The Garden Guide

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

Blair Drummond Park

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In the park there is an artificial lake 1000 yards in length, and varying from 20 to 30 and 40 yards in breadth. At one end it contains a beautifully wooded island, on which there are a heronry and numerous jackdaws. On the water are swans, wild ducks, and other aquatic fowls. The walks in the grove behind the house command fine views of the western extremity of the Ochil Hills, Abbey Craig, Stirling Castle, Craigforth, Touch, and Campsie Hills, the village of Cambusbarn, and several gentlemen's seats. From the two approaches, to the north and west are views of Ben-Lomond and some of the Grampian Mountains, such as Ben-Ledie, Ben-Virlich, with several others, and the fine old ruins of Doune Castle. The Flanders Moss being now all brought under cultivation, the Persian wheel which raised the water for floating away the moss has been suffered to fall into decay, and is no longer, as it used to be, one of the sights eagerly visited by strangers. The labour of keeping the pleasure-ground here, as in all old places, might be considerably diminished by leaving off the digging, hoeing, and raking of the borders, and giving up the idea of growing herbaceous plants, roses, and such like articles in them. There is a kind of keeping appropriate to every place, according to its age. A newly formed place may have the shrubberies dug for a few years, till the permanent shrubs are firmly established; when herbaceous plants, roses, and such temporary shrubs as some of the short-lived species of Genista, Cytisus, Ribes, Rubus, &c., should be removed, and the ground sown down with grass, turfed up to the points of the recumbent branches, or allowed to become covered with moss, according to soil, situation, and other circumstances. After a place attains a certain age, such as Blair-Drummond, all the deciduous shrubs that are under the shade of trees should be removed, for assuredly there is no deciduous shrub that will thrive under trees, and only broad-leaved (as opposed to needle-leaved) evergreens retained, as they alone thrive in the shade. When evergreens among old trees are allowed abundance of room, they form splendid objects; the colour of the foliage becomes much darker than when the plants are fully exposed to the light; and it also shines more. In winter, nothing can be more delightful than to walk in such a wood, where, owing to the radiation being checked by the trees, the temperature is much milder than in an open shrubbery. There might be many fine walks of this kind at Blair-Drummond, if these hints were followed out.