Moses Cook

Moses Cook was a gardener active in the mid- to late-17th century.

He was a partner in the Brompton Park nursery which he helped to found in 1681 and from which he retired in 1689 and was the author of The Manner of Raising, Ordering, and Improving Forest and Fruit-Trees: Also, How to Plant, Make and Keep Woods, Walks, Avenues, Lawns, Hedges, etc., first published in London, England in 1676.

In the text, Cook referred to himself as 'gardiner to that great Encourager of Planting, the Right Honourable, the Earl of Essex'. The book, which also included 'Rules and Tables shewing how the Ingenious Planter may measure Superficial Figures, with Rules how to divide Woods or Land, and how to measure Timber and other Solid Bodies, either by Arithmetick or Geometry, shewing the Use of that most Excellent Line, the Line of Numbers, by several New Examples; with many other Rules, useful for most Men', was later revised in a second edition in 1717.

Cook recommended the use of limes, elms and beech and the sowing of seeds only from the best specimens. He reported that he successfully raised elms and sallows from seed though at the time it was thought impossible to do so.

His use of cherry trees and formal, mathematical, geometric planting won him the admiration of John Evelyn who commented on his use of both, particularly at Cassiobury in Hertfordshire, England for Arthur Capel, 1st Earl of Essex (baptized 1632, died 1683), in his Diary.

In 1683 the Earl of Essex was involved in the Rye House Plot, a failed assassination attempt by Protestants on King Charles II and his Catholic brother and heir, James, Duke of York as they returned from the Newmarket races in London, England and passed by Rye House in Hertfordshire. Upon his capture, Essex was imprisoned in the Tower of London. It is here that Essex died, reportedly by his own hands, although it is unclear whether or not he was killed by others.

Moses Cook died thirty-two years later in 1715.

Sources:

Couch, Sarah M., 'The Practice of Avenue Planting in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries', Garden History, Vol. 20, No. 2 (Autumn, 1992), pp. 173-200 <http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0307-1243(199223)20%3A2%3C173%3ATPOAPI%3E2.0.CO%3B2-P > [accessed 2 January 2008]

Hadfield, Miles, Robert Harling and Leonine Highton, British Gardeners: A Biographical Dictionary (London: A. Zwemmer Ltd., 1980), p. 79.

Associated Places