Improved methods of heating and building conservatories and hot-houses made it possible not only to shelter " tender exotics " and grow fruit, but to force vegetables. Attempts were made to force grapes, and the experiment was tried by the Duke of Rutland at Belvoir. Bradley and Switzer describe the process, which was to " build ovens at certain distances at the back of walls, and keeping them continually warm from January till the Sun's Power is sufficient of itself to maintain the growth of the plants growing against such walls .... whereby the latest kinds of grapes are commonly ripen'd about July or August." Bradley adds a caution which takes one a step further towards a modern vinery, " Take notice, that during the cold season, when these Fruits are forced to shoot unseasonably, the Plants must be cover'd with glasses to prevent the injuries they might receive from frosts." * At Lord Derby's, at Knowsley Hall, near Liverpool, there was another method of heating a wall to produce early grapes, thus described by a traveller in 1732:—"An hot wall here for Vines, ye wail is built hollow, or you may say two walls are run up just together at each end are Stoves where you put in the coal & there is a chimney in ye halfway of ye wall; ye fires are lighted every night."* Philip Miller had a method of forcing apricots and cherries by nailing the trees on to a screen of boards, facing south, covering the front with glass, and piling up the back of the boards with a hot bed.
* Bradley, Works of Nature, 1721.
Rose is said to have raised a pine-apple in England, and presented it to Charles II., but for many years that remained a unique specimen and an unrivalled feat. The culture was not understood until this per10d. Henry Tellende, gardener to Sir Matthew Decker, at Richmond, was the first who brought the " Ananas or Pine Apple to rejoice in our climate." † Before long, several growers gave their attention to Pines, and within fifty years books entirely devoted to their culture, found ready sale. ‡.
Fairchild, at Hoxton, and Green at Brentford, had two of the best fruit gardens, the latter being exceptionally good for figs. But it was more especially in vegetable culture that great advances were made. There had for long been a fair supply of vegetables in England; but when anything special, anything early, or out of season, was wanted on great festive occasions, it was procured from abroad, chiefly from Holland. But enterprising gardeners, early in the eighteenth century, began to make attempts at forcing greens and salads, asparagus, and cucumbers. The first to raise the latter in the autumn for fruiting in winter was Fowler, gardener to Sir N. Gould, at Stoke Newington. He presented George I. with two fine cucumbers on New Year's Day, 1721. Samuel Collins, in 1717, wrote a Treatise on the culture of melons and cucumbers, suggesting various glasses and frames, for their protection. The following is quoted from Bradley, and gives the names of some of the pioneers in early forcing:—"The first which are Kitchen Gardens and exceed all the other gardens in Europe for wholesome Produce and variety of Herbs are those at the Neat-Houses near Tuttle-fields, Westminster, which abound in Salads, early Cucumbers, Colliflowers, Melons, Winter Asparagus, and almost every Herb fitting the Table ; and I think there is no where so good a school for a Kitchen gardener as this Place ; tho' Battersea affords the largest natural Asparagus and the earliest Cabbages. Again, the Gardens about Hammersmith are as famous for Strawberries, Rasberries, Currants, Gooseberries, and such like; and if early Fruit is our Desire Mr. Millet's, at North End, near the same Place, affords us Cherries, Apricocks, and Curiosities of those kinds, some months before the Natural Season." Another good nurseryman near London was Nicholas Parker at Chiswick. He is highly recommended by Lawrence as known to all men for his "honesty, skill and integrity," which seems more than could be said of all in the same trade. They were inclined to cheat and send out inferior varieties of fruit, in the place of those ordered by the purchaser, "a dry insipid Nectorine" instead of " an old Newington Peach, or instead of a rich French Pear a gritty choak-pear or Warden." *
* Diary of a Tour in 1732 made by John Loveday of Caversham, ed. by his Grandson. Roxburghe Club, 1890.
† Bradley, Dicttionarium Botanicum, 1728.
‡ Ananas, a Treatise on the Pine Apple, by John Giles, 1767. A Treatise on the Anana, by Adam Taylor, Devizes, 1769. Treatise on the Pine Apple, by W. Speechley, 1779.
Kalm, the great Swedish horticulturalist, after whom the genus Kalmia was named, who passed through England on his way to America, in 1748, was struck by the market-gardens and early vegetables which he saw. He describes some gardens where the beds were raised, sloping a little towards the sun, and " most of them were at this time (February) covered with glass frames, which could be taken off at will. . . . Russian matting over these, and straw over that four inches thick. These contained cauliflowers some four inches high. In the rest of the held were ' bell-glasses,' under which also cauliflower-plants were set 3 or 4 under each bell-glass. Besides the afore-named beds, there were here long asparagus-beds Their height above the ground was two feet ; on the top they were similarly covered with glass, matting, and straw, which had just been all taken oft" at midday. The Asparagus under them was one inch high and considerably thick." * Radishes were also grown in the same garden, and the beds covered with mats. In the month of May, he says, the vegetables, which were most numerous round London, were beans, peas, cabbages of different sorts, leeks, chives, radishes, lettuce (salad), asparagus, and spinach. He writes of Chelsea, "There is scarcely anything else than either orchards or vegetable market gardens, and large fields all planted full of all kinds of small trees for sale".
* The Clergymans Recreation. John Lawrence, Rector of Yelvertoft, Northamptonshire.