The Garden Guide

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

Hamilton Palace Park

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A palace ought to command not merely the park on which it stands, but the whole of the surrounding country, which should appear to belong to it; and this is only to be effected by showing a command over the public roads. The management of the estate of the Duke of Hamilton appears to be admirably conducted by Mr. Brown, who has superintendents for the different departments, whom he sent with us; and with them we inspected the home farm, the improving farms, and the park; and the resident upholsterer, who has the charge of the furniture, conducted us over the house. Unfortunately we neither saw the forester nor the gardener, both being from home. The garden scenery at Hamilton bears no sort of relation to the palace, and is evidently a mere temporary affair. The farming is admirable; and we were shown extensive tracts raised in value from a few shillings per acre to as many pounds, by the frequent-drain system, subsoil-ploughing, liming, and manuring, chiefly with bones. The soil in this part of the country, and through great part of the West of Scotland, is admirably adapted for the frequent-drain system, being retentive, and chiefly injured by the retention of the water that falls on it, rather than from subterranean springs. The young plantations we saw enough of to justify us in saying that they are too thick, and not pruned on Mr. Cree's system. The hedges are kept with the greatest care in the Berwickshire manner, which, though good in respect to pruning, is objectionable in the management of the soil by the process called tabling, which consists in taking it away from the extremities of the roots, where it supplies the fibrils with nourishment, and heap ing it up about the extremities of the plants, where it can do little or no good. To convince a Berwickshire man, however, that he is wrong either in farming or hedging, would require little less than a miracle.