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logical gastronomy. So unaccountable, indeed, are sometimes the actions both of man and beast, not only in the eating department, but also in domestic arrangements, that we might really fancy the performers not to be quite right in their heads.
Whilst I am actually writing this, there are two geese on the lawn before me. One of them is a Canada goose, the other a barnacle gander. The latter is about half the size of the former. Notwithstanding this disparity, the old fool of a goose has taken the insignificant little fellow into connubial favour, although there are four and twenty others of the Canada species here, from which she has it fully in her power to make a more profitable choice. Singular to tell, this is the third year that these infatuated simpletons have paired, and the goose laid eggs, without any chance of a progeny. And, in high quarters, sometimes unions take place, where the husband is ignorant of the language of his wife, and the wife of that of her husband.
How capricious, then, is the taste, not only of Mr. Wighton's captive squirrels, but also of geese, and eke of man himself! By only a few days'" loss of liberty, I have shown that Mr. Wighton's pretty squirrel preferred the flesh of birds to its own “ favourite kind of food."
My tom-cat, apparently an excellent mouser, will sometimes eat plentifully of dry biscuit, and turn up his nose at mutton chop. Sterne's ass seemed to relish macaroon. Did all asses relish macaroon, we might doubt the fitness of the Spanish proverb, “La miel no es para la boca del asno :" Honey is not made for the mouth of the ass. Parrots in cages will pull off their own feathers, and eat them by the dozen. Blackbirds, although on very short allowance, caused by the frosty weather, would not touch their favourite ivy berries, which were thrown down in abundance for them in the garden of my friend, Mr. Loudon of Bayswater. I knew a healthy old owl who took her confinement so much to heart that she refused all kind of food, and died at last for want of it. And, when I was in the Mediterranean Sea, I saw a brute in the shape of man, swallow pieces of raw fowl (which he had torn asunder, feathers and all,) with as much avidity as Sir Robert Peel devours our incomes.
Should Mr. Wighton read this paper, he cannot fail to perceive that I have many serious obstacles to overcome, before I can arrive at the very important conclusion, that the family of squirrel is carnivorous in its own native haunts.
Walton Hall, March 8. 1843.
ART. VII. Arboricultural Notices.
DISBARKING Timber Trees to increase the Durability of the Timber is useful in the case of the resinous tribe, but injurious with trees that are non-resinous. This is the result of extensive experience in the South of France by M. Laure of Toulon. This gentleman has also found that the trunk of the white oak (Quércus pedunculata), disbarked when in full sap, has a power of reproducing the bark. Soon after disbarking, some drops of a fluid ooze out, which thickens and takes a green colour as soon as it comes in contact with the atmosphere; and this process of oozing out, thickening, and colouring, continues till the surface of the trunk, which had previously been laid bare as far as the soft wood, is covered with a rough granulated surface of a greyish colour without, and of a herbaceous green within. By degrees, a very thin pellicle is formed on the surface of this exuded matter, which ends in becoming the epidermis of a new bark ; and this bark, by the end of the first summer, becomes of sufficient thickness to admit of the descent of the sap from the branches to the base of the trunk. (Ann, d'Hort. Soc. de Paris, tom. xxxi. p. 17.) [We have known the same thing take place in the case of a pear tree, the trunk of which had been laid completely bare to the white wood all round, and for between 3 ft. and 4 ft. in length.]
Raising American Trees from Seed.-Mr. Charlwood's annual Catalogue of American Tree Seeds, just printed, is this year unusually rich in the genera Andrómeda, Jùglans, Càrya, Magnolia, Pinus, Rhododendron, and various others; and, as packets of these seeds may be sent by post to any part of the United Kingdom, there never was so fine an opportunity for provincial nurserymen and country gentlemen to enlarge their arboretums at little expense. We would recommend first procuring a catalogue from Mr. Charlwood, and next marking the species wanted, and returning it with an order at the rate of 1s. for every species marked. We mention this mode, because a gentleman with whom we have been conversing on the subject has complained to us that some of the kinds are sold only by the bushel, and that he only wants a few plants to extend his collection. — Cond.
