home bookshop feed the hungry   earthly pursuits logo
what's new old book library safe seed pledge  
contact about books about food & recipes  
links I  II   garden tips  
search flower language blether  
  alphabetized flowers     flowers by meaning companion planting  
    click here to make a
"free" contribution to earthly pursuits




The Evolution of Horticulture in New England


Title Page


        6 SECTIONS   [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]


                 NEW ENGLAND

                 MASSACHUSETTS BAY

through page 105 of 180

I have posted what I have finished typing on this book but I am going to delay indefinitely the rest of the book because most of the rest of the book is unopened (the pages have not been split apart) and I would prefer not to open the pages as this is a good example of how books used to be made. If I get enough requests to finish the book, I will try to find an opened copy. So, if you want to know the ending, e-mail me.




          After the departure of the Romans and the settlement of the Saxons, the introduction of Christianity, in due time, had the tendency to mollify the habits of the people, and thus to encourage the progress of the arts. Horticulture served to employ the otherwise unoccupied hours and many, especially of those connected with monasteries and other religious institutions, and also to encourage and foster the use of vegetable in place of animal food, which the rules of fasting forbade. With the vegetable gardens, the ecclesiastics cultivated orchards and vineyards. The vine, brought to the country by the Romans, was generally successful and by no means despised for the qualities of its fruit, either by the monasteries or by the laity. These vineyards were flourishing in certain parts of Britain, at the commencement of the eighth century. During the Danish and Norman dynasties, the progress of horticulture continued for the most part unimpaired, until retarded by the introduction of the oppressive Forest Laws.

          From the reign of Edward III, to the accession of Queen Elizabeth, the art of gardening advanced gradually but steadily, in spite of the opposition presented by foreign and civil war, by the crusades, and by the tastes of the people for hunting and chivalry. Attempts at embellishment were at first limited to the space within the glacis of the castellated swellings, or at most to the immediately adjacent grounds, and consisted of a few flowers, of trees and shrubs cut into fantastic shapes, together with labyrinths and bowers. Botany, as a systematic science, could scarcely be said to exist previous to the days of Elizabeth, but now, aided by other arts and sciences, rapid steps were tending to the attainment of a knowledge so essential to horticulture. A praiseworthy example had previously been set in this direction by several continental powers who had established public gardens and founded professorships for the purpose. Not only the study of botany was thus encouraged, but new fruits, vegetables, plants, especially various flowers, were introduced into Britain from foreign countries. An increased taste for the art was also shown by the enlargement and the greater number of the pleasure gardens and grounds, which although still exhibiting the formality and stiffness which characterized them, and which continued even up to the eighteenth century, nevertheless presented much that was pleasing in their general features, especially when seen in connection with the architectural style of the day.

          Previous to the middle of the sixteenth century, the writings of several literary men upon subjects pertaining to the art of horticulture had served to awaken and increase the interest in this among the people of Britain. During the two following centuries, especially in the Elizabethan reign, a host of authors appeared, whose works are chiefly the results of their own investigations and experience as practical gardeners, botanists, herbalists, and chemists. Among these may be mentioned Thomas Hill, Maschal, Platt, Heresback, Gerarde, Lawson, Markham, Wotton, Parkinson, Tradescant, Evelyn, Worlidge, Lord Bacon, and Sir William Temple.

          It is from the works of these men that a sufficiently complete knowledge of the condition of the art of gardening, during the period that has just been considered, may be obtained. “When we cast our eyes over a list of the men of science and literature of all denominations that adorned this age, especially in botany and chemistry, the two sciences of all others the most important to horticulture, we shall not be surprised to find how rapidly it was rising from being a mere art of empiricism. And when we note how the thirst for foreign researches was prevalent, we shall easily perceive by what means new plants were gained to every department of our art.”1

                1History of English Gardening, by G.W. Johnson. London, 1829.



SECTION 5 of 6   [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]