This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
A quart of peas, sown in a shallow box fifteen inches wide by eighteen long, at any time of the year, and cut off when about four or five inches high, and boiled like spinach, with a little salt, makes a most delicious dish. The tops of Jerusalem artichokes, cut off about six inches long, and boiled like other greens, make a capital dish, which partakes, in some degree, of the flavor of the root Boiled water-cress also makes a wholesome and delicious dish. It most not; however, be over-boiled; for impaired constitutions, it is invaluable. In April and May, late potatoes should always be peeled some ten or twelve hours, and steeped in cold spring Water before they are cooked. This is a great improvement; it makes the potato nearly as good as those dug in October. The propter wiry to make a cap of good tea, is a matter of some importance. The plan which I have practised for these twelve months is this: The tea-pot is at once filled up with boiling water; then the tea is put into the pot, and is allowed to stand for five minutes before it is used; the leaves gradually absorb the water, and as gradually sink to the bottom. The result is, that the tea leaves are not scalded; as they are when boiling water is poured over them, and you get all the true flavor of the tea.
In truth, much less tea is required in this way than under the old and common practice. - Janus Outhill, London.
Mr. Batsman's idea - doubtless the only one - of a pinetum is a most irregular series of groups of the same or kindred species of conifers; and he has placed them on mounds, for the double purpose of rendering these groups more picturesque, and of bringing the beautiful forms of many of the sorts between the spectator and the sky, without any intervening background. The great variety in the shape and height of the mounds, likewise affords the best facilities for securing the precise amount of exposure, shelter, shade, moisture, or dryness, which any particular species may demand. And the carpet of Heather, by its color, and by its naturalness, seems to transfer the plants at once, in appearance, to their native hills, while, unlike bare earth or grass, it requires no labor or attention whatever to preserve it in good order.
Comparatively recent as is the formation of this pinetum, and though the plants are none of them much more than ten or twelve feet high, the difference between the system of grouping here pursued, and the common method of spotting about the plants at comparatively regular intervals on a flat surface, is most conspicuous and satisfying. Nothing of the kind could be more beautiful than the groups of deodars and araucarias (at least a dozen plants in each group) which burst into view as the pinetum walk is entered. Occupying a slope to the west, and assuming the greatest diversity of character, with some of them standing out clear against the sky, and others (especially the deodars) being backed up by the mounds themselves, or by yew-trees planted behind them, they present themselves, even to those most conversant with their forms, in many novel aspects and combinations. So striking, indeed, is the difference of habit which the araucarias assume, that some fanciful name, indicative of their character, has been applied to each individual plant. - Cottage Gardener.
Melons in Persia are treated with the greatest attention. In the best gardens, they are placed on tiles, and turned round several times a day, in order that each side may ripen equally in the heat of the sun. The result is, that they* probably excel in flavor any melons in the world. They are esteemed a great delicacy in Persia, and are sent as presents not only to the cities of the interior, but even to Bagdad and the holy places of Kerbela and Nedjef in Arabia. Unlike the Turks, who dine from off a cireular tray raised upon a stool, and upon which one dish at a time is served, the Persians place all their dishes together upon a cloth spread over the floor. Those who eat crouch around upon their hams (a position particularly disagreeable and inconvenient), painful, at all times, to Europeans with tight "continuations," but unbearably so when accompanied by the process of lifting rice with one's fingers to one's month. At great festivals, the floor of the:room is frequently cowed with dishes, and the servants thread their way, generally with naked feqs through a forest of pillaws, soups, .sweets, bowls of sour milk, sherbets, end candlesticks, which they do with considerable skill, waiting upon the guests without treading in the plates, or sweeping away their contents with their long flowing garments.
During the feast, the company are entertained by the shrill and discordant notes of boys, who sing alternately verses from the poets, and are accompanied by a musical instrument consisting of many strings, struck with a hammer. Wine and ardent spirits are always taken by Persians and Turks before dinner, and not during or after a meal. It is considered more wholesome and agreeable to get drunk before eating, and an Eastern never drinks without, the intention of doing so to excess, He cannot understand the habit of taking wine in small quantities as a simple stimulant. There is one invariable .aocomppniment to all Persian dinners: a bowl of sngar and water, which is druuk with a wooden spoon, frequently of very elegant shape, and of such extreme delicacy, that, when used, it bends almost double.
M. Pepin, of the Garden of Plants, has a note on the effects ,of sulphur on camellias, and other kinds of house plants, to show that, though sulphur may be good for vines and peaches, there is danger in using it for other plants in the same manner. He mentions an instance in which the gardener .of a gentleman residing in Paris had applied, it in the month of October, to young camellias covered with insects, thinking, as it is stated, that by. this plan he would get rid of them in the same way as those on the peaches treated for blight in the open ground. But as the conditions were very different, the results were not the same. It appears that the camellias in question, .about fifty in number, were from three to six feet high, planted out in clumps en espaliers; some of them only were in pots. Those in the clumps were trained in the pyramidal form, and the others in the lan form along the walls of the house. The borders of the clumps were filled . with miscellaneous plants, having a margin of Lycopodium Braziliense. Shelves Tunning round the house were filled in the same way.
The sulphur was applied in the evening, and, next morning, the ground was covered with camellia buds. Some days after, the young branches were affected .seriously, and, subseqpently, the whole of the wood down to the verv roots, so that, with the exception of Donkelaerii, mutabilis, Chandlerii, and elegans, the whole of the camellias died. Among the ligneous plants saved, the principal are a Ficus etastica, about seven feet high; the buds and terminal leaves, however, have been much affected. With this were a Draccena australis, and some varieties of Epiphyllum Ackermanni. It appears that the lycopodium which formed the margin, twenty-five varieties of azalea in pots, a collection of heaths, Habro-thamnus elegans, Clematis japonica, Passiflora Belotii, Daphne indica, and more than a hundred other plants of similar kinds, have been destroyed by the sulphurous vapor which was produced, during the night, in the house.
M. Pepin observes that, as is well known, sulphur is used, in many cases, for plants in stoves and greenhouses; but it is necessary to understand the nature of the insect, and the plants to be operated on. Great caution must be used, also, aa to the quantity of sulphur proper to be employed, as well as the particular parts to be operated on. It must not be supposed that sulphur may be used as freely in a house as in the open ground.