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.
By Dr. A. S. Packard, Jr.; being Bulletin No. 4, United States Entomological Commission. Published by the Department of the Interior.
This is another of the very useful treatises published by the United States G«?vernment for which the people will thank their representatives.
No. 5 of the same series is by Dr. Cyrus Thomas, and treats of the chinch-bug.
The Wild Garden; or, our groves and gardens made beautiful by the naturalization of hardy exotic plants; being one way onward from the dark ages of gardening, with suggestions for the regeneration of the bare borders of the London parks. ByWm, Robinson, London, and New York, Scribner & Welford. 1881.
This heavy title reminds of the revival of learning, indeed, when the mighty warriors in the cause of truth, issued their " Sandy foundations shaken," or "Satan attacked by his own sword," or some other equally valiant book which carried defiance on the very title page. Yet we sympathize heartily with the object of the work, and hope it will be the means of not only inducing a greater love of hardy exotics, but also for the many pretty native plants in which British woods abound.
Mr. Robinson's books are always as beautiful as they are useful, and this, to say the least, is no way behind any of its predecessors. We hope it will have a large sale, both in this country as well as in the old world, aiding, as we are sure it must, a genuine love for flowers. In perusing its beautiful and instructive pages, the only thing we are sorry for is to find that Mr. Robinson is not yet convinced that his well-meant efforts to avoid the use of hard Latin words of plants are only leading to unutterable confusion. We had hoped it would have stopped with the Garden, and not have found a place in a work of such permanent value as this. There is no doubt that the work will lose very much of its value in this country where the local English names, or the new ones coined, will not be understood. Not half the readers here will have any idea what plants are referred to. If one meets with a botanical name, and does not know what the plant is, a reference to some botanical work will explain it; but there is no work that will tell him anything about plants with these funny names.
We venture to say that if a list of them were given even to a first class English nursery, the order would be returned with the remark that they could not be supplied, simply because they are not known by those names. Though we have endeavored to keep the track of Mr. Robinson's new names as they appeared in the Garden, we find a large number here that we know nothing about, and in consequence all that he says about the plants might as well have been written in Chinese. We suppose " Cheddar pink" is some sort of a Dianthus, and have something of an idea what a "wind gentian," "Bavarian gentian," or "Caucasian comfrey" may be; among the many of these species there is some sort of chance to understand how they look; but when it comes to " Barren wort," "Mug wort," "Handsome evergreen alkanet," "Pretty little Rosy Bindweed," and so on, even " can imagination paint" becomes a question.
Moreover, it does not seem to us that the object sought - the introduction of easy names over hard Latin ones, is really accomplished. "Geneva Bugle dwarf Boragewort" does not seem easier to say than if we use its full botanical name - whatever that may be. " Goat's beard spiraea" is surely no better than Aruncus; and as for "Bears-breeches," we fancy Acanthus, classical though it be, will be preferred to the plain English.
It is some sign, however, of a faltering in this confusing work to find Mr. Robinson himself evidently disgusted with it before he gets through. When he comes to give lists of flowers adapted to his wild garden, he uses nothing but botanical names. That he may go on under this conviction of wrong-doing will be the wish of the many admirers of his useful labors.