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Art. I. A Leaf from the History of Pomology in the Past.
By T. S. HUMRICKHOUSE, Coshocton, Ohio.
THERE has always been a proneness, in existing generations of mankind, to attribute all knowledge and all science to themselves; and to regard preceding ages as involved in ignorance and darkness, if not barbarism. The truth of this remark applies to no age more than to the present, to no country more than to our own, and to no subject more than to Pomology. Brother Jonathan must amend, he must reform,-or he will, if indeed he has not already, become a proverb.
Why should we arrogate so much to ourselves, when a little research would be sure to lead us to the opposite conclusion ?
In the history of Pomology from the earliest to the present times, the curious antiquary may find a vast field for his researches; and, in the attempt to explore it, will employ himself fully as usefully as in many of his present undertakings.
Without further preface, I take the liberty of transcribing what follows from the "Memoirs and Correspondence of John Evelyn, edited by William Bray, Esq., London, 1827," pages 435 to 437 inclusive, in the hope that, by publishing it, you will confer a favor upon those of your readers who may not have access to the work :
“In a letter to Mr. Boyle, 230 November, 1664, he,” (Evelyn) “says, one Rhea (qu. Ray?) has published a very useful book concerning the Culture of Flowers, but it does nothing reach my long-since attempted design on that intire VOL. XIII.--NO. III.
subject, with all its ornaments and circumstances, but God only knows when my opportunities will permit me to bring it to maturity.”
"In the Preface to the Acetaria, published in 1699, he mentions a work in which he had spent upwards of forty years, and his collections for which had, in that time, filled several thousand pages. The author of the Biographia Britannica believes that this was the work part of which he had shewed to his friends under the title of Elysium Britannicum,' but which, in that Preface, he calls "The Plan of a Royal Garden,' &c.; and that his Acetaria and Gardener's Kalendar, were parts of it. This is confirmed by the preceding letter to Dr. Boyle.
“ Among the MSS. at Wotton, there are parts of two volumes with the running title of 'Elysium Britannicum,' consisting of miscellaneous observations on a great variety of subjects, but not digested, except a printed sheet of the contents of the intended work as follows:
IN THREE BOOKS.
Præmissis præmittendis, &c.
Book I. "Chap. 1. A Garden derived and defined, with its distinctions and sorts.-2. Of a Gardiner, and how he is to be qualified.—3. Of the Principles and Elements in generall. 4.-Of the Fire.-5. Of the Air and Winds.-6. Of the Water.-7. Of the Earth.-S. Of the Celestial influences, particularly the Sun and Moon, and of the Climates.-9. Of the four Seasons.—10. Of the Mould and Soil of a Garden.—11. Of Composts and Stercoration.—12. Of the Generation of Plants.
Book II. “Chap. 1. Of the instruments belonging to a Gardiner, and their several uses.-2. Of the situation of a Garden, with its extent.-3. Of fencing, enclosing, plotting, and disposing the Ground.—4. Of a Seminary, and of propagating Trees, Plants, and Flowers.-5. Of Knots, Parterrs, Compartiments, Bordures, and Embossements.-6. Of Walkes, Terraces, Carpets, and Allees, Bowling greens, Maills, their materials and proportions.-7. Of Groves, Labyrinths, Dædales, Cabinets, Cradles, Pavilions, Galeries, Close-walkes, and other Relievo's. -8. Of Transplanting.-9. Of Fountaines, Cascades, Rivulets, Piscinas, and Water-works.—10. Of Rocks, Grots, Cryptas, Mounts, Precipices, Porticos, Ventiducts.--11. Of Statues, Columus, Dyals, Perspectives, Pots, Vases, and other ornaments.-12. Of Artificial Echos, Musick, and Hydraulick motions.—13. Of Aviaries, Apiaries, Vivaries, Insects.-14. Of Orangeries, and Conservatories of rare Plants.---15. Of Verdures, Perennial-greens, and perpetuall springs.—16. Of Coronary Gardens, Flowers and rare Plants, how they are to be propagated, govern'd, and improved; together with a Catalogue of the choycest Trees, Shrubs, Plants, and Flowers, and how the Gardiner is to keep his Register.—17. Of the Philosophico-Medical Garden.—18. Of a Vineyard.—19. Of Watering, Pruning, Clipping, Rolling, Weeding, &c.—20. Of the Enemies and Infirmities to which a Garden is obnoxious, together with the remedies.-21. Of the Gardiner's Almanack, or Kalendarium Hortense, directing what he is to do Monethly, and what Flowers are in prime.
