[A small genus of handsome evergreen indigenous shrubs. Named in honor of Peter Kalm, a pupil of Linnaeus.]
Its. general height is from five to ten feet, but may sometimes be seen rising from fifteen to twenty feet, among the rocks, and forms almost impenetrable thickets, by its crooked and unyielding trunks, locked and entangled with each other. The leaves are about three or four inches long, evergreen, giving much life to the forests in the winter, by their deep shining-green. The flowers are disposed in large corymbs, at the extremity of the branches; numerous; of a pure white, blush, or a beautiful rose-color, and more rarely, a deep red. The season of flowering is in the months of June and July. Nothing can exceed the magnificence of its appearance when in full bloom. The soil in which it best succeeds is soft, loose, and cool, with a northern exposure. The foliage is the richest when the plant is grown in the shade. The soil suitable for its growth, is the same as recommended for the Azalea. Young plants, taken up with balls of earth attached, will succeed well in the garden, in the shade. Those from open pastures will flourish best, if such can be found. There is no shrub, foreign or native, that will exceed this in splendor, when well grown.
This is a low shrub, that covers "large tracts of cold, moist land, in almost every section of the country. It is a great nuisance to the farmer, who looks suspiciously upon it, as it has the reputation of being poisonous to sheep and other animals, which, for the sake of variety or want of other food, sometimes feed upon it. Blooms in June and July; flowers red, or deep pink, and I have seen a white variety; leaves evergreen; growing from one to two feet high.
[Named in honor of Mr. Kerr, a former superintendent of the botanical garden at Ceylon.]
Kerrria Japonica. - formerly called Corchorus Japon-ica. - Is an elegant shrub, growing from three to six feet high, and producing a profusion of double-yellow, globular flowers. The branches are bright green, and the foliage handsome. In some localities it is a little tender, and the tops are killed down; but it sends up fresh shoots, which flower the same season. Easily propagated by suckers.
(Named from lavo, to wash, referring to its use in baths.]
Lavandula spicata. - Spike-flowered Lavender. - This is a most desirable dwarf shrub, with delicate glaucous foliage, and spikes of blue flowers, in July; three feet high. The whole plant is delightfully fragrant, but more particularly the flowers. These yield the oil from which the Lavender water is made. In some soils and situations the plant is tender. In cold, moist soil, it is almost sure to be winter-killed; but, in a dry, loamy, or gravelly soil, it endures our winters with but little protection. We have been successful in the cultivation of it in a soil of the latter quality,and, from the flowers that grew upon the edging of a circular bed, six feet in diameter, obtained more than. one ounce of the pure oil, one drop of which would perfume a room. It is sometimes used for edgings, in milder climates, but grows too high for general use. As an edging for a bed of Moss Roses, we have seen it used with pleasing effect.
"The agreeable scent of Lavender is well known, since it is an old and still a common custom to scatter the flowers over linen, as some do rose leaves, for the sake of their sweet odor."
Lavender is easily propagated by cuttings or slips. It is a great pity that it is not perfectly hardy; but as it is, with a little choice in its location, it is easily preserved through the winter, and worthy of all the care and trouble that may be given to its cultivation.
[The ancient classical name.]
Ligustrum vulgare. - The common Privet, or Prim. - The Privet is a native of Europe, and introduced from thence to this country, and now has become domesticated in many parts of New England. In England, the Privet is an evergreen, or the leaves remain until driven off by new ones. In this climate it is deciduous, shedding its leaves late in autumn. "In France and Great Britain, the Privet is much used for a hedge plant, either alone or with other plants. Its use for this purpose is recommended by the beauty of the foliage, the flowers and berries, by its rapid and easy growth, and by the fact that it grows well under the drip of other trees, except evergreens. It flourishes in almost any soil, as may be easily seen from the variety of ground on which it has sown itself in the vicinity of Boston; and it is propagated by seeds, or by cuttings, and requires very little pruning. It grows in clumps, from strong, matted, bright-yellow roots, in height six or eight feet. Flowers white, in short, terminal panicles, in June; the berries are of a shining black." The blossom of the Privet, when exposed to the noonday sun, withers almost as soon as blown. In the shade, it not only lasts longer, but is much larger. The leaves too, are much larger and finer when so placed.
The English Privet is much used for ornamental hedges, and is also desirable in a shrubbery, on account of the permanency of its elegant foliage; it retains its foliage much longer than the American variety, and bears green berries. In England it is an evergreen, and nearly so here. The American variety is also very desirable. It sheds its foliage much sooner, and has black berries. There are a number of other varieties or species of Privet, which are also desirable.
The Golden-edged Privet is a very striking variety, with variegated leaves. L. lucida has elegant, thick, glossy, green foliage, and is a valuable acquisition. L. Japonica has large, long, glossy leaves, of a bright green, and where it is hardy, will be very desirable.