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Suppose, then, a house built, the angle of the roof of which is not 45°, but from 15° to 20°, or, as gardeners generally term it, 1 ft. rise in 3 ft. flat; and having a bark bed nearly parallel with the roof, and at the distance under it of say 4 ft., and arranged so that, should light pass through the glass at right angles, it might illuminate all the bed and no more. By this you will see that I mean to have no upright glass in front, and no wall supporting the ridge of the roof. I see just as much reason for there being a wall to lean a hot-house roof against, as there would be for a wall to support the ridge of every cottage roof, instead of tying the rafters in couples, and making each support itself. The fireways and footways, not being benefited by light, should certainly be the shades in the picture, and be roofed with a stronger and less polished material, for the same reasons (for you are determined to give and get reasons for all that you advance or accept) that the selvages of fine cloth are made of a coarser wool and homelier colour than the web; and doubtless this is done for the sake of greater strength and cheapness, and to enhance the brighter qualities of the web by a powerful contrast. But to return to the pine house, and in few words to sum up all. The pine bed will thus be in extent perch for perch with the glass roof, and therefore will contain, by the former calculation, as many pine plants in a house 12 ft. wide and 30 ft. long, as the good old-fashioned house will hold in 100 ft. long, and the same 12 ft. in width ; a back wall to support the ridge will be done away with, and the pine-bed, plant stage, vine or peach trellis, &c., placed parallel with the glass ; all the fireways and footways will be stowed into the shaded parts, and the northern boundary, whether it form a vaulted aile or a plain opaque roof, never allowed to make a less angle with the glass roof than 90°.
I have one reason more to urge in favour of this system of hot-house building, and that is one that is seldom if ever attended to ; I mean the deposition of damp or dew, and consequently the drip of water on plants and people from the inside of the glass of a hot-house in cold weather. In a frosty night you can scrape from the inside of the glass this frozen dew, which, when thawed, falls like heavy rain. I have often observed the water running down the insides of the cast-iron rasters of a cool green-house in the mornings; and comparing these with wooden rafters under similar circumstances, and although the glass in both cases were alike moist, the iron being such an excellent conductor of heat and cold, the inner surface would be found nearly as cold as the external air, and consequently dew or damp was deposited in abundance on its cold surface ; whereas the wooden rafters seemed to resist heat, cold, and dew. Now, applying this to bot-house building, every change of temperature, either in the open air or in the hot-house, causes the deposition of more or less dew; but the plastered ceiling of the pathway beneath a tiled or slated roof will be much less affected by changes in the temperature than the glass roof will, and consequently will not collect a tithe of the damp to drip on people that it would. I was very much amused once, to see a venerable horticulturist with a quantity of grapes grown in a cool green-house, which, when brought into a warm vinery to be weighed, quickly changed from a jet black to a silvery grey, by the deposition of dew upon their cold surfaces, to the utter astonishment of the worthy representative of the old school, who had then completed half a century in the study and practice of gardening, and could never account for this unexpected metamorphosis. But this will be the less to be wondered at, when I tell you that an early edition of Mawe's Gardener, and Don's Catalogue, comprised his library of garden literature. Mawe's Gardener, if I recollect aright, was an heir-loom in the family, but Don's Catalogue he certainly purchased on his own account, and it was the only act whereby he was ever known to patronise the learned in a business that had brought him an independent fortune. Alexander Forsyth. Alton Towers, February 8. 1840.
Sir John Robison's Plant Case. (p. 117.) – I should recommend the introduction of an alteration which I am under the necessity of making, to avoid
the injury done to the flowers by the fall into their florets of the heavy drops of warm water which fall from the surface of the flat horizontal plate when the sun is bright upon it; by giving to the roof a pitch of about 15°, the same plate which now forms the flat ceiling will, when cut lengthways into two, admit of a ridge pole or astragal of sufficient strength to carry the plates securely. I hope the little work you mentioned as being in preparation by Mr. Ward will soon appear. I find that Mr. Maconochie (son of Lord Meadowbank) has during nearly 15 years been making experiments on plants in glass cases, and has at present plant cases and their contents of nearly that standing; he is going to write a communication on the subject to be read to the Royal Society. I shall not fail to send you an abstract of it. - John Robison. Edinburgh, March 5. 1840.
