The Garden Guide

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

History of horticulture science in England

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723. But the science of horticulture received its greatest stimulus from Knight, the enlightened president of the Horticultural Society. The first of this philosopher's writings will be found in the Philosophical Transactions for 1795, entitled Observations on the Grafting of Trees. In the same Transactions for 1801 and 1803 are contained his ingenious papers on the fecundation of fruits, and on the sap of trees. Subsequent volumes contain other important papers; and a great number, in which science and art are combined in a manner tending directly to enlighten and instruct the practical gardener, will be found in the Transactions of the Horticultural Society. Through the influence of this author and that society, over which he was so worthy to preside, we see commenced an important era in the horticulture of this country; an era rendered peculiarly valuable, as transferring the discoveries of science immediately to art, and rendering them available by practitioners. How great may be its influence on the comforts and luxuries of the table it is impossible to foresee. The introduction and distribution of better sorts of the common hardy fruits and culinary plants will tend immediately to the benefit of the humbler classes of society; and by increasing a little the size, and encouraging the culture, both ornamental and useful, of cottage-gardens, the attachment of this class to their homes, and consequently their interest in the country, will be increased. Even agriculture will derive advantages, of which, as an example, may be adduced the result of pinching off the blossoms of the potato, which, by leaving more nourishment for the root, will increase the produce (according to Knight's estimate) at least one ton per acre. (Hort. Tr., vol. i. p. 190. Treatise on the Apple and Pear.)