In the writings of this period, we first find ideas for protecting and sheltering delicate plants, which a little later developed into orangeries and greenhouses, and finally into the hothouse and stove. Sir Hugh Platt, especially, in the second part of the Garden of Eden, not printed until 1660, frequently mentions the possibility of growing plants in the house, and utilizing the fires in the rooms to force gilliflowers and carnations into early bloom. " I have known Mr. Jacob of the Glassehouse," he writes, " to have carnations all the winter by the benefit of a room that was neare his glassehouse fire." Holinshed, while praising the orchards of his day, says, " I have seen capers, orenges and lemmons, and heard of wild olives growing here," but he does not say how they were preserved from cold. Gerard also describes both oranges and lemons, but he is too honest to pretend that they grow in England. A few oranges, however, were successfully reared in this country. " I bring to your consideration," writes Parkinson, in the treatise on the Orchard, " the Orenge alone, without mentioning Citron or Lemmon trees, in regard of the experience we have seen made of them in divers places, For the orenge tree hath abiden with some extraordinary looking [after it] and tending of it, when as neither of the other would by any means be preserved any long time." " They must," he goes on to say, be kept in " great square boxes, and lift there to and fro by iron hooks in the sides ... to place them in an house or close gallery in for the winter time . . . but no tent or mean provision will preserve them." Platt suggests that if planted against a concave-shaped wall, lined with lead or tin to cause reflexion, they might " happily bear their fruit in our cold Clymate. Quaere, if these walls did stand so conveniently, as they might also be continually warmed with kitchen fires ; as serving for Backs unto your chimneys, if so they should not likewise finde some little furtherance in their ripening".
The experiment of growing lemons was tried by Lord Burghley. There are some interesting letters extant in which the history of the way in which the tree was procured is preserved. Cecil wrote to Thomas Windebank, who was then in Paris, March 24th and 25th, 1561-62, saying he had heard from his son Thomas, that Mr. Carew was going to have certain trees sent home, and " I have already an orange tree; and if the prise be not much, I pray you procure for me a lemon, a pomegranate, and a myrt tree ; and help that they may be sent home to London with Mr. Caroo's trees ; and beforehand send me in writing a perfect declaration how they ought to be used, kept and ordered." The answer to this letter is dated April 8th, 1562, from Paris : " Sir, According to your commandment I have sent unto you by Mr. Caro's man, with his master's trees, a lemon tree and two myrte trees, in two pots, which cost me both a crown, and the lemon tree 15 crowns, wherein, Sir, if I have more than perhaps you will at the first like, yet it is the best cheap that we could get it, and better cheap than other noble men in France have bought of the same man, having paid for six trees 120 crowns. . . . Well I think this good may ensue by your buying it, that if the tree prosper . . . you will not think your money lost. If it do not prosper, it shall take away your desire of losing any more money in like sort. My Lord Ambassador and Mr. Caroo were the choosers of it." He then gives directions for the "ordering" of the trees, which were to stand out in some sheltered place during the summer, and be lifted into the house for the cold months from September until April. If the tubs were filled up with earth, the plants could remain in them "this two or three year, so heed be taken that the hoops fall not away and that the earth shed not." The lemon " hath been twice grafted and is of four years' growth, and this year he would look for some fruit." How these particular trees flourished, we do not know, but one of the oldest parts of Burghley House is the " Orange Court," a long room with many large windows where the trees were sheltered for the winter.
ORANGE COURT AT BURGHLEY HOUSE. FROM A PICTURE AT BURGHLEY.
This is one of the first instances of their importation, but orange and lemon trees were great rarities in this country, until many years later. Lord Carew, referred to in these letters, is said to have had the first trees. On Sunday, August 19th, 1604, James I. gave a banquet at Whitehall to the Constable of Castile. " The first thing the King did was to send the Constable a melon and half a dozen of oranges on a very green branch, telling him that they were the fruit of Spain transplanted to England." ..." The Ambassador then divided the melon with their Majesties." *
James I. made an attempt to promote mulberry-culture, with a view to establishing a silk industry. He imported the trees from France. They had been introduced from Italy into Provence about a hundred years previously, and during the reign of Henri IV. (1589-1610) into the Orleans district. King James in November, 1609, sent a circular-letter to the Lords-Lieutenant of all the counties of England, ordering them to make public the announcement that in the March following a thousand mulberry trees would be delivered at each county town, and all who were able were persuaded and required to buy them, at the rate of three farthings the plant, or six shillings the hundred. He also had a treatise on the cultivation of mulberries published. The King set the example by having four acres planted with mulberry trees, near the palace of Westminster. The large sum of £935 was the cost of walling in the area, and levelling the ground and planting the trees. Among the MSS. at Hatfield, there is the draft dated 1606 of a patent for the importation of mulberry trees:the Patentee was to bring in, " only the white mulberry and such as shall be plants of themselves, and not slips of others, and of one year's growth." Each year he was to bring at least a million, which he should cause to be planted and preserved, and he was not to take above a penny for each plant. Cecil, in furtherance of the King's scheme, himself bought five hundred trees from France in 1608, but it is not known where they were planted. In the Exchequer Rolls, under the date 1608, we find £100 for trees and plants for silkworms, and in 1618 " £50 to the keeper of the gardens at Theobalds for making a place for the King's silkworms and providing mulberry leaves." The solitary mulberry trees, so often to be seen in gardens in all parts of England, were probably planted when this effort was made to bring them into notice. But a few trees, still in existence, are even older. The four trees in the West garden at Hatfield were, according to tradition, planted by Queen Elizabeth; one in the garden at Syon House was planted when the place was still a monastery, and at Ribston, in Yorkshire, there is a fine old tree which dates from the time when it was in the hands of the Templars, or of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, who succeeded them. Shakespeare twice refers to the fruit :
* Translation of a Spanish MS. in the British Museum, printed in England as Seen by Foreigners. By Brenchley Rye. Issue Rolls, James I. By Devon.
" Volumnia . . thy stout heart Now humble as the ripest mulberry That will not hold the handling".
Coriolanics, act iii. scene 2.