The Garden Guide

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

Montreuil gardens

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284. The peach gardens of Montreuil, a village near Paris, are walled enclosures of from half an acre to three acres each; and M. Otto remarks, that if the walls were extended in one line, they would reach to the distance of several miles. From these gardens the private establishments of the principal proprietors in France are furnished with trained peach and nectarine trees, and the Paris market with peaches. The soil on which the trees are grown is on the secondary limestone common to the Paris basin; the exposure to the south-east, with no shelter except, what is given by the walls, which are generally from eight to eleven feet high; and Mr. Thompson tells us that they are covered with plaster on both sides rather more than an inch thick. Between 1400 and 1500 acres are devoted in this Commune to the growth of peaches (Journ. Hort. Soc., vol. ii. p. 227.). The gardens are in square or parallelogram enclosures, the walls planted on both sides, and the interior devoted to the culture of vines, for their fruit for the dessert. The trees are generally budded by the growers on almond, apricot, or plum stocks; they are planted, when budded one year, against the walls, and made fast to them, to prevent their being stolen, by iron hooks which pass through the wall, and are riveted on the other side. The mode of training may be described as an imperfect fan manner; two leading branches, one on each side, being kept as the parents from which all the others are to spring; and these leading branches are elevated or depressed, so as to keep the wall equally covered with shoots, with the exception of the centre, which is generally somewhat open. This mode, known as that a la Montreuil, has been greatly lauded in France, and will be described at length when treating of the peach tree.