This section is from the book "The Botanical Magazine; Or, Flower-Garden Displayed", by William Curtis. Also available from Amazon: The Botanical Magazine; or, Flower-Garden Displayed, Volume I.
Reseda odorata. Sweet-scented Reseda or Mignonette.
Cal. 1-phyllus, partitus. Petala laciniata. Caps. ore dehiscens, 1-locularis.
RESEDA odorata foliis integris trilobisque, calycibus florem aequantibus. Lin. Syst. Vegetab. p. 449.
RESEDA foliis integris trilobisque, floribus tetragynis. Mill. Dict. t. 217.
Mignonette grows naturally in Egypt, it was unknown to the older Botanists; Miller says he received the seeds of it from Dr. Adrian Van Royen, Professor of Botany at Leyden, so that it is rather a modern inhabitant of our gardens.
The luxury of the pleasure-garden is greatly heightened by the delightful odour which this plant diffuses; and as it is most readily cultivated in pots, its fragrance may be conveyed to the parlour of the recluse, or the chamber of the valetudinarian; its perfume, though not so refreshing perhaps as that of the Sweet-Briar, is not apt to offend on continuance the most delicate olfactories.
Being an annual it requires to be raised yearly from seed; when once introduced on a warm dry border it will continue to sow itself, and grow very luxuriantly, flowering from June to the commencement of winter; but as it is desirable to have it as early as possible in the spring, the best way is either to sow the seed in pots in autumn, securing them through the winter in frames, or in a greenhouse, or to raise the seeds early on a gentle hot bed, thinning the plants if they require it, so as to have only two or three in a pot.