This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V26", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Describing the English monastery of St. Bernard in Lancashire, a correspondent of the Gardeners' Chronicle says: "Charnwood Forest reminds one in its ancient desolation, its granite tors, its bleak moorland and sub-alpine vegetation, of Dartmoor. It lacks the Heather, however which clothes the moorland in late summer with purple robes. One can imagine, when glancing round here and there on the apparently unreclaimable soil, what sort of a land it was ere those sturdy self-denying toilers, the monks of St. Bernard, snatched acre by acre from the desolation, struggled, unmurmuring, stone-laden, up the rugged slopes, and piled their burdens in long straight lines of partition walls. Two hundred acres have thus been saved. The grave and venerable men who did this useful work have long since gone to their rest, within the yew-enclosed graveyard, but some, at least, of their works remain. A portion of the desert ' blossoms as a rose.' As we approach the monastery five monks proceed in single file to their afternoon labors in yonder wheat field.
I see them now bending at the hoe in dignified silence - not a voice seems to break the solemnity of a fine summer afternoon, not a gesture nor a glance escapes the toilers as the lark flutters along the springing corn, mounts in the blue lift above them, filling the air with music. Round one of the lichen-stained tors the brothers have planted a series of small gardens enclosed by yew, cypress, and laurel hedges, and on the rugged central tor, with its green-grey mosses - Nature piled in picturesque confusion - stands the emblem of the Christian faith. The rocky ledges and crevices around the main mass are tastefully, because naturally, planted with cupressus, Irish yew, and bay trees. A roughly hewn stone path leads to the plateau on which the Cross stands.
"This part of the garden is in the highest degree impressive. It is known as Mount Calvary. Beyond the Cross, and here and there under a dome of leaves a statue of the Virgin, there is nothing to remind one of the presence of a monastery - no gaudy color or gilding or tinsel: the garden is a series of quaint and sombre yet graceful vignettes. Here is a brother pulling some enormous leeks for the mid-day potage; then another clipping a yew hedge. Old-fashioned flowers border the stone paved paths, for the most part sombre hued. Only in one spot was there a patch of brilliant color, tulips, hyacinths and narcissus. But as I endeavored to initiate a conversation upon the plants in his little greenhouse the only one, by the way, that was to be seen - he gravely shook his head. Speech to the visitor is forbidden except through the authorized conductor".