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John Evelyn is best kwn today for his Diary, second only in reputation to that of his friend and fellow-diarist, Samuel Pepys. In his own day he was famous for Sylva , his great work on trees and timber management, and he was also writing meticulous tes on the upkeep of his garden at Sayes Court - instructions for his gardener 'which may be of use for other gardens'. In Directions for the Gardiner he advises how to cultivate and tend perennials, annuals, root vegetables and trees, with lists of plants and gardening terms and tools. The Kalendarium Hortense and the Acetaria, the other two works collected here, are equally fascinating for their mixture of practical advice and insights into seventeenth-century horticulture. One of the earliest gardening calendars, the Kalendarium gives month by month advice on work in the kitchen and flower garden as well as listing each month's 'prime' flowers and vegetables; the Acetaria deals with salad crops, and how best to dress and prepare them for eating. Providing a window into our gardening past, Directions for the Gardiner is a charming and eye-opening companion for garden lovers everywhere.
Maggie Campbell-Culver is a contributing editor to he Oxford Companion to the Garden (2006). She is a Fellow of the Linnean Society and founder member of the National Council for the Preservation of Plants and Gardens. She lectures and broadcasts on historical and gardening matters and has published articles in Country Life, The Tablet and other journals. Her books include The Origin of Plants (2004), shortlisted for the Guild of Garden Writers Award and A Passion for Trees (2006).