Entrance front to Nesfield's house in Fortis Green.

similar. A close-boarded gate and thick hedge to Fortis Green, gave privacy and then a long, steeply sloping entrance-drive to the house. Because Nesfield wanted to preserve the rear panorama, the kitchen garden and orchard were placed in front of the house, not behind. They were hidden behind dense laurel hedges, cut almost vertical, with dug ground and plantings beside the carriage entrance. Close to the house were flower gardens with the elaborately shaped beds which we associate with the Victorians, while the open landscape seen from the back of the house looked back to the eighteenth century. The boundary line and side path were heavily screened by a thickset hedge and trees, sculpted into irregular curves. Nesfield had become a famous landscape gardener, laying out Kew Ga rden s and many other well known places, but it is interesting to see how he used his vision in a much more domestic scale, Unfortunately the views he was opening up from Fortis Green have been closed by later development, but the drawing gives some idea of what they were like.

The Gardeners' Magazine goes into great detail about rearing sheep in the field below the house. Of Nesfield's 4 1/4 acres, 3 acres were devoted exclusively to sheep. With this amount of land he could buy 9 ewes in lamb at 25 shillings each in September. These would produce from 12 to as many as 18 lambs in February, which would be sold in May or June for 27 shillings each. The clear profit per acre was expected to be about £l8. Presumably this pattern of keeping a few sheep in a field behind the house was common in Finchley and Muswell Hill at the time, but for Salvin and Nesfield it was probably only a hobby, as they had much more important sources of income. Nesfield, for example, was collaborating with Decimus Burton in planning the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew.


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