Sunday, 4 January 2009

Monserrate 1862

There is a place called Monserrat, two miles from Cintra, the property of an English gentleman, which has great natural beauty, and is laid out with great taste. There are extensive cork-woods around it ; the garden is well watered ; and there is a very valuable collection of tropical plants, ferns, and pines. The goa-pine is here a noble tree ; its foliage is of a rich dark-green ; and forms a striking contrast to the grey tint of the cork and olive trees around it.

Sophia Dunbar, A Family Tour round the Coasts of Spain and Portugal during the winter of 1860-1861,
Published by Blackwood, 1862
This small description of Monserrate is unremarkable, except for its date. At the beginning of 1861 Francis Cook's garden was clearly well under way. Bear in mind that at this time the word "pine" was used rather generously to encompass nearly all conifers.

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