Kalendarium Hortense; OR THE Gard’ner’s Almanac, Directing what he is to do MONTHLY throughout The YEAR. AND what FRUITS and FLOWERS ARE IN PRIME. By John Evelyn. Esq; Fellow of the Royal Society
Evelyn’s Kelendarium Hortense for May. It is very hot this weekend, so time to move your Orange trees from the Conservatory. If you have not planed this yet, be prepared, there is a lot of heavy shifting.
Hath xxxi days, long – 15h – 09m
Sun rises 04h – 25m Sets 07h – 35m
To be done
In the Parterre, and Flower Garden.
Now forasmuch as Gentelmen are very inquisitive, when were the best and securest Seasons for exploring their Orange-trees, and more tender Curiosities: I give them this for a Rule the most infallible; That they observe the Mulberry-tree, when it begins to put forth and open Leaves, (be it earlier or later) bring your Oranges, &c. boldly out of the Conservatory; ‘tis your only Season to Transplant and Remove them. Let this be done with care, if the Tree be too ponderous to be lifted perpendicular by the Hand alone, by applying a Triangle and Pully, and so with a Rope, and a broad Horse-girth at the end, lapped about the Stem (to prevent galling) draw out the Tree with competent Mould adhering to it, having before loosned it from the sides of the Case, and so with ease transfer it into another. Let the Cases be filled with natural Earth (such as is taken the first half spit from just under the Turf of the best Pasture-ground, in a place that has been well fother’d on) mixing it with one part of rotten Cow-dung, (some prefer Horse-dung) or very mellow Soil screen’d, and prepared some time before; if this be too stiff, sift a little Lime discreetly with it, or rather Sea-coal Ashes, or rotten Sticks and Stuff found in hollow Willows; and if it want binding, a little Loamy Earth: The cutting the too thick, and extravagant Roots a little, especially at bottom, set your Plant, but not too deep; rather let some of the Roots appear. If you see cause to form the Heads of your Trees, but cutting off any considerable Branch, cover the Wound or Amputation with a Mixture of Bees-wax, Rosin and Turpentine; of the Wax and Turpentine each one Ounce of Rosin two; some add a little Tallow. Lastly, settle it with temperately enrich’d Water (Such as is impregnated with Neat and Sheeps-dung especially, set and stirred in the Sun some few days before; but be careful not to drench them too much at first; but giving it by degrees day after day, without wetting the Stem or Leaves:) having before put some Rubbish of Lime-stones, Pebbles, Shells, Faggot-Spray, or the like, at the bottom of the Cases, to make the Moisture passage, and keep the Earth Loose, of fear of rotting the Fibres: See Novemb. Then set them in the shade for a Fortnight, and afterwards expose them to the Sun; yet not where it is scorching by the Reflection of Walls, but rather where they may have the gentle Shade of distant Tress, or a Palisade thin Hedge, or Curtain drawn before them, which may now and then be Sprinkled with Water, as Sea-men do their Sails. The morning Sun, till about Three in the Afternoon is best. Be not yet over-hasty in giving them full Sun; for in your discreet acquainting them with this Change, consists their Prosperity during all the Summer after. See Disc. Of Earth p. 140.
Give now also all your hous’d Plants (Such as you do not think require to take out) fresh Earth at the Surface, in place of some of the old Earth (a hand depth or so) and loosning the rest with a Fork, without wounding the Roots: let this be of excellent rich Soil, such as is thoroughly consumed, and will sift, that it may wash in the virtue, and comfort the Plant: Brush an cleanse them likewise from the Dust contracted during their enclosure: If you do not Transplant or Remove them about the middle of the Month, take off the Surface-earth about an Inch or two deep, and put Cow dung of the last Years Preparation in place of it, covering it over with the same Mould: See July.
But now for a Compendium, and to gratifie gentlemen with what is most effectual, as well as easie; let them always be provided with a plentiful Stock of old Neats dung, well air’d and stirr’d for two Years: Then with Three parts of this, and One of the bottom of the Tanner’s Pit, (with some addition of a light underturf Mould) they will be provided with an incomparable Composition, not only for their Orange-trees, but for all other sorts of Verdures: But after all, where there is to be found a natural Earth, with an Eye of Loam in it (such as is proper for most Flowers, Carnations, especially) mixing it with well-consumed Horse-dung, and something of a drying nature, such as is the Ashes of Sea-cole, in the due proportion, to keep it loose and from clogging, you need seek for nothing more. Neither shall they need much to trim the Roots, (unless they find them exceedingly matted and stragling) or put so much loose Trash at the bottom of their Cases; but it were good to change them once in three or four Years, into larger ones, of they prosper. The least size of Cases ought to be of Sixteen Inches, the middle sort of two Foot, and the largest near a Yard in diameter, supported from the Ground with Knobs or Feet four Inches.
These last Directions have till now been kept as considerable Secrets amongst our Gard’ners: Vide August and September.