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ART. III. Bicton Gardens, their Culture and Management. In a

Series of Letters to the Conductor. By James BARNES, Gardener to the Right Honourable Lady Rolle.

(Continued from p. 52.) LETTER X. The Rockery. The American Garden, I will now, according to my promise, give you a short description, and the circumference of a few of the finest specimens of trees and shrubs in the American Garden and Rockery. The Rockery is covered with a collection of plants far too great for me to enumerate at present. Amongst them are fine specimens of

many kinds of ferns, berberis, and ribes, of Cunninghàmia sinensis, &c. There is a constant supply of water coming out of the top of a pyramid of rocks in the centre of the rockwork, and trickling down the sides of it, thus forming a "weeping pillar ;” and there are pipes and stopcocks in various parts of the Rockery, so that you have merely to turn them, to water the whole of it at once.

The American Garden, adjoining the Rockery, has a lovely stream of clear water running through it, over a bed of the beautiful round pebbles for which our sea-coast is celebrated. In this stream you see trout of different sizes enjoying themselves unmolested. This is the most delightful part of the garden from April to July, with its rich collection of the rarest rhododendrons, consisting of fine plants of the following, viz. :R. campanulatum, and the hybrid tig. grandiflorum varieties.

Lee's purple

daùricum altàicum

atrovirens nepalénse

punctatum Glennyànum

myrtifolium venustum

chrysanthum stríctum

caucásicum arboreum

pulcherrimum roseum

Nobleànum rubicúndum

Russellianum álbum

prunifolium Webbiànum

Rollissonü acutifolium

Smithi supérbum

magnoliafolium coccineum

máximum grandifòrum altaclerense

mirábile prínceps

catawbiense macranthum

spléndens tigrinum

fràgrans, and many others. Clumps of the richest and handsomest Ghent and other azaleas.

Likewise clumps or beds of Andrómeda, Lyònia, large plants of Leucothoe floribunda ; arbutus of sorts, pernettyas, clethras;

kalmias, noble clumps; ledums, vacciniums; cistuses, many varieties ; helianthemums, all of these in fine clumps, of which it would fill a large book to give the names of all the varieties ; Viburnum Oʻpulus rosea ; Stuártia marylándica, syn. Malachodendron marylándicum.

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Height. Circumf. Name.

Ft. In. Ft. In. Cratæ'gus Douglasii

12 0 42 0 macracantha 10 0 38 0 Crús-gálliovalifòlia 11 0 19 0


Height. Circumf. Name.

Ft. In. Ft. In. Acàcia dealbata 20 0 38 0 Cércis canadensis 6 0 22 0

Siliquastrum 10 0 40 0 O‘lea europæ'a yar. buxifolia

5 6 10 0 Cedronélla triphylla 120 Othónna crassifolia - 10 0 Ozothamnus rosmarinifolius

10 0 Coronilla glauca 10 0 Ceanothus azùreus 13 0 The five last named

cover large

ovalifolia 14 0 42 0 obtusifolia 11 0 35 0 salicifolia

5 6 56 0 spléndens 14 0 40 0 punctata

13 0 39 0 orientalis

10 0 48 0 sanguínea 14 0 48 0 tanacetifolia 18 0 tanacetifolia 11 0 21 0 pyrifolia (edulis

10 0 14 0 pyrifolia

12 0 40 0 glandulosa

7 018 0 apifolia

10 0 390 coccinea

12 6 38 0 prunifolia

11 0 32 0 Pyracanthæfolia 8 0 nigra

16 0 27 0 lobàta

15 0 29 0 cordata

17 0 Oxyacántha me


Lod. Cat.)

space of wall. Salisburia adiantifolia

10 0 Calycanthus flóridus

lævigatus large
Cytisus sessilifòlius - 8 0 18 0
Bérberis asiática 16 0 39 0

Large plants of
Magnòlia acuminata 11 0 18 0




Soulangiana - 10 0 27 0 purpurea glauca

Thomsoniana 10 624 0 gracilis

Abies Smithidna

Pàvia discolor
U`lex europæ'a flòre

Cotoneaster micro- 5 0 18 0

14 0 24 0 Ailántus glandulosa



obtusàta parvifolia mexicana andmany others. Méspilus grandifòra 14 0 40 0 Photínia serrulata

(Cratæ gus glàbra Lod.)

15 0 Gleditschia hórrida - 12 0 24 0 Amelánchier Botry

àpium Ligustrum chinense Amygdalus nàna Laurus Benzoin Acer créticum Elæágnus horténsis latifolia

15 036 0 Andrómeda acuminàta .

