The Florists' Vade-mecum, Being a Choice Compendium of whatever Worthy Notice hath been Extant for the Propagation, Raising, Planting … the Rarest Flowers and Plants … Together with the Gardiners Almanack
London Thomas Simmons 1682 12mo (13.4 x 7.2 cm). Modern full calf in period style, new end papers; text block trimmed, affecting letters at head; age browning to text. Collation: [xxiv], 252, [6-Appendix], [8-Table], [4- Cat.], [36- Almanack] pp. There are two (2) woodcut diagrams of parterres in text. Lacking engraved portrait. Fore edge tears at D1, G1o and M8 with paper repair, affecting several letters; paper defect at mid region of fore edge for page  in Table with loss to letters. There is some light soiling in text. There are several dedications at the beginning followed by "The Epistle to the Reader." The Florists Vade-Mecum begins with "A Garden Situation…" with two engraved parterres and guide for planting. The remainder of the text is a monthly calendar starting with January that deals with different plants and choice varieties that flower in each month. Gilbert adds comments on handling a number of different plants in these monthly guides. Gilbert had a keen interest in Auriculas with large section in April section and in the Appendix on Auriculas. A Table follows December with list of all plants mentioned in the text. The catalogue contains a number of books published by Thomas Simmons. The Almanack ends the book with separate title page dated 1682 but covers the period beginning in1683 t0 1687. Although references note that the Almanack appeared in the 2nd edition of 1683, the presence of a 1682 date on the title page in this copy indicates that the Almanack was published with the first edition in 1682. Provenance: Verso of title page has ink stamp of William Musgrave and ink signature of William Forsyth dated 1798. There is manuscript note on ffep from from British magazine discussing Gilbert's publication. Good + Full Calf (Item ID: 0000621)
Samuel Gilbert (d. 1692/4), writer on horticulture, was chaplain to Jane, wife of Charles, fourth baron Gerard of Gerard's Bromley, and rector of Quatt, Shropshire. He married Minerva, daughter of John Rea, gardener, of Kinlet, near Bewdley, Worcestershire. As his own writings contained many verses, it is likely that Gilbert also wrote those in Rea's Flora, Ceres, and Pomona (1676). Gilbert seems to have lived with his father-in-law and he inherited Rea's collection of flowering plants after his death in 1681.In 1682 Gilbert published the Florist's vademecum, calling himself 'Philerimus' on the title page. The work is a month-by-month guide to what to do in the flower garden, and it includes a plan for a tulip garden. When the second edition appeared in 1683 it was bound together with the Gardener's Almanack, a monthly calendar for 1683&7 with the signs of the zodiac and phases of the moon. Gilbert believed in the importance of astrology to gardeners, and the Almanack contained advice such as not to graft trees when the moon is waning or prune vines when the moon is full.William Musgrave (1655&1721), physician and antiquary was educated at Winchester College… and at New College, Oxford (1675-1692). In 1684 he was elected FRS and second secretary of the Royal Society. He edited the Philosophical Transactions, numbers 167 to 178 in his first year, after which resigned the position.Musgrave graduated MB at Oxford in 1685, and proceeded MD in 1689. He was one of a small group who in… 1685 formed the Philosophical Society of Oxford…On 30 September 1692 Musgrave was elected a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians. In the previous year he had settled at Exeter, where he practised with distinction. Musgrave made many contributions to Philosophical Transactions. He had carried out experiments on digestion at Oxford, and wrote inter alia on the lacteals, palsy, and respiration… His important medical works were on arthritis, and it's many associated effects. He studied Roman Britain, writing several short works incorporated in his large three-volume work, Antiquitates Britanno-Belgicae, in 1711. Musgrave died in Trinity Lane, St Lawrence parish, Exeter on 16 December 1721… William Forsyth (bap. 1737, d. 1804), horticulturist, the son of John Forsyth… He probably served his apprenticeship in the gardens of Lord Aberdeen at Haddo House, before going to London to work under Philip Miller at the Chelsea Physic Garden. In 1763, on Miller's recommendation, he was appointed head gardener to the duke of Northumberland at Syon House, Brentford, returning to Chelsea to succeed Miller in 1771. He was active in reorganizing and restocking the Chelsea garden.In 1784 Forsyth was appointed superintendent of the royal gardens of St James and Kensington. Here his interest in the improvement of diseased and decayed fruit trees led him to develop and promote his own 'plaister', a paste whose application would, he asserted, cause new wood to grow and bind to the old. His invention came to the notice of those charged with procurement of sound wood, particularly oak, for naval use, and after preliminary investigation he was paid £1500 to reveal the composition of this mixture. A second payment, to follow successful trials, was…never made. In 1791 he published Observations on the Diseases, Defects, and Injuries of Fruit and Forest Trees, and in 1802 his Treatise on the Culture and Management of Fruit Trees, which reached a seventh edition in 1824.Forsyth was a significant figure in horticultural affairs, a fellow of the Linnean Society and Society of Antiquaries. He played an important part in…the establishment of the Horticultural Society in 1804. The attack by Thomas Knight in 1802 on Forsyth's claims for his paste, which Knight asserted was neither a new invention nor an effective one, led to a long and bitter debate which severely damaged Forsyth's reputation. Forsyth died on 25 July 1804 at his official residence at Kensington. (ODNB) (Amherst p. 21; Lindley Cat. p.169 2nd Ed.; Wing G712).