Nuts with a bony Shell, such as those of the olive, holly, hawthorn, &c., which at present lie a year in the ground before they germinate, have been found to grow the first year when the nut is broken, provided the kernel is not injured. This has been effected in France, in the case of the olive, by the aid of a small press or a vice, with which, it is said, a female can break 2000 olive nuts in one day, without injuring the kernels. We doubt if this could be done so easily with the nuts of the holly or the hawthorn, but the suggestion is worth trying. (Annales d'Hort. de Paris, tom. xxxi. p. 15.)
Paulownia imperialis, in the Jardin des Plantes, showed flower-buds in the autumn of 1841, which stood the winter and came into flower on the 29th of April, 1842 ; thus proving the great hardiness of the tree when it can ripen its wood. The flowers are of a fine blue, somewhat like those of Gloxinia caulescens, and they have an agreeable smell like those of Philadelphus. The Paulownia has been propagated to an amazing extent in France, so much so, that it is said already to have produced more money to commercial gardeners than any other plant known. The price has fallen from 5 guineas to 28. 6d. (Annales d'Hort, de Paris, tom. xxx. p. 406.)
Balsam Poplars. The following kinds are described by Dr. Fischer of St. Petersburg in the Garten Zeitung, vol. ix. p. 401., and also in the Botanical Register for March, 1843. We trust some nurseryman or private gentleman connected with St. Petersburg will endeavour to procure living plants of such of them as are not already in this country, or rather of the whole of them; for, though there are several of the names in Messrs. Loddiges's collection, yet the plants are too small to enable us to judge how far they answer Dr. Fischer’s description. Should this meet the eye of Dr. Fischer, or of any one else who possesses the whole collection, we beg to state that we shall feel greatly obliged by a plant or a cutting of each, for which we shall be glad to reciprocate.
Pópulus balsamífera L., P. tristis Fisch., P. longifolia Fisch., P. candicans Hort. Kew., P. pseudo-balsamífera Fisch., P. laurifòlia Ledebour, P. suavèolens Fisch,
Art. I. Catalogue of Works on Gardening, Agriculture, Botany,
Rural Architecture, &c., lately published, with some Account of
those considered the more interesting. A NARRATIVE of a Visit to the Australian Colonies. By James Backhouse. Illus
trated by three maps, fifteen etchings, and several wood-cuts. 8vo, pp. 704. London and York, 1843.
Some of our readers may recollect an article on the indigenous esculents of Van Diemen's Land, in our Volume for 1835 p. 338., by the author of the Narrative now before us. Mr. Backhouse was at that time in Australia, on a visit which occupied nearly six years, terminating with 1838. “ It was undertaken, solely, for the purpose of discharging a religious duty. During its course, the writer kept a Journal, in which, having been trained to habits of observation, records were made, not only on religious subjects, but also on such as regarded the productions of the countries visited, the state of the aborigines, and the emigrant and prisoner population, &c."
The work consists of 47 chapters, and 18 papers as an appendix, and it is illustrated by many very clever etchings, independently of large maps, and several wood-cuts. Every chapter is a personal relation of what took place with the author and his fellow-traveller, and recounts not only what relates to his “religious duty,” but what he observed as a naturalist, and inore especially as a botanist. The two pursuits appear to have gone hand in hand, in the most natural manner; and it is impossible not to be deeply affected by the sincere piety of the author on the one hand, and on the other instructed by his observations on the animals, plants, and geological features, that fell in his way. Add to this the many incidents which befell him in a country under the peculiar circumstances of almost the only inhabitants being either aboriginal savages or convicts. In a word, Mr. Backhouse's Narrative is a singularly entertaining book, as much so as The Bible in Spain ; but, though equally religious, yet quite in a different way.
