This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
Alas ! the weather has not been sufficiently mild to tempt the buds from their hiding-places; there is little else than a few scattered blossoms of the Furze spangling the road-side hedges, which, indeed, it does all the twelvemonth through, verifying the adage, "that when the Furze is out of flower, kissing is out of fashion !" A few, but very few, stray Dog Violets enliven the banks, giving promise of what will next month appear; but we must not be in a hurry, for we have the rough east winds of March yet to encounter, often called " Blackthorn winter," and which, in the mild climate of the West, is generally far more destructive than the utmost severity of frost as there felt: the warmth and often the bright sun of February moves the sap into circulation, and slocks (in Cornish vernacular) the young and eager buds to unfold their premature growth, to be ruined, after a short reign of a few weeks, by the sharp curling drying blasts from the envious East. But this warm bright day, fit for any "pic-nic" party, we may easily content ourselves by a look at the sea and a ramble on the cliffs.
The sea is itself a sight; so deep yet bright a blue, that were a painter to colour it true to nature, he would be called a gross flatterer, and it would be said he had the Bay of Naples in his eye, and had tried to bring it home to his own foggy land. But see the bright light on yonder Deadman headland, stretching out to sea; beyond, again, is a dreamy bank of soft purple, which shews the Lizard point; and the rough dark line of rocks immediately to our left is the Bolt head, forming a natural breakwater from the seas impelled by the strong south-western gales from the wide Atlantic. Across the bay, to the east, we see the point of Menabilly and Greberhead, with its sea-mark obelisk, and the white cellars of Polkerris glistening against the dark overhanging cliff; and beyond, again, the bold Ramhead stands clearly defined; and when the light strikes in that direction, the white sails of the shipping leaving and entering Plymouth Sound form an interesting feature in the scene; and immediately at our feet the broken cliff, circling round the bay till closed by the bright yellow sands of Par and Polmeer, forming a picture of itself, with the scattered buildings along the beach, and the spars of the craft at Charlestown pier.
But let us, as we walk, examine the vegetation beneath our feet, and we shall in many places find the Sea Spleenwort (Asplenium marinum), which is so common on the northern coast of the county. Here its fronds are generally only the length of some three or four inches; but I once, at Bodruthen in St. Eval parish, succeeded in obtaining a plant with the fronds fully ten inches long! Here is Glaux maritima, and many others peculiar to a marine situation; it is covered with tufts of Sea Thrift (Armeria maritima), and the naked rock is clothed with the varieties of Sedum, as annuum, acre, and sexangulare; and in the west, by the Lizard, will be found the Asplenium lanceolatum, which hangs its fronds just above high water-mark on the serpentine cliffs. We will this month also search for the true Maidenhair Spleenwort (Asplen. trichomanes), which grows in a quarry near to Penryn, as also in a cave called Carach Gladden, between Hayle and St. Ives; and on our way back we will turn out of the road before we reach Lostwithiel, and see a curious form of the Male Fern (Lastrea fillx mas) in the garden of the Rev. T. Grylls, at Luxulyon Vicarage; it is bi and even tri-pinnate, and is, I believe, the only plant of the species yet found breaking into this monstrous form:* it is well worth a visit, as, indeed, is the garden itself, an oasis amidst the wild rocky valley in which it is situated, shewing that the Fern is in the hands of those whose love of plants gives it a fair value and appreciation as a botanical curiosity.
Tregonning. Jesse Barragweneth.