John Parkinson

Paradisi in Sole, published in 1629, was a landmark in English garden literature. The Hunt catalogue describes it as "a very complete picture of the English garden at the beginning of the seventeenth century, and in such delightful, homely, literary style that gardeners cherish it even to the present day." Its title is a pun on the name of its author, John Parkinson (1566-1650) and can be translated as "Park-in-sun's earthly paradise". By profession Parkinson was an apothecary and when the Society of Apothecaries was formed, in December 1617, he was one of its founding members.



He was one of the most eminent gardeners of his day and maintained close relationships with other important botanists, herbalists and plantsmen, such as William Coys, John Gerard, whom he knew personally and John Tradescant the elder, who was a close friend of his. Parkinson described Paradisi in Sole as a "speaking garden" and he dedicated it to Queen Henrietta Maria, for which Charles I gave him the title of Botanicus Regius Primarius (first botanist to the King). He divided it into three sections, dealing with the flower-garden, the kitchen-garden and the orchard respectively. Over a thousand plants are described with the origin, time of flowering, variant names and medicinal properties given for each.




How to order Artichokes, Melons, Cawcumbers, and Pompions. THere are certaine other herbes to be spoken of, which are wholly noursed up for their fruit sake, of whom I shall not need to say much, being they are so frequent in every place. Artichokes being planted of faire and large slips, taken from the roote in September and October (yet not too late) will most of them beare fruit the next yeare, so that they be planted in well dunged ground, and the earth raised up like unto an Anthill round about each roote, to defend them the better from the extreame frosts in Winter. Others plant slips in March and Aprill, or sooner, but although some of them will beare fruit the same yeare, yet all will not. And indeede many doe rather choose to plant in the spring then in the fall, for that oftentimes an extreame hard Winter following the new setting of slips, when they have not taken surficient heart and roote in the ground, doth utterly pierce and perilh them, when as they that are set in the Spring have the whole Summers growth, to make them strong before they feele any Sharpe frosts, which by that time they are the better able to beare. 'Muske Melons have beene begun to bee noursed up but of late dayes in this Land, wherein although many have tryed and endeavoured to bring them to perfection, yet few have attained unto it : but those rules and orders which the best and skilfullest have used, I will here set downe, that who so will, may have as good and ripe Melons as any other in this Land. The first thing you are to looke unto, is to provide you a peece of ground fit for the purpose, which is either a sloping or shelving banke, lying open and opposite to the South Sunne, or some other fit place not shelving, and this ground also you must so prepare, that all the art you can use about it to make it rich is little enough ; and therefore you must raise it with meere (table soyle, thorough rotten & well turned up, that it may be at the least three foote deepe thereof, which you must cast also into high beds or balkes, with deepe trenches or furrowes betweene, so as the ridges may be at the least a foot and a halfe higher then the furrowes; for otherwise it is not possible to have good Melons growe ripe. The choise of your feede also is another thing of especiall regard, and the best is held to be Spanish, and not French, which having once gained, be sure to have still of the same while they last good, that you may have the seede of your owne ripe Melons from them that have eaten them, or save some of the best your selfe for the purpose. I say while they last good ; for many are of opinion, that no seede of Muske Melons gathered in England, will endure good to sowe againe here above the third yeare, but still they must be renewed from whence you had your choisest before. Then having prepared a hot bed of dung in Aprill, set your seedes therein to raise them up, and cover them, and order them with as great care or greater then Cowcumbers, &c. are used, that when they are ready, they may be transplanted upon the beds or balkes of that ground you had before prepared for them, and set them at the least two yards in sunder, every one as it were in a hole, with a circle of dung about them, which upon the setting being watered with water that hath stood in the Sunne a day or two, and so as often as neede is to water, cover them with strawe (some use great hollow glasses like unto bell heads) or some such other things, to defend them both from the cold evenings or dayes, and the heate of the Sunne, while they are young and new planted. There are some that take upon them great skill, that mislike of the raising up of Melons, as they doe also of Cowcumbers, on a hot bed of horse dung, but will put two or three seedes in a place in the very ground where they shall (land and growe, and thinke without that former manner of forcing them forwards, that this their manner of planting will bring them on fast and sure enough, in that they will plucke away some of the worst and weakest, if too many rise up together in a place ; but let them know for certaine, that howsoeuer for Cowcumbers their purpose and order may doe reasonable well, where the ground is rich and good, and where they strive not to have them so early, as they that use the other way, for Muske Melons, which are a more tender fruit, requiring greater care and trouble in the noursing, and greater and stronger heate for the ripening, they must in our cold climate have all the art used unto them that may be, to bring them on the more early, and have the more comfort of the Sunne to ripen them kindly, or else they will not bee worth the labour and ground. After you have planted them as aforefaid, some of good skill doe advise, that you be carefull in any dry season, to give them water twice or thrice every weeke while they are young, but more afterward when they are more growne, and that in the morning especially, yea and when the fruit is growne somewhat great, to water the fruit it selfe with a watering pot in the heate of the day, is of so good effect:, that it ripeneth them much faster, and will give them the better taste and smell, as they say. To take likewise the fruit, and gather it at the full time of his ripenesse is no small art ; for if it be gathered before his due time to be presently eaten, it will be hard and greene, and not eate kindly ; and likewise if it be suffered too long, the whole goodnesse will be lost : You shall therefore know, that it is full time to gather them to spend presently, when they begin to looke a little yellowish on the outside, and doe smell full and strong ; but if you be to send them farre off, or keepe them long upon any occasion, you shall then gather them so much the earlier, that according to the time of the carriage and spending, they may ripen in the lying, being kept dry, and covered with woollen clothes: When you cut one to eate, you shall know it to be ripe and good, if the seede and pulpe about them in the middle be very waterish, and will easily be Separated from the meate, and likewise if the meate looke yellow, and be mellow, and not hard or greene, and taste full and pleasant, and not waterish : The usuall manner to eate them is with pepper and salt, being pared and diced, and to drowne them in wine, for feare of doing more harme. Cowcumbers and Pompions, after they are noursed up in the bed of hot dung, are to be severally transplanted, each of them on a large plot of ground, a good distance in sunder : but the Pompions more, because their branches take up a great deale more ground, & besides, will require a great deale more watering, because the fruit is greater. And thus have you the ordering of those fruits which are of much esteeme, especially the two former, with all the better sort of persons ; and the third kinde is not wholly refused of any, although it serveth most usually for the meaner and poorer sort of people, after the first early ripe are spent.


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