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COWSLIPS OF JERUSALEM.
See that there be store of lilies,
(Called of shepherds daffodillies)
THE Crinums most cultivated in this country are the American. The Great American Crinum flowers in July and August: the small species will flower three or four times in the year. They will thrive very well in a room generally inhabited in the winter; and their flowers at that time will be particularly valuable, so few being then in blossom. In the summer they should be placed abroad where they can enjoy the sunshine. The roots should be transplanted every year in March or October, and the offsets taken off and planted in separate pots, about six inches in diameter and eight or nine inches deep, filled with a light rich earth. Do not scruple to deprive the mother of her children, for she cannot afford food to so large a family; and the unnatural little bulbs will deprive her of all nourishment, and starve her without mercy, if they remain. The flowers are white, and sweet-scented. These plants should be watered very sparingly every second evening when newly planted; when they begin to shoot, they may have more water, every evening; but when they begin to blow, they will continue longer in blossom if more sparingly watered, as before.
An unhappy lover, whom the gods in pity were said to have changed into this flower.-French, safran.— Italian, zafferano; gruogo.
THE Autumnal Crocus is supposed to have come originally' from the East, but is now so common in Europe, that it is difficult to ascertain with certainty its original birth-place. The flowers are of a purple, lilac, or pale blue colour, blowing in October: the leaves grow all the winter. This species of Crocus is also called Saffron, and the medicine so called is obtained from it.
Saffron was formerly more esteemed as a medicine than at present; but it is still used occasionally: it is often substituted for eggs in cakes, puddings, &c. and to some persons its flavour is very agreeable. A bag of saffron worn at the pit of the stomach has been lately said to be an effectual preventive of sea-sickness.
The first introduction of this plant into the country was considered so great a national benefit, as to have occasioned much controversy upon the subject. It is commonly said that Sir Thomas Smith was the first who brought it to England, in the reign of Edward the Third, and that it was first planted at Walden in Essex. That Walden was noted for the cultivation of it is clear, since the flower has even bestowed its own name upon that place, which is commonly called Saffron Walden. In Hakluyt's Voyages (edit. 1599, vol. ii. p. 165) the first introduction of Saffron is ascribed to a pilgrim, who, with the intention of serving his country, stole a head of Saffron, which he hid in his staff: but this is mentioned only
as a thing reported at Saffron Walden* Mr. Martyn, after referring to this volume, says he has been informed that the corporation of Walden bear three Saffron plants in their arms.
The Spring Crocus is common in many parts of Europe: there are many varieties; and as this kind furnishes the florists with seed, new varieties continually occur. The most usual are the Common Yellow, the Great Yellow, Deep Blue, Light Blue, White with Blue Stripes, Blue with White Stripes, White with a Purple Base, and Cream-coloured,—all natives of Britain: as also several from Scotland; the Black and White Striped, the Cloth of Gold, &c.
The Spring Crocus flowers in March ; and where there are plenty of them, they make a magnificent show. If the season be mild, the flowers will sometimes appear in February, before the leaves have grown to any length. The leaves must not be cut off before they decay, or the root will be deprived of nourishment, and will not produce handsome flowers the next year. About the end of May, when the leaves and fibres have decayed, the roots may be taken up, wiped clean from earth, husk, &c. and placed in a dry room till September, when they should be replanted. Care must be taken to preserve them from mice, and other fond enemies: mice will utterly destroy them if they can get at them. The bulb should be planted with the bud uppermost, and the earth an inch deep
* This, however, is probably only a version of the history of the introduction of silk into Europe: two monks having brought from China, in the hollow of their walking-canes, the eggs of the silk-worm, which were hatched at Constantinople under the empress's own eye; who had, during the two years' absence of the monks, caused some mulberry trees to be got ready for the food of the young family.
above the top: for one root, a pot three inches wide will be large enough; four roots may be planted in a pot of six inches in diameter. They should be kept moist; which will require more or less water, according as they are in the sun or the shade, the room or the balcony, &c. : they will continue longer in blossom if watered rather sparingly after they have begun to blow. These bulbs will likewise flower in water: they may be put into the glasses any time from October to January, and thus be continued in succession. The water should rise a little above the widening of the glass; and from the time the fibres begin to shoot, should be renewed every four or five days.
The Autumnal Crocus does not increase so fast as the Spring kinds, nor does it produce seeds in this country. It should be replanted in August, as it flowers in September or October. These Crocuses will produce handsomer flowers if the bulbs be left undisturbed for two or three years; but they must not remain more than three. When it is not intended to remove them every year, more room must be allowed them for the growth of the offsets.
Virgil speaks of the Crocus as one of the flowers upon which bees love to feed :
pascuntur et arbuta passim,
VIRGIL, GEORGIC 4.
“They feed also at large on arbutes and hoary.willows, and cassia, and glowing saffron, and fat limes, and deep-coloured hyacinths.”— MARTYN'S TRANSLATION, p. 372.
This name is of Greek origin, and signifies circular. It alludes either to the roundness of the leaves, or of the roots. The familiar name among the country people is Sow-bread.-French, pain du porceau ; in the village dialect, pan de pur, both signifying sow-bread. Italian, pane porcino; pane terreno [ground bread.]
The common Cyclamen is an Austrian. The flowers are purple, drooping, and sweet-scented. The Ivy-leaved species is Italian: the flowers appear in August or September, soon after the leaves come out, and continue growing till May, when they begin to decay, and in June are quite dried up. There are two varieties; one with white, and one with purple flowers.
The Round-leaved Cyclamen is a native of the South of Europe: it has purple flowers, which blow late in the autumn.
The Persian Cyclamen, which is the most popular, flowers in March or April: it is sweet-scented, and varies in colour from a pure white to white and purple, or sometimes to a beautiful blush-colour. It is, as the name implies, a native of Persia: it has also been found in the Isle of Cyprus; and is, indeed, not unworthy of cultivation in Venus's own garden. It is a pretty flower for the parlour or study table; and the temperature of an inhabited room is well adapted to it.
The Cyclamen requires shelter from frost; particularly the two last-mentioned kinds. During the winter, or while destitute of leaves, they should have very little water, and be carefully preserved from damps. In the summer, they should be placed where they may enjoy the