Saturday, March 1, 2014

More on Mr. Abercrombie: Why He Was Considered Peculiar; Links to Good Quality Online Works, &c.

After the first posting about Abercrombie I was still unconvinced that he should be labeled "peculiar".  However, in A History of English Gardening  (Johnson, George William, 1829) the picture gets filled with more details, none too odd, but perhaps careers were more linear in those days.
Abercrombie's tea and tobacco addiction seem his only out of kilter habits! Johnson's book is very readable and worth a look.  After listing all of Abercrombie's writing, Johnson goes on to say -



John Abercrombie's gardening works, with links to good quality online copies when available, are:

1. Every Man his own Gardener, being a New Gardener's Calendar, with complete Lists of Forest-tree, Flower, Fruit-tree, Evergreens, Annual, biennial, and  perennial Flowers: Hot-house. Green-house, and Kitchen Garden Plants with the varieties of each sort cultivated in the Garden.  Lond. 12mo.


Of this very useful and popular work the editions have been numerous. From "a diffidence in the writer, it was first published as the production of Thomas Mawe, gardener to His Grace the Duke of Leeds, and other gardeners: but it was entirely written by written by Abercrombie, whose claim has since been,  in some measure, asserted, be subjoining in the title page the name of John Abercrombie, to the more popular one of Mr. Mawe." It is to be lamented, Professor Martyn observes, that so respectable a performance should be accompanied by such deceit and bookcraft.  
This copy made available in a quality scan by 

2. The Universal Gardener and Botanist, or a General Dictionary of Gardening and Botany, exhibiting, in Botanical Arrangement, according to the Linnaean System, every Tree, Shrub, and Herbaceous Plant that merits Culture, &c. Lond. 1778, 4to.

3. The Garden Mushroom, its Nature and Cultivation, exiting full and plain Directions for producing tltis desirable in in Perfection and Plenty. Lond. 1770. 8vo.

4. The British Fruit Garden, and Art of Pruning; comprising the most approved Methods of planting and raising every useful Fruit Tree and Fruit-bearing Shrub. Lond. 1779. 8vo.

5. The Complete Forcing Gardener, for the thorough Practical Management of the Kitchen Garden, raising all early Crops in Hot-beds, and forcing early fruit, &c. Lond. 1781. 12mo. (lovely printing in this copy)

6. The Complete Wall-tree Pruner, Ac. Lond. 1783. 12mo.

7.  The Propagation and Botanical Arrangement of Plants and Trees, useful and ornamental. Land. 1785. 2 vols. 12mo.  (Villanova University has an online copy but only for students and employees.)

8. The Gardener's Pocket Dictionary, or a Systematical Arrangement of Trees, Herbs, Flowers, and Fruits, agreeable to the Linnsan Method, with their Latin and English Names, their Uses, Propagation, Culture, Ac. Ixmd. 1786. 3 vols. 12mo.

9. Daily Assistant in the Modern Practice of English Gardening for every Month in the Year, on an entire new plan. Lond. 1789. 12mo.  (Miami University has a copy online, but ...)

10. The universal Gardener's Kalendar and System of Practical Gardening. Lond. 1789.12mo.  (Villanova University has one you can't see unless student &c.)

11. The Complete Kitchen Gardener and Hot-bed Forcer, with the thorough Practical Management of Hot-houses, &c.  Lond. 1789. 12mo.  
Copy online thanks to


12.  The Gardener's Vade-mecum, or Companion of General Gardening; a Descriptive Display of the Plants, Flowers, Shrubs, Trees, Fruits, and general Culture. Lond. 1789. 8vo.


13. The Hot-house Gardener, or the General Culture of the Pine Apple, and the Methods of forcing early Grapes, Peaches, Nectarines, and other choice Fruits in Hot-houses, Vineries, Fruit-houses, Hot-walls, with Directions for raiting Melons and early Strawberries, &c. Plates, Lond. 1789. 8vo.  (No institution is sharing this one.)


14. The Gardener's Pocket Journal and Annual Register, in A Concise Monthly Display of all Practical Works of General Gardening throughout the year. Lond. 1791. 12mo.

 15. A new edition of the Practical Gardener revised, with considerable additions, by Mr. James Mean, Head-gardener to Sir Abraham Hume, Bart. 8mo. 1816.

16. The Practical Gardener's Companion, or Horticultural Calendar, containing the Latest Improvements In Horticultural Practice. To which is annexed, on a plan never before exhibited, the Garden Seed and Plant Estimate, edited from an original Manuscript of J. Abercrombie, the whole revised by J. Mean. Lond. 18mo. 1816. 

While it has a crude interface, it has been kindly made available by the University of Michigan in their project