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and Gastronomy; and his “ Sylva” –although the last and best edition by Dr. A. Hunter, F.R.S., of York, was published in 1786—still remains one of the classics -certainly the literary classic
of its subject. I have therefore chosen for reproduction here—and I hope the Garden-maniac ? (the word is not mine, but the Prince de Ligne's!) will approve my selection_his more important letters on the history and literature of Gardenshis Scenario or Epitome of a History of Gardens—which will be of priceless suggestion to the Historian of Gardens, when he shall at last appear ; and, finally, the descriptions of Gardens in England and on the Continent, which he visited throughout his travels—one may almost say, throughout the long journey of his life.
O si sic omnes ! If peradventure one “righteous traveller and Garden fanatic—and their number is legion-would so describe the gardens of our own generation—not only as “ Country Life” is doing it in word and picture-fine as that is—but in the true spirit of that observer and chronicler, John Evelyn. With all our interest, real and assumed, in Gardens, I do not know of any lately published account of Gardens in Britain or abroad that will be to future generations of quite the living and abiding historical and archæological value, that these scattered notices of Evelyn possess fo us. A century later Arthur Young followed in his footsteps, and to some extent achieved a similar result, but his object was rather the observation and improvement of the Science of Agriculture than the Fine Art of Gardening
The “Plan of a Royal Garden," or Elysium Brittannicum (perhaps inspired by Bacon), is a magnificent synopsis or torso, to which it is not too late to hope that other fragments, (besides the “ Acetaria” and Browne’s treaties on “Grafting” and “Garlands," printed hereafter,) may yet be restored : for that same library at Wotton may one day yield up to a patient and grateful posterity the MS. which, we have Evelyn's own word for it, he left in a more or less complete state. In his letter to Sir Thomas (then Dr.) Browne he writes of having “ tolerably finished” as far as Chapter XI., Lib. II.,1 which is “Of Statues, Busts, Obelisks,”' &c.; 2 and says definitely that Chapter VII. of the last Book " is in a manner finished.” The contents of this important chapter are fully set out in his Postscript (pp. 178–182), and this alone would be an inestimable gift to the lover of Garden History. Evelyn was not only a writer, but a prophet. In
See post, p. 177. ? Ibid., p. 195.
one of his lesser-known writings, “ Fumifugium : or the Inconveniencie of the Aer and Smoke of London dissipated,” he not only anticipates the labours of the Kyrle Society, or that for the Abatement of the Smoke Nuisance, but he has forestalled Mr. Ebenezer Howard in his plan for the creation of Garden Cities.
London was to have been the first great Garden City, and by this means the Smoke of London was to be neutralised and abated.
The quotation is rather lengthy, but nothing could better represent Evelyn's dual character as a lover of the City and of the Country alike : if his plan could have been realised, the separation of the two would have almost ceased to exist.—Those who dispute his claim to be ranked amongst the Prophets, will not deny Evelyn's right to canonisation amongst his own Paradisi Cultores -Paradisean and Hortulan Saints.
His proposed remedy was :
That all low grounds circumjacent to the city, especially east and south-west, be cast and contriv'd into square plots, or fields of twenty, thirty and forty akers or more, separated from each other by fences of double palisads, or contr'spaliars, which should enclose a plantation of an hundred and fifty, or more, feet deep about each field; not much unlike to what his Majesty has already begun by the wall from old Spring Garden to St. James's in that park; and is somewhat resembled in the new Spring Garden at Lambeth. That these palisads be elegantly planted, diligently kept and
supply'd, with such shrubs as yield the most fragrant and odoriferous flowers, and are aptest to tinge the Aer upon every gentle emission at a great distance : such as are (for instance among many others) the sweet-brier, all the periclymena's and woodbines; the common white and yellow jessamine, both the syringa's or pipe trees; the guelder rose, the musk, and all other roses ; genista hispanica : to these may be added the rubus odoratus, bayes juniper, lignum-vitæ, lavender : but above all, rosemary, the flowers whereof are credibly reported to give their scent above thirty leagues off at sea, upon the coasts of Spain : and at some distance towards the meadow side, vines ; yea, hops
Et arbuta passim,
Et pinguem tiliam, & ferrugineos hyacinthos. For there is a sweet smelling sally, and the blossoms of the tilia or lime-tree,2 are incomparably fragrant ; in brief, whatsoever is odoriferous and refreshing.
That the spaces or area between these palisads and fences, be employ'd in beds and bordures of pinks, carnations, clove, stock-gilly-flower, primroses, auriculas, violets, not forgetting the white, which are in flower twice a year, April and August: cowslips, lilies, narcissus, strawberries, whose very leaves as well as fruit emit a cardiaque, and most refreshing halitus : also parietaria lutea, musk lemmon, and mastick, thyme, spike, cammomile, balm, mint, majoram, pempernel, and serpillum, &c. which, upon the least pressure and cutting, breathe out and betray their ravishing odors.
That the fields, and crofts within these closures, or invironing gardens, be some of them planted with wild thyme, and others reserved for plots of beans, pease (not cabbages, whose rotten and perishing stalks have a very noisom and
i Sallow or willow.
2 It has been conjectured that probably the lime-trees in St. James's Park were planted in consequence of this suggestion.
unhealthy smell, and therefore by Hypocrates utterly condemned near great cities) but such blossom-bearing brain as send forth their virtue at farthest distance, and are all of them marketable at London; by which means, the aer and winds perpetually fann'd from so many circling and encompassing hedges, fragrant shrubs, trees and flowers, (the amputation and pruning of whose superfluities may in winter, on some occasions of weather and winds, be burnt, to visit the city with a more benign smoak,) not onely all that did approach the region which is properly design'd to be lowery; but even the whole City would be sensible of the sweet and ravishing varieties of the perfumes, as well of the most delightful and pleasant objects and places of recreation for the inhabitants; yielding also a prospect of a noble and masculine majesty, by reason of the frequent plantations of trees, and nurseries for ornament, profit, and security.
The remainder of the fields included yielding the same, and better shelter, and pasture for sheep and cattle then now; that they lie bleak, expos'd and abandon'd to the winds, which perpetually invade them.
That, to this end, the gardiners (which now cultivate the upper, more drie, and ungrateful soil), be encouraged to begin plantations in such places onely : and the further exorbitant encrease of tenements, poor and nasty cottages near the City, be prohibited, which disgrace and take off from the sweetness and amoenity of the environs of London, and are already become a great eye-sore in the grounds opposite to his Majesty's Palace of White-hall; which being converted to this use, might yield a diversion inferior to none that could be imagin'd for health, profit, and beauty, which are the three transcendencies that render a palace without all exception.
And this is what (in short) I had to offer, for the improvement and melioration of the Aer about London, and with which I shall conclude this discourse.