The Garden Guide

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

Wurttemberg horticulture

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392. In Wirtemberg horticulture has made great progress. In the royal kitchen-garden at Stuttgard forcing is chiefly carried on in Dutch pits, with fire-heat within and linings of dung without. Vines are laid down from the walls, and forced under frames; and in this case, as throughout Wirtemberg, whether in forcing-houses, against walls, or in vineyards, the young shoots are always bent in circles, to make them break regularly. The shoots are also everywhere laid down flat on the ground, and kept there during the winter by stones; or, in default of stones, by spadefuls of earth, or by hooks. They are soon covered with snow, and are thus protected from the severity of the frost. Pine-apples are cultivated extensively in this garden; and grapes, peaches, cherries, plums, figs, and strawberries aro forced. The cherries bear three crops in three years, and are then removed; the plums bear only one crop, and the trees are therefore changed every year; cucumbers are forced so as to be gathered in February; and asparagus is cut from the first week in November till it is fit for use in the open air. Supplies of the alpine strawberry are furnished during the whole of the winter. The pine-apples are for the most part kept in an opaque-roofed house, on shelves and stages, like dry-stove plants; and carried out, and sunk in tan, in pits, for fruiting during summer. In winter, almost every description of vegetable is preserved, with astonishing success, in cellars, not only for the kitchen, but for planting out in spring to produce seed. Plants of Phytolacca decandra are preserved for the latter purpose, the cooks using the berries for colouring different preparations. Various articles are preserved for the purpose of being taken out from time to time during the winter, and planted in pits to be forced; such as succory roots; knoll celery or celeriac, for the leaves; common beet, for the leaves to be used as spinach; common sorrel, mint, and other pot and sweet herbs, &c. Carrots, turnips, kohl-rabi, knoll celery, scorzonera, winter radishes, horseradish, and all similar roots, are laid horizontally in earth, layer over layer, with their tops outwards, exposed to the air, and suffered to grow: it being found that they keep much better when allowed to grow, than when this is prevented by cutting off the top below the bud. In the open garden, in 1828, we found asparagus in rows two feet apart, and the plants at two feet distance in the rows; the soil beneath was light, rich, and four feet deep, and the shoots were said to attain a very large size. Artichokes were covered with wooden boxes, whelmed over litter; cardoons, which are grown in large quantities, are preserved in the cellars. in beds we found what is called blat kohl (leaf or blade kale), a small-leaved borecole, very dwarf, which is said to produce no seed: it is propagated by cuttings in September and October, and is recommended as being more hardy than any of the other borecoles. There is an orangery in this garden, in which, besides orange trees, are preserved large plants of Brugmansia, Solanum Pseudo-Capsicum, pelargo-niums, Fuchsiï¾µ, and other greenhouse plants, which are planted out in the open air during summer, and produce a magnificent appearance till winter, when they are taken in again. The vineyards and orchards in the neighbourhood of Sluttgard have a beauty and singularity of which it is difficult to convey an idea. They occupy the steep sides and summits of singularly irregular hills; and, as they are all small properties, each with its dwelling-house, vegetable garden, and orchard, the effect is rich beyond expression. In many places the ascents from one vineyard to another are up steep precipices, by winding flights of stone steps, which give an idea of extreme care and cultivation, highly gratifying. In some of the vineyards and orchards in the suburbs, belonging to individuals who live in the town, instead of dwellings, there are summer-houses, built of wood, and painted white and green. These are so numerous in some places, the gardens being very small, that they look like tombs in a churchyard, and thirty or forty of them are often seen at once. The fruit trees, which are chiefly apples, every where border the roads, and rise up the declivities among the vines, grouping with the cottages and the rocks, and crowning the varied summits of the hills. Taken altogether, Stuttgard and its environs are not to be paralleled on the Continent, for horticultural richness and picturesque beauty.