The Garden Guide

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

Renaissance horticulture in England

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657. Previously to the sixteenth century it is generally said, that some of our most common vegetables, such as cabbages, were chiefly imported from the Netherlands, their culture not being properly understood in this country. 'It was not,' says Hume, 'till the end of the reign of Henry VIII. that any salads, carrots, turnips, or other edible roots, were produced in England. The little of these vegetables that was used, was formerly imported from Holland and Flanders. Queen Catherine, when she wanted a salad, was obliged to despatch a messenger thither on purpose.' (Hist. of Eng. anno 1547.) Fuller, in 1660, speaking of the gardens of Surrey, says, 'gardening was first brought into England for profit about seventy years ago; before which we fetched most of our cherries from Holland, apples from France; and hardly had a mess of rath-ripe peas, but from Holland, which were dainties for ladies, they came so far and cost so dear. Since, gardening hath crept out of Holland to Sandwich, Kent, and thence to Surrey, where, though they have given 6�. an acre and upwards, they have made their rent, lived comfortable, and set many people to work.' ( Worthies, part iii. p. 77.)