The Garden Guide

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

Valleyfield Cottage Garden

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Valleyfield Cottage Garden, of which an account will be found in our Volume for 1840, p. 402., is chiefly remarkable as having been the scene of the experiments of Mr. George Drummond, made with a view of bringing French pears into an early state of bearing. These experiments were originally published in the Horticultural Transactions, but they are given at length in the volume of the Gardener's Magazine just referred to. They deserve the attentive study of the scientific gardener, particularly those which relate to the influence of water on the temperature of soil. The result is, that all water to be applied to the roots of plants ought to be exposed to the temperature of the atmosphere in which they grow, for a sufficient length of time to attain the same temperature. Hence the rule that every kitchen-garden ought to have a large shallow basin in a central situation, where the water being expanded in a thin stratum can be easily heated by the rays of the sun. As the warmest layer will always be on the surface, the water ought not to be drawn up by means of a pump, which will raise it from the bottom and colder part, but the watering-pot should be dipped into it. If the water, instead of being conducted to the basin by pipes or drains under ground, can be led to it in open gutters, or delivered by a jet, so as to diffuse it through the air before it falls into the basin, it will acquire the temperature of the air more rapidly than by any other mode; and hence jets d'eaux, which are commonly considered as nothing more than ornaments, are in reality, in gardens at least, most useful agents of culture. These remarks as to the temperature of water apply to flower-gardens, and to every description of plant structure, with this difference, that in these, where there are flues or hot-water pipes, the requisite temperature can be given in a shorter time. There is a large tank here for the preservation of sea fish, viz., flounders, soles, turbot, skate, sperlings, smelts, haddocks, whitings, salmon, herrings, &c., all found in the Forth. It is bordered with a bank, cased on both sides with stone, and finished with a parapet on the outer side, in which parapet there are stone boxes for receiving plants. A sluice admits the sea at high water, and, being shut when the tide begins to ebb, retains it. This tank was originally constructed by the late Lord Dundonald for producing salt by the natural evaporation of the sea water, but the scheme did not succeed. The garden is not extensive, and the cottage is small; but both must have been very ornamental and very interesting, when under the care of Mr. Drummond.