Could you be a gardening entrepreneur? 1. Henry Wise and George London

I recently attended a talk given by Professor Sir Roderick Floud on 3  gardening entrepreneurs and would like to tell what he said and also add some of my own research.

I am starting in chronological order with Henry Wise.

Henry Wise was born in 1653 and baptised at St Alfege, Greenwich in that September.

According to its website, the church has connections with many famous figures in British history, including Henry VIII, Thomas Tallis, General James Wolfe, and John Flamsteed. The present church (which replaced an earlier medieval building) is nearly 300 years old but there has been a church for around a 1000 years on this site. It was designed by Nicholas Hawskmoor, Sir Christopher Wren’s famous pupil, and is one of the churches built under the Fifty Churches act of 1711.

By 1702 Wise was the Royal Gardener for Queen Anne. this is a particularly important post as this meant that not only was he repsonbile for maintenance of the royal gardens and parks but also for supplying the necesary plants – through his own nursery of course (see below Brompton Park).

1670s George London is first recorded as apprenticed to John Rose, gardener to the Earl of Essex and Charles II (it is Rose who was depicted presenting ‘the first pineapple raised in England’ to the king in a celebrated painting). At this time, London was despatched to France to learn about the compartmented formal gardens that would so influence his style. By 1675, he was in the employ of Henry Compton, Bishop of London, who was an enthusiastic plantsman at his Fulham Palace gardens and also an important political figure, as a supporter of the Glorious Revolution of 1688 that saw William and Mary enthroned.

1680s In 1681, London was a founding partner at the Brompton Park Nursery (some 100 acres on the site of today’s Kensington museums), but his career really took off after William and Mary’s arrival, when he was appointed deputy superintendent of the royal gardens, below William Bentinck, Duke of Portland, a key horticultural figure in his own right as well as William of Orange’s key political advisor.

1689 Henry Wise’s obscure early career was perhaps not as glittering as London’s, but, by 1689, when he and London were sole partners at Brompton Park (the others having died or retired), he was also appointed a royal gardener, with responsibility for Hampton Court and Kensington. On the accession of Queen Anne in 1702, Wise took over from Bentinck as superintendent of royal gardens, and London busied himself with design projects all over the country, reputedly covering up to 60 miles a day on horseback.

About 1700 George London kept up with the times, as any leading professional must. London’s visit, in company with Bentinck, to gardens in France in about 1700, introduced him to the serpentine walks in the bosquets at Marly (an adjunct of Versailles), which may have planted the seed of an idea.

1706 There is a sentence in The Retir’d Gard’ner (London and Wise’s 1706 translation of the contemporary Le Jardinier Solitaire, by François Gentil) that provides a clue: ‘The most valuable Labyrinths are always those that wind most, as that of Versailles, the Contrivance of which has been wonderfully lik’d by all that have seen it.’

A few years later, London was working at Castle Howard for the 3rd Earl of Carlisle, where the naturalistic Wray Wood came to be seen to be in the vanguard of this new naturalism. The Retir’d Gard’ner advocates walks of pallisades of hornbeams ‘winding variously for the greater Ornament of Park, Labyrinths and Groves’, and particularly recommends the latter. ‘Those [groves] that are irregular… are not less esteeem’d; for the Variety of them, in great Parks, is what pleases most.’

London’s work and writing prove that it was variety, not naturalism, that was the keynote of the incipient landscape-garden style, and that the Baroque style was not simply ‘swept away’, but rather tweaked at the edges in the early stages of its development.

After 1714 Later writers saw fit to deride London and Wise as old-fashioned, but, when he died in 1714, London wasn’t seen as some relic of the Baroque design past-he was very much at the top of his profession and fully aware of the latest stylistic developments.

According to the article on Wise and George London in Country Life, Wise, operating with George London were sole partners at the celebrated Brompton Park Nursery from 1689 until London’s death in 1714 where they enjoyed a near monopoly on large-scale landscape design, also supplying thousands of trees to landowners for avenue planting. [http://www.countrylife.co.uk/gardens/gardens-gardening/great-british-garden-makers-george-london-and-henry-wise-21795]

At this time London was the  place for nurseries to flourish as this was where the grand land owners spent the Season and thus where their garden designers could connect with each other easily and also purchase plants centrally and in great numbers. The Brompton Park nursery occupied between 50-100 acres of land where the South Kensington museums are now and in 1702 was estimated to have nearly 10 million plants for sale.

