To William Whewell   1 March 1844

Hitcham Hadleigh Suffolk

1 March 1844

My dear Whewell,

The laying out of the garden must depend entirely upon what the University are disposed to allow– If they retain the whole 30 Acres then we can select as much as may be wanted for an establishment worthy the Univ y. & the rest may be devoted to walks according to the taste of a Landscape gardener– If I may suggest, I think it would be best to do this i.e. retain the whole– As I have no positive experience on the subject, I should like to submit our plans to Hooker, Lindley, Graham & perhaps one or two more, & ask them for suggestions- but this will be of small use until we know precisely how much ground the University are disposed to let us have– Undoubtedly the plants should be grouped according to the Natural System– but I would introduce a variety of soils & aspects to put the habits of different plants & then group each set, (best adapted to such soils & aspects) on the natural System– I think this is the true principle on w h. a Bot. Garden s d. be constructed– To carry it out will need the superintendence of an intelligent & active Curator. The first thing necessary will be to make out lists of plants adapted to chalky, sandy, clayey & c soils– to exposed or sheltered situations & c – & determine not to group these with the common soil main stock capable of growing any where– There are some plants which maintain a perpetual struggle for existence when classed (as they usually are) with the rest in the common borders. They have no more right to be there, than Aquatics or greenhouse plants– I don't know that we should want more than half a doz. stations in our Garden, but until lists be prepared I could form no guess of what their relative areas should be– I think the best way of proceeding – would be to offer for no plans until a competent Curator shall have been appointed– I would then deliberate with him (as the practical man)– & I dare say we should be able to suggest such an outline of a Scheme as might serve to direct competing Artists – if it be thought necessary to apply in this way to the Senate– The Girls have had Miss Chambers (a professional singer) in the house for a fortnight – so we have been living in pretty much the same sort of Atmosphere of sweet sounds as yourselves. I wish I could have joined the Council dinner– I have been very hot about Saxon horns – having received from Derby a whole lot of them in a highly fragmentary state– But I am becoming quite skilful in restoring them to their shapes–

With our united regards to M rs Whewell | Believe me ever | Y rs most truly | J. S. Henslow

We have almost nightly fires about the neighbourhood, & as I was lecturing at Hadleigh on Wednesday, a cry of fire interrupted & spoilt all–

Please cite as “HENSLOW-220,” in Ɛpsilon: The Correspondence of John Stevens Henslow accessed on 27 October 2021, https://epsilon.ac.uk/view/henslow/letters/letters_220