The Garden Guide

Book: History of Garden Design and Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 4: British Gardens (1100-1830)

Early garden design in Scotland

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599. In the sixth century is supposed to have been formed the garden of the abbey of Icolmkill, in the Hebrides. It is thus noticed by Dr. Walker (Essays, vol. ii. p. 5.), from its remains as they appeared in the end of the eighteenth century - 'On a plain adjoining the gardens of the abbey, and surrounded by small hills, there are vestiges of a large piece of artificial water, which has consisted of several acres, and been contrived both for pleasure and utility. Its banks have been formed by art into walks; and though now a bog, you may perceive the remains of a broad green terrace passing through the middle of it, which has been raised considerably above the water. At the place where it had been dammed up, and where there are the marks of a sluice, the ruins of a mill are still to be seen, which served the inhabitants of the abbey for grinding the corn. Pleasure-grounds of this kind,' adds Dr. Walker, 'and a method of dressing grain, still unpractised in these remote islands, must, no doubt, have been considered, in early times, as matters of very high refinement.'