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Document number: 7132
Date: 09 Mar 1855
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: TALBOT Ela Theresa
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Last updated: 1st September 2003

4 Athol Crescent

March 9th /55

My dear Papa,

Yesterday we visited both the Experimental and Botanic gardens, and I send you a specimen of a beautiful Rhododendron Dahricum pronounced (Daricum) by the gardener, as I do not think we have it at Lacock – the same my sisters saw at Sir T M Neills, which Rosamund told you of –

It is a shrub of great beauty and perfectly hardy, the bright purple flowers with which it is covered, show themselves to great advantage, now that so few other flowering shrubs are out – We were told it was a native of Siberia. There is another kind, very much like it called Atrovirens, also in flower, but the other large sorts, are only just beginning. In the houses there were some beautiful specimens, one kind I remarked with very deep flowers, when newly blown, which turned lighter afterwards. – The Camelias are lovely – one plant not yet in perfection is literally covered with leuda, it is several feet high, and when fully blown will be quite a thing to be seen, and I hope you will not forget to go and look at it when you are here, – and another has pure white flowers delicately fringed. – But you would be much interested by the other garden (the botanic) adjoining; for there they have immense conservatories, one entirely filled with Palms, some of them bearing fruit, and one a scarlet Banana, having both fruit and flowers. – besides which there are sugar canes, Sago Palms, Chinese ditto, Bamboos, all at a great height as if you were walking in a tropical forest – & an orchideous house, (but few of the plants are yet in flower) and foreign ferns are also to be seen, and there is a museum attached to the gardens with specimens of fossil plants and woods &c &c. –

There is one giant heath, at least 6 feet high with small flowers, and some pretty <?>.–

We went also to the Zoological gardens – there is not a large collection of animals, but some of them are fine, especially the tigers, and one of the brown bears is remarkable as it was born there in 1849. –

The weather lately, has been delightful, but today though very fine there is some wind, and it looks rather unsettled. –

We have been very gay last week – after our own party – and on Friday two dancing parties – and a small one yesterday evening, and on Monday we are invited to go and hear a lecture given by the Miss Sinclairs, the subject for that evening being Macbeth, and the lecturer Professor Bennet – and the next evening (Tuesday) there is to be a grand ball in the assembly rooms, where there will be between six and seven hundred people, which I think Mamma and Sisters will go to, as they have been presented with tickets, but I suppose dear Papa before that time you will have rejoined us – indeed we were rather surprised that you said nothing about it in yr last. In the meantime good-bye dr Papa

Yr affecte daughter


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