Braithwaite's Kitchen-Range. – A friend has handed me your valuable and extensively circulated Magazine of January last, in which, at p. 40., you have unintentionally given an account of a cooking apparatus exhibited here, which is so erroneous, as to have a tendency to prejudice the public against its adoption; the account bears the address of W.Wild, Hertford, Dec. 1839.
l I trust you will kindly make a counter statement, particularly as regards the means of roasting (the extract stating “ that the means are dispensed with,” which I take to imply that the apparatus will only bake); the ovens are Roasting Ovens, upon the same principle as that described in your No. for December, 1839, p. 727., differing only in having the proceeds of combustion to descend and pass under them, before going into the chimney, instead of passing directly upwards; the same small fire working both the hot plate and boilers, as well as communicating sufficient heat to the closets below, before its exit. The chief novelty in the apparatus is, that the upper flues and sides of the ovens next the fire are coated with Stourbridge bricks, which not only modify and equalise the heat, but retain it; by which a most important saving of fuel is effected, the apparatus being capable of cooking more than double the quantity that any range of its size can do, at considerably less expense of fuel, as well as being more cleanly and more easily worked. — G. M. Braithwaite. White Lion Court, Cornhill, Feb. 26. 1840.
U’lmus fúlva, the slippery Elm, Arb. Brit., vol. iii. p. 1407.- In my opinion, the inner bark of the branches of this tree ranks as the first demulcent in the American materia medica ; and, as long since as the year 1803, I proclaimed its merits, in an article added to that on the elm, in my edition of Dr. Willich's Domestic Encyclopædia (of which a large edition was sold), and also in the Philadelphia Medical Museum, vol. i., in which I noticed it among other medicinal trees and shrubs, natives of the United States. Since that, the delightful mucilage of the inner bark has been extensively used, in cases where a powerful emollient was required. Nothing can equal a poultice of the pounded bark with water, to bring a gunshot wound to a healthy suppuration. The Indians taught the frontier medical men this secret, and they informed the United States' army surgeons, from whom I acquired the knowledge of the remedy in this case. In dysentery it is eminently beneficial, and operates like a charm; and yet, with the most ample public testimony in its favour, the editor of the materia medica part of the American Dispensatory speaks slightingly of it ; a full proof that he has had no experience of its good qualities. I will send you a packet of the powdered bark, that you may try it in catarrhs and bowel complaints, as a poultice to hasten the maturation of boils, and as a wash in inflamed eyes.-J. Mease. Philadelphia, Nov. 1. 1839. Pópulus græ`ca. In the Arb. Brit., vol. iii. p. 1651., you say :
“ According to the Nouv. Du Hamel, it is stated by some to be a native of North America, and more particularly of a township there named Athens.” There are eleven post towns in the United States dignified with the name Athens, and doubtless others, with several townships (as I know). The tree may have obtained its name from growing abundantly at a village on the Mississippi called Athens, as unlike the Athens of old as possible. I presume this tree was introduced into the Atlantic States from the West; but when, and by whom, I am unable to say. Thirty years since, being a novelty, it was extensively planted in lawns in the country, and in cities; but has for some years ceased to be a favourite, owing to the brittleness of the limbs, and the nuisance of the cottony substance discharged from the bursting catkins, which covered passengers in the streets, and filled the chambers in their vicinity, if the windows happened to be open at the time. The limbs also grew straggling and irregular. J. Mease. Philadelphia, Nov. 1. 1839.
ART. IV. Kew Gardens. Since the appearance of our article on Kew Gardens (p. 183.), we have received a number of communications on the subject, and we have also taken notice of what has passed in the Houses of Parliament. The subject was brought forward in the House of Lords by the Earl of Aberdeen, and there elicited a declaration on the part of government that there was no intention of destroying the gardens. We wish we could state something equally satisfactory as to the manner in which they are in future to be kept up, and this we may probably be enabled to do at no distant period.
Among other letters and rumours which have reached us, we give the following, which we consider on good authority. Mr. R. Gordon, secretary to the Treasury, stated to the writer, that, “ in consequence of the very unsatisfactory state of Kew Gardens, the government, some time ago, directed Dr. Lindley, together with two eminent gardeners, to examine and report upon them, making such recommendations as occurred to them. They made a long report, offering many suggestions, which would have involved an expense of 50001. or 60001. per annum, instead of 17001. (I think, as at present). Mr. Gordon then, on his own responsibility, without consulting the go. vernment, begged Dr. Lindley to ascertain whether, if the Horticultural Society had the offer of the gardens, they would accept it, keeping them up in conformity with the recommendations of the report, and allowing free access to the public. This enquiry was construed by Dr. Lindley as a definite offer on behalf of the government, and thence arises the misunderstanding on the subject. Mr. Gordon assures me that nothing will be done at present, nor at any time, without full opportunity for previous enquiry by the House of Commons.”.
