This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
Particularly in the North, and generally for the whole Kingdom of England, as in Nature, Reason, Situation, and all Probabilities may and doth appeare. With the Country Housewife's Garden for Herbs of Common Use - their Virtues, Seasons, Profits, Orna-nentSfVarietie of Knots, Models for Drees, and Plots for the beet ordering of Grounds and Walkes. As, also, the Husbandry of Bees, with their several Uses and Annoyances, all being the Experience of Forty-Eight Yeares* Labour, and now the third time Corrected, and much Enlarged. By Willuw Lawson. Whereunto is newly added the Art of Propagating Plants , with the true ordering of all manner of Fruits, in their Gatiteringt tarrying Home, and Preservation. Printed at London, by J, H., for Francis Williams, 1626.
We beg the reader to observe the date of this quaint title-page of a thin quarto of nifty-seven pages, which a valued friend (Dr. C. D. Meigs) has laid on our table as the greatest curiosity of gardening literature still extant. Gerard's Historie of Plants was printed in 1597, and Evelyn's Sylva about fifty years after that of Lawson, Indeed, Lawson's was the gardening book of England two hundred and thirty years since, when Charles the First was on the throne. This rare copy is perfect in all its pages, quaint to the last degree in its style and printing, and so very curious in alt respects aa to be a strong inducement to reproduce it for the benefit and amusement of the horticulturists of the present day.
Let us see what are its contents. The title-page, in addition to its lengthened details, contains a cut (given in our last number) rudely representing an orchard, with three men at work. One is trimming a sucker that has sprung up near the root of a fruit-tree, with a sickle; another is digging a hole, with a trimmed tree lying beside him, ready to plant; the third has a spade inserted in the ground, and holds a young fruit-tree in his left hand, ready to be inserted. Around the cut are the following mottoes: "Skill and paines bring fruitfuli gaines;" "Nemo sibi natus." The work is dedicated very gracefully to the "Right Worshipful Sir Henry Belosses, Knight Baronet." The preface is very curious. Then follows a table of contents. Chapter I. treats of "the beat, surest, and readiest way to make a good Orchard and Garden, and of the Gardener and his Wages." This functionary's qualifications should be "religious, honest, skilfull, painfull," and declares "there is no plague so infectious as popery and knavery." Concerning his skill, "he must not be a scholist, to make show, or take in hand that which he cannot performe, especially in so weighty a thing as an orchard, than the which there can be no humane thing more excellent, either for pleasure or profit, as shall (God willing) be proved in the treatise following.
The gardener had not need be an idle or lazy lubber; there will ever be something to doe* Weeds are always growing. The great mother of all living creatures, the earth, is fail of seed in her bowels, and any stirring gives them heat of sunne, and being Laid neere day, they grow," etc.
As to the aphorisms of the present day, we find them mostly here either forcibly taught, or alluded to in such a manner as to leave us almost ready to say "there is" little "new under the sun*" In barren ground, you are to dig large holes, "and fill the same with fat, pure, and mellow earth, one whole foot higher than your soyle" * * "But be sure you Bet your trees neither in dung nor barren earth," Deep trenching is commanded, and many curious and just remarks are made regarding "soyles," moisture, and other similar topics, all treated with what we are fain to consider as modern experiences.
The style in which the garden and grounds are to be laid out, will excite a smile. A cut represents the old manor-house at the top, with a broad walk leading down the centre; at the first cross walk is a fountain, and at the second and last are stone steps; the whole is in squares, and at the side of the page are the directions. The reader will remark that the distance recommended between trees is sixty feet 1 A garden-knot is simply a mathematical flower bed.
Then we hare chapters "of Fences," "of Sets," "of the Distances of Trees," "of the Placing of Trees," " of Grafting," " of the Right Dressing of Trees," with a portrait of espalier fruit-trees, Ac, and a long pole, trimmed up to two high branches 1 as they still trim in cities, "of Foyling" (manuring), "of Annoyances," which consist of "Gala," not girls, but galls, " Canker, Mosse, Weaknes in setting, Barke Bound, Worme, and Deadly Wounds," with the proper "Remedys." Animals and birds are treated of in the same excellent mode.
A chapter on the " Age of Trees," and finally, a capital essay on " Gathering and Keeping Fruits," in which we trace the original and very excellent "frnite room" now much em-ployed.
We are extending this notice beyond our usual limits, bnt the style and manner are so excellent, and the truths the very same we now insist on, that we must make an extract from page 53, near the close of this very rare and unique fasciculus: -
" When God had made man after his own image, in a perfect state, and would have him to represent himself in authority, He placed him in Paradise. What was Paradise but a garden of trees and hearbes, full of pleasure, nothing there but delights. * * And whither do men withdraw themselves from the troublesome Aflayres of their Estate, being tired with the hearing and judging of litigious Controversies; choaked (as it were) with the dose ayres of their sumptuous buildings, their stomacks cloyed with variety of Banquets, their eares filled and overburtheued with tedious discoursings; whither? but into their orchards, made and prepared, dressed and destinated for that purpose, to renue and refresh their senses, and to call home over-wearied spirits. Nay it is (no doubt) a comfort to them, to set open their casements into a most delicate garden and orchard, whereby they may set only see that, wherein they are so much delighted, but also to give fresh, sweet, and pleasant ayre to their galleries and chambers.
The work is much applauded by Evelyn in his Sylva. How it ever got to America, and by whose care it has been so wonderfully preserved, with only a thin, paper cover, is a mystery.
The publisher of the Horticulturist, after considerable inquiry, discovered sufficient black-letter type to set up a page at a time; the pages were then stereotyped with fac-similes of the curious old wood-cuts, and the whole work is now reproduced, so as perfectly to resemble the original in all respects. He offers it for sale as the greatest curiosity for a horticultural library, tor one dollar, and an inducement to a little exertion on the part of the friends of the Horticulturist; it will be forwarded to every person who procures and remits for a club of four or more subscribers, as will be seen in the advertising pages.
In order to exhibit the style of the book as now reproduced, we insert a stereotyped page, which fortunately happens to be of the same size of those of the Horticulturist; so that these who choose to do so, may bind the work with the present, or the next volume: - tender leaves and twigs, but not the tree. Therefore (to returne) it to perillous to stop the sap. And where, or when, did you euer see a great tree packt on a mall? Nap, who did euer know a tree so bukindly splat, come to age? I have heard of some, that out of their imaginarg running, have planted such Trees on the North side of the mall, to auoid brought, but the heat of the Sunne is as comfortable (which they should have regarded) as the drought is hurtful. And although water is a soueraigne remedy against drought, yet want of Sun is no way to be helped. Therefore to conclude this Chapter, let your ground, let your ground lie so, that it may have the benefit of the south, and west Sunne, and so low and close, that it may have moisture, and increase his fatnesse (for trees are the greatest suckers and pillers of earth) and (as much) as may be) free from great minds.