Friday, 13 March 2009

Spanish and Portuguese Gardening,

Spanish and Portuguese Gardening, in respect to its horticultural Productions and Planting (1822)

The earliest of the few Spanish authors who have written on gardens, is Herrera whose book on rural economy appeared early in the seventeenth century. It contains a treatise on gardens, (De las Huertas,') in which he distinguishes only two sorts; one for " delight and provision for the house," and the other for supplying the public market. Private gardens, lie says, need not be extensive; those for selling vegetables and fruits should lie near a town or village, and well supplied with water. He gives directions for cultivating the vine, fig, olive, apple, pear, and the common culinary plants. Of these, the soil and climate are peculiarly favorable to the alliaceous and cucurbitacious tribes, some sorts of which, as the onion and winter melon, form articles of foreign commerce.

Spain possesses, native or naturalized, all the fruits of Italy, and, like that country, can boast an immense variety of the melon, the grape, the fig, and the orange; the three last forming important articles of commerce, may be considered as belonging to the general economy of the country rather than to gardening. D. Roxas Clemente has published a work describing 120 varieties of the grape, as grown in one province only. We do not know that the pine-apple has been cultivated in Spain. Hot-houses are only to be found in the botanic garden at Madrid, and in some merchants gardens near Lisbon.

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