The Garden Guide

Book: The Principles of Landscape Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 1: Garden Management

Garden library books

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1687. The books of a garden library ought to be considered as for the use of journeymen and apprentices, as well as the master; but the latter ought to be responsible for their being kept clean and perfect. Where the head gardener is of a humane and kind turn of mind, he may assemble his men, and read aloud to, or answer questions put by, them; or he may cause them to read aloud to, and question, one another, in such a way as to blend entertainment with instruction. In short, he ought to consider it as a part of his duty to improve their minds, as well as to render them habile in his art, and by all means to ameliorate their condition and manners as much as is in his power. Neill, one of the best modern writers on gardening, and a humane and benevolent man, states of the late Walter Nicol, that 'he observed a praiseworthy practice, too much neglected by head gardeners,�that of instructing his young men or assistants, not only in botany, but in writing, arithmetic, geometry, and mensuration. He used to remark, that he had not only improved his scholars, but taught himself, and made his knowledge so familiar, that he could apply it in the daily business of life.' The same practice is still carried on in Germany and in Denmark.