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of food in the early ages. Virgil recommends the young twigs for goats in winter:
Arbutus and oak formed the bier of the young Pallas, the son of Evander:
“ Haud segnes alii crates et molle pheretrum
Arbuteis texunt virgis et vimine querno,
VIRGIL, Æneis, lib. xi.
" Others, with forward zeal, weave hurdles, and a pliant bier of arbute rods, and oaken twigs, and with a covering of boughs shade the funeral bed high-raised.”—Davidson's TRANSLATION.
Horace, too, speaks of it, and celebrates its shade:
“ Nunc viridi membra sub arbuto
Millar, after giving some of these quotations, adds, “I hope we shall no more have the classical ear wounded by pronouncing the second syllable of Arbutus long, instead of the first.” This little ebullition of impatience, natural enough to a person who knew the right pronunciation, would have pleased his friend Dr. Johnson, who speaks of him somewhere as “Millar, the great gardener.”
Some species of the Arbutus, from being mere shrubs, are better adapted for the present purpose than the beautiful one called the Common Strawberry-tree, which is the best known in our gardens; as the Painted-leaved,
the Dwarf, and the Acadian Arbutus. These trees mostly like a moist soil, but the Acadian prefers a wet one: it is a native of swampy land, and if grown in a pot should be kept very wet: the earth, also, should be covered with moss, the better to retain the moisture. The other species should be watered every evening when the weather is dry, but not so liberally. When the frosts are severe, it will be more secure to shelter them; for though they will bear our winters when in the open ground, they are somewhat less hardy in pots. In mild seasons, a little straw over the earth would be a protection sufficient.
The berries of the Thyme-leaved Arbutus, which is a native of North America, are carried to market in Philadelphia, and sold for tarts, &c. Great quantities of them are preserved, and sent to the West Indies and to Europe. The London pastry-cooks frequently use these instead of cranberries, to which they are very similar; but they are inferior to cranberries of our own growth.
In Tuscany, many years ago, a man gave out that he had discovered a mode of making wine from the Arbutus. His wine was very good; but, upon his leaving the country, his wine-casks were found to contain a quantity of crushed grapes.
Upon the whole, the Arbutus, with its strawberry-like fruit, its waxen-tinted blossoms hanging in clusters, their vine-coloured stems, its leaves resembling the bay, and the handsome and luxuriant growth of its branches, is one of the most elegant pieces of underwood we possess : and when we have reason to believe that Horace was fond of lying under its shade, it completes its charms with the beauty of classical association.
THE Æthiopian species of this flower, commonly called the horn-flower, is the only one deserving of a place in the garden. Many Arums of the botanists are very useful as medicine, food, &c. and the leaves of the esculent Arum serve the inhabitants of the South-Sea islands for plates and dishes: but they are very little ornamental; and the few which are handsome have so powerful and disagreeable a scent as deservedly to banish them from most of our gardens.
This species, however, is exquisitely beautiful, and not only inoffensive in odour, but even agreeable. The leaves are large and glossy. It has a large white flower, folded with a careless elegance into the shape of a cup or bell, with a bright golden rod (called the spadix) in the centre. Placed by the side of the dark red peony, the effect is truly splendid : the contrast makes both doubly magnificent. A heathen might have supposed these fine flowers created on purpose to grace the bosom of the stately Juno. By the side of the rose, too, or the large double tulip, or some of the finer kinds of marygold, it has a noble appearance; and no flower is more deserving of care in the cultivation. In summer, the Arum should be allowed a liberal draught of water every evening; but, being a succulent plant, should be watered only at the roots. It flowers in May, and may stand abroad until the end of October: it should then be housed, and, during the winter, should be watered but once a week. It retains its leaves all the year: new ones displacing the old as they decay, In August the root should be taken out of the earth, when there will probably be a number of offsets upon it: these must be taken off, and planted in separate pots. The mother plant must then be carefully re-set in fresh earth, and, as well as the young roots, be placed in the shade until they have fixed themselves, In winter, although housed, it should be allowed plenty of fresh air in mild weather, and towards the end of April may be gradually accustomed to the open air. .
The true Arums are similar plants, which, in a wild and humble state, are well known to children under the appellation of lords and ladies. Their natural stateliness gets them a fine name, in spite of their situation*
King's-spear.-French, asphodele.--Italian, asfodelo.
The yellow Asphodelt is a native of Sicily, flowering in May and June: the white speciest, a native of the south of Europe, flowers in June. The Onion-leaved Asphodel is a native of France, Spain, and the island of Crete: it flowers from June to August. The two last bear a starry flower, streaked with purple.
* They are also called Wake Robin; cuckow pint; ramp. In French, le gouet commun; bonnet de grand prêtre [high-priest's mitre]; herbe a petre; cheval bayard [bay horse); pain de lievre [hares' bread). + In French, la verge de Jacob (Jacob's staff).
In French, hache royale, bâton royal, both signifying the royal sceptre.-In Italian, cibo regio (royal food).
They are tolerably hardy, the white least so; but they will all bear the open air, except in severe frosts, from which they require some protection. In dry summerweather they should be watered every evening; in winter, once a week will suffice. The last-mentioned kind is an annual, and decays toward the end of October. It should be sown in the autumn: one seed in a pot. The first two species, as they do not flower the first year, will be better raised in a nursery: the first, when once obtained, may be increased by parting the roots, which should be done after the flower decays. They should be planted about two inches deep in the earth.
Rapin, in his poem on gardens, speaks of the Asphodel as an article of food :
“And rising Asphodel forsakes her bed,
It is mentioned by Milton as forming part of the nuptial couch of Adam and Eve in Paradise :
« flowers were the couch,
It was formerly the custom to plant Asphodel and mallow around the tombs of the deceased. St. Pierre, after dwelling with some earnestness on the propriety of such customs, quotes the following inscription, engraven on an ancient tomb:
“ Au-dehors je suis entouré de mauve et d'asphodele, et au-dedans je ne suis qu’un cadavre.”
The fine flowers of the Asphodel produce grains, which, according to the belief of the ancients, afforded nourishment to the dead. Homer tells us, that'having crossed: