The Garden Guide

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

History of English kitchen gardening

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661. The fertility of the soil of England was depreciated by some in Tusser's time, probably from seeing the superior productions brought from Holland and France. Dr. Bulleyn, a contemporary, defends it, saying, 'we had apples, pears, plums, cherries, and hops, of our own growth, before the importation of these articles into England by the London and Kentish gardeners, but that the cultivation of them had been greatly neglected.' He refers as a proof of the natural fertility of the land to the great crop of sea-peas (Pisum maritimum), which grew on the beach between Orford and Aldborough, and which saved the poor in the dearth of 1555. Oldys, speaking of Gerard's fine garden, and alluding to the alleged depreciation of our soil and climate, says, 'from whence it would appear, that our ground could produce other fruits besides hips and haws, acorns and pig-nuts.' At this time, observes Dr. Pulteney (Sketches, &c., 118.), 'kitchen-garden wares were imported from Holland and fruits from France.'