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to float unsupported in the air,—all these things, combined with the most exquisite contrast of the rarest and most delicate colours in their flowers, are not more extraordinary characteristics of their tribe than is the circumstance that in nearly every variety there exists a remarkable resemblance to some work either of animate nature or of art. Common observation of the pretty specimens of this genus in our own woods and fields has marked this in the names given to the fly, the bee, and the spider-orchis;* but in the exotic orchises this mimickry is still more strongly marked. Besides the butterfly-plant already alluded to, there is the dovepFant, and a host besides, so like to other things than flowers, that they seem to have undergone a metamorphosis under the magic wand of some transforming power.

Remembering the countries from which most of them comethe dank jungles of Hindostan—the fathomless woods of Mexico --the unapproached valleys of China-one might almost fancy them the remains of the magic influence which tradition affirms of old to have reigned in those wild retreats ; and that, while the diamond palaces of Sarmacand, and the boundless cities of Guatemala, and the colossal temples of Elephanta, have left but a ruin or a name, these fairy creations of gnomes, and sprites, and afreets, and jinns (if so we must call them), being traced on the more imperishable material of Nature herself, have been handed down to us as the last vestiges of a dynasty older and more powerful than European man. It is impossible to view a collection of these magic-looking plants in flower without being carried back to the visions of the Arabian Nights-not indeed wandering in disguise through the streets of Bagdad with Haroun and his vizier (we beg pardon--wezeer), but entering with some adventurous prince the spell-bound palace of some sleeping beauty, or descending with Aladdin into the delicious subterranean gardens of fruits, and jewels, and flowers.

To pass from the romantic to the useful, we cannot do a kinder deed to our manufacturers than to turn their attention to the splendid works of Mr. Bateman and Dr. Lindley, dedicated to this class of plants. It is well known how contemporaneous was the cultivation of flowers and manufactures in some of our large cities—at Norwich, for instance, where the taste yet survives, and where there is a record of a flower-show being held so early as 1687)—the flowers which the foreign artisans brought over with them suggesting at the same time thoughts of years gone by and designs for the work of the hour. Our new schools of design might literally take a leaf--and a flower-out of the books we have mentioned, and improve our patterns in every department of art by studying

examples of such exquisite beauty, * These British species are now transferred by botanists to the genus Ophrys.

variety,

variety, and novelty of form and colour as the tribe of orchideous plants affords.

Another class of plants, very different from that just mentioned, to which we would call the attention of designers, is that of the Ferns. Though too commonly neglected by the generality, botanists have long turned their researches towards this extensive and elegant class. These humble denizens of earth can boast their enthusiasts and monographists, as much as the pansy or the rose; nor has the exquisite tracery of their fronds escaped the notice of the artist and the wayfarer. But few, perhaps, even of those who have delighted to watch the crozier-like germ of the bracken bursting from the ground in spring, and the rich umber of its maturity among

the

green gorse of autumn, are aware that Britain can produce at least thirty-six distinct species of its own, with a still greater number of subordinate varieties; these, too, constituting but a very small fraction of the 1508 species which Sadler enumerates in his general catalogue. Mr. Newman, in his recent work, has figured more than eighty varieties, the natural growth of our own isles alone, and mentions fourteen distinct species found in one chasm at Ponterwyd! Though some of the tailpiece vignettes of his volume fail in representing--as how could it be otherwise?--the natural abandon and elegance of this most graceful of all plants, we would still recommend the great variety and beauty of his larger illustrations as much to the artist and manufacturer, and embellisher, as to the fern-collector himself.

