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inferior, not suiting the season. One part of the field, equally good with the other and as well manured, may fail also from tids of weather being against it, one piece being worked on a dry day, the other on a wet; one piece or one field being farther advanced than another, and not suffering so much from drought as the other, the soil being more retentive in one place, and more open and porous in another. If all these are not properly taken into account, the observation is imperfect; and some of them may, from circumstances, have eluded the observation of the most vigilant. There must be causes for every thing, but we must wade through much difficulty in arriving at them before we can furnish proper data, and must not expect mathematical results where so many obstacles, seen and unseen, are in the way.
The best experiments for ascertaining the true nature of the action of these substances are those made by Mr. Fortune in the Society's Experimental Gardens. He washed silver sand as a soil for plants, to prevent any effect from previous organic remains; and also washed the roots of the geraniums he planted in the sand. The result was, that none of the various substances he watered with in solution had any more effect than common water, except carbonate of ammonia and wood-ashes mixed, which contain the most of the constituents generally needed in plants. In some potted in common soil, the other substances produced the usual effect. Before any action can take place, it is evident that real food containing all the constituents of plants must be supplied from some source, and these substances will always be most generally valuable. Such as sulphuric acid, which is found only in very small quantities, unless in some particular kinds of plants; and such as muriatic acid *, of which only a trace is to be found; must be much less needed than carbonic acid, and must act principally by their influence on the constituents of food, either in the soil before absorption, or in the transformations going on in the plant. Suchbases as iron are prejudicial, unless in very small quantity; such as magnesia and alumina are very little needed as constituents, and must be sometimes hurtful in excess. Potash
* The experiments of Mr. Solly on muriatic acid, lately recorded in the Gardener's Chronicle, show that, so far from being injurious, as formerly supposed, and poisonous to plants, he found it beneficial, even in pretty large quantities. "He found it, also, to have the effect of requiring much less water to the pot the plant experimented on was growing in ; the usual perspiration of the plant being much checked, either by the stopping of the pores, or preventing the extrication of water chemically. Some pots naturally require much more water than others, but this is likely to have been observed. Acids, generally, are prescribed to check perspiration in human beings ; if acids have the same effect on plants, it may be found another circumstance requiring attention. Such an action cannot, certainly, be generally beneficial.
3d Ser. - 1843. I.
is most prevalent in all parts of the plant, and should, therefore, be most beneficial. Lime is found in greatest proportion in the stem, and should be most beneficial to the growing plant. Soda is found most in seeds, and should be most useful at the time of ripening. It is evident, also, that such as soda cannot be so much needed, as a constituent, as potash; though, as a solvent, it is more powerful. Nitrate of soda has been very beneficial to onions this season; its deliquescent property of extracting water from the air may be useful in a dry season. As a knowledge of these things spreads, it may conduce to economy to employ them only when needed; and the object of fruitfulness may be secured at much less expense.
Art. II. The Roller called Pica marina in Italy. By CHARLES
The groundsel's feather'd seed, and twit and twit;
I would not hold him prisoner for the world.” Hurdis. I KNOW nothing in the environs of Rome half so grand and charming as the ornamented grounds of the beautiful villa Pamphili Doria, the gates of which are always opened to the public. A blessing be upon the head of its princely owner, for this prized permission to the world at large! May his liberality never suffer by the hand of wanton mischief, or ever be checked by the presence of a rude intruder! Many a time, when fairly tired with the never ending scenes of painting and of sculpture within the walls of the eternal city, have I resorted to this enchanting spot, here to enjoy an hour or two of rural quiet, and of purer air : and, could I have had a few British gardeners by my side, the enjoyment would have been more complete; for gardeners in general are choice observers, to them
“ Not a tree,
A folio volume." The marble fountains of Pamphili Doria, its lofty trees, its waterfalls, its terraces, its shrubs and flowers and wooded winding-paths, delight the soul of man, and clearly prove what magic scenes can be produced, when studied art goes hand in hand with nature. The walk, canopied by evergreens of ancient growth, and at the end of which a distant view of St. Peter's colossal temple bursts upon the sight, has so much truth and judgment in its plan, that I question whether its parallel can be found in the annals of horticultural design.
