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time past, I have thought them degenerating into something like horse-racing.
It has been my opinion for some years, that, to reward the skill and industry of a gardener properly, the whole of the plants and gardens under his charge ought to be taken into consideration, by a committee of practical gardeners like himself. These ought to examine the fruits and vegetables which he raises, to see whether they are of good kinds, well grown, healthy, and without insects or diseases; to observe the order and beauty of his flower-gardens, pleasure-grounds, walks, and, in short, every thing under his care, from the stoke-holes of the furnaces, and root-cellar, fruit-room, onion-loft, and tool-house, to the botanic stoves and conservatories. Then let him only be rewarded who excelled in the greatest number of things, taking his place altogether; and had not only the best productions, but exhibited the best order and highest keeping. If something of this kind were set on foot, I am persuaded it would be a greater stimulus to improvement in gardening than the present mode of giving premiums for fine specimens, which are generally either produced by gardeners to the neglect of almost every thing else under their charge, or purchased by their employers in the spirit of gambling. At the same time, I would not altogether give up awarding prizes for single productions ; but I would do this under such regulations as would insure their being grown by the exhibitors.
Bicton Gardens, Dec. 1842.
Art. II. 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. 34.) LETTER VIII. The Flower-Gardens. List of Plants. The first thing you noticed in the flower-gardens here was a peculiar sort of broom I have had made for sweeping up the grass walks, &c., the most useful and expeditious I have ever met with. I have light handles from 4 ft. to 10 ft. in length made to fit, which we adapt to the nature of the sweeping. If it is in hot summer weather, the grass short and dry, we use a handle of 10 ft. My largest size measures from side to side 4 ft., and the length of the centre is 3 ft. 6 in. Being thin and light, they easily sweep up all loose rubbish, and always keep themselves clean and dry. A man will soon brush over a large space; and at this season of the year, when there are a few loose leaves blown about, you have no idea how soon several acres can be swept over with these brooms, and the place made neat and tidy very quickly. To see the great bundles of rubbish tied to a stick, in many places, to be used as brooms, is surprising; and, when soaked with wet and dirt, a man carries it without being able to do any work at all. I call mine the hen and chickens broom. I will enclose you a small rough model of one. [Fig. 5. is taken from the model; the separate broomlets are tied with brass wire. You will perceive that the short fine birch, heath, or whatever you choose to make brooms of, is first of all collected and divided into the different lengths, and the longest of it is used for the middle. I have some made with two chickens on each side of the hen, others with three on each side. I make brooms of three different lengths to suit the weather, and heavy or light work, which you will readily understand. If it is a long broom, each chicken has two bands bound round it, the hen three; then they are all bound together to be ready for handling
Fig. 5. Fan Besom in use in Bicton Gardens. The following are a few of the specimens in the flowergardens here: Name. Height. Circumf.
Height. Circumf. Ft. In. Ft. In. Araucària imbricàta,
Pinus palustris (aushandsome, branch
tràlis Arb, Brit.] 10 0 ed quite down to
Cèdrus Deodara 12 0 38 0 the ground - 11 10 36 0 Ribes speciosum, Yucca grandiflora 12 3 A bies Douglasi,
níveum do. branches to the
glutinosum 8 0 16 0 ground 25 082 0
malvaceum 7 6 32 0 Pinus Larício 15 0 aureum
0 18 Sabiniàna 20 054 0
lanceolatum 7 0 8 0
Ft. In.Ft. In.
Ft. In. Ft. In.
Large clumps of the new scarlet rhododendron, including R. arbóreum, altaclerense, nepalense, Nobleànum, pulcherrimum, campanulátum, Glennianum, barbàtum, the Victoria rhododendron, and most of the new and valuable sorts. Many large camellias, of different varieties, from 5 ft. to 6 ft. high, and large round heads well furnished with flower-buds. Height. Circumf.
Rubus spectábilis Arbutus U'nedo sa
12 0 28 0 Cydònia sinensis Aristotèlia Mackàü 12 0 63 0 japónica variegata
11 0 64 0 Medicago arbórea Escallònia rubra 4 6 32 0 Callistèmon sempermontevidensis 6 0 52 0 flòrens
8 6 20 0 floribunda
6 0 40
Aràlia spinosa 10 0 glandulosa
8 0 57 0 Fontanèsia phillyillinita
6 0 27 0 reöides, a most and large plants
beautiful shrub 4 6 34 0 of other sorts,
Taxodium distichum 6 0 18 0 Cupressus lusitánica 14 0 48 0 Juniperus excelsa, thyöides 8 0 20 0
very fine. and many other
tamariscifolia Bérberis pinnata Lag.
chinensis (Mahònia fascicularis
phænicea Dec., and Arb. Br.]
