Page images

a bad

Brings Ridicule on Science. 185 be scanned rather than smelt, and reads like

nonsense verse”-really a "carnation :" __“Dianthus Chinensis

nanus rubro striatus.” The uneducated intellect, to which a yellow primrose on a bank is a primrose and “nothing more,” is rather to be envied than pitied.

This rage for long names may be very acceptable to the printer, but it drives the genuine lover of an honest good old flower garden into a general dislike of science. Latin and Greek are dead languages, and ought not to be chopped up and sown in this barbarous way; but it is the fashion, and “Germen & Bulb" are only one firm of many.

. I see, by reference to the “ London Postoffice Directory,” now lying open before me, that there are 45 "seedsmen," 126 "nursery and seedsmen,” besides market gardeners, herbalists, seed merchants, and, may we add, more than 200 artificial flower makers. What a scene of floral tyranny does not this suggest ! Reflect, too, that this gardeners' language, this crackjaw conglomeration of classical disguises, is spoken principally by Scotchmen, who are the despots of the greenhouse. I pluck a pretty little annual, and ask a raw-boned, redhaired man in a blue apron and a flower-pot 186 Nature is offended by what it is. He takes it in his great freckled hand, and in the conscientious malignity of his own dialect, describes it as a “ Podelepis affinis chrysanthemoides."

If you want to enjoy Nature, fly from the modern garden; pluck the cowslip in the meadow, and the violet on the bank; rub the sweet-briar shoot in your hand, and lean on the gate of the bean-field in full bloom, or of the clover buzzing with a million honeybees.

No doubt, the construction of new scientific names is necessary to botanists in some instances; but surely it is high time to protest against the pedantry of illiterate gardeners, who insist on thrusting classical polysyllables upon you, which half of them cannot translate, and which might, without contempt of science, be replaced by some simple familiar name recalling the scents and colours of childhood.

Under the “ Flowers having popular names” of the “work” before me, I cannot find a daisy. At last, through the “general observations," I discover the “Swan river,” the “ African,” and the “double” daisy as, respectively, the “Brachycome iberidifolium,” " Athanasia annua,” and the “Bellis perennis." Horticultural Pedantry.


Why not put these down under the common names first, and then, if you will, the scientific? It looks as if these pretty plants were now best known to gardeners under the latter descriptions, and that the diseased vanity which converts a curling comb into a “Bostrochyzor” had invaded the garden as well as the barber's shop. If we go on at the present rate, we shall need a special Lexicon to construe the Language of Flowers.

( 188 )


O not suppose, my friend and reader,

that I am going to teach you any

thing new, or give you any fresh directions about the old. I have not invented a lawn balloon, and I avoid any reference to the rules of particular games. There must be rules, of course, but for them I depend upon my neighbours. I wish merely to have a chat with any one who reads this about garden games and their belongings in general.

First, I suppose, in the present day comes Croquet.” Is this a revival or an invention? It sounds, or is pronounced, as if it came from France; but I doubt this. French lawns are not smooth enough for it—the grass is too coarse, the worm-casts are too big throughout the whole of that country, to admit a supposition that croquet ever could have been general there.

Besides, it is fundamentally opposed to the national sentiment, which has billiard-tables without pockets. Croquet mainly Croquet.


189 consists in striking balls through hoops; there is hardly ever a true cannon made throughout a game.

However, the game is here. It is adopted universally. There is hardly a lawn in England fit for the purpose without a set of little wire arches, which look like human springes and toe-traps for the unwary. The game is here; and it is a pleasant, tapping, chattering, respectable, flirting game too. Men, women, and children can play at it. Reverend dignitaries and fashionable dandies, crinoline and knickerbockers, can all play it at once. It is easy to learn, and yet admits many degrees of skill. It gives fresh air, and does not make

hot. It is clean. Unlike archery, it can be played on a small space. It is not dangerous—no one was ever mortally wounded at croquet. It is cheap.

It is cheap. If not independent of the weather, it is not affected by the wind or sun-no one need complain of the glare of light in taking aim, or of the disturbing breeze which turns aside the arrow. It can be played by ladies and gentlemen on equal terms and with the same tackle. And it is the very chief provocative of small talk and garden gossip. Upon my word, I had no idea of the number of recommendations which it possesses.

I had

you hot.

« PreviousContinue »