When St. Peter's dome is illuminated, whilst standing under the wooded archway of this walk, you may fancy yourself on the confines of Elysium.
As an additional charm to the beauties of Pamphili Doria, the birds are here protected, so that not one of them which comes within its precincts is ever transported to the birdmarket at the Pantheon in Rome, where individuals of every species known in Italy, from the wren to the raven, may be had, ready trussed for the spit. I myself, in the course of the season, have seen and examined the following list of good things on the stalls, to regale natives and foreigners in Rome. * Towards the close of April, the walks of Pamphili Doria resound with the sweet notes of the nightingale both day and night; and, from February to mid-July, the thrush and blackbird pour forth incessant strains of melody.
There stands in this enclosure a magnificent grove of stone pines, vast in their dimensions, and towering in their height. Here the harmless jackdaw nestles, here the hooded crow is seen, here the starling breeds in numbers, and here the roller, decked in all the brilliant plumage of the tropics, comes to seek his daily fare. But, as far as I could perceive, after two seasons
Wild boars, roebucks, red deer, hares, rabbits, pheasants, frogs, common partridges and two other species, quails, water rails, godwits, snipes, woodcocks, dabchicks, coots, wild ducks, wild geese, golden plovers, green plovers, sandpipers, wigeons, teal, gargany, brown-headed ducks, sheldrakes, tufted Grecian ducks, green linnets, goldfinches, brown linnets, grosbeaks, land tortoises, ringdoves, rock pigeons, fancy pigeons, wagtails, robin redbreasts, common buntings, grey buntings, cirl buntings, bluecap titmouse, oxeye titmouse, longtailed titmouse, blackcap titmouse, cole titmouse, blackcap sylvia, song thrush, blackbird, blue thrush, jays, magpies, rooks, hooded crows, hedge sparrows, hawks, siskins, common larks, black-throated larks, titlarks, smaller larks, judcocks, land rails, combs from the heads of cocks, fowl and turkey legs and feet, buzzards, curlews, small stints, redwings, pochards, falcons, civetta owls, whinchats, windhover bawks, kites, stone curlews, jackdaws, shoveler ducks, gobbo ducks, hedgehogs, water hens, spotted water hens, bitterns, mergansers, stormcocks, porcupines, foxes, goats, kids, yellow wagtails, fieldfares, hooting owls, horned owls, barn owls, wheatears, redstarts three species, nightingales, yellow-breasted chats, stonechats, brown-headed shrikes, common shrikes, little terns, gulls, Guinea fowls, goatsuckers, eggs from the ovarium of all sizes, wind eggs, larger white egret, common heron, turkeys, guts of turkeys and common fowls, swifts, swallows, starlings, little bitterns, white-winged bitterns, large bitterns, bullfinches, chaffinches, water tortoises, turtle doves, water rails, shags, red-throated mergansers, badgers, lesser spotted woodpeckers, smallest woodpeckers, green woodpeckers, small white-throated mergansers, common wrens, common gold-crested wrens, splendid golden crested wrens, house sparrows, mountain sparrows, mountain sparrows with yellow speck on the throat, olive-throated bunting, crested grebes, Canary birds, hoopoes, rollers, beeeaters, golden orioles. Add to this list butcher's meat of all descriptions, and the finest fruits and vegetables, and flowers. By the custom-house report, seventeen thousand quails have entered Rome in one day.
N.B. If a man cannot get fat in this city at a very moderate expense, it must be his own fault.
of observation, he does not make his nest in the trees. Holes in lofty walls, and in stately ruins, are the favourite places for his nidification. The cradle plumage of his young displays the metallic colours of after-life; hence, there is no perceptible difference in the appearance of the adult male and female. After passing the summer months in Europe, he returns to Africa at the autumnal equinox.
