Scottish Gardens

The Scots have a reputation for avoiding vegetables, with Scottish comic Fred Macaulay once defining a salad as being cold chips. This is from The Social Life of Scotland in the 18th Century:

The courtyard at the homes of smaller lairds was usually formed by the house having a projecting granary and byre on one side, a projecting stable and barn on the other, while in the open space stood the midden, in which the midden-fowls feasted and nursed their broods among the nettles and socks growing all around. Behind or beside each house, in the ill-kept and neglected garden, grew a great variety of shrubs and flowers, partly for pleasure, but mainly for use. Many flowers were there, once familiar and loved, which have long been uprooted from our borders and our memories, whose very names are forgotten save the few enshrined in old songs. Beside the familiar hollyhock, pink, combine, and primrose were the virgin’s bower, campion, throat-wort, bear’s ears, wall-pellitory, and spider-wort – these for show, for scent and colour. Others were there as “sweet herbs”, used for cooking or for physic – the pennyroyal, clary, rosemary, sweet-basil, fennel, beside the sage, mind and wild marjoram. But no country garden was complete without its plentiful stock of “physic herbs”, which were always used for simples, gargarisms, confections, and vomitories, in the primitive pharmacopeia of the age. There were found the hyssop, camomile, and hore-hound, cat-mint, elacampine, “Blessed thisell”, ‘Stinking drag”, rue and celadine, which were in constant request in time of sickness. Among vegetables many of our comments were not found, as they only came into use or cultivation later in the century. Turnips – or “neeps”, were only in a few gardens; onions were in none, being all imported from Holland or Flanders; and only at the residences of a few rich and enterprising gentlemen were potatoes grown. Round the gardens with their orchards, grew the nursery of trees, which were carefully nourished and sheltered under the delusion that they were too delicate to bear exposure to the open fields. “

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