Heimia salicifolia, very fine, with thousands of beautiful yellow flowers expanded at this time. To all appearance this plant has been standing for many years in the most exposed situation in the flower-garden. The reason why I am so particular in describing this beautiful plant is, that some of our clever men tell us decidedly that it is a tender plant. We have also large plants of Clématis cærulea, C. Sieboldti, Véstia lyciöides, Casuarina equisetifolia, myrtles of various sorts, and plants of different sizes; but, if I were to tell people in the neighbourhood of London that myrtles are to be seen in Devonshire 25 ft. high, I should not be believed ; but it is so. Magnolias of all sorts and sizes, and, as standards, in all directions; even Magnólia fuscata standing out, and flowering most part of the year. Two walls, each of them 230 ft. long, which enclose the flowergarden, covered mostly with M. g. exoniensis, with hundreds of
blossoms out daily. Several very fine plants of Azalea índica álba, flowering in May in the greatest profusion. Several large plants of Wistària chinensis, covering trellises, running up poles, &c. Leptospérmum baccatum, 12 ft. high and 22 ft
. in circumference; there are also several plants of it from 4 ft. to 9 ft. You observed you had never seen such large leptospermums growing out of doors before. Sóllya longifòra, covering a large surface of trelliswork. Likewise several rare plants, of the names of which I am not quite certain, and others whose names I do not at all know yet; but I will send you a few specimens, as you were kind enough to offer to find out the names
You noticed the number of Maltese vases in the flower-garden; the busts in niches outside the temple, the Duke of Wellington's in the most conspicuous place; with one of Sir Walter Raleigh, whose birthplace is in sight of the flower-garden, and whose property is now a part of this demesne; also a bust of the hero of Trafalgar. You observed the marble fountains, the shape and furnishing of the flower-beds, the green terrace walks and slopes, terminating with the little parish church, not seen till you approach it closely; and, as you noticed all these things, I shall not dwell upon them.
Bicton Gardens, Oct. 10. 1842.
LETTER IX. Importance of Cleanliness. Manure Water. Charcoal, The necessity of cleanliness amongst plants is universally acknowledged, but very partially practised. Dirtiness is the parent of all disease. What is more disgusting than a dirty dwelling-house? It becomes a harbour for all kinds of disease and vermin; but, if you keep it clean, you will not be plagued with either. There will be no food for flies and wasps, and none for the spider. So it is with all vegetation : it is only from our neglect that plants become covered with disease and vermin. I have seen, it is true, some few things a little improved within the last twenty-five years, but nothing is yet brought to that degree of perfection which it might be. Why is it so? Because, in my humble opinion, we often act in direct opposition to nature. Those who fancy they have made a new discovery, wishing to be considered more learned than their neighbour, do not assist him, but keep the secret to themselves, that their neighbour may not try to make some improvement ou what they consider as their invention. In unfolding my small and humble store of knowledge, I do not do so for gain of any kind to myself, nor am I doing it for a name, for if you think it right to withhold my name, do so; only it may be desirable, perhaps, for my brother-gardeners to have
some authority to refer to, as I mean to relate nothing but what I have put into practice fully; and I do not care who examines me. Perhaps I may not sufficiently explain myself, but the sooner I endeavour to do so the better.
Is it not disgusting to go into a house of fruiting pines and see them covered with scale and coccus of all kinds; and to smell black and yellow sulphur, black soap, and many other fetid drugs? I have seen such fruit sent to noblemen's and gentlemen's tables as I have not considered wholesome to eat; such as I would not have tasted myself. Houses of grapes covered with coccus, red spiders, and other vermin; the bunches shanked, cankered, and mildewed, &c. Can such fruit be wholesome to eat? I have seen melons, cucumbers, and other things in the same way.
Whose fault is it? Not nature's, but those who had the charge of the plants. Now, the grand secret is to sweep, brush, and mop; to use pure water and pure soil, with a proper drainage. These are the preventives for all kinds of disease and vermin. Well, but how are we to clean the already foul and diseased collection of fruit and plants? I will tell you, and in doing so state nothing but facts; but you must persevere, or you will not conquer. You must give your hothouses, greenhouses, forcing-houses, pits, and frames, air before the sun comes on them, and keep every thing properly watered; and, to clean and expel the present stock of vermin, you must use clean hot water from 140° to 150° Fahrenheit. Cut a bit of cloth into a circular shape, a little larger than the pots, and insert in its circumference a string to draw and tie round the rim of the pot; put a good handful of moss underneath the cloth, so as to keep all tight together, and prevent the earth from falling out, and the hot water from getting to the roots of the plants, &c. The cloth must be cut in the manner shown in fig. 6., with a slit or opening half-way across it, to admit the stem of the plant to pass through. Then tie it up quite tight, and apply the water with a syringe.
I find that water heated from 140° to 150° Fahrenheit is sufficient to kill or expel any kind of mealy bug, coccus, scale, or vermin whatever, but not by one application; for, if the plants are very dirty, the insects will in time reappear Fig. 6. Cloth for tying over the from the crevices where they had taken Surface of Pois. refuge. You must, therefore, persevere in repeating the syringing with hot water, and you will have the pleasure of seeing your plants become clean and healthy. Pray observe that, if the plant is in a growing state, you must not use the