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milk in the basin was nearly as far up as the mark made when the first weighing was done ; and, when he saw that it required to rise to the mark before it came to the balance, his wonder was at its height, and he hoped that Colin would forgive him for doubting the truth of the statements he had made.
Walter Glenesk said that he had received much information from that part of the discourse whcih treated of the specific gravity of bodies ; for in some systematic arrangements of simple minerals it formed one of their essential characters: for instance, in combustible minerals the specific gravity seldom exceeds 2, water being equal to 1; and in metallic minerals it is commonly above 5 and upwards; while in earthy ininerals the specific gravity is generally less than 5. * And although I knew these things," said Walter, “ I was not aware that the specific gravity of bodies was so easily ascertained; nor did I know that a hydrostatic balance was so easily made.”
“ I think you stated,” said Sandy Macalpine, “ that the rise and circulation of the sap in vegetables are performed by means of their fine capillary tubes. I believe that vegetable physiologists differ in their opinions respecting the channel through which the sap flows; some saying that it is through the tubes of the woody fibre, others that it is by the intercellular passages, and the cause of the upward flow of sap in vegetables is to be found in evaporation and endosmose.” “ Endosmose! what in a' the warld is endosmose ?” said Bauldy, “that causes the sap to rise in vegetables.”—“ It is,” replied Sandy, “the transmission of gaseous bodies, or vapours, or liquids, through membranes or porous substances, from without inwards. Many operations of nature which philosophers could not satisfactorily account for are explained by this law; for instance, the mechanical mixture of the various gases of the atmosphere. The gases are of different densities, and yet they are said to be blended together in certain proportions without entering into chemical combination. It has been found that dense fluids will combine with those that are more thin ; and it is asserted that when evaporation takes place in the leaves of vegetables the fuids in the leaves become thick, and, the thick sap of the leaves combining with the thinner sap of the branches, circulation is set going. Well may we say, with the royal poet of Israel, the works of the Lord are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein ;' and those who delight in studying the works of an Infinite mind will find
• Wondrous truths, and manifold as wondrous.' And those who have dived into the secrets of nature, and studied hard in the boundless domain of creation, have still much to learn respecting the humble plant by the wayside, or the little-thought-of flower that blooms and dies upon the mouldering towers of our ancestors. Yet there are minds that can read lessons of instruction in ‘flowers passing away;' and, while living in the fleeting sepulchre of this world, can enjoy much of its transient gleams of sunshine, and can also be partakers of that enduring felicity that is seated in Heaven.”
West Plcan, April 8. 1843.
ART. VII. Notice of Dalvey, the Seat of Norman MacLeod, Esq.
By A. Branden, Gardener there. AGREEABLY to your request, I send you some account of these gardens, and of the state of gardening, and of other gardens of note, in this quarter.
The State of Gardening in this Quarter. - Gardening here is in a more forward state than you Southerns might imagine, taking into account this our northern locality and distance from the metropolis, the grand centre from which most new and good things in the floral way emanate.
The gardeners here (as in most other places where I have been) I consider, as a body, to be a most industrious, intelligent, and persevering set of men ; many of them reading one or two of the gardening periodicals, several of which, through the kindness of my employer, I am enabled to peruse; and a number of them are either natives of, or have visited, the southern parts of this, or been in the sister isle, where gardening is carried on more extensively than it is here. These few general remarks I have thrown out in the mean time, leaving particulars to a future opportunity, or a more able pen.
Dalvey Gardens. — First let me refer you back to your Volume for 1838, p. 462., where you will find a general notice of these grounds by my predecessor, the then gardener. My task is by that notice lessened to adding a few particulars to the account there given. The houses which were then three are now five ; the fourth one being a span-roofed stove, divided by a partition in the middle, one end for the culture of orchidaceous plants, and the other a general stove. The fifth is a pit for heaths, with ventilators in the walls for the admission of air when the weather will not admit of the lights being drawn down. The side walls are of stone, with a temporary erection of boards along the sides (with the ventilating tubes through) for the purpose of holding dry leaves, which effectually protects the walls from frost, the roof being protected with hurdles thatched with bent (coarse grass or rushes). The sides of the hurdles are 3 in, deep, made of boards I in, thick, fitting on the roof like common lights on rafters. In this pit, both last season and this, we have kept pelargoniums, calceolarias, heaths, &c., all of which, at present, look healthy and well. The pathway goes along the back, with a door at each end, by which means the plants can be examined be the weather what it may, which is a decided advantage over the ordinary sort of pits, where the lights have to be removed for that purpose; also the ventilators in the walls preclude the possibility of damp lodging beneath. The plants stand on a platform of rough boards near the glass, and are plunged to the rims of the pots in river sand, This is the best material to plunge pots in I have yet tried, being moist, cool, and clean, and worms cannot run into it. This practice saves frequent watering, which is a great advantage in a pit of this sort, as the less water used the less chance there is of damp accumulating ; for when damp is once generated it is not so easily dried up again in moist or cloudy weather. Under the platform are stowed away pentstemons, salvias, fuchsias, and such like things, for bedding out in summer.
