Pine Bank, The Perkins Estate, on the border of Jamaica lake, is one of the most beautiful residences near Boston. The natural surface of the ground is exceedingly flowing and graceful, and it is varied by two or three singular little " dimples," or hollows, which add to its effect. The perfect order of the grounds; the beauty of the walks, sometimes skirting the smooth open lawn, enriched with rare plants and shrubs, and then winding by the shadowy banks of the water; the soft and quiet character of the lake itself,— its margin richly fringed with trees, which conceal here and there a pretty cottage, its firm clean beach of gravel, and its water of crystal purity; all these features make this place a little gem of natural and artistical harmony, and beauty. Mr. Perkins has just rebuilt the house, in the style of a French maison de campagne; and Pine Bank is now adorned with a most complete residence in the latest continental taste, from the designs of M. Lemoulnier.*
* We Americans are proverbially impatient of delay, and a few years in prospect appear an endless futurity. So much is this feeling with many, that we verily believe there are hundreds of our country places, which owe their bareness and destitution of foliage to the idea, so common, that it requires "an age" for forest trees to "grow up." The middle-aged man hesitates about the good of planting what he imagines he shall never see arriving at maturity, and even many who are younger, conceive that it requires more than an ordinary lifetime to rear a fine wood of planted trees. About two years since, we had the pleasure of visiting the seat of the late Mr. Lowell, whom we found in a green old age, still enjoying, with the enthusiasm of youth, the pleasures of Horticulture and a country life. For the encouragement of those who are ever complaining of the tardy pace with which the growth of trees advances, we will here record that we accompanied Mr. L. through a belt of fine woods (skirting part of his residence), nearly half a mile in length, consisting of almost all our finer hardy trees, many of them apparently full grown, the whole of which had been planted by him when he was thirty-two years old. At that time, a solitary elm or two were almost the only trees upon his estate. We can hardly conceive a more rational source of pride or enjoyment, than to be able thus to walk, in the decline of years, beneath the shadow of umbrageous woods and groves, planted by our own hands, and whose growth has become almost identified with our own progress and existence. — A. J. D.
On the other side of the lake is the cottage of Thomas Lee, Esq. Enthusiastically fond of botany, and gardening in all its departments, Mr. Lee has here formed a residence of as much variety and interest as we ever saw in so moderate a compass — about 20 acres. It is, indeed, not only a most instructive place to the amateur of landscape gardening, but to the naturalist and lover of plants. Every shrub seems placed precisely in the soil and aspect it likes best, and native and foreign Rhododendrons, Kalmias, and other rare shrubs, are seen here in the finest condition. There is a great deal of variety in the surface here, and while the lawn-front of the house has a polished and graceful air, one or two other portions are quite picturesque. Near the entrance gate is an English oak, only fourteen years planted, now forty feet high.
The whole of this neighborhood of Brookline is a kind of landscape garden, and there is nothing in America, of the sort, so inexpressibly charming as the lanes which lead from one cottage, or villa, to another. No animals are allowed to run at large, and the open gates, with tempting vistas and glimpses under the pendent boughs, give it quite an Arcadian air of rural freedom and enjoyment. These lanes are clothed with a profusion of trees and wild shrubbery, often almost to the carriage tracks, and curve and wind about, in a manner quite bewildering to the stranger who attempts to thread them alone; and there are more hints here for the lover of the picturesque in lanes, than we ever saw assembled together in so small a compass.
* The beautiful grounds of Pine Bank are now a part of the Boston city park system. — F. A. W.
In the environs of New Bedford are many beautiful residences. Among these, we desire particularly to notice the residence of James Arnold, Esq. There is scarcely a small place in New England, where the pleasure-grounds are so full of variety, and in such perfect order and keeping, as at this charming spot; and its winding walks, open bits of lawn, shrubs and plants grouped on turf, shady bowers, and rustic seats, all most agreeably combined, render this a very interesting and instructive suburban seat.
In New Jersey, the grounds of the Count de Survilliers, at Bordentown, were very extensive; and although the surface is mostly flat, it has been well varied by extensive plantations. At Mount Holly, about twenty miles from Camden, is Mr. Dunn's unique, semi-oriental cottage, with a considerable extent of pleasure ground, newly planted, after the designs of Mr. Notman.
About Philadelphia there are several very interesting seats on the banks of the Delaware and Schuylkill, and the district between these two rivers.