Category: John Evelyn’s Monthly in the Garden


‘Carry, & spread dung & compost.’

John Evelyn 1686 (published 1932)

Old School Gardener

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compost-trench-after‘Trench & prepare ground with compost – sow as yet all sorts of greenes.’

John Evelyn 1686 (published 1932)

Old School Gardener

Rhamnus alaternus

Rhamnus alaternus

‘Sow Lettuce, Alaternus, phillyrea seedes, Kirnels &c. and now begin to secure &  by little & little, as the season proves, withdraw your choicer & tender Greenes & prepare them for the Greene house.’

John Evelyn 1686 (published 1932)

Notes:

  1. ‘Alaternus’ refers to Rhamnus alaternus, an evergreen shrub favoured by Evelyn in hedging, but which fell out of favour years later as being too labour intensive to maintain.

  2. ‘Phillyrea’ was another evergreen shrub of which Mary Keen says:

    ‘Gardeners of the 17th and 18th centuries, who were less spoilt than those of today, loved any tree or shrub that kept its leaves through winter. John Evelyn referred to evergreens as “Verdures, Perennial Greens and Perpetuall Springs”. Among the most highly regarded of these, and a front- rank treasure in the Georgian shrubbery, was phillyrea, often described as “of incomparable verdure”.

    It is rarely seen now, which is a pity. Phillyrea may no longer rate superstar treatment but it is both useful and attractive, making neat hedges, trees full of character and elegant backgrounds.

    A member of the olive family, phillyrea is sometimes known as evergreen privet. It is, however, both more distinguished than privet and less gloomy than conifers at this time of year because its leaves reflect rather than absorb light. Unlike a currently popular evergreen, box, it does not seem to be susceptible to blight and it has tiny, scented, greeny-white flowers, which appear in spring. (It is reminiscent of the popular shrub osmanthus, which also comes from the olive family.)…’

    3. Evelyn’s use of the words ‘Greene house’ appears to refer to its early use in protecting tender green(e)s. The first use of the words appears in the 1660’s and many other terms were used to refer to similar glazed constructions: conservatories, orangeries, botanical gardens etc.

Phillyrea latifolia

Phillyrea latifolia

Old School Gardener

primroses‘Sow Lettuce, Spinach – plant primroses, violets & such fibrous rootes.’

John Evelyn 1686 (published 1932)

Old School Gardener

Oranges on Tree‘Sow Cabbages, Carrots, Turneps, purselan – Innoculate oranges and other rare plants: Begin to prune over shady shootes of the Spring, yet so as not to expose the Fruit.’

John Evelyn 1686 (published 1932)

Old School Gardener

‘Sow Lettuce, remove Cabbage-plants, Lay ever-greens, and transplant such as are rooted, do this about St. Jamestide’

John Evelyn 1686 (published 1932)

Old School Gardener

Lettuce_JPG‘Sow Lettuce, Raddish -‘

John Evelyn 1686 (published 1932)

Old School Gardener

Orange Tree in Terracotta Pot by Jose Escofet

Orange Tree in Terracotta Pot by Jose Escofet

‘Bring forth of the Greene-house the Oranges, lemons and most tender Ever- greenes, trim and refresh them, placing them in shade a fortnight, by degrees accostuming them to the sunn: sow also cabbage-seedes, Lettuce, French-beanes, Harricos &c.’

John Evelyn 1686 (published 1932)

Old School Gardener

Artichokes- now's the time to plant 'slips' or suckers, says Evelyn

Artichokes- now’s the time to plant ‘slips’ or suckers, says Evelyn

‘Set Artichok-slips, transplant cabages, sow Lettuce, clip hedges, & greenes; & sow the seedes of all hot sweete-herbs & plants.’

John Evelyn 1686 (published 1932)

Old School Gardener

Celery plugs‘Sow Endive, Succory, Chervil, Sellerie, purselan (which you may also continue sowing all the summer to have tender) leeks, Beetes, parsneps, salsifix, skirrits, Turneps &c. and now Cherish and Earth-up your flowers, and set stakes to the tallest: sow also lettuce.’

Grow lettuce- on a fence!

Grow lettuce- on a fence!

John Evelyn 1686 (published 1932)

OK, who knows what a skirrit is?!

Old School Gardener

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