Of Gardens

By Francis Bacon
Of Gardens

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Excerpt

OF GARDENS, AN ESSAY BY FRANCIS LORD BACON

GOD almighty first planted a garden: and indeed it is the purest of human pleasures. It is the greatest refreshment of the spirits of man; without which, buildings or palaces are but gross handy-works: and a man shall ever see, that when ages grow to civility or elegancy, men come to build stately, sooner than to garden finely, as if gardening were the greater perfection. I do hold it, in the royal ordering of gardens, there ought to be gardens for all the months in the year: in which, severally, things of beauty may be then in season. For December and January, or the latter part of November, you must take such things as are green all winter; holly, ivy, bays, juniper, cypress-trees, yew, pine-apple trees, fir trees, rosemary, lavender, periwinkle (the white, the purple, and the blue), germander, flags, orange trees, lemon trees, and myrtles, if they be stoved, and sweet marjoram, warm set. There followeth, for the latter part of January and February, the mezereon tree, which then blossoms; crocus vernus, both the yellow and the gray; primroses, anemonies, the early tulip, hyacinthus orientalis, chamaïris, fritellaria. For March there come violets, especially the single blue, which are the earliest; the yellow daffodil, the daisy, the almond tree in blossom, the peach tree in blossom, the cornelian tree in blossom, sweet briar. In April follow the double white violet, the wallflower the stock-gilliflower, the cowslip, flower-de-luces, and lilies of all natures, rosemary-flowers, the tulip, the double piony, the pale daffodil, the French honeysuckle, the cherry tree in blossom, the damascene and plum trees in blossom, the white-thorn in leaf, the lilach-tree. In May and June come pinks of all sorts, especially the blush pink; roses of all kinds, except the musk, which comes later; honeysuckles, strawberries, bugloss, columbine, the French marygold, flos Africanus, cherry-tree in fruit, ribes, figs in fruit, rasps, vine-flowers, lavender in flowers, the sweet satyrian, with the white flower; herba muscaria, lilium convalium, the apple tree in blossom. In July come gilliflowers of all varieties, musk roses, the lime tree in blossom, early pears and plums in fruit, gennitings, codlins. In August come plums of all sorts in fruit, pears, apricots, berberries, filberds, musk melons, monks-hoods, of all colours. In September comes grapes, apples, poppies of all colours, peaches, melo-cotones, nectarines, cornelians, wardens, quinces. In October, and the beginning of November, come services, medlars, bullaces, roses cut or removed to come late, holly oaks, and such-like. These particulars are for the climate of London: but my meaning is perceived, that you may have ‘ver perpetuum,’ as the place affords.