Thursday, February 28, 2013

1764 Parsley - Virginian John Randolph's 1727-1784 Treatise on Gardening 1764


A Treatise on Gardening Written by a native of this State (Virginia)
Author was John Randolph (1727-1784)
Written in Williamsburg, Virginia about 1765
Published by T. Nicolson, Richmond, Virginia. 1793
The only known copy of this booklet is found in the Special Collections of the Wyndham Robertson Library at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia.

Parsley

Parsley, Apium hortense...if intended for the table, should be sown in drills pretty thick, in light rich land; but if for medicinal use (the roots being prescribed on many occasions,) the seed should be sown thin, and the plants drawn and treated as is directed in the culture of carrots.

Where you breed Rabbits it may be sown in the fields; Hares and Rabbits being remarkably fond of it, will resort to it from great distances. It is a sovereign remedy" to preserve sheep from the rot, by feeding twice a Week on this herb, about two hours each time. If intended for the table, the seed shauld be sown early in the spring; if for medicinal purposes, or for rabbits, the latter end of February in England, but about the middle of March in Virginia.

The gardeners have an advantage as to this plant, that the seed goes nine times to the devil before it comes up, alluding to the length of time it lies in the ground before it germinates, which is generally six weeks. In this it resembles celery, as also in its foliage, and the head where the seed is produced. There are several kinds of parsley, but these I have mentioned seem the most useful and particular.
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Historic American Seed and Plant Catalogs from Smithsonian Institution Libraries

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1764 Gooseberry - Virginian John Randolph's 1727-1784 Treatise on Gardening 1764


A Treatise on Gardening Written by a native of this State (Virginia)
Author was John Randolph (1727-1784)
Written in Williamsburg, Virginia about 1765
Published by T. Nicolson, Richmond, Virginia. 1793
The only known copy of this booklet is found in the Special Collections of the Wyndham Robertson Library at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia.

Gooseberry

Gooseberry, Grossularia, by some Uva, and by others Crispa, because villose and hairy. There are many species and seminal variations amongst the species themselves to be met with, but the two sorts principally cultivated are the hairy Gooseberry, and the large white Dutch. They are propagated from the suckers or cuttings, but the latter are preferable, as they produce much better roots than the former, which are apt to be woody. Autumn, before the leaves begin to fall, is the proper time for planting the cuttings out, taking the same from the bearing branches, about eight inches in length, and planting three inches deep, observing to nip off all under branches, so as to raise it to a head on a single stalk; in October you are directed to remove them into beds about three feet asunder, and having been one year in the nursery, they are to be removed to the places where they are to remain, six and eight feet asunder, row from row, observing to prune their roots, and all the lateral branches about Michaelmas; the London gardeners prune their bushes and cut them with shears into hedges, but this method is not approved of by Miller, who advises pruning with a knife, thinning the bearing branches, and shortening them to about ten inches, cutting away all the irregular ones; by this culture, I doubt not the Gooseberries would be as good as any in Europe; there is a small Gooseberry, very leafy, and which bears its leaves and fruit a long time, that is not worth cultivation; wherefore I would advise the banishing them from the garden.
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Monday, February 25, 2013

Glass Bell Jars & Cloches in Early America


Bell glasses or cloches in this 1779 Pierre Philippe Choffard (Print made by); Jean Michel Moreau le jeune (After)  Emile ou de l'Education, volume III, page 98, of Rousseau's 'Oeuvres compl├Ętes' (Brussels Boubers, 1774).





About 1630, blown-glass cloches were first mentioned in gardening treatises. John Evelyn (1620-1706) included bell glasses in his Elysium Britannicum, or The Royal Gardens in Three Books. The classic garden cloche is a bell-shaped glass vessel with an open bottom.   A 2007 excavation in Northamptonshire, England, revealed bell domes providing evidence for the use of garden glassware during the latter stages of post-medieval Roman occupation.  In his 1732 Gardener's Dictionary, Philip Miller wrote of putting bell glasses over cauliflowers.  By this period in the British American colonies, Miller was deemed the authority on gardens & his books were plentiful along the Atlantic coast.  




In the December 23, 1737 Virginia Gazette, an item about a horse dying because it cut its knee by falling on a garden bell glass is the earliest mention I can find of the bell glass in the colonies. 

A 1970 archaeological dig in Williamsburg, Virginia, unearthed 2 knobs & one folded rim fragment from large gardem bell glasses made from the normal bottle glass metal. Fragments of at least 12 such garden glasses were found at one site & were believed to have come from the John Custis site. Custis was an avid gardener. Fragments of similar glasses have been excavated in Williamsburg at the Governor's Palace, Peter Hay's Shop, the Raleigh Tavern, the Wythe House, & John Carter's Store.  

Historical records indicate that bell-glasses were made in Pennsylvania as early as 1767, at Henry William Stiegel’s glasshouse in Manheim.  Called a “glasshouse” by Stiegel, the 1st glass was blown there in late 1764.  Stiegel hired skilled workmen from the European glassmaking centers, who would have been acquainted with making garden bell glasses. Newspaper advertising brought customers from New York, & Boston, as well as from nearby towns in Pennsylvania.

By 1775, the Philadelphia Glass Works of Kensington advertised bell glasses, along with other wares, in the Pennsylvania Packet.   

On April 16, 1796, bell glasses were for sale from the Albany Glass Factory according to the Herald newspaper in the city of New York. The glassworks was founded by Leonard de Neufville, who recruited experienced glass workers from Germany.



