This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V24", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
It is announced in recent advices from England, that " applications will be made to Parliament for power to transfer the Derby Arboretum grounds from control of the present trustees, and vest (he same to the corporation of the Borough of Derby. And for the purchase of additional land for the extension of the Arboretum and new recreation grounds. To make rides, drives, walks, gardens, shrubberies and other ornamental work. To build offices, lodges, arbors, summer-houses, etc. Also, to include Bass' recreation grounds and public baths, and provide for the public use free of charge".
It is possibly in the recollection of many of your readers that the Arboretum was presented to the town of Derby by the late Joseph Strutt, Esq., in 1840. This munificent gift, after the grounds were properly laid out, and the Arboretum botanically arranged and planted with a fine collection of trees and shrubs, correctly and conspicuously named, was generously donated to the public for the sake of "sacred science," healthful pleasure, and intelligent recreation. Since that time the Arboretum has always been a favorite resort for the pleasure seeker and scientific visitor, who each enjoyed the boon, according to their individual tastes or views of what was most agreeable to their feelings.
Besides the landscape effects, which were of a high order, with here a group of trees, or clump of shrubs, and there an isolated specimen, illustrative of some botanical family, among which were judiciously placed handsome objects of statuary, with beds and borders of flowers, sufficient to enliven without producing a bizzare appearance. The tout ensemble was a most delightful combination of the useful, artistic and beautiful, according to the natural fitness of things.
It has occasionally been the writer's privilege to visit, though at long intervals, this popular resort. And he pleasantly remembers his admiration of the young and handsome Araucaria imbricatas, which were not so common in England forty years ago, with the many choice specimens of coniferae which then adorned the grounds. But alas! their beauty was all faded and gone in the summer of 1881. At least those of a teribinthine nature seemed to have disappeared altogether from the terrestrial scene. Closely environed with bricks and mortar, and deeply dovetailed into the closely-built and murky town, as is this bijou Arboretum, the stately young pines, once so pleasant to behold, soon sickened and died. In other words, they were suffocated with the dense and poisonous smoke which frequently hangs like a dismal pall all over the town. So after vainly struggling for existence they, one by one, died off, and left the deciduous trees and shrubs, with the broad-leaved evergreens, in possession of " the place that once knew them, but will know them no more".
There are hopes of better results attending the prospective Pinetum, where the new Arboretum grounds are planted, situated as they are at some distance from the town where the atmosphere is more congenial to their nature.
At any rate the project augurs well for that ancient county town or, in fact for any other place where the public look for innocent enjoyment upon the face of nature.
" Where various prospects gratify the sight, And scatter fixed attention in delight".