Who, that was blessed with parents that indulged themselves, and children with a flower garden, can forget the happy, innocent hours spent in its cultivation! O! who can forget those days, when to announce the appearance of a bud, or the coloring of a tulip, or the opening of a rose, or the perfection of a full-blown peony, was glory enough for one morning. With tender emotions do I remember the old white rose-bush, trained up to the top of the house by the hand of a dear mother, the abundant and fragrant flowers of which gave delight to all the household, as well as to the neighbors, who received them as expressions of neighborly friendship and good-will. How many pleasant reminiscenses, crowd upon the memory of one who at the age of three-score and ten, as he looks back on the scenes of his childhood and youth, when from his sainted mother he received lessons of morality and piety, while engaged in the culture of a limited flower garden. Did she forget to love flowers? Were they no source of pleasure to her when old age crept upon her? No, no! At the age of ninety, her table never lacked a bouquet, a pot of fuchsia, or a rose or some other flower, which received her tender care. How many otherwise tedious hours were spent in the contemplation of her little flower garden; and with what cheerfulness did she pass away, from the flowers of earth, to the paradise of heaven, leaving a delightful example, of a happy, cheerful, contented old age, as a rich legacy to her numerous descendants and friends. But the gratification derived from the garden, is not confined to the young or the old. Who that has been confined to the business of the day, toiling and laboring in the "sweat of his face," does not feel invigorated and refreshed, as he takes his walk in the cool of the evening, with the happy family group about him, and notes the progress of his fruits and flowers? Or, who that breathes the delicious fragrance of the morning flowers glittering with dew, but can look up with greater confidence and love to Him, who has strewed with such liberal profusion in every direction, the evidence of his goodness and love to the children of men!
Man was not made to rust out in idleness. A degree of exercise is as necessary for the preservation of health, both of body and mind, as his daily food. And what exercise is more fitting, or more appropriate for one who is in the decline of life, that that of superintending a well ordered garden? What more enlivens the sinking mind? What more invigorates the feeble frame? What is more conducive to a long life? What can be more grateful to the mechanic or merchant or professional man, than to recreate for a short time in a well selected garden of flowers, neatly arranged and well cultivated?
In reply to the question often asked, "what is the use of flowers? "William Cobbett asks another, "what is the use of anything?" There are many things in this wide world pleasing to the eye of man; many of them expensive and not in the power of all to obtain; but flowers may, without much or no expense, be obtained and possessed by the most humble individual. Their cultivation may be made one unfailing source of happiness to the family. Let parents gather around them every source of innocent amusement and recreation for their children. They should endeavor to make their home attractive and lovely, both within doors and without.