The Garden Guide

Book: Gardening tours by J.C. Loudon 1831-1842
Chapter: Villa of Mrs. Lawrence, at Drayton Green, in 1838

Drayton Green Basins

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The margins of basins of this sort can be effectually disguised with rockwork, and this can be procured from the nearest brick-field, stone-quarry, or, perhaps, from old houses, which are taking down, chalk-pits, ferruginous gravel-pits, &c. If suitable vitrified bricks cannot be procured, common bricks may be joined together, in masses of any size and shape, by cement; and there is no reason why blocks so formed, or any other materials to be substituted for rockwork, should not receive weather stains artificially, no less than the walls of a house, where the object is to imitate an ancient building. As to the wooden cisterns, they will last long enough: and we know, from experience, that it is cheaper, in the end, to form such cisterns of wood, lined with lead, than to build cisterns of brickwork and cement; for, unless these are of considerable size, the cost is as great as where lead is employed; and they are much more apt to leak, and receive injury from frost. It is worthy of remark, that a good deal of the interest attached to the groups on the lawn of the Lawrencian Villa depends on the plants which are planted in the rockwork. Now, though every one cannot procure American ferns, and other plants of such rarity and beauty as are there displayed, yet there are hundreds of alpines, and many British ferns, which may be easily procured from botanic gardens, or by one botanist from another; and, even if no perennials could be obtained suitable for rockwork, there are the Californian annuals, which alone are sufficient to clothe erections of this kind with great beauty and variety of colouring. With regard to the statues, vases, &c., though some of these, at Drayton Green, are of bronze, marble, or stone, and have cost considerable sums, yet others of composition, equal in point of taste, though far inferior in pecuniary value, may readily be procured, at a moderate cost, of Austin's artificial stone, or of earthenware. We are aware that there are many persons, of a simple and severe taste, who will think that the Lawrencian Villa is too highly ornamented with statues and sculptures; but allowance must be made for individual taste, for devotion to the subject, and for the limited extent of the place. Were Mrs. Lawrence in possession of a villa of 100 acres, there can be no doubt that she would display on her lawn a taste as appropriate to a residence of that extent, as the taste she has displayed at Drayton Green is suitable for that place.