Using an incubating cloche in the early spring or late fall garden is an ideal way to protect infant seedlings. When unpredictable spring weather offers up a cold snap or chance of frost, the vigilant cloche acts as a miniature greenhouse.


Cloches hold in heat & moisture and offer shelter during bursts of strong spring winds.  Using a cloche, when delicate plants are their most vulnerable, is a totally organic way to protect them from deer, birds, slugs, & other pests, which abound up here in our woods.



One problem with the glass bell is that on particularly sunny days, that covered young plants might scorch in the hot sun.

Beningborough Hall, North Yorkshire, England

During high humidity, the gardener should also be on the lookout for mildew. When it’s particularly hot or moist, the gardener can temporarily remove the cloche or prop it up with a stick or small rock to let a bit of heat out & to allow the air to circulate.



In spring, delicate young seedlings can be planted out weeks earlier than would otherwise be feasible under the protection of a prudent cloche. Using a cloche will also extend the season for crops in the autumn by up to 3 weeks.

Beningbrough Hall & Gardens, Beningbrough, York, North Yorkshire, England

The curved shape allows the surface of the cloche to always be perpendicular to the direction of the sun thereby achieving minimum refraction & maximum penetration of light. A very simple but efficient tool.

Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia

The obvious limitation of a bell cloche is its capacity. A cloche is usually capable of covering only a single plant or a tiny collection of small seedlings. For gardening on a larger scale the cloche becomes somewhat impractical, but it always remains beautiful.


A number of garden bell glasses or cloches appear in this print for of the London & Greenwich Railway, 1835.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Metal & Clay Cloches


Monticello's version of a clay cloche

Terracotta rhubarb

A bell-shaped terracotta rhubarb forcer with lid, about 13" high

I have been taken to task by one of my garden history colleagues for being politically incorrect in my biased presentation of glass cloches. He is correct, of course. The only fair thing to do here is show you the other types of cloches from the 17th, 18th, & 19th centuries, some still in use today. They do deserve equal time. In this political season, this is my attempt at trying to be "fair & balanced."



Handmade terra-cotta cloches have existed nearly as long as the blown-glass examples. They often have ventilation holes to prevent spoilage from excessive heat & humidity.



Gardeners often used terra-cotta cloches slow the growth of lettuce.

Terre cotta rhubarb pots at Knightshayes Garden, Tiverton, Devon, England

Other terra-cotta cloches, often about 30" high & similar in shape to chimney pots, were used for forcing rhubarb. Some of these had lids.

Barnsdale Gardens, Exton, Oakham, Rutland, England.

Gardeners also used metal-framed glass cloches during the period.



In metal-framed cloches, one of the glass panes could be removed by the gardener for fresh air ventilation. Sometimes gardeners temporarily would paint the glass white to shade tender plants from direct sunlight.

Audley End Kitchen Garden, English Heritage, Essex, England

Today, these architectural tents or pavilions are more often employed for decorative purposes.
 

I found only one depiction of a completely metal cloche made in France about 1900.



Let me close by admitting what you surely already realize, I just love those plain, bell-shaped glass cloches...

Very clever make-do cloches.  Lined basket food covers.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

1764 Horse Radish - Virginian John Randolph's 1727-1784 Treatise on Gardening 1764


A Treatise on Gardening Written by a native of this State (Virginia)
Author was John Randolph (1727-1784)
Written in Williamsburg, Virginia about 1765
Published by T. Nicolson, Richmond, Virginia. 1793
The only known copy of this booklet is found in the Special Collections of the Wyndham Robertson Library at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia.

Horse Radish

Horse Radish, Cocklearia, from Cochlear lat, a spoon, because the leaves are hollow like a spoon....is a species of the Scurvey grass. It is to be propagated from buds or cuttings from the sides of the old roats, in October or February; the former for dry land, and the latter for moist. The offsets should have buds on their crowns, and the heads planted out should be about two inches in length. The method of planting them is in trenches about ten inches deep, about five distance each way, the bud upwards, covering them up with the mould taken out of the trenches. Then the ground is to be levelled with a rake, and kept free from weeds, and the second year after planting, the roots may be used; the first year the roots are very slender. When you have cut from a root and separated as much as you have occasion for, put it into the ground again with the head just above the earth, and it will restore itself, if not pulled up soon after. It ought to be planted in very rich ground, otherwise it will not flourish. This method of planting I am so well pleased with that I never had any Horse Radish in my garden till I strictly pursued it, and I advise every one to follow it.
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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Old, but proper, garden sheds

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Today is a good day to dream about old pots & proper potting sheds. Spring is here...




Down House, Home of Charles Darwin, South East, Kent, England



Calke Abbey. Ticknall, Derby, Derbyshire, England

Royal Horticultural Society Harlow Carr Botanical Gardens, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England




Beningborough Hall, North Yorkshire, England



Beningborough Hall, North Yorkshire, England

Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire, England







Down House, Home of Charles Darwin, South East, Kent, England

Royal Horticultural Society Harlow Carr Botanical Gardens, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England

Exbury Gardens, Southampton, Hampshire, England

Royal Horticultural Society Harlow Carr Botanical Gardens, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England

Lost Gardens of Heligan, South West, Cornwall, England

Royal Horticultural Society Harlow Carr Botanical Gardens, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England

Lost Gardens of Heligan, South West, Cornwall, England



Lost Gardens of Heligan, South West, Cornwall, England

Royal Horticultural Society Harlow Carr Botanical Gardens, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England



Royal Horticultural Society Harlow Carr Botanical Gardens, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England
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