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.
As an Englishman rather enthusiastic in botanical research, I venture to state how very much I am interested, in my yearly visit to Scotland, in what I find in the many gardens that come under my notice. Go where I will, I find either something new, or some old and valuable herbaceous plant under cultivation, or the general garden in a high state of order and beauty. I have, however, only found one garden where all the requisites for complete study and enjoyment are existing - viz., bedding-out plants, herbaceous, Alpine, and Ferns. Many gardens are indeed a glorious display of colouring; the eye is pleased, the taste gratified, but the mind is dissatisfied. In visiting one, you visit all - the only variety is the transposition of the colouring. But where botany is really considered, where the different classes or orders of plants are valued, where plants from the smallest sedum to the tallest herbaceous plant are to be found, there is cultivation of the mind with intense gratification and useful study.
I might then state how gratified I was at finding at Pinkie House all that I so much longed to see, - a most picturesque arrangement of bedding plants, with a background of fine timber; a large assortment of herbaceous plants, about 300 varieties; an interesting collection of Alpines, and a very fine collection of Ferns, these latter numbering at least 300 hardy varieties, all of which had remained out during the last winter. Some of the specimens are in great vigour, especially the Polystichums. There was also one very pleasing feature in this garden - it is not kept up at a very heavy expense. Many of the great show gardens require a large staff and a heavy outlay, but here all is produced in a very moderate scale of expense. Ferns do not appear to me to be nearly so much cultivated in Scotland as in England. It may be that it is a more common plant here, and not considered so worthy of a place in the garden; but the varieties are so increased, and the cultivation so much better understood, that they are to many of the deepest interest. Formerly there were not more than 100 varieties, now there are more than 1000. Many, however, that are styled varieties are so little removed from the form and appearance of the mother plant that they are hardly worthy the trouble of cultivation.