In anticipation of warmer weather, and the excitement of cultivating one's landscape, it only seemed natural to peek into our vault and explore the world of gardening. Very quickly did we discover a wonderful text from the 18th Century entitled, Every Man His Own Gardener. Being a New, and Much More Complete Gardener's Kalendar Than any One Hitherto Published... Our copy, title page seen below, is a Sixth Edition, printed in 1773. It appears that the first edition was printed six years before, in 1767, and several more editions will be printed afterwards. what a real treat it is to delve into the art and science of keeping a garden in the eighteenth century!
Like many instructional texts of the eighteenth century, this book is very thorough, and does not disappoint. This text will inform readers how to maintain a proper gardens for every month of the year. Within each month, there are six main chapters, or types of gardens if you like: The Kitchen Garden, The Fruit Garden, The Pleasure or Flower Garden, The Nursery, The Green House and the Hot House. For example, if you were to open up to say Februrary, and seek out advice on a Pleasure, or Flower Garden, you will discover that:
About the middle, or towards the latter end of this month, it will be time to begin to prepare for sowing some of the more curious kind of annuals. The Choicest kinds are, the double balsams cockscombs, and tricolars; the globe amaranthus, marvel of Peru, diamond sicoides, or ice-plants, egg plant, and China afters: all these require the assistance of a hot-bed to bring them forward, in order that they may blow early, and in some tolerable perfection.
The advice will then continue to explain how to utilize horse dung, and prepare your garden bed for the flowers to be installed. Another great advice comes in April, on airing and watering greeenhouse plants, as seen below.
To culminate the guide book, there is an appendix at the end of the book, that lists all of the shrubs, trees, plants fruits etc. known at the time. This list is comprehensive and fascinating to read, and like the book itself, gives as much detail as possible.
One slight oddidty to our copy of Every Man his Own Gardener is that when it was rebound at some point, it was given a new title on its spine. From the exterior of the book, it is known as The Kitchen Garden. I guess it just goes to show that you can't always judge a book by its cover... or its title at least!