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blossoms out daily. Several very fine plants of Azalea indica álba, flowering in May in the greatest profusion. Several large plants of Wistària chinensis, covering trellises, running up poles, &c. Leptospermum baccatum, 12 ft. high and 22 ft. in circumference; there are also several plants of it from 4 ft. to
You observed you had never seen such large leptospermums growing out of doors before. Sóllya longiflòra, covering a large surface of trelliswork. Likewise several rare plants, of the names of which I am not quite certain, and others whose names I do not at all know yet; but I will send you a few specimens, as you were kind enough to offer to find out the names for me.
You noticed the number of Maltese vases in the flower-garden; the busts in niches outside the temple, the Duke of Wellington's in the most conspicuous place; with one of Sir Walter Raleigh, whose birthplace is in sight of the flower-garden, and whose property is now a part of this demesne; also a bust of the hero of Trafalgar. You observed the marble fountains, the shape and furnishing of the flower-beds, the green terrace walks and slopes, terminating with the little parish church, not seen till you approach it closely; and, as you noticed all these things, I shall not dwell upon them.
Bicton Gardens, Oct. 10. 1842.
LETTER IX. Importance of Cleanliness. Manure Water. Charcoal. The necessity of cleanliness amongst plants is universally acknowledged, but very partially practised. Dirtiness is the parent of all disease. What is more disgusting than a dirty dwelling-house? It becomes a harbour for all kinds of disease and vermin; but, if you keep it clean, you will not be plagued with either. There will be no food for flies and wasps, and none for the spider. So it is with all vegetation: it is only from our neglect that plants become covered with disease and vermin. I have seen, it is true, some few things a little improved within the last twenty-five years, but nothing is yet brought to that degree of perfection which it might be. Why is it so? Because, in my humble opinion, we often act in direct opposition to nature. Those who fancy they have made a new discovery, wishing to be considered more learned than their neighbour, do not assist him, but keep the secret to themselves, that their neighbour may not try to make some improvement ou what they consider as their invention. In unfolding my small and humble store of knowledge, I do not do so for gain of any kind to myself, nor am I doing it for a name, for if you think it right to withhold my name, do so; only it may be desirable, perhaps, for my brother-gardeners to have
some authority to refer to, as I mean to relate nothing but what I have put into practice fully; and I do not care who examines me. Perhaps I may not sufficiently explain myself, but the sooner I endeavour to do so the better.
Is it not disgusting to go into a house of fruiting pines and see them covered with scale and coccus of all kinds; and to smell black and yellow sulphur, black soap, and many other fetid drugs? I have seen such fruit sent to noblemen's and gentlemen's tables as I have not considered wholesome to eat; such as I would not have tasted myself. Houses of grapes covered with coccus, red spiders, and other vermin; the bunches shanked, cankered, and mildewed, &c. Can such fruit be wholesome to eat? I have seen melons, cucumbers, and other things in the same way. Whose fault is it?
Whose fault is it? Not nature's, but those who had the charge of the plants. Now, the grand secret is to sweep, brush, and mop; to use pure water and pure soil, with a proper drainage. These are the preventives for all kinds of disease and vermin. Well, but how are we to clean the already foul and diseased collection of fruit and plants? I will tell you, and in doing so state nothing but facts; but you must persevere, or you will not conquer. You must give your hothouses, greenhouses, forcing-houses, pits, and frames, air before the sun comes on them, and keep every thing properly watered; and, to clean and expel the present stock of vermin, you must use clean hot water from 140° to 150° Fahrenheit. Cut a bit of cloth into a circular shape, a little larger than the pots, and insert in its circumference a string to draw and tie round the rim of the pot; put a good handful of moss underneath the cloth, so as to keep all tight together, and prevent the earth from falling out, and the hot water from getting to the roots of the plants, &c. The cloth must be cut in the manner shown in fig. 6., with a slit or opening half-way across it, to admit the stem of the planı to pass through. Then tie it up quite tight, and apply the water with a syringe. I find that water heated from 140° to 150° Fahrenheit is sufficient to kill or expel any kind of mealy bug, coccus, scale, or vermin whatever, but not by one application; for, if the plants are very dirty, the insects will in time reappear Fig. 6. Cloth for tying over the from the crevices where they had taken Surface of Pois. refuge. You must, therefore, persevere in repeating the syringing with hot water, and you will have the pleasure of seeing your plants become clean and healthy. Pray observe that, if the plant is in a growing state, you must not use the hot water in a close place, for it will sometimes touch the young and tender leaves and shoots. Beware of that. When the plant has been stunted and starved, I have applied the water as high as 154°, and the vermin came off like the peelings of onions, and the plant acquired new life, and grew afterwards amazingly; but if you should use the water at 150° in the spring of the year, when the plants are growing freely, and the foliage and the shoots are young and tender, more especially if the place where you use it should be close, and the steam cannot get away quickly enough, the plant will be scalded. On the other hand, if the plant be taken into a shed, or some such place, or if you give the house in which it is a little air, there is not the least danger of scalding, and the plant will derive wonderful benefit from the syringing. I manage thus : I get two bricks, lay them in such a manner as to support the pot, and place it between them, the rim of the pot resting on the two bricks, so as to admit of the plant being raised or lowered in an oblique position without touching the ground (see fig. 7.) : this will also admit of turning the plant round at pleasure, so as to allow of syringing every part of the plant, as well over the surface of the leaves and heads of flowers, as on the under side of them, so that hot water may touch every part of the plant except the roots. Syringing answers bet- Fig:7Mode of placing Plants in Pots when they
be syringed ter, according to my own practice, than pouring on the water from a watering-pot, which would probably scald the plant, in the same manner as dipping it in water would do. For instance, if you syringe water at 150° heat against the back of your hand, it will only give you a smarting twinge for a moment; but if you dip the other hand into the same pot of water, it will scald it severely. Practice will soon teach you, if you persevere.
