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Prestonpans and Vicinity

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parish, and had a thorough commercial training in the offices at Prestongrange. He afterwards joined his father at Wallyford Gardens, taking part in the same commercial walk of life as he now pursues with such marked success.
The old style of gardening was much too slow for John Gillies, and one day, in the absence of his superiors, he got hold of a horse and plough and had the ground thoroughly and quickly turned over, but only to get severely rebuked on their return for his pains, for " who in all the world ever heard of cabbage seed being sowed on ploughed land?" This was no whim of the Wallyford folks; it had ever been a recognised rule that the spade, and not the plough, was the gardener's soil disturber. But the rule had been broken, and as it did not prove a failure, the spade since then has very often given place to the plough.
Mr Gillies was not long under the above jurisdiction, till, borrowing a piece of land, he tried a little " seed sowing " and " plant cultivation " on his own behalf. His success proved great, and he began to cut out a line for himself.
On launching out, he found with bitterness of spirit that the Scottish parsley markets were entirely " held up" by English growers, and the Scottish marketmen had simply to stand aside till their rivals were cleared out. This state of affairs he set about to combat. Thus he reasoned: If men can grow parsley hundreds of miles away, and send it here in paying quantities, surely I, being upon the ground, may do the same. It need only be added, that now the native growers do not hold a secondary place in the Scottish parsley markets.
This grower has been very much interviewed of late by newspaper correspondents and others, and his praise has been sung all over the land. Among other reports, the North British Agriculturist says: " Some twelve years ago Mr Gillies made a new departure in cabbage and leek plant growing. Now his trade has developed to such an extent that upwards of one and a half million of cabbage plants have been turned out by him in a single day, while as many leek plants were being turned put now by him in one day as were turned out by him during the first five years of costly endeavours to form a trade connection.
" In 1899 he offered the Highland and Agricultural Society , £100 to be given in prizes for the best crops of cabbages grown in plots throughout the kingdom, and further supplemented this with a sum of £10 for the best essay on the " Cabbage as a Field Crop. " The latter was taken in hand at once, and the former was ultimately taken up by the ' Scottish National Fat Stock Club, ' to be given in prizes for samples of cabbage shown at their annual prize show, this being considered an easier process than adjudicating upon 'plots' throughout the kingdom. Out of this £100 the 'Fat Stock Club' procured two very handsome cups at a cost of £20 and, £30 each, while the overplus of cash was assigned, part to be presented with each cup, and the balance for less successful competitors. "
Later on the N. B. A. gave a "snapshot, " entitled "Despatching the Prize Winners, " in reference to the cups, etc., offered. There were about one hundred women and girls on the field when the " snap shot" was taken, pulling and bundling plants for the market. This brought the Edinburgh evening papers on the scene, and they gave not only glowing accounts of the plant trade as pursued in the district, but of the benefits derivable by all who pleased to avail themselves of the steady employment brought to their doors.
A Dundee weekly followed with facts and figures, holding out that this grower had been for some years past recognised as the largest plant grower in Great Britain. The Scottish Farmer, giving a very fine photographic likeness of Mr Gillies, says " it is now an accepted fact that the quantities of leek and cabbage plants grown in the Musselburgh, Levenhall, Pinkie, and Prestonpans districts, are considerably greater than the combined outputs of all the farmers and gardeners in all the other parts of Scotland. " It further added that his trade had bounded up last season fully ten million of plants in excess of the previous season.
Mr Gillies has of late years been very often called upon to arbitrate in "market gardening disputes" Some of these have been very large cases, but his decisions, in every instance, have been tempered with such apparent fairness that no appeal has ever been raised against them.

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