To H. F Talbot Esqr
I received the basket of plants on Monday morning I went to Chippenham <1> on Saturday night on purpose to fetch them but they had not arrivd The ground being so very wet I could not plant them in your B. garden at the time, and as the most of them were very weak specimens I made up a fine composition of mould for them and put them in pots to get rooted afresh. The Lathyrus Grandiflora is dead; when I examind the Ball I found the roots quite rotten; I wish to let you know this so that you may demand another plant I have discoverd a well when trenching in the botanic garden it is about half way between the Crab tree and the quinces, it is about 7 feet deep, built round with stones about 1 foot of water I have got the walls round the middle garden formed and the first coat of gravel put on them, there was a very shallow place of Mould about the centre of the left side of the middle garden and as gravel could not be got very convenient I made a gravel pit there and find abundance of good gravel, it would be an excellent place to sink a pump well and would not be much trouble
For a week past we have been making the walk through the shrubery [sic] by way of the terrace to the garden it will have a fine appearance when finishd I have relaid all the stone edging on the broad walk in the middle garden at the same width took off the dirty gravel for the bottom of the other walks & gave it fresh gravel, carried it straight out at the broad gate through in front of the sheds have taken up the herbs there & trenchd it, will make a fine flower bed, I have done nothing in the upper garden yet more than the botanic garden I have not had time to do anything in the way of Nursery & I am afraid it is out of my power to go on to the extent intended without it is your pleasure to allow me some more assistance
Lady Elizabeths <2> [sic] Flower garden is to do The upper garden to trench and walks to make the walk and planting to the rock work. the border & walk outside the garden by the gate the Coach drive to repair a deal of turf to cut & lay besides planting in different places, & the spring is now fast approaching when it will take the most of our time to crop the garden plant & nail trees &c I deferrd mentioning these circumstances sooner as I expected to see you here a week ago, but now as the day is so long that man can work the full number of hours I consider that it would be doing the place and myself a great injustice if I were to put it off Longer, I have considerd the matter & think that if it is your pleasure to allow me 3 or 4 men for a month I could do a great deal to it but it is quite impossible for me as I am at present, I shall feel much gratified to have your mind on the subject as soon as possible as vegetation gets on fast. The balancing money in my hand is 7sh 8d Please to advance a months wages for the men D. Robins began work with me on Monday
I will want some more Fruit trees and some annual flower seeds, hope to see you to talk about that and several other things.
I am Sir your devoted Sert
Feby 27th 1828
H. F Talbot Esqr
31 Sacville [sic] Street
1. Chippenham, Wiltshire: largest town near Lacock, 3 miles N.
2. Lady Elisabeth Theresa Feilding, née Fox Strangways, first m Talbot (17731846), WHFTs mother.