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yellow flower, which blows about the end of March, or the beginning of April.
The Apennine Adonis is very similar to the vernal, of which it is termed the sister; but it continues longer in flower than that species, which, true to the name it bears, comes and goes with the spring. The reader of poetry is áware that Adonis, after death, was supposed to spend his time alternately with Proserpine in the lower regions, and with Venus on earth.
“Go, beloved Adonis, go,
That return'd from taken Troy *."
The Autumnal Adonis is an annual, and the seeds sown in spring will flower in October. If some of the seeds are sown in September they will blow early in June. As the flowers open sooner or later in proportion to their exposure to the sun, a little attention to their arrangement will insure a longer succession of them. The seeds should be sown two or three in a pot, half an inch deep. During the severity of the winter, the pots should be housed; but in mild weather they should stand in the open air. In dry weather they should be occasionally, but sparingly, watered, just enough to preserve them from drought.
* See the Translations from Theocritus, in Hunt's Foliage.
HEXANDRIA MONOGYNIA. :
The botanical name of this flower is from the Greek, and signifies a delightful flower.
This Lily is a native of the Cape of Good Hope: it is of a bright blue colour; very showy and elegant. The flowers blow about the end of August, and will frequently preserve their beauty till the spring.
It is increased by offsets, which come out from the sides of the old plants, and may be taken off at the latter end of June; at which time the plant is in its most dormant state. It should be turned out of the pot, and the earth carefully cleared away, that the fibres of the offsets may be the better distinguished : and these must be carefully separated from those of the old root. Where they adhere so closely as not to be otherwise parted, they must be cut off with a knife; great care being taken not to wound or break the bulb, either of the offset or of the parent plant.
When these are parted, they should be planted, each in a separate pot filled with light kitchen garden earth, and placed in a shady situation, where they may enjoy the morning sun; a little water should be given to them twice a week, if the weather be dry; but they must not have much, espe
T cially at this season, when they are almost inactive; for as the roots are fleshy and succulent, they are apt to rot with too much moisture. In about five weeks the offsets will have put out new roots: they may then be removed to a more sunny situation, and may have a little more water; but still not plentifully. In September they will put out their flower-stalks, and towards the end of the month, the
flowers will begin to open; when, unless the weather be very fine, they should be housed, that they may not be injured by too much wet, or by frost; but they must be allowed as much fresh air as possible. During the winter they may have a little water once a week in mild weather, but none in frost. This flower must be watered only at the roots.
The Almond-tree! the lofty Almond-tree a potted plant ! the Almond tree, to which Spenser, in an exquisite passage, likens the plume of Prince Arthur:
“ Upon the top of all, his lofty crest,
A bunch of hairs discolour'd diversly,
Whose tender locks do tremble every one
little breath that under heaven is blown.”
No, it is not this immortal Almond-tree that is to be moved at pleasure from the garden to a room or balcony; but a Russian cousin, the Bobownik, Dikii Persik, or Calmyzkii Orech (Calmuck almond]; but called by the Calmucks themselves, Charun Orak, a young Tartar of humble growth, though emulating his great relation in the elegance of his apparel. He is called the Dwarf Almond tree; and is worthy to have derived his name from the transformation of some dwarf in a fairy tale into a tree. In April the young shoots of this tree are covered with blossoms of a beautiful blush-colour; and the leaves are sometimes
five inches long. It will bear the open air, and, when the weather is dry, should be watered every evening. The young suckers from the roots must be taken off every year, or they will starve the parent plant: they may be planted in February or October, and should be placed in the shade till they have taken root. The fruit of this shrub is about the size of a hazel-nut, and has the taste of the peach-kernel.
Plutarch mentions a great drinker of wine, who, by the use of bitter almonds, used to escape being intoxicated. The Italians, upon their favourite modern principle of contra stimulants, suppose this very likely; and so it may be; but it need not be added, that to tamper in this manner with diseases seems very dangerous.
The derivation of this name is uncertain. Beginning with the syllable Al, it is, perhaps, of Arabian origin; especially as the plant is much venerated in the East. In the Hebrew, a cognate language, it is called ahalah: some derive Aloes from the Greek als [the sea]; others from the Latin, adolendo; but this can only refer to the Aloe-wood, which is used in sacrifices for its fragrance. On the whole, it is probable the name was first applied to the Aloe-wood, and hence transferred to the common Aloes, on account of their bitterness. Its medicinal virtues were made known to us by Dioscorides, the physician of Cleopatra, and it is also mentioned by Plutarch. The name Aloe is retained by all the European nations.
From the specimens we are in the habit of seeing in this country, we should be inclined to think that the utility of the Aloe far surpassed its beauty, and to rank it, as a vegetable, with the camel and the elephant in animal life. Like the larger animals, it is confined to hot, or comparatively uncivilised countries. Its appearance, which resembles a collection of huge leathern claws, armed with prickles, is very formidable; and even the smaller species have a sort of monstrosity of size in their parts, though small as a whole. But notwithstanding the extraordinary utility of the Aloe, those who have seen it in its native country, and in full flower, describe it as scarcely less remarkable for elegance and beauty. The larger and more useful kinds appear to be also the most beautiful. Rousseau uses the epithet beautiful, in speaking of the great American Aloe, or Agave.
“ Nature seems to have treated the Africans and Asiatics as barbarians,” says St. Pierre, in speaking of the Aloe, "in having given them these at once magnificent, yet monstrous vegetables; and to have dealt with us as beings capable of sensibility and society. Oh, when shall I breathe the perfume of the honeysuckle ?—again repose myself upon a carpet of milk-weed, saffron, and blue-bells, the food of our lowing herds ? and once more hear Aurora welcomed with the songs of the labourer, blessed with freedom and content*?"
The kind chiefly used in medicine is the Barbadoes Aloe, the preparations from which are eminent for the nauseousness of their bitter. “ As bitter as aloes,” is a proverbial phrase. It is a common practice with our fair countrywomen to avail themselves of this bitterness in the Aloe, when weaning their children; applying it to the bosom to induce them to refuse it; but this is surely a more objectionable deceit than that by which they are allured to swallow nauseous drugs.
* St. Pierre's Voyage to the Isle of France.