St Brycedale (though apparently under a dozen acres within the boundary-wall) has the appearance, from the centre of the grounds, of being a place of considerable extent, and the old trees show that it is by no means a youthful residence. The planting has been arranged with considerable skill: walks lead right and left from the principal lawn, giving the idea of extent and variety, when one is actually within a few yards of the principal street of the "Lang Toun." There is width of grass, and not cut up into fragments, as is too often the case (see "leader" of 'Gardener' for October) where ground is limited; poverty and scarcity are bad enough without being exhibited to all comers. This brings to mind a number of what might have been beautiful villas in the neighbourhood of Ryde, Isle of Wight. When visiting a friend there a few years ago (who lived at really a beautiful place), we went to see the numerous residences in the neighbourhood, and, with very few exceptions, they had the appearance of well-kept cemeteries - so numerous were the statues; and the grounds, generally not extensive, were cut up into shreds with flower-beds. It might be well if some of the proprietors there read the leading article in the 'Gardener' for October. At St Brycedale the flowerbeds were proportionate to the surroundings, and placed right and left of the dwelling-house, well belted with shrubs.

As an example of one of the finest planted pleasure-grounds, with well-arranged woods, walks, water, etc, we give Caen Wood, near Highgate, a seat in possession of the Earl of Mansfield. The first time we walked through that beautiful place, impressions were made which we cannot forget - the steep walks leading into dense woods, which would suggest to a stranger that he was in the centre of a very rural district; and when the outer boundary was reached, the illusion was dispelled, as the city of London with its dense cloud of smoke was in full view, and within a very short distance. Whatever may be the qualifications of the present generation of gardeners, I am not sure that we are equal to our forefathers as landscape-gardeners. But returning to St Brycedale. On the lawn, at a little distance from the house, stands a very substantial conservatory. Its heavy rafters, etc, show that expense was a secondary consideration when the structure was erected. At the time of our visit there were some very fine "stage" Pelargoniums, though much past their best. There were some huge Balsams, sturdy and proportionate in size, and the flowers very double. We seldom see these old-fashioned plants in such good condition.

The Balsam stood very high with cultivators a number of years ago, and when well grown it was considered a "feather in the cap" of the grower. In our youth, when we could grow Balsams 4 feet high, and as much through, we considered it an accomplishment of some merit; but the great demand for plants to decorate rooms, dinner-tables, etc., has put the Balsam almost into oblivion, and I confess that 1 am not an admirer of them now. (This is by no means intended as an arrow shot at Mr Hignett's excellent advice on the culture of the Balsam.) In this conservatory were some gigantic Ericas, and other hard-wooded plants. However, this class generally lose their interest when they become old, and I have no doubt that Mr Murray (the industrious gardener at St Brycedale) had in some sheltered part of the grounds duplicates of his stock, or even triplets of the best kinds in various stages, coming on to take the places of those which should be discarded when they lose their vigour. Greenhouse plants, though ever so well flowered, or ever so handsome in shape, are not interesting when growth is not vigorous and of a lively green. The fruit-houses, plant-pits, vegetable garden, etc, are at the west side of the grounds, carefully shut out from view by trees and shrubs.

In two nice vineries, crops of Grapes were heavy - indeed, partaking of that general fault of the locality - cropping being generally too heavy to keep up supplies of finely-coloured and highly-flavoured fruit for many years in succession.

One thing which specially took our attention in an unpretending corner was a splendid border of dwarf Sweet William, which outstript in appearance the finest beds of Geraniums or Verbenas. This crimson border had the appearance of a velvet cushion. Leaving this neat and orderly place, we drove about half a mile westward, and entered the grounds of Raith, a seat which ranks amongst the finest in the country. The position is very fine, and the portion which fronts to the Forth has a most imposing appearance. The mansion (which is by no means in proportion to the surroundings) stands several hundred feet above the level of the sea; and seen from a great distance, Raith is like too many of the finest of Scotch seats, partaking more of the character of a wood than a park. Judicious thinning could do wonders for this seat. A fine feature, lying at the base of a slope running from the house, is a beautiful lake; it is artificial, but its bold outline and crooks are so easy and pleasing to the eye, that no one could desire anything more beautiful and natural. The fine belting of shrubs, chiefly Rhododendrons, is arranged with much taste, and showing, in a great measure, the love which the late Colonel Monroe Fergusson had for this fine class of plants, as well as Coniferae, etc.

Gardeners who have lived at Raith for generations have left traces of skill and refinement behind them. The gardens are not far from the highroad, well sheltered with trees on all sides. Since the lamented death of the late Colonel, the garden establishment has been under temporary reduction, and the vegetable plots, which are extensive, are not all under crop for culinary purposes. We say "plots," as the word "garden" can scarcely be applied to the ground, there being no garden proper, but a number of small fields divided by low stone-walls. Notwithstanding their unshapely outlines, they have been long in the hands of men who knew how to make the best of them: deep tilth evidently has been in practice for many years, as exemplified by the fine crops in Mr Rintoul's (the present gardener) time, and before he lived at Raith. Conspicuous were remarkably fine Onions, well matured, handsome, and of great size; Danver's Yellow, apparently, is one of the best. Grubs being so destructive, it has been found necessary to depend on autumn sowings for the main crop, and the practice is most satisfactory. Peas were extra fine and abundant.