house-garden, and all those which are too much crowded in "the wood," and plant them in the park, and we would restore "the wood" to its former state, and make a herbaceous ground there, with groups on the turf, according to the natural system. Were the town of Reading sufficiently rich, it would do them honour to purchase this park, and arrange it as a public garden, in which they might be joined by the gentry of the surrounding country, the privilege of visiting it being common to all. By having no hothouses, frames, or pits, except such as were necessary to protect and prepare flowers for turning out into beds in spring, the expense of keeping it up would not be much greater than what would be produced by the rent of the house and pasture land, and the sums which would be received from visiting parties coming from a distance. If the purchase of the whole estate, which includes above 1300 acres, cost 90,000l., a thousand acres might, perhaps, be sold off in small lots, so as to leave the 300 acres as profit: in that case, the rent would be easy.