The Garden Guide

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

Drayton Green Garden Variety

Previous - Next

The decorated ground in the Lawrencian Villa is remarkable for the very great variety which it contains in a very limited space; and the secret of producing this variety consists in introducing numerous small groups of trees and shrubs, sometimes combined with flowers or climbers, at other times with rockwork, and with statues, fountains, basketwork, and so on. The trees and shrubs are of good kinds, though not remarkable in this respect, having been in part planted before the place was taken possession of by Mrs. Lawrence; but the flowering shrubs, including rhododendrons, azaleas, roses, &c., and the herbaceous flowers, are of the most rare and beautiful kinds. The collection of green-house and hot-house plants may be characterised as among the most select and valuable in the neighbourhood of London. The numerous prizes which Mrs. Lawrence has received, for some years past, from the Horticultural Society of London, evince the excellence of the articles which she exhibits at their meetings. The first prize which Mrs. Lawrence received from the Horticultural Society was the silver medal for plants sent to the exhibition at the Chiswick Garden in May, 1833; and the last, previously to the moment at which we now write, the silver Knightian medal, for a collection of plants exhibited in Regent Street, May 1. 1838; making in all 53 medals. (See Gard. Mag., art. "Horticultural Society and Garden," from 1833 to the present time.) As a general summary of the flora of the Lawrencian Villa, we may mention that there were, in April, 1838, exclusive of what were killed down by the frost of the preceding January, 212 species and varieties of hardy and half-hardy ornamental trees and shrubs; 130 species and varieties of hardy fruit trees; 600 species and varieties of hardy herbaceous plants; 30 species and varieties of British and American ferns, planted in the rockwork; 140 species of alpines, planted in the rockwork; 34 species of hardy aquatics, planted in the basins; 200 varieties of heartsease; 500 varieties of garden roses, creepers and standards; 12 varieties of ivy; 40 species and varieties of American plants; 9 species and varieties of hardy ligneous climbers; 140 species and varieties of florist's pelargoniums; 172 genera and 992 species and varieties of Botany Bay, China, and Cape shrubs; 134 genera and 340 species and varieties of hot-house plants; and 57 genera, and 227 species and varieties of stove Qrchideï¾µ. These numbers are taken from a manuscript catalogue, kindly lent to us by Mrs. Lawrence. Next to the grouping on the lawn, and the select collection in the green-houses and stoves, the points worthy of imitation in Mrs. Lawrence's management are, the high order and keeping which pervade every part of her residence, from the most obscure recesses of the offices, to the most brilliant scenes on the lawn. This is effected, also, by a smaller number of gardeners than might be expected: the number kept in the summer time being six, with one or two women for collecting insects and dead leaves, and during winter three. It is only farther necessary to add, that all the different scenes in these gardens, all the beds of flowers, pieces of rockwork, &c., as well as the green-houses and hot-houses, were designed by Mrs. Lawrence herself, and executed under her direction.