The Garden Guide

Book: Gardening tours by J.C. Loudon 1831-1842
Chapter: Northern England and Southern Scotland in 1841

Airthrie Castle Garden

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August 8.-Stirling to Airthrie Castle, Deanston, and Blair-Drummond. The weather was unfavourable, but, notwithstanding, we were delighted with the day's excursion, which displayed to us a great variety of scenery, wood, water, rocks, hills, mountains, cottages, mansions, and manufactories. Airthrie Castle, Lord Abercrombie, is a noble place, from its woods backed by the Grampians, the beautiful varied park, with a large artificial lake, the house judiciously placed, and the kitchen-garden perfect, as regards culture and neatness, and the abundance and fine quality of the fruit. [Airthrie Castle is now part of Stirling University, Ed.] We regret we are unable to give the dimensions of some of the fine old trees, particularly the beeches, ashes, oaks, and sycamores, skirting the base of the hill which forms the north boundary of the park. What we were most struck with was the excellence of every thing pertaining to the kitchen-garden, even to the gardener's house, which was not only well situated with reference to the kitchen-garden, and placed in an airy healthy situation, but had a proper water-closet within the house, a circumstance of rare occurrence in Scotland, even in the houses of the wealthy farmers. In most kitchen-gardens that we visited in Scotland this year, we found very little fruit on the walls, but here, there was a good crop, and the grapes which we saw in the graperies obtained afterwards the first prize at the Caledonian horticultural show in September. The floors of the vineries are covered with large pebbles, we suppose, to reflect heat and retain moisture, and the plants are frequently watered with liquid manure; but on this subject the gardener, Mr. Cathie, has promised us an article. The only deficiency which we saw about the place was, a want of gravel in the walks of the pleasure-grounds, in consequence of which their edges wore too deep and raw. Adjoining the kitchen-garden are the remains of the old church of Loggie, which, with its bell turret, forms a very picturesque and venerable object from various parts of the grounds. Much might be said on this ruin, the burying-ground which surrounds it, and Ellen Smith, the last of her race, who lives in a cottage near it; but to do the subject justice would require more time and room than we can at present spare, and we therefore refer to Chambers's Journal for 1841, and to the Ladies' Magazine of Gardening, vol. i. p. 323.