The Garden Guide

Book: History of Garden Design and Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 5: Gardens in Asia, America, Africa, Australia

African horticulture

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827. Of the state of horticultural science on the African coast of the Mediterranean, some idea may be formed from the following extract, given by Beechey, from a Moorish horticultural work: -'When a palm tree refuses to bear,' says the Arab author alluded to, 'the owner, armed with a hatchet, comes to visit it in company with another person. He begins by observing aloud to his friend, in order that the date tree may hear him,- 'I am going to cut down this worthless tree, since it no longer bears me any fruit.' -'Have a care what you do,' replies his companion; 'for I predict that this very year, your tree will be covered with dates.' - 'No, no,' cries the owner; 'I am determined to cut it down; for I am certain it will produce me nothing;' and then approaching the tree, he proceeds to give it two or three strokes with his hatchet. The friend again interferes, and begs him to try one more season ; adding, that if it does not bear then, he will let him do as he pleases. The owner at length suffers himself to be persuaded, and retires without proceeding to further extremities. The threat, however, and the few strokes inflicted with the hatchet, have always the desired effect ; and the terrified palm tree never fails to produce, the same year, an abundant crop of fine dates.' (Kazwini, Chrestomathie Arabe, tom. iii. p. 319.)