It is stated in another communication, that Mr. Hume proposed, in the House of Commons, “that an annual grant should be made for the support of Kew Gardens as a national establishment, and that they should be under the management of trustees, in the same way as the British Museum.” This plan seems approved of by most of our correspondents ; several adding, that a national botanic garden forms an essential part of a national museum, and they refer to the Museum of Paris with its National Garden, &c. Several writers deprecate the idea of having a garden director to Kew ; they state that two eminent professors have already applied for it : and they strongly recommend that government should save the expense of a general director, to whom not less than 500!. or 6001. a year would be given, besides a house, &c., by giving the general management of the garden to the president and council of the Linnæan Society, with a paid clerk at the garden, and a curator; recommending for the latter the present botanic gardener, Mr. Smith. We have received various other suggestions, some of them contradictory to the above: such, for example, as one which states that the plants in Kew Gardens were offered to the Royal Botanic Society, of the Inner Circle, Regent's Park, about three months since, by the Earl of Surrey. Mr. Iliff, an eminent botanist and patron of horticulture, states (Lambeth Argus for Feb. 29., p. 69.)“ that petitions from the Royal South London Floricultural and other Societies are in forwardness, to urge the Lords of the Treasury to place Kew Gardens on a firmer foundation, rather than to allow so base a destruction as has been contemplated.”
Art. I. Descriptive Notices of select Suburban Residences, with
Remarks on each; intended to illustrate the Principles and Practice of Landscape-Gardening. By the CONDUCTOR.
No. 15. KINGSBURY, THE RESIDENCE OF THOMAS Harris, Esq. KINGSBURY, which is situated on the Edgeware Road, near the village of that name, may be described as a grass farm, the grounds of which have been ornamented by plantations of select trees and shrubs, and the house enlarged by additional rooms. To one of these rooms a large conservatory is attached, and
a with this conservatory is connected a series of green-houses and hot-houses, containing, as is well known, one of the finest collections of plants in this country, managed by Mr. Beaton, one of our first botanical gardeners. To a person accustomed to live in the confined limits of a London street house, it is a great luxury to get possession of a group of farm buildings, where there is ample room to make additions on every side. The secret of enjoying this luxury consists, in a great measure, in adding, rather than in altering ; because it may be laid down as a fundamental principle, that it is quite impossible to get all the advantages of a new house by altering an old one.
Any old house, however, that is not in a state of decay, may be rendered comfortable and commodious (though not well arranged) by additions. When these additions are made under the direction of an architect of taste, very picturesque effects may frequently be produced: but there are not many architects, of the old school, at least, who understand how this is to be managed ; in short, how the additions to an inelegant house may be made elegant, and the effect of the whole group, however irregular, rendered symmetrical. This is not the place for going into details, but we shall do this so far as to observe, in order to give an idea of the data on which we found our opinion, 1. that no object, either in nature or art, can be truly beautiful that is not symmetrical; 2. that there is a regular symmetry, and an irregular symmetry, and that all picturesque assemblages belong to the latter class ; 3. that every symmetrical object consists of three parts, the centre or axis, and the sides; and, 4. that in assem
blages of low buildings, such as those of a farm-house and offices, where the sides are given and the axis is wanting, it may be supplied by an Italian or other tower, campanile, or clock turret.
For an irregular assemblage of objects to be rendered symmetrical, it is not necessary that the tower or other object which forms the axis should be in the centre: on the contrary, it will generally effect the intended purpose better if placed somewhat on one side ; because, in that case, the idea of regular symmetry is not raised up in the mind. The spectator does not think of comparing one side with the other, to see if they agree in form as well as in general bulk, but he looks to see whether the one side is balanced by the other, either by bulk, by height, or by distance. Suppose, for example, a group, in which, close by the left of the axis, there are a number of high buildings crowded together, and but very few buildings on the right, and those quite low: in what manner is this group to be rendered symmetrical ? By the extension of the low buildings, on the right, so far as to produce by extension on that side, what is produced by bulk and compactness on the other. Whatever is symmetrical, must have a decided axis of symmetry; either obvious, as when a tower rises from a straggling mass of low buildings; or disguised, as when the buildings of a group arrange themselves so as to be included within a pyramidal or conical outline. An axis can frequently be given to a group of trees and buildings by tall narrow trees, such as the Lombardy poplar ; but, in such cases, the buildings can never form the main feature in the landscape. These remarks are intended to hint at the proper mode of making the most of old houses in the country, which, from extensive experience and observation, we can assert ought seldom or never to be altered within, though they may generally be added to without, to an unlimited extent.
The remaining part of this article being in great part written by the gentleman who accompanied us through the houses at Kingsbury, we shall place it in inverted commas.
“ March 25. — The plants here are looking as well as can be expected, after such a long, supless, damp winter. Frosty winters are always better for house plants, and for all kinds of early forcing, than mild winters, like the last, without sun. The greater portion of the camellias at Kingsbury were forced last May, in order to finish their growth, and set their buds. They were kept in the house all the summer, and began flowering about the beginning of December; and they are now past their best. A few that were not forced, and were out of doors all summer, and in cold frames during winter, are brought into the camellia-house in succession, from the end of January till April. These carry on the blooming season till May. In a large col