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think the contrary: to test the thing, I gave a squirrel a dead swallow, and he soon devoured it. I repeated this with other birds, and the same thing always happened. Mr. Waterton can hardly object to what I have just stated, as he did to Mr. Coward, viz. “You cannot judge of the real habits of an animal when it is in confinement;" for the squirrel in question was but a few days before a free denizen of the wood, and was well supplied with his favourite kind of food at the time he eat the birds. This squirrel soon got tame; also a female, which brought forth three young ones. This gave me an opportunity of observing their habits when young. At first they were helpless ugly creatures, blind four weeks and some days, and it was three weeks more before they began to frisk about. The nest was of loose construction, but soft and warm within, similar to those on trees, having an entrance in the side. Perhaps the reader is not aware that, when a squirrel's nest is disturbed, the mother will carry off the young to another one for safety: if once the hand has been in the nest, it is quite enough; it is of little use to leave the young until they get more advanced in growth, for they are sure to be gone. I may mention a very simple plan to catch squirrels, when they happen to be on detached trees. Put a small wire noose on the end of a long pole like a fishing-rod; ascend the tree leaving a few gaping folks below, to prevent the descent of the squirrel ; with a deal of manæuvring try and put the noose over his head, and pull him gently down. Whoever is to get hold of him ought to be well provided with good gloves, otherwise he may have to repent of acting Jack Catch upon Mr. Squirrel. Perhaps Mr. Waterton may consider that I “ deserve a birch rod” for what I have said, as he thought the Wiltshire shepherds did who backed Mr. Coward in his belief of the carnivorous propensities of the squirrel; if so, I can only say what I have stated is correct.
Cossey Gardens, Jan. 3. 1843.
Art. VIII. On Grouping Trees in Parks and Pleasure-Grounds.
By R. Errington. Groups of trees, of considerable size, it is well known, are often planted in park and other open scenery, yet seldom have I seen it performed in a satisfactory way. I have noticed attempts of this kind, in which the trees being all of a size, and planted in the most circumspect way, at measured distances, would have led one to suspect they had been planned and planted by the carpenter.
No one, in my opinion, can plant a group of trees of considerable size, for immediate effect, without in the first place having a variety of heights disposed in a somewhat irregular way. Thick planting also must be had recourse to in many instances, or how shall the pendulous inclination of stems or branches be produced that gives graceful outline to the vista ?
The operator in this case must set aside the idea of planting for profit, for this is in some degree incompatible with the effect which is sought to be produced. I once saw a park in which grouping with large trees for immediate effect had been attempted to a very great extent, and it was in its results a most miserable failure ; the park was of immense extent, and presented in many places rather agreeable folds of ground, which, although not possessing expression enough for the picturesque, would, by judicious planting, have produced considerable diversity. Groups here and there were attempted of some twenty or thirty trees scattered at about equal distances and of equal heights; their distance asunder was so considerable, that they could not be said to act in unison in producing effect. Added to this they had been planted without the necessary preparation of making the holes, &c. ; for, the soil being a stiff retentive clay, and withal what is termed technically “thin-skinned, it could not be expected that trees of from 20 ft. to 30 ft. high could flourish
without some previous preparation, and a little of what gardeners term "pruning."
As regards planting groups for immediate effect, two things ae indispensably necessary, premising of course a judicious choice of situation. In the first place, capacious holes, adapted to the size of the tree, in making of which the upper or useful soil (if good), and the subsoil, should be thrown out in distinct heaps ; and last, though not least, sufficient choice of trees, both as regards height and form, reserving the most pendulous or inclining forms for the exterior of the groups.
If the subsoil be a retentive clay, the trees can of course make no root to be depended on below the general clayey surface, therefore what they cannot do below must be done above. In this case, the tree should be planted on a mound, and the true collar of the tree should be nearly a foot above the common surface. A small cart-load of prepared soil should be ready for each tree, composed of one half free loam, and one half vegetable matter, well blended ; this should be trimmed in amongst the fibres, and finally topped up with the original surface soil.
