The Garden Guide

Book: History of Garden Design and Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 4: British Gardens (1100-1830)

Botany in English gardens

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634. During the whole of the eighteenth century, botany was in a flourishing state in England. Previously to this period, the number of exotics in the country probably did not exceed 1000 species: during this century above 5000 new species were introduced from foreign countries, besides the discovery of a number of new native plants. Some idea may be formed of the progress of gardening, in respect to ornamental trees and shrubs, from the different editions of Miller's Dictionary. In the first edition, in 1724, the catalogue of evergreens amounts only to twelve. The Christmas rose and aconite were then rare, and only to be obtained at Fairchild's at Hoxton: only seven sorts of geraniums were then known. Every edition of this work contained fresh additions to the botany of the country. In the preface to the eighth and last edition, published in 1768. the number of plants cultivated in England is stated to be more than double those which were known when the folio edition was published in 1731. Miller was born in 1691; and was appointed gardener to the Company of Apothecaries in 1722, upon Sir Hans Sloane's liberal donation of near four acres to the Company. He resigned his office about a year before his decease, which took place in 1771, and was succeeded by Forsyth, who was succeeded by various other curators, including Fortune, the Chinese traveller, who resigned in 1848, and was succeeded by Moore.