LES ROSES

L’odeur idéale des roses qu’on ne
cueillera jamais.

«Cette cabane d’anachorète avec son toit de chaume et peut-être de
roseaux, et sa porte en claie, et ses murs en terre battue, et la tête
de mort dans un coin, et la cruche! Oui, mais la joie d’être seul, et
le silence, et avoir écrasé le désir sous son pied nu!

Il y eut des temps où l’on courait au désert. Revenant de châtier
quelques indociles Slaves, les soldats surpris croisaient un pèlerin
qui allait s’agenouiller dans la solitude des dévastations nouvelles,
planter entre Rome et les barbares le rempart d’une croix de bois. L’un
partait, ivre encore d’une rose trop passionnément respirée, et il se
jetait le soir sur un tas de feuilles mortes; l’autre, tout troublé du
parfum amer des philosophies maladives, taillait ses dernières sandales
dans le rouleau des Ennéades et fermait pour jamais son âme et ses yeux
aux voluptés intellectuelles; l’autre, qui avait été cruel, baisait
avant de fuir la main de ses esclaves torturés: tous se punissaient
selon leur péché, mais ils avaient péché d’abord en aimant trop la vie
et ils se destinaient à ne plus caresser que des fantômes, à ne plus
sourire qu’à l’invisible.

*

Ceux-là étaient des chrétiens. Le paganisme aussi eut ses ermites, que
d’orgueilleuses volontés séparaient du reste des hommes, admirables
égoïstes enfin las de partager avec le commun des plaisirs vulgarisés,
fragiles sensitifs blessés trois fois par jour au rude contact de
la bestialité hirsute, mépriseurs qui, fatigués même de leur mépris
pour la médiocrité humaine, allaient essayer d’aimer les arbres et
peut-être, selon le commandement de Pythagore, d’adorer le souffle
sacré des tempêtes.

Et tous s’éloignaient altérés de la même soif, poussés vers la même
source, celle qui ne jaillit que dans les cellules ou dans les rochers,
sous la puissante magie de la solitude, et, ayant nié les contingences
sociales, ils s’abreuvaient au divin.

Pour être homme, c’est-à-dire participant de l’infini, il faut abjurer
toutes les conformités fraternelles et se vouloir spécial, unique,
absolu. Ceux-là seuls seront sauvés, qui se seront sauvés eux-mêmes
d’entre la foule…»

*

Là de sa méditation, Diomède fut interrompu par la sonnerie d’une heure.

Christine allait arriver.

Depuis que séparé d’une joie redevenue rien, anéanti lui-même presque
et demeuré prostré le long du chemin, il voulait s’égayer au sourire
des passantes.

Celle-ci était frêle, muette et lumineuse. Elle entrait comme un
regard, comme ayant coulé à travers la fente de la porte et, entrée, ne
remuait pas avec plus de bruit que dans la glace le reflet de sa grâce.

L’amour, et qu’on le dévêtît un peu, des mains ou du regard, au col
l’idée d’un baiser, d’équivoques prières: rien ne rassurait et
rien ne troublait la clarté de ses yeux étonnés pareils à ceux qui
accueillirent la visitation angélique, mais sans foi et passifs. Chaque
fois qu’elle venait, Diomède entendait intérieurement ce vers ancien
dont rien en Christine ne justifiait révocation, sinon peut-être un air
lointain de victime:

Les pleurs mêlés aux cris des mourantes hosties.

Le silence et une soudaine nuit étaient les adorables témoins du
sacrifice.

C’était une bien jolie jeune femme d’une chasteté toute chrétienne,
mais habillée singulièrement et tout d’un coup demi-nue. Sa beauté
était candide et sobre, monacale et aristocratique.

Diomède la rêvait une de ces nobles filles qui craintivement, mais
sans rougir, tendaient à leur armant l’échelle de corde par-dessus la
muraille du cloître. Histoires enfin presque toutes tragiques et si peu
galantes! Sa règle, jadis, eût été d’aimer sans rien dire, de suivre
son amour, au mépris du monde et de ne rendre compte qu’à Dieu de
l’usage de sa vie. D’ailleurs ingénue et heureuse au fond de son cœur,
quoique d’un bonheur dont personne, ni surtout ses amants n’auraient
eu la confidence.

Ses fidélités duraient plusieurs mois, toute une saison, amours d’été,
amours d’hiver, puis Diomède ne la revoyait plus que peut-être après
une année, car elle avait des révolutions comme les astres et des
manquements comme les comètes. Sans doute que sa chevelure dorée, pour
des yeux qui la pleuraient, n’avait qu’une seule fois paru au ciel.

*

Christine allait arriver, entrer comme un regard par la fente de la
porte.

Elle ne vint pas.

Diomède en eut du chagrin.

D’autres heures passèrent. Engourdi par la torture d’attendre, il avait
peu à peu repris sa méditation. Déçu et affligé, il se trouva bientôt,
irrité contre l’inclairvoyance de son désir et, une fois de plus,
envieux de l’état des sages qui ont aboli en leur âme toute mondaine
convoitise, telle que celle de boire en silence la beauté de la chaste
Christine.

Il rouvrit à la page délaissée le deuxième tome de la Vie des
Solitaires d’Occident et déplia soigneusement le plan du monastère
et du désert des Camaldules. Cet ordre révolu, par son inexistence
même le tentait spécialement. Cela se passait, disait le livre, «dans
une montagne très escarpée et d’un accès difficile; on en descend
comme par un précipice vers un vallon où fut bâti le monastère de
Camaldoli; de ce monastère on envoie chaque jour aux Hermites ce qui
leur est nécessaire. Entre le Monastère de la Vallée et l’Hermitage
d’en haut, il y a cinq quarts d’heures de chemin et l’on trouve sur
sa route quantité d’arbres verts et plusieurs torrents qu’il faut
passer. Cette montagne est toute couverte d’un bois obscur de grands
sapins qui rendent une excellente odeur: comme ces arbres ont toujours
leurs feuilles et leur verdure, ils forment au milieu de la forêt un
lieu sombre et la plus belle retraite du monde, toujours arrosée par
sept fontaines, aux eaux claires et pures, et l’effet en est très
agréable…»

*

Il ferma les yeux un peu, attendant la présence de son amie; puis il
relut cette page verdoyante.

«Très agréable… En effet, très agréable», et Diomède songea que par
des lectures choisies avec soin, lentes et méditées, on peut recréer
son existence avec une facilité presque mauvaise.

«L’homme d’action n’est qu’un terrassier; le moindre conteur remue plus
de vie qu’un conquérant, et d’ailleurs si la parole n’est pas tout,
rien n’existe sans la parole: elle est à la fois le levain, le sel et
la forme. Elle est peut-être aux gestes humains ce que le soleil est
à la terre, le principe extérieur de la différenciation formelle, la
condition absolue du mouvement vital. Quelques-uns seulement, et sans
profit ni joie pour eux-mêmes, peuvent transformer directement les
actes d’autrui en pensées personnelles: le peuple des hommes ne pense
que des pensées déjà exhalées, ne sent que des sentiments déjà usés et
des sensations fanées comme de vieux gants. Quand une parole nouvelle
arrive à son adresse, elle arrive pareille à ces cartes postales qui
ont fait le tour du monde et dont l’écriture se meurt oblitérée sous
les maculatures, mais, énigme ou mensonge, elle n’en est pas moins la
grande créatrice peut-être de tout, et créatrice très agréable, en
effet très agréable, les jours où l’on attend Christine, à l’heure où
le désir parti vous laisse un trou dans le cœur.

Les Camaldules, de pauvres gens, sans doute, à l’âme fade, lasse et
endormie. En être, quel dégoût! Mais en lire le conte ou l’histoire
me donne une heure de paix,–et je songe avec délices au mépris, pour
de si candides plaisirs, de la plèbe intellectuelle et du troupeau
sentimental.»

Il se reprit:

«Ceci dépasse un peu ma pensée présente…»

Il venait de songer à Pascase, si doux et si sensible sans sa brutalité
nerveuse et dont il se sentait aimé avec une crainte fière.

«Peut-être va-t-il passer? Je lui ferai signe.»

*

Pascase à tout moment sortait, vite rentré; une singulière agitation
musculaire lui donnait des allures de chien inquiet dont on ne sait
s’il cherche une femelle, un os, ou rien.

Il passa, levant les yeux, et Diomède n’eut qu’à cogner légèrement à la
vitre.

–Je n’osais, dit Pascase. Hier, vous m’aviez dit, votre chère
Christine…

–Christine ne m’est pas chère, répondit Diomède, elle m’est agréable.
Comme les mots n’ont pas pour nous deux un identique sens je dois
préciser, en me servant de votre langage. Christine m’est agréable
par sa forme, sa grâce, sa discrétion, son air pâle et voilà tout.
D’ailleurs elle n’est pas venue.

–Et cela vous est égal?




–Maintenant, oui. Il y a une heure, j’en souffrais. Je souffrais par
ma faute. Seul, je puis me faire souffrir. Je me poignarde moi-même.
Les autres couteaux n’ont pas d’affinité avec ma chair. Christine vient
ou ne vient pas. Elle n’est pas venue: c’est à cette minute comme si
elle était partie. Peut-être n’ai-je pas désiré assez ardemment sa
présence? Il y a des jours où les âmes tournent sans volonté comme des
boussoles malades; elles ne peuvent prendre contact et nos désirs, même
mutuels, crèvent à mi-chemin dans l’air, s’en vont en petites fusées un
peu ridicules.

*

Pascase en était resté à «partie ou pas venue»; il dit:

–Ce n’est pas la même chose.

–Quoi? Les désirs et les fusées?

–Quelles fusées? Diomède, que votre pensée est difficile à suivre! Je
dis: Partie ou pas venue, c’est très différent. C’est oui et non.

–Pascase, mon cher ami, quand oui ou non se disent au passé ils ont
une signification également nulle; ils se confondent dans le néant.

–Enfin, venue, vous auriez encore maintenant aux mains, aux yeux, aux
lèvres la sensation d’un souvenir vrai, d’une joie évidente. L’odeur
des roses demeure où les roses ont fleuri.

–Vous êtes content de votre phrase? Elle est jolie.

–Je dis ce que je pense.

*

Diomède ne répondit pas. Il ne pouvait, sans le froisser, avouer ses
habitudes spécieuses de langage à un ami du caractère de Pascase.
Souriant, il reprit:

–Pourquoi croyez-vous à l’existence de Christine? L’avez-vous vue?

–Jamais. Et je ne voudrais pas la voir. Elle me fait peur. Si je la
voyais, je l’aimerais. Ne me la montrez jamais, jamais!…

*

Il s’était levé, exalté, bousculant les tapis, tyrannisant avec des
doigts fous un éventail qui traînait sur une table.

–Elle est venue! voici son éventail. Je le reconnais. Il sent l’odeur
quelle doit sentir, l’odeur des roses, l’odeur idéale des roses qu’on
ne cueillera jamais. En aurais-je peur, si je ne la sentais vivante et
tentante? Cette chambre est toute pleine d’elle. J’ai tort de venir
ici. Si je l’aimais, je ne me possèderais plus… Elle me tiendrait,
elle me serrerait, elle m’étoufferait dans ses bras parfumés de l’odeur
des roses mourantes… Elle me fait peur, elle me fait peur…

*

Il se tut, réfugié dans un coin, l’air honteux, penché sur une des
images, papillons cloués au mur. Alors Diomède, que de telles oraisons
ne pouvaient ni surprendre, ni émouvoir, insinua doucement:

–Pascase, cœur tendre et brave, pourquoi n’avez-vous pas une
maîtresse, une vraie maîtresse? Moi, j’en ai plusieurs…

–Comment, vous la trompez, Elle!

–Nous ne nous comprenons pas bien, reprit Diomède, souriant
amicalement, et la faute en est, je crois, à votre vocabulaire un peu
démodé. Les femmes, fleurs des haies, appartiennent à ceux qui les
cueillent. A elles, femmes, mieux douées que les églantines, d’agiter
la menace de leurs épines, si elles ne veulent pas être cueillies:
avant de se donner, elles sont libres, et, s’étant données, elles sont
libres encore. J’ai Christine: prenez-la, mais comment ferez-vous?
D’ailleurs vous en avez peur. Laissons les rêves. J’ai Fanette, une
enfant légère, toute blonde et fine, que j’aime pour la fraîcheur de
son âme, mais Fanette a des amants sans nombre. Où aurait-elle appris
l’amour? L’amour s’apprend. Voulez-vous Fanette? Elle est douce, elle
vous séduira. J’ai Mauve: mais Mauve a goûté à bien des grappes. Sa
vigne est une forêt de ceps aux feuilles viridentes, aux fruits de
route saveur: sucre ou verjus, l’oiseau picore et boit, le bec levé au
ciel, en une si jolie extase. Aimez-la, aimez l’amusante Mauve. Elle
est rousse comme un marron. Non? Pas? Prenez Cyrène, femme illustre
que Cyran adora. Depuis, il s’est fait oindre l’âme, selon les rites,
des plus puissantes huiles pénitentielles, mais Cyrène est prête à
la vertu: ils s’aimeront peut-être encore, par ennui, par pitié, par
lassitude… Je ne sais que vous conseiller, j’aime beaucoup Cyran.
Il me plairait seulement de contrarier les destins et d’effacer un
mot des écritures que formulent dans le ciel astrologique les mains
séniles des planètes célèbres… Cyrène est bien des choses; d’abord
un saule pleureur, et le plus hospitalier; on s’y assied en rond et on
fait la dînette. Cœur charmant de vicieuse sentimentale! Elle était si
bien faite pour ne pas écrire et pour être la dame voilée qui descend
de voiture en plein faubourg, jette une bourse à la pauvre veuve, et
disparaît dans un nuage d’amour, la dame qui est généreuse parce que
ses lombes sont satisfaits. Je n’ai trouvé jamais un peu de logique que
dans les romans-feuilletons… Enfin, elle s’ennuie, elle me l’a dit.
Elle attend. De l’ennui vrai, de l’ennui sacré, du grand ennui, elle
est naturellement incapable. Ah! l’inquiétude de vivre, l’ignorance de
tout, notre mutisme aux incessantes questions de l’être inconnu qui
demeure, s’agite et chante en nous! Lui répondre? D’abord le connaître.
Avant tout peut-être, le chercher? Le cherchons-nous vraiment et
avec bonne volonté? Quel est son nom? Son nom est Nous, son nom est
Moi. J’ai des hommes et des femmes, des amis et des maîtresses,
une vie libre et large, il me manque Moi. Parfois je me cherche et,
miraculeusement, parfois je me trouve: alors je me fuis. C’est absurde,
oui, mais j’ai un penchant vers l’absurde: un jeune arbre s’incline
vers l’eau triste et verdie d’un étang obscur. Il y a de la peur dans
nos âmes et, dans nos têtes, le vertige des courants et des chutes.
Arbres, plantes, herbes d’aujourd’hui, vous, moi et tous, nous sommes
des êtres déracinés qu’emporte vers l’océan ignoré, radeaux, barques
ou navires, le brutal et impérieux fleuve qui a conquis la forêt.
Il nous emporte debout, dressés encore comme de l’humus natal, avec
nos feuilles que le vent fait parler, nos oiseaux, nos insectes,
tontes nos bêtes familières: et c’est pourquoi nous croyons vivre,
mais il n’y aura plus de printemps. Non, c’est trop grandiose pour
notre médiocrité. Il s’agit d’une pauvre touffe de mousse qui ne se
nourrit plus de la terre, mais d’un peu d’air humide; ou peut-être
d’une giroflée qui grelotte sur la crête d’un vieux mur. Je ne fais
plus partie ni des bois spontanés, ni des jardins bien ordonnés; je
n’éprouve aucun plaisir de fraternité; je suis seul. Comme nous sommes
seuls, mon ami! Seuls et abandonnés nus au milieu du monde hostile et
délaissés même de Dieu. Dieu, il ne gouverne plus; c’est l’interrègne
de l’infini. Alors notre salut est en nous, absolument, comme il a
été dit, et il faut nous chercher, et nous trouver, et apprendre à ne
pas avoir peur de nous-mêmes; à regarder bravement les eaux vertes
et froides de l’étang obscur et triste. Voilà, je sais toujours par
faitement ce que je veux dire, et d’images en images, comme on change
de cheval et non de route, j’arrive à l’auberge. Ah! oui, se coucher et
dormir! La pensée est une maladie qui fait fuir le sommeil… Demain,
j’irai voir Fanette. Ça, c’est bien amusant.

*

Demeuré seul, Pascase ayant à peine refermé la porte, Diomède sentit
un rapide frisson de fièvre. Son idée se levait comme d’un fauteuil,
marchait, s’approchait de lui; il en subit l’étreinte et le baiser,
vécut avec elle, toute la soirée, se coucha avec elle en son lit
d’homme seul. Nue et froide, tenace et muette, elle s’étendit près de
lui, veillant sur son sommeil.

La voix de Christine l’appela du bas de la montagne. Il se leva, sortit
de sa cellule et descendit vers la voyageuse attardée, un bâton d’une
main et de l’autre une lourde lanterne. Mais Christine, dès qu’elle le
vit, s’enfuit, criant:

«J’ai peur des grands sapins noirs.»

Continue Reading

A LOVER OF GARDENS

There are many who say this and that of Sir John Mandeville, his
Travels; that he was not; that he was a Frenchman; that no one knows who
he was. For years he was to me an English Knight who lived at St.
Albans, and from there set out to travel over all the world seeking
adventure, and relating the peculiarities of his journey in fascinating,
if slightly imaginative, language. I rejoiced when he saw a board from
the Noah’s Ark, when he talked with the Cham of Tartary; and told of the
wonders of Ind. But comes along this and that expert who upset the
figure of the gallant Knight, and heave him from horse to ground as a
dummy figure, and burn him for firewood as a fallen idol. And why? It
appears that Sir John is no more a real being than Homer, or Æsop, or
any other of those personal names for great bundles of collected
literature; and is a literature all by himself, and a series of impudent
thieves who stole travellers’ tales and jotted them together in a
personal narrative. For all that I believe in a figure of the blind
Homer, and the impudent slave Æsop who played tricks on his master, and
I firmly believe in a stalwart figure of Sir John Mandeville, Knight,
“albeit,” he says, “I be not worthy, that was born in England, in the
town of St. Albans, and passed the sea in the year of our Lord Jesu
Christ, 1322, in the day of St. Michael.”

There is one thing, a touch of character, put in, maybe, by the skilful
editor of these travels, that makes us lean to the man as being a real
person. It is his love of Gardens, and his pains to tell of them, and
the stories of trees, and legends. And whether one who confessed to the
fraud of putting these travels together—Jean de Bourgogne, by name—was a
keen gardener or herbalist, or whether it was a literary habit of the
fourteenth century (which, when I come to think of it, is so), somehow I
feel that there is a garden-loving spirit in forming the book, and for
that I love the man.

In his wanderings Sir John meets many things, and of these I beg leave
to choose here and there one or two of his anecdotes when they touch an
idea such as gardeners love. The first is of the True Cross, and the
story of its origin. All of Sir John I have read in Mr. Pollard’s
edition, than which nothing could be more satisfactory and clear
expressed.

“And the Christian men, that dwell beyond the sea, in Greece, say that
the Tree of the Cross, that we call Cypress, was one of that tree that
Adam ate the apple off; and that find they written. And they say also,
that their Scripture saith, that Adam was sick, and said to his son
Seth, that he should go to the angel that kept Paradise, that he would
send him the oil of mercy, for to anoint with his members, that he might
have health. And Seth went. But the angel would not let him come in; but
said to him, that he might not have of the oil of mercy. But he took him
three grains of the same tree, that his father ate the apple off; and
bade him, a soon as his father was dead, that he should put these three
grains under his tongue, and grave him so; and so he did. And of these
three grains sprang a tree, as the angel said it should, and bare a
fruit, through the which fruit Adam should be saved.

“And when Seth came again, he found his father near dead. And when he
was dead, he did with the grains as the angel bade him; of the which
sprung three trees, of the which the Cross was made, that bare good
fruit and blessed, our Lord Jesu Christ.”

“And if all it be so, that men say, that this crown is of thorns, ye
shall understand that, it was of jonkes of the sea, that is to say,
rushes of the sea, that prick as sharply as thorns. For I have seen and
beholden many times that of Paris and that of Constantinople; for they
were both one, made of rushes of the sea. But man have departed them in
two parts: of the which one part is at Paris, and the other part is at
Constantinople. And I have one of those precious thorns that seemeth
like a White Thorn; and that was given to me for great speciality. For
there are many of them broken and fallen into the vessel that the crown
lieth in; for they break for dryness when the men move them to show to
great lords that come hither.

“And ye shall understand, that our Lord Jesu, in that night that he was
taken, he was led into a garden; and there he was first examined right
sharply; and there the Jews scorned him, and made him a crown of the
branches of the Albespine, that is White Thorn, that grew in that same
garden, and set it on his head, so fast and so sore, that the blood ran
down by many places of his visage, and of his neck, and of his
shoulders. And therefore hath the White Thorn many virtues, for he that
beareth a branch on him thereof, no thunder or no manner of tempest may
dere him; nor in the house that it is in may no evil ghost enter nor
come into the place that it is in. And in that same garden, Saint Peter
denied our Lord thrice.

“Afterward was our Lord led forth before the bishops and the masters of
the law, into another garden of Annas; and there also he was examined,
reproved, and scorned, and crowned eft with a Sweet Thorn, that men
clepeth Barbarines, that grew in that garden, and that hath also many
virtues.

“And after he was led into a garden of Caiphas, and then he was crowned
with Eglantine.

“And after he was led into the chamber of Pilate, and there he was
examined and crowned. And the Jews set him in a chair, and clad him in a
mantle; and there made they the crown of jonkes of the sea; and there
they kneeled to him, and scorned him, saying, ‘Ave, Rex Judeoram!’ That
is to say, ‘Hail, King of Jews!’ And of this crown, half is at Paris,
and the other half at Constantinople.”

From these fanciful byways Sir John goes on his way looking, as before,
for curious things, and for marvels of trees and fruits. He tells of the
fine plate of gold writ by Hermogenes, the wise man who foretold the
birth of Christ. He passes the Isles of Colcos and of Lango where the
daughter of Ypocras is yet in the form of a dragon. And he goes by the
town of Jaffa—“for one of the sons of Noah, that bright Japhet, founded
it, and now it is called Joppa. And ye shall understand, that it is one
of the oldest towns of the world, for it was founded before Noah’s
flood. And yet there sheweth in the rock, there as the iron chains were
fastened, that Andromeda, a great giant was bounden with, and put in
prison before Noah’s flood, of the which giant, is a rib of his side
that is forty foot long.”

Then he finds in Egypt some curious Apples.

“Also in that country and in others also, men find long Apples to sell,
in their season, and men clepe them Apples of Paradise; and they be
right sweet and of good savour. And though ye cut them in never so many
gobbets or parts, over-thwart or endlong, evermore ye shall find in the
midst the figure of the Holy Cross of our Lord Jesu.

“And men find there also the Apple of the tree of Adam, that have a bite
at one of the sides; and there be also small Fig trees that bear no
leaves, but Figs upon the small branches; and men clepe them Figs of
Pharoah.”

Sir John, on his constant look out lets no oddment pass him by, and the
more peculiar the better. It appears he would rather see a well in a
field—“that our Lord Jesu Christ made with one of his feet, when he went
to play with other children”—than many things political or notable to
the country. And he will never come to a country but he will mention the
state of its trees and fruits, these, naturally, being important items
to the traveller of his day who might at any moment have to fall back on
the natural fruits of the field for his food. So, when he goes by the
desert to the valley of Elim, he notes the seventy-two Palm trees there
growing—“the which Moses found with the children of Israel.”

Then he comes by Mount Sinai, and there he finds the convent by the spot
where was the burning bush; and the Church of Saint Catherine is
there—“in the which be many lamps burning; for they have of oil of
Olives enough, both to burn in their lamps and to eat also. And that
plenty they have by the miracle of God; for the raven and the crows and
the choughs and other fowls of the country assemble them there every
year once, and fly thither as in pilgrimage; and everych of them
bringeth a branch of the Bays or of the Olive in their beaks instead of
offering, and leave them there; of which the monks make great plenty of
oil. And this is a great marvel.”

Now Sir John, who had a great feeling for our first father Adam, came
frequently on stories of him and of places where he lived. And he went
from Bathsheba, the town founded, as he says—“by Bersabe, the wife of
Sir Uriah the Knight,”—and journeyed to the city of Hebron. “And it was
clept sometime the Vale of Mamre, and sometimes it was clept the Vale of
Tears, because that Adam wept there an hundred year for the death of
Abel his son, that Cain slew.”

There, in this Vale of Hebron, where Sir John says Abraham had his
house, and is buried, as are Adam and Eve, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Leah,
and Rebecca, is also the first dwelling-place of Adam after the Fall.

“And right fast by that place is a cave in the rock, where Adam and Eve
dwelled when they were put out of Paradise; and there got they their
children. And in the same place was Adam formed and made, after that
some men say (for men were wont for to clept that place the field of
Damascus, because that it was in the lordship of Damascus), and from
thence he was translated into Paradise of delights, as they say; and
after that he was driven out of Paradise he was there left. And the same
day that he was put in Paradise, the same day he was put out, for anon
he sinned. There beginneth the Vale of Hebron, that dureth nigh to
Jerusalem. There the Angel commanded Adam that he should dwell with his
wife Eve, of the which he gat Seth; of which tribe, that is to say
kindred, Jesu Christ was born.”

