Visit to Sir Arthur HortNewlands, Harrow-on-the-Hill (June 12, 1919)
After leaving Mr. Perry I returned to London and went directly by electric train to Harrow, a journey of less than half an hour. It is one of the prettiest towns I have seen in England, perched up on the hill-top, with crowds of boys of 10 or 15 all dressed alike in grey flannel trousers, blue flannel coats and wide-brimmed straw hats.
Sir Arthur Hort’s house is on the very top of the hill with a magnificent view of the country below. He welcomed me very kindly on account of my interest in irises, and was particularly pleased to learn that some of his new seedlings had been sent from Mr. Wallace’s nursery to me in America.
His seedlings are mostly of Trojana type, very tall and very large. Ann Page, Volumnia and Hermione as grown here are fully as large as Vilmorin’s Magnifica, though it is only fair to say that they have probably had much more care and feeding in this private garden than Vilmorin is able to give in his nursery.
The iris beds border each side of a long walk in the garden and were still very beautiful, although the wind storm of the previous night had destroyed many of the best blooms. Planted among the standard varieties were a good many seedlings, a few of the best of which have been named. At the end of the garden the path turns at right angles; here was the finest bed of orientalis gigantea (syn. ochroleuca) seedlings that I have ever seen, some of the plants being over five feet tall even in this dry season.
In another part of the grounds is a rock garden, and here many of the beardless iris species are found in splendid condition, particularly Chrysographes and the Californian Douglasiana, Watsoniana and Tenax.
In beds near the house were very many fine roses, especially the single Irish Elegance, and growing against the house was a climbing hydrangea in bloom. The natural slope of the land, with the gorgeous views of the distant country, together with the very simple but effectively planned planting, combine to make this one of the most charming small country places I have ever seen.