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Scottish Gardens
Baberton, Midlothian


ABERTON is a typical example of the kind of country residence erected in the eighteenth century by professional men whose business lay in the metropolis at a time when all classes in Scotland were beginning to feel the beneficial effects of the legislative union between the richer and the poorer realm. Whether that be the origin of this pretty demesne or not, I know not for certain, having had access to no records of the past of Baberton; but the house, viewed from outside, appears to be of the date indicated, with some pleasing architectural features characterising that period. Since its foundation, Edinburgh has spread far beyond her pristine limits, and the district has become thoroughly suburban; but the owners of Baberton have managed to keep their neighbours at ample distance; only a golf course impinges upon the south side of their demesne, which remains a silvan oasis in the surrounding labyrinth of villadom.

The garden lies within walls in the fold of a shallow glen, forming two wings divided by a central wall. The northernmost wing, sloping fairly to the south, is just a herb garden in the old Scottish manner, with aged apple trees, grass alleys and borders well filled with summer flowers.

In the southern wing, the buttresses of the outer wall supply a pretty feature, of which advantage has been taken to establish thereon stonecrop and saxifrage. From this a steep rustic path descends into the hollow, which Miss Wilson has depicted in its vernal brightness, with a glimpse of the more formal garden beyond. There is also some well-constructed rock-work on the steep bank, whereon a small collection of alpine plants are thriving satisfactorily. The whole enclosure appears not to exceed an acre in extent, but careful cultivation and discriminating care have rendered it far more beautiful and interesting than many more ambitious and extensive gardens.


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