* * * * *

Here then is the legend of the first Garden in which Adam delved, and
lived by the sweat of his brow. Again Sir John tells us of a place where
he noticed the trees, especially the Dry tree, and it can be seen how
much a lover of Gardens and of growing things he was, and how he looked
for and noticed these things and set them down.

“And there is a tree of Oak, that the Saracens clepe Dirpe, that is of
Abraham’s time; the which men clepe the Dry tree. And they say that it
hath been there since the beginning of the world, and was some-time
green and bare leaves, until the time that our Lord died on the Cross,
and then it dried; and so did all the trees that were then in the world.
And some say, by their prophecies, that a lord, a prince of the west
side of the world, shall win the Land of Promission, that is the Holy
Land, with the help of Christian men, and he shall do sing a mass under
that Dry tree; and then the tree shall wax green, and bear both fruit
and leaves, and through that miracle many Saracens and Jews shall be
turned to Christian faith; and, therefore, they do great worship
thereto, and keep it full busily. And, albeit so, that it dry, natheles
yet he beareth great virtue, for certainly he hath a little thereof upon
him, it healeth him of the falling evil, and his horse shall not be
afoundered: and many other virtues it hath; wherefore men hold it full
precious.”

Then Sir John tells of a field nigh to Bethlehem, called Floridus, and
here was a maiden wrongfully blamed, and condemned to death, and to be
burnt.

“And as the fire began to burn about her, she made her prayers to our
Lord, that as wisely as she was not guilty of that sin, that he would
keep her and make it to be known to all men, of His merciful grace. And
when she had thus said, she entered into the fire, and anon was the fire
quenched and out; and the brands that were burning became red Rose
trees, and the brands that were not kindled became white Rose trees,
full of Roses. And these were the first Rose trees and Roses, both white
and red, that every any man said; and thus was this maiden saved by the
grace of God. And therefore is that field clept the Field of God
Flourished, for it was full of Roses.”

* * * * *

And later Sir John tells how he saw the Elder tree on the which Judas
hanged himself. And he tells of the Sycamore tree that Zaccheus the
dwarf climbed into. And of a plank of Noah’s ship that a monk, by the
Grace of God, brought down from Ararat.

Then Sir John comes to Java on his wanderings, and by that isle is
another called Pathen, and here he saw wonderful trees, bearing bread,
and honey, and wine, and poison. Of the tree that bears the venom he
says:

“And other trees that bear venom, against which there is no medicine,
but one; and that is to take their proper leaves and stamp them and
temper them with water, and then drink it, and else he shall die; for
triacle will not avail, ne none other medicine. Of this venom the Jews
had let seek of one of their friends for to empoison all Christianity,
as I have heard them say in their confession before their dying; but
thank be to Almighty God! they failed of their purpose; but always they
make great mortality of people.”

Yet again Sir John has marvels of other countries, where are men
who—“when their friends be sick they hang them upon trees, and say that
it is better that birds that be angels of God eat them, than the foul
worms of the earth.”

And near by is the isle of Calonak, where gardeners would indeed be
evily distressed by reason of the snail—“that be so great, that many
persons may lodge them in their shells, as men would do in a little
house.”

By taking ship Sir John goes from isle to isle discussing the sights,
and arrives at length at an isle where—“be white hens without feathers,
but they bear white wool as sheep do here”; and he passes by Cassay, of
the greatest cities of the world, and goes from that city by water to an
abbey of monks.

“From that city men go by water, solacing and disporting them, till they
come to an abbey of monks that is fast by, that be good religious men
after their faith and law.

“In that abbey is a great garden and fair, where be many trees of
diverse manner of fruits. And in this garden is a little hill full of
delectable trees. In that hill and in that garden be many diverse
beasts, as of apes, marmosets, baboons, and many other diverse beasts.
And every day, when the convent of this abbey hath eaten, the almoner
let bear the relief to the garden, and he smiteth on the garden gate
with a clicket of silver that he holdeth in his hand; and anon all the
beasts of the hill and of the diverse places of the garden come out a
3,000 or a 4,000; and they come in guise of poor men, and men give them
the relief in fair vessels of silver, clean over-gilt. And when they
have eaten, the monk smiteth efftsoons on the garden gate with the
clicket, and then anon all the beasts return again to their places that
they come from.

“And they say that these beasts be souls of worthy men that resemble in
likeness of those beasts that be fair, and therefore they give them meat
for the love of God; and the other beasts that be foul, they say be
souls of poor men and of rude commons.”

Many other marvels did Sir John see, of which I shall not tell; but he
writes always with his eye open and easy for miracles, and talks as a
gardener talks of strange flowers and fruit, as of gourds that when they
be ripe—“men cut them a-two, and men find within a little beast, in
flesh, and bone and blood, as though it were a little lamb without wool.
And men eat both the fruit and the beast. And that is a great marvel.”
Then he writes of the wonders of the country of Prester John, and of
trees there that men dare not eat of the fruit—“for it is a thing of
faerie.”

Of Gatholonabes, he writes, and of the sham Garden of Eden he made, and
of the birds that—“sing full delectably and moved by craft.” The fairest
garden any man might behold it was. And of the men and girls clothed in
cloths of gold full richly, that he said were angels.

And of Paradise he cannot speak, making towards the end of the book
confession.

“Of Paradise ne can I not speak properly. For I was not there. It is far
beyond. And that forthinketh me. And also I was not worthy.”

And so, after a little more, ends Sir John, and so I end, though I love
him. Yet I doubt some of his stories.

There are many ways of regarding a garden of flowers; from the
utilitarian view it is a reasonable method of utilising a space of
ground for horticultural purposes, but I prefer to take the Olympian
view and quote from “The Poet’s Geography,” to the effect that a garden
of flowers is—“A collection of dreams surrounded by clouds.”

At first sight the somewhat expansive imagery of this definition might
appear over-vague and unsatisfactory where a very definite question,
like a garden of flowers, is concerned. But, come to see it in a lofty
light, and at once its truth stands clear. A garden is the proper
adjunct of a house, and a house, fully said, is a dream come true, yet
still surrounded by the clouds of infinite possibilities. It is always
growing, is a true home. Like a flower it expands to every sweet whisper
of the wind. Like a flower it shuts at night, or opens to accept the
dew. It is something so elusive that only the garlands of love hold it
together.

The garden, to the real house, is, like the dwelling, a place of the
most subtle fancies. Every flower there, every tree and each blade of
grass holds mystery and imagination. The Gods walk there.

The flower beds (accepting the Olympian idea) are not mere collections
of flowering herbage, but are volumes of poetry growing in the sun. Take
your hedge of Sweet Peas, for example, and tell me what they are—no—tell
me who they are. There is a dream there if you like; and while you look
at them, and sniff them delicately, is not the fussy world shut off from
you by clouds. Sweet Peas are like a bevy of winsome girls all in their
everyday frocks, scented by an odour of virginity, something
indescribably refined after the manner of the flesh, and something lofty
in their removal from the earth after the way of the spirit. I wonder
how many people feel this.

Take it more broadly in the true Olympian spirit. Take it that a house
and garden is an Olympus to each man and woman who is happy, and you
will see that your heaven for all its head in the clouds has its feet
upon the earth. Then what do the flowers mean? Lilies with pale faces
like a procession of nuns. Roses all queens of regal beauty. Violets to
whom the thrushes sing, deny it if you dare. Majestic Peonies. The
plants of soft and courtly wisdom, Thyme, Rosemary, Myrtle. Lavender,
the House-dame, prim, neat, beloved of bees and butterflies, Quakerishly
dressed in grey with a touch of unsectarian colour, yet vaguely an
ecclesiastical purple; rather slim, with full skirts, with the
suggestion that Cowslips are her bunches of keys, and the Dandelion her
clock.

One could go on for ever.

And then the gardener, like those half-immortals who worked for the
gods, or some like a god of old, even, with god-like grumbles, and
god-like simplicity.

They are a strange race, these gardeners, given to unexpected meals, and
sudden appearances.

“Walter!”

And after that, from some fragrant bush, or waving forest of Asparagus,
a bronzed man stands erect, as if he had sprung from the bowels of the
earth, where he had been contemplating the mysteries of human weakness.

And how amazed they are with us and our foibles and follies. We
remonstrate—a question of weeds, perhaps,—and are listened to with
incredulous wonder.

“Weeds!” says the being, “weeds!”

He emerges more completely from the bush, showing a hand occupied with a
lot of little twigs, and a knife rather like himself to look at—not too
sharp.

As if a voice from the unknown had wafted over the desert, he stands in
wonder, looking reproachfully at those who have interrupted his toil.

“The weather makes them grow.” Of course it does. We knew that. We did
not come here to call Walter to ask him what made weeds grow, but to
know why he had not weeded, at our special request, the Carnation
border.

From a cavernous pocket in a much-mended pair of trousers of a shape
never designed by mortal hands, he produces a quantity of felt strips,
and some wall nails.

We repeat our original suggestion, that the Carnation border is choked
with weeds.

“So it be!”

Then, after the great being has taken observations of the sky, causing
him to screw up one eye and wag his head sagely as if he had
communication with the unseen powers, he admits that he has been
watering the greenhouse.

“The Vines take a deal o’time about now.”

It would be useless to remark to this calm person that we found, only
yesterday, a dozen plants dying in the greenhouse, and all for want of
water. But, from a sort of foolhardy courage, we do say as much.

“Yes,” says the immortal, “they need a power of water. A good drop is no
good.”

We venture to remonstrate with him, saying, in a few well chosen words,
that it would be useful of him, then, to give them “a good watering
while he was about it.”

He agrees at once. “It would do them a power of good.”

Realising that we are drifting from the main grievance, we return hot to
the bed of Carnations. We admit to having but just this moment come from
weeding them ourselves, and in so saying we hope to make appeal to his
better nature. Nothing of the kind.

“I noticed,” he says, “you sp’iled some of the layers where you’d a-been
treading.”

When we have turned away defeated, he sinks again to his mysterious
task, and it seems that the ground swallows him.

Then again, in the early morning, he seems to have had overnight talks
with Mercury, or Apollo, or whoever it is who arranges the weather, as
he invariably greets us with some curt sentence.

“Rain afore noon,” or “Wind’ll be in the nor’west afore night.” Thereby
giving us to understand that he has been given a glass of nectar in some
lower servants’ hall in Olympus, and has picked up the gossip of what
Jupiter has decreed for the day. We feel, as he intends us to feel,
vastly inferior. In fact we have given way to a habit of asking his
advice on certain points, which has proved fatal.

He doles out our fruit to us just as he likes, and we feel quite guilty
when we pick one of our own peaches from our own walls.

“I see you pick a peach last night,” he says. “’Tisn’t for me to say
anything, but I was countin’ on giving you a nice dish NEXT week.”

What is there to do but hang one’s head, and plead guilty?

Boys are his pet aversion. Whether boys have in some way a fellowship
with the gods (which I suspect), or whether they are victoriously
antagonistic, it matters not. They are to the gardener so many creatures
whom he classes along with snails, bullfinches, rabbits and wasps as
“varmints.”

One can hear him sometimes invoking a god of the name of Gum. “By Gum!
them young varmints a-been ’ere again. By Gum!”

He then makes an offering to this god in the shape of a bonfire, the
smell of which is more than most scents for wonder.

It is when Walter makes a bonfire that he is more god-like than ever. He
stands, a thick figure, deep in the chest, broad in the shoulder, by the
pile of dead leaves, twigs, and garden rubbish, the smoke enveloping him
in misty wreaths, and the sun flashing on his fork as he pitches fresh
fuel on the smouldering fire. A tongue of flame, greedily licking up
leaves and dry sticks, lights on his impassive face, and a quivering
orange streak along the muscles of his arms. We are fascinated by his
arms. They contain, I believe, the history of his mortal life and
ambitions, and are a key to his hidden emotions.

On one arm is a ship under full sail, done in blue and red tattoo. Below
the ship is the word “Jane”; below that is a twist of rope. On the other
arm is a heart, the initials S.M., and an anchor.

When we were young these two arms of Walter’s were an entire literature
to us. We read him first, I think, a pirate, very grim and horrible, and
we translated “S.M.” as Spanish Main. A little later we dropped the idea
of the pirate, and took to the notion that Walter had been (if he was
not still) a smuggler who landed cargoes of rum from the good ship
“Jane,” and deposited them with the landlord of the “Saucy Mariner.” It
is noticeable that we left out the heart in all these romances. Then, at
some impressionable moment, Walter became a seaman who had given his
heart to Sarah Mainwaring, which name we got from a man who had given us
a dog, and in spite of that we accepted it as fact. I think we once
descended so low as to think that the whole thing had no nautical
significance, and was a secret sign of some terrible society who met for
purposes of revenge. This, of course, was the result of contemporary
reading.

Then came the great day upon which Walter was definitely asked what the
signs and pictures on his arms did mean.

“Mind out,” was all the answer we got, and Walter retired with the
wheelbarrow to his citadel—the potting shed.

It was tried again a little later, and this time met with a little
better response, because, I suppose, we had done more than half his
day’s work for him.

“I had them done at a fair.”

“And,” we asked breathlessly, “what was the ship?”

“Two shillin’s,” he replied, “and I never regretted it. Money well
spent.”

“Was she your ship?”

“Mine?” said the god.

“Was she the ship you were in when you were a sailor?”

“Me?” said Walter. “I aint never been a sailor.”

The blow was crushing. We retired hurt, amazed, incredulous.

One day we tried the remaining arm, the one with S.M., the heart, and
the anchor emblazoned on it.

“What does S.M. mean?”

It was a moment of terrific suspense. We had drawn a mental picture of
some wonderful creature, half Princess, half like a schoolgirl, we
sighed after. The god was tying Carnations to wire spirals, and his
expression was limited, since he had a knife in his mouth.

“S.M. on me arm,” he said, removing the knife.

We nodded mysteriously, full of breathless expectation.

Walter began to smile. He stood up and surveyed us with his face alight
with the memory of some great day. To us he looked an heroic figure,
even despite the pieces of old drawing-room carpet tied to his knees
with string, and his very unkempt beard.

“You won’t exactly understand,” he said, mopping his forehead. “But I
tell ’ee if you’ve got to mind some-at after a day at a fair, you’d be
fair mazed. I give my word to my mother as I’d a-put sixpence in a
raffle for to try to win her a sewing machine, and so when the fellow
was making they images on my arm, I sed to un, I sed, put me S.M., I
sed, so’s I’ll mind to put in the sewing machine raffle, I sed, or else
if so be as I don’t I shall get a slice of tongue pie when I do get home
along.”

Our faces fell. Our hearts, full of romance, now became like lead. In
despair we put the last question, a forlorn hope in the storming of his
heart’s citadel.

“And the other thing on your arms, Walter? The heart.”

“Cooriosity killed a monkey,” said he. “Mind out, I’m going round the
corners.”

So was our romance killed. “Going round the corners,” was Walter’s sign
that all conversation was closed.

If one followed him “round the corners,” talk as one might, Walter
directed all his conversation to the flowers. To hear him address the
plants in the green-house was to think him indeed a god, who by some
magic spell turned the water in the can into a life-saving potion.
To-day we think that much of the soliloquy was done for our especial
benefit.

“Just a wee drop, my pretty,” he would say to some flower. “Just a drink
with lunch. That’s right. Perk up now. By Gum, you do want your drop
regular, you ’ardened teetotaler. Hello, hello, what’s up with you?
Looks to me as if a snail had bided along o’ you too frequent.”

His great hand, covered with ancient scars, would lift the leaves
tenderly, and search beneath for the offending snail which, when found,
would be held up to view.

“Five-and-twenty tailors!” he would exclaim.

He would be instantly corrected. “Four-and-twenty.”

“You got your history wrong,” he used to say.

We repeated

Four-and-twenty tailors went to catch a snail,
And the best man among them dare not touch his tail.

“Come the twenty-fifth,” Walter added. “That be I. So here goes, Master
Snail.”

With that the snail was sharply crushed underfoot, and the soliloquy
continued. He is with us still, older in years, younger than ever in
heart, with the same immortal personality, the same atmosphere of
friendship with the gods about him. He listens to orders with a smile of
amusement, just as if he had been laughing about our ways only an hour
before with some inhabitant of an unseen world. He carried his own
peculiar atmosphere with him of indulgent superiority and
warm-heartedness combined, just as the tortoise carries his house on his
back. If that story is unknown by any chance, here it is.

When the toy had once taken Jupiter in the head to enter into a state of
matrimony, he resolved for the honour of his Celestial Lady, that the
whole world should keep a Festival upon the day of his marriage, and so
invited all living creatures, Tag-Rag and Bob-Tail, to the solemnity of
his wedding. They all came in very good time, saving only the Tortoise.
Jupiter told him ’twas ill done to make the Company stay, and asked him,
“Why so late?” “Why truly,” says the Tortoise, “I was at home, at my own
House, my dearly beloved House,” and House is Home, let it be never so
Homely. Jupiter took it very ill at his hands, that he should think
himself better in a Ditch than in a Palace, and so he passed this
Judgment upon him: that since he would not be persuaded to come out of
his House upon that occasion, he should never stir abroad again from
that Day forward without his House upon his head.

This, as may be seen at once, is the Olympian aspect not only of the
house, but of the garden as well. We mortals do carry our Homes with us,
breathing a closer, less free air than the air of Olympus, when the
reigning monarch has merely to take a toy in the head to enter into a
state of matrimony. We, tortoise-like, are bound and tied by a thousand
pleasant associations to our plot of earth and our patch of stars.
Sooner than attend the ceremonies of the greatest, we linger by our
house and in our garden, so that though we may not boast with the great
world and say that we know “Dear old Jove,” or “that charming wife of
his, Juno,” still we know that we live on the slopes of Olympus, and
have a number of charming flowers for society.

Your old-fashioned man with a care to his garden will look through the
quarrel of his window to spy weather signs. This quarrel, the
lozenge-pane of a window made criss-cross, shows in its narrow frame a
deal of Nature’s business, day and night. For your gardener it takes the
part of club window, weather glass and eye hole onto his world. Through
it day and night he reviews the sky and the trees, the wind, the moon
and the stars. When he rises betimes there’s the sky for him to read.
When he returns for his tea there in the pane is the sunset framed. When
he goes to bed the moon rides past and the friendly stars twinkle.

No man is asked his opinion of the weather so much as the gardener,
except, may be, the shepherd; both men having, as it were, a
Professorship in weather given to them by the Public. It is they who
have given rise to, or even, perhaps, invented the rhymes by which they
go.

Evening red and morning grey,
Send the traveller on his way;
But evening grey and morning red,
Send the traveller wet to bed.

There is a verse full of ripe experience. The evening sun glows red
through the lozenge-panes and into the cottage, lights up with sparks of
crimson fire the silver lustre ornaments, makes the furniture shine
again, gives the brass candlesticks a finger lick of fire, shines ruddy
on the tablecloth, and flashes back a friendly scarlet message from the
square of looking-glass. On the deep window ledge stand a row of ruddled
flower pots in which fine geraniums grow, behind them a tidy muslin
curtain stretches across the window on a tape, on the sides of the
window are hung a photograph or two, an almanac, and a picture cut from
a seed catalogue, above hangs a canary in a small cage. Only the
narrowest slip of window is clear, not more than one clear pane, and it
is through this that the evening sun streams into the cottage room. In
the morning when our friend rises, if he finds the room flooded with a
clear grey light, a light matching the silver lustre jugs, then he
quotes his verse, to be sure, and passing his neighbour says, “A fine
day, to-day.”

2

A rainbow in the morning
Is the shepherd’s warning
But a rainbow at night
Is the shepherd’s delight.

That sign is for the shepherd and the traveller by night, since no
ordinary being is expected to watch for rainbows by night to the
detriment of his night’s rest and his morning temper. But the shepherd
must keep a keen eye to such signs, and marks, day and night, all the
little movements of Nature, to learn her whims. As for instance, the
signs of bad weather to come:

1

That swallows will fly low and swiftly when the upper air is
charged with moisture for then insects fly low also.

2

That the cricket will sing sharply.

This last, of course, in wet countries, for in dry places, as in meadows
under southern mountains, there is a perfect orchestra of rasping
crickets in the grass. But in the north, on the most silent and golden
days, they say that the chirrup of a cricket foretells rain. Just as
they say:

3

As hedgehogs do foresee evening storms
So wise men are for fortune still prepared.

This they say, because the story runs that a hedgehog builds a nest with
the opening made to face the mildest quarter thereabout, and the back to
the most prevalent wind.

Again, and this a sign everybody knows:

4

That distant hills look near.

As indeed they do before rain, and many times one hears—“such a place is
too clear to-day”—or, “One can see such a land much too well,” and this
means near rain.

Like the swallows so do rooks change their flight before rain, and so,
also, do plover, for it is noticed:

5

That rooks will glide low on the wind, and drop quickly. And
plover fly in shape almost as a kite and will not rise high, one
or two of the flock being posted sentinels at the tail of the
kite formation.

Then, if the shepherd is near to a dew-pit, or any water meadow, or
passing by a roadside ditch he will notice:

6

That toads will walk out across the road. And frogs will change
colour before a storm, losing their bright green and turning to
a dun brown.

To all of these signs with their significance of coming rain your
shepherd will give a proper prominence in his mind, marking one, and
then searching for another until he is certain. His first clue on any
hilly ground is:

7

That sheep will not wander into the uplands but keep browsing in
the plain.

Having taken note of this he turns to plants, particularly to his own
weather glass, the Scarlet Pimpernel, as he sees:

8

That the Pimpernel closes her eye. That the down will fly from
off the dandelion, the colts-foot, and from thistles though
there be no wind.

Of night signs there are many, but chiefly:

9

That glowworms shine very bright.

10

That the new moon with the old moon in her lap comes before
rain.

11

That if the rainbow comes at night
Then the rain is gone quite.

12

Near bur, far rain.

This of the bur, or halo, to be seen at times about the moon.

For a last thing they say:

13

On Candlemas Day if the sun shines clear,
The shepherd had rather see his wife on the bier.

* * * * *

Our friend, the weather-wise gardener,—and, by the way, there is the
unkind saying:

Weatherwise, foolish otherwise—

has several things in his neighbourhood to tell him of coming rain, as:

1

That heliotrope and marigold flowers close their petals.

2

That ducks will make a loud and insistent quacking.

3

That—so they say—the cat will sit by the fire and clean her
whiskers.

4

That the tables and chairs will creak.

5

That dogs will eat grass.

6

That moles will heave.

In the garden he too will observe the birds, more especially that pert
friend to all gardeners, the robin. For they say:

If the robin sings in the bush
Then the weather will be coarse;
But if the robin sings in the barn
Then the weather will be warm.

I must confess that I have not found this come true of robins, any more
than I have found waterwag-tails coming on the lawn to be a harbinger of
rain, or that thrushes eat more snails than worms in the dry season. Of
this last I get enjoyment enough, for there is a stone in my garden to
which the fat thrushes come dragging snails. They give them a mighty
heave, and down come the snails, “crack” on the stone, until the shell
is burst asunder and the delicious morsel is down Master Thrush’s gullet
in the twinkling of an eye. The thrush is certainly my favourite garden
bird, both for his looks and his song, and the blackbird I like least,
for they are bundles of nerves, screaming away at the slightest
suggestion of danger. The robin is a fine impudent fellow and friendly
in a truly greedy way, following the smallest suggestion of digging with
an eye for a good dinner, so that if you are only pulling the earth up
in weeding you will have the brisk little gentleman at your elbow, head
cocked on one side, and an eye of the greatest intelligence sharply
fixed on you. Pigeons I regard as an absolute nuisance, their voices
sentimental to a degree, in this way quite at variance with their
selfish, greedy and destructive characters. So they say:

If the pigeons go a benting
Then the farmers lie lamenting.

Starlings are very handsome birds but as they live in congregations, or
like regiments, one can have no personal feeling for them, though I love
to watch them on winter evenings when they come in thousands from the
fields and fly to their roosting place, making the air rustle with the
quick beat of their wings.

The bullfinch is a gardener’s enemy, for he will strip the fruit buds
from a tree out of pure wantonness, and yet he is a brave bird and nice
to see about.

All the small birds give one joy though they be robbers or enemies to
young plants, or bee eaters like the blue-tit, or strawberry robbers, or
drainpipe chokers like the house-sparrows, or murderers of the summer
peace like the woodpecker with his quick insistent “tap, tap.”

In royal and fine gardens, of course, one must have two birds; the
peacock and the owl, for these two give all the air of romance needful,
though I have never myself regarded the peacock as a King of birds, for
he makes too much of a show of himself, and his wife is a humble
creature. I feel, rather, that he is a courtier strutting up and down
waiting the King’s pleasure; a place-seeker, one who will cheer the side
that pays. As for the owl, that dusky guardian of secrets, he is a far
more solid and trustworthy fellow than the gay peacock, and though he
snores in the daytime, his great round yellow eyes are open at the least
sound in his haunt.

This is far afield from the weather, so let us give the remaining saying
of birds that the gardener may notice.

November ice that bears a duck
Brings a winter of slush and muck.

That I hold to be very true.

There are still one or two rhymes that should be well noted, three of
the rain.

1

When it rains before seven
It will cease before eleven.

