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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 100l, were offered for a fellow plant to it, it could not be got. The gentleman that was with you asked what caused this plant to make such extraordinary progress. Why, charcoal. It has nothing but charcoal, stones, a little sand, and some heath mould, all jumbled together in lumps as large as bricks broken into about six or eight pieces. There is also Pimelèa decussata, which I have
treated in the same manner, 3 ft. high and 13 ft. 3 in. in circumference. I fancy those who exbibit in London would require a number of vans to remove sixty such specimens as this is. I will now give you a list of a few of the plants contained in the house, you being now aware of my treatment and method of training them, and having so lately seen in what health they are. Height. Circumf.
Ft. In. Ft. In. Polygala oppositi
Scóttia dentàta fine folia
40 7 6 Podolòbium chorozecordifolia 4 0 6
mæfòlium fine Pultenæ'a subumbel
staurophyllum do. làta
16 8 6 triangulàre - do. villosa fine
Mirbèlia dilatata 1 0 4 0 daphnöides do.
1 3 5 0 strícta do. ilicifolia fine 2 3
6 4 Muráltia mixta large
16 5 4 Corræ'a longiflora 20 5 0 Sóllya heterophylla quadriformis 2 6 3 6
very large. pulchella
3 0 4 6 Mariánthus cæruleospeciosa
2 0 3 6 punctatus covers a Oxylòbium arborés
wire trellis 4 ft. high fine
and 2 ft. 6 in. wide, retusum do.
flowering from top Pultenèæ do.
to the bottom, all capitàtum do.
in one mass. Dillwynia rùdis fine
Gompholòbium tenél. splendens do.
fine clavata do.
versícolor do. floribunda
1 3 4 0 pulchellum - do. cineráscens - 1 6 4 9 polymorphum do. speciosa do.
tenuifolium - do. púngens do.
grandiflorum do. Borònia denticul. do.
Hòvea críspa - do. crenulàta do.
do. serrulata do.
tomentosa do. triphylla do.
álba viminea 1 0 3 3 pungens
do. anemonæfólia 2 6 3 6 Manglèsii do. Crowea salígna fine
lanceolàta do. Eriostèmon buxifò.
pannosa do. lius - fine
ilicifòlia do. cuspidàtus - do.
Acàcia Brówni do.
nigricans do. Dicksonii do.
pubescens · do. inucronatum do.
dolabriformis 9 6 7 6 varium
and many others. ovatum do.
Bossiæ a rufa - fine spartiöides - do.
do. angustifolium do.
fine. conférta, do.
Cytisus elegans fine
Cyt. racemosa Hardenbergia Comptoniann
2 0 4 6 monophylla longi
racemosa - fine PoincianaGillièsä do. Tropæ'olum tricoldrum
tine brachýceras do. grandiflorum do.
Jarráttä do. Chymocarpus pen
taphyllus - ' fine Helichrysum retórtum
fine fasciculatum do.
spectábile - do. Leucostémma vestitum
fine Aphélexis humilis do. Lechenaúltia formòs. i 06 0
Drummondü 1 0 4 0 Brachysèma latifòlium
fine Plagiólobum choroze
mæfolium do, Platylobium formo
fine Murrayànum do. triangulare - do. Kennedya nígricans 4 0 4 6 Maryatta
5 0 4 6 pannosa
2 0 5 0 Zíchya inophylla 2 0 10 6
trícolor do. Pimelèa rosea do. intermèdia
do. hispida do. sylvestris do. linifolia do. hypericifolia do. ligústrina
1 0 4 6 hispida rosea 0 8 4 6
Height. Circumf. Name.
Ft. In. Ft. In. Dracophyllum secúndum
fine Cosmèlia rùbra do. Stenanthèra pinifolia
fine. Gardoquía Hookerü
fine. Grevillea spléndens - 2 6 7 4
argentifòlia - 2 6 6 6
sulphurea fine E'pacris paludosa do.
do. nivàlis rosea do. grandiflora - do. purpurascens do. obtusifolia do. purpurascens rùbra
fine cerifòra do. lævigàta do.
variabilis do. Fabiàna imbricata
fine. Labíchea bipinnata - | 1 6 4 0 Prostanthèra violà
fine Banksia coccinea do. serràta
do. quercifolia do. speciosa do. Cunninghàmü do. dentata do. littoralis do. æ'unula
do. formòsa do.
prostrata do. Dryándra nívea do. armata
do. nervosa do. floribunda do.
The above are only a few out of the collection of plants in the New Holland House at Bicton.
Bicton Gardens, Sept. 28. 1842.
LETTER V. The Orange and Camellia House, Vineries, Pineries, and Peach
houses, Back Sheds, 8c. List of Camellias. I am now about to describe the Orange and Camellia House; but, as you took particular notice respecting their growth, health, bloom, bud, &c., and my method of training them into any shape I chose, &c., I need not make many remarks on the plants. [Tied into regular conical shapes with green packthread. Mr. Barnes will, we trust, give us the details in a future letter.] I will describe to you my own method of potting or tubbing them, as the greater part of them are in tubs. Orange trees and camellias are both of them rather a difficult tribe of plants to get into a vigorous state after once losing their roots, and after the soil has been allowed to get into a sodden sour condition. I consider the orange trees to look worse than any tribe of plants I have under my charge at this present time. As you requested, I will give you the dimensions of this noble house; and then describe the state in which I found the plants. It is span-roofed, 120 ft. long, 16 ft. high, and about the same width.
I found a beautiful lot of young Orange Trees when I first came two years ago ; but by some means, at some time or other, they had been so dreadfully treated for the want of water, that they had actually lost every root, and were as black as the ink with which I am now writing. I was actually obliged to get a large hammer and an iron rod, and drive it through the earth in the tubs to let the water pass. They had been planted in a very heavy red marl, not loam, and had been soured with water; then, by getting dry, the earth closed together as bard as a lime-ash foor (as it is called in Devonshire), and shrunk away from the sides of the tub, so that a mouse could run round between the roots and the tub. imagine this was a curious way to see the roots of orange trees in, but so it was. I set to work and filled up this space as soon as I could; for what water had been given to them had run down this cavity, and out at the bottom of the tub as fast as it was poured in. I could do nothing more to them until the spring; when I took thenr out of the tubs they were in and put them into smaller ones, and the tubs at this time contain one mass of beautiful fibres. I have been all this summer preparing some beautiful loam for the purpose of shifting them early next spring (if I should live) into large tubs, and I intend to char a good heap or two of rubbish to mix with it, and plenty of stones.
I must here observe before going further, that I purposely keep their heads from growing this season to any extent, because they should make themselves properly strong at the bottom first of all; for it is of no use building a house without first laying the foundation: therefore, it would not be wise of me to force a fine head upon those poor trees for show, if they were so weak on their feet and toes as not