The aerial movements of this bird put one in mind of our own rook, when in the act of shooting downwards from on high. He rises perpendicularly, and then descends in rapid zigzag evolutions, during which process, if you get betwixt the sun and him, you have a magnificent view of his lovely plumage. His voice has something in it of the united notes of the jay and magpie.
Innovations in modern ornithology, so prolific of scientific confusion and unimportant distinctions, have removed this bird from the family of Pie, where it had had a place from time immemorial; thus rendering useless its most ancient name of Pica marina.
It was known in the time of the Romans. - Picus in auspiciis avis observata Latinis ;” and it was also admitted into heathen mythology. Virgil alludes to the beautiful colours in its wing: and above two thousand years ago, when the gods used to change men into other animals, just as easily as we nowadays change our acts of parliament, the Pica marina was both king and horsebreaker,“ equum domitor.” He was married to the celebrated Circe, an enchantress of the first order; she who changed the sailors of Ulysses into swine. The royal horsebreaker had unfortunately shown a partiality for a young woman in his own neighbourhood, a thing not altogether unknown in our days. This so enraged his wife, that, with her magic rod, far more potent than finger nails, she transformed him into a bird; and, at the same time, bespangled his wings with beautiful colours.
“ Fecit avem Circe, sparsitque coloribus alas." Walton Hall, Nov. 9. 1842.
ART. JII. Bicton Gardens, their Culture and Management. In a
Series of Letters to the Conductor. By James Barnes, Gardener to the Right Honourable Lady Rolle.
(Continued from our preceding Volume, p. 621.) Letter IV. House for New Holland Plants. List of New Holland Plants. I will now give you the dimensions, and a few other particulars, of the most lovely and interesting tribe of plants ever introduced into this country, in my humble opinion, and which generally come into flower at a very convenient season of the year; but, indeed, there is always something new and interesting amongst such a noble collection of plants as there is in the New Holland House at Bicton gardens. If charcoal and charcoal dust have made more improvement in one tribe of plants than another, it is amongst them. They have all of them charcoal about them; and it is a pleasure, when potting them, to see the fine roots they make amongst it. This house has a noble span roof, and of the same dimensions, and fitted up in the same manner, as the heath-house, with a Portland stone walk between the stone platform in the centre and the shelves, which go all round. As you took particular notice of my system of potting and training these plants, I will leave you to give a description of them. There is one most remarkable plant, Chorózema vàrium, amongst many others which I forgot to show you ; it is out of doors, and too large to be got into any house this season, therefore I intend leaving it out of doors for the present, and sheltering it a little, to try if it will do out. It will astonish every one but those that have seen it, when they are told that this time two years it was a plant in a 32-pot, what is called in Devonshire a penny pot; it is now in a 4-shilling pot. It is only 3 ft. 6 in. high, and is 32 ft. in circumference, with many thousands of shoots, all set with flowers from top to bottom; the shoots are so thick that you cannot see whether the plant is in a pot or turned out into the ground, for the branches cover the grass turf all round, like a large rhododendron. But it will be asked what made it grow so wonderfully. Why, charcoal, loam, a little heath mould, some large stones, and a small quantity of river sand; and, by continually stopping the shoots, I made it so thick and dwarfish. I will give you another instance of the extraordinary effect charcoal has produced on another very valuable plant, Lechenaúltia bíloba, which has been said by many cultivators of plants to be a bad ugly grower. Now this plant, which I am going to describe, is about two years old, from a cutting; it is now in a No. 2. pot, is 1 ft. 3 in. high, covering the rim of the pot, and 7 ft. 9 in. in circumference, thick with shoots, as I have seen fine plants of L. formosa at the exhibitions about London. I have counted 500 blooms open on the plant all at one time. If there is one plant in the house more beautiful than another, it is this plant. If 1001. were offered for a fellow plant to it, it could not be got. The gentleman that was with