Book III. “ Chap. 1. Of Conserving, Properating, Retarding, Multiplying, Transmuting, and altering the Species, Formes and substantial qualities of Flowers, &c.—2. Of Chaplets, Festoons, Flower-pots, Nose-gaies, and Posies.-3. Of the Gardiner's Elaboratory, and of distilling and extracting of Essences, Resuscitation of Plants, with other rare Experiments. -4. Of composing the Hortus Hyemalis, and making books of Natural Arid Plants and Flowers, with other curious ways of preserving them in their Natural.-5. Of planting of Flowers, Flowers enamell’d, in Silk, Wax, and other artificial representations of them.-6. Of Hortulane Entertainments, to shew the riches, beauty, wonder, plenty, delight, and use of a Garden Festival, &c.—7. Of the most famous Gardens in the World, Antient and Moderne.—8. The Description of a Villa.—The Corollerie and Conclusion."
Surely, this grand conception of Evelyn's—formed by him two hundred years ago, to which he devoted a portion of his leisure during a period of forty years; toward the completion of which he made vast advances, but to which he was prevented from giving form and substance, by the multiplicity of important affairs in which he was engaged during his whole life-time, has never been realized-no, not even approached, in any work yet given to the public. True : many things in the design would, were it executed, be found more curious than useful, and some even based upon error-such and so great have been the advances made by science since his day-but, are there not many admirable hints contained in the mere statement of his plan, which modern horticulturists would do well to avail themselves of and improve.
January 7, 1847.
Art. II. Instance of Effect of Boiling Water on Seeds.
It is a well known fact to many, that certain seeds are peculiarly difficult to be made to vegetate by the usual process of sowing. Perhaps much disappointment has been often experienced, from the failure of germination of the seeds of choice and curious plants. Many modes have been suggested or devised to facilitate their germination; some founded on the natural character of the original species, such, for instance, as sowing the seeds of the Primulàceæ, (those which are native of Alpine situations, as the Auricula, Androsace, Soldanella, &c.,) on snow, and exposing them to the open air whenever an opportunity occurred of their receiving a snowy shower; or exposing them to great natural or artificial heat, in places strongly irradiated by the sun's rays; in hotbeds, on flues of conservatories and the like; or subjecting them to scalding heat, by pouring boiling water over them, as in the case of Ipomæ‘a Quamóclit ; or, again, to the stranger process of absolute boiling for the space of ten or fifteen minutes : also of soaking in alkalies : immersing in acids, (e. g., oxalic acid,) or watering with a weak solution of acid, until the seed vegetates, or with a solution of chlorine, which has the same effect. Doubtless, in some of the instances, a chemical action is sustained between the amylaceous particles of the seed and the acid agent, or some gaseous principle is evolved which had been lost by drying or age, but in others, as in boiling and scalding, the action seems mysterious. However curious the subject, or inexplicable the mode, yet the pleasant fact remains, and, in lieu of disappointment, by some one of these modes, the careful experimenter is enabled to raise to successful culture, species of plants, the seeds of which he may have had in his possession for years, and been unable to excite to a growth.
In the case of the harder kinds of seeds, those covered with a very tough, or else with a very indurated shell or husk, for instance, the Acàciæ and Mimòsæ, it does not seem so surprising that the action of extreme heat should be so well sustained. The extremely hard-wooded shell of the Hawthorn seed, (Cratæ gus) it is well known, enables that plant to resist vegetative influence for one, two or more years: and although, if sown as soon as ripe, many of the seed will appear on the next spring, yet straggling plants may be seen in the seed bed, rising from the original sowing, for successive seasons. So the seeds of the Honey locust (Gleditschiu) are of the same character in process of vegetation. Subjected to boiling, the seeds of Acacia lophántha will sustain no injury when boiled fifteen minutes, as we have repeatedly observed; nay, the young plants seem to grow the more rapidly from seed subjected to that length of the process, than those from seed not so long boiled. Many curious leguminous seeds are almost annually brought from tropical countries, either gathered from wild plants, or sent from botanical collections, which are thrown away by ignorant culturists, into whose hands they may chance to fall, or sown without any reference to these well known facts in vegetable economy, and are thus never destined to see the light. To the Acacia and Mimosa tribe especially, (of the great natural order Leguminosa,) our greenhouses and collections of living plants are very much indebted for rare elegance of foliage or exquisite beauty of flower, or fragrance of blossom, or general contour of shape; and in some such collections, some one species or variety may be rare.
To increase the chance of possessing some newer or rare kind, it surely would repay the amateur or common gardener for whatever trouble or patience he might exercise to insti..