This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V18", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
A highly valued friend writes: - "On page 295, in mentioning the new hydrangea, 'Thomas Hogg,'you give it as a variety of 'H hortensis,' when you know very well that it was named in honor of Queen Hortense, and should be Hortensia, with a capital H. But then we can't all be perfect. Why don't you insist on having a good proof-reader? Such things as 'celler' for cellar, and 'mallorn' for mallow, and a lot of others you of course are not responsible for, but some one should be. While I am poking good-natured criticism at you, I will add that the Germans will laugh (p. 295) to learn that 'Maitrank ' is a ' German perfume.' Bless your innocent heart, the word means may-drink, and the thing itself is wine, in which the leaves of As-perula have been infused. The Germans have been calling the plant 'Wald-meister,' and insist that it grows wild in this country, but they mistake for it one of our own Galiums. I don't at this mo-ment recollect which species it is, but one of them has quite the same melilot perfume as Asperula. It is singular that Anthoxanthemum among grasses, Melilotus and Dipterix (tonqua bean), in Leguminosae and Asperula and galiums in Rubia-cese, to which we may add Liatris odoratissima in Composite, should, though so unlike botanically, have almost precisely the same odor.
But this is preaching. The October number is a good one, in proof of which I admit to have read it all through."
In addition to this we have another from an equally esteemed correspondent: "I was quite amused on looking at the Gardener's Monthly the other day to see a quotation from a Belgian journal, saying that the Asperula odorata was used in making the German perfume called Maitrank. In New England, perhaps, it might do to call it a perfume; but in Germany, where there is no prohibitory law, there is no hesitation in drinking what the Belgian journal calls, facetiously perhaps, a perfume. In plain English, Maitrank. as the name implies, is a sort of punch, made of some light white wine, into which is put the meisterkraut, or Asperula odorata, apple-blossoms and such things; clover-flowers are even said to be used, and I have known Oxalis leaves to be found floating in the Maitrank. In short, the ingredients are as indefinite - although somewhat higher-toned - as in the root beer of New England. Wine is indispensible; then, if it can be obtained, Asperula and in addition any number of other flowers. The Maitrank is a favorite spring beverage in the valley of the Rhine, particularly in Baden and Alsace. The traveler will easily find a chance of tasting it in Frankfort, Heidelberg or Strasbourg. Amongst other places at the Mol-kenkur in Heidelburg it is offered for sale about the first of May, when if one does not fancy the somewhat weak and acid beverage, he can, at any rate, enjoy the magnificent view of the nec-kar and the more distant Rhine. The Asperula odorata is common all through the Vosges mountains, and it always seemed strange to me that so pretty a plant was not cultivated.
One of the prettiest species of Peronospora, P. calotheca grows upon it."
[Another friend sends us a postal card, much to the same effect. We return our best thanks for these favors. It has been ever our ambition to make the Gardener's Monthly as near absolute perfection as possible, and it is a great pleasure to us to find our friends as jealous of its accuracy as we are ourselves. Such corrections are always very welcome. - Ed. G. D.]