The Garden Guide

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

Garscube Entrance

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Having crossed a handsome and well placed bridge, we arrive at the porch, and soon enter the house by one step; but it struck us at the time that three steps would have given more dignity to the views from the apartments within, as well as the idea of a greater degree of security from damp to the stranger entering from without. The apartments seemed well arranged; and the conservatory had a noble effect, from the splendid irregularity of the masses of leaves and flowers which over-arched the paths, and clothed the back wall with a surface of vegetation, from which many branches protruded. It will require some management to preserve this character of luxuriance, and prevent the plants from choking one another and getting naked below. Cutting down will not always do, unless the plants happen to be of nearly the same degree of hardiness and vigour of growth, and grow and thrive in the same kind of soil. The cutting down and the cutting in systems, are generally the most economical, and may, at all events, be pursued for a few years; but ultimately the entire mass of soil, and all the plants, will require to be renewed. We could refer to many conservatories in England, where, from allowing every plant to assume its native vigour, and occupy whatever bulk it can in the house, the whole surface of the glass comes at last to be covered with, perhaps, a passiflora, and one or two acacias: and this takes place so gradually, that the proprietors of such conservatories are often not aware of the result; just as in some pleasure-grounds a few strong shrubs are allowed to take the lead, and choke all the rest. We have generally found that the best kept conservatories are those where the master or mistress is without the cares of a family. A good beginning is made at first when the party is perhaps newly married, but with the increase of children there is a necessity for greater economy, and the conservatory is one of the first gardening scenes connected with the house that is neglected, or on which no expense for new plants and soil is bestowed. This is far from being the case at Garscube; but we make this and similar remarks as being the only means of giving any value to this notice, since, being at the time in bad health, and having taken no memorandums, we cannot pretend to give accurate descriptions. Neither will it be supposed, we hope, that we intend to recommend a rigid and formal system of pruning and training in conservatories, like what we should wish to see in a peach-house or a vinery.