Saturday, April 4, 2009

John Evelyn’s Kalendarium Hortense - January

The calendar for January starts with the soil preparation necessary for the planting to come, working with the dormant fruit trees, and keeping the bees alive.
Hath xxxi days, — long 8h — 0m
Sun rises 8h — 0m — Sets 4h — 0m
To be done
In the Orchard and Olitory-Garden.

The rising and setting of the sun was computed for the first of the month, for London.

Olitory = vegetable or kitchen-garden
Trench the Ground, and make it ready for the Spring; prepare also Soil, and use it where you have Occasion; for which Purpose make plentiful provision of Neats, Horse, and Sheeps Dung especially, that you may have some of two Years Preparation, by now and then stirring, and opening it to the Air, and lastly, screening it, reserve it for Use in some hard-bottom’d shady Place, a little excavated, that the Rain wash not away the Vertue of it : Suffer no Weeds to grow on it : Have some Heaps of sweet Under-Pasture natural Mould, and fine Loam, to mingle with your Dung, as occasion requires.Note, That the Dung of Pigeons and Poultry, mix’d with Mould, is excellent for the Fig-Tree, (to which I now advise you to lay it), Asparagus, Strawberries, &c. but then it must have pass’d its first Heat, lest apply’d before, it burn the Plant.
Soil, in this context, means a top-dressing to enrich the planting beds.
Neats = calves
Under-Pasture natural Mould = Rich earth from pasture lands.
Mould = soil of excellent quality, or a compost.

Horse-dung, if not exceedingly rotted, will infest the Ground with Knot-grass, the very worst of Garden-weeds; and is therefore only proper for moist and cold Grounds, and to be us’d for the Hot-Bed. Hot-Bed = a planting box, usually glass-covered, that uses the heat of rotting dung to keep plants warm.
Dress your Sweet-Herb Beds rather with a new Moulding, every Second Year, than with over-dunging or rank Soil. Abricots and Peaches require rather a natural, rich, and mellow Soil, than much Dung.Mould, made of the rotting of weeds, &c. is apt to produce the same weeds. Vide Discourse of Earth, p. 21.
Mould = soil of excellent quality, or a compost.
Vide = Latin for “see”.
Discourse of Earth = another book by Evelyn.
Dig borders, &c. Uncover, as yet, Roots of Trees, where Ablaqueation is requisite. Ablaqueation = Removing soil to expose the roots. This was thought to be essential to the health of the trees.
Plant Quick-sets, and transplant Fruit-Trees, if not finish’d : Set Vines, and begin to prune the Old : Prune the Branches of Orchard Fruit-Trees; especially that long planted, and that toward the decrease : But for such as are newly planted, they need not be disbranched till the Sap begns to stir, that is, not till March; that so the Wound may be healed, with the Scar, and Stub, which our Frosts do frequently leave : Besides, one then best discerns the Fruit-buds. In this Work, cut off all the Shoot of August, unless the nakedness of the Place incline you to spare it : Consult my French Gard’ner, Part I, Sect. 3. For this is a most material Address, towards which these short Directions may contribute.
Quick-sets = cuttings planted where you intend the mature plant to grow, especially for thorn hedges.

French Gard’ner = Evelyn’s translation of the French book about fruit tree culture, Pomona.
Learn first to know and distinguish the Bearing and Fruit-buds from the Leaf-buds : the Fruit-buds are always fuller and more turgid : These you are carefully to spare, and what you prune from the rest, cut off slanting above the bud, with a very sharp Knife, leaving no Rags. In taking off an whole Branch, or Limb, cut close to the Stem, that the Bark may cover it the sooner.Those Buds which either put forth just between the Stem and the Wall (in Mural-Trees only) or opposite to them, are to be rubbed off as soon as they appear, sparing only the collateral Branches.
Keep your Wall and Palisade-Trees from mounting too hastily, that they may form beautiful and spreading branches, shap’d like a Ladies Fann, and close to the Ground.
Take the Water-boughs quite away, which are those that on Standards being shaded, and drip’d upon, remain smooth and naked without Buds.
Where you desire Mural Fruit-Trees should spread, garnish, and bear, cut smoothly off the next unbearing Branch. Forbear pruning Wall-Fruit that is tender, till February. Where Branches are so thick and intangl’d, that they gall one another, or exclude the Sun and Air, thin the Place at discretion.
You may now begin to Nail and Trim your Wall-Fruit, and Espaliers.
Cleanse Trees of Moss, &c. The Weather moist.
Mural Tree, Palisade Tree, Wall Tree: a fruit tree, pruned heavily to grow parallel with a wall, usually a south-facing one. The protected location helped produce fruit earlier, or made growing a delicate species possible.

