Austen, Ralph 17th Century

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Austen was a native of Staffordshire and a nurseryman. He became a University proctor at Oxford in 1630 and author of two exceptionally attractive gardening books - A Treatise on Fruit-Trees (1653). Two later editions appeared. He was also author of a pamphlet, Spiritual Use of an Orchard (1653). This was reprinted as late as 1847.

A Treatise on Fruit-Trees was written to encourage fruit growing in England on a more extensive scale than had ever been attempted. In fact fruit growing in England increased greatly during the 17th Century because of the availability of scion wood imported from the continent.

The book, A Dialogue or Familiar Discourse and Conference Between the Husbandman and Fruit Trees in his Nurseries, Orchards and Gardens (1676), is a rare volume and is the only one in dialogue form in which fruit trees take a part in the conversation.

He also was responsible for a book entitled, Observations upon Some Part of Sir Francis Bacon's Naturall History as it concerns Fruit trees, Fruits, and Flowers; especially the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Centuries. Improving the experiments mentioned to the best advantage by R.A. Austen. Practise in the Art of Gardening. Gen. 2:8, Gen 1:29, (1658)

Sir Francis Bacon wrote some material relative to horticultural aspects of agriculture.