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.
Three species at least are in popular cultivation under this name, viz.: P. graveolens, P. quercifolium, and P. capita-turn. The first of these is the one most frequently met with; it has long-stalked hairy leaves, which are palmately lobed or nearly partite, the segments themselves being also deeply cut; the flowers are small, pale pink or lilac, the two upper petals being each marked with a darker spot. It was introduced to England by Francis Masson in 1774, and specimens grown at Kew in 1778 are in the British Museum herbarium. Mr. Lowe says that it is used everywhere in gardens in Madeira for forming ornamental clipped hedges. In this island it forms a stiff bushy shrub, from one to three feet high. The familiar odor of the leaves is differently regarded by different persons; thus Dr. Harvey calls it "balsamic," while Mr. Lowe characterizes it as a " strong, disagreeable, though subaromatic scent."Many varieties of this species are in cultivation in English gardens.
The Oak-leaved Geranium (P. quercifolium) is also an old garden favorite, introduced from the Cape in the same year, and by the same collector as the last-named species. It has much general resemblance to P. graveolens, but the leaves are not nearly so much divided - Dr. Harvey describes them as "sinuato-pinnatifid."They are buf short-1 ly stalked, thus giving the plant a more solid and bushy appearance; the flowers, too, though similar, are larger. The scent is also different - disagreeable according to Dr. Harvey, but pleasant to others.
A near ally of this species is P. glutinosum, which was introduced to Kew Gardens by Messrs. Kennedy and Lee about 1777; specimens from them in 1780 are in the British Museum herbarium. This is a large plant, the leaves of which are more hastate in outline than those of P. quercifolium, but otherwise resemble them, and are very viscid or clammy to the touch. The flowers, too, are larger and more ornamental. This is another species which is naturalized in Madeira, where it is very extensively used as a hedge plant. The scent, which Dr. Harvey characterizes as heavy and balsamic, is, according to Mr. Lowe, "strong, but to many people not altogether disagreeable, something like that of a tan-yard, but combined with a pleasant aroma."P. tomentosum - a plant with soft, velvety lobed leaves and very small white flowers, is another species which has been in cultivation on account of its scent, which somewhat resembles that of peppermint; it was introduced in 1790. - Gardeners' Magazine.
Dr. Louis Edouard Berckmans - the founder of the Fruitland nurseries, now so ably conducted by his son, P. J. Berckmans, at Augusta, Georgia, died on the 8th of December in his eighty-fourth year.
Dr. Berckmans was a native of Belgium, a possessor of a large estate, and prominent citizen; but with a profound admiration of America and her institutions, emigrated with his family to America and settled first at Plainfield, New Jersey, but finding the northern climate rather too severe for his constitution, he settled in the South a few years before the Rebellion, purchasing the beautiful property of Mr. D. Redmond, the well-known able writer on Southern horticulture. As age crept on he removed to Rome, Georgia, leaving the nurseries at Augusta to his son. He died at Rome from pneumonia as stated above. Those who love to see people of a high order of intelligence engaged in horticultural pursuits have great cause to regret the death of this able and good man.