Our notice of ferns might seem rather foreign to the subject of ornamental gardening (though we shall have something to say of a fernery by and bye), were it not for the opportunity it affords us of introducing, probably for the first time to many of our readers, a botanical experiment, which, though for some years past partially successful, has but lately been brought to very great perfection for the purposes both of use and ornament. We allude to the mode of conveying and growing plants in glass-cases hermetically sealed from all communication with the outer air. There are few ships that now arrive from the East Indies without carrying on deck several cases of this description, belonging to one or other of our chief nurserymen, filled with orchideous plants and other new and tender varieties froin the East, which formerly baffled the utmost care to land them here in a healthy state. These cases, frequently furnished by the extreme liberality of Dr. Wallich, the enterprising and scientific director of the Hon. Company's gardens in the neighbourhood of Calcutta, form on shipboard a source of great interest to the passengers of a four-months' voyage, and, after having deposited their precious contents on our shores, return again by the same ship filled with the common flowers of England,

« That

"That dwell beside our paths and homes,'

which our brethren in the East affectionately value by association above all the brilliant garlands of their sunny sky.

This interchange of sweets was a few years ago almost unattainable, the sea-air and spray, as is well known, being most injurious to every kind of plant; but their evil effects are now completely avoided by these air-tight cases, which admit no exterior influence but that of light. Without entering into any deep physiological explanation, it may be enough to say that vegetable, unlike animal life, does not exhaust the nutritive properties of air by repeated inhaling and exhaustion ; so that these plants, aided perhaps by the perfect stillness of the confined atmosphere, so favourable to all vegetation, continue to exist, breathing, if we may so say, the same air, so long as there is moisture enough to allow them to deposit every night a slight dew on the glass, which they imbibe again during the day. The soil is moistened in the first instance, but on no account is any further water or air admitted. The strangers which we have seen thus transmitted, being chiefly very small portions of succulents and epiphytes, though healthy, have shown no inclination to flourish or blossom in their confinement; but it inust be remembered that the temperature on the deck of a ship must be very much lower than what this tribe requires, and the quantity of wood-work which the cases require to stand the roughnesses of the voyage, greatly impedes the transmission of light. As soon as the slips are placed in the genial temperature of the orchideous house, they speedily shoot out into health and beauty.

But while this mode of conveyance answers the purposes of science, a much more beautiful adaptation of the same principle is contrived for the bed-room garden of the invalid. Who is there that has not some friend or other confined by chronic disease or lingering decline to a single chamber?-one, we will suppose, who a short while ago was among the gayest and the most admired of a large and happy circle, now through sickness dependent, after her One staff and stay, for her minor comforts and amusements on the angel visits of a few kind friends, a little worsted-work, or a new Quarterly, and, in the absence or dulness of these, happy in the possession of some fresh-gathered flower, and in watering and tending a few pots of favourite plants, which are to her as friends, and whose flourishing progress under her tender care offers a melancholy but instructive contrast to her own decaying strength. Some mild autumn-evening her physician makes a later visit than usual—the room is faint from the exhalations of the flowers—the patient is not so well to-day—he wonders that he never noticed that mignionette and those geraniums be

fore,

fore, or he never should have allowed them to remain so longsome weighty words on oxygen and hydrogen are spoken-her poor pets are banished for ever at the word of the man of science, and the most innocent and unfailing of her little interests is at an end. By the next morning the flowers are gone, but the patient is no better; there is less cheerfulness than usual; there is a listless wandering of the eyes after something that is not there ;* and the good man is too much of a philosopher not to know how the working of the mind will act upon the body, and too much of a Christian not to prevent the rising evil if he can; he hears with a smile her expression of regret for her long-cherished favourites, but he says not a word. In the evening a largish box arrives directed to the fair patient, and superscribed, • Keep this side upwards—with care. There is more than the common interest of box-opening in the sick chamber. After a little tender hammering and tiresome knot-loosening, Thompson has removed the lid ;-—and there lies a large oval bell-glass fixed down to a stand of ebony, some moist sand at the bottom, and here and there over the whole surface some tiny ferns are just pushing their curious little fronds into life, and already promise, from their fresh and healthy appearance, to supply in their growth and increase all the beauty and interest of the discarded flowers, without their injurious effects. It is so. These delicate exotics, for such they are, closely sealed down in an air-tight world of their own, flourish with amazing rapidity, and in time produce seeds which provide a generation to succeed them. Every day witnessing some change keeps the mind continually interested in their progress, and their very restriction from the open air, while it renders the chamber wholesome to the invalid, provides at the same time an undisturbed atmosphere more suited to the development of their own tender frames, We need scarcely add, that the doctor the next morning finds the wonted cheerful smile restored, and though recovery may be beyond the skill, as it is beyond the ken, of he at least has the satisfaction of knowing that he has lightened a heart in affiction, and gained the gratitude of a humble spirit, in restoring, without the poison, a pleasure that was lost.

