The Garden Guide

Book: History of Garden Design and Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 3: European Gardens (500AD-1850)

Amsterdam Botanic Garden

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177.The botanic gardens of Amsterdam and Groningen merit particular notice. The former was under the direction of the two Commelyns, John and Gaspar; and was the first garden in Europe that procured a specimen of the coffee tree, about 1690. A seedling of this tree was sent from Amsterdam to Paris in 1714. Two seedlings from this plant were sent to Martinique in 1726, and these, the Abbe Raynal observes (Hist. de Commerce, tom. xvi. ch. 20.), produced all the coffee trees now cultivated in the French colonies. This garden still contains many remarkable specimens of Cape and Japan plants. (Neill's Hort. Tour, p. 218.) The garden of Groningen was begun by Henry Munting, a zealous botanist and learned man, who had spent eight years travelling in the different countries of Europe, establishing correspondences between botanists and cultivators. He spent the greater part of his fortune upon his garden; but, in 1641, the states of Groningen, thinking so useful an establishment ought to be under the protection of the republic, purchased it, and appointed him professor. The catalogue of this garden, published in 1646, contains about 1500 plants, without comprehending more than 600 varieties; 100 of these were pinks, and 150 tulips. Henry Munting was succeeded by his son, Abraham, esteemed for his posthumous work, Phytographia Curiosa, folio, 1702. The gardens of Amsterdam and Groningen are still kept up, but without that enthusiastic ardour which distinguished the citizens of Holland when under move auspicious political circumstances than they are at the present time.