London and Wise specialised in an English version of the formal Baroque gardens associated with the Catholic courts of continental Europe, of which Versailles was the pre-eminent example. These were gardens in which magnificent flat parterres spread out below one or two façades of the palace or house, defined by box hedges in patterns derived from textile designs and enlivened with coloured gravels, white or painted statuary, extravagant fountains and colourful annual flowers.  See the painting of Kensington Palace.kensington_palace_garden_baroque_kip_knyff_original

A feature of the design at Het Loo are the scrolling parterres surrounding various sculptural features and fountains.
A feature of the design at Het Loo are the scrolling parterres surrounding various sculptural features and fountains.

Wise managed to buy The Priory in Warwick in 1709 at what would be in today’s value £32,110,00. this demonstrates the large amount of money that such gardeners were able to make in this period. He left an estate of £305,000,00 on his death. This was his ‘profit’ from his income from the garden centre plus the £4.7 million he received each year to maintain the royal gardens. Which included all the labour and all the plantings. But the profit margin was around 33.3 % which was typical at that time.

The best example of a garden designed by George London is Hanbury Hall which has recently been restored to his original designs by the National Trust.

By the way, there was a nursery growing plants in Willesden Green at the end of Chatsworth Road – more of that in another post.

A Garden is a grand teacher

Excerpt from

The Beauties of a Cottage Garden

p5

by

Gertrude Jekyll.

A Garden is a grand teacher. it teaches patiences and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all, it teaches entire trust. ‘Paul planneth and Apollo watereth, but God giveth the increase’. The good gardener knows with absolute certainty that if he does his part, if he give his labour, the love, and every aid that his knowledge of his craft, experience of the conditions of his place, and exercise of his personal with can work together to suggest, that so surely as he does this diligently and faithfully, so surly will God give the increase.

Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932) was a garden designer who collaborated with Edwin Lutyens the architect and was involved in the design of Hampstead Garden Village.

Her Cottage Garden style encouraged the use of plants with scents and that were native (or nearly) and good for wildlife, and some of these can be seen here in pictures taken by Jim Coakes of the garden at 58a Teignmouth Road.

P1040145 P1000226 P1000303 P1000449 P1010448 DSCN1567 P1000192 20141030_132512

 

Urban Plots and mini plants?

I have adapted an article from a good website on growing vegetables and plants as we are looking to create a new garden at the side of our house  [Gardening Know How – http://www.gardeningknowhow.com] with the hope it will give us some good suggestions. I have to look up UK suppliers of course and so I shall be adding the English names and varieties to this article and who supplies them.

We have started with 2 items we have purchased – mock rock-wall stratums plaques which we bought earlier this year with sedum growing on them. 20150930_170911

We are planning to then create a further set of hanging pots with racks we have cut from pallets which we will also nail into the walls. We shall need some long and tough nails and a brick drill but very doable. 20150930_171133

What should we then plant? Well this is where this article comes into play. Obviously we could plant trailing flowers as shown with the lobelia, but we also have the choice – if the plants will get enough sun, to plant mini-veggies and micro-garden.

What Is Micro Gardening?

By Amy Grant

In a burgeoning world of people with ever-decreasing space, micro container gardening has found a rapidly growing niche. Good things come in small packages as the saying goes, and urban micro gardening is no exception. So what is micro gardening and what are some useful micro gardening tips to get you started?

What is Micro Gardening?

Urban micro container gardening is the practice of cultivating vegetables, herbs, roots and tubers in small spaces. These gardening spaces might be balconies [1], patios [2], or rooftops [3] which make use of containers – anything from plastic-lined wooden crates, old car tires, plastic buckets [4], trash cans, and wooden pallets to purchased “nourishmats” and polypropylene bags. In our case the area is the side walls of our flat! So hanging micro gardens.

Small scale hydroponic systems [5] are another option as well as aeroponics [6], growing plants in hanging containers with little to no soil, or aquaponics [7], which is growing plants directly in water.

