« AnteriorContinuar »
And thus, while I wander'd on ocean's bleak shore, And survey'd its vast surface, and heard its waves roar, I seem'd wrapt in a dream of romantic delight, And haunted by majesty, glory, and might !' pp. 242–3. These specimens, we believe, will suffice:-we shall add but one more from the concluding verses, as a further illustration of the author's descriptive talent. " It is the very carnival of nature,
The loveliest season that the year cau show!
Her richest boons delighteth to bestow.
Have more than vernal softness; and the sun
Than in his summer splendour he has done,
Of leafy luxury begins to fade ;
Yet seem but lovelier from each deepening shade,
It is the season when each streamlet's sound,
Assumes a tone more pensive, more profound ;
Was glorious with the dawning light of day;
The mists of morning slowly melt away :
With dew-drops glistening, evermore have heard
Or bleat of sheep, or lowing of the herd;
Our readers, we think, may now judge for themselves pretty fairly of the merits of this volume. It is not calculated certainly to make a very strong or lasting sensation in the reading worid; and has no chance either of eclipsing any of the poetical luminaries that are now in their ascendant, or even of falling into their orbit with its attendant fires. Yet we believe there is a very large class of readers in this country to whom it is capable of affording the greatest delight--all those tranquil, pious, unambitious persons by whom the higher excitement of more energetic poetry is either dreaded as a suare, or shunned as a disturbance; but who can still be interested and soothed
by the sweet and harmonious amplification of the feelings they have been allowed or taught to think it a duty to cherish. To the members of his own Society in particular, we cannot help thinking that a work like this must be a most acceptable present. Their amusements and recreations have always, we think, been rather too few; and both they and their wellwishers in other communions must rejoice when they can add to them the perusal of elegant poetry, in which they are sure of meeting with nothing that can revolt or offend; and from the very success and celebrity of which their whole body must receive new credit and respectability.
The Transactions of the Horticultural Society of
The original state of most of those vegetables which occupy:
the attention of the horticulturist, is unknown; and we are still ignorant of the native country, and existence in a wild state, of some of the most important of our plants, such as wheat, &c. We know, however, that improved flowers and fruits are the produce of improved culture, and that the offspring in a greater or less degree partakes of the character of its parent. The Crab has been thus converted into the Golden pippin; and many excellent varieties of the Plum boast no other parent than the Sloe. Yet, till lately, few experiments have been made, the objects of which have been new productions of this nature; and nearly every ameliorated variety appears to have been the offspring of accident, or of culture applied to other purposes : An extensive field of discovery is still therefore open to the scientific horticulturist. Societies for improvements in domestic animals, and all branches of agriculture, have been long since founded; but it was not till within these few years that the London Horticultural Society was established, for the encouragement of Gardening. Judging from the past exertions of this Society, we may hope that in a very short time we shall have to record improvements and discoveries of considerable importance: as, till within a few years, Horticulture was left to the common gardener, who, in general, implicitly followed the routine of his predecessor.
Fruit, as an article of general food in this country, is comparatively used in very small quantities. Yet it is well known, that in the great manufacturing towns, in those seasons when it has been abundant, the inhabitants have been far from healthy.
Of the different varieties cultivated for common purposes, most are of inferior quality, and the produce of exhausted or unhealthy parents i Hitherto little care has been taken (except in the gardens of the rich) to procure the better sorts of fruit-trees, or to renew the worn out trees which so generally incumber, the gardens of our cottagers. A good sort, however, is as easy of cultivation as an austere or barren variety; and one of the principal benefits to be derived from the establishnient of the Horticultural Society, is the distribution of scions of new varieties, as well as of the scarcer sorts already known. Much in this respect has been done; already the taste for horticulture has increased; and the spirit of liberality, and the desire of communication, is rapidly taking place of the mean and selfish desire of concealment so prevalent amongst collectors and virtuosi of all descriptions.