2

March dry, good rye
April wet, good wheat.

3

If the ash before the oak
Then we are in for a soak.
But if the oak before the ash
We shall get off with a splash.

Then they say:

Between twelve and two
You’ll see what the day will do.

And again:

Cut your thistles before St. John
You will have two to every one.

And,

The grass that grows in Janiveer
Grows no more all the year.

And also:

That flower seeds sown on Palm Sunday will come up double.

* * * * *

These are all very well, and what with one thing and another will come
true, at least as true as the rhyme that says:

A mackerel sky
Is very wet, or very dry.

Still it is really to the wind that the gardener looks most, and if he
have a weathercock in his garden (which with a sundial, a rain gauge,
and an outside thermometer he should always have) he will note each turn
of the wind. If he has no weathercock then he will read the wind by the
smoke of chimneys, or the turn of the leaves of trees.

And, after regarding the wind, he may remember this:

When it rains with the wind in the east,
It rains for twenty four hours at least.

And this also:

When the wind is in the south,
’Tis in the rain’s mouth;
When the wind is in the east
’Tis neither good for man nor beast.

This weather lore is naturally gleaned out of many years, some of the
sayings being of real antiquity, others, perhaps, newly coined, though I
fancy not. In spite of them you will find every gardener has a different
manner of reading the sky and the wind, some having it that mares-tails
in the sky come after great storms, others that they are the portent of
a gale. Some, if asked will reply to a question on the weather:

“With these frostises o’ nights, and the wind veered roun’ apint west,
and taking into consideration the time o’ year, and the bad
harvest”—then follows a long look into the heavens—“I don’t say but what
’er won’t rain, but then again, I dunno, perhaps come the breeze keeps
off, us mighten have quite a tidy drop.” This you are at liberty to
translate which way you choose, since the advice is generally followed
by a portentous wink, or, at least, some motion of an eyelid curiously
like it.

It is Winter, and when it is winter the earth is very secret, but it
lies like pie-crust promises waiting to be broken. A little graveyard of
the tombs of seeds and bulbs spreads before one’s eyes. Each tomb has a
nice headstone of white with the name of the buried life below written
upon it. The virtues of the buried are not written in so many words, but
their names suffice for that. In my imagination I see my graveyard like
this:

HERE LIES BURIED
A
ROSE COLOURED TULIP
WHO CAME ACROSS THE SEAS
FROM THE KINGDOM
OF
HOLLAND
UNDER THIS EARTH
SHE
AND ONE HUNDRED OF HER SISTERS
ARE WAITING FOR THE SPRING
WHEN THEY WILL UNFOLD THEMSELVES
FROM THEIR LONG SLEEP AND ADORN
WITH THEIR PLEASANT FACES THE SOUTH
BORDER FACING THE STUDY WINDOW

That I see most clearly written over the spot where I tucked the hundred
and one beautiful sisters in their bed of rich brown earth, and I am
looking for the time when the graveyard shall begin to be green with the
shafts of their first leaves. Besides these, there are the headsticks to
the Carnations, but this patch of the graveyard is different since the
tufts of Carnation grass make long grey lines against the brown earth.
Somewhere, in each of these grey tufts, is hidden the beautiful germ of
life that is growing, growing all the time, and the wonderful chemical
process is at work there (for all the plants look so silent and quiet),
that is mixing colours and rejecting colours, and is secreting wax, and
preparing perfume. Of all moments in a garden this is to me the most
wonderful. No glory of colour or variety of shape; no pageant of ripe
Summer, or tender early day of Spring appeals to me quite in the way
this silent time does, when a thousand unseen forces are at work. I have
often wondered (being quite ignorant of the chemical side of this) what
happens to that drop of fresh colour the bee brings like a careless
artist flicking a brush. Sometimes in a Carnation of pure white, one
flower, or two, will show a crimson streak—a sport, one calls it. But
more curious still is the fringe edge of the Picotee. How, I have often
asked myself, does the colour edge find its way to its proper place? How
does the plant manage to produce just enough of that one colour to go
round each of its flowers? I have stood by a row of these plants that I
have just planted in some new bed, and wondered at the amazing industry
going on within them. They are fighting disease, supplying themselves
with proper nourishment, mixing colours, and building buds and stems. It
is a regular dockyard of a place except that there is no sound. I
imagine (quite wrongly, but merely because an instinct causes me to do
so) a lot of orderly forces like little drilled men hard at work in
green-grey suits. Those who work underground are not in green but are in
white, but should they go above the surface they would change colour
owing to contact with the light, and this is due to the presence of a
matter called chlorophyll in the cells which gives plants their green
colour.

The underground workers are hard at it always, getting water from the
ground, and in this water are gases and minerals dissolved. The workmen
send this up to those in the leaves. Those who work in the leaves are
taking in supplies of carbonic acid gas from the air, and the leaves
themselves are so formed as to get as much light as possible on one
surface. When the light meets with the carbonic acid gas in the leaves
starch is formed. This is distributed through the plant to the actual
builders.

You stand over the row of Carnations all silent, all still, and yet here
is this tremendous activity going on, building, distributing, selecting,
rejecting. A thousand workmen making a flower.

The two sets of workers, in the roots and leaves, the one sending up
water and nitrogenous matter, the other making starch, are manufacturing
albumenoids for more building material. And it is more easy to think of
such creatures at work since a plant, unlike an animal, has no stomach,
or heart, or bloodvessels, and its food is liquid and gaseous.

Now of these marvels the greatest is that of the existence of life in
the plant on exactly the same initial principles as the existence of
life in man. That is the substance known as the protoplasm. It is too
amazing for me, and too great a thing to be dealt with here, but, as I
look at my silent dockyard, there are these protoplasms, in the cells of
these plants, dividing into halves and, so to speak, nestling with fresh
cells in walls of cellulose.

Think of the work actually going on beneath our eyes in the one matter
of the starch factory in the plant, where the chlorophyll (the green
colouring matter) separates the carbon from the carbonic acid, returns
the oxygen to the air, and mingles the carbon and the oxygen and the
hydrogen in the water and so makes this starch.

All this goes on when we open our windows of a morning and look out over
the garden and see just a grey line of Carnations we planted over-night.
The workers at the roots who are so busily engaged in sending up water,
are also sending with it all those things the plant needs that they can
get from the earth. Thus the water may contain iron, nitrogen, sulphur,
and potash. All that goes from the roots to the leaves is called sap.
This, when it comes to the leaves and all parts of the plant exposed to
the light, transpires, and so keeps the plant cool.

The stem, on which the supreme work, the flower, will be born, is, in
the case of our Carnations, divided into nodes and internodes, the nodes
being those solid elbows one sees. It is towards the supreme work that
our eyes are turned. It is part, if not chief part, of the pleasure of
our vigil to look forward to the day when the first faint colour shows
in the bursting bud. It is for this moment that we wait and wear out the
chill of Winter. It is towards the idea of a resurrection that our
thoughts, perhaps unconsciously, are fixed, to the knowledge that our
garden is to be born again, fresh and new in colour, in warmth and
sunshine. The very secret workings going on before our eyes, all that
Heavenly workshop where none are ’prentices and all are master-hands,
where the bee, and the ant, and the unseen insect in the air, go about
their exact duties, give one, as Autumn declines into Winter and Winter
rouses into Spring, some vague conjecture of the mighty magic of the
growing world, where no particle of energy is ever wasted.




Life in the Winter takes on this aspect of waiting wonderment. While the
rivers are in flood, and the fields are ruled with silver lines where
the ditches are full, and the Sun uses them for a mirror; while the
gulls are driven inland and follow the plough, and the starlings
congregate in the open fields, we prepare our pageant of flowers against
those days when the slumber of the earth is over, and the now purple
hedgerows are alive with tender green. St. Francis of Assisi impressed
the very sentiment on his friars, in bidding them make scented gardens
of flower-bearing herbs to remind them of Him who is called “The Lily of
the Valley,” and “The Flower of the World.”

So goes my workshop through the winter days, while a few pale ghosts of
late Roses linger on the trees, sighing doubtless to themselves, like
old gentlemen—“Ah, I remember this place before Autumn pulled down all
the green leaves, and long before all that ground was laid out for seed
plots.” And all the while my Roses are growing and, could one see into
the colour chambers of the trees, into those wonderful studios hidden in
the tiny cells, one would see these artists at work rivalling the blush
of morning, the flames of fire, the white soul of innocence, the crimson
of king’s robes, and the orange flush of sunset. There are men, I
suppose, who know to a certain extent how the secretion of these
wonderful colours is arranged; why this or that colour runs to flush a
petal to the edge, or stays to dye only the flower’s heart. But it will
ever be a marvel to me to see how these veins flow crimson, those hold
orange, and those again hold a rich yellow. The work that creates the
colour of a Pansy, that gives to the Sweet Peas those soft tints, that
shapes and colours the trumpet flower of the Convolvulus, and builds the
long horn of the sweet-scented Eglantine, gives one a joy to which few
joys are equal, and a feeling of security with the great unknown things
by which life is encompassed.

Looking again at the garden of promises, and thinking of it still as a
graveyard with headstones, I see one which is, to me, particularly
pleasant. It is by an old bush of lavender, the mother bush of my long
hedge; I read it to be written like this:

HERE LIES
IMPRISONED IN THIS GREY BUSH
THE SCENT OF
LAVENDER
IT IS RENOWNED FOR A SIMPLE PURITY
A SWEET FRAGRANCE AND A SUBTLE
STRENGTH IT IS THE ODOUR OF
THE DOMESTIC VIRTUES AND THE
SYMBOLIC PERFUME OF A QUIET LIFE
RAIN
SHALL WEEP OVER THIS BUSH
SUN
SHALL GIVE IT WARM KISSES
WIND
SHALL STIR THE TALL SPIKES
UNTIL SUCH TIME AS IS REQUIRED
WHEN IT SHALL FLOWER AND SO
YIELD TO US ITS SECRET

There stands the bush all neatly tied, its venerable head at the moment
covered with a powdering of fine snow, and round it the first sharp
spears of Crocus leaves show, and the fat buds of Snowdrops, and the
ready bud of the yellow Aconite. All the garden is waiting, the
Pea-sticks are prepared, the paths have been cleaned, and I am waiting
and watching the little things. The trees even now are whispering that
it will soon be Spring, for all they look from a distance like a
collection of dried and pressed roots sticking up in the air, how they
are drawn in purple ink against the sky; but one day my eyes will see a
faint haze over them as if a little mist hung about them and was caught
in the branches, and then they will change so quietly that it is
impossible to tell quite when they began to look like very delicate
green feathers, and then they will change so suddenly that it is a shock
to one’s eyes to find them in a full flush of sticky bud and leaf, and
one says in accents of delighted surprise, “Why, the trees are out!”

Not every one takes pleasure in a garden during the Winter time, many
regarding it as a chill and a desolate place in itself, and taking only
an interest in the green-houses and the Violet frames; and few would
find a pleasure in washing flower-pots by the dozen on a rainy day, and
in putting fresh ashes on the paths, and in banking up Celery. But to
the keen gardener every inch of work in his garden is full of interest,
he realises the daily value of each thing he does, he knows of that
great silent work that is going on so near him, and so enjoys even the
burnishing of a spade, the rolling of lawns, and loves, as I think every
one does, the surgical work of pruning the fruit trees.

Then, when the promise is fulfilled, and the world is full of green and
colour, the wondrous alchemy of the Winter months shows its result in
the glorious painting of the flowers of Spring and Summer.

You can get no symbol finer than a path, no symbol is more used. Of
necessity a path must begin somewhere and have a destination. Of
necessity it must cross certain country, overcome obstacles, or go round
them. By nature you come at new views from a path and so obtain fresh
suggestions. A path entails labour, and by labour ease. It must have a
purpose, and so must originate in an inspiration. And yet the man who
makes a path ignores, as a rule, the high importance of his task.

It is a peculiar thing that paths made across fields, and made by the
very people whose business it is to reach from point to point in the
shortest possible time, are never straight. Their very irregularities
reflect the nature of man more than the nature of the ground they cross.

So unmethodical is man by instinct that if he were to lay out a garden
in the same frame of mind in which he crosses a field, that garden would
abound in twisted, tortuous paths, beds of irregular shapes, spasmodic
arrangements of trees, flowers, shrubs and vegetables, a veritable
hotch-potch. To overcome that he imprisons the wanderings of his mind,
divides his garden into regular shapes, and drives his paths pell-mell
from point to point as straight as his eye and a line will allow him.
This planning of a garden is an absorbing joy. To come new to a fresh
place untouched by any other hand and to work your will on it gives one
all the delights of conquest, and the pleasant fatigue of a war in which
you are bound to win. You can make your own traditions, founding them
for future ages—as, for instance, you may so plant your trees as to
force one view on the attention. You can emulate Rome and carry your
paths straight and level. In fact, that little new world is yours to
conquer.

To me a winding path offers the more alluring prospect, just as it is
more pleasant to walk on a winding road where each turn opens out a
fresh vista, and the coming of every hidden corner is in the way of an
adventure. I have just made such a path.

To be precise my path is eighteen feet long and two feet and a quarter
wide. It curves twice, really in a sort of courteous bow in avoiding a
Standard Rose tree, and begins and ends in a little low step of Box;
this to prevent the cinders of which it is made from mingling with
gravel of the paths into which it runs.

I began it on a Monday. It is made through a Rose bed that was too wide
to work properly. At about nine in the morning the gardener and I stood
regarding the unconscious Rose-bed with much the same gravity as men
might regard a range of hills through which a tunnel was to be drilled.

I said, “This seems the best place to make a path through the bed.”

The gardener made a serpentine movement with his hand to indicate the
possible curve of the path and replied, after an interval: that such a
place seemed as good as any.

We then, with a certain lightening of heart after this tremendous
thought, walked into the bed and surveyed it. This tree would have to be
moved, and that one, and these half standards shifted. Good. It should
be done.

It seems that the earth requires a little ceremonial even when the
merest scratch is to be made on her surface. I am sure we wheeled a
barrow containing spades, a line, and sticks with some feeling of
processional pride. The gardener then, having come to a stop with the
barrow, spat, very solemnly on his hands. It appeared to be the exact
form of ritual required. In a few minutes we had pegged a way.

I suppose a spade is the first implement of peace ever made by human
kind. It is certainly the pleasantest to hold. A rake is a more
dandified affair, a hoe not so well-formed. The scythe and the sickle
have a store of poetry and legend about them, but the rake and the hoe
contain no romantic virtues. Although the plough is the recognised
implement of peace in symbolical language, it joins hands with war in
that same language—“turning their swords into ploughshares”—and so loses
much of its peaceful meaning, but the spade remains always the sword of
the man of peace, one weapon by which he conquers the ground and makes
the earth yield her fruits. For me the spade.

The gardener, having spat upon his hands regarded the earth and sky as
if to mark and measure the earth and the heavens, and them to witness
his first cut. The spade, lifted for a moment, drove deep into the
earth. The soil, pressed by the steel, turned. A new path was begun. How
long is it to last?

There are garden paths, so commenced, have made history in their day,
why not mine? Kings, Princes, Lords, Queens, Maids of Honour, spies and
honourable men have trodden garden paths, measuring their small length
and discussing everything in the states of Love or Country to come to
some decision. The Poppies Tarquin slew gave their message. The Pinks
that Michonis brought to Marie Antoinette grew by some garden path; that
very bunch of Pinks in which lay a note promising her safety, brought
her death more near. What comedies, what tragedies, vows made and
broken, kisses stolen and repented, have not had for platform just such
a path as mine.

At the first hint of broken soil a robin, pert and ready, took up a
position on a bare limb of Penzance Briar, and began to eye us merrily
just as if he, I and the garden were all out for a day’s worm hunting.

Said I, “Dick, we are out to make a garden path, incidentally to make
history.” For I had my idea of the “History of Paths” well at the back
of my mind.

The robin replied (or as good as replied), “If it’s history you’re
after, it’s insects I’m here for, so we’ll come at a bargain.”

Meanwhile the gardener turned another clod.

Said the robin, “I never saw any one so slow.”

Slow as we might have been we were quick enough in imagination. For one
thing there was the question of edging. Tiles, bricks, box, stones,
which was it to be?

Half-way down the trench we had made, just at the acute point of the
greater curve, the gardener propounded the question of the edging. He
leaned on his spade, and turning to me asked if I had thought to
something to edge the path with. Now my thoughts were far away from that
idea and were hovering like butterflies over a vision of the Path
Complete. I saw, for Springtime, a row of Daffodils nodding and yellow
in the breeze. For Summer I saw Carnations gleaming richly, and the
Roses all blooming. Overhead the driven sky hung out blue banners of
distress as if signalling for fine weather. Plumb to earth my thoughts
came.

“About something to edge with?”

Almost before I had time to speak, he continued. I had begun with the
word, “Box.”

Every one knows what it is to come on the rocks in the soil of a
gardener’s mind. It is, as a rule, some old idea taken deep root which
forms a rock of resistance. Sometimes it is a rock idea about taking
Geranium cuttings, sometimes an idea about the time for pruning fruit
trees or the method of pruning them, sometimes it concerns certain
plants which he refuses to allow will live in the garden and so lets
them die. One is never quite certain when or how the objection will
arise. I had sent out a feeler for Box and I struck a rock.

“Box!!” he said in a voice of awe, as if the gods overhearing would be
angry. “Where am I to get Box from? And if I was to get Box, Box don’t
grow so high,”—he held his hand a mustard seed height from the
ground—“not in ten years. It’s awkward stuff, Box, to deal with. In a
garden this size that needs an extra man—and plenty of work for a boy
too, when all these leaves is about—growing hedges of Box or what not is
not possible. Not that I have anything to say against Box, far from it.
No. It looks well in some places, but if you was to ask me, sir, I think
it’ud be the ruin of this Rosebed.”

Said the robin to me, “The man’s mad.”

I answered quickly, “It was merely a sudden idea of mine.”

He relapsed into silence for a moment. Then he said, “flints.”

I knew it was to be a battle. I hate flints. Nasty, ugly, tiresome
eyesores. Gardeners love flints just as many of them love Laurels and
Ivy.

I said very rashly, “But where are we to get flints?”

Of course I should have known that he had a cartload of flints up his
sleeve. He scraped his boots, walked away, and returned with a jagged
thing like one petrified decayed tooth of a mammoth. This he thrust into
the ground, and then surveyed it with pride.

“That,” he said, “is something like.”

“Something like what?” said I.

“A double row of these,” he said, “with here and there one of a
different colour would never be equalled.”

I agreed with him sarcastically. “Never,” said I, “would they be
equalled for utter hideousness. Far be it from me,” I said, “to fill the
hearts of my neighbours with envy of this border.”

“You don’t care for them?”

“Chuck it at him,” said the robin.

“I wouldn’t be seen dead in a path bordered with flints,” I said.

More in sorrow than in anger he removed the offending flint, and we
resumed work. The last time we had used bricks for an edging they had
all cracked with the frost, so that idea was left alone. Not, of course,
that all bricks crack, but the bricks about here seem to be very soft.

I asked if we had any tiles.

He knew of some tiles, a lot of them, nearly buried in the earth and
covered with Moss. They were an old line running by the path inside the
wall by the paddock; the path by the rubbish heap.

“But,” he said, having the rout of the flints in his mind, “it would
take a man all day to dig them up, and scrape them and wash them, and
then he couldn’t say they would be any use when it was done. And in a
garden where an extra man——”

“I will do it myself.”

“Fight it out,” said the robin.

More or less in silence, and really in excellent tempers, we finished
the trench that was to receive the cinders and ashes.

I washed the tiles. There were exactly ninety of them required. I
started to wash them in the cold water of a stable bucket, and I
regarded each one as a thing of beauty as I did it. After having done
forty I began to think it would be a good thing to give prisoners to do
to teach them discipline. After seventy, I decided to recommend that
particular form of torture to some Chinese official. By the time I had
finished I felt that some medal should be struck to commemorate the
event.

The gardener, at the close of that day, looked at my heap of tiles.

I said, “I have finished them.”

He replied, “I was just coming to lend a hand.”

To which, as I was not going to let the sun go down upon my wrath, I
answered, “Thank you.”

I think an ash-heap is the most desolate object I know. The dreary
remains of burnt-out fires make a melancholy sight, but I remember that
as a child that corner of the garden where stood the heaps of ashes and
ancient rubbish was as the mines of Eldorado to me. Here, if one dug
deeply enough, one found pieces of broken pottery, in themselves equal,
by power of imagination, to any discovery of Roman remains. To the
whitened bones I found I gave names, building from them adventures more
lurid than those of Captain Kydd. To the ashes I gave gold and jewels,
delving as if in a mine, sifting, with childlike seriousness, the heap
of fire slack, and coming on some bright bit of glass that shone for me
like a kingly diamond, I held it to the light and renewed the ardour of
my soul in its gleaming rays. After all, are not pieces of broken glass
as beautiful as many jewels if they are self-discovered and lit by the
light of joy? That corner of the garden, hidden by shrubs, by
low-growing nut trees and shaded by ancient Elms, has been for me the
Forest of Arden, of Sherwood, the deeps of the Jungle, an ambush, a
hiding-place, a tree covered island, each in its turn absolutely
satisfying to my mind. The sun’s rays shooting down through the branches
have found me seated, dirty, dishevelled, but incomparably happy,—a King
with an ash heap for a throne.

To an ash heap, then, I repaired on the following day, there to gather
loads of cinders and slack for my garden path. Already in my mind the
Roses bloomed by the path side; the tiles, evenly set, were leaned
against by blue-eyed Violas; Carnations waved gorgeous heads at my feet.

My friend the robin was there betimes and took upon himself to sing a
little song to cheer me. After that, with his bright eyes glinting, he
hopped upon the bed and inspected my labours.

The gardener coming upon me glanced at the row of neatly placed tiles.

“I’m glad I thought o’ they,” he said.

“Hit him,” the robin chirruped.

“You think they look well?” said I.

“As soon as I thought of they tiles,” he answered, “I knew I’d a thought
of a grand thing.”

So he took all the idea to himself, and went on solemnly pounding down
the cinders with a heavy stone fastened onto a stick.

And now the path is finished, and curves smooth and sleek between the
Rose trees, and answers firmly to the tread. All day long I have been
planting cuttings of Violas alongside the path; and behind them are rows
of Carnations.

I wonder who will walk upon my path in a hundred years time, and if by
then they, whoever they be, will think our methods of gardening very
old-fashioned and odd. And I wonder if we shall seem at all quaint to
people who will come after us, and if our clothes will be regarded as
odd and wonderfully ugly.

Once, I remember, I saw into the past in such a vivid way that I still
feel as if I were living out of my date by living now. It was on the
occasion of some fête in the country which was to be held in some big
gardens. Certain ladies were presiding over an entertainment that set
out to represent a series of Eighteenth Century booths. The daughter of
the house where I was stopping had spent time, money, and taste in
getting very accurate and beautiful dresses of about 1745. They wore
these, powdered their hair, and placed patches on their cheeks, and
prepared baskets of lavender tied up in bundles to sell at the fair.

I saw them one morning start for the place where the fair was to be
held. They came into the garden all dressed and in white caps, and they
walked arm-in-arm down a path bordered with Pinks and overhung with
Roses, and the sun gleamed on their flowered gowns and on their powdered
hair. I could almost hear them say—“La, Mistress Barbara, but I protest
it is a fine morning.” There was nothing incongruous in sight, just
these walking flowers passing the banks of Roses, pink as their cheeks,
and the Pinks white as their powdered hair. I felt at my side for my
sword, and put up my hand to my neck to smooth the fall of my lace
ruffles, but, alas, nor sword nor lace was there.

In the ordering of paths such as I have written there are many ways, and
some are for paths all of grass, and some for tiles, and some for flags
of stone, some for gravel, and some for brick laid herring-bone ways.
Each has its proper and appointed place, as, for instance, that flags of
stone are proper by a balustrade where are also stone jars to hold
flowers and stone seats arranged. And brick, which of all the others I
most prefer, as it is more warm to look at and helps the garden by its
rich colour, is good in intimate small gardens as well as in big, and
gives a feeling of cosiness to old-fashioned borders, and is nice near
to the house, and is good to set tubs for trees on, or tubs filled with
gay flowers. Of grass paths, in that they are soft and inviting, I like
them well enough, but they are wet underfoot after rain and dew, and
need a deal of care and trimming; but in such cases as small set gardens
with queer-shaped beds and low Box borders, I mean bulb gardens, to be
afterwards used for carpet bedding or for a show of some one thing, as
Begonias, or Zinnias, or Carnations, they are without equal. They should
be kept very precious, and well free of weeds, otherwise their beauty is
gone and they have a lack-lustre air, very uncomfortable. As for gravel,
it is a good thing in place where the ground is low and moist, for it
will remain dry better than anything if it is properly rolled and well
made. Often it is not properly curved and drained, and Moss and weeds
collect at the sides, whereby your garden will seem unkempt and dull.
Indeed the garden paths are of supreme importance to the appearance of
your garden, as if they be left dirty, or covered with leaves or moss
they will spoil all the neat brightness of the flowers, and are apt to
look like an unbrushed coat on a man otherwise well dressed. This is
especially the case with broad paths and drives. How often one has
judged of a gardener by the appearance of his drive! The first glance
from the gate up the drive will give you a fair guess at the gardener
and his methods, and you can tell at once if he be a man of decent and
tidy habits, or a man to leave odd corners dirty and full of weeds. That
last man is just such an one as will burnish up his place on the eve of
a garden party, and give everything a lick and a promise, and will stand
by his greenhouses with an expression on his face of an holy cherub when
the visitors are being shown his stove plants. That man will be for ever
complaining of overwork and will wear a face as long as a fiddle if he
is asked pertinent questions of unweeded paths. “Such a work,” he will
say, “should be done by an extra boy. As for me, am I not by day and by
night protecting the peas from the birds, and the dahlias from earwigs,
and the melons from the ravages of slugs?” And you may know from this
that he is the type of man who loses grape scissors, and who leaves bast
about, and mislays his trowel, and neglects to give water to your
favourite plants, so that they wither and die. No. Look well that you
get a man who is fond of keeping himself clean, and he will keep his
paths clean, as is the case in a man I know who started a fruit garden
in the country. He, it was, who showed me his men working on a Saturday
afternoon at cleaning up the paths. And when I stood amazed at this he
took me into the shed where the tools were kept, and there I saw spades
shining like silver, and forks burnished wonderfully, and everything
very orderly. I clapped my hands, and looked round still in wonder, for
I marvelled to see such neatness and order in a place that is the shrine
of disorder—as tool sheds, potting sheds, and the like, which are a
medley of stick, earth, leafmould, old pricking-out boxes, tools, wire,
and other miscellaneous objects. And I marvelled still more to see
through the open door men at work—on the afternoon devoted to
holiday—picking leaves from the paths, and setting the place in order.

