In the last three or four decades, the great increase in the number of houses withhas brought gardening within the reach of a vast new public.
The most experienced men and the finest brains have been devoted to meeting its needs, so that gardening shall be simplified for all. The latest remarkable scientific developments in garden chemistry and mechanical aids of all kinds, including the use of petrol and electric power, and self-adjusting devices for heating green-houses and frames, are available to everyone.
Adam’s profession has changed out of all recognition in its tools and techniques. But even though these are now labour-saving and highly efficient, there is still room for the development and enjoyment of human skill, observation and imagination, either with or without the help of modern science and technology.
The sections that follow explore these skills and the findings of modern science and technology as applied to the garden. They also provide guidance on the cultivation of many widely differing plants, and the uses to which their fruits and flowers can be put.
WHERE THE PLANTS IN OUR GARDENS CAME FROM
SOUTHERN AFRICA, EUROPE AND THE MEDITERRANEAN COASTS, NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA, ASIA.
The richness and colour of British gardens is owed almost entirely to plants that originated overseas. Even those plants that are now very much a part of the British scene will usually be found to have foreign ancestry: roses are natives of Continental Europe, Asia and North America, snowdrops come from the Crimea,from Southern Europe and the Far East, horse chestnuts from the Balkans.
They were brought here — usually as wild forms — by explorers, merchants, missionaries and adventurers. They came along the trade routes and the trails of discovery — along the ‘Silk Road’, the caravan route from the East to Europe and Persia; aboard the tea clippers from the Orient; round Cape Horn on the long voyage from the west coast of America. Jesuit missionaries in Peking sent seeds and specimens overland to St. Petersburg by caravan, and the English trading community in Aleppo shipped home many plants during the seventeenth century, including the Cedar of Lebanon.
In the richand temperate climate of the British Isles, plants from all over the world have flourished — finding, in various parts of the country, conditions like those of their native habitats. .