"The welcome flowers are blossoming,

In joyous troops revealed, And lift their dewy buds and bells

In garden, mead, and field; '1 hey lurk in every sunless path,

Where forest children tread, And dot, like stars, the sacred turf

Which lies above the dead."

How shall we calendar the flowers? Shall we show how

"The crocus blows before the shrine At vernal dawn of St. Valentine "?

or weave a chaplet of "Marybuds" against Our Lady Day ? for the flowers of wood and field were specially dedicated to the saints. "When with the first warm rays of a February sun the firstlings of the year awake from their winter's sleep, and venture forth to show the returning animation of the hardy vegetable world, even though there is a hard fringe of snow yet lingering on the skirts of winter's mantle, they whisper forth spring is at hand; for "Lo, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear upon the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land."

Ere the fetters of winter are quite gone, the russet drops begin to appear as a pendant fringe on the thin slender bough of the Hazel (Corylus avellana) "And hazel catkins, and the bursting buds Of the fresh willow, whisper spring is coming," and many a rustic belle uses them as ear-drops, whilst she gathers the pussy-cats of the Palm Willow (Salix caprea). Whilst the bullfinch is seeking its mate, the " flower of faithful love," the " day's eye " of the poets, with its "golden bosom fringed with snow," may be found peeping up in the hedgerows ere the snow has left the northern nooks of the coppice. By-and-bye it will deck the meads not only of our beloved England, but of Europe. Italian children will peek it in a warmer clime, and gloat over Prato-lina (meadow flower), whilst the French boys will tenderly gather la belle Marguerite, our own sweet "constellated flower that never sets," the Bellis pe-rennis of botanists, the common Daisy of our childhood. The unfortunate Margaret of Anjou chose it as her device, and in the sunshine of prosperity the nobles of her Court wore it in wreaths in their hair or had it embroidered on their robes. Chaucer, and every poet who has followed in his train, has sung the praise of the humble flower which another Margaret - she of Valois, the friend of Erasmus and of Calvin, the Marguerite of Marguerites - had worn to her honour; and not inappropriately, for she could leave the glitter of Courts, to study her Bible and her own heart. Though some historians say it was the marigold and not the daisy that was the device of the "Pearl of Pearls," I am loth to separate the flower and the legend.

"We shall have but little difficulty in recognizing the red Dead Nettle {Lamium purpureum), with its rough dull green leaves slightly tinged with purple.

It sends up its leaves early in the year, and its reddish purple labiate flowers, set in a whorl, are amongst the first to welcome in the spring, and nearly the last to disappear from the wayside flora. The flowers are not showy or beautiful, but the plant has a good reputation as a styptic, and has long been used as a remedy for stopping the effusion of blood. It is not unlike its neighbour the Stinging Nettle, which is just peeping through the ground, to the delight of rural boyhood, who have visions of nettle porridge before them. The stinging variety is often boiled when young with bacon, and eaten as greens.

The Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacea) is some times mistaken for the red dead nettle; but its leaves are kidney-shaped, and it trails along the ground; hence its old name of "Gill Run-along-the-ground." Its odour is aromatic and not unpleasant, and it is in good repute among old-fashioned housewives, who have faith in it as a remedy for coughs and colds. It has also the name of "Ale-hoof" and "Tun-hoof," and brewers have used it to bitter their ale and give it an agreeable flavour. It has been recommended for diseases of the eye, of the ear, and of the chest. Old Gerarde lecommends it to be boiled in mutton broth, to help "weak and aking backs." Its violet.purple flowers are great favourites of children.

Close by, amid a star-shower of the seed-leaves of the budding summer flowers, the dark green, shining, arrow-shaped leaves of the Arum maculatum start up, stalwart and strong, braving the icy east wind and courting the gales of the gentle south. Once seen, the arum is not soon forgotten: it is widely known under its familiar name of lords and ladies, cuckoo-pint, and wake-Robin. As the spring advances there will arise from the centre of the clustered leaves a tall wreathed column, with a sharp point, which gradually unfolds and shows a singularly-shaped flower known as a Spadix. The column is sometimes of a pale yellow colour, but oftener of a rich purple tint. At its base is a frill of imperfect stamens, and below are the yellow anthers and the ring of pistillate flowers. As the seasons pass on the column will die away, and the anthers or ovaries of the pistillate flowers become the orange-coloured berries which shine brilliantly in the dull autumn weather and in the early winter. Poisonous though every part of the plant is, its white root, which is about the size of a pigeon's egg, contains a farinaceous powder or white flour not much unlike potato starch or arrowroot, which was much valued when high ruffs were worn, and clearstarching ranked among the polite accomplishments. By continuously washing the starch with water, the acrid matter is carried away, and the powder which is deposited, when dried in the sun, becomes edible, like cassava, which is the purified fecula of the mandioc. This flour was an article of commerce under the name of Portland sago for many years, but even the mode of its preparation is dying out.

Earliest among spring flowers is the Primrose (Primula vulgaris), with its crimpled leaves and pale yellow blossoms, which stud the high banks and hedgerows, and spread a spangled carpet over the wood lands. By its side "Sweet violets, Love's Paradise, that spread The gracious odours which they couched bear," throng the southern hedgerows, and give out their sweet perfume. The Scented Violet (Viola odorata), the emblem of modest worth, is found of varied colours, from claret, blue, dull red, to pinkish white, and finally white. Sometimes, like the primrose, it spreads its dark blue carpet over a woodland tract, but evidently prefers the warm sunny bank. The perfume of this flower has always been admired, and the old physicians gave innumerable virtues to the plant. It has been made into conserve, and violet sugar was a famous remedy for weak lungs in the time of Charles II. Violet syrup is an old-fashioned remedy for infant colds yet in use. Violets will impart both their colour and flavour to liquids, and violet vinegar makes an agreeable acidulated drink when mixed with water in the summer weather; the leaves of the violet are also applied to bruises with some success. As the season passes by, the Dog Violet (Viola canina) will succeed its sweet-scented brother, and is frequently mistaken for it, though its colour is lighter, and no odour from it "perfumes the air."