Manuscript volume of notes relating to gardening practices, to fruit, vegetables and ornamental plants, and the care of domestic birds; includes an early nursery catalogue of Peter Couson and son, nursery, seedsmen and florists of 19 Blair Street, Edinburgh

Scope and Content

Inside the front cover are several names: ‘Alexander Lock[?] 1769’, ‘Thomas Falconer 1773’ and ‘George Falconer 1777’. Also written are the words, ‘My potatoes in walltown[?] is No 69, 70, 71 drills’ and ‘Whoso finds this book will bee so g[…] as restor it to the owner again’

The notebook comprises the following sections, all manuscript, in a variety of hands:

‘January. Pruning peaches and nectarines’. Pages 1-10

‘Nailing & anointing the branches of peach-trees. January’. Pages 11-13

‘In regard of the care of the aphis lanigera, or American blight, the following method is recommended by Mr James Dann, gardener to the Earl Mann Cornwallis, at Linton Place’. Pages 14-15 [James Dann was gardener to Earl Mann-Cornwallis at Linton Place, Linton, Kent, between 1812 and 1834; an article by James Dann entitled ‘An effectual mode of destroying the Aphis Lanigera or American blight on fruit trees’ was published in ‘The Gardener's Magazine and Register of Rural and Domestic Improvements’ volume 2, 1827]

‘Destroying insects on fruit trees and bushes. Aprile’. Pages 16-17

‘Peaches’. Includes a history of peach trees. Pages 18-21

‘Bean – Vicia faba (Linn.)’. Includes information about the bean plant. Pages 21-24

Pages are not numbered after page 24 until towards the end of the volume, when numbering starts again at page 1

‘A table showing the quantity of seed or number of roots necessary to sow or plant in any given space’. This section is alphabetically arranged by plant name, beginning with number 1, ‘Alisander or Alexanders: the seed is sold by weight […]’ and ending with number 72, ‘Turnip’. 8 pages

‘A table of the different culinary vegetables, with the time of sowing, planting and mode of propagation’. Table headings are ‘Plants &c’, ‘No of crops’, ‘The time of sowing or planting’, and ‘Mode of propagation’. This section is sideways on and comprises two alphabetical runs, beginning with Alexander and Artichoke, up to Turnip-cabbage, then followed by Balm and Basil and ending with Tarragon and Tansey. 8 pages

‘In planting potatoes, much importance is attributed by some horticulturalists to the size of the sets […]’, comprising information relating to potatoes. 6 pages

‘Disorders of tame birds’. Includes sections on ‘The pip’, ‘The rheum’, Asthma’, ‘Atrophy’, thereafter largely alphabetical and ending with ‘Moulting’. 6 pages

‘Food of tame birds’. 6 pages

‘Nature and management of soils’. Begins ‘Experience has taught us that different vegetables and fruits require not only different treatment in their various stages of growth, but also that they stand in need of different soils’. 12 pages

‘Culture of the onion’. Begins ‘I beg to mention a method I have been practising for the better growth of onions. Late in the autumn of last year I caused a piece of ground to be dug deep and left in a rough state […]'. This piece finishes ‘J.L. Snow, Swinton Park’. 1 page [The 1851 Census shows James Lewis Snow as gardener at Swinton Park]

The following page has six lines in a childish hand relating to the start of the reign of James II. This page is a smaller format than those preceding and following

There follows an untitled section giving history and characteristics of broccoli, borecole, cabbage, cauliflower, capsicum, onion, scallion and pea. 19 pages. This section post-dates 1805, as it includes a reference to a vegetable having been brought from Egypt about 1805. The last page of this section is on a different type of paper, with margins, which continues into the following section

‘A complete catalouge [catalogue] of herbs’. Alphabetically arranged, beginning with Acacia tree and Aconite, and ending with Wormwood and Yarrow. Gives common and Latin names and some brief characteristics. Part way through, the right hand margin has apparently been used to practise the writing of the numbers 1-60. 23 pages

There follow sections on ‘The class Polium (pyreniacum)’, ‘Ruta’, ‘Polyanthuses’, ‘Breeding tulips’, ‘Double Sweet Williams’, ‘Dictamnus’, ‘Rapuntium’, ‘Paeonia’, ‘Cheiranthus’ and ‘Ranunculus’, giving characteristics and propagation methods. [The word ‘hath’ is used in place of ‘has’ unlike the preceding sections, and may have been transcribed from an earlier text]. 58 pages

Page numbering starts again at Page 1

The following section relates to the growing of annuals including tender annuals, hardy annuals and ten-week stocks’. Pages 1-48

The following section relates to ‘Guernsey lilly [lily] roots’, ‘Management of autumnal flowering bulbs’, ‘Carnation’, ‘Trimming and ordering flower-plants’, ‘Inoculate roses’, ‘Annual plants’, ‘Fritillaria’, ‘Tulip’, ‘Ranunculus’, ‘Sowing cabbage seed’, ‘Cistus’. Pages 48-64

There follows a section comprising a series of lists of hyacinths, anemones, wallflowers, stock July flowers, instructions for sowing various seeds and planting crocuses and snowdrops. Pages 65-68

Page numbering ceases at page 68

There follows a list of the contents of the pages (numbered 1-60) preceding. 2 pages

‘A catalogue of Dutch flower roots, imported by Peter Couson and son, nursery, seedsmen and florists, 19 Blair Street, Edinburgh’. There follows a manuscript list of names of varieties and prices, the principal part of which comprises 140 named varieties of hyacinth. Also includes named varieties of jonquil, tulip, anemone, ranunculus, lilium, snowdrop. tigridia, tuberose, dahlia, feraria [ferraria], frittilaria [fritillaria], gladiolus, iris, amaryllis, narcissus, pancratium, ornithogalum, primula, pinks, carnations, flower seeds in packets, ‘and several other flowers, too numerous to insert in a sheet catalogue’. 15 pages

The top section of one page part way through the catalogue reads: ‘Blairgourie December 7th 1837 heard Mr Mcdonald speaking of the steat [state] of Scotland in the time of John Knox with regard to religion’ [Robert McDonald was the minister for Blairgowrie Parish until 1843]

A note, struck through, on the last page reads, ‘My bill in Mr Anderson’s banking office comes due on the 13 of June 1840’

On the inside of the back cover are: ‘Thomas Falconer’ and ‘Thomas Dartons account’ followed by various notes of accounts, some barely legible. The name ‘Blairgourie’ is written a number of times upside down

The volume measures 20.8 (h) x 16.8 (w) x 2.3 (d) cm