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2017-12-21 18:29:44
STEELE, Richard
An Essay Upon Gardening, containing a catalogue of exotic plants for the stoves and green-houses of the British gardens..
York: G. Peacock, 1793. Some light scattered foxing.. Quarto, 3 folding plates, contemporary (?original) marbled boards, calf spine renewed. A singular work written and published at the cusp of the fashion for exotics, which provides a most interesting overview of the state of play in England in the early 1790s. Richard Steele, a Yorkshire gardener who lived and worked around Thirsk, wrote the work as "an attempt to aid in the management of that most elegantly-refined and fascinating department of the Garden, where the prodigious variety of rare plants that have been introduced into this kingdom, from the hot regions of the terraqueous globe, are deposited...".What is immediately noticeable is that while there are established collections from the East and West Indies, and while British gardens were beginning to have really substantial collections of Cape plants, there is still only a handful of Australian plants available for cultivation. Published in the same year as Smith's Botany, this work describes six Australian plants, all apparently collected before the First Fleet era. The Eucalyptus obliqua noticed by Steele, for example, was the first major plant to be routinely noticed as growing in England, and is known to have been collected in Tasmania by Furneaux in 1774 and Cook in 1777, being first figured in France in 1788. Thus, while Steele's work includes notes on how best to grow each species, most of the notes on Australian plants display some uncertainty, as with the entry on the eucalpyt: "I cannot speak with certainty as to the propagation of this plant; but most … [Click Below for Full Description]
Bookseller: Hordern House Rare Books [Australia]
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