The Garden Guide

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

Hamilton cottages

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With respect to the greater part of the houses composing the village or town, as it may now be called, they are, we suppose, built on feus, which are generally leases of 999 years; and the builders, as almost everywhere else in Scotland, seem to have carefully avoided showing the least appearance of improved design or of ornament. But what forms the greatest objection to the detached houses of Hamilton, is, that they have no front gardens, or, at least, we recollect very few, and they display no flowers or flowering shrubs. The plainest cottage that may be built can be rendered a delightful portion of scenery, if it be surrounded by a few square yards of ground, planted and cultivated with a little care and taste. Even if no creepers are trained against the walls of a cottage, two or three low trees, and especially pyramidal ones, such as the balsam poplar, the pyramidal common thorn, the Irish yew, Swedish juniper, Cembran pine, pyramidal oak, various kinds of pears, cherries, plums, and apples, and several varieties of the white-beam tree, with a number of others, all hardy enough to ripen their wood in this part of Scotland, would break the meagre sharp lines of the slated eaves that have no gutters (roans, as they are called here), and throw a shadow on the broad expanse of roof. It might, as it appears to us, be worth while for the Duke of Hamilton, and other extensive proprietors, each to maintain a small nursery of fruit-bearing and ornamental trees and shrubs suitable for planting cottage gardens, and give or sell them, not only to the cottagers on their own estates at a low price, but to all other cottagers in the surrounding country who choose to become purchasers. In this way, and by the occasional advice and assistance of an intelligent gardener, a taste for cottage gardens would soon spread over the country. We do not recollect much of the church or the market-house in Hamilton, but we have in our mind's eye a dissenting chapel, and its burying-ground, both of considerable size, and the chapel as deficient in every thing like design or taste as such a mass of building could well be. Even the workmanship appeared bad; there being apparently neither a truly perpendicular line in the walls or openings, nor a correctly horizontal line in the roof. Ivy, the Ayrshire rose, Clematis montana, and a few scattered trees, would totally change the character of this scenery.