I said, “This is well done indeed.”

And he answered, that this was the secret of all good gardening, pride
and carefulness, and that now he had shown them the way his men were so
proud of their tool-shed that they brought admiring friends to see it of
a Sunday afternoon. Then I knew if there was money to be made growing
fruit in England (which there is) then this man would make it (which he
does).

Now this talk of paths gives one the idea that people do not here make
enough of their paths, as the Japanese do, for there they are skilled in
small gardens, and especially in landscape gardens on a tiny scale,
making little hills and woods, and views, lakes, streams, and rock
gardens in a space about the size of the average suburban garden. Then
they are very choice of trees, and value the turning colour of Maples,
and the droop of Wisteria, and the shape and blossom of Plum and Cherry
trees as fine garden ornaments, while we grow our wonderful lawns. Our
lawns, indeed, are remarked by all the world, and wherever you see the
words “English Gardens” abroad you will know that the people have made a
lawn and watered it, and are proud of its fat smooth surface of velvet.
But we make the mistake, I think, of growing forest trees on the edge of
our lawns and do not enough encourage the wonderful and beautiful
varieties of flowering shrubs that there be. Above all we seem to have a
passion for dank, black, lustreless Ivy, beloved only of cats, spiders
and snails. I have seen many beautiful walls of stone and brick utterly
destroyed and defaced by ill-growing Ivy, where the bare walls would
give a fine warm background to our flowers.

The great thing in paths is to make them a little secret, leading round
trees to a fresh view, and interlacing them in pretty and quaint ways,
but we, a conservative people, are ill-disposed to cut new paths except
in new gardens, and often leave badly designed paths for lack of a
little good courage. But we are learning by degrees, and I think the
abominations of gardening are leaving us, such as the monkey-puzzle tree
in the centre of a round bed, and the rows of half-moon beds cut by the
side of our lawns and filled with Geraniums and Lobelias, and the rustic
seat (horror!), and the rustic summer-house made of rough pieces of tree
limbs badly nailed together (horror of horrors!). Now we know more of
the way to make pergolas, and terraces, and how to build summer-houses,
and the curse of the Mid-Victorian gardening is come to an end with the
antimacassar, and the wax fruit under a glass case, and the sofa with
horsehair bolsters.

Of course, true gardening is the work and interest of a lifetime, like
the collecting of objects of Art, and as such inspires much the same
eager passion and healthy rivalry. Therefore let the setting of your
collection be as perfect as possible, and those paths leading to the
choice collections as fine as the velvet on which priceless enamels are
laid. Indeed enamel is a happy word, for what do your flowers do but
enamel the earth with their sweet colours, and in pattern, choice, and
variety, will surpass all things made by man alone.

And here I take my leave of paths, that great subject that should indeed
be a book to itself, for if a man sit down to think of paths he begins
to follow one himself, and, starting from the cradle, ends at the grave,
or, pursuing some path of history, comes into the broad high-road of all
learning, or looking up and observing the stars finds a train of thought
in following the path of a star. In a garden path, or from it, he may
meditate all these things with right and proper circumstance of mind,
for he has flowers at his feet full of the meat of good things, rare
remembrancers of history, and exquisite things on which to base a
philosophy; while, as for the stars, are they not the Daisies of the
Fields of Heaven?

It is a beautiful custom that we put flowers on the graves of our dead,
and is more fraught with meaning than many know, for it is as a symbol
resurrection that they are so placed, inasmuch as the flower that seems
to perish perishes only for a while but comes up again as beautiful, and
though it die into the soil it reappears all fresh and lovely with no
sign of the soil to mar its beauty. But it is more beautiful to plant
the graves of those we love with flowers, as then we symbolise that they
are alive in our hearts and for ever flowering in our thoughts. And the
shadow of the church over them is but the shadow of the wing of sleep.
All our lives, said a French King, we are learning how to die; and when
the time comes we cannot help but think of that Garden of Sleep where we
must be placed along with other sleepers, there to wait.

In England it has long been a habit to plant the more melancholy trees
and shrubs in churchyards, as Yew trees, Myrtle, Bay, and the evergreen
Oak. In this way a sense of gloom was intended, much at variance with
the Christian doctrine that proclaims a victory over death. But instead
of this effect of sombreness the presence of these evergreens gives an
extraordinary air of quiet peace, of something perpetually alive though
at rest. Often and often I have taken my bread and cheese into a country
churchyard, and have sat down on the grass and leaned my back against
some venerable monument, and there lunched. I take it that this is no
disrespect to the dead, that the living should join company with them
even to the extent of spreading crumbs of bread over their resting
places. I take it that the smoke of a pipe is no sacriligeous sight in
the neighbourhood of tombs; for it is but a friendly spirit prompts it,
and no violation of the repose of these dead people. No; no more than
does the distant roar of the ship’s guns at practice disturb these quiet
souls.

In more than one churchyard there are the stocks remaining where
malefactors were placed, and so seated were they that all the good folks
passing in and out of church were forced to pass, almost to touch the
feet of the wrongdoers as they trod the path to the porch. One place I
know in particular where the stocks remain, and a goodly Yew tree having
grown thick and strong behind the seat forms a fine back to lean
against. From here I have surveyed the landscape over the tops of grey
old tombs, now all aslant over the heads of the sleepers. Here the
squire of 1640 rests facing the Cornfields once he cut and sowed and
stacked. There a lady, Christabel by name, faces the flagged walk to the
stone porch. There is grass over them now, and the merriest Daisies
grow, and Moss covers the laughing cherubims, and Lichen has crept into
the words that set forth their marvellous number of virtues. Spring
comes here just as it comes to other gardens, and the trees bud just as
daintily, and the young grass is every bit as green, and the first
Crocus lights his lamp, and the Dandelion flares as bravely with his
crown of gold.

There are these quaint quiet churchyards over the length and breadth of
England, where the dead lie so comfortably under the fresh English
grass. Some are full of flowers planted by loving hands; Roses grow
beside the church and shower their petals over the grey stones of the
tombs, and Spring flowers have been set in the grass to nod beside the
headstones sleepily. Others are bare and bleak, standing exposed to wind
and weather on a hillside, with stone walls about them, and a church
buffeted by every storm; yet these are sometimes most peaceful gardens,
and Ling and Gorse scent the air, and twisted Fir trees, and gnarled old
Pines, all leaning over, wind-bent, stand guard over the sleepers; bees
busy in the heather, lizards green as emeralds, and the bright
butterflies give the feeling of incessant life; they give that glorious
feeling that the great pulse still beats; that Nature all alive is yet
at one with the dead.

The gardener of these our dead, what a queer man is he! What a peculiar
profession he follows! To bury is but to plant the dead that they may
flower into that new life. And he is usually a humorous character, a man
of well-chosen words who surveys his garden of headstones and has a word
for each. He is no respecter of persons, since in the tomb all are
equal, and to see him at work preparing a fresh place for burial is to
think that the gravedigger’s work is no melancholy task. In the heat of
summer, half buried in the grave himself, he sings some old catch as he
shovels up the earth. “Poor little lamb,” he may say of a dead child;
“well, thee’ll bide here against our Lord wants ’e.”

I have seen such a man, his clothes brown with grave earth, a Daisy
between his lips (something to mumble, as he does not smoke on duty),
and watched his face as the lytchet gate clicks. His daughter, a flower
herself, is bringing his dinner, which he eats cheerfully leaning
against one side of the grave for support. This, with a thrush singing
somewhere, and the wheeze of the church clock, and the frivolous screams
of swifts make death a comfortable picture.

Here we have Nature triumphant, the Earth with her children asleep in
her lap. But a monstrosity has crept into our graveyards—God’s
Gardens—and in place of flowers with their joy, their symbolical message
of resurrection, one sees ghastly things of bead work and of wax,
enclosed in hideous glass cases with a mourning card in the centre of
them. This is not seemly nor decent in a place where the Earth reclaims
her children, where nothing ugly should be. It is within the reach of
everyone to buy fresh flowers and to renew those flowers from time to
time, and they should be left, if they are placed there, to die. Away
then with glass jam-jars filled with water, with bead wreaths, and all
ill-taste and hideous distortion of grief, and let us have our offerings
made as if to the living, for our dead live in our hearts, nor torture
them with horrid and distressing objects on their graves. I would have
every churchyard a garden kept by the pence of those who have laid their
dead there to rest; and I would have flowers and shrubs planted and
paths made, and seats placed, so that all should be kept fair and
bright.

In Switzerland, where I was once, I saw the most delightful graveyard I
have ever seen. The church stood on a bluff overlooking a river, a swift
running noisy river that sang songs of the mountains and of the big
fields and of the bustling towns, a dashing river alive with music,
loving the sound of its own voice. Above was this church and its yard,
and a little below, the village. The church was low-built and old, with
a wooden tower on which a cock stood guard; and it was whitewashed, and
toned by sun and rain, and a clock in the tower marked the passage of
time, solemnly, “tick-tock; tick-tock.” Along the south wall outside the
church was a bench, and a Wisteria over the bench, and a little jutting
roof over the Wisteria. This bench, time-worn as all else was time-worn
(as the wall was polished by several generations of backs), faced the
graveyard. If you sat on this bench you might take a glance at a man’s
life there in one long look, for there was a mill near by, and an Inn,
and a shoemaker’s, and a forge—the blacksmith was the undertaker, too,
any one could see from the fact that he was making a coffin. Besides
these you could see mountains covered with snow and wreathed in clouds;
great stretches of country, a wood, and the river. What more can there
be, saving only a sight of the sea?

But what struck me most forcibly was the appearance of the graveyard,
for each grave had flowers growing by it, and a little weeping willow
planted to hang over it, and there was something so pleasant to me in
this that I was filled with delight of the place as I sat there. It was
a real garden, so fresh and bright with flowers and with ugly
bead-wreaths as are so usual in foreign countries, and now, alas! in our
own. And it was so homely to think of the elders of that place who sat
looking at the graves and meditating—very likely—on the spot where they
themselves would lie. I remembered then, as I sat there, the description
of the graveyard in David Copperfield, and the words came almost exact
into my head.

“One Sunday night my mother reads to Peggotty and me in there, how
Lazarus was raised from the dead. And I am so frightened that they are
afterwards obliged to take me out of bed, and show me the quiet
churchyard out of the bedroom window, with the dead all lying in their
graves at rest, below the solemn moon.

“There is nothing half so green that I know anywhere as the grass of
that churchyard; nothing half so shady as its trees; nothing half so
quiet as its tombstones. The sheep are feeding there, when I kneel up,
early in the morning, in my little bed in a closet within my mother’s
room, to look out at it; and I see the red light shining on the
sun-dial, and think within myself, ‘Is the sun-dial glad, I wonder, that
it can tell the time again?’”

Even as I remembered those words I looked up and noticed a sun-dial on
the wall of the church just over my head, and, curiously enough, just
that peace that those words give to me seemed to come to me from the
sight of the sun-dial, and the repose of the scene before me.

It is good, I think, to meditate on these things, and all who garden,
who are, as it were, in touch with the soil, must sometimes let their
thoughts linger over the other gardens where the dead are, and where
Spring comes as blithely as in any other spot.

Although the gardens that are what are called “show-places,” tended and
nursed by a staff of men, do not bring one into such close contact with
earth as earth, still in the greater garden is a peace no other place
knows but the graveyard. This is no morbid thought, nor over
introspective, but, I think, makes me feel more sanely and not so
fearfully of death. In the same way do the poor keep their grave clothes
ready and neat in a drawer, with pennies sewn up in linen to put over
their tired eyes, and everything decent for the putting away of their
bodies. So does the wood of trees enclose them, and good and polished
wood in the shape of coffin-stools is there to bear them up. And I have
heard many talk of how they wished to lie facing the porch of the
church; and others who wished they might be near by the gate so that
folks passing in and out might remember them.

This may seem a subject not quite fitted to a book which is to tell of
the Charm of Gardens, and yet I am sure lovers of gardens will know just
what I mean. To think of and know of the peace and beauty of certain
graveyards is to gain consolation and quietude such as the knowledge and
thought of all beauty gives. What a wonderful thing it is that we can
paint the earth with flowers, set here crimson, and there orange, here
purple, and there blue; range our colours from white to cream, to deep
cream, to all the shades of all the colours, to deep impenetrable
purple, more black than black, like the dusky eyes of anemonies.

When it is night, and “the dead all lying in their graves at rest, below
the solemn moon,” the thousand thousand Daisies of the fields have
closed their eyes, and the Buttercups’ golden glaze is mellowed by the
moonlight, still there are flowers gay in the sunshine somewhere in the
world. Though the garden is chequered in the blue-green light and heavy
shadows, and the owls hoot in their melancholy voices, still there are
birds somewhere in the world singing. And though, across the way behind
the wall, white in the moonlight, lies the dark churchyard, and all is
very still there, still, I think, they, whose names are carved there on
the stones, are not in the dark, and do not know the damp and mouldy
earth, but are somewhere in some world more light and beautiful than
this.

The solemnity of this type of thought is seldom given to me by flowers;
it is more the breath of trees, and the deep places of a wood, that
gives one this feeling of hush and peace. Flowers are gay, stately,
exuberant, simple, but always joyous, as witness the pert questioning
faces of Pansies, and the languorous droop of Roses, the stately
propriety of Lilies, the romantic splendour of purple Clematis, and the
passionate beauty of the coloured Anemonies. In a garden are all moods,
from that given by a school of white Pinks, to the masterly exactitude
of the Red-Hot Poker, or the limpid and very virginal appearance of
Lavender. Youth itself comes in full blood with the blossom on fruit
trees; the slim elegance of childhood with the Narcissus and the
Daffodil. Daintiness herself is in Columbine; maidenly virtue is in the
hang-head Snowdrop. Zinnias have the melodious colours of the East;
Jasmine and Honeysuckle hold the spirit of the porch. Sweet Peas, all
laughing and chattering, are like a bevy of young girls; while the proud
Hyacinth, erect up his stem, his hair tight curled, his breath strong
and sweet, is to me like some hero of the days of William of Orange, a
hero in a curled full-bottomed wig. The Iris has the poetry of river
banks; the Sunflower peering over a cottage garden wall, spells rustic
ease. Fuschias I count very Victorian, like ladies in crinolines;
Geraniums also are prim and most polite. Wallflowers I place as
gipsy-like, a scent somehow of the wind on the road; while the
Snapdragons have a military spirit and grow in brightly uniformed
regiments. Carnations are courtiers, elegant, superbly dressed, yet with
a refinement all their own; and Larkspurs, like charity schools of
children, all dressed alike and out for a walk, on the tall stalk.
Primulas, deep-coloured or pale, I feel somehow to be the flowers of
memory; and Sweet Sultans are like Scots lords in foreign clothes. There
are a hundred others, all with some little fanciful meaning to those who
grow them, but all, I think, are full of joy; no flower is sad. It is
the trees, the voices whispering in whose leaves bring deeper thoughts.

There are those who say that happiness would come could we but find the
Blue Rose; and others that there are places one must need find like El
Dorado; and others that a magic charm will bring us the joy we desire.
They are all wrong. Happiness lies in the Rose at your hand, El Dorado
is at your door, the magic charm!—listen, there is a thrush singing.

Continue Reading

THE EFFECT OF TREES

Of the pleasure and affect of trees no one speaks so wisely as Bacon.
Although those who have a feeling for garden literature know his essay
on Gardens as the classic of its kind, still many do not recall his
thoughts when the planning of a garden is on hand. Too much, I think, is
given by the man who is about to make a garden, to his own particular
hobby, and many a man wonders why his garden gives him not all the
pleasure he expected. You will hear of a man talk of his new Rose beds,
of the nursery for Carnations he is in the process of making, of the
placing of his Violet frames, of his ideas for a rock garden (I think
the distressful feeling for a rockery of clinkers is dead), but you will
seldom hear of a man who deliberates quietly for effects of trees, or
who thinks of planting fruit trees as ornaments, but always he places
them in his kitchen garden, and ignores their value in their other
proper places.

Bacon rejoices in his arrangement of gardens for every month of the
year, and dwells, rightly, just as much on the pleasure of his trees as
in the ordering of his flower beds. Naturally he had not such a large
selection of flowers from which to choose as we have to-day, but to-day
we neglect the beauty of many trees, and especially the beauty of
hedges.

Are there sights in any garden more beautiful than the Almond tree and
the Peach tree in blossom, or the sweet trailing Sweetbriar? Bacon would
have us notice these, make a feast of these. Also he recommends the
beauty of the White Thorn in leaf, the Cherry and the Plum trees in
blossom, the Cherry tree in fruit, the Lilac tree, the wonder of the
Apple tree, and the Medlar.

Then, again, Bacon touches on a point all too little counted: the
perfume of the garden. He says: “And because the breath of flowers is
far sweeter in the air (where it comes and goes like the warbling of
musick) than in the hand, therefore nothing is more fit for that delight
than to know what be the flowers and plants that do best perfume the
air.

“Roses, damask and red, are fast flowers of their smells; so that you
may walk by a whole row of them and find nothing of their sweetness;
yea, though it be in a morning’s dew. Bays likewise yield no smell as
they grow; Rosemary little; nor Sweet Marjoram.

“That which above all others yield the sweetest smell in the air is the
Violet, especially the White Double Violet which comes twice a year;
about the middle of April, and about Bartholomew-tide. Next to that is
the Musk Rose; then the Strawberry leaves dying, which yield a most
excellent cordial smell. Then the flowers of the Vines; it is a little
dust, like the dust of a Bent, which grows upon the cluster, in the
first coming forth: then the Sweet Briar, then Wallflowers, which are
very delightful to be set under a parlour or lower chamber window. Then
Pinks and Gilly-flowers, especially the matted Pink and Clove
Gilly-flower: then the flowers of the Lime tree; then the Honeysuckles,
so they be somewhat afar off.

“Of Bean flowers I speak not, because they are field flowers.

“But those which perfume the air most delightfully, not passed by as the
rest, but being trodden upon and crushed, are three, that is Burnet,
Wild Thyme, and Water Mints. Therefore, you are to set whole alleys of
them to have the pleasure when you walk or tread. I would add to these
one or two more flowers whose perfume is easily yielded. The Heliotrope,
which at night will scent a garden; and Stocks, very rich and sweet
scented; Tobacco Plant, a heavy sensuous smell; Madonna Lilies, seeming
almost to breathe; Evening Primroses; and, after rain when the sun is
warm, the leaves of Geraniums, a faint musky smell, very attractive. But
of all these the garden holds one perfume more delicious, a scent that,
to me at least, is the Queen of Garden scents since it is the breath of
the whole garden herself. After a Summer’s day when it has been hot and
the lawn has been cut, and the Sun has well baked the earth, if there
should come rain in the evening, a soft warm rain pattering at first so
that it seems each leaf of flower and tree becomes a drum sounding with
rain beats, then it seems the garden breathes deep and draws in great
draughts of the delicious coolness. Then after the rain the night comes
warm again, and all warm earth smells, and the new cut grass smells
also, and every tree and flower join force upon force until the air is
filled with a perfume which for want of better names I would call the
Odour of Gratitude.”

Furthermore, Bacon speaks of the garden—“The garden is best to be
square, encompassed on all four sides with a stately arched hedge.” One
rich hedge is there at Bishopsbourne, which it is traditionally supposed
was planted by Richard Hooker, of whom Walton writes: “It is a hedge of
over one hundred feet in length, from twelve to fourteen feet in height,
and some ten feet thick. It is one of the finest Yew hedges in England,
a wonderful colour, an amazing strength and beautiful, when it is
clipped and trimmed, to look upon.” Of the pleasure and comfort of such
hedges, of the health to be gained by regarding them, many people have
spoken. There is, surely, something in the tough green life of the Yew,
something in its staunchness that conveys a feeling of strength to the
mind. I feel this in different degree with every kind of tree, partly no
doubt from moments of particular association, from memories that become
attached to scenes as they will (curious how scents, arrangements of
colour, outlines against a sky, will call up things and thoughts which
for the moment have no connection with them. I never see Oranges but I
think of a dark passage lined with books, and a cupboard built round
with books in shelves. In the cupboard are dishes of fruit, and shapes,
all tied up in linen, of fruit cheeses, as damson cheese, and crab-apple
cheese, and a cheese made of Quinces and Medlars).

I remember a graveyard in a little Swiss village where every grave had a
tiny weeping willow bending over it. It had, for us, infinitely more
pathos than the sombreness of many English graveyards. There was a
rushing torrent below, for the church and its graveyard was on a height
over a river, and the voice of the river sang in the quiet graveyard,
like a strong spirit singing in the pride of vigour to those asleep. The
little willows bent and shivered in the breeze, looking small and
pathetic against the strong small church. Outside the church, all along
one wall was a seat very smooth and worn, it faced the graves and the
tiny trees, and behind it, on the wall of the church, was a great
Wisteria with clusters of pale purple flowers. There were no other trees
there, or to be seen from the seat, but these little bending weeping
trees. And close by, a hundred yards from the church gate, was the
undertaker’s shop, part farm, part garden, part stocked with elm planks.
As I passed by the son was making a coffin out in the middle of the road
on trestles. Looking back one could see the young man bending earnestly
over his work, the sound of his saw ripping the air. Behind him was the
grey stone of the church and the forest of little shivering trees over
the graves. A little below, just across the river over a covered bridge,
was a beer-garden where a family was sitting drinking beer out of tall
mugs. They sat, father, mother, sons and daughters, all dressed in
black, under Chestnut trees cut down very close and clipped to make
alleys of shade. And a little behind them was a forest rising on a hill
with great masses of trees all shades of green, and glowing in the light
of an afternoon sun. But of all this I carry mostly the memory of those
little trees, quiet weeping sentinels, very pathetic.

* * * * *

Trees, especially isolated groups of trees, in towns and cities have a
wonderful fascination. The very idea that they burst into bud and leaf
in the midst of all the smoke and grime, and the noise and hurry, is
health-giving. It brings repose, it brings hope. I believe the trees in
town squares get more love than any country trees. They mean so much. It
seems so good of them to fight, and to come out year by year clean and
fresh and green, and in Winter when they are bare they make a delicate
webwork of twigs against the background of soot-covered houses. Then in
the Spring when they turn faintly purple there is a haze across the
square, and it seems that even the pigeons and the horses on the cab
rank feel it, but cannot scarcely believe it. Then, perhaps there is an
Almond tree in the square and it will suddenly break out into the most
exquisite finery, like the daintiest of women, making the square gay and
full of joy. The Spring has come. It is almost unbelievable. And people
passing through the square who have forgotten all about the Spring look
up suddenly and smile, and say: “Look at the Almond tree. Spring is
here.” Those who know the country turn their minds inwards and remember
that the brown owls have begun to hoot, that the gossamer is floating,
that, here and there yellow and white butterflies are flitting, looking
strangely out of season, that the raven is building, and the rooks too,
and that all sorts of birds they had forgotten are seen in the land.

After that the big trees in the square become hazy with bursting bud,
and one morning, as if some message had been whispered overnight, the
far side of the square is only to be seen through a screen of the
tenderest green. Bit by bit the leaves comes out, get bright, clean
washed by showers, get dingy with the soot. Then comes the fall of the
leaf and the crisp curl of it as it changes colour, and the far side of
the square begins to show again through bronze-coloured leaves. At last
the Winter comes and all that is left is the tracery of boughs and
twigs, and heaps of dead, beautiful-coloured leaves beneath the trees.
These still provide an interest, for the wind comes and picks them up
and whirls them right up into the air in all sorts of amazing dances and
games.

[Illustration: THE SEAT BENEATH THE OAK IN THE POET LAUREATE’S GARDEN.]

