The Garden Guide

Book: History of Garden Design and Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 5: Gardens in Asia, America, Africa, Australia

Mount Washington consulate garden

Previous - Next

819. Mount Washington was the villa of the late American consul, Mr. Simpson, and is still in the possession of his family. The walk to this beautiful retreat, which is situated on very elevated ground, is exceedingly wild; and the interest is increased by the remains of an ancient aqueduct thrown over a picturesque glen. This aqueduct, which was built for the purpose of conveying water to Tangier, derived its supply from a spring which gushes from an elevated rock, and is distinguishable at some distance. A small country-house of the late English consul-general, Mr. Matier, is seen on the side of the hill. It is prettily situated, but has a desolate appearance, from not having been inhabited for some years. The road is merely a tangled broken path, winding up the side of the mountain, which is clothed with one continued thicket of arbutus, ilex, and gum cistus, and forms an impenetrable retreat for numerous wild boars, whose traces are visible at every step. In the surrounding valleys is found the algaroba, or locust tree, a bushy evergreen, which attains the size of a forest tree, and produces a pod resembling a gigantic kidneybean. This is of a sweet flavour; and, when dressed by the Moors, makes a dish by no means unpleasant to the taste. It is generally used, however, for feeding cattle. When dried, the pods are of a chocolate colour, and contain small, hard, reddish kernels, which will keep good for years. After a steep and lengthened ascent, says Brooke, 'we reached the summit, and were well repaid for our fatigue by the beauty of the view. The villa itself is deserted; but, looking down upon the ocean stretched at its feet, it commands a most enchanting view of the sea, hemmed in on one side by the dark gloomy barrier of the Barbary mountains, and on the other by the lofty rock and fortress of Gibraltar.' (Ibid., vol. ii. p. 296.)