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.
Miss Maling and her coadjutors deserve well of humanity for what they have done to diffuse among us an inclination for one of the most wholesome as well as fascinating pursuits. Nobody who has not tried it, can imagine what is the continued stimulus of plant rearing as a pursuit for leisure hours, when once a sufficient progress has been made to insure a fair proportion of successes. The most rudimentary love of flowers, if genuine, and a couple of hyacinths or pots of musk, are enough to begin with. As we watch the plants and feed them and wait upon them, a strange sort of sympathy with them grows up within us. Their innocent green natures become a part of our own, and we acquire something of their willing gladness and patient tenacity. The way in which they respond to every gleam of sunshine and adapt themselves to all sorts of accidents is a constant source of pleasant surprise; it seems such a miracle when they unfold before our eyes, such a joyful encouragement when they prosper, and even when they die the pang is so free from bitterness, that it soon becomes impossible to live without them.
The work of tending them is one of the few almost unalloyed pleasures we can give ourselves.
Great praise is given this year to the strawberry "Monarch of the "West," and deservedly.
A newspaper observing rows of young men at church doors, calls them "dandy lines".
Cowley's translation from Claudian, which a correspondent wishes to recall, is this :
"A neighboring wood born with himself, he sees, And loves his old contemporary trees".
Don't be troubled at the ignorance of foreigners regarding American geography, or American botany and trees. What do most of us know of South America? You remind us of an anecdote. Two young Englishmen, or Irish were they? when just out of college, got the awful habit of imbibing too much liquor, and were sent in a sailing vessel to be cured by the climate of the United States, their pockets well lined with gold. The captain of the ship soon saw their ignorance of the land they were bound for, and played upon their credulity. When opposite Nantucket island, he told them the natives were Cannibals and came aboard ships for a favorite meal, and they had better lock themselves in their staterooms ! This they did for a whole day. No cures being effected these travellers were ordered home. The last that was seen of them, they were rolling down Broadway with a demijohn of whiskey in the front. They got aboard the home vessel and were last heard from as having emigrated to Australia. Don't be too anxious for the good opinions of Europe; that is all settled.
Why are the best things of all kinds the scarcest - men and women, fruits, etc.? - is a question to puzzle philosophers. Who can answer? Is it that we are made to acquire our good qualities and good things by hard work, or could an inventor of great power improve upon the old and the present order of things ?
At a fancy ball lately, somewhere in Europe, a lady went in the character of a mushroom. Her dress ornamented with little growths of the same. This reminds one of the reply to the question, "In what character shall I go to the hall ?" The reply was startling : "Go as a gentleman by way of variety".