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The perfect form of a fruit-tree

William Lawson : A New Orchard and Garden London : 1648. University of Glasgow Sp Coll Ferguson Ah-a.2

A New Orchard and Garden and The Country Housewife’s Garden were Lawson’s only published works. They were first printed together in 1618* and proved popular enough to warrant further reprints in quick succession.

Gardening had become a national passion in the Sixteenth Century. Then, as now, it was a recreation that brought peace and contentment, and a welcome escape from the trials of a turbulent age. An increase in travel abroad and geographical discovery brought back new plants and ideas. There was a subsequent demand for new knowledge and exchange of information, spurring the production of horticultural manuals such as this.

The work deals with all aspects of orchard management, covering: the kind of soil required the best kind of site and how to protect it from animals, birds, thieves, disease and the weather; how to plant, space and prune your trees; the different types of fruit trees and bushes and their qualities; and how to gather, store and preserve the fruits of your labours. As Lawson sums up, ‘skill and pains, bring fruitful gains’.

Image courtesy of University of Glasgow Special Collections. A New Orchard and Garden by Willian Lawson from the Book of the Month Archive.

University of Glasgow Special Collections

The University of Glasgow Special Collections span over 2,000 years of human activity. The University has been accumulating items of historical importance since its foundation in 1451. Early donations to the library that still survive include books donated by the Scottish humanist poet George Buchanan in 1578. Since then acquisitions have included the bequest of William Hunter’s library, artist James McNeill Whistler’s letters from the early 20th century and more recently the Scottish Theatre Archive. Access to the collection, housed on the 12th floor of the University’s Library, is free, allowing you to delve into a unique archive.

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