Posted by Caroline on July 02, 1997 at 23:01:04:
In reply to Gardening posted by Katariina on July 01, 1997 at 06:46:40
Who had gardens, who got their hands dirty.
Even the poorest people, if in the country as opposed to the town, would have had a small garden plot attatched to their homes. And they would have done the work themselves.
The rich people probably didn't do much dirty work themselves, but some of them were very interested in gardening andplant experimentation as a scientific study or as a hobby. The Royal Botanic Gardens were started by Queen Charlotte in the 1760's,to lookat ways of turning a profit from all the wonderful new plants found by traders in the East and the Americas, and Australasia, and there is evidence that several upperclass gentlemen like Lord "Turnip" Townshend and Thomas Coke,of Holkham in Norfolk, got right in there with the labourers on their experimental farms.
As for the middle classes, I think that they were a bit of a mixed bunch. Would you put the Bennet family in the same kind of group as the Austen Family? Parson Austen had a small farm attatched to his rectory at Steventon, and with the bailiff, he looked after 5 cows, some pigs and a few sheep. Mrs Austen reared chickens, turkeys, geese, ducks, guinea fowl anf bantams(these are small hens).She, along with the maids, made cheese, butter, bread, brewed beer and wine, madebacon and hams, also pickles and jams. Both Jane's parents were keen gardeners, planting a strawberry walk, fruit trees, and fruit bushes.Mrs Austen worked in her garden until the end of her life.
When Jane heard about the new house at Chawton, she asked "Is there a vegetable garden?"They had a gardener/manservant but still did some of the work themselves.
What did they grow? Well Jane had "tomatas" at the big house at Godmersham, but I don't think she grew them herself.She did grow peas, asparagas and sprouts(brussels sprouts, I presume.)
Martha Lloyd, a lady who lived with the Austens, left behind a collection of recipes, where the following vegetables are mentioned:
pease(peas), turnips, mixed vegetable pie, mushrooms, potatoes, gooseberries, rasperries, plums and damsons, melons, cucmbers, cabbage, cauliflower, onions, walnuts,oranges and samphire.(oranges she would not have been able to grow. Samphire grows in salt water and is pickedfrom the wild.)
Mrs frazers Practice of Cookery(1800) mentions problems caused by beetroot juice stains
William and Dorothy Wordsworth grew peas.(Dorothy's diary, I think)
Fanny Burney, who married the romantic but impoverished french refugee, Vicomte d'Arbelay, was depending on being able to grow vegetables and "sallett" as they had only 100 pounds a year to live on. But her husband dug up the Asparagus beds, thinking they were weeds.......(Fanny's diary.)
So, I suppose, the answer is that some people gardened, some did not. And they grew
quite a variety of things.
I have deliberately steered clear of flower gardening here, because I don't know much about it yet.
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