The Garden Guide

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

New Posso

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New Posso; Sir John Nasmyth, Bart. If we imagine a valley in the direction of east and west, with a narrow lake along the bottom, and the hills on each side gradually rising from the level of the water to the height of 600 or 800 feet, we shall form a general idea of the kind of scenery of which the house of New Posso forms a part. The house is placed about a third of the way up the slope which forms the south side of the valley, and of course looks to the north. There is scarcely another house to be seen but itself. The profound impression of melancholy produced by the scenery is not easily conceived by those who have not felt it: but it arises from the want of human habitations, or any thing like a village, for some miles before you arrive at the entrance gate; from the public road being evidently one not much frequented; and from the hill facing the north, in consequence of which the house and grounds are in direct shade, or in reflected light, great part of the day. Great part of the slope being naked, or only covered by young plantations, the eye readily measures it from the base to the summit; and at the top of the hill there are an ancient parish church and burying-ground, long since disused for any other purpose than as the family mausoleum. Down the hill-side runs a small clear stream, with occasional waterfalls and lateral expansions into pools, which forms a fine guide to a beautiful walk, winding and climbing along its banks till it terminates at the mausoleum. There are extensive old woods both to the right and left of the house, and many fine old ashes, beeches, oaks, sycamores, Scotch firs, larches, and acacias, some of which, through the kindness of Sir John Nasmyth and Mr. Lawson, have been figured and described in the Arboretum Britannicum. Along the brook and in a number of other places, masses of rhododendrons, with other evergreens and foreign shrubs, have been planted; and are already beginning to give a rich effect, and to counteract that naked, wild, and solitary appearance which is the natural expression of the place. Among the young trees in these masses we observed some thriving plants of Pinus Laricio, P. Cembra, and Irish yew; but, on the whole, there is a great want of different species both of trees and shrubs. We found, however, a plant of Cratï¾µgus tanacetifolia Celsiana, the only one which we saw in Scotland. These grounds are admirably adapted for planting an arboretum, including a pinetum; for the soil is dry and sandy, and the declivity is such as to prevent all risk from stagnant air, whether cold or moist. Large masses of plantation, to connect the woods on the right side of the house with those on the left, and to prevent the eye from measuring the ground from the base of the hill to the summit; as complete an arboretum as the climate will admit of; and a waterfall of 50 or 60 feet in height, to be seen from the windows of the house, and to drive away melancholy by its noise, appear to us the grand improvements which the place wants.