This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V24", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
In regard to the romancing narratives connected with the weeping willows, some correspondents wrote recently that it was a pity the editor of the Gardener's Monthly disturbed them, for they were " too pretty to destroy." There is no objection to pretty stories. We like them; and we doubt whether a mere story loses any of its interest by being given as a story, and not as the very truth. Dr. Asa Gray is also of this opinion, as we may judge from the following which has recently appeared in the Gardener's Chronicle :
"A paragraph in an article on the ' Travels of Plants' in the Gardener's Chronicle for March 25, just received here, calls up a reminiscence. Here is the paragraph : ' The introduction of the Cedar of Lebanon into France was an effort of most interesting devotion on the part of Bernard de Jussieu, who brought it from the Holy Land in 1737, and kept it alive on the voyage by sharing with it the very small quantity of water which he received during a prolonged voyage. In the absence of a flower-pot, Jussieu is said to have planted the cedar in his hat, and by giving it a moiety of his daily glass of water he succeeded in keeping it alive, and afterwards had the satisfaction of planting it in the Jardin des Plantes at Paris. In 1837, at the age of 100 years, it was cut down, having attained a height 80 feet.' I dimly remembered having read this narrative before in a fuller version. This is to be found in an article on coniferous trees in the Edinburgh Review for October, 1864. That account enters into details - that Bernard de Jussieu, when travelling in the Holy Land, brought away with him from among the Cedars of Mount Lebanon a little seedling, made a flower-pot of his hat, in which he planted it, got it safely on board a vessel bound for Marseilles; that tempestuous weather and contrary winds so prolonged the voyage that the passengers were restricted to half a glassful of water a day all through a lengthened voyage; that, sharing this with his little plant, he reached Marseilles at length with his own health seriously damaged, but that of his seedling uninjured; that, after all this privation successfully endured, he came near to losing the fruit of his devotion through the incredulity and suspicion of the officers of the Customs, who, suspecting a scheme for smuggling jewels, wished to unearth this treasure from its singular receptacle; how, his eloquent appeals prevailing, he was allowed to carry it to the Gardin des Plantes, where it became a great and famous tree; and finally, how, "in its hundredth year (1837) it was cut down to make room for a railway, and now the hissing steam-engine passes over the place where it stood." I had supposed it was well known that Bernard Jessieu never went to the Holy Land, and that most readers of the Gardener's Chronicle would know that no railway has as yet invaded the Jardin des Plantes, or that in such a case it would be likely to cross the steep knoll, upon which still stands (or last summer stood) the Cedar of Lebanon which, as a seedling, Jussieu is said to have brought over from England in the crown of his hat, said hat the while probably covering the honored head of the founder of the natural system.
It is hardly worth while to enquire where the penny-a-liner of the Edinburgh Review obtained his materials, but the story of the voyage from the Levant to Marseilles seems to be an adaptation of one about three coffee plants which Antoine de Jussieu is said to have despatched from the Jar-din des Plantes in 1720 to Martinique in a vessel commanded by Captain Decheux, one of which was kept alive by the devotion of the captain, under circumstances similar to those of that part of the preceding story".