The Garden Guide

Book: History of Garden Design and Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 3: European Gardens (500AD-1850)

Garden on the Hellespont Turkey

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531. Willis's garden, on the shore of the Hellespont. In a narrow valley in Thrace, about eight miles from the Dardanelles, Mr. Hobhouse and his party proceeded up the valley along a beaten path, by the side of a brook, through, a grove of thickset trees, the hills impending on each side, and with their woody summits almost closing over their heads. After a short walk, they came in sight of a chiflik, or country-house, surrounded by a small pleasure-ground, and gardens, laid out in the Frank taste, and adorned with clumps of trees evidently not natives of the soil. On approaching the spot, their surprise was increased by the sight of a neat building, with attached offices, and a court-yard, fitted up with many of the implements and appurtenances of an English farm; and they were at a loss to account for so many exotic elegances, until they learnt that the place had been made by Mr. Richard Willis, an English gentleman, who, having chosen this valley for his retreat, purchased the land; and who, by transporting some fruit-trees and ornamental shrubs from England, and employing an English gardener, created on the shores of the Hellespont a country-seat not to be rivalled by any villa on the banks of the Thames. Mr. Hobhouse was, however, farther informed, that neither Mr. Willis's attachment to the spot, nor the pains which he had bestowed upon its embellishment, prevented the Turks, who did not choose to have a Frank holder among them, from obliging him to part with his purchase; and some signs of approaching waste and desolation observed by Mr. Hobhouse were sufficient to convince him that it had reverted to a Mahometan master. (Ibid., vol. ii. p. 800.) The country-house of the English consul is at Bounabat, and is distinguished at a distance by a large grove of cypresses. The mansion, fitted up altogether in the English taste, has an excellent garden and vineyard attached to it, and is inhabited by the family of the owner every year, from June till the end of September. (Ibid., p. 642.)