Evelyn prefers fan-shaped trees. They may also be trained into other shapes.
Water-boughs: water sprouts or suckers. These branches in the interior of a tree seldom bear fruit.

Gather Cyons for Graffs before the Buds sprout; and about the latter end, graff them in the Stock, Pears, Cherries, and Plums; and Remember this for a special Rule, that you always take the Cyon from some goodly and plentifully-bearing Tree : For if it be from a young Tree, or one which has not yet born Fruit (tho’ of never so excellent a kind) it will be a long time e’er your Graff produce any Fruits considerable.
Cyons = scions, or twigs from a desirable tree that will be grafted onto a host. This was the way to propagate varieties that had exceptional qualities.
Graffs = grafts
graff in the Stock = insert the scions into the tree that will be their host.
Now also remove your Kernel-stocks to more commodious distances in your Nursery, cutting off the Top-Root. Set Beans, Pease, &c. Kernel-stocks = fruit tree seedlings
Sow also (if you please) for early Cauly-flowers. Sow Chervil, Lettuce, Radish, and other (more delicate) Salletings; if you will raise in the Hot-Bed.
Salletings = anything used in salads. At this time of year, the hot-bed was the only place to grow salad greens.
In over-wet, or hard Weather, cleanse, mend,sharpen, and prepare Garden-Tools. Turn up your Bee-hives, and sprinkle them with a little warm and sweet Wort; do it dexterously.
Wort = honey, diluted with water, used to provide the bees with food during the cold months.

Fruits in Prime, and yet lasting.
Kentish Pippen, Russet Pippen, Golden Pippen, French Pippin, Kirton Pippin, Holland Pippin, John-Apple, Winter Queening, Marigold, Harvey-Apple, Pomewater, Pome-roy, Golden Doucet, Apis, Reineting, Lones Pear-main, Winter Pear-main, &c.
Winter Musk, (bakes well) Winter Norwich, (excellently baked) Winter Bergamot, Winter Bon-crestien, both Mural : Vergoules, the great Surrein, &c.

These were probably fruits in storage … and we feel lucky if the supermarket carries four varieties of apples and two of pears.

Hath xxxi days, — long 8h — 0m
Sun rises 8h — 0m — Sets 4h — 0m
To be done
In the Parterre and Flower-Garden.

Parterre = formal garden planted in geometric design.
Set up your Traps for Vermine; especially in your Nurseries of Kernels and Stones, and amongst your bulbous Roots; which will now be in danger. A Paste made of course Honey, wherein is mingled Green-glass beaten, with Copperas, may be laid near their Haunts.
Rodents will devour the bark of young trees, and the bulbs of many flowers. The paste is of pulverized glass and a poisonous salt of a metal (copper, iron or zinc), mixed into honey.
About the middle of this Month, plant now your Anemony Roots, and Ranunculus’s, which you will be secure of, without covering, or farther Trouble : Preserve from too great and continuing Rains (if they happen) Snow, and Frost your choicest Anemonies and Ranunculus’s sow’d in September or October for earlier Flowers : Also your Carnations and such Seeds as are in peril of being wash’d out, or over-chill’d and frozen: covering them under Shelter, and striking off the Snow where it lies too weighty; for it certainly rots, and bursts your early-set Anemonies and Ranunculus’s, &c. unless planted now in the Hot-Beds; for now is the Season, and they will flower even in London. This section begins Evelyn's battles with the English weather.
Towards the end, earth-up, with fresh and light mould, the Roots of those Auricula’s which the Frosts may have uncover’d; filling up the Chinks about the sides of the Pots where your choicest are set, but they need not be hous’d : It is a hardy Plant. Earth-up = cover with earth
Flowers in Prime, or yet lasting.
Winter Aconite, some Anemonies, Winter Cyclamen, Black Hellebor, Brumal Hyacinth, Oriental Jacinth, Levantine, Narcissus, Hepatica, Primroses, Laurus-tinus, Mezereon, Præcoce Tulips, &c. Especially if raised in the Hot-Bed.

Brumal = pertaining to winter
Oriental Jacinth = the species, or wild hyacinth
Levantine = perhaps should be “Levantine Narcissus”
Laurus-tinus = Viburnum tinus, a shrub
Mezereon = Daphne mezereon, a shrub
Præcoce = early
Note,That both these Fruits and Flowers, are more early or tardy, both as to their prime Seasons for eating, and Perfection of blowing, according as the Soil and Situation are qualify’d by Nature or Accident.
Note also,That in this Recension of Monthly Flowers, it is to be understood for the whole Period that any Flower continues, from its first appearing to its final withering.
Blowing = blooming

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