In the Winter one last beauty comes. The day has been leaden,
sad-coloured, bitterly cold. All the cabmen on the rank stamp with their
feet, and swing their arms to keep themselves warm, and there is a
little mist where all the horses breathe. And people coming through the
square have forgotten the Almond tree, and the look of the big trees
when the hot sun splashed gold on their leaves, and they say, looking at
the sky, “See how dark it is, it is going to snow.” The snow comes; the
sky is darker; the trees stick up looking black, like drawings in pen
and ink. Flakes, white flakes, twenty, forty, then a rush—a thousand;
the sky full of tiny white flakes, the air full of them whirling down.
All sounds begin to be muffled. Horses hoofs beat with a thud on the
ground. The sound of voices in the air is deadened. The voices of men
encouraging horses sound sharp now and again, or a whip cracks like a
shot. The square is covered with snow, every twig is outlined in white,
black patches of bark show here and there, and emphasise the dead
whiteness. When it has stopped snowing and a watery light comes from the
sun all the trees gleam wonderfully, looking like fairy trees. And
people passing through the square making beaten tracks in the snow
saying, “It is Winter.”

* * * * *

In a country garden there is a tree stands on the end of a lawn. It is
an Acacia tree, old, gnarled, and twisted, with Ivy round it, deep Ivy
in which thrushes build year after year; there is a stone near by on
which the thrushes break the shells of snails, the “tap, tap,” of the
birds at work is one of the peaceful sounds that break the silence of
the garden.

Under the tree is an oblong mark of pressed grass greener than the rest
of the lawn, where the garden-roller rests. And there is a seat under
the tree, and a wooden foot-rest by it.

Touch the tree and you go back at once to a picture of a boy, the boy
who helped to plant it over a hundred and fifty years before. If you
look from the tree across the lawn to the house you will see the very
door by which he came out with his father to plant the tree.

The house and the tree have grown old together, both of them have
mellowed with the garden and wear a look of old security and calm, and
have an air of wise old age.

Up and down the five white steps from the garden path to the house more
than five generations have passed, men in wide-skirted coats and full
wigs hanging about their ears in great corkscrew curls, men in powdered
wigs, rolled stockings, square buckled shoes, men in stocks and immense
collars, and big frills to their shirts making them look like
gentlemanly fish, down to the man who comes out to day who looks a
little old-fashioned, and is square-built like the house, and who parts
his hair like the men in Leech’s pictures, and who wears a rim of
whisker round his face. And troops of ladies have passed out by that
door into the garden in hoops, and sacques, and towers of hair, and
crinolines. But no lady comes out now to cut the Lavender hedge, or snip
at the Roses. The man is alone. But when he sits alone under the tree,
with a spud by his side ready to uproot Plantains from his lawn, he can
see troops of the garden ghosts sitting round him under the Acacia tree.

Sometimes there seems to be a sound of the ghostly click of bowls on the
lawn, for it is a bowling-green banked up on three sides (the fourth
bank has been done away with long ago), and there is a company of
gentlemen in their wide shirt sleeves playing bowls. Above them, on the
raised terrace next to the house where there is a broad path, a group of
old people sit by little tables and drink wine, and smoke, and gossip.
And behind them are tall Hollyhocks, and Roses and a tangle of
old-fashioned flowers such as Periwinkles and Sweet Williams, and Pinks.
The Acacia tree, which grows on the lawn beyond the bowling green, is
quite small.

The old man who dreams of these ghosts in his garden recognises them
readily because they have stepped out of pictures on his walls, and when
they are not haunting the garden are demurely hanging on the oak panels
in the old rooms.

Then he can see, if he chooses, a picture of the garden when the acacia
tree is quite tall, but still elegant and slender, and in this picture
an old, old lady walks down the garden paths. She is dressed in a large
hooped skirt with panniers, and has high-heeled shoes, and a perfect
tower of hair on her head, and over that a calash hood like the hood
over a waggon except that it is black. She carries an ebony stick in a
silk-mittened hand, a hand knotted with gout and covered with the
mourning rings of her friends. She it was who added largely to the
garden, and took in two acres more of land, and planted a row of Elms
and Beech trees. She kept the garden as bright and gay as the samplers
she worked herself. She had a mania for set beds, and her Tulips were
the talk of the county. A long bed of them ran from the house along one
bank of the bowling-green to the orchard, and it was arranged in pattern
of colours, lines, squares, interlaced geometrical designs of flaming
red and scarlet, pink and yellow and white and dull purple. She it was
who caused the sundial to be placed in the garden and who found the
motto for it, and designed the four triangular beds to go round it, and
placed a hedge of Lavender and Rosemary all about it in a square.

The tap of her stick on the paths is one of the ghostly sounds that
haunt the place, and sometimes it is difficult to know whether it is a
woodpecker, or a thrush breaking open a snail, or her stick that makes
such a sharp crisp sound on the Summer air.

There is another sound, too, that the Acacia tree knows well. It is the
click of glasses under its boughs. On a table placed under the tree is
an array of beautiful cut-glass decanters and a number of glasses which
reflect in the polished mahogany surface. Round the table four gentlemen
sit with white wigs and elegant lace falls at their throats, and ruffles
at their wrists. It is a hot Summer afternoon, and so still that not a
Rose leaf of those spread on the lawn stirs. A large white sheet lies on
the lawn covered with thousands of rose petals left to dry in the sun,
and when they are dry, and have undergone a careful mixture with spices,
and have herbs added to them by the mistress of the house, they will be
placed in china bowls in all the rooms, and will give out a subtle
delicious odour.

The man who is dreaming in his garden can see the four gentlemen as
plain as life raising their glasses and touch them before drinking the
silent toast. And it is difficult to tell whether it is the gardener
striking on his frames by accident, or the chink of glasses that sounds
so clearly under the Acacia tree.

Now, in another picture the garden holds, things are somewhat altered.
Instead of the big Tulip bed on the lawn there are a number of small cut
beds with long beds behind them on either side of a new gravel walk.
Instead of the older fashioned borders there are startling colour
schemes of carpet-bedding in which the flowers are made to look more
like coloured earths than anything. In the long beds, instead of the
profusion of Hollyhocks, Sunflowers and bushes of Roses, a primness
reigns. A row of blue Lobelia backed by a row of white Lobelia, then
scarlet Geraniums, then Calceolarias, then crimson Beet plants, every
ten yards a Marguerite Daisy sticks up out of the middle of the bed.
Only one rambling border remains, and that is hidden from the view of
the house windows, but can just be seen from the seat under the Acacia
tree. In it Phlox and Red-hot Pokers, Asters, Anemonies, Moss Rose, and
French Marigolds grow profusely, and some merciful sentiment has allowed
an old twisted Apple tree to remain there.

The old bowling-green is still beautifully kept, the grass is smooth and
fair, not a Daisy or Plantain is there to mar the splendour of the turf.
The Acacia tree, now grown old and venerable, spreads out fine branches,
and gives delightful shade. Here and there new arches of rustic
woodwork, in horrible designs, stretch over the paths, their ugliness
partly hidden by climbing Roses of the Seven Sisters kind, or Clematis,
or Honeysuckle, or Jasmine. Many trees in the garden are old enough to
exchange memories of a hundred years ago; the orchard alone boasts a
venerable congregation of old trees, some grey with lichen, some bowed
down with the result of full crops.

New ghosts walk the garden paths in crinolines and Leghorn hats, and
side curls, talking to gentlemen with glossy side whiskers, peg-top
trousers, and tartan waistcoats.

On the bowling-green the new game is laid out, and ladies and gentlemen
talk learnedly of bisques, and the correct weight of croquet mallets.
There is a fresh sound for the garden, the smack of croquet balls.

And now nearly all the ghosts vanish, and the old man who is sitting
under the Acacia tree looks around and sees his garden as it is to-day,
fuller of flowers than ever it was, with the hideous set borders done
away with, with the little rustic arches pulled down and a pergola,
properly built, in their place, and all of the horrors of Early
Victorian gardening gone for good, the plaster nymphs and cupids, the
tree called a “Monkey Puzzler,” the terrible rockery of clinkers and bad
bricks. Here, as in the house, taste has triumphed over fashion. Inside
the oak panels that had been covered over with hideous wallpapers are
brought to light. The wool mats have vanished, the glass domes over
clocks, the worsted bell-pulls, the druggets and the rep curtains all
gone for good.

Outside, wonders have been worked in the garden. New beds filled with
the choicest Roses and Carnations. Water is now properly conveyed by a
sprinkler. The old water-butt, slimy and falling to pieces, gone to give
place to a well filled concrete tank of water, kept clean and sweet.

One more ghostly sound left, a sound the lonely man unconsciously
listens for as he sits under the tree. On one bough, low growing and
strong, shows the marks deep cut where once depended the ropes of a
swing. In his ears he can sometimes hear the shouts of children and the
creak of the swing ropes, sounds he used to hear in his childhood. And
mingled with the children’s laughter he can hear, very faintly, a boy’s
voice, his own.

Such is the story of an hundred English Gardens, where trees will tell
secrets, and the lawn holds memories, and the paths echo with footsteps
out of the past.

* * * * *




The influence literature has on the mind is nowhere more traceable than
in a garden. A dozen thoughts spring to the mind gathered out of the
store cupboards of remembered reading at the sight of flowers, trees,
sunlit walks, dark alleys. Trees call up romantic meetings, hollow
trunks where lovers have posted their letters, dark shades where vows
have been made, smooth trunks on which are carven twin hearts pierced by
a single arrow and crowned with initials cut into the bark. Gloomy
recesses under spreading boughs remind one of the hiding places of
conspirators, of fugitives.

Sometimes, on a winter’s night, to look into the garden and see the
trees toss and shake with an angry wind, or stand bare, bleak, and black
against the sparkle of a frosty sky, some written thing comes quickly
into the brain almost as if the printed letters stood out clear. There
is one scene of winter and trees comes often to me very full and clear.
It is from the beginning of “Martin Chuzzlewit,” and heralds the
entrance in the story of the immortal Mr. Pecksniff.

“The fallen leaves, with which the ground was strewn, gave forth a
pleasant fragrance, and, subduing all harsh sounds of distant feet and
wheels, created a repose in gentle unison with the light scattering of
seed hither and thither by the distant husbandman, and with the
noiseless passage of the plough as it turned up the rich brown earth and
wrought a graceful pattern in the stubbled fields. On the motionless
branches of some trees autumn berries hung like clusters of coral beads,
as in those fabled orchards where the fruits were jewels; others,
stripped of all their garniture, stood, each the centre of its little
heap of bright red leaves, watching their slow decay; others again still
wearing theirs, had them all crunched and crackled up, as though they
had been burnt. About the stems of some were piled, in ruddy mounds, the
apples they had borne that year; while others (hardy evergreens this
class) showed somewhat stern and gloomy in their vigour, as charged by
nature with the admonition that it is not to her more sensitive and
joyous favourites she grants the longest term of life. Still athwart
their darker boughs the sunbeams struck out paths of deeper gold; and
the red light, mantling in among their swarthy branches, used them as
foils to set its brightness off, and aid the lustre of the dying day.

“A moment, and its glory was no more. The sun went down beneath the long
dark lines of hill and cloud which piled up in the west an airy city,
wall heaped on wall, and battlement on battlement; the light was all
withdrawn; the shining church turned cold and dark; the stream forgot to
smile; the birds were silent; and the gloom of winter dwelt in
everything.

“An evening wind uprose too, and the slighter branches cracked and
rattled as they moved, in skeleton dances, to its moaning music. The
withering leaves, no longer quiet, hurried to and fro in search of
shelter from its chill pursuit; the labourer unyoked the horses, and,
with head bent down, trudged briskly home beside them; and from the
cottage windows lights began to glance and wink upon the darkening
fields.

* * * * *

“It was small tyranny for a respectable wind to go wreaking its
vengeance on such poor creatures as the fallen leaves; but this wind,
happening to come up with a great heap of them just after venting its
humour on the insulted Dragon, did so disperse and scatter them that
they fled away, pell-mell, some here, some there, rolling over each
other, whirling round and round upon their thin edges, taking frantic
flights into the air, and playing all manner of extraordinary gambols in
the extremity of their distress. Nor was this good enough for its
malicious fury; for not content with driving them abroad, it charged
small parties of them, and hunted them into the wheelwright’s saw-pit,
and below the planks and timbers in the yard, and, scattering the
sawdust in the air it looked for them underneath, and when it did meet
with any, whew! how it drove them on and followed on their heels!

[Illustration: IN THE BOTANIC GARDEN, OXFORD.]

“The scared leaves only flew the faster for all this, and a giddy chase
it was; for they got into unfrequented places, where there was no
outlet, and where their pursuer kept them eddying round and round at his
pleasure; and they crept under the eaves of houses, and clung tightly to
the sides of hayricks like bats; and tore in at open chamber windows,
and cowered close to hedges; and, in short, went anywhere for safety.
But the oddest feat they achieved was, to take advantage of the sudden
opening of Mr. Pecksniff’s front door, to dash wildly down his passage,
with the wind following close upon them, and finding the back door open,
incontinently blew out the lighted candle held by Miss Pecksniff, and
slammed the front door against Mr. Pecksniff, who was at that moment
entering, with such violence, that in the twinkling of an eye, he lay on
his back at the bottom of the steps. Being by this time weary of such
trifling performances, the boisterous rover hurried away rejoicing,
roaring over moor and meadow, hill and flat, until it got out to sea,
where it met with other winds similarly disposed, and made a night of
it.”

* * * * *

Is not this wonderful and immortal passage as much a part of the Charm
of Gardens as the most delectable poetry on the perfumed air of a summer
night?

Often, when the logs are crackling on the hearth, one hears those hunted
leaves come banging on the window panes, those gaunt trees tossing in
the wind. When all the garden lies cold and bare and stripped of green,
the trees roar out an answer to the wind, an hundred garden voices swell
the storm, and you sit happy by your fireside and dream new colours for
the garden beds; and where a white frost sparkles on the earth, and
trees lift up bare fingers to the sky, you see deep wealth of green, and
jewelled borders brim full of spring flowers, and there a set of bulbs
you have nursed, come out sweet in green sheathes, and here a tree, now
naked, clothed in young green.

That for the night. For the morning, trailing clouds of mist over the
trees like fairy shawls alive with dew-diamonds, each dew-drop
reflecting its tiny world. The trees, the world, the garden still
asleep, or half asleep, until the sun throws off the counterpane of
clouds and springs into the skies.

It is at that time, before the sun is awake, the trees look strange as
sleeping things look strange, with a counterfeit of death, so still are
they. And in the Spring when the orchard is a pale ghost before the sun
is up, a man would swear it had been covered up at night in silver
smoke, or gossamer, or fairy silk that the sun tears into weeping shreds
that drip and drip and give the grass a bath.

But of the effect of trees as a spiritual support no man is at variance
with another. That they give courage, and help and hope, that the green
sight of them is good as being reminder that Heaven is kind, and that
the Winter is not always, no man doubts but, perhaps, fears to voice,
feeling his neighbour will call out at him for a worshipper of Pan and
of strange gods. But to the garden dweller, or to him who must perforce
make his garden of one tree in a dusty court, and of one glass of
flowers on his desk, these things have voices, and they are kindly
voices, saying, “Despair not,” and “Regard me how I grow upright through
the seasons,” and also “Give shade and shelter to all things and men
equally as I do, without distinction or difference, and if the grass
gives a couch, fair and embroidered with flowers, so do I give a roof of
infinite variety, and a shade from the sun, and a shelter from the
wind.” And again, “If a man know a tree to love it he will understand
much of men, and of birds, and beasts and of all living things. And of
greater things too, for in the branches is other fruit than the fruit of
the tree. Just as the rainbow is set in the sky for a promise, so is
fruit in a tree set there; and the leaves show how orderly is the Great
Plan; and the branches show the strength of slender things, and of
little things, so that a man may know how Heaven has its roots in earth,
and its crest in the clouds. And a man who holds to earth with one hand,
and reaches at the stars with the other, in that span he encompasses all
that may be known if he but see it. But men are blind, and do not see
the sky but as sky, and do not see the stars but as balls of fire, or
the green grass but as a carpet, or the flowers but as a combination of
chemical accidents. But over all, and through all, and in all is God,
Who still speaks with Adam in the Garden.”

These things are to be learnt of trees both great and small, withered
and young, sapling and Oak of centuries. And they are to be learnt also
in the dust on a butterfly’s wing; or of a blade of grass; or of a hemp
seed. But men are deaf, and hear no voice but the voice of water in a
rushing stream; and no sound but the sound of leaves stirring when the
wind rests in a tree; and no voice speaking in a blaze of flowers who
sing praises night and day in scented voices.

A tree is not dumb, and the Creeping Briar is not dumb, and the Rose has
a voice like the voice of a woman rejoicing that she is fair. But men
are dumb, for though their hearts speak, all tongues are not touched
with fire.

So may trees be a solace in trouble, and secrets may be whispered to
bushes of Rosemary and Lavender, who will yield their secret solace of
peace, as the tree yields strength. All these things are written in a
garden in coloured letters of gold, and green, and crimson, in blue and
purple, orange and grey, and they are written for a purpose. And a man
may seek diligently for the secret of this great book and find nothing
if he seek with his head alone. He will tell of the growth of trees,
their years, their nature, their sickness. He will learn of the power of
the sap which flows down from the tips of leaves to the great tree roots
all snug in the soil; and he will learn of the veins in the leaves, and
the properties of the gum of the bark, yet will he never learn that of
which the tree speaks always, night and day—praising.

Of what is the colour of green that the earth’s best page is made of it?
Of what is the colour of young green that it brings, unbidden, tender
thoughts? It is more than the gold of Corn, and the brown of ploughed
earth, and the glory of flowers. By it comes peace to the eyes, and
through the eyes to the heart of man, so that men say of youth and the
times of youth that they are salad days; and of old age, if so be it is
a fine old age, that it is green. It is the colour of the body as blue
is the colour of the soul. The sky and the sea are blue, and they are
things of mystery, deep and profound, and because of their great depth
and profundity they are blue. The grass and the trees, and the leaves of
flowers, and blades of young Corn are green. They are mysterious things
but they are nearer to man, and he has them to his hand to be near them,
and get quick comfort of them.

And Daisies are the stars of the grass, as stars are the Daisies of
Heaven; and if a man look long at the stars set out orderly in the sky
he may become fearful, for God may seem far off and difficult; yet if he
be near he may pick a Daisy and take his fill of comfortable things, for
God will seem near and His voice in the Daisy.

Yet many a man will walk over a field of grass pressing the Daisies with
his feet, and take no heed of them, or of the stars over above his head;
and the night and the day will be to him but light and darkness, and the
stars but lanterns to show him home, and the Daisies but flowers of the
field. But if he be a man who sees all, and in everything can feel the
finger and pulse of God, his staff will blossom in his hand, and he will
go on his way rejoicing.

In this way can man regard the trees in his garden, and speak with them,
loving them, and learning of them, for learning is all of love. And he
may yet be an ordinary man, not poet, or artist, but he must be mystic
because he has the true sight. Many a man, stockbroker, clerk, painter,
labourer, soldier, or whatever he seems to be, has his real being in
these moments, and they are revealed through love or sorrow, but not by
hard learning or text-books.

Continue Reading

TOWN GARDENS

Few people will deny the peace of mind a sheet of green grass can give,
but few people, one imagines, trouble to think how they are preserved in
large Towns and Cities. If it were not for Societies many little open
spaces would years ago have been covered with streets of houses, many
fair trees have fallen, none have been planted, and those growing have
been neglected and allowed to die. Of the many Societies whose work has
been to preserve for the Public pleasure grounds, good trees, parks, and
flower gardens, not one deserves such praise as the Metropolitan Public
Gardens Association, whose great work has been carried on since 1882.

When one considers that in Hampstead over six hundred acres have been
preserved by energetic Committees from the hands of builders it is easy
to see how great is the debt of London to those who voluntarily work for
this and other Open Space Societies.

It is not, however, by these large tracts of open country that the towns
and cities alone benefit. Seats, fountains, flower beds, and pavements
have been placed in old church-yards and disused burial-grounds opened
for the benefit of the public. One has only to look at the map of the
Metropolitan Public Gardens Association to see how wonderful their work
has been and still is.

To dwellers in Towns the sight of flowers in the streets is like a
breath of the country. The long line of flower-sellers in the High
Street, Kensington, one group of women in Piccadilly Circus, in Oxford
Circus, in other spots where the place of their flower baskets brightens
all the neighbourhood, are doctors, though they do not know it, of high
degree. They bring the message of the changing year. They are a
perpetual flower calendar, people to whom a reverence is due. One looks
in Piccadilly Circus for the first Snowdrops, the little knots of their
delicate white faces peering over the edge of the flower baskets. From
the tops of omnibuses the first Violets are seen. Anemones have their
turn, and Mimosa, and Cowslips, and Roses soon glow in the midst of the
traffic, and elegant Carnations in their silver grass, and great piles
of Asters. So we may read the year. All through the grey and desolate
Winter these flower women hold their own, through cold and rain, and
pale Winter sun they keep the day alive with the glowing colours of
flowers. I often wonder, as I see them sit there so patiently, if they
know the joy they give the passer-by, or if they are more like the rocks
on whom flowers grow by nature. They are a curious race, these
flower-women, untidy, with a screw of hair twisted up under a battered
hat of black straw, with faded shawls wrapped round them, and the
weapons of their craft arranged about them—jam jars of water, wire,
bass, rows of little sticks on the end of which buttonholes are stuck.
And they have wonderful contrivances for keeping their money, ancient
purses rusty like many of themselves, in which greasy pennies and wet
sixpences wallow in litters of dirty paper. I would not vouch for the
truth of all they say, for it would appear from their words that every
flower in their baskets is but just picked, or only that second from the
market. And they regard such evidence as withered and wet flower stalks
with half-humorous scorn. For all they may not be well favoured, and a
pretty flower-woman is as rare as a dead donkey, still, for me, they
have a certain dingy dignity, or rather a natural picturesque quality as
of lichen on the pavements.

[Illustration: AZALEAS IN BLOOM, ROTTEN ROW.]

These people are the town’s gardens of odd corners, while another tribe
of them are perambulating gardens bringing sudden colour into the
soberest of streets. There are those who carry enormous baskets on their
heads, and cry in some incomprehensible tongue words intended to convey
a message such as “All fresh.” To see a gorgeous glowing mass of
Daffodils sway down the street borne triumphantly aloft like the litter
of some Princess is one of those sights to repay many grey days. Then
the brothers to this tribe are those who carry from street to street
Ferns and Lilies on carts, drawn often by a patient ass. I own feeling a
distrust for these men, they do not dispense their goods with much love.
They are not eloquent, as are many flower women in praise of the
beauties of the India plant, or the Shuttle-cock Ferns. I feel that they
are interlopers in the business, and have failed at the hardware trade,
or have no capacity for the selling of rush baskets, or the grinding of
scissors. At the heels of all those who sell flowers in the streets are
the out-cast members of the tribe, men with brutal faces who follow
lonely women in unfrequented streets trying to thrust dead plants upon
them, and cursing if they are not bought. And there are the aged crones
who sit by the railings of little squares and hold out a tray of boot
laces, matches, a few very suspicious-looking Apples, and, in the
corner, a bunch of dead flowers—a kind of æsthetic appeal.

Your true flower-lover will search as carefully among their baskets for
the object of his desire as will the collector the musty curiosity shops
for prizes for his collection. There comes the time when the first
Snowdrops, their stalks tied with wool, appear here and there and may be
brought home as rare prizes. A word here of flower vases. Clear glass is
the only form of vessel for any kind of flower. I feel certain of that.
No crock, no form of pottery gives out greater the real value to your
cut flowers. The stalks are part of the beauty of the flower, the
submerged leaf as lovely as the leaf above. And, above and beyond all
things, glass shows at once if your water is pure, and if your vase is
full. Nowadays beautiful striped glass vases are made and sold so
cheaply that there is no excuse for the old, and often ugly, pot vases
so many people use. I own to a certain liking to seeing roses in old
China bowls, but have a lurking suspicion that I am Philistine in this.

There is, of course, a distinction between Town Gardens and gardens in
Towns. The one being the open free spaces dedicated to the pleasure of
Duke and tramp alike: the other the hidden and hallowed spots where the
town dweller fights soot, grime, smoke, and lack of sun, and fights them
in many cases wonderfully well. One finds, though, that many people
fancy that only Ivy, cats, and dustbins will flourish in the heart of a
smoky City. This is not the case. Broom, Lilac, Trumpet Flower,
Traveller’s Joy, many kinds of Honeysuckle, Passion Flower, Tulip Tree,
many kinds of Cherry and Plum Trees bearing beautiful blossoms,
Barberry, and Almond Trees—all these will grow well and strongly even in
the worst parts of London. Five kinds of Honeysuckle will flourish; they
are:

Lonicera Lepebouri
„ Flexuosam
„ Brachypoda aurea
„ Serotinum
„ Belgicum

Besides these, pink and white Brambles, Meadowsweet, Weigela, and
Rhododendrons all grow fairly easily.

One of the first sights the traveller notices on approaching any large
town is the numerous and gay back gardens of the little houses. The
contents of these gardens are a true index to the inhabitants of the
houses. Where one garden boasts little but old packing-cases, drying
linen, a few stalks of hollyhocks, and one or two giant sunflowers, the
very next will show borders full of all varieties of flowers in season,
an eloquent picture of what may be done with a little trouble. The
consolation and pleasure these little town gardens give is out of all
proportion to their size. The man who can come home to a villa, however
badly built and hideous, and it often appears that some competition in
ugliness has won suburban prizes, can find a delight all good gardeners
know in working his plot of land.