Manure Water. What is it?It is composed of sheepdung, cow-dung, soot, lime, and nitrate of soda, all mixed together, to be applied to the constitution of the plant as we see it requires it.
And now for Charcoal, that astonishing material, that purifier of all things. I have proved the use of charcoal in some thousands of instances. Did I not point it out to you when you were here? I do not claim making the discovery, for I do not know but that thousands have seen the same effects of charcoal in woods as I have done, for I have seen it in different parts of the country for the last twelve years at least; but I have not seen it put into practice, nor heard of any person using it, until within the last eighteen months or so. As I have stated in my first letter [p. 558. of our last volume], I came to think of trying it because I saw nature making use of it. In a place where scarcely a bush or a weed would grow; where there was a yellow stiff clay, and the subsoil was a rock of clay and gravel; where the clay had been poached about in wet weather; and where rusty-coloured mineral springs oozed out and ran about, I have seen, from charcoal dust being put on it accidentally, the barren spot become rich and luxuriant. Was not that enough to make me look about, and consider if I could not turn this to good account? I did so, and I have used charcoal ever since, more or less, as I could get it. I put it in bags and place it in cisterns of water, and into the manured water; I mix it amongst the earth, and drain almost every plant with it; and I am perfectly satisfied of its attractive purifying qualities. I was a long time before I could understand so much about it; but now I shall continue to use it, and I hope to keep my plants in the same healthy state in which you have lately seen them.
Bicton Gardens, October 11, 1842.
Art. III. How to make the most of a Cottage of only Two Rooms.
Much has been said of late of mechanics' cottages, and some designs have recently been published of dwellings for this class of persons, that have contained five rooms; but we all know that mechanics in general (unless they depend on lodgers) have not the od fortune to enjoy this extent of accommodation. This is not the state of things that ought to be, but it is the state of things as they are; for many mechanics are obliged to be content with even one room, and they consider themselves well off when they have two. At the same time many liberal noblemen build houses for their labourers containing five rooms, and even more, with a deal of external ornament to boot; but this is the exception, not the rule; therefore we must try to make the most of a two-roomed cottage; and the accompanying plans are submitted for that purpose.
Fig. 8. is the plan of a two-roomed cottage before it was altered. It was originally a wheelwright's shop, and the land
lord, in converting it into a dwelling, just put a fireplace in each end, and the division down the middle; the two windows were the shop windows, and the two doors were originally one
Fig. 8. A Cottage of Two Rooms before being allered.
large door for the wheelright. The out-buildings were made similar to those of fig. 9. There was no proper situation for a bed, and as soon as the door was opened the bed was exposed; besides, the rooms were very cold in winter from having no passage or inner door. The occupant wished to get rid of these grievances, as well as to have a kitchen, parlour, and bed-room (in effect), without the expense of building an additional room. To accomplish this I converted the house into fig. 9. by putting up a wainscot division in the east room (the building faces the south), making a closet in the passage, leaving sufficient room behind it for the length of a bed. Concealed beds are very much the fashion in Scotland, and I believe, too, in France. An upper chamber is, however, always preferable for a bedroom where it can be had ; but when it cannot, a well-aired bed recess, with a neat curtain in front, leaves a sitting-room tidy, and conveys the idea of a respectable family. A window was made in the east end of the house, as the front window was too small, and the door of the west room was converted into a window. The occupant has been so well pleased with the new arrangement of his house, that he has had the parlour painted, papered, and carpeted. The exact amount of the mason's and joiner's bills was 61. 10s. 3d.; and let landlords just look to the additional comfort that this small amount affords. I have not sent you the elevation, for it is not handsome, and has not been altered; but for the matter of 41. 10s. I could beautify the exterior with lime, trellising, &c., so as to make the house an object of interest. In the improved plan fiy. 9.), a is the lobby;