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the nectaries are multiplied to the exclusion of the petals, as in Colombine.
"Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too,"
sings Cowper; and ours, humble as it is, may afford us some instruction, as we sit and contemplate its evergreen inhabitants, filling their little amphitheatre in due succession of rank and dignity.
"Foreigners from many lands, They form one social shade, as if convened By magic summons of the Orphean lyre.”
These Vine-leaves, which were suspended yesterday by a thread with their under-surfaces turned towards the windows, have already recovered their natural position, although detached from the stem; whence we not only learn that light acts beneficially upon the upper surface and injuriously upon the under side of leaves, but we have proof that the turning is effected by an impression made upon the leaf itself, and not upon the foot-stalk. Fruit-trees on the opposite sides of a wall invariably turn their leaves from the wall in search of light, which seems to have a positive attraction for them, exclusive of any accompanying warmth; for plants in a hot-house present the fronts of their leaves, and even incline their branches to the quarter where there is most light, not to that where most air is admitted, nor to the flue in search of heat. Light gives the green colour to leaves; for plants raised in darkness are of a sickly white, of which the common practice of blanching Celery in gardens, by covering it up with earth, is a proof under every one's observation. By experiments made with coloured
glasses, through which light was admitted, it appears that plants become paler in proportion as the glass approaches nearer to violet.
This annual Mesembryanthemum would have afforded us another illustration of the extraordinary provisions of Nature for the dispersion of seed. It is a native of the sandy deserts of Africa, and its seedvessels only open in rainy weather, otherwise the seeds in that country might lie long exposed before they met with sufficient moisture to vegetate. Succulent plants, which possess more moisture in proportion as the soil which they are destined to inhabit is parched and sunny, attain that apparently contradictory quality by the great facility with which they imbibe, and their being almost totally free from perspiration, which in plants of other latitudes is sometimes excessive. According to Dr. Hales, the large annual Sunflower perspires about seventeen times as fast as the ordinary insensible perspiration of the human skin; and the quantity of fluid which evaporates from the leaves of the Cornelian Cherry in the course of twenty-four hours, is said to be nearly equal to twice the weight of the whole shrub. Sometimes, from a sudden condensation of their insensible evaporation, drops of clear water will, even in England, in hot calm weather, fall from groves of Poplar or Willow, like a slight shower of rain. Ovid has made a poetical use of this exudation from Lombardy Poplars, which he supposes to be the tears of Phaeton's sisters, who were transformed into those trees.
How utterly vain and insignificant appear all the
alembics and laboratories of chemists and experimen tal philosophers, when compared with the innumerable, exquisite, and unfathomable processes which Nature, in silence and without effort, is at this instant elaborating within the precincts of our little garden! From the same mysterious earth, planted in the same pot, her inscrutable powers will not only concoct various flowers utterly dissimilar in form, odour, colours, and properties,—some perhaps containing a deadly poison, others a salutary medicine; but she will even sometimes combine all these discordant secretions in the same plant. The gum of the Peach-tree, for instance, is mild and mucilaginous. The bark, leaves, and flowers, abound with a bitter secretion of a purgative and rather dangerous quality. The fruit is replete not only with acid, mucilage, and sugar, but with its own peculiar aromatic and highly volatile secretion, elaborated within itself, on which its fine flavour depends. How far are we still from understanding the whole anatomy of the vegetable body, which can create and keep separate such distinct and discordant substances!* Iron has been detected in roses, and is supposed to be largely produced by vegetable decomposition, from the chalybeate quality and ochrous deposit of waters flowing from morasses; and it is well ascertained that pure flint is secreted in the hollow stem of the Bamboo, in the cuticle of various grasses, in the cane, and in the rough Horsetail, in which latter it is very copious, and so disposed as to make a na
* Smith's Introduction to Botany.
tural file, for which purpose it is used in our manufactures. What a contrast, exclaims the same ingenious botanist, to whom we have been so largely indebted, between this secretion of the tender vege table frame, and those exhalations which constitute the perfume of flowers! One is among the most permanent substances in nature-an ingredient in the primæval mountains of the globe; the other, the invisible, intangible breath of a moment!
Among the innumerable advantages to be derived from a knowledge of botany, however slight, may be mentioned the perpetual amusement which it affords in scenes which to others might be only productive of ennui; the impressions of pure natural religion which it awakens, and the lofty and ennobling sentiments by which they are invariably associated. Nor do we need for this purpose the garden's artificial embellishments, as the same sensations may be excited, even in a more striking degree, amid the most desolate scenes. Nature in every form is lovely still.
I can admire to ecstasy, although
And harking to the warbling beaks above.—
Beneath whose weeds the muddy runnel scrambles-
A thorn, a weed, an insect, or a stone,
The trees and mountains, like conductors, raise
My spirit upward on its flight sublime;
And clouds, and sun, and heaven's marmorean floor,
Up to the dread Invisible, to pour
My grateful feelings out in silent praise.
When the soul shakes her wings, how soon we fly
ADDRESS TO THE MUMMY AT BELZONI'S
AND thou hast walk'd about (how strange a story!)
Speak! for thou long enough hast acted Dummy,
Not like thin ghosts or disembodied creatures,
To whom should we assign the Sphinx's fame?
Was Cheops or Cephrenes architect
Of either Pyramid that bears his name?