In the appendix is an enlarged version of the paper already referred to, by which it appears that there is not a single plant indigenous to Australia worth cultivating for its fruit, or as a culinary vegetable, unless it be the common mushroom. Most of the European fruits and vegetables, however, thrive well. It will readily be conceived that in such a climate as Australia a green lawn cannot readily be obtained in the summer season; nevertheless we have a substitute for perpetual verdant herbage in a stemless evergreen Xanthorrhæ'a, or grass tree, which reminds us of a plant recommended by Duhamel for a similar purpose in the warmer parts of France, the ephedra (E. of Trees and Shrubs, p. 937.); while for dry sandy soils, both in France and England, M. Vilmorin recommends (Vol. for 1841, p. 199.) the Bromus pratensis.
We could extract many singular facts and entertaining passages from this work, but we prefer recommending the original. We intend, however, to return to it, and select a list of the plants mentioned, bringing together their habitats and such other particulars as lie scattered over the volume. We could wish, indeed, that this had been done by Mr. Backhouse himself, either in an appendix or in a botanical index.
Treatise on the cultivated Grasses and other Herbage and Forage Plants, with the
Kinds and Quantities of Seeds for sowing doun Land to alternate Husbandry, permanent Pasture, Lawns, 8c. By Peter Lawson and Son, Seedsmen to the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland. Pamph, 8vo, pp. 49. Edinburgh and London, 1843.
This is a very carefully prepared work, and one which ought to be in the hands of every farmer who practises the alternate husbandry, and of every gardener who has lawns to form. The introduction contains the history of herbage and forage plants, in the early ages, in England, in Scotland, and in Ireland; and a history of the introduction of species and of varieties. Next follow descriptions of the true or natural grasses, and of the clovers or artificial grasses, followed by remarks on sowing by measure and weight, and a table of weights per bushel, and number of seeds per ounce. Then follow 13 tables of kinds and quantities of grass seeds required for sowing an imperial acre; 1. for alternate husbandry ; 2. for permanent pasture, first mixture and second mixture ; 3. for permanent lawn pastures, first mixture and second mixture ; 4. for fine lawns, bowling-greens, &c.; 5. for lands in preparation for irrigation ; 6. for pasture and hay in orchards, &c.; 7. for pasturage and cover in thick shady woods; 8. for heathy and moory lands, &c.; 9. for improved dry mossy grounds, &c. ; 10. for marshy grounds, &c.; 11. for warrens and light sandy links; 12. for dry gravelly situations, &c.; and 13. for drifting or blowing sands. The following quotations will afford a specimen of the valuable matter contained in this pamphlet.
“ Weight of Seeds preferable to Measure.— It was formerly an almost universal practice to sow the grasses by measure, and the clovers by weight ; but, of late, the more judicious innovation of sowing the whole by weight has been successfully introduced; for although the greater weight in one sort is no criterion of its superiority over less weight in another, yet a greater weight in the same kind always denotes a superior quality. Thus, when seed is light, and consequently inferior, the greatest number of seeds is obtained by adhering to a given weight; and hence there is a chance of nearly an equal number of plants springing up as when the seeds are plump and heavy. But a given weight or measure, applied to the seeds of different grasses, is no indication of the number of plants each sort will produce ; there being material differences both in the relative bulk and specific gravities of such seeds, as well as a difference in the number of each which germinate in a given quantity. In making out the tables, these variations have therefore been kept in view; and it has also been deemed useful, for the purposes of comparison, to subjoin a tabular statement of the average weight per bushel of each of the kinds of seeds recommended, with the average number of seeds required to weigh one ounce.” (p. 33.)
