The Garden Guide

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

Fruit cultivation in Germany

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385. The more common fruits of Germany, the cherry, the pear, the plum, and the apple, are natives, or naturalised in the woods. Good varieties would, no doubt, be brought from Italy by the monks, who established themselves in Germany in the dark ages, and from the convents be introduced to the gardens of the nobles, as the latter became somewhat civilised. This would more especially be the case with those pro-vinces situated on the Rhine, where the genial soil and climate would bring, fruits to greater perfection, and, in time, render them more common, than in the northern dis-tricts. Dr. Diel, however, a native of the best part of this tract of country (Nassau-Dietz), complains (Obst Orangerie in Scherben, lster band), so late as 1804, that apples, pears, and cherries were most commonly raised from seeds, and planted in orchards, without being grafted. The finer fruits only thrive in the south of Germany. The apricot appears to have been some time introduced in Austria and Hungary, and produces well as a standard in the neighbourhood of Vienna. The peach is most commonly grown against walls. The mulberry produces leaves for the silkworm at far north as Frankfort on the Oder, but ripens its fruit with difficulty, unless planted against walls. The vine is cultivated as far north as the fifty second degree of latitude, in vineyards, and somewhat farther in gardens; the fig, to nearly the same extent, against walls, its branches being everywhere protected in winter: it is, however, a rare fruit in Germany. At Vienna it is kept in large tubs and boxes, and housed during winter in the wine-cellars. Fruit trees in Germany are very common along the roads: Suabia was the first country to adopt this practice, about the middle of the eighteenth century. About the beginning of the present century, fruit trees began to be planted along the roadsides by the government of Baden, and the laws respecting them were drawn up with the assistance of Zeyer, the garden director of Schwezingen. The pine-apple, Beckmann informs us, was first brought to maturity by Baron Munchausen, at Schwobber, near Hamelin. The large buildings erected by the Baron for this fruit are described in the Nuremberg Hesperides, 1713-14. It was ripened also by Dr. Kaltschmidt, at Breslau, in 1702, who sent some fruit to the imperial court. At present there are pineries to be found in all the court gardens of the empire.