The Garden Guide

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

Bothwell Castle flower garden

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In the flower-garden there is a greenhouse, containing an excellent collection of admirably grown heaths; Mr. Turnbull, the very intelligent gardener, being, in the culture of that genus, second only to Mr. M'Nab of Edinburgh. Mr. Turnbull is said to grow his heaths chiefly in peat, mixed with a little loam and leaf mould; so, at least, we were told some days afterwards. In and about the kitchen-garden there are some borders of flowers of the choicest kinds, and in the very highest degree of culture and keeping. Those that require tying were supported by props, in a manner sufficient without being conspicuous, and all the plants were in distinct tufts, round in the plan and conical in the elevation; the alpines often on cones of pebbles, about 5 in. at the base and 3 in. high. Many florist's flowers, such as calceolarias, lobelias, gladiolus, &c., were particularly rich and beautiful; and there were a great many choice herbaceous plants and alpines, besides a general collection of herbaceous plants in a different part of the garden. Penstemon Murrayanus was 10 ft. high. In the stove were some fine specimens, particularly of Nepenthes, Mr. Turnbull is very successful in propagating Statice arborea, we suppose in Mr. Cunningham's manner, by cutting the stems above the joints, to stimulate them to throw out shoots, to be taken off as cuttings (see Sub. Hort. p. 270.). There was but a poor crop of fruit on the walls and espaliers, which we attributed to the borders in both cases being cropped, and to the want of protection for the blossoms in spring. Gentlemen in Scotland have no idea of the care and expense taken and incurred in England to protect the blossoms of wall fruit trees. If they have laid out a kitchen-garden and built the walls, they think it quite enough, just as a planter of forest trees thinks the work is finished when he has filled the ground with so many thousand plants per acre. By not cropping the borders, by thatching peach borders occasionally in rainy autumns to prevent the rain from penetrating them, thereby checking the growth and ripening the wood, and by careful covering with canvass during the blossoming season, crops of wall fruit might be rendered nearly as certain and as abundant as crops of gooseberries. But very few country gentlemen in Scotland would go to the necessary expense. There is an excellent gardener's cottage, in the Gothic style, recently built here, with cast-iron hooded chimney-pots, to prevent the smoke from being blown clown the chimney; the situation being surrounded by high trees. We were informed that the plan was successful. We left Bothwell Castle deeply impressed with the grandeur of the scenery and the noble river, and full of respect and esteem for the moral worth and professional skill of Mr. Turnbull. (To be continued.)