The Garden Guide

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

History of horticulture in Scotland

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2. Gardening in Scotland, in respect to its horticultural Productions 676. The earliest Scottish horticulturists, Chalmers remarks, were the abbots; and their orchards are still apparent to the eyes of antiquaries, while their gardens can now be traced only in the chartularies. A number of examples of gardens and orchards are mentioned in writings of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries; and even at this day, Dr. Neill observes, 'several excellent kinds of fruits, chiefly apples and pears, are to be found existing in gardens, near old abbeys and monasteries. That such fruits were introduced by ecclesiastics cannot admit of a doubt. The Arbroath oslin, which seems nearly allied to the burr knot apple of England, may be taken as an instance; that apple having been long known all round the abbey of Aberbrothwick, in Forfarshire; and tradition uniformly ascribing its introduction to the monks. - The great care bestowed on the culture of fruits, and of some culinary herbs, by the clergy and nobility, could not fail to excite, in some degree, the curiosity and the attention of the inhabitants in general; and it may, perhaps, be said that the first impulse has scarcely spent its force; for it is thus but comparatively a short time (four or five centuries) since the cultivation of apples, pears, cherries, gooseberries, and currants, and many of the common kitchen-vegetables, was introduced into this country.' (On Scottish Gardens and Orchards, in Gen. Rep. of Scot., p. 3.)