6 0 38 0 Chimonánthus fràgrans

6 0 20 0

All the magnolias are good plants. Several varieties of escallonias, myrtles, daphnes, fine specimens of Andrómeda floribúnda, and many other fine and rare plants. A very lofty tree of Pópulus (álba var.) canescens: the trunk, at 4 ft. from the ground, is 22 ft. 6 in. in circumference; and it is 42 ft. to the first branch, and then about 54 ft. above the first branch; therefore, the whole height is about 96 ft. The large beech tree in the flower-garden you took great notice of, and wished for the dimensions. The trunk, 4 ft. from the ground, is 12 ft. 6 in. in circumference, clear trunk, 38 ft. to the first branch; the tree altogether is about 78 ft. high. There was another beech tree exactly similar to the one I have described, which stood in the corresponding situation in the flower-garden, but was blown down about four years ago, and in its fall did much damage to the Maltese vases, &c.

Bicton Gardens, Oct. 22. 1842.

LETTER XI. The Trees in the Park. The Lake, and the Aquatic Birds. I will now give you the dimensions of a few of the noble trees that are growing in Bicton Park. Taking them altogether, I think I never saw so fine a lot of trees growing on the same space of ground. Some of the brave old oaks measure, at 4 ft. from the ground, 17 ft. to 18 ft. in circumference, and many of them spread their branches round to an immense distance. Several elms, about the same size in circumference, from 86 ft. to 100 ft. high. Remarkably fine beeches from 84 ft. to 96 ft. high; at 4 ft. from the ground, measuring from 13 ft. to 19 ft. in circumference. A good specimen of a Lucombe oak, 68 ft. high, the circumference of which is 8 ft. 6 in. The largest ash I ever saw, measuring 85 ft. high, 12 ft. in circumference, and going up in a straight line 30 ft. to the first branch. There are many fine specimens of chestnuts, limes, &c.; indeed, the trees of all kinds thrive very well here.

There is in the park a beautiful lake with islands, on which is a fine collection of black and white swans, and all kinds of aquatic birds and fowls; and in the winter it is covered with wild fowls of all sorts, which are never permitted to be shot.

Bicton Gardens, Oct. 29. 1842.

Art. IV. On Bottom Heat. By R. ERRINGTON. The subject of bottom heat has been much canvassed of late, but still it is a thing of indefinite character, and not, in my opinion, appreciated according to its merits. Dr. Lindley, in his excellent work, The Theory of Horticulture, has, in a pointed and philosophical manner, endeavoured to draw attention to the subject. However, we want data to proceed upon; the vegetation year, or active period, is not confined by Nature to any given months, but moves by periodical fits. Those fits (a clumsy term, I confess,) are dependent chiefly on the relation that the bottom heat bears to that of the atmosphere.

I am of opinion that the average bottom heat of certain periods is much more in advance of the average of the atmosphere, at the same period, than is commonly imagined. I know it is common to say that the average bottom heat of the year is about 2 or 3 degrees in advance of the average atmospheric temperature ; but this, if correct, proves nothing, except that bottom heat is one of Nature's established principles.

To obtain the data requisite, the year should be divided into natural periods : one of these is obviously the rest period; a second points itself out as the excitable period; and a third as the perfecting or accumulating period. Now, it is not proper, I conceive, to plunge a thermometer 1 or 2 feet deep to ascertain how vegetation is influenced by bottom heat, seeing that the chief and most efficient volume of roots lies probably within from 6 in. to 9 in. of the surface. The radiation, too, from the surface may also be taken into consideration ; as the accumulation of heat by the end of August must be very considerable, especially within 3 in. of the surface.

The time was when bottom heat was only deemed essential for pines and cucumbers; but now few processes of any importance are conducted under glass without it.

Many complain that they cannot get their greenhouse and conservatory as gay through the months of December, January, and February, as they could wish ; and I do not wonder at it. If plants in a somewhat dormant state are to be subjected to a higher temperature all of a sudden, without activity of root, what can be expected but abortions ?

I am led to make these remarks in consequence of observing the effect of bottom heat in flower-forcing in general, more especially Dutch bulbs. Mine have been unusually early and good ; and I adopt a practice which deserves to be more generally known. My hyacinths, narcissuses, &c., are potted at the usual time and in the usual way, and immediately plunged over head in old tan. This so far is every body's plan ; but about the end of October I take them up, and prepare a bottom heat of from 75° to 80° of dung and leaves, between the bricked asparagus pits, and place the pots thereon, covering them as before with old tan. When this heat declines, I prepare the next pit in like way, and remove them into it; keeping them, in fact, in a similar bottom heat constantly. By these means I get my root in advance of the bud ; for, this season, having paid close attention to their movements, I found the pots were full of roots, and well coiled round the bottoms of the pots, before the buds were an inch long. This I conceive to be a point of high importance; for on removing them from the asparagus pits to a forcing-pit of dung and leaves, where the bottom heat was 80°, and the top heat averaging 65°, the buds came up like magic, and were in bloom in a surprisingly short period.

