The Garden Guide

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

Glasgow to Uddingstone

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FROM Glasgow to Uddingstone the road is broad, firm, and smooth, accompanied by an excellent footpath; the fences are in good repair, the hedges well trained, the stone walls substantial, and frequently of ashlar-work. The crops of wheat, potatoes, and oats, and clover and rye-grass, are most luxuriant, without the appearance of a single weed, except in the margins of the fences, where they are not unfrequent, and at present coming into flower. This is a crying sin throughout Scotland. With the finest crops in the interior of the field that could possibly he wished, the vilest weeds, such as docks and thistles, are found flowering and running to seed in the hedgerow margins. We cannot make an exception in favour of any part of the country between Stirling and Kinross on the north, and Berwick-upon-Tweed on the south. It seems difficult to reconcile this slovenly conduct with reference to the margins and the road sides, with the care and culture exhibited in the interior of the fields; but we suppose it arises from this, that the benefit from keeping the crops clean is direct, while that from cutting down the weeds in the margins, being the prevention of their dissemination, is comparatively remote. We were particularly struck with the luxuriance of the weeds by the road sides in the neighbourhood of Paisley, and between that town and Glasgow; but we were soon able to account for it from the personal habits of the mass of the population, which are the very reverse of delicacy or cleanliness. There ought certainly to be some general law, as there is in some parts of Belgium and Germany, that all weeds whatever ought to be cut down before they come into flower, and that when this is not done by the occupant of the land on which they grow, it ought to be effected by a district officer, whose business it should be to attend to this and other public nuisances, at the occupier's expense. In some parts of the Continent parochial rewards are given for the unexpanded flower-buds of weeds, for the cocoons of insects, and for the young of different sorts of vermin; but we are not yet arrived at this degree of agricultural nicety.