This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V26", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
There is no story more "abundantly substantiated," than that the first weeping willow tree in England, was raised from a sprout which had come from an old basket in which some figs had been packed from Smyrna, and which had been thrown into the Thames near the poet Pope's garden at Twickenham. Some iconoclast has, however, thrown down the historic idol, by showing that baskets are never made of the weeping willow, nor could they be, if one tried, for the branches are brittle as pipe stems. Yet the Botanical Gazette furnishes another basket story "abundantly substantiated," it is said, of an old worn-out basket, thrown into a ditch at the base of the bank of the Illinois & Michigan R. R., near Chicago, which, in 1853, some one found full of sprouts. The basket was dug up with its sprouts for the curiosity of the thing, and transplanted to a garden, but none made a willow tree. Now there is no reason, as any gardener will know, why sprouts coming from, and attached to a willow basket, should die by instant removal.
There is no "shock to vitality," when basket and all was removed as there would have been if the shoots had been separated from the basket - and unless we know what our good friends of the Gazette mean by "abundantly substantiated," it will be best to believe that the "sprouts" were of Dianthera, Polygonum, or of some willow-like plant which had twined in, as chess will sometimes twine through a wheat stock. It will certainly not be safe till then for any gen-eralizer to build much on this statement.