The Garden Guide

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

Dalhousie Castle

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Dalhousie Castle; the Earl of Dalhousie. The castle has much of appropriate character, and, indeed, is one of the best habitable really old castles which we have seen in Scotland. Here the gateway, formerly shut with a portcullis, comes in as a feature with admirable effect. As the gardens and grounds are described and illustrated by engravings in our first Volume, we shall say little about them. The finest part of the place is the walk along the banks of the river to the kitchen-garden, and the walk back again on the other side through a wood. The late earl was much attached to this place, and greatly improved it, and his lady, it is well known, was an excellent botanist. Many American trees and shrubs were sent over by the earl whilst he was governor of Canada, only some of which are in a thriving state, owing to the poverty and humidity of the soil, and the proximity of more robust-growing trees. The best we saw was Pinus Banksiana, 14 ft. high. A hedge of evergreen hollies, the main stems of which have been cut at 3 ft., in order to throw vigour into the lateral branches, and cause them to spread out, forms the separation of the river walk from the kitchen-garden, and is decidedly the finest thing of the kind we have ever seen. The great variety of ground outline formed by the extension of the branches over the lawn, and of the outline against the sky from the different heights to which their extremities have turned up, the different kinds of variegation, and the different degrees of vigour, are sources of endless variety; while, all the plants being of the same species, the principle of unity is not interfered with. A most picturesque and beautiful screen is thus produced in a very limited space. No part of this hedge is above 7 ft. high, and many parts of it not more than 3 ft., and it varies from 6 ft. to 18 ft. in width. The line of these variegated hollies is indicated in the plan in our first Volume, p. 252. The silver firs on this estate were all killed a few years ago, when they were between 30 and 40 ft. high, by the mealy bug. A plant of Heracleum asperrimum was 11 ft. high, with the radical leaves covering a space 12 ft. in diameter.