One thing we can see at a glance, that the good influence of one
well-kept garden in a row will very soon have its effect. There is one
street I know within the bounds of London, a street of new houses with
little gardens in front of them running down to the pavement. I watched
this street with interest from its very beginning. At first it was a
thing of beauty, the men at work on the buildings, the scaffolding
against the sky, the horses and carts waiting with loads of brick, the
gradual growth of the houses from foundation to roof. Even the ugliest
building is beautiful in the course of construction, the poles and
ladders hiding the coarse design. Then there came a day when the street
was finished. It is not an entire street, but about half, being a row of
twenty or so houses built in flats, three flats in each house. When the
men left and the houses stood naked, after the plan of the builder,
looking pitiful and commonplace, the new red brick was raw, the little
balconies very white and staring, the windows like blind eyes. Every
ground-floor flat had the disadvantage of less light and air than the
others, but it was the possessor of about nine feet of land between the
door and the pavement. For a long time I waited to see what would become
of this tenant-less row of houses. I gained a kind of affection for
them, and walked past the white signboards once or twice a week reading
always “To Let” written on the windows, painted on the notice board,
pasted on papers across the doors. The melancholy aspect of these houses
appealed to me; they had a look of dumb anxiety as if they longed to
hear the sound of voices in their empty rooms. At last I saw one day
three huge furniture vans drawn up in front of the houses, and during
the next two weeks more vans arrived and there was a sound of hammering
in the street, and a smell of unpacking. Men came there with boxes and
parcels, and tradesmen began to drive up in carts and motor-cars. I felt
that those houses still standing empty had a jealous look in their
windows, like little girls who had been left to sit out at a dance. The
notice boards were all shifted to their front gardens, their bell wires
still hung unconnected from holes by the front door.

The thing I was really waiting to see happened at Number Two. The
builder, after finishing the houses had, I suppose, come to the
conclusion that a little help from Nature would do no harm. Some good
fairy prompted him to plant Almond and May Trees alternately in the
front gardens. To each house an Almond and a May. I had waited eagerly,
determining by some fantastic twist that the spirit of the new houses
would first make her appearance in one of these trees. So far the street
had possessed no character except that vague rawness that all new places
wear. The great event occurred at Number Two. Very delicately an Almond
tree put out the first blossom. The life of the street began. I did not
wonder about the favoured owners of the ground floor of Number Two. I
knew.

Not long after the Almond tree had bloomed a cart drew up before Number
Two, and three men began to wheel barrow loads of earth into the front
garden. They were directed by a gentleman of some age, but of cheerful
countenance. He smiled as each load of earth was neatly placed. He
looked at the earth as if he already saw it covered with flowers. In his
mind’s eye he was arranging a surprise for the street.

The next event of notice in the street was the appearance of Number Two
garden, a blaze of flowers set in a desert of red brick. A balcony of
Number Sixteen, far down the road, entered into friendly competition.
Numbers Five and Nine worked like slaves. Three followed suit with
carpet-bedding on a tiny scale. A Laburnam and a Lilac sprang like magic
from the soil of Number Ten. Then, one day, the whole of Number One
burst into flower from top to toe. The tenant of each floor having
apparently been secretly at work to surprise the rest. Two, who had
started, and was indeed the father of the street, put forth more
strenuous efforts.

To-day I am certain of a pleasant walk, and can come out of a wilderness
of bricks and mortar to my charming oasis flowering in the land. I
wonder if the people who live in those flats and who compete with each
other in a friendly rivalry of blossom realise what they are doing for
the hundreds who pass by in the day and are cheered.




The Association I have named before, the Metropolitan Public Gardens
Association, give in their statement for 1907 a list of their window
garden competitions for that year. One sees that many of the poorer
parts of London have taken the idea, and this note I quote from South
Hackney shows the result: “Twelve entries. Eight prizes of the total
amount of One Pound, Ten Shillings. Remarks: Clean, fresh-looking, more
creepers than last year; example set is improving character of roads, as
others, not competitors, have started gardens.”

Any one who knows the dreary and desolate appearance of town streets,
especially in those parts where life is lived at the hardest, and
surroundings are of the most sordid, will encourage a work which induced
in one year over five hundred people in London slums to take an interest
in growing flowers.

The _Spectator_, of September 6, 1712, contains a charming essay upon
the English Garden, and the writer draws attention to Kensington Gardens
in the following words:

“I shall take notice of that part in the upper gardens at
Kensington, which was at first nothing but a Gravel Pit. It must
have been a fine Genius for gardening, that could have thought
of forming such an unsightly Hollow into so beautiful an Area,
and to have hit the eye with so uncommon and agreeable a Scene
as that which it is now wrought into. To give this peculiar spot
of ground the greater effect, they have made a very pleasing
contrast; for as on one side of the Walk you see this hollow
Bason, with its several little Plantations lying so conveniently
under the Eye of the Beholder; on the other side of it there
appears a seeming Mound, made up of trees rising one higher than
another in proportion as they approach the Centre. A Spectator
who has not heard this account of it, would think this Circular
Mount was not only a real one, but that it had been actually
scooped out of that hollow space which I have before mentioned.
I never yet met with anyone who has walked in this Garden, who
was not struck with that Part of it which I have mentioned.”

The writer finishes his essay with a simple and rather delightful
passage:

“You must know, Sir, that I look upon the Pleasure which we take
in a Garden, as one of the innocent Delights in human Life. A
Garden was the Habitation of our first Parents before the Fall.
It is naturally apt to fill the mind with Calmness and
Tranquillity, and to lay all its turbulent Passions at rest. It
gives us a great Insight into the Contrivance and Wisdom of
Providence, and suggests innumerable subjects for Meditation. I
cannot but think the very Complacency and Satisfaction which a
man takes in these Works of Nature, to be a laudable, if not a
virtuous Habit of Mind.”

Our opinion has not altered in these two hundred years. The enjoyment of
a garden is certainly one of the most innocent delights in human life,
the enjoyment of the garden he mentions in particular is one of the most
innocent pleasures in London. Kensington Gardens have inspired many
people, the classic of them is undoubtedly Mr. J. M. Barrie’s “Little
White Bird.” The patron Saint of them is, and I think ever will be,
“Peter Pan.” One has only to walk down the Babies Mile to hear games
from Peter Pan going on in all directions. This peculiar spirit haunted
the Gardens long before the days of Mr. Barrie, and whispered much of
his charming story in the ears of a bewigged gentleman—Mr. Tickell, by
name—who, in a poem of some considerable length, sang Kensington’s
praises. Those tiny fairy trumpets sounding in the walks of Kensington
sounded a tune which has never left the air, and one fancies the creator
of Peter Pan catching sight of a dim ghost now and again, the ghost of
Mr. Tickell, Joseph Addison’s friend, as he walks in full-bottomed wig,
his wide skirted coat, and sees the fairies too. He begins:

Where Kensington high o’er the neighb’ring lands
’Midst greens and sweets, a regal fabric stands,
And sees each spring, luxuriant in her bowers,
A snow of blossoms, and a wild of flowers,
The dames of Britain oft in crowds repair
To groves and lawns, and unpolluted air.
Here, while the town in damps and darkness lies,
They breathe in sunshine, and see azure skies;
Each walk, with robes of various dyes bespread,
Seems from afar a moving tulip-bed,
Where rich biscades and glossy damasks glow,
And chints, the rival of the show’ry bow.

* * * * *

Their midnight pranks the sprightly fairies play’d
On every hill, and danced in every shade.
But, foes to sunshine, most they took delight
In dells and dales conceal’d from human sight:
There hew’d their houses in the arching rock;
Or scoop’d the bosom of the blasted oak;

There is no doubt about it that these are the very same fairies who are
still at work in the Gardens, and who have admitted Mr. Barrie into
their confidence. All gardens have ghosts, and Kensington Gardens, I
think, more ghosts than any other. What a club it must be to belong to,
to visit when all London is asleep. Here’s Mr. Tickell with his version
of the Peter Pan story:

No mortal enter’d, those alone who came
Stolen from the couch of some terrestrial dame
For oft of babes they robb’d the matron’s bed.

But beyond these, the vaguest hints, Mr. Tickell does not carry. His
story has no likeness to the immortal tale of Peter Pan, but has, in
common with it, the same knowledge that there are fairies in the Gardens
living just as both he and Mr. Barrie know so well under the roots of
trees. And then there are the children. It is they who are the sweetest
flowers of the town gardens.

[Illustration: IN HYDE PARK.]

If any man wants an argument in favour of keeping every available space
open in towns and cities let him go into some crowded neighbourhood and
watch the children playing in the gutters of the streets. Then let him
find one of those places, a disused burial ground, or the garden of an
old square, which has been preserved, and kept open, and laid out for
the benefit of the children, and he will see the difference at once.
There are two such places easy for the Londoner to visit, the one
Browning Hall Garden, now a garden, once the York Road Burial Ground,
Walworth, the other Meath Gardens, eleven acres of public garden, once
The Victoria Park Cemetery, Bethnal Green.

They say that one half of London doesn’t know how the other half lives.
They do not know, but worse still they don’t care. It is equally true
that half the people who profess to care for flowers are ignorant of the
wonderful flower-beds carefully grown for their pleasure within a
two-penny ’bus ride of most parts of London. The row of beds facing Park
Lane; the flower walk (where the babies walk, too) in Kensington
Gardens; the flower walk in Regent’s Park, the Houses at Kew, are sights
as well worth an afternoon’s excursion as any other form of amusement.
Most people almost unconsciously absorb the colour of cities, vaguely
realising grey streets, red streets, white streets, spaces of grass and
trees, big blots of colour—like the huge beds of scarlet geraniums in
front of Buckingham Palace, but they do not trouble to get the value of
their impressions. People look on the way from Hyde Park Corner to the
Marble Arch as a convenient means of crossing London instead of one of
the most interesting and delightful experiences to be had. They go crazy
over trees and sky in the country, when they have at their doors sights
the country can never equal. The sun in late autumn setting behind the
trees of Hyde Park and glowing over the murky smoke-laden skies is a
sight for the gods. Smoke has its disadvantages, but it certainly gives
one æsthetic joys unknown in clear skies, for instance alone the
reflection of the lights of Piccadilly on the evening sky.

After all, the time to see the wonder of town gardens is at night. The
streets are empty of people. Here and there a few night workers walk the
lonely streets, a policeman tramps his beat, the huge carts bringing the
provisions for the city lumber along with sleepy carters swaddled in
sacks perched high among the heaps of baskets. Here and there men with
long hoses are washing down the roads. The Parks and Gardens lie bathed
in peace, mysterious shadows make velvet caves sheltered by leaves.
Those trees standing close to the road are lit by the electric lamps and
fringe the street with vivid green. Only the flowers seem really awake,
alive, in a tremendous dream city. Along the lines of houses, blinds
down, shutters closed, a window box here and there breaks the monotony
and seems to be the only real thing there. If it is Spring, then from
Hyde Park Corner to the Kensington High Street, all along the side of
the Park, behind the railings are regiments of Crocus flowers, spikes of
Narcissus, and of Daffodil. Their sweetness fills the air, their very
presence fills the town with gentleness, and purifies and softens its
grimness. Far above, in some citadel of flats, a solitary light burns,
some one is at work, or ill, or watching. Above all hang the blazing
stars.

Continue Reading

EVELYN’S “SYLVA”

On my table, as I write, is the copy of “Sylva” that John Evelyn himself
gave to Sir Robert Morray, and in which he wrote in ink that is now
faded and brown, as are his own autograph corrections in the text,

“—from his most humble servant, Evelyn.”

The title page runs thus:

SYLVA,
or a Discourse of
FOREST-TREES,
AND THE
Propagation of Timber
In His MAJESTIES Dominions
By J. E. Esq;

As it was Delivered in the Royal Society the XVth of
October CIϽIϽCLXII. upon Occasion of certain Quaeries
Propounded to that Illustrious Assembly, by the Honorable
the Principal Officers, and Commissioners of the Navy.

To which is annexed

POMONA or, An Appendix concerning Fruit-Trees in
relation to CIDER;

The Making and several ways of Ordering it.

Published by the express Order of the ROYAL SOCIETY

ALSO

KALENDARIUM HORTENSE; Or, ye Gard’ners Almanac;
Directing what he is to do Monethly throughout the year.

—Tibi res antiquæ laudis et artis
Ingredior, tantos ausus recludere fonteis. _Virg._

LONDON: Printed by Jo. Martyn, and Ja. Allestry, Printers
to the Royal Society, and are to be sold at their Shop at the
Bell in S. Paul’s Church-yard;

MDCLXIV.

[Illustration: A WOOD AT WOTTON, THE HOME OF JOHN EVELYN.]

This book was the first ever printed for the Royal Society, and
contains, as may be seen, a practically complete record of seventeenth
century planting and gardening, thus having an unique interest for all
who follow the craft.

John Evelyn, from the day he began his lessons under the Friar in the
porch of Wotton Church, was a curious observer of men and things, but
especially was he devoted to all manners and styles of gardening.

Nothing was too small, too trivial to escape his notice; from the
weather-cocks on the trees near Margate—put there on the days the
farmers feasted their servants, to the interest he found in watching the
first man he ever saw drink coffee.

The positions he held under Charles II. and James II. were many and
varied, yet he found time to collect samples in Venice, and travel
extensively, to write a Play, a treatise called: “Mundus Muliebris, or
the Ladies’ Dressing Room, Unlocked,” and a pamphlet, called “Tyrannus,
or the Mode,” in which he sought to make Charles II. dress like a
Persian, and succeeded in so doing.

But above all these things he held his chiefest pleasure in seeing and
talking of the arrangement of gardens, passing on this love to his son
John, who, when a boy of fifteen, at Trinity College, Oxford, translated
“Rapin, or Gardens,” the second book of which his father included in his
second edition of “Sylva.”

His Majesty Charles II., to whom the “Sylva” is dedicated, was a monarch
to whom justice has never been properly done. He is represented by pious
but inaccurate historians, those men who for many years gave a false
character of jovial good nature to that gross thief and sacrilegious
monster, Henry VIII., as a King who spent most of his time in the
Playhouse, or in talking trivialities with gay ladies, and in making
witty remarks to all and sundry in his Court. The side of him that took
interest in shipbuilding, navigation, astronomy, in the founding of the
Royal Society, in the advancement of Art, in the minor matters of flower
gardening and bee-keeping is nearly always suppressed. It was largely
through his interest in this volume of Evelyn’s that the Royal forests
were properly replanted; and it was in a great measure due to Royal
interest that the parks and estates of the noblemen of England became
famous in after years for their beautiful timber.

In that part of the “Sylva” dealing with forest trees, there were a
hundred hints to all lovers of nature and of gardens, for your good
gardener is a man very near in his nature to a good strong tree, and
loves to observe the play of light and shade in the branches of those
that give shade to his garden walks.

Evelyn tells us how the Ash is the sweetest of forest fuelling, and the
fittest for Ladies’ Chambers, also for the building of Arbours, the
staking of Espaliers, and the making of Poles. The white rot of it makes
a ground for the Sweet-powder used by gallants. He tries to introduce
the Chestnut as food, saying how it is a good, lusty and masculine food
for Rustics; and commenting on the fact that the best tables in France
and Italy make them a service. He tells us how the water in which Walnut
husks and leaves are boiled poured on the carpet of walks and
bowling-greens infallibly kills the worms without hurting the grass.
That, by the way, is a matter for discussion among gardeners, seeing
that some say that the movements of worms from below the surface to
their cast on the lawn lets air among the grass roots and is good for
them.

He tells us how the Horn-beam makes the stateliest hedge for long garden
walks. He advises us how to make wine of the Birch, Ash, Elder, Oak,
Crab and Bramble. He praises the Service-Tree, and the Eugh, and the
Jasmine, saying of this last how one sorry tree in Paris where they grow
“has been worth to a poor woman, near twenty shillings a year.”

All this and much besides of diverting and instructive reading, varied
with remarks on the gardens of his friends and acquaintances, as when he
“cannot but applaud the worthy Industry of old _Sir Harbotle Grimstone_,
who (I am told) from a very small _Nursery of Acorns_ which he sowed in
the neglected corners of his ground, did draw forth such numbers of
_Oaks_ of competent growth; as being planted about his _Fields_ in even
and uniform rows, about one hundred foot from the _Hedges_; bush’d and
well water’d till they had sufficiently fix’d themselves, did
wonderfully improve both the beauty, and the value of his _Demeasnes_,”
for the honour and glory of filling England with fine trees and gardens
to improve, what he calls—the Landskip.

The exigencies of the present moment when Imperial Finance threatens to
tax all good parks and orchards out of existence, and to make all fine
flower gardens out of use, except to the enormously wealthy, makes the
“Gard’ners Calendar” all the more interesting as showing what manner of
flowers, fruits, and vegetables were in use in the Seventeenth Century,
and the means employed to grow and preserve them.

Then, as now, there was a danger of over cultivation of certain plants
and flowers, so that a man might have more pride in the number and
curiosity of his flowers, than in the beauty and colour of them. It is a
certain fault in modern gardeners that they do not study the grouping
and massing of colours, but do, more generally, take pride in over-large
specimens, great collections, and rare varieties. But this age and that
are times of collecting, of connoisseurship, ages that produce us great
art of their own but have an extraordinary knowledge of the arts and
devices of the past. Not that I would decry the friendly competitions of
this and that man to grow rare rock plants, or bloom exotics the one
against another, but I do most certainly prefer a rivalry in producing
beautiful effects of colour; and love better to see a great mass of
Roses growing free than to see one poor tree twisted into the semblance
of a flowering parasol as men now use in many of the small climbing
Roses.

To the end that gardeners and lovers of gardens may know how those past
gardeners treated their fruits and flowers, I give the whole of Evelyn’s
“Gard’ners Calendar,” than which no more complete account of gardens of
that time exists.

It would be as well to note, before arriving at our Seventeenth Century
Calendar, how the art of gardening had grown in England after the time
of the Romans.

From the time that every sign of the Roman occupation had been wiped out
to the beginning of the thirteenth century, gardens as we know them
to-day did not exist. The first attempts at gardens within castle walls
were little plots of herbs and shrubs with a few trees of Costard
Apples. It appears that all those plants and flowers the Romans
cultivated had been lost, and that with the sterner conditions of living
all such arrangements as arbours of cut Yew trees, or elaborate
Box-edged paths had completely vanished. Certainly they did have arbours
for shade, but of a simple kind and quite unlike the elaborate garden
houses the Romans built.

There were vineyards and wine made from them as early as the Eighth
Century, and in the reign of Edward the Third wine was made at Windsor
Castle by Stephen of Bourdeaux. The Cherry trees brought here by the
Romans had quite died out and were not recovered until Harris, Henry the
Eighth’s Irish fruiterer, grew them again at Sittingbourne. In the
Twelfth Century flower gardening again came in, and within the castle
walls pleasant gardens were laid out with little avenues of fruit trees,
and neat beds of flowers. Of the fruit trees there was the Costard
Apple, the only Apple of that time, from which great quantities of
cider—that “good-natured and potable liquor”—was made. There was the
great Wardon Pear, from which the celebrated Wardon pies were made; they
were Winter Pears from a stock originally cultivated by those great
horticulturists the Cistercian monks of Wardon in Bedfordshire. Then
there was also the Quince, called a Coyne, the Medlar, and I believe the
Mulberry, or More tree. In the borders, Strawberries, Raspberries,
Barberries and Currants were grown, that is in a well-stocked garden
such as the Earl of Lincoln had in Holborn in 1290. Then there was a
plot set aside as a Physic garden where herbs grew and salads of Rocket,
Lettuce, Mustard, Watercress, and Hops. In one place, probably
overlooking the pond or fountain which was the centre of such gardens,
was an arbour, and walks and smaller gardens were screened off by wattle
hedges. In that part of the garden devoted to flowers were Roses,
Lilies, Sunflowers, Violets, Poppies, Narcissi, Pervinkes or
Periwinkles. Lastly, and most important was the Clove Pink, or
Gilly-flower, a variety of Wallflower then called Bee-flower. Add to
this an apiary and you have a complete idea of the mediæval garden.

Later, in the Fifteenth Century came a new feature into the garden, a
mound built in the centre for the view, made sometimes of earth, but
very often of wood raised up as a platform, and having gaily carved and
painted stairways. These, with butts for archery, and bowling-greens,
and a larger variety of the old kinds of flowers, showed the principal
difference.

We come now to the gardens of the Sixteen Century, when flower gardening
was extremely popular. Spenser and the other poets are always describing
the beauties of flowers, and from these and old Herbals, from Bacon,
Shakespeare and other writers of that time, we are able to see how,
slowly but surely, the art of flower growing had advanced. The gardens
were very exact and formal, and were divided in geometrical patterns,
and grew large “seats” of Violets, Penny Royal, and Mint as well as
other herbs. Above all, a new addition to the mounds, archery butts and
bowling-greens, was the maze which had a place in every proper garden of
the Elizabethans.

The first garden where flower growing was taken really seriously
belonged to John Parkinson, a London apothecary who had a garden in Long
Acre. Great importance was given to smell, as is highly proper, and
flower gardens were bordered with Thyme, Marjoram and Lavender.
Highly-scented flowers were the most prized, and for this reason the
prime favourite the Carnation, was more grown than any other flower. Of
this there were fifty distinct varieties of every shape and size,
including the famous large Clove Pink, the golden coloured Sops-in-Wine.

With the increase in the variety of the Rose, of which about thirty
kinds were known, came the fashion, quickly universal, of keeping
potpourri of dried Rose leaves, many of which were imported from the
East, from whence, years before, had come quantities of Roses to supply
the demand in Winter in Rome.

As the fashion for growing flowers increased so, also, did the efforts
of gardeners to procure new and rare flowers from foreign countries, and
soon the Fritillary, Tulip and Iris were extensively cultivated, and
were treated with extraordinary care.

Following this came the rage for Anemones and Ranunculi, in which people
endeavoured to excel over their friends. And after that came in small
Chrysanthemums, Lilac or Blue Pipe tree, Lobelia, and the Acacia tree.

It will be seen that within quite a short space of time the old garden
containing few flowers, and only those as a rule that had some medicinal
properties, vanished before a perfect orgy of colour and wealth of
varieties; and that gardening for pleasure gave the people a new and
fascinating occupation. The rage for Anemones and for the different
kinds of Ranunculus developed until in the late Seventeenth Century the
madness, for it was nothing else, for Tulip collecting came in, to give
place still later to the Rose, and in our day only to be equalled by the
collection of Chrysanthemums and Orchids.

The best books previous to Evelyn’s “Sylva” are Gervase Markham’s
“Country House-Wife’s Garden,” (1617), and John Parkinson’s “Paradisus
in Sole” (1629).

One word more on the subject of flower mania. The rage for the Tulip
that attacked both English and Dutch in the late Seventeenth Century is
one of the most peculiar things in the history of gardening. The Tulip
is really a Persian flower, the shape of it suggesting the name,
thoulyban, a Persian turban. It was introduced into England about 1577,
by way of Germany, having been brought there by the German Ambassador
from Constantinople. By the Seventeenth Century there had developed such
a passion for this flower that it led to wreck and ruin of rich men who
paid fabulous sums for the bulbs, a single bulb being sold for a
fortune. One bulb of the Semper Augustus was sold for four thousand six
hundred florins, a new carriage, a pair of grey horses, and complete
harness. So great did the business in Tulips become that every Dutch
town had special Tulip exchanges, and there speculators assembled and
bid away vast sums to acquire rare kinds. The mania lasted about three
years, and was only finally stopped by the Government.

[Illustration: TULIPS IN “THE GARDEN OF PEACE.”]

————————————————————————

PART III

KALENDARIUM HORTENSE

————————————————————————

KALENDARIUM HORTENSE:
OR THE
GARD’NERS ALMANAC;

DIRECTING WHAT HE IS TO DO
MONETHLY
THROUGHOUT THE
YEAR

1664

————————————————————————

JANUARY.

_To be done_

IN THE ORCHARD, AND OLITORY GARDEN.

Trench the ground, and make it ready for the Spring: prepare also soil,
and use it where you have occasion: Dig Borders, &c., uncover as yet
Roots of Trees, where Ablaqueation is requisite.

Plant Quick-Sets, and Transplant Fruit-trees, if not finished: Set
Vines; and begin to prune the old: Prune the branches of
Orchard-fruit-trees; Nail, and trim your Wall-fruit, and Espaliers.

Cleanse Trees of Moss, &c., the weather moist.

Gather Cyons for graffs before the buds sprout; and about the later end,
Graff them in the Stock: Set Beans, Pease, etc.

Sow also (if you please) for early Colly-flowers.

Sow Chevril, Lettuce, Radish, and other (more delicate) Saleting; if you
will raise in the Hot-bed.

In over wet, or hard weather, cleanse, mend, sharpen and prepare
garden-tools.

Turn up your Bee-hives, and sprinkle them with a little warm and sweet
Wort; do it dextrously.

FRUITS IN PRIME, OR YET LASTING.

APPLES.

Kentish-pepin, Russet-pepin, Golden-pepin, French pepin, Kirton-pepin,
Holland-pepin, John-apple, Winter-queening, Mari-gold, Harvey-apple,
Pome-water, Pomeroy, Golden-Doucet, Reineting, Loues-pearmain,
Winter-Pearmain, etc.

PEARS.

Winter-husk (bakes well), Winter-Norwich (excellently baked),
Winter-Bergamot, Winter-Bon-crestien, both Mural: the great Surrein,
etc.

