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.
The Gardener's Chronicle regrets, with many others, that the missionary, Livingstone, who has spent sixteen weary years in exploring Africa, should have been totally ignorant of botany and gardening. He has made some sad mistakes in attempting to give information, and thus thrown discredit on what may be true. This want of education is deeply to be regretted in many travellers. For instance, pleasant as Bayard Taylor's books of travel may be, he appears never to have had his attention turned to distinguishing one tree from another, and we read of countries of the highest botanical interest with scarcely an allusion to the vegetation that can be understood. Children's gardens, and a little knowledge infused at school, should be attended to.
What a pity that so many travellers leave home without any knowledge of science. Geology and Botany should at least have some entrance in their brains, before they attempt to enlighten the public. We make these remarks in consequence of having attempted to peruse a book, entitled, "From New York to Delhi, by way of Rio Janeiro, Australia and China." Published by the Appletons. The young writer actually remarks of the vegata-tion of Australia, and it is all he says about it, thus:
"Sydney has the advantage of a finely kept park, consisting of about 30 acres, inclosing a botanical garden in which are the plants of all climates, growing side by side, in the open air. The oak, however, and other Northern trees do not seem to thrive, all the specimens I saw being puny and stunted".
Why, did the writer know that he was surrounded by a flora the most wonderful in the world? It is remarkable that he recognized even a stunted oak. In the Himalaya Mountains he does not think of the rhododendrons,.probably had never heard of such a thing. In China the same deficiency. In Rio Janeiro: "I saw much coffee growing; it looks like a hardy plant, and did not seem to have been carefully cultivated. Banana trees, of course, to be seen everywhere, being somewhat of a weed among the trees." Had he been a little keener, he might have learned that the coffee tree will not grow in the blaze of the sun, and that the banana is planted to shade it, and thus to obtain two crops. The banana " somewhat of a weed "!!