The Garden Guide

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


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Alva; James Johnston, Esq. A long and rather steep road brings us to this demesne, which skirts the base of the Grampians, and rises high up their sides, and is remarkable for its extensive woods, and the rich prospect of the vale of the Forth, from the house and from the drives and walks in the grounds. There is a large well arranged and very productive kitchen-garden, and throughout the woods there are numerous large Portugal and common laurels, yews, hollies, and deciduous cypress. Among the trees there are many wild cherries, the leaves of which in the autumn become as red as blood; and this is also frequently the case with the birch on this estate. At our request Mr. Duncanson, the gardener here, gave us the following dimensions: various larches, fifty years planted, girting from 13 ft. to 14 ft., with clean straight trunks; Scotch pines, with trunks 3 ft. in diameter, and 75 ft. in length to the first branch; cedars of Lebanon 4 ft. in diameter, with 22 ft. of a clear trunk, and wide-spreading conical heads; silver firs 3 ft. 6 in. in diameter, and 100 ft. high, feathered with branches to the ground; oaks 5 ft. and 6 ft. in diameter, with erect trunks and majestic spreading heads; sweet chestnuts 5 ft. and 6 ft. in diameter, with clear trunks of 30 ft. and widely spreading heads; a walnut 13 ft. in circumference, with 15 ft. of a clear trunk, and a wide-spreading open head, containing some very large boughs, a splendid tree, and considered by Mr. Monteath, the author of the Forester's Guide, to be the largest in the country; numerous specimens of hemlock spruce 30 ft. high; and a number of pinasters, and some stone pines.