The same principle applies to nearly all of what are termed forcing flowers; not excepting strawberries, which, in my opinion, would be much benefited by such a process. However, I have not yet proved this with strawberries, although I have several experiments in progress, bearing on the subject of bottom heat, which I shall probably make known as soon as completed.

When the various flowers possessing capabilities for forcing are taken into consideration, we may fairly conclude that our conservatories and greenhouses ought to be as gay in the month of January as during any part of summer, and so, in fact, have mine been ; for I have had abundance of camellias constantly from the first of November (some thousands of blossoms), violets, lilies, azaleas, bulbs, justicias, lilacs, eranthemums, and scarlet geraniums, in great profusion, now, indeed, a complete blaze of colour.

Oulton Park, near Tarporley, Jan. 20. 1843.


Art. V. On pulverising Soil. By John Wighton. Thougn it is certain that nothing is created without some specific purpose, a inan may be tempted to ask, What can be the use of weeds, seeing that they encumber the ground, and choke up the crops ? The labourer, more industrious than learned, may imagine that weeds are sent to afford him employment in rooting them out; and he may not be altogether wrong, though he does not carry his view far enough. The advantage does not end here; for, in the act of hoeing the weeds, the soil is pulverised, and thereby encouragement given to the growth of the crops. But for the necessity of hoeing up weeds, this important process of stirring and breaking up the soil would be, it is to be feared, much neglected. However, since the days of Tull, the benefit of pulverising the soil is better understood ; and, though many plans of that great agriculturist were ridiculed in his day, they are now in common

He tells us that it is of more consequence to 'stir the soil than to manure it, in short, that if the former be practised, manure will not be wanted; and that hoeing ought to be done at all times, instead of weeding. It is useless for me to coinment on the first; and hoeing is not at all times practicable. Weeds will not die in wet weather ; and it is injurious to tread upon the land at that time. Hoeing, moreover, is hurtful to some crops in very dry weather, from letting too much moisture escape, notwithstanding the opinion of Tull. A proof of this is the fact that the best onions often grow on the hard paths between the beds. The reason is obvious; the firm soil retains moisture longer than that which is loose. This circumstance led to the practice of treading down onion-beds fresh sown, as also of pressing down dry earth in which fine seeds are sown.

I have said enough above to obviate the supposition that I am opposed to hoeing or stirring the soil

. Mr. Barnes, too, has noticed its great utility in the November Number of this Magazine, for which its readers are much indebted to him. He justly observes that gardeners have many kinds of blights to contend against, without the injury caused by handling the fruit, as servants are too much in the habit of doing, before it reaches the master's table. This, however, is irrelevant to the subject before us. In justice to Tull

, I will give his words on the subject of hoeing in dry weather, at p. 27, 28.:—“Dews moisten the land when fine. Dig a hole in the hard dry ground, in the driest weather, as deep as the plough ought to reach; beat the earth very fine, fill the hole therewith, and, after a few nights' dews, you will find this fine earth become moist at bottom, and the hard ground all round become dry.” From this he observes : “ In the driest weather, good hoeing procures moisture to the roots; though the ignorant and incurious fancy it lets in the drought, and therefore are afraid to hoe their plants at such a time.” Although Cuthbert W. Johnston calls these enlightened observations, they are not very clear. Though it is said that vapour is absorbed by the soil, Tull's experiment does not prove it; for, if such were the fact, the soil would have been wet at the top instead of the bottom. The truth is, that the hole was a vent for the vapours to ascend from below. Upon this Tull might safely have founded his belief, that hoeing in dry weather gives moisture to the roots of young plants ; but there is danger, on the other hand, of letting too much escape. Young turnip plants can, perhaps, stand drought better than wet cold weather. This appeared by the bad crops on good land which retained moisture, and the good crops on poor land which did not, in Norfolk, in the year 18+1. As to the earth's absorbing vapour, it is not apparent in this case. I may be wrong here ; but I can safely say that the evaporation from the earth is far greater than any absorption by it. To illustrate this, there is no need of enquiry into the theory and phenomena of dews; it is enough to make the simple experiment of covering part of a seedbed with a mat. The under side of the mat will be found wet, while the upper will remain dry, like the exposed surface of the bed. Tull did not

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