One of the most general faults that I am aware of, in the pleasure-grounds or shrubberies of the wealthy, is, the definite line formed by the sudden trans. ition from the pleasure-ground to the park. How frequently do we see a wire fence in this position; studded on the one side like a nursery, with a dense mass of chiefly evergreens, and either suddenly naked on the other side, or with a few large deciduous timber trees, which (in winter at least) form no bond of connexion! Sir Uvedale Price and others have said much about masses of holly and thorn as connecting links, and to break the browsing line; but how few attend to it, although few dispute the principle!
After all, the best groups are and can be made out of enclosed plantations, provided the “ painter's eye” has been at work. Here, by studying the varying forms, and seizing on what Price or some author calls “ accidents,” graceful groups may be formed, full of intricacy, possessing a good sky outline, together with a gracefully fringed vista; and, if the position of the plantation has been well selected, groups complete in themselves as to form, and conducive to the general effect, may be produced.
Qulion Park, near Tarporley, Dec. 1842.
ART. IX. The Holly. By CHARLES WATERTON, Esq.
See, Winter comes to rule the varied year,
THOMSON. I am very partial to the holly, the yew, and the ivy. They give both food and shelter to the birds ; whilst their charming green foliage makes us almost forget that winter has set in. The holly claims my preference; for, in addition to food and shelter, it affords an impenetrable retreat to those birds which take up their quarters on its branches for the night.
Our ancestors knew and felt the value of the holly hedge, when the wintry blast whistled through the naked hawthorn. Hence they raised it as a barrier against the north; and, on the breaking of the clouds at noon, they would resort to the protection which it offered, and there enjoy the sun's delightful presence. But modern innovation, which, in nine times out of ten, does more harm than good, seems to have condemned the holly hedge as a thing of stiff unsightly form, and in its vacant place has introduced a scanty sprinkling of isolated plants. I own that I am for the warm arboreous plan of ancient days; and thus I never pass a garden where yew and holly hedges grow without stopping to admire them, and then I proceed onwards with favourable notions of the owner's taste.
But, to the holly in particular. I am so convinced of its utility both to men and birds, that I have spared no pains in rearing it as a shelter from the cold, when Boreas, sure harbinger of storms, sweeps over the dreary waste.
The deeper and richer the soil, so much the better for the holly. Still
, this favourite plant of mine will thrive almost in any soil, and even amongst the clefts of rocks, where there is scarcely any soil at all. Neither can any of the four rude winds of heaven affect the perpendicular growth of the holly tree, although they make an impression upon the sturdy oak itself. Thus, in this neighbourhood, whilst we see the elm and the beech leaning towards the east by the overbearing pressure of the western blast, we find that the holly has not given way to its impetuosity. Indeed, keep the roots of the holly clear of stagnant water, and you have little more to do, for it forms its own defence; and, moreover, it has one advantage over most other plants, namely, it can push its way successfully up amid surrounding shade and pressure. Its lateral branches, too, will take root, so soon as they come in contact with the soft soil beneath them.
If you place a young holly plant in a full-grown hawthorn hedge, it will vegetate in that incommodious site; and will manage, at last, to raise its head aloft, and flourish clear of all opposition. Thus, driven from his native home, perhaps through scarcity of wheat and whiskey, I have known a hardy son of Caledonia, although put in a situation apparently hostile to advancement either in fame or in fortune, maintain himself under fearful trials of adversity. In process of time, his perseverance and honesty were crowned with complete success. He took kindly to it, where you thought there would be no chance of ever getting on; but, by carefully watching his hour of advance, in the death of this competitor or in the negligence of that, this frugal, careful, steady emigrator from the North moved slowly onwards, till, in due good time, he passed through all surrounding difficulties; and, having got at last into the full sunshine of good fortune, he there took the lead on the high road to long expected wealth and honours.
He whose nerves would be affected at the sight of a straight holly hedge, might prevent their irritation by forming a crescent; say a segment of a circle to a radius of sixty yards. This would present a fine appearance to the eye, whilst it shut out both the north-west and the north-east winds of winter. Hollies, too, may be planted in a clump, with very pleasing effect to the beholder. I consider a regularly formed clump of hollies to be the perfection of beauty, in grouped arboreal design. One single tree of mountain ash in the centre of this would add another charm to it, and would be of use to the ornithologist at the close of summer. When the holly trees are in full bearing, and the berries ripe, we may roam a long while through the whole extent of British botany, before we find a sight more charming to the eye than the intermixture of bright red and green which this lovely plant produces.
