Directions for the Gardiner  and Other Horticultural Advice

Plant History

Directions for the Gardener

Directions for the Gardiner and other Hortocultural Advice
DIRECTIONS for the GARDINER has been compiled from the writings of John Evelyn, the premier authority on gardening matters of the seventeenth–century and is a guide to gardening that remains just as relevant today.

He advises on what to grow and recommends how to cultivate the plants and trees, vegetables and fruit. Evelyn lists plants seasonally (one of the very first to do so) and gives gardening instructions month by month.
John Evelyn is best known today for his Diary, second only in reputation to that of his friend and fellow-diarist, Samuel Pepys. In his own day he was famous for Sylva, his great work on trees and timber management, and he was also writing meticulous notes on the upkeep of his garden at Sayes Court instructions to his gardener 'which may be of use for other gardens'.

Through DIRECTIONS for the GARDINER he advises how to cultivate and tend perennials, annuals, root vegetables, and trees, with lists of plants and gardening terms and tools. The Kalendarium Hortense and Acetaria, the other two works collected here, are equally fascinating for their mixture of practical advice and insights into seventeenth-century horticulture. One of the earliest gardening calendars, the Kalendarium gives month by month advice on work in the kitchen and flower garden as well as listing each months 'prime' flowers and vegetables; Acetaria deals with salad crops, and how best to dress and prepare them for eating.

Helpfully Evelyn provides a long list of gardening terms, most of which are still in use today, but a word we might bring back is ‘stercoration’ the spreading of dung, a very necessary ingredient to the vegetable garden; on the other hand one might ‘vindemiate’ or harvest the grapes, or perhaps spend time ‘repastinating’ the flower bed or giving them a light hoe.

DIRECTIONS for the GARDINER provides a clear and sparkling window into the gardening world of three hundred years ago and an insight on Britain’s gardening past; a charming and eye- opening companion for garden lovers everywhere.  

origin of plants, plant names, plant introductions, trees, tree planting, English gardens, origin of British plants, plant world, Mount Edgcumbe,  horticulture, john evelyn, charlemagne, gardening history, british flora The Eden Project, Garden Media Guild, Maggie Campbell Culver, trees
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John Evelyn 1687