THE PREFACEto all well minded.
Art hath her first originall out of experience, which therefore is called the Schoole-mistresse of fooles, because she teacheth infallibly, and plainely, as drawing her knowledge out of the course of Nature, (which neuer failes in the generall) by the senses, feelingly apprehending, and comparing (with the helpe of the minde) the workes of nature; and as in all other things naturall, so especially in Trees; for what is Art more then a prouident and skilfull Collectrix of the faults of Nature in particular workes, apprehended by the senses? As when good ground naturally brings forth thistles, trees stand too thicke, or too thin, or disorderly, or (without dressing) put forth vnprofitable suckers, and suchlike. All which and a thousand more, Art reformeth, being taught by experience: and therefore must we count that Art the surest, that stands vpon experimentall rules, gathered by the rule of reason (not conceit) of all other rules the surest.
Whereupon haue I of my meere and sole experience, without respect to any former written Treatise, gathered these rules, and set them downe in writing, not daring to hide the least talent giuen me of my Lord and Master in Heauen: neither is this iniurious to any, though it differ from the common opinion in diuers points, to make it knowne to others, what good I haue found out in this facultie by long triall and experience. I confesse freely my want of curious skill in the Art of planting. And I admire and praise Plinie, Aristotle, Virgil, Cicero, and many others for wit and iudgement in this kind, and leaue them to their times, manner, and seuerall Countries.
I am not determined (neither can I worthily) to set forth the praises of this Art: how some, and not a few, euen of the best, haue accounted it a chiefe part of earthly happinesse, to haue faire and pleasant Orchards, as in Hesperia and Thessaly, how all with one consent agree, that it is a chiefe part of Husbandry (as Tully de senectute) and Husbandry maintaines the world; how ancient, profitable, how pleasant it is, how many secrets of nature it doth containe, how loued, how much practised in the best places, and of the best: This hath already beene done by many. I only aime at the common good. I delight not in curious conceits, as planting and graffing with the root vpwards, inoculating Roses on and such like, although I haue heard of diuers prooued some, and read of moe.
The Stationer hath (as being most desirous with me, to further the common good) bestowed much cost and care in hauing the Knots and Models by the best Artizan cut in great varietie, that nothing might be any way wanting to satisfie the curious desire of those that would make vse of this Booke.
And I shew a plaine and sure way of planting, which I haue found good by 48. yeeres (and moe) experience in the North part of England: I preiudicate and enuie none, wishing yet all to abstaine from maligning that good (to them vnknowne) which is well intended. Farewell.
Thine, for thy good, W. L.A Table of the things Contayned in this Booke Of the Gardner his labour and wadges. Of the Soyle Of Grasse. The kinds of trees. Of the Crust of the earth. Of barren earth. Lowe & neere the Riuer. Of the Sunne. Of Windes. Trees against a wall. Of the quantity. What quantity of ground. Orchards as good as a Corne-field. Want no hinderance. Good as the Vineyard. How Land-lords by their Tenants may make flourishing Orchards. The forme of the Orchard. Of Fences. Of Pales and Rayles. Effects of euill Fencing. Of Stone-walles. The kinds of Fencinge. Of Quicksets and Moates. Of Setts. Of Suckers. Of Slipps. A Running plant. Of Burknots. Of Setts. Of Small Setts. The best Sett. Tying of Trees. Times of remouing. Signes of diseases. The manner of setting. Of the distance of trees. The best distance. The hurts of too neere planting. Of wast ground in an Orchard. All touches hurtfull....