JANUARY.

_To be done_

IN THE PARTERRE, AND FLOWER GARDEN.

Set up your Traps for Vermin; especially in your Nurseries of Kernels
and Stones, and amongst your Bulbous-roots: About the middle of this
month, plant your Anemony-roots, which will be secure of, without
covering, or farther trouble: Preserve from too great and continuing
Rains (if they happen), Snow and Frost, your choicest Anemonies, and
Ranunculus’s sow’d in September, or October for earlier Flowers: Also
your Carnations, and such seeds as are in peril of being wash’d out, or
over chill’d and frozen; covering them with Mats and shelter, and
striking off the Snow where it lies too weighty; for it certainly rots,
and bursts your early-set Anemonies and Ranunculus’s, etc., unless
planted now in the Hot-bed; for now is the Season, and they will flower
even in London. Towards the end, earth-up, with fresh and light mould,
the Roots of those Auriculas which the frosts may have uncovered;
filling up the chinks about the sides of the Pots where your choicest
are set: but they need not be hous’d; it is a hardy Plant.

FLOWERS IN PRIME, OR YET LASTING.

Winter Aconite, some Anemonies, Winter Cyclamen, Black Hellebor,
Beumal-Hyacinth, Oriental-Jacynth, Levantine-Narcissus, Hepatica,
Prime-Roses, Laurustinus, Mezereon, Praecoce Tulips, etc., especially if
raised in the (Hot-bed).

NOTE.

That both these Fruits and Flowers are more early, or tardy, both as to
their prime Seasons of eating, and perfection of blowing, according as
the soil, and situation, are qualified by Nature or Accident.

NOTE ALSO

That in this Recension of Monethly Flowers, it is to be understood for
the whole period that any flower continues, from its first appearing, to
its final withering.

————————————————————————

FEBRUARY.

_To be done_

IN THE ORCHARD, AND OLITORY GARDEN.

Prime Fruit-trees, and Vines, as yet. Remove graffs of former year
graffing. Cut and lay Quick-sets. Yet you may Prune some Wall-fruit (not
finish’d before) the most tender and delicate: But be exceedingly
careful of the now turgid buds and bearers; and trim up your Palisade
Hedges, and Espaliers. Plant Vines as yet, and the Shrubs, Hops, etc.

Set all sorts of kernels and stony seeds. Also sow Beans, Pease, Radish,
Parsnips, Carrots, Onions, Garlick, etc., and Plant Potatoes in your
worst ground.

Now is your Season for Circumposition by Tubs, Baskets of Earth, and for
laying of Branches to take Root. You may plant forth your
Cabbage-plants.

Rub Moss off your Trees after a soaking Rain, and scrape and cleanse
them of Cankers, etc., draining away the wet (if need require) from the
too much moistened Roots, and earth up those Roots of your Fruit-trees,
if any were uncover’d. Cut off the webs of Caterpillars, etc. (from the
Tops of Twigs and Trees) to burn. Gather Worms in the evenings after
Rain.

Kitchen-Garden herbs may now be planted, as Parsly, Spinage, and other
hardy Pot-herbs. Towards the middle of later end of this Moneth, till
the Sap rises briskly, Graff in the Cleft, and so continue till the last
of March; they will hold Apples, Pears, Cherries, Plums, etc. Now also
plant out your Colly-flowers to have early; and begin to make your
Hot-bed for the first Melons and Cucumbers; but trust not altogether to
them. Sow Asparagus. Lastly,

Half open your passages for the Bees, or a little before (if weather
invite); but continue to feed weak Stocks, etc.

FRUITS IN PRIME, OR YET LASTING.

APPLES.

Kentish, Kirton, Russet, Holland Pepins; Deuxans, Winter Queening,
Harvey, Pome-water, Pomeroy, Golden Doucet, Reineting, Loues Pearmain,
Winter Pearmain, etc.

PEARS.

Bon-crestien of Winter, Winter Poppering, Little Dagobert, etc.

FEBRUARY.

_To be done_

IN THE PARTERRE, AND FLOWER GARDEN.

Continue Vermine Trapps, etc.

Sow Alaternus seeds in Cases, or open beds; cover them with thorns, that
the Poultry scratch them not out.

Now and then air your Carnations, in warm days especially, and mild
showers.

Furnish (now towards the end) your Aviarys with Birds before they
couple, etc.

[Illustration: APPLE TREES.]

FLOWERS IN PRIME, OR YET LASTING.

Winter Aconite, single Anemonies, and some double, Tulips praecoce,
Vernal Crocus, Black Hellebore, single Hepatica, Persian Iris, Leucoium,
Dens Caninus, three leav’d, Vernal Cyclamen, white and red. Yellow
Violets with large leaves, early Daffodils, etc.

————————————————————————

MARCH.

_To be done_

IN THE ORCHARD, AND OLITORY GARDEN.

Yet Stercoration is seasonable, and you may plant what trees are left,
though it be something of the latest, unless in very backward or moist
places.

Now is your chiefest and best time for raising on the Hot-bed Melons,
Cucumbers, Gourds, etc., which about the sixth, eighth or tenth day will
be ready for the seeds; and eight days after prick them forth at
distances, according to the method, etc.

If you have them later, begin again in ten or twelve days after the
first, and so a third time, to make Experiments.

Graff all this Moneth, unless the Spring prove extraordinary forwards.

You may as yet cut Quick-sets, and cover such Tree-roots as you laid
bare in Autumn.

Slip and set Sage, Rosemary, Lavender, Thyme, etc.

Sow in the beginning Endive, Succory, Leeks, Radish, Beets, Chard-Beet,
Scorzonera, Parsnips, Skirrets, Parsley, Sorrel, Buglos, Borrage,
Chevril, Sellery, Smalladge, Alisanders, etc. Several of which continue
many years without renewing, and are most of them to be blanch’d by
laying them under litter and earthing up.

Sow also Lettuce, Onions, Garlick, Okach, Parslan, Turneps (to have
early) monethly, Pease, etc. these annually.

Transplant the Beet-chard which you sow’d in August to have most ample
Chards. Sow also Carrots, Cabbages, Cresses, Fennel, Marjoram, Basil,
Tobacco, etc. And transplant any sort of Medicinal Hearbs.

Mid-March dress up and string your Strawberry-beds, and uncover your
Asparagus, spreading and loosening the Mould about them, for their more
easy penetrating. Also you may transplant Asparagus roots to make new
Beds.

By this time your Bees sit; keep them close Night and Morning, if the
weather prove ill. Turn your Fruit in the Room where it lies, but open
not yet the windows.

FRUITS IN PRIME, OR YET LASTING.

APPLES.

Golden Duchess (Doucet), Pepins, Reineting, Loues Pearmain, Winter
Pearmain, John-Apple, etc.

PEARS.

Later Bon-crestien, Double Blossom Pear, etc.

MARCH.

_To be done_

IN THE PARTERRE, AND FLOWER GARDEN.

Stake and binde up your weakest Plants and Flowers against the Windes,
before they come too fiercely, and in a moment prostrate a whole year’s
labour.

Plant Box, etc, in Parterres. Sow Pinks, Sweet Williams, and Carnations,
from the middle to the end of this Moneth. Sow Pine kernels, Firr-seeds,
Bays, Alatirnus, Phillyrea, and most perennial Greens, etc. Or you may
stay till somewhat later in the Moneth. Sow Auricula seeds in pots or
cases, in fine willow earth, a little loamy; and place what you sow’d in
October now in the shade and water it.

Plant some Anemony roots to bear late, and successively: especially in,
and about London, where the Smoak is anything tolerable; and if the
Season be very dry, water them well once in two or three days. Fibrous
roots may be transplanted about the middle of this Moneth; such as
Hepatica’s, Primeroses, Auricula’s, Camomile, Hyacinth, Tuberose,
Matricaria, Hellebor, and other Summer Flowers; and towards the end
Convolvulus, Spanish or ordinary Jasmine.

Towards the middle or latter end of March sow on the Hot-bed such Plants
as are late-bearing Flowers or Fruit in our Climate; as Balsamine, and
Balsamummas, Pomum Onions, Datura, Aethispic Apples, some choice
Amaranthmus, Dactyls, Geraniums, Hedysarum Clipeatum, Humble, and
Sensitive Plants, Lenticus, Myrtleberries (steep’d awhile), Capsicum
Indicum, Canna Indica, Flos Africanus, Mirabile Peruvian, Nasturtium
Ind., Indian Phaseoli, Volubilis, Myrrh, Carrots, Manacoe, fine flos
Passionis and the like rare and exotic plants which are brought us from
hot countries.

Note.—That the Nasturtium Ind., African Marygolds, Volubilis and some
others, will come (though not altogether so forwards) in the Cold-bed
without Art. But the rest require much and constant heat, and therefore
several Hot-beds, till the common earth be very warm by the advance of
the Sun, to bring them to a due stature, and perfect their Seeds.

About the expiration of this Moneth carry into the shade such Auriculas,
Seedlings or Plants as are for their choiceness reserv’d in Pots.

Transplant also Carnation seedlings, giving your layers fresh earth, and
setting them in the shade for a week, then likewise cut off all the sick
and infected leaves.

Now do the farewell-frosts, and Easterly-winds prejudice your choicest
Tulips, and spot them; therefore cover such with Mats or Canvass to
prevent freckles, and sometimes destruction. The same care have of your
most precious Anemonies, Auricula’s, Chamae-iris, Brumal Jacynths, Early
Cyclamen, etc. Wrap your shorn Cypress Tops with Straw wisps, if the
Eastern blasts prove very tedious. About the end uncover some Plants,
but with Caution; for the tail of the Frosts yet continuing, and sharp
winds, with the sudden darting heat of the Sun, scorch and destroy them
in a moment; and in such weather neither sow nor transplant.

Sow Stock-gilly-flower seeds in the Fall to produce double flowers.

Now may you set your Oranges, Lemons, Myrtils, Oleanders, Lentises,
Dates, Aloes, Amonumus, and like tender trees and Plants in the Portico,
or with the windows and doors of the Green-houses and Conservatories
open for eight or ten days before April, or earlier, if the Season
invite, to acquaint them gradually with the Air; but trust not the
Nights, unless the weather be thoroughly settled.

Lastly, bring in materials for the Birds in the Aviary to build their
nests withal.

FLOWERS IN PRIME, OR YET LASTING.

Anemonies, Spring Cyclamen, Winter Aconite, Crocus, Bellis, white and
black Hellebor, single and double Hepatica, Leucoion, Chamae-iris of all
colours, Dens Caninus, Violets, Fritillaria, Chelidonium, small with
double Flower, Hermodactyls, Tuberous Iris, Hyacinth, Zenboin, Brumal,
Oriental, etc. Junquils, great Chalic’d, Dutch Mezereon, Persian Iris,
Curialas, Narcissus with large tufts, common, double, and single, Prime
Roses, Praecoce Tulips, Spanish Trumpets or Junquilles; Violets, yellow
Dutch Violets, Crown Imperial, Grape Flowers, Almonds and
Peach-blossoms, Rubus odoratus, Arbour Judae, etc.

————————————————————————

APRIL.

_To be done_

IN THE ORCHARD, AND OLITORY GARDEN.

Sow Sweet Marjoram, Hyssop, Basile, Thyme, Winter-Savoury,
Scurvey-grass, and all fine and tender Seeds that require the Hot-bed.

Sow also Lettuce, Purslan, Caully-flower, Radish, etc.

Plant Artichoke-slips, etc.

Set French-beans, etc.

You may yet slip Lavender, Thyme, Rose-mary, etc.

Towards the middle of this moneth begin to plant forth your Melons and
Cucumbers, and to the late end; your Ridges well prepared.

Gather up Worms and Snails, after evening showers, continue this also
after all Summer rains.

Open now your Bee-hives, for now they hatch; look carefully to them, and
prepare your Hives, etc.

FRUITS IN PRIME, AND YET LASTING.

APPLES.

Pepins, Deuxans, West-berry Apples, Russeting, Gilly-flowers, flat
Reinet, etc.

PEARS.

Late Bon-crestien, Oak-pear, etc., double Blossom, etc.

APRIL.

_To be done_

IN THE PARTERRE, AND FLOWER GARDEN.

Sow divers Annuals to have Flowers all the Summer; as double Mari-golds,
Cyanus of all sorts, Candy-tufts, Garden-Pansy, Muscipula, Scabious,
etc.

Continue new, and fresh Hot-beds to entertain such exotic plants as
arrive not to their perfection without them, till the Air and common
earth be qualified with sufficient warmth to preserve them abroad. A
Catalogue of these you have in the former Moneth.

Transplant such Fibrous roots as you had not finished in March; as
Violets, Hepatica, Prim-roses, Hellebor, Matricaria, etc.

Sow Pinks, Carnations, Sweet-Williams, etc., to flower next year; this
after rain.

Set Lupines, etc.

Sow also yet Pine-kernels, Firr-seeds, Phillyrea, Alaternus, and most
perennial greens.

Now take out your Indian Tuberoses, parting the offsets (but with care,
lest you break their fangs), then pot them in natural (not forc’d)
Earth; a layer of rich mould beneath, and about this natural earth to
nourish the fibers, but not so as to touch the Bulbs; then plunge your
pots in a Hot-bed temperately warm, and give them no water till they
spring, and then set them under a South-wall. In dry weather water them
freely, and expect an incomparable flower in August. Thus likewise treat
the Narcissus of Japan, or Garnsey-Lilly, for a late flower, and make
much of this precious Direction.

[Illustration: DAFFODILS IN A MIDDLESEX GARDEN.]

Water Anemonies, Ranunculus’s, and Plants in Pots and Cases once in two
or three days, if drouth require it. But carefully protect from violent
Storms of Rain and Hail, and the too parching darts of the Sun, your
Pennach’d Tulips, Ranunculus’s, Anemonies, Auricula’s, covering them
with Mattresses supported on cradles of hoops, which have now in
readiness.

Now is the season for you to bring the choice and tender shrubs, etc.,
out of the Conservatory; such as you durst not adventure forth in March.
Let it be in a fair day; only your Orange-trees may remain in the house
till May, to prevent all danger.

Now, towards the end of April, you may Transplant and Remove your tender
shrubs, etc., as Spanish Jasmines, Myrtils, Oleanders, young Oranges,
Cyclamen, Pomegranats, etc., but first let them begin to sprout; placing
them a fort-night in the shade; but about London it may be better to
defer this work till August, vide also May. Prune now your Spanish
Jasmine within an inch or two of the stock; but first see it begin to
shoot. Mow Carpet-walks, and ply Weeding, etc.

Towards the end (if the cold winds are past) and especially after
showers, clip Philyrea, Alaternus, Cypress, Box, Myrtils, Barba Jovis,
and other tonsile shrubs, etc.

FLOWERS IN PRIME, OR YET LASTING.

Anemonies, Ranunculus’s, Auriculalirri, Chamae-Iris, Crown Imperial,
Caprisolium, Cyclamen, Dens Caninus, Fritillaria, double Hepaticas,
Jacynth starry, double Daisies, Florence-Iris, tufted Narcissus, white,
double and common, English Double, Prime-rose, Cow-slips, Pulsatilla,
Ladies-Smock, Tulips Medias, Ranunculus’s of Tripoly, white Violets,
Musk, Grape-flower, Parietaria Lutea, Leucoium, Lillies, Paeonies,
double Jonquils, Muscaria revers’d, Cochlearia, Periclymenum, Aicanthus,
Lilac, Rose-mary, Cherries, Wall-pears, Almonds, Abricots, White-Thorn,
Arbour Judae blossoming, etc.

————————————————————————

MAY.

_To be done_

IN THE ORCHARD, AND OLITORY GARDEN.

Sow Sweet-Marjoram, Basil, Thyme, hot and Aromatic Herbs, and Plants
which are the most tender.

Sow Parslan, to have young; Lettuce, large-sided Cabbage, painted Beans,
etc.

Look carefully to your Mellons; and towards the end of this moneth,
forbear to cover them any longer on the Ridges, either with straw or
mattresses, etc.

Ply the Laboratory, and distill Plants for Waters, Spirits, etc.

Continue Weeding before they run to Seeds.

Now set your Bees at full Liberty, look out often, and expect Swarms,
etc.



FRUITS IN PRIME, OR YET LASTING.

Pepins, Deuxans or John-Apples, West-berry-apples, Russeting,
Gilly-flower Apples, the Maligan, etc., Codling.

PEARS.

Great Kainville, Winter-Bon-cretienne, Double Blossom-pear, etc.

CHERRIES, ETC.

The May-Cherry, Straw-berries, etc.

MAY.

_To be done_

IN THE PARTERRE, AND FLOWER GARDEN.

Now bring your Oranges, etc., boldly out of the Conservatory; ’tis your
only Season to Transplant, and Remove them; let the Cases be fill’d with
natural-earth (such as is taken the first half spit, from just under the
Turf of the best Pasture ground), mixing it with one part of rotten
Cow-dung, or very mellow Soil screen’d and prepar’d some time before; if
this be too stiff, sift a little Lime discreetly with it. Then cutting
the Roots a little, especially at bottom, set your Plant; but not too
deep; rather let some of the Roots appear. Lastly, settle it with
temperate water (not too much) having put some rubbish of Brick-bats,
Lime-stones, Shells, or the like at the bottom of the Cases, to make the
moisture passage, and keep the earth loose. Then set them in the shade
for a fort-night, and afterwards expose them to the Sun.

Give now also all your hous’d-plants fresh earth at the surface, in
place of some of the old earth (a hand-depth or so) and loos’ning the
rest with a fork without wounding the Roots. Let this be of excellent
rich soil, such as is thoroughly consumed and with sift, that it may
wash in the vertue, and comfort the Plant. Brush, and cleanse them
likewise from the dust contracted during their Enclosure. These two last
directions have till now been kept as considerable secrets amongst our
gard’ners; vide August and September.

Shade your Carnations and Gilly-flowers after midday about this season.
Plant also your Stock Gilly-flowers in beds, full Moon.

Gather what Anemony-seed you find ripe, and that is worth saving,
preserving it very dry.

Cut likewise the stalks of such Bulbous-flowers as you find dry.

Towards the end, take up those Tulips which are dried in the stalk;
covering what you find to be bare from the Sun and showers.

FLOWERS IN PRIME, OR YET LASTING.

Late set Anemonies and Ranunculus nom. gen. Anapodophylon, Chamae-iris,
Angustifol, Cyanus, Columbines, Caltha Palustris, double Cotyledon,
Digitalis, Fraxinella, Gladiolus, Geranium, Horminum Creticum, yellow
Hemerocallis, strip’d Jacynth, early Bulbous Iris, Asphodel, Yellow
Lilies, Lychnis, Jacca, Bellis double, white and red, Millefolium
Liteum, Lilium Convalium, Span. Pinkes, Deptford-pinke, Rosa common,
Cinnamon, Guelder and Centifol, etc. Syringa’s, Sedunis, Tulips,
Serotin, etc. Valerian, Veronica double and single, Musk Violets, Ladies
Slipper, Stock-gilly-flowers, Spanish Nut, Star-flower, Chalcedons,
ordinary Crow-foot, red Martagon, Bee-flowers, Campanula’s white and
bleu, Persian Lilly, Honey-suckles, Buglosse, Homers Moly, and the white
of Dioscorides, Pansys, Prunella, purple Thalictrum, Sisymbrium, double
and single, Leucoium bulbosum serstinum, Rose-mary Stacchas, Barba
Jovis, Laurus, Satyrion, Oxyacanthus, Tamariscus, Apple-blossoms, etc.

————————————————————————

JUNE.

_To be done_

IN THE ORCHARD, AND OLITORY GARDEN.

Sow Lettuce, Chevril, Radish, etc., to have young and tender Salleting.

About the midst of June you may inoculate Peaches Abricots, Cherries,
Plums, Apples, Pears, etc.

You may now also (or before) cleanse Vines of exuberant branches and
tendrils, cropping (not cutting) and stopping the joynt immediately
before the Blossoms, and some of the under branches which bear no fruit;
especially in young Vineyards when they first begin to bear, and thence
forwards.

Gather Herbs in the Fall, to keep dry; they keep and retain their
virtue, and smell sweet, better dry’d in the shade than in the Sun,
whatever some pretend.

Now is your season to distill Aromatic Plants, etc.

Water lately planted Trees, and put moist and half-rotten Fearn, etc,
about the pot of their Stems.

Look to your Bees for Swarms, and Casts; and begin to destroy Insects
with Hooses, Canes, and tempting baits, etc. Gather Snails after rain,
etc.

FRUITS IN PRIME, OR YET LASTING.

APPLES.

Juniting (first ripe), Pepins, John-apples, Robillard, Red-Fennouil,
etc., French.

The Maudlin (first ripe), Madera, Green-Royal, St. Laurence Pear, etc.

CHERRIES, ETC.

Black.
Duke, Flanders, Heart Red.
White.

Luke-ward, early Flanders, the Common-cherry, Spanish-black,
Naples-Cherries, etc. Rasberries, Corinths, Straw-berries, Melons, etc.

JUNE.

_To be done_

IN THE PARTERRE, AND FLOWER GARDEN.

Transplant Autumnal Cyclamens now if you would change their place,
otherwise let them stand.

Gather ripe seeds of Flowers worth the saving, as of choicest Oriental
Jacynth, Narcissus (the two lesser, pale spurious Daffodels of a whitish
green often produce varieties), Auriculas, Ranunculus’s, etc., and
preserve them dry. Shade your Carnations from the afternoons Sun. Take
up your rarest Anemonies, and Ranunculus’s after rain (if it come
seasonable) the stalk wither’d, and dry the roots well. This about the
end of the moneth. In mid June inoculate Jasmine, Roses, and some other
rare shrubs. Sow now also some Anemony seeds. Take up your Tulip-bulbs,
burying such immediately as you find naked upon your beds; or else plant
them in some cooler place; and refresh over parched beds with water.
Plant your Narcissus of Japan (that rare flower) in Pots, etc. Also you
may now take up all such Plants and Flower-roots as endure not well out
of the ground, and replant them again immediately: such as the Early
Cyclamen, Jacynth Oriental, and other bulbous Jacynths, Iris,
Fritillaria, Crown-Imperial, Martagon, Muscario, Dens Caninus, etc. The
slips of Myrtil set in some cool and moist place do now frequently take
root. Also Cytisus lunatus will be multiplied by slips, such as are an
handful long that Spring. Look now to your Aviary; for now the Birds
grow sick of their feathers; therefore assist them with Emulsions of the
cooler seeds bruised water, as Melons, Cucumbers, etc. Also give them
Succory, Beets, Groundsel, Chickweed, etc.

FLOWERS IN PRIME, OR YET LASTING.

Amaranthus, Antirrhinum, Campanula, Clematis Pannonica, Cyanus,
Digitalis, Geranium, Horminum Creticum, Hieracium, bulbous Iris, and
divers others, Lychnis, var. generum, Martagon white and red,
Millefolium, white and yellow, Nasturtium Indicum, Carnations, Pinks,
Ornithogalum, Pansy, Phalangium Virginianum, darks-heel early.
Pilosella, Roses, Thalaspi Creticum, etc. Veronica, Viola pentaphyl,
Campions or Sultans, Mountain Lilies white and red; double Poppies,
Stock-jelly flowers, Jasmines, Corn-flag, Hollyhoc, Muscaria, serpyllum
Citratum, Phalangium Allobrogicum, Oranges, Rose-mary, Leuticus,
Pome-Granade, the Lime-tree, etc.

————————————————————————

JULY.

_To be done_

IN THE ORCHARD, AND OLITORY GARDEN.

Sow Lettuce, Radish, etc., to have tender salleting.

Sow later Pease to be ripe six weeks after Michaelmas.

Water young planted Trees, and Layers, etc., and prune now Abricots, and
Peaches, saving as many of the young likeliest shoots as are well
placed; for the new Bearers commonly perish, the new ones succeeding:
Cut close and even.

Let such Olitory-herbs run to seed as you would save.

Towards the later end, visit your Vineyards again, etc., and stop the
exuberant shoots at the second joint above the fruit; but not so as to
expose it to the Sun.

Now begin to straighten the entrance of your Bees a little; and help
them to kill their Drones if you observe too many; setting Glasses of
Beer mingled with Hony to entice the Wasps, Flyes, etc., which waste
your store: also hang Bottles of the same Mixture near your Red-Roman
Nectarines, and other tempting fruits for their destruction; else they
many times invade your best Fruit.

Look now also diligently under the leaves of Mural-Trees for the Snails;
they stick commonly somewhat above the fruit: pull not off what is
bitten; for then they will certainly begin afresh.

[Illustration: A POET’S ORCHARD IN KENT.]

FRUITS IN PRIME, OR YET LASTING.

APPLES.

Deuxans, Pepins, Winter-Russeting, Andrew-apples, Cinnamon-apple, red
and white Juiniting, the Margaret-apple, etc.

PEARS.

The Primat, Russet-pears, Summer-pears, green Chesil-pears, Pearl-pear,
etc.

CHERRIES.

Carnations, Morella, Great-bearer, Morocco-cherry, the Egriot,
Bigarreaux, etc.

PEACHES.

Nutmeg, Isabella, Persian, Newington, Violet-muscat, Rambouillet.

PLUMS, ETC.

