This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
In your late article on the " Importance of Water in Gardening," you solicit information from those who have had experience in such matters, as to the best modes of supplying water. I have long entertained the opinions you express of the great advantages of water in the proper treatment of gardens and grounds, but the late seasons of severe drouth have constrained me to adopt a system of hydraulic improvements' here; some account of which may be useful to others.
At the distance of 2,100 feet from the dwelling and gardens, there is a hill 60 feet high, adjoining one of the cataracts of the Sawkill - a stream which bounds the ornamental grounds. Upon this hill, which is level with the site of the house, I have erected a tower in the form of an Italian campanile, (see accompanying sketch,) which contains the reservoir, and serves also as a prospect tower. The head of water below the cataract is sufficient for driving hydraulic rams or forcing pumps to fill the reservoir to the top, 100 feet high and 300 feet distant.
To avoid interruption by frost in the use of an overshot water wheel and pump, I adopted two hydraulic rams (in case one should stop,) for constant use, which are covered up, and operate incessantly. The supply by rams is sufficient for all purposes but fountains and jets d'eau, which will require a forcing pump to be used in the summer. The water tower is 18 feet square and 45 feet high, placed upon a terrace for beauty and to gain elevation. Within this is a reservoir 7 feet square and 34 feet high, constructed in the strongest manner, of oak timber, and bolted with 1-inch iron, and planked and lined with lead, - resisting at the bottom a pressure of about 85,000 pounds. I was induced to accumulate the water in this expensive manner, to obtain great pressure in the pipes to prevent the gathering of sediment and air-to supply baths and water closets in the house, and jets d'eau and fountains in the garden and grounds.
From the bottom the water is conducted by 2-inch iron pipes, 3 1/2 feet below the sod, and lateral pipes of lead, varying in size, to supply hydrants for root culture, irrigation, the cattle yard, stable, the garden, the house and fountains. The water tower occupies a conspicuous position and is highly ornamental. The results are so satisfactory and beneficial, that I should recommend similar improvements wherever they can be made.
[Blithewood, as most of our readers know, is one of the most charming country residences in America. It forms the frontispiece embellishment to Downing's "Landscape Gardening and Rural Architecture," and Mr. Downing says of it: "We can recall no place of moderate extent where nature and tasteful art are both so prodigal of beauty and so harmonious in effect" We are happy to be able to offer the example and experience of the proprietor of such a place, on a subject so important as that of water. - Ed].