The Garden Guide

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

Dutch and Flemish gardeners

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185.The Dutch and Flemish gardeners have many curious practices; such as training fruit trees in particular shapes, clipping shrubs, disguising flowers and fruits, &c. Mr. Knight, of the exotic nursery, King's Road, Chelsea, who visited Holland in 1830, found the dwarf fruit trees, in some gardens, trained in the shape of saucers, not more than three feet high, but ten feet in diameter; others in the form of a bowl or a vase; some with a stem only one foot high, with two branches proceeding from it, horizontally, in Opposite directions, �with shoots covered with spurs, rising perpendicularly from these two horizontal branches, at equal distances; those in the centre of the plant three feet high, gradually diminishing to one foot at the extremities, and having altogether a strangely artificial appearance.� (Gard. Mag. vol. vi. p. 318.) Another writer in the same work mentions flower-pots resembling miniature ruins, or stumps of trees, in which succulent plants are placed; and gourds half green, half yellow, or in green and yellow stripes, the pale stripes produced by arranging narrow pieces of tape on the fruit while growing, in order to exclude the light. The curious sometimes leads to the useful; and a genuine love of plants may be often first excited in some breasts by the wonderment caused by a grotesque flower-pot of succulents, a hedge-hog of crocuses, or by the production of a cucumber bearing the initials of the grower. (Gard. Mag., vol. ii. p. 227.) In some cases words were produced on gourds in white letters, by cutting them out in paper, and pasting them on the gourds when young.