The general stock of plants mentioned in the former communication is still extending. There is also here a quantity of the Himalaya pines.
The garden (independently of the kitchen ground) is about five acres in extent, and has originally been laid out, in the Dutch style, as a kitchen-garden, with broad main walks, which are still retained, and taken advantage of for effect, as will be seen below. The kitchen crops have been removed, bit by bit, to give place to fower borders, turf glades, and other ornaments, and a more subordinate place assigned to this department, along with the framingground, hardy pits, &c., behind the walls at the north and east sides, which is well protected from northerly gales by a rising ground covered with forest trees.
Taking the above as a preamble, we will now enter the garden gate. On the left is a border facing the south, with a wall behind, which last season was planted with three rows of dahlias, according to their heights. This border; when the plants were in bloom, had a most dazzling effect. It is now planted with rose stocks, to be worked in summer with choice kinds ; and pillar or climbing roses are planted against the wall. On the right is the Dropmore flower-garden, spoken of in the former communication ; at the end of the border is the stove ; irth on is the camellia-house, occupied chiefly with camellias, a few tall New Holland plants behind, and azaleas and heaths in front. Before this house is a grass glade; on a circle in the centre stands a large horsechestnut, which affords an agreeable shade for a seat in summer. Interspersed through the glade are several circles of rhododendrons (the circle is a favourite figure here), rustic vases, and single plants of juniper, forming a very agreeable whole. Further on is a border of Lílium tigrinum ; on the op. posite border, Lupinus polyphyllus. At right angles to this are borders of common roses, right and left, terminating in an oblong sheet of gravel, whereon stand two large beech trees. These trees form an excellent shade for a luncheon party, for which the oblong was designed. To the left of this, by a winding walk, is a small terraced flower-garden, in the face of a sunny bank. On the left of the walk is a bank of rhododendrons, on the right a mass of the smaller periwinkle, which is thriving in mere sand, under two large elm trees. Returning from this and passing along the north wall and kitchen-garden gate, we come to a main walk parallel to the one with the rose borders. After passing under some shady trees, we come to the end of the pæony border, which is about 300 ft. long by 20 ft. broad. Behind this is a hedge of common furze, then a pathway, and afterwards a row of Cèdrus Deodara, alternate with Portugal laurel. In the border there are three rows of Lupinus polyphyllus of different varieties; then two rows of varieties of herbaceous pæonias; and in front two rows of the pretty little Aquilègia glandulòsa. This border, when in bloom, is perhaps the most showy thing in the garden. At the end of this, to the right, is a booth for the flowering of calceolarias, geraniums, and other summer plants. This booth was devised as we were not able to show off the plants to advantage in the houses, owing to their being so crowded; and it was found last season to answer admirably. The booth is the same size as the tulip awning, viz. 50 ft. long by 13 ft. broad, so that the tulip canvass, which is fitted on rollers (on Mr. Weeks's plan), goes on this when it comes off the tulips. The booth `I shall here describe. It is merely a skeleton shed, with posts, rafters, ridge bar, and wall plate, and movable wooden shutters for the sides, made of very thin deal, with half-inch openings between the boards to admit air. The inside is fitted with a stage of two shelves running all round, and a flat top: The pathway also goes all round. The ends are boarded, the same as the shutters, in which are the doorways. The subdued light through the canvass shows the plants to much advantage, which you have no doubt observed in Chiswick show, or other places where plants are exbibited in a somewhat similar way. We now return to the greenhouse and vinery, heated by our hot-water apparatus, on the level principle; at the west end of which is a mass of hollyhock; at the east end the heath-pit described above, backed by a plantation of young fruit trees, which forms a small orchard. In front of the vinery is a grass plot, with an oval in the centre filled with rhododendrons and a Magnolia purpùrea.
Several alterations and improvements are in contemplation, the principal one of which will be carried into effect so soon as the weather is sufficiently open, viz. planting the different sorts of the Himalaya pines at sufficient distances along the main walks, so that, some time hence, they will form pine avenues; the borders, walks, plants, &c., to be left until the pines form sufficiently attractive objects to dispense with them.
