1. Ostrys the horn-beam, (by some called the horse-beech, from the resemblance of the leaf) in Latin (ignorantly) the Carpinus, is planted of sets ; though it may likewise be rais’d from the julas and seeds, which being mature in August, should he sown in October, and will lie a year in the bed, which must be well and carefully shaded so soon as they peep : But the more expeditious way is by layers or sets, of about an inch diameter, and cut within half a foot of the earth : Thus it will advance to a considerable tree. The places it chiefly desires to grow in are in cold hills, stiff ground, and in the barren and most expos’d parts of woods. We have it no where more abounding in the south, than in the woods of Hartfordshire ; very few westward.
2. Amongst other uses which it serves for, as mill-cogs, &c. (for which it excels either yew or crab) yoak-timber (whence of old, and for that it was as well flexible as tough, ’twas call’d Z,yia) heads of beetles, stocks and handles of tools : It is likewise for the turners use excellent ; good fire-wood, where it burns like a candle, and was of old so employ’d ;
Carpinus taedas fissa facesque dabit.
(For all which purposes its extream toughness and whiteness commends it to the husbandman.) Being planted in small fosses or trenches, at half a foot interval, and in the single row, it makes the noblest and the stateliest hedges for long walks in gardens, or parks, of any tree whatsoever whose leaves are deciduous, and forsake their branches in winter ; because it grows tall, and so sturdy, as not to be wronged by the winds : Besides, it will furnish to the very foot of the stem, and flourishes with a glossie and polish’d verdure, which is exceeding delightful, of long continuance, and of all other the harder woods, the speediest grower ; maintaining a slender, upright-stem, which does not come to be bare and sticky in many years ; it has yet this (shall I call it) infirmity, that keeping on its leaf till new ones thrust them off, ’tis clad in russet all the winter long. That admirable espalier-hedge in the long middle walk of Luxemburgh garden at Paris (than which there is nothing more graceful) is planted of this tree ; and so was that cradle, or close-walk, with that perplext canopy which lately cover’d the seat in his Majesty’s Garden at Hampton-Court, and as now I hear, they are planted in perfection at New-park, the delicious villa of the Noble Earl of Rochester, belonging once to a near kinsman of mine, who parted with it to K. Charles the First of Blessed Memory. These hedges are tonsile ; but where they are maintain’d to fifteen or twenty foot height (which is very frequent in the places before mention’d) they are to be cut, and kept in order with a syth of four foot long, and very little falcated ; this is fix’d on a long sneed or streight handle, and does wonderfully expedite the trimming of these and the like hedges : An oblong square, palisado’d with this plant, or the Flemish ormus, as is that I am going to describe, and may be seen in that inexhaustible magazine at Brompton Park (cultivated by those two industrious fellow-gardiners, Mr. London, and Mr. Wise) affords such an umbraculum frondium, the most natural, proper station and convenience for the protection of our orange-trees, myrtles, (and other rare perennials and exoticks) from the scorching darts of the sun, and heat of summer ; placing the cases, pots, &c. under this shelter, when either at the first peeping out of the winter concleave, or during the increasing heat of summer, they so are ranged and disposed, as to adorn a noble area of a most magnificent paradisian dining-room to the top of hortulan pomp and bliss, superior to all the artificial furniture of the greatest prince’s court : Here the Indian narcissus, tuberoses, Japan-lillies, jasmines, jonquills, lalaes, periclymena, roses, carnations, (with all the pride of the parter) intermixt between the tree-cases, flowry vasas, busts and statues, entertain the eye, and breath their redolent odors and perfumes to the smell : The golden fruit and apples of Hesperides, gratifie the taste, with the delicious annanas, affecting all the sensories ; whilst the chearful ditties of canorus birds, recording their innocent amours to the murmurs of the bubling fountain, delight the ear, and with the charming accents of the fair and vertuous sex, (preferable to all the admired composure of the most skilful musitians) join consort in hymns and hallelujahs to the bountiful and glorious Creator, who has left none of the senses, which he has not gratify’d at once, with their most agreeable and proper objects.
But to return to Brampton : ‘Tis not to be imagin’d what a surprizing scene, such a spacious salone, tapis-tried with the natural verdure of the glittering foliage, present the spectator, and recompenses the toil of the ingenious planter ; when after a little patience, he finds the slender plants, set but at five or six foot distance, (nor much more in height, well prun’d and dress’d) ascend to an altitude sufficient to shade and defend his paradisian treasure without excluding the milder gleams of the glorious and radiant planet, with his cherishing influence, and kindly warmth, to all within the inclosure, refreshed with the cooling and early dew, pregnant with the sweet exhalations which the indulgent mother and teeming earth sends up, to nourish and maintain her numerous and tender off-spring.
But after all, let us not dwell here too long, whilst the inferences to he derived from those tempting and temporary objects, prompt us to raise our contemplations a little on objects yet more worthy our noblest speculations, and all our pains and curiosity, representing that happy state above, namely, the coelestial paradise : Let us, I say, suspend our admiration a while, of these terrestrial gayeties, which are of so short continuance, and raise our thoughts from being too deeply immers’d and rooted in them, aspiring after those supernal, more lasting and glorious abodes, namely, a paradise ; not like this of ours (with so much pains and curiosity) made with hands, but eternal in the heavens ; where all the trees are Trees of Life ; the flowers all amaranths ; all the plants perennial, ever verdant, ever pregnant ; and where those who desire knowledge, may fully satiate them-selves ; taste freely of the fruit of that tree, which cost the first gardiner and posterity so dear; and where the most voluptuous inclinations to the allurements of the senses, may take, and eat, and still be innocent ; no forbidden fruit ; no serpent to deceive ; none to be deceived,
Hail, O hail then, and welcome, you bless’d clyziums, where a new state of things expects us ; where all the pompous and charming delights that detain us here a while, shall be changed into real and substantial fruitions, eternal springs, and pleasure intellectual, becoming the dignity of our nature !
I beg no pardon for the application, but deplore my no better use of it, and that whilst I am thus upon the wing, I must now descend so soon again.
Of all the foresters, this preserves it self best from the bruttings of deer, and therefore to be kindly entertain’d in parks : But the reason why with us, we rarely find them ample and spreading, is, that our husbandman suffers too large and grown a lop, before he cuts them off, which leaves such ghastly wounds, as often proves exitial to the tree, or causes it to grow deform’d and hollow, and of little worth but for the fire ; whereas, were they oftener taken off, when the lops were younger, though they did not furnish so great wood, yet the continuance and flourishing of the tree, would more than recompence it. For this cause,
3. They very frequently plant a clump of these trees before the entries of most of the great towns in Germany, to which they apply timber-frames for convenience, and the people to sit and solace in. Scamozzi the architect, says, that in his time he found one whose branches extended seventy foot in breadth; this was at Vuimfen near the Necker, belonging to the Duke of Wirtemberg : But that which I find planted before the gates of Strasburgh, is a platanus, and a lime-tree growing hard by one another, in which is erected a Pergola eight foot from the ground, of fifty foot wide, having ten arches of twelve foot height, all shaded with their foliage ; and there is besides this, an over-grown oak, which has an arbour in it of sixty foot diameter : Hear we Rapinus describe the use of the horn-beam for these and other elegancies.
In walks the horn-beam stands, or in a maze Through thousand self-entangling labyrinths strays : So clasp the branches lopp’d on either side,
As though an alley did two walls divide :
This beauty found, order did next adorn
The boughs into a thousand figures shorn,
Which pleasing objects weariness betray’d,
Your feet into a wilderness convey’d.
Nor better leaf on twining arbor spread,
Against the scorching sun to shield your head.