Monday, October 31, 2011

Sylva


‘Of writers other than poets, we have already mentioned Philemon Holland's translation of Pliny as a book which did much to perpetuate the names of plants. Eacon's celebrated essay on Gardens may well be reckoned among the treasures of garden literature. After him John Evelyn holds a high place; for though his 'Sylva' is specially devoted to trees, and so might perhaps be more fitly classed with the Herbals of the seventeenth century, yet it stands above and in many respects apart from them all, and retains its peculiar value. 'Evelyn's "Sylva,"' said Sir Walter Scott, 'is still the manual of British planters, as his life, manners, and principles, as illustrated in his Memoirs, ought to be the manual of English gentlemen.'…’

The text above is from “The Quarterly Review”, volume 183.  Walter Scott shared a good portion of John Evelyn’s enthusiasm for trees, and had ample opportunity to enjoy them at Abbotsford.  Evelyn, of course, shares one other trait with Scott, being a famous diarist, himself. The author of "Sylva"  published his memoirs, which cover much the same era as his friend Samuel Pepys.  John Evelyn was born on October 31st, 1620.

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