I have a fine circular clump of holies here, under which the pheasants are fed ; and to which, throughout the whole of the winter, a vast number of sparrows, green linnets, buntings, blackbirds, and some starlings resort, to take their nocturnal repose in peace and quiet. The holly sheds a large proportion of its leaves after the summer has set in. These remain on the ground in thick profusion. So formidable are their hard and pointed spikes to the feet of prowling quadrupeds, that neither the cat, nor the weasel, nor the foumart, nor the fox, nor even the ever-hungry Hanoverian rat, dare invade the well-defended territory. Hence the birds, which in yew trees and in ivy would be exposed to inevitable destruction from the attacks of these merciless foes, are safe from danger in the holly bush.
People generally imagine that the holly is of tardy growth. It may be so in ordinary cases; but means may be adopted to make this plant increase with such effect as to repay us amply for all our extra labour and expense. Thus, let us dig the ground to a full yard in depth, and plant the hollies during the last week of May, taking care to puddle their roots well into the pulverised soil. We shall find, by the end of September, that many of the plants will have shot nearly a foot in length, and that not one of them has failed, let the summer have been ever so dry. Small plants, bought in a nursery, and placed in your own garden for a couple of years, will be admirably adapted for the process of transplanting. Had I been aware in early life of this encouraging growth of the holly, it should have formed all my fences in lieu of hawthorn, which, after arriving at full maturity, suddenly turns brown in summer, and dies in a few weeks, without having given any other previous notice of near approaching decay.
Birds in general are not fond of holly berries; but many sorts will feed upon them when driven by“ necessity's supreme command." Thus, during the time that the fields are clad in snow, and the heps and the haws have already been consumed, then it is that the redwing, the blackbird, the fieldfare, and the stormcock, numbed by the cold, and bold through want of food, come to the berry-bearing holly close to your house,
and there too often fall a prey to the gun of the designing fowler.
In these days of phantom schemes and national extravagance, when work is scarce and penury fast increasing, the holly tree is doomed to suffer from the lawless pilferer's hand. least expected, you find it arrested in its growth. Its smaller branches by degrees lose their vitality, and, by the end of the following year, one half of the tree appears as though it had received a blast from the passing thunder-storm. This declining aspect of the holly has been occasioned by the hand of sordid mischief. It is well known that birdlime is produced from its bark. In the spring of the year, at earliest dawn of day, our finest holly trees in this neighbourhood are stripped of large pieces of their bark by strolling vagabonds, who sell it to the nearest druggist. So common has this act of depredation been in this vicinity, that I should be at a loss to find a single holly tree, in any hedge outside of the park wall, that has escaped the knife of these unthinking spoilers.
Some six or seven years ago, there stood in the ornamented grounds of my baronet neighbour a variegated holly of magnificent growth, and it bore abundant crops of berries; a circumstance not very frequent in hollies of this kind. Many a half hour have I stood to admire this fine production of nature; for it was unparalleled, in this part of Yorkshire, in beauty, size, and vigour. But, at last, it was doomed to perish by a plundering and an unknown hand: one morning in spring I found the whole of its bark stripped off the bole, for full 2 ft. in length. Notwithstanding this disaster, the berries became ripe in due time; whilst its leaves apparently retained their wonted verdure upon the greater branches. Even the year following it was alive, and put forth new leaves and blossoms; but the leaves were of a stinted growth, and the berries did not attain their usual size. During the course of the third year from the day of its misfortune, the whole of the foliage fell to the ground; and then the tree itself became, like our giant debt, a dead unsightly weight upon the land.
Walton Hall, Jan. 19. 1843.
Memorandum. — The stormcock sang sweetly here every day throughout the whole of December, 1842, a circumstance never known before in my time. — C. W.
Feb. 13. — The late hurricane has made sad havock amongst my trees. The ring-doves cooed, this year, a full fortnight before their time. Still, the fine weather has not induced the chaffinch to sing a day sooner than his wonted period. The blackbirds had begun to arrange things for their nuptials, but old Boreas appeared last week and peremptorily forbade the banns.-C. W.