Eden, A Compleat Body of Gardening

While relying heavily on its beautiful, oversized illustrations this botanical work was published originally as a weekly guide (and issued in weekly parts) offering information on plants that would be blooming, fruiting, or needing the gardener’s attention in the following seven days. The needs of the flower garden, greenhouse and nursery, fruit garden, and kitchen garden are individually addressed. Each part is accompanied by an engraved plate depicting six or more plant specimens, the vast majority of them beautiful blossoms. As it was intended as a companion to “The Compleat Body of Husbandry” (London, 1756) by Thomas Hale, its author was apparently the apothecary, botanist, and sometime actor John Hill (1716-75). Although an autodidact in the field of natural science, he became acquainted with noted members of the Royal Society, including Martin Folkes, Sir Hans Sloane, Henry Baker, William Watson, and James Parsons, and acquired Lord Bute as a patron. But it was the publication’s emphasis on these magnificent engravings that made the work stand out form so many others in its day.