As gardener, garden historian and collector of gardening manuals, I tend to follow the advice of gardeners long past as often—perhaps more often—than current experts. As historical author, maintaining authenticity in terms of what was grown in a given period, and when it bloomed, is extremely important to me.
This is intended as the first of four planned seasonal guides, with information taken from 17th and 18th century sources in my personal library. The illustrative pictures come from my own 21st century gardens, in which I grow heritage plants.
Fruit and Vines. Repair espaliers, tie up and train vines and cut off weak side shoots. Harvest currants, green gooseberries, strawberries.
Trees and shrubs. Trim evergreens. Clip hedges at the middle or in later part of the month. Those cut now will require clipping again in August.
Flowers in bloom: Larkspur, white lily, orange lily, everlasting pea, veronica, hyssop, snapdragon, linaria, yellow loosestrife, yellow and blue aconite, veronica, linaria, rose campion, bellflower, ox-eye, columbine, marigold, chrysanthemum, nigella, wallfower, sweet william, iris, cranesbill, red valerian, bachelor’s button, poppies, columbine, thrift, candytuft, foxglove, periwinkle, camomile, lavatera, lavender, globe thistle, squill.
|lathyrus (everlasting pea)|
Trees, shrubs, vines in bloom: Pomegranate, Spanish broom, yellow and white jasmine, roses, tamarisk, lime tree, cinquefoil, honeysuckle, Syringa, viburnum, passion flower, Tulip-tree, spirea, Portugal laurel, sweetbriar, lime tree, American dogwood.
In the Kitchen garden: Harvest late crop of kidney beans. Sow spinach for winter use, as well as carrots and onions and turnips. Sow broccoli for a spring crop. Pull and dry onions and garlic when leaves wither and spread them in a dry place. Pull stalks of beans, cabbages, peas that are no longer bearing. Withhold water from ripening melons, for better taste, except in the driest weather. Harvest cauliflower, artichoke, cabbage, carrots, beans, peas, turnips, lettuce, radish, mustard, cress, parsley, sorrel, chervil, salsify, horse radish, tomatoes for soups, burnet, borage, mint, sage, thyme, other pot herbs.Harvest medicinal flowers: winter savory, pennyroyal, mints, toadflax, dill, basil, French lavender, ladies bedstraw, rocket, henbane.
Fruit and Vines. Remove new shoots from espaliers, train regular shoots. Place glass vials of honey-water in the walls to destroy wasps that might infest fruit.
|17th century iris|
Trees and Shrubs. Cut and trim hedges.
|heritage sweet pea|
Trees, shrubs, vines: various roses, Spanish broom, jasmine, trumpet-flower, passion flower, honeysuckle, tulip tree, ceanothus, Portugal laurel, blue-flowered clematis, magnolias.
In the Kitchen & Herb Gardens. Continue to sow spinach, onions, cabbage seed, and cauliflower, under glass or in frames. Cut flowering spikes of lavender, rosemary, savory, hyssop, to encourage new shoots before winter and for distilling or drying. Continue to pull onions and garlic as leves wither and fall, and dry for winter use. Cucumbers for pickling are now in season, pick before they grow too large. Weed asparagus beds, winter crops such as parsnips, leeks, beets, and cabbages.
Gather Garden Produce: cabbages, kidney beans, peas, artichokes, carrots, lettuce of several sorts, cucumbers, turnips, melons, onions, sallet herbs, potatoes, mushrooms, tomatoes, pot herbs, cucumbers for pickling, nasturtium flowers for sallets and seeds for pickling.
Flowers in bloom: Common white jasmine, passion flower, honeysuckle, althea, musk ruse, laurustinus, trumpet flower, tulip tree, Spanish broom, hydrangea, spirea, tamarisk, kalmia, rhododendron, cassioberry.
English Garden History: Spring Guide
English Garden History: Autumn Guide
English Garden History: Winter Guide
Anyone with a particular interest in or curiosity about types of roses available prior to the 20th century may visit my article By Any Other Name: Historic Roses.
Margaret Porter is the award-winning and bestselling author of twelve period novels, whose other publication credits include nonfiction and poetry. A Pledge of Better Times, her highly acclaimed novel of 17th century courtiers Lady Diana de Vere and Charles Beauclerk, 1st Duke of St. Albans, is her latest release, available in trade paperback and ebook. Margaret studied British history in the UK and the US. As historian, her areas of speciality are social, theatrical, and garden history of the 17th and 18th centuries, royal courts, and portraiture. A former actress, she gave up the stage and screen to devote herself to fiction writing, travel, and her rose gardens.