In the above rough sketch, joined to my predecessor's communication, will be found the leading features of Dalvey garden, which I now submit, with the permission of my most worthy employer ; than whom a more devoted admirer of Flora does not exist; who lives on and loves his native ground; who encourages horticulture in particular, and all rural affairs in general, to the utmost of his power. Would that more of our landed country gentlemen were of the same mind! Then would they not only live on, but take an interest in, their hereditary possessions ; giving employment to the mass of the population in the improvement of their estates, to the enriching of themselves and future generations ; banishing our now proverbial poverty from the land, and spreading happiness and comfort through the length and breadth of our now over-populated country. Then would that money be spent among us which is gained on the soil, but which at present is drained off to our more favoured neighbours.
Dalvey Gardens, Feb. 1. 1843.
ART. VIII. 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 p. 368.)
LETTER XVI. Culture of the Potato. Mismanagement it is subject to.
Cause of Curl and Dry Rot. I will now give you my opinion on the culture and growth of that invaluable vegetable the potato; the abuse and mismanagement it is subject to; the cause of curl, and of that enemy the dry rot, &c. &c. It may be thought by some that I know more about eating a potato than about the proper method of growing them; and certainly the art of cooking them is a greater trouble than growing them, about which I mean to say no more than I have myself observed. I hope it may be useful to some. I shall give my honest opinion, and facts are stubborn things. I have had considerable practice in growing potatoes in pots, in cellars, in sheds, in pits, in frames, in hothouses, hooped and matted in the open ground, in borders in the open garden, and in the open field. I have practised in all these ways for several years; but I do not pretend to say that my methods are superior to any other person's; one thing I can say, that no person has ever beat me yet at any exhibition of early frame potatoes; but I do not wish to boast.
Now the greatest fault I have always observed is in preparing the seed; how can you expect to have a good crop of potatoes if the seed is bad and has lost its virtue? For instance, I have often seen, at this time of the year, potatoes hurried out of the ground, chucked together in large heaps, or clamps as they are called in some places, wet and dirty as it may be. I have many times seen those heaps allowed to heat, and the steam passing from them as if from a dunghill; of course that must be wrong. I have thought, for many years, that the steam, or reek, which passes off must be so much virtue lost. I have seen these very heaps kept for seed, and allowed, in the spring of the year, to grow all together in one mass of shoots and roots, and to become so hot in the middle of the heap that you could scarcely bear your hand in it: the hotter they get, the faster they grow; and the faster they grow, the hotter they get : then perchance they get moved, and the shoots are pulled off to give a check, to keep them from growing. Can such potatoes as these be either fit to eat, or in a proper state to plant ? My opinion has always been that the principal virtue is thus lost. But, notwithstanding, they are planted again, and if cut, which is the usual practice, they perhaps lie about for several days after, sometimes for weeks; and then are put into the ground after making what is considered a good preparation for it. If it comes on very wet weather, a great many of them slop away, as it is called in Devonshire, and the remainder become weak, and look spindly and thin all the summer. If it should be a hot and dry time when planted, and the weather continues dry for some time after planting, of course they get dry rot, which is plain for anybody to see. I have seen this hundreds of times in different places, and have often pointed it out; but nobody would ever admit it was their own fault: it was either the fault of the ground, or of the season ; they had done everything they could. According to my observations, my opinion is that the curl is principally occasioned by using imperfect seed that has not been sufficiently ripened ; such, for instance, as late-planted potatoes : many select them because they are not fit to eat, and, therefore, think they will do to plant. An early frost having come, and cut them all down before they have got half their natural growth, it makes them so watery and waxy that they are not eatable, and, therefore, they bundle them close together somewhere to give them a sweat; and think they will then do for seed.
In planting potatoes, I have for many years observed that three parts out of four are planted too late, which is a very great disadvantage in more ways than one. First, the seed gets exhausted; 2dly, a considerable portion of the most valuable part of the season is lost; 3dly, if it should set in a dry summer a great portion of the seed is lost, and what does spring up is only weak. If it should set in a wet summer they slop, and what remains does not ripen. My system is to plant all seed whole; neither large nor small potatoes, but a middling size, from the size of a pigeon's egg to that of a bantam's. When they are first dug up they ought to be sorted for that purpose; and they should be exposed to the sun and air to harden; and, when put away, laid in lofts or on shelves, or in places where they will neither grow nor get heated.
The greater part of the potatoes I have seen planted in Devonshire has been done too late by six or eight weeks; and, if it were not for its beautiful climate and soil, what could they expect to get, as the preparation they make is but poor. In the first place, generally speaking, they plough the ground only to the depth of 4 or 5 inches ; I think that is not doing much towards it: 2dly, the earth between the rows does not get halfhoed, nor stirred about enough, after the potatoes are up. My own opinion is fully made up, that the ground should be broken up deep, stirred and worked about in every possible way (particularly in dry weather), for every thing that is planted; the best manure is that supplied by the atmosphere, without which nothing can thrive. I do not mean where the subsoil is