A further catalogue of the contents of the flower garden at Bettisfield in 1660 is chiefly a list of its tulips. Each bed is mentioned, and every row of bulbs taken separately, and the name of each bulb, as many as thirteen ranks, all carefully arranged. But other flowers also found corners, although not allowed beds to themselves. This was another bed at Bettisfield. " In the middle of this bed is one Double Crown Imperial. In the end are six rows of Iris raised from seed by Rea;also polyanthuses and daffodils. In the four corners of this second bed are four roots of good anemonies." In one there was a preponderance of Narcissus, all described " Belles du Val narcissi, all yellow." . . " Belle Selmane narcissi, right dear ones," and so on. " The border under the South Wall in the great garden is full of good anemones, and near the musk-rose are two roots of the daffodil of Constantinople from Rea, and a Martagon pomponium." These extracts show that Thomas Hanmer was a friend of the gardener and author Rea. He made a catalogue of choice plants, "yet such as will bear our climate," with short "directions for their preservation and increase, not meddling with their medical qualities," and it is believed that these notes were given to Rea, who made use of them in his book.
Sir Thomas was also a friend of Evelyn and imparted some of his knowledge of plants to him. On August 22nd, 1668, he writes to Evelyn, enclosing him some papers: "They are but common observations, but true ones, and most of the famed secrets for meliorating flowers will not prove so." In 1671 he writes again, this time sending Evelyn some plants:
"Bettisfield, Augst. 21st, 1671.
" Sir, I send you herewith some rootes of severall sorts : the bear's ears and some of the anemones and ranunculus are very good, but the tulips (except Agat Hanmer and the Ariana, and some others) are not extraordinary; indeed, my garden affords not now such varieties of rare tulips as I had formerly; most of my best died the first yeare I came to live at this place, and I have not furnisht my selfe anew, because I thinke neither this ayer nor earth agrees with them. I suppose your flower garden, being new, is not very large, and therefore I send you not many things at this tyme, and I wish the beares eares doe not dry too much before you receave them; they will be a fortnight at least before they come to Deptford, and therefore sett them as soone as may be, and water them well (if it raine not) for three or fower dayes, and plant them not in too hott a sun. I thought once to have ventur'd some gilliflowers, having two years since raised some very good ones from seed (wh I never did before, nor I thinke never shall againe, because the wett in England hinders the ripening of the seed more than in Holland and Flanders) but there is such store of excellent ones all about London, that I had not the confidence to adventure any to your view;and I doubted whether being soe long on the way would not kill them. Sir, I wish I were better able to serve you either in these bagatelles or more weighty occasions : I should with great alacrity and satisfaction, I assure you, lay hold on all opportunityes to express myselfe how really I am:
" Yor affectionate faithfull servant,
" My wife and my selfe humbly present or services to your worthy lady, and your selfe, as also to my noble friend Sr Richard Browne. I convey this letter and the box to you by my son Tom Hanmer, who is constantly at his chamber in ffig-tree Court in the Inner Temple, and can send your commands to mee at any tyme. You will find in the box some very good bear's ears seed, which you know better to sow and order than I can direct".
Other flowers mentioned as rarities by Gerard and Parkinson had become very generally known. Among the lilies this is noticeable:"The red lily (L. canadense rubrum) is a flower so vulgar, every countrywoman can form an idea of it in a stranger's head, by their rustick descriptions. . . . Next comes martagans, a rambling flower onely fit for flower pots or chimneys, and to be planted in by borders or under hedges."* Carnations were still popular flowers:"Caryophyllits hortensis called July flowers, and are indeed summer glory as Tulips the pride of the spring. . . . the nobler sorts which are called Dutch July flowers or more vulgarly carnations raised from seeds in the Netherlands and other parts adjoining to the sea, and thence conveyed to us." The sensitive plant, Planta Mimosa, the sensible or humble " plant," was a new acquisition in Charles the First's time. The seeds were " yearly brought out of America." This would be one of the tender annuals, for which the hot bed would be prepared. Another plant grown in this way was Tobacco, " Sow on a hot bed as early as you can after Christmas," writes Sharrock, "then plant under South Wall or otherwise with hedges or fences of Reed to be defended from sharp weather." § Jacoboea marina (= Sprekelia formosissima) came from N. America, in 1658. Jasmine (= odoratissimum) from Madeira about the same time, and many other plants were introduced.
So much is done to encourage the improvement of flowers nowadays, by Shows, Competitions and Prizes, that it is difficult to realize that the efforts made in that direction long ago were spontaneous. The earliest record I have noticed of encouragement of the growth of flowers (except of course gratuities for presents of flowers, at a much earlier date) is mentioned by Pulteney,|| " Mr. Ray informs us that the people of Norwich had long excelled in the culture and production of fine flowers, and that in those days (c. 1660) the florists held their annual feasts, and crowned the best flower with a premium as a present".
* Gilbert, Florist's Vade Mecum. Ibid. Rea.
§ The first description of Tobacco in English appeared in 1580 in a work entitled Joyfull News from the Newfound World, translated from the Spanish of Monardus by J. Frampton. There is an account " of the Tobacco and of his great vertues " and a woodcut of the plant.
|| Sketches of Botany, 1797.