This section is from the book "The Gardener V1", by William Thomson. Also available from Amazon: The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener.
2000 pots of French Beans were in course of forcing in various stages, 600 beans a-day being the demand, all being forced in vineries at work, and mostly on the floors of the houses, the thin copper sash-bars and iron rafters admitting abundance of light. Every pot is expected to yield on an average from 80 to 100 Beans.
Ripe Grapes have been in use since the middle of March from pot Vines. The crops on all these Vines, which can be counted by the hundred, are extraordinary. Mr Rose was celebrated for his success with pot Vines at Floors Castle; at Frogmore he is equally successful. Six to eight bunches is the crop allowed on Vines in 7 and 8 inch pots. Small pots and abundant feeding is the system pursued, the weight of fruit obtained from each plant exceeding the weight of the soil the pot contains after being dried.
Nearly all the vineries are renewed, or are in course of renewal. Whole houses of Black Hamburgh and of Muscats are planted, besides which Alicante, Napoleon, and Lady Downes are relied on as stock varieties. Golden Champion is doing well and showing abundantly, and Mr Rose speaks of it with perfect confidence: notwithstanding the severe critical handling this Grape has suffered, it will ultimately triumph when it gets established. Mr Rose has, with an eye to maintaining the supplies while renewing the vineries, accomplished the filling of two vineries with a full crop of fruit the second year, the roof being equally covered with bunches from end to end. Between each permanent Vine in front is trained a pot Vine, fruited nearly its whole length, reaching half-way up the rafter, the Vines allowed to root into the border. Three bunches only are taken off the permanent Vines. Others are planted against the back wall, which meet the pot Vines half-way down; these are allowed to fruit their entire length. The Vines have broken at every bud: the bunches are not of large size, but are good table, if not sensational, fruit. The pot Vines are thrown away when fruited, those on the back wall retained for a time.
A large batch of pot Vines are still in the open air behind a wall, which are brought indoors to take the place of those fruited in March and April, thus taking two crops from the same house in one season. The Grape crops, to my thinking, are much too heavy altogether; but Mr Rose has special care to the foliage, the true key by which success is opened up. The command of water is unlimited.
I did not purpose writing a paper in detail of what is to be seen at Frogmore - it would be impossible to do so within a reasonable compass, the subjects worthy of notice present such an embarras des richesses to the mind's eye. Before it is a panorama of hundreds of feet of Mushroom beds, in all stages, some of them studded with buttons and knobs of Mushrooms, like stone Turnips, for gathering in succession on future mornings; pits after pits of the old Ash-leaf kidney Potato, some just above ground, some fit to dry, some where the crop had just been dug; pits of Maclean's Little Gem Peas in the same stages as the Potatoes - a most excellent dwarf Pea for forcing, when there is space to devote to it; pits of Melons and Cucumbers, the latter in wonderful health and productiveness, without a particle of bottom-heat, the warmth derived only from the atmosphere of the house. Frogmore has long been celebrated for its Pines on the planted-out system; nor does its prestige fail, as I counted 40 smooth Cayennes, ripe and ripening, from 5 to 7 lb. each, beautifully swelled on plants with comparatively few leaves - that is, young plants; indeed, not 12 months planted.
Queens in pots were equally fine - a whole pit of about 100 in 13-inch pots, in and out of bloom, were extra bold, the foliage short and massive. Pines in succession were in good strength.
There is a story of a man who, having some houses for sale, carried about with him a brick from each as samples of what his property was like. We feel that the foregoing remarks are just like the man's bricks. The measure of my success in presenting your readers with a conception of what is done in those gardens must be gauged by what I have set down concerning them: to describe the gardens themselves would require a volume and a facile pen. They are worthy of the Royal Park, Castle, and establishment of which they form an adjunct. Every man is said to be the architect of his own fortune. Mr Rose's practical ability, energy, and single-minded pertinacity of purpose, no doubt pointed him out as the fit man to undertake the resuscitation of this, the leading private garden in the nation: and yet, after all, the garden proper is but a part of the huge charge. Many miles of pleasure-ground walks have been remodelled, involving the carting and appropriation of several thousands of loads of gravel; shrubberies replanted, giving occasion to the transplanting, thinning, and pruning of hundreds of large trees and shrubs; old drives have been cleared and improved, and new drives constructed, involving labour properly belonging to the wood-forester's department, such as lopping the overhanging limbs of whole avenues of infirm elm-trees - a tree ever to be avoided near drives and frequented places.
Much that is interesting might be written of the beauties and magnitude of Windsor Park and Frogmore, and their historical reminiscences; of the rich beauty of the grounds about Frogmore House; of lake and fawn, and wooded knolls enshrouding the marvellous mausoleums of the late Prince Consort and Royal Duchess; and the almost unparalleled vista of the long drive in Windsor Park, excelling in quiet Doric grandeur anything else of the kind in Europe; - Virginia Water, the perfection of an English park lake, its varied outline, set in forest masses, dipping to the water's edge, reminding one, by its quiet seclusion, its natural aspect, and its few architectural accessories, of some Highland lake one loves to remember. Many reminiscences of Windsor are included in the records of the martial, social, and intellectual progress of our country's history, of which I am here unable to speak. I can say, however, that the name of Mr Thomas Ingram will ever live in association with these gardens while they exist, as that of Heme the Hunter with the oak in Windsor Forest, part of which still exists, if I rightly remember, and under which was the scene of the lewd Sir John Falstaff's final humiliation by the merry wives of Windsor.
The Squire's Gardener.