For more minute particulars of the management of these chamber-gardens, we must refer our readers to page xviii. of Mr. Newman's Introduction, where also they will find described the ingenious experiments of Mr. Ward, of Wellclose Square,j of the

man,

* όμμάτων δ' εν αχηνίαις

appu rão dogoditus-Esch. Agam. 408. + Since writing the above we have had Mr. Ward's book on the Growth of Plants in closely-glazed Cases' put into our hands. If we had seen this work before, we should have done more justice to Mr. Ward, as the inventor and improver of this system; he seems indeed to be the very medical practitioner of whom we spoke. Messrs. Luddiges' establishment alone have made use of 500 of Mr. Ward's cases.

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same kind, but on a much larger scale; and if delicate health restricts any friend of theirs to the confinement of a close apartment, we recommend to them the considerate kindness of our good physician, and to 'go and do likewise.'

Gardening, as well as Literature, has its curiosities, and a volume might be filled with them. How wonderful, for instance, the sensitive plant which shrinks from the hand of man,—the iceplant that almost cools one by looking at it,--the pitcher-plant with its welcome draught,--the hair-trigger of the stylidium,and, most singular of all, the carnivorous · Venus' fly-trap’(Dionæa muscipula)

Only think of a vegetable being carnivorous !'which is said to hait its prickles with something which attracts the flies, upon whom it then closes, and whose decay is supposed to afford food for the plant. Disease is turned into beauty in the common and crested moss-rose, and a lusus naturæ reproduced in the hen-and-chicken daisy. There are phosphorescent plants, the fire-flies and glow-worms of the vegetable kingdom. There are the microscopic lichens and mosses; and there is the Rafflesia Arnoldi, each of whose petals is a foot long, its nectary a foot in diameter, and deep enough to contain three gallons, and weighing fifteen pounds! What mimickry is there in the orchisses, and the hare's-foot fern, and the Tartarian lamb (Polypodium Baronyet:*)! What shall we say to Gerarde's Barnacle-tree, whereon do grow certaine shells of a white colour tending to russet, wherein are contained little living creatures : which shells in time of maturity do open, and out of them grow those little living things, which falling into the water do become fowles, which we call Barnacles? What monsters (such at least they are called by botanists) has art produced in doubling flowers, in dwarfing, and hybridizing ;- painting the lily,'-for there are pink (!) lilies of the valley, and pink violets, and yellow roses, and blue hydrangeas; and many are now busy in seeking that philosopher's stone of gardening,' the blue dahlia --a useless search, if it be true that there is no instance of a yellow and a blue variety in the

* So, we believe, rightly spelt; though otherwise by Dr. Darwin, whose well-balanced and once-fashionable lines are now so forgotten that we think our readers will not be sorry to be reminded of their pompous existence.

• Crailled in snow and fann'd by arctic air,
Shines, gentle BAROMETZ! thy golden hair ;
Rooted in earth each cloven hoof descends,
And round and round her flexile neck she bends;
Crops the grey coral moss, and hoary thyme,
Or laps with rosy tongue the melting rime;
Eyes with mute tenderness her distant dam,
Or seems to bleat, a l'egetable Lamb.!'

Bot. Gard., ii. 283.

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