In this table, the greatest number of seeds contained in an ounce is in the case of Agrostis stolonífera, the marsh creeping bent-grass, or fiorin, amounting to 500,000 ; and the smallest number is in E'lymus geniculàtus, the jointed sand lyme grass, an ounce of the seeds of which contains only 2300 seeds. With regard to weight, a bushel of Cynosurus cristàtus, the crested dog's-tail grass, weighs 26 lb.; while a bushel of Avèna flavescens, the yellowish oat grass, weighs only 5 lb. In the case of the herbage plants not grasses, an ounce of Achillea millefolium, the yarrow or common milfoil, an ounce contains 200,000 seeds, and a bushel weighs 294 lb. while an ounce of common red clover contains 16,000 seeds, and a bushel weighs 64 lb. As might be expected, the variation in the weight per bushel of the seeds of the dicotyledonous herbage plants is not nearly so great as in the case of the proper grasses.
Sowing with and without a Crop. It is not our purpose here to discuss the question, as to whether it is better to sow grass seeds for permanent pasture with or without a corn crop. Both systems have their advocates, as well as their advantages and defects, and depend, in a great measure, on the varied circumstances which present themselves in practice; and therefore, in the following tables, separate columns are given for each of these methods; it being always expedient to sow a somewhat larger portion of seeds without than with a corn crop ; and, in that case, it is farther advisable, for affording shelter to the young plants, to add a bushel of rye to the mixture when sown in autumn, and a bushel of barley when sown in spring; to be depastured or cut green along with the young grass crop.” (p. 34.)
As a specimen of the care with which the tables have been drawn up, we give an extract from IV., which exhibits the mixture for “ Fine Lawns, Bowling-Greens, &c., kept constantly under the scythe.” There are three columns, viz. for light soils, heavy soils, and medium soils, and in each column there is the quantity for sowing with a crop and without a crop. We shall give a selection for a medium soil without a crop, viz. Cynosurus cristàtus, 6 lb.; Festùca duriúscula, 3 lb.; Festùca tenuifolia, 2 lb. ; Lolium perénne ténue, 20 lb.; Pòa nemorális, 1 lb.; P. n. sempervirens, 14 lb. ; Pòa trivialis, 1 lb.; Trifolium rèpens, 7 lb.; and T. r. mìnus, 2 lb. ; in all 454 lb. to a statute
“In walks, bowling-greens, &c., which are wished to be kept as dry as possible, especially towards the end of the season, Trifolium repens should be sparingly introduced; and when it is intended to mow the grass by machine, instead of the common scythe, greater proportions of the hard and fine-leaved fescues may be sown.” (p. 40.)
The prices of all the seeds enumerated in the tables may be ascertained by application to the authors for their priced list of agricultural seeds, which they publish annually.
Art. II. Literary Notices. REMARKS on the Laying out of Cemeteries and the Improvement of Churchyards, forming an octavo pamphlet of 130 pages, with above 50 engravings, will appear with the present Number. It contains the two articles already published, and those which are intended to appear ; therefore no reader of this Magazine need have recourse to the pamphlet.
London Nuisances ; viz. Smoke, Water, Fire, Sewerage, Roads, &c., will appear on April 1., and will be completed in 12 numbers. The author is A. Booth, Esq., chemical engineer, whose Guide to London is noticed in our Volume for 1839, p. 562.
ART. I. General Notices. To prevent Mice from destroying early sown Peas, take a few small slices of bread, and dust a little arsenic on them. Place these slices on different parts where the peas are sown, and cover them over with pots or any other thing, so that nothing but the mice can get to the bread. This plan I have found quite sure of destroying the mice. — M. Saul.
Dáminara orientalis has been found by M. Neumann to succeed when grafted on the Araucària imbricàta. The mode adopted is the wedge side-grafting, invented by Mr. Barron in grafting the deodara on the cedar of Lebanon, and described in our Volume for 1838, p. 80. One advantage of this mode of grafting (by which the stock is not cut over) is, that, if it does not succeed, the stock is not injured; but with M. Neumann there was hardly a single failure. Dámmara austrális might probably be rendered half-hardy by being grafted on the Araucària. (Ann. d'Hort. de Paris, tom. xxx. p. 393.)