As an article of luxury, much fine fruit is produced in this country; but, owing to the little attention which has been paid to the mode of raising it, and the small and uncertain demand for it when produced, it is one of the most expensive articles at the table: yet perhaps there are few luxuries so sought after by our countrymen on the Continent; and, amongst their estimates of the comparative difference of cost, none seems to surprise them so much, as that of the prices of fruit in England and in France. Every one who has been on the Conti.' nent returns with stories of the number of peaches and pears purchased in France for a franc; or of the still larger quantities of figs and grapes procured in Italy for the same price. Our climate forbids us to hope to rival our more fortunate neighbours in the growth of outdoors fruits yet much is to be expected from the production of more hardy yarieties, which will better withstand the chilling effects of our tardy springs and ungenial summers,—and also from the improved and more economical construction and management of our forcing-houser. By some it is conceived, that the coldness and the dampness of our climate render fruit an unfit article of food. To this we do not agree. Others also may have an objection to any diminutiou in the quantity of roast beef eaten by John Bull, lest any alteration should take place in his national character; but we are willing the experiment should be tried, leaving these alchymists in the mean time to the undivided enjoyment of their roasted crabs and sloes. It may be observed, that the introduction of fruit as an article of consumption amongst the poor, is not now likely to diminish their quota of roast beef:-the poor-laws, the taxes, our wars, and the transition state' from war to peace, have effectually done that long ago,
The Horticultural Society has a garden in the vicinity of London, established solely for the purpose of experiment: and from this much aseful information has been already procured. In France, agriculture is considered to have derived considerable advantages from the establishment of the Jardin des Plantes ; and more than equal advantages may be expected to arise in this country, where the cultivators are in general much more enlightened, and always prepared to introduce improvements of every kind. * We have chosen the Transactions of the Horticultural Society for notice, that we may lay before our readers some of the modern improvements in Gardening: in doing which, we shall pursue no particular plan; but select from the different volumes before us, those parts which we think will be most amusing.
I. We have already had occasion to notice the two papers of Mr T. A. Knight, (the President of the Society), on the motion of sap in trees;+ and the result of this was, that the sap
is absorbed from the soil by the bark of the roots, and carried s upwards by the alburnum of the root, trunk, and branches; 6 that it passes through the central vessels into the succulent 6 matter of the annual shout, the leaf-stalk, and leaf; and that s it is returned to the bark through certain vessels of the leaf6 stalk, and, descending through the bark, contributes to the 5 process of forming the wood.' · The work before us contains several curious papers by the same author, on the subject of Vegetable Physiology, and some ingenious applications of the result of his experiments to the practical purposes of horticulture. All plants have a tendency. to adapt their habits to the climate in which art or accident places them. Thus the Pear, which is probably a native of the
* We are sorry to be compelled to remark, that the Royal Gardens at Kew partake of none of the liberality of the Experimental Garden of the Horticultural Society. Not a single plant raised there is distributed—all access is denied, except the liberty to run through the gardens at the pas de charge, with a labourer at your heels. The great misfortune however is, that these gardens being considered as the public botanical gardens of the kingdom, all seeds of rare plants, &c. are sent there, and are therefore lost to the public. But, fortunately, the Horticultural Society is not within the withering and baneful influence of Government Patronage; and it will, we hope, therefore flourish. If a ministerial member could ask of Lord Sidmouth the appointment of the gardener, the secretary, or the very porter or housekeeper to the Society, we should expect little good to arise from its institution, except to those who enjoyed the salary.
+ Vol. V, p. 92.
southern parts of Europe, has so naturalized itself in Britain, as in some instances to ripen its fruit in the early part even of an unfavourable summer; and the Crab. has, in the same manner, adapted its habits to the frozen regions of Siberia ; but either of these fruits imported in their cultivated state from happier climates, are often found incapable of acquiring maturity, even when trained to a south wall.
As the pear and crab tree have acquired the powers of ripening their fruit in climates much colder than those in which they are placed by nature, ground is afforded (observęs Mr Knight) to expect that the vine and the pear tree may be made to adapt their habits to our climate, so as to ripen their fruits without the aid of artificial heat, or the reflexion of a wall, though hitherto but little has been done to learn the mode of culture best. calculated to produce these changes: But the experiments of that gentleman already show, that as fine varieties, or nearly so, of fruit, may be raised in this country, as any which have been imported.
Variety is the constant attendant on cultivation; and, in the offspring, is constantly seen, in a greater or less degree, the character of the parent from which they spring.
Early maturity and hardiness are the two qualities which the cold and unsteady climate of England render most desirable in the production of new varieties. "If two plants of • vine were obtained from cuttings of the same tree, and placed • during successive seasons, the one to vegetate on the banks • of ithe Rhine, the other on those of the Nile, and both sub· sequently transplanted in early spring to a climate similar to
Italy,--that which had adapted its habits to a .cold climate 6 would instantly vegetate, whilst the other would remain tor
pid. The same occurs in our hothouses. A plant accustomed to the temperature of the open air will, on being in
troduced into a hothouse, vegetate strongly in December, 6 whilst a plant sprung from a cutting of the same stock, but • habituated to the temperature of the stove, remains appa• rently lifeless. The powers, therefore, of plants habituated • to cold climates, are more easily brought into action, or more « excitable; and as every quality in plants become hereditary, 5 when the causes which first gave existence to these qualities
continue to operate,-it follows that their seedling offspring « have a constant tendency to adapt their habits to any cli• mate in which art or accident places them. But the influ
ence of climate will depend probably less on the aggregate 6 quantity of heat in each country, than its distribution in each - season. Thus, the aggregate temperature of England, and