This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V21", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
The writer has been asked to define the difference in value of a study or love for botany and horticulture, and the study of music. The first idea is, that botany and horticulture contribute vastly to observation and conversation. Who talks music, and who, on a long journey, would contribute most to the pleasure of a party - the horticulturist and botanist (or say geologist, also) or the performer who had wasted half a young life in practicing on the piano? Surely the one who understood the properties of plants and the beauty and variety of flowers. It becomes a question, the asking of which should be a serious consideration, - Shall ladies be taught botany and horticulture in colleges, or shall they be crammed with metaphysics? It is useless to assert that one must have a natural turn for flowers in order to drink of the pleasures of the garden and greenhouse - else why insist on music for those who naturally care nothing for it?
And here one is led to observe that many a woman, when she goes into a region of flowering-plants, shows her ignorance at once by trying to smell a fuchsia, a camellia, or a dahlia, and many well known plants that are scentless. We hope the time is coming when horticulture will be a recognized subject in colleges and schools. Till this is the case, exhibitions will not be prosperous or profitable. The masses must be taught. Carlyle ever condemned his father for not teaching him botany and astronomy, so that he could find friends and conversation wherever he went. The Duke of Wellington was asked by a lady to explain how the battle of Waterloo was won. He replied: "We pounded, and they pounded, but we pounded the hardest." So it will always be - the heaviest pounders will win the day in science and be successful.
J. Veitch & Son's Catalogue of New Plants for 1879, (London), is worthy of note. Two new pitcher plants - Nepenthes Courtii and N. Stew-; as figured, look very tempting and desirable, as do many other figured plants, including "Begonia, Queen of the Whites," and "Monarch." Orchids are a specialty.
Trees are known to attract lightning, and the leaf is a lightning conductor. Having notched edges, each of these points is powerful to attract the electric fluid from the air, and, through the stem, convey it silently to the ground. A single blade of grass is said to be three times as powerful to attract electricity as a fine cambric needle, and a twig covered with leaves is more efficient than the best constructed "patent point."Trees are natural lightning rods - more efficient than all the artificial ones that have ever been invented.