Primordial, Myrobalan, the red, bleu, and amber Violet, Damax, Deuny
Damax, Pear-plum, Damax, Violet or Cheson-plum, Abricot-plum,
Cinnamon-plum, the Kings-plum, Spanish, Morocco-plum, Lady Eliz. Plum,
Tawny, Damascene, etc.

Rasberries, Goose-berries, Corinths, Straw-berries, Melons, etc.

JULY.

_To be done_

IN THE PARTERRE, AND FLOWER GARDEN.

Slip Stocks and other lignous Plants and Flowers: From henceforth to
Michaelmas you may also lay Gilly-flowers and Carnations for Increase,
leaving not above two, or three spindles for flowers, with supports,
cradles, and hooses, to establish them against winds, and destroy
Earwigs.

The Layers will (in a moneth or six weeks) strike root, being planted in
a light loamy earth mix’d with excellent rotten soil and seifted: plant
six or eight in a pot to save room in Winter: keep them well from too
much Rains: but shade those which blow from the afternoons Sun, as in
the former Moneths.

Yet also you may lay Myrtils, and other curious Greens.

Water young planted Shrubs and Layers, etc., as Orange-trees, Myrtils,
Granades, Amomum, etc.

Clip Box, etc., in Parterres, knots, and Compartiments, if need be, and
that it grow out of order; do it after Rain.

Graff by Approach, Trench, or Innoculate Jasmines, Oranges, and your
other choicest shrubs. Take up your early autumnal Cyclamen, Tulips and
Bulbs (if you will Remove them, etc.) before mention’d; Transplanting
them immediately, or a Moneth after if you please, and then cutting off,
and trimming the fibres, spread them to Air in some dry place.

Gather now also your early Cyclamen-seeds, and sow it presently in Pots.

Likewise you may now take up some Anemonies, Ranunculus’s, Crocus, Crown
Imperial, Persian Iris, Fritillaria, and Colchicums, but plant the three
last as soon as you have taken them up, as you did the Cyclamens.

Remove now your Dens Canivus, etc.

Latter end of July seift your Beds for Off-sets of Tulips, and all
Bulbous-roots, also for Anemonies—Ranunculus’s, etc, which will prepare
it for replanting with such things as you have ready in pots to plunge,
or set in naked earth till the next season; as Amaranths, Canna Ind.,
Mirabile Peruv., Capsicum Ind., Nasturt. Ind., etc., that they may not
be empty and disfurnished.

Continue to cut off the wither’d stalks of your lower flowers, etc., and
all others, covering with earth the bared roots, etc.

Now (in the driest season) with Brine, Pot-ashes, and water, or a
decoction of Tobacco refuse, water your gravel-walks, etc., to destroy
both worms and weeds, of which it will cure them for some years.

FLOWERS IN PRIME, OR YET LASTING.

Amanauthus, Campanula, Clematis, Sultana, Veronica purple and
odoriferous; Digitalis, Eryugium, Planum, Ind. Phaseolus, Geranium
triste, and Creticum, Lychnis Chalcaedon Jacea white and double,
Nasturt. Ind. Multefolium, Musk-rose, Flos Africanus, Thlaspi Creticum,
etc. Veronica mag. and parva, Volubilis, Balsam-apple, Hollyhock,
Snapdragon, Cornflo, Alkekengi, Lupius, Scorpion-grass, Caryophlata om.
gen. Stock-gilly-flo, Indian Tuberous Jacynth, Limonium, Linaria
Cretica, Pansies, Prunella, Delphinium, Phalangium, Perploca Virgin,
Flos Passionis, Flos Cardinalis, Oranges, Amomum Plinii, Oleanders red
and white, Agnus Castus, Arbutus, Yucca, Olive, Lignateum, Tilia, etc.

————————————————————————

AUGUST.

_To be done_

IN THE ORCHARD, AND OLITORY GARDEN.

Inoculate now early, if before you began not.

Prune off yet also superfluous Branches, and shoots of this second
spring; but be careful not to expose the fruit, without leaves
sufficient to skreen it from the Sun, furnishing, and nailing up what
you will spare to cover the defects of your Walls. Pull up the suckers.

Sow Raddish, tender Cabages, Cauly-flowers for Winter Plants,
Corn-sallet, Marygolds, Lettuce, Carrots, Parnseps, Turneps, Spinage,
Onions; also curl’d Endive, Angelica, Scurvy-grass, etc. Likewise now
pull up ripe Onions and Garlic, etc.

Towards the end sow Purslan, Chard-Beet, Chervile, etc.

Transplant such Letuce as you will have abide all Winter.

Gather your Olitory-Seeds, and clip and cut all such Herbs and Plants
within a handful of the ground before the fall. Lastley:

Unbind and release the buds you inoculated if taken, etc.

Now vindemiate and take your Bees towards the expiration of this Moneth;
unless you see cause (by reason of the Weather and Season) to defer it
till mid-September: But if your Stocks be very light and weak begin the
earlier.

Make your Summer Perry and Cider.

FRUITS IN PRIME, OR YET LASTING.

APPLES.

The Ladies Longing, the Kirkham Apple, John Apple; the Seaming Apple,
Cushion Apple, Spicing, May-flower, Sheeps-snout.

PEARS.

Windsor, Soveraign, Orange, Bergamot, Slipper Pearl, Red Catherine, King
Catherine, Denny Pear, Prussia Pear, Summer Poppering, Sugar Pear,
Lording Pea, etc.

PEACHES.

Roman Peach, Man Peach, Quince Peach, Rambouillet, Musk Peach, Grand
Carnation, Portugal Peach, Crown Peach, Bourdeaux Peach, Lavar Peach,
the Peach de-lepot, Savoy Malacoton, which lasts till Michaelmas, etc.

NECTARINES.

The Muroy Nectarine, Tawny, Red-Roman, little Green Nectarine, Chester
Nectarine, Yellow Nectarine.

PLUMS.

Imperial, Bleu, White Dates, Yellow Pear-plum, Black Pear-plum, White
Nut-meg, late Pear-plum, Great Anthony, Turkey Plum, the Jane Plum.

OTHER FRUIT.

Cluster Grape, Muscadine, Corinths, Cornelians, Mulberries, Figs,
Filberts, Melons, etc.

AUGUST.

_To be done_

IN THE PARTERRE, AND FLOWER GARDEN.

Now (and not till now if you expect success) is the just Season for the
budding of the Orange Tree: Inoculate therefore at the commencement of
this Moneth.

Now likewise take up your bulbous Iris’s; or you may sow their seeds, as
also those of Larks-heel, Candy-tufts, Iron-colour’d Fox-gloves,
Holly-hocks, and such plants as Endive Winter, and the approaching
Seasons.

Plant some Anemony roots to have flowers all Winter, if the roots
escape.

You may now sow Narcissus, and Oriental Jacynths, and replant such as
will not do well out of the Earth, as Fritillaria, Iris, Hyacinths,
Martagon, Dens Canivus.

Gilly-flowers may yet be slipp’d.

Continue your taking of Bulbs, Lilies, etc., of which before.

Gather from day to day your Alaternus seed as it grows black and ripe,
and spread it to sweat and dry before you put it up; therefore move it
sometimes with a broom that the seeds may not clog together.

Most other seeds may now likewise be gathered from Shrubs, which you
find ripe.

About mid-Aug. transplant Auricula’s, dividing old and lusty roots; also
prick out your Seedlings: They best like a loamy sand or light moist
Earth.

Now you may sow Anemony seeds, Ranunculus’s, etc., lightly covered with
fit mould in Cases, shaded, and frequently refresh’d: Also Cyclamen,
Jacynths, Iris, Hepatica, Primroses, Fritillaria, Martagon, Fraxinella,
Tulips, etc., but with patience; for some of them because they flower
not till three, four, five, six or seven years after, especially the
Tulips, therefore disturb not their beds, and let them be under some
warm place shaded yet, till the heats are past, lest the seeds dry; only
the Hepaticas, and Primeroses may be sow’d in some less expos’d Beds.

Now, about Bartholomew-tide, is the only secure season for removing and
laying your perenial Greens, Oranges, Lemmons, Myrtils, Phillyreas,
Oleanders, Jasmines, Arbutus, and other rare Shrubs, as Pome-granads,
Roses, and whatever is most obnoxious to frosts, taking the shoots and
branches of the past Spring and pegging them down in a very rich earth
and soil perfectly consum’d, water them upon all occasions during the
Summer; and by this time twelve-moneth they will be ready to remove,
Transplanted in fit earth, set in the shade, and kept moderately moist,
not over wet, lest the young fibers rot; after three weeks set them in
some more airy place, but not in the Sun till fifteen days more; vide
our Observation in April, and May, for the rest of these choice
Directions.

FLOWERS IN PRIME, OR YET LASTING.

Amaranthus, Anagallis Lusitanica, Aster Atticus, Blattaria, Spanish
Bells, Bellevedere, Campanula, Clematis, Cyclamen Vernum, Datura
Turtica, Eliochryson, Eryngium planum, Amethystium, Geranium Creticum
and Triste, Yellow Stocks, Hieracion minus Alpestre, Tube-rose Hyacinth,
Limonium, Linaria Cretica, Lychnis, Nimabile Peruvian, Yellow Millefoil,
Nasturt: Ind. Yellow mountain Hearts-ease, Manacoc, Africanus Flos,
Convolvulus’s, Scabious, Asphodels, Lupines, Colchicum, Lencoion,
Autumnal Hyacinth, Holly-hoc, Star-wort, Heliotrop, French Mary-gold,
Daisies, Geranium nocte oleus, Common Pansies, Larks-heels of all
colours, Nigella, Lobello, Catch-fly, Thalaspi Creticum, Rosemary,
Musk-rose, Monethly Rose, Oleanders, Spanish Jasmine, Yellow Indian
Jasmine, Myrtils, Oranges, Pome-granads double and single flowers, Agnus
Cactus, etc.

[Illustration: A KENTISH GARDEN IN AUTUMN.]

————————————————————————

SEPTEMBER.

_To be done_

IN THE ORCHARD, AND OLITORY GARDEN.

Gather now (if ripe) your Winter Fruits, as Apples, Pears, Plums, etc.,
to prevent their falling by the great Winds: Also gather your Wind-falls
from day to day; do this work in dry weather.

Sow Lettuce, Radish, Spinage, Parsneps, Skirrets, etc. Cauly-flowers,
Cabbage, Onions, etc. Scurvy-grass, Anis-seeds, etc.

Now you may Transplant most sorts of Esculent, or Physical plants, etc.

Also Artichocks, and Asparagus-roots.

Sow also Winter Herbs and Roots, and plant Strawberries out of the
Woods.

Towards the end, earth up your Winter plants and Sallad herbs; and plant
forth your Cauly-flowers and Cabbages which were sown in August.

No longer now defer the taking of your Bees, streightening the entrances
of such Hives as you leave to a small passage, and continue still your
hostility against Wasps, and other robbing Insects.

Cider-making continues.

FRUITS IN PRIME, OR YET LASTING.

APPLES.

The Belle-bonne, the William, Summer Pearmain, Lordling-apple,
Pear-apple, Quince-apple, Red-greening ribbed, Bloody-Pepin, Harvey,
Violet-apple, etc.

PEARS.

Hamdens, Bergamot (first ripe), Summer Bon-crestien, Norwich, Black
Worcester (baking), Green-field, Orange, Bergamot, the Queen hedge-pear,
Lewes-pear (to dry excellent), Frith-pear, Arundel-pear (also to bake),
Brunswick-pear, Winter Poppering, Bings-pear, Bishops-pear (baking),
Diego, Emperours-pear, Cluster-pear, Messire Jean, Rowling-pear,
Balsam-pear, Bezy d’Hery, etc.

PEACHES, ETC.

Malacoton, and some others, if the year prove backwards, almonds, etc.

Quinces.

Little Bleu-grape, Muscadine-grape, Frontiniac, Parsley, great
Bleu-grape, the Verjuyce-grape, excellent for sauce, etc.

Bexberries, etc.

SEPTEMBER.

_To be done_

IN THE PARTERRE, AND FLOWER GARDEN.

Plant some of all the sorts of Anemonies after the first rains, if you
will have flowers very forwards; but it is surer to attend till October,
or the Moneth after, lest the over moisture of the Autumnal seasons give
you cause to repent.

Begin now also to plant some Tulips, unless you will stay until the
later end of October, to prevent all hazard of rotting the Bulbs.

All Fibrous Plants, such as Hepatica, Hellebor, Cammomile, etc. Also the
Capillaries; Matricaria, Violets, Prim-roses, etc., may now be
transplanted.

Now you may also continue to grow Alaternus, Philyrea (or you may
forbear till the Spring), Iris, Crown Imper; Martagon, Tulips,
Delphinium, Nigella, Candy-tufts, Poppy; and generally all the Annuals
which are not impair’d by the Frosts.

Your Tuberoses will not endure the wet of this Season; therefore set the
Pots into your Conserve, and keep them very dry.

Bind up now your Autumnal Flowers, and Plants to stakes, to prevent
sudden gusts which will else prostrate all you have so industriously
rais’d.

About Michaelmas (sooner, or later, as the Season directs) the weather
fair, and by no means foggy, retire your choice Greens, and rarest
Plants (being dry) as Oranges, Lemmons, Indian and Span. Jasmine,
Oleanders, Barba-Jovis, Amomum Plin. Citysus Lunatus, Chamalaca
tricoccos, Cistus Ledon Clussii, Dates, Aloes, Seduns, etc., into your
Conservatory; ordering them with fresh mould, as you were taught in May,
viz. taking away some of the utmost exhausted earth, and stirring up the
rest, fill the Cases with rich, and well consumed soil, to wash in, and
nourish the roots during Winter; but as yet leaving the doors and
windows open, and giving them much Air, so the Winds be not sharp, nor
weather foggy; do thus till the cold being more intense advertise you to
enclose them altogether: Myrtils will endure abroad neer a Moneth
longer.

The cold now advancing, set such plants as will not endure the House
into the earth; the pots two or three inches lower than the surface of
some bed under a Southern exposure: then cover them with glasses, having
cloath’d them first with sweet and dry Moss; but upon all warm, and
benigne emissions of the Sun and sweet showers, giving them air, by
taking off all that covers them: Thus you shall preserve all your costly
and precious Marum Syriacum, Cistus’s, Geranium nocte olens, Flos
Cardinalis, Maracoco, seedling Arbutus’s (a very hardy plant when
greater), choicest Ranunculus’s, and Anemonies, Acacia Aegypt, etc. Thus
governing them till April.

Secrets not till now divulg’d.

Note that Cats will eat, and destroy your Marum Syriac, if they can come
at it.

FLOWERS IN PRIME, OR YET LASTING.

Amaranthus tricolor, and others; Anagallis of Portugal, Antirrhinum,
African flo. Amomum, Plinii, Aster Atticus, Belvedere, Bellies,
Campanula’s, Colchicum, Autumnal Cyclamen, Chrysanthemum angustifol,
Eupatorium of Canada, Sun-flower, Stock-gill-flo. Geranium Creticum and
nocte olens, Gentianella annual, Hieracion minus Alpestre, Tuberous
Indian Jacynth, Linaria Cretica, Lychnis Constant. single and double;
Limonium, Indian Lilly Narciss. Pomum Aureum, and Amoris, etc., Spinosum
Ind. Marvel of Peru, Mille-folium, yellow, Nasturtium Indicum, Persian
Autumnal Narcissus, Virgianium Phalagium, Indian Phaseolus, Scarlet
Beans, Convolvulus divers. gen., Candy Tufts, Veronica, purple
Volubilis, Asphodil, Crocus, Garnsey Lily, or Narcissus of Japan, Poppy
of all colours, single and double, Malva arborescens, Indian Pinks,
Aethiopic Apples, Capsicum Ind. Gilly-flowers, Passion-flower, Dature
double and single, Portugal Ranunculus’s, Spanish Jasmine, yellow
Virginian Jasmine, Rhododendron, white and red, Oranges, Myrtils, Muske
Rose, and Monethly Rose, etc.

————————————————————————

OCTOBER.

_To be done_

IN THE ORCHARD, AND OLITORY GARDEN.

Trench Grounds for Orcharding, and the Kitchin-garden, to lye for a
Winter mellowing.

Plant dry Trees (i) Fruit of all sorts, Standard, Mural or Shrubs, which
lose their lease; and that so soon as it falls: But be sure you chuse no
Trees for the Wall of above two years Graffing at the most.

Now is the time for Ablaqueation, and laying bare the Roots of old
unthriving, or over hasty blooming trees.

Moon now decreasing, gather Winter-fruit that remains, weather dry; take
heed of bruising; lay them up clean lest they Taint, Cut and prune Roses
yearly.

Plant and Plash Quick-sets.

Sow all stony, and hard kernels and seeds, such as Cherry, Pear-plum,
Peach, Almond-stones, etc. Also Nuts, Haws, Ashen, Sycomor and Maple
keys; Acorns, Beech-mast, Apple, Pear and Crab Kernel, for Stocks; or
you may defer it till the next Moneth towards the later end. You may yet
sow Letuce.

Make Winter Cider, and Perry.

FRUITS IN PRIME, AND YET LASTING.

APPLES.

Belle-et-Bonne, William, Costard, Lordling, Parsley-apples, Pearmain,
Pear-apple, Honey-meal, Apis, etc.

PEARS.

The Caw-pear (baking), Green-butter-pear, Thorn-pear, Clove-pear,
Roussel-pear, Lombart-pear, Russet-pear, Suffron-pear, and some of the
former Moneth.

Bullis, and divers of the September Plums and Grapes, Pines, etc.

OCTOBER.

_To be done_

IN THE PARTERRE, AND FLOWER GARDEN.

Now your Hyacinthus Tuberose not enduring the wet, must be set into the
house, and preserved very dry till April.

Continue sowing what you did in September, if you please: Also,

You may plant some Anemonies, and Ranunculus’s, in fresh sandish earth,
taken from under the turf; but lay richer mould at the bottom of the
bed, which the fibres may reach, but not to touch the main roots, which
are to be covered with the natural earth two inches deep: and so soon as
they appear, secure them with Mats, or Straw, from the winds and frosts,
giving them air in all benigne intervals; if possible once a day.

Plant also Ranunculus’s of Tripoly, etc.

Plant now your choice Tulips, etc., which you feared to interre at the
beginning of September; they will be more secure and forward enough: but
plant them in natural earth somewhat impoverish’d with very fine sand;
else they will soon lose their variegations; some more rich earth may
lye at the bottom, within reach of the fibres: Now have a care your
Carnations catch not too much wet; therefore retire them to covert,
where they may be kept from the rain, not the air, Trimming them with
fresh mould.

All sorts of Bulbous roots may now be safely buried; likewise Iris’s,
etc.

You may yet sow Alaternus, and Phillyrea seeds; it will now be good to
Beat, Roll, and Mow Carpet-walks, and Camomile; for now the ground is
supple, and it will even all inequalities: Finish your last weeding,
etc.

Sweep and cleanse your Walks, and all other places, of Autumnal leaves
fallen, lest the worms draw them into their holes, and foul your
Gardens, etc.

FLOWERS IN PRIME, OR YET LASTING.

Amaranthus tricolor, etc. Aster Atticus, Amomum, Antirrhinum, Colchicum,
Heliotrope, Stock-gilly-flo., Geranium triste, Ind. Tuberose Jacynth,
Limonium, Lychnis white and double, Pomum Amoris and Aethiop., Marvel of
Peru, Millefol. luteum, Autumnal Narciss., Pansies, Aleppo Narciss.,
Sphaerical Narciss., Nasturt., Persicum, Gilly-flo., Virgin Phalangium,
Pilosella, Violets, Veronica, Arbutus, Span. Jasmine Oranges.

————————————————————————

NOVEMBER.

_To be done_

IN THE ORCHARD, AND OLITORY GARDEN.

Carry Comfort out of your Melon-ground, or turn and mingle it with the
earth, and lay it in ridges ready for the Spring: Also trench and fit
ground for Artichocks, etc.

Continue your Setting and Transplanting of Trees; lose no time, hard
frosts come on apace; yet you may lay bare old Roots.

Plant young Trees, Standards or Mural.

Furnish your Nursery with Stocks to graff on the following year.

Sow and set early Beans and Pease till Shrove-tide; and now lay up in
your Cellars for Seed, to be Transplanted at Spring, Carrots, Parsneps,
Turneps, Cabbages, Cauly-flowers, etc.

Cut off the tops of Asparagus, and cover it with long-dung, or make Beds
to plant in Spring, etc.

Now, in a dry day, gather your last Orchard-fruits.

Take up your Potatoes for Winter spending, there will be enough remain
for stock, though never so exactly gather’d.

[Illustration: A HAMPSTEAD GARDEN IN WINTER.]

FRUITS IN PRIME, OR YET LASTING.

APPLES.

The Belle-bonne, the William, Summer Pearmain, Lordling-apple,
Pear-apple, Cardinal, Winter Chessnut, Short-start, etc., and some
others of the former two last Moneths, etc.

PEARS.

Messire Jean, Lord-pear, long Bergamot, Warden (to bake), Burnt Cat,
Sugar-pear, Lady-pear, Ice-pear, Dove-pear, Deadmans-pear, Winter
Bergamot, Belle-pear, etc.

Bullis, Medlars, Services.

NOVEMBER.

_To be done_

IN THE PARTERRE, AND FLOWER GARDEN.

Sow Auricula seeds thus: prepare very rich earth more than half dung,
upon that seift some very light sandy mould; and then sow; set your
Cases or Pans in the Sun till March. Cover your peeping Ranunculus’s,
etc.

Now is your best season (the weather open) to plant your fairest Tulips
in place of shelter, and under Espaliers; but let not your earth be too
rich, vide Octob. Transplant ordinary Jasmine, etc. About the middle of
this Moneth (or sooner, if weather require) quite enclose your tender
Plants, and perennial Greens, Shrubs, etc., in your Conservatory,
secluding all entrance of cold, and especially sharp winds; and if the
Plants become exceeding dry, and that it do not actually freeze, refresh
them sparingly with qualified water mingled with a little sheeps or
Cow-dung: If the Season prove exceeding piercing (which you may know by
the freezing of a dish of water set for that purpose in your
Green-house) kindle some Charcoal, and then put them in a hole sunk a
little into the floor about the middle of it: This is the safest stove:
at all other times when the air is warmed by the beams of a fine day,
and that the Sun darts full upon the house shew them the light; but
enclose them again before the sun be gone off: Note that you must never
give your Aloes, or Sedums one drop of water during the whole Winter.

Prepare also Mattresses, Boxes, Cases, Pots, etc., for shelter to your
tender Plants and Seedlings newly sown, if the weather prove very
bitter.

Plant Roses, Althæa Frutex, Lilac, Syringas, Cytisus, Peonies, etc.

Plant also Fibrous roots, specified in the precedent Moneth.

Sow also stony-seeds mentioned in Octob.

Plant all Forest-trees for Walks, Avenues, and Groves.

Sweep and cleanse your Garden-walks, and all other places, of Autumnal
leaves.

FLOWERS IN PRIME, OR YET LASTING.

Anemonies, Meadow Saffron, Antirrhinum, Stock-gilly-flo., Bellis,
Pansies, some Carnations, double Violets, Veronica, Spanish Jasmine,
Musk Rose, etc.

————————————————————————

DECEMBER.

_To be done_

IN THE ORCHARD, AND OLITORY GARDEN.

Prune, and Nail Wall-fruit, and Standard-trees.

You may now plant Vines, etc.

Also Stocks for Graffing, etc.

Sow, as yet, Pomace of Cider-pressings to raise Nurseries; and set all
sorts of Kernels, Stones, etc.

Sow for early Beans, and Pease, but take heed of the Frosts; therefore
surest to defer it till after Christmas, unless the Winter promise very
moderate.

All this Moneth you may continue to Trench Ground and dung it, to be
ready for Bordures, or the planting of Fruit-trees, etc.

Now seed your weak Stocks.

Turn and refresh your Autumnal Fruit, lest it taint and open the Windows
where it lyes, in a clear and Serene day.

FRUITS IN PRIME, OR YET LASTING.

APPLES.

Rousseting, Leather-coat, Winter-reed, Chest-nut Apple, Great-belly, the
Go-no-further, or Cats-head, with some of the precedent Moneth.

PEARS.

The Squib-pear, Spindle-pear, Virgin, Gascoyne-Bergomot, Scarlet-pear,
Stopple-pear, white, red, and French Wardens (to bake or roast), etc.

DECEMBER.

_To be done_

IN THE PARTERRE, AND FLOWER GARDEN.

As in January, continue your hostility against Vermine.

Preserve from too much Rain and Frost your choicest Anemonies,
Ranunculus’s, Carnations, etc.

Be careful now to keep the Doors and Windows of your Conservatories well
matted, and guarded from the piercing Air: for your Oranges, etc., are
now put to the test: Temper the cold with a few Char-coal govern’d as
directed in November, etc.

Set Bay-berries, etc., dropping ripe.

Look to your Fountain-pipes, and cover them with fresh and warm litter
out of the stable, a good thickness lest the frosts crack them; remember
it in time, and the Advice will save far both trouble and charge.

FLOWERS IN PRIME, OR YET LASTING.

Anemonies some, Persian, and Common Winter Cyclamen, Antirrhinum, Black
Hellebor, Laurus tinus, single Prim-roses, Stock-gilly-flo., Iris
Clusii, Snowflowers, or drops, Yucca, etc.

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