What are the benefits of urban micro container gardens? They combine a technique of horticultural production with environmentally friendly technology suited for city dwellers. These include rainwater harvesting [8] and household waste management.  As we already harvest just about all our rainwater I doubt if we shall use any more than we already do but it would be nice to grow some herbs for our use again and I love the idea that maybe a mini veg might just fit one pot – doubt it though, mini leaves are feasible though.

Micro Container Gardening Tips

Micro gardening can work for just about anyone with a small space and be as simple and inexpensive as you wish. Research by the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization shows that a well-tended 11-square foot micro garden can produce as much as 200 tomatoes [9] a year, 36 heads of lettuce [10] every 60 days, 10 cabbages [11] every 90 days and a whopping 100 onions [12] every 120 days! 11 foot sq is not very micro!

More costly irrigation drip systems can be installed amongst a micro garden, or rainwater can be channeled through a system of gutters and pipes into a cistern or directly off the eaves of the roof.

The internet is rife with both DIY micro garden plans as well as a host of products available for purchase that can help get your own micro garden going. Remember, your tiny Eden doesn’t have to cost a lot. Think outside the box and look for salvageable items that can be repurposed. Many industrial districts have free pallets, yours for the asking. We didn’t have to ask – they were left with us due to some deliveries we had had – and actually they are often better scavenged from builders than bought as I have been offered them at £10 in the past! Think also about the very large soil bags or sand etc that are often used for building – scavenge one of those for a metre square garden.These make wonderful “walls” of herbs that double as miniature edible gardens as well as colourful, sweet smelling partitions or privacy screens on a tiny balcony.

Many different types of vegetable can be grown in an urban micro garden, although some vegetables are admittedly a bit large for very small spaces, but you can certainly grow many dwarf size veggies [14]. Some of these include:

  • Dwarf bok choi – Nicky’s Seeds have Pak Choi
  • Romeo baby carrots – Nicky’s Seeds have several varieties
  • Fino Verde basil – Try Greek Basil or Holy Basil as these have small leaves
  • Jing Bell peppers – Suttons seeds have Snackbite peppers. and Thomson and Morgan have Mini Bell
  • Fairy Tale aubergine – Marshalls Seeds have Ophelia; Nicky’s Seeds have several varieties
  • Red Robin tomatoes – again try Nicky’s Seeds for more varieties
  • Rocky cucumbers –  again try Nicky’s Seeds for varieties

Also, look into the extensive selection of microgreens [15] such as baby spinach, chard and lettuces that are perfect in an outdoor or indoor micro garden.

Think about growing up to maximize space too. For instance, many squash plants can be trained to grow up [16] rather than out. Use trellises, lines, tepees made from bamboo or even rebar or PVC pipe, old gates…whatever you can think of that will act as a support and can be anchored sturdily. We utilise the bamboo canes we cut from our Black Bamboo plants when we thin them each year.

Article adapted from Gardening Know How: http://www.gardeningknowhow.com

URL to a rticle: http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/special/urban/what-is-micro-gardening.htm

URLs in this post:

[1] balconies: http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/special/urban/balcony-vegetable-garden.htm

[2] patios: http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/special/urban/an-urban-patio-garden.htm

[3] rooftops: http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/special/urban/rooftop-gardening-for-city-dwellers.htm

[4] plastic buckets: http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/special/containers/growing-vegetables-in-buckets.htm

[5] hydroponic systems: http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/special/containers/hydroponic-gardening-indoors.htm

[6]aeroponics: http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/special/containers/growing-with-aeroponics-what-is-aeroponics.htm

[7]aquaponics: http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/special/containers/backyard-aquaponic-gardens.htm

[8] rainwater harvesting: http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/info/collecting-rainwater.htm

[9]tomatoes: http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/tomato/growing-tomatoes-pots-containers.htmhttp:/www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/tomato/growing-tomatoes-pots-containers.htm

[10]lettuce: http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/lettuce/growing-lettuce-containers.htm

[11]cabbages: http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/cabbage/growing-cabbage.htm

[12]onions: http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/onion/growing-onions-in-container-gardens.htm

[14] dwarf size veggies:  http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/vgen/growing-baby-vegetables.htm

[15]microgreens: http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/lettuce/growing-microgreens.htm

[16] squash plants can be trained to grow up: http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/squash/growing-squash-on-trellises.htm