Title: Garden and forest. / Volume 7, Issue 334 [an electronic version]
Collection: Garden and Forest
author, came to these shores in i629. He herein gives the result of his observations and experience during a residence of four years, publishing his book in London in I635. Having spoken in the early chapters of the situatio:i, seasons and climate, he next discourses upon "the Hearbs, Fruits, woods, water and Minerals." "The ground affords very good kitchin Gardens, for Turneps, Parsnips, Carrots, Radishe and Pumpions, Muskmillions, Isquouterquashes, Coucumbers, Onyons, and whatsoever grows well in England, growes as well there, many things being better and larger. There is also growing all manner of hearbes for meate and medicine, and that not onely in planted gardens but in the Woods, without eyther the art or the helpe of man, as sweet Marjoran, Purselane, Sorrell, Peneriall, Yarrow, Mirtle, Saxifarilla, Bayes, etc. There is likewise Strawberries in abundance." He devotes a chapter to a consideration of the several plantations. Among these he-mentions more particularly the following: Dorchester "has very good arable grounds, and hay ground, faire cornefields, and pleasant gardens with kitchengardens." Roxberry "has faire houses, impaled corne-fields, and fruitfull gardens." Boston, "where dwells the Governour, hath very giod land, affording rich comrne-fields, and fruitful gardens, having also sweete and pleasant Springs." William Blackstone, in I625, "is cultivating a garden, and watching the growth of some apple trees on the westerly slopes of Trimountain." "On Gov. Winthrop's island is planted an orchard and a vine-yard, with many other conveniences. In New-England's Rarilies, Josselyn says, "The plants in New-England for the variety, number, beauty and vertues, may stand in competition with the plants of any countrey in Europe." In the list of these which he gives, we have the fullest account of the plants which made up the collection to be found in the gardens of our remote grandmothers. These excellent dames would seem under the circumstances, to have fared well. Their English and Indian beans and peas; their various roots of excellent quality, beets, parsnips, turnips and: carrots; the cabbages, asparagus, radishes and lettuce; their various and numerous pot-herbs and sweet-herbs; the Indian pampions, melons and squashes-all testify to this belief. Nor should those dear reminders of their childhood's home, the sweet familiar flowers, be forgotten, the White Satten, the Lavender cotton, the Gillyflowers and Hollyhocks, possibly arranged by themselves, in "a garden of Pleasure" laid out with formal paths, bordered by "sweteherbes," as Parkinson advises, and the whole surrounded by a hedge-row composed of English Roses, Eglantine, Barberries, and Privet, for the planting of which Josselyn gives full directions. The Lilacs and the Snowballs are reserved for the modest adornment of the door-yard as precious souvenirs of Old England. Chestnut Hill, Mass. Daniel Denison Slade. Botanical Notes from Texas.-XXI. W HEN the traveler, going westward on the Southern Pacific Railway, has left San Antonio about one hundred and seventy miles behind him, the brakeman's call, "Del Rio," advises him that the valley of the great river of the north, though two or three miles away, is in sight. Del Rio is a pleasant little city of about two thousand inhabitants, whose name is significant of its proximity to the river. It is built in a large and beautiful valley, from which the county, of which the city is the capital, Val Verde, is named. The latitude of Del Rio is about twenty-nine degrees twenty minutes. The one hundred and first meridian runs just west of the city. The city of Mexico is nearly south of Del Rio, about twelve hundred miles away. E1 Paso is some four hun dred and fifty miles farther up the river. New Orleans is about seven hundred and fifty miles nearly east. A mile or so from the city there are several large and powerful springs of excellent water; together these springs form the San Felipe River. In its short, but very swift, course to the Rio Grande, it not only affords abundant water-power, butalso 283 can be made to water nearly the entire valley through which it flows. If the people of Del Rio will in a liberal way improve their natural advantages they can make it a large and prosperous city, and this good work, to some extent, has been begun. Cultivated fields and orchards and vineyards abound in the valley. Wine to the amount of several thousand gallons is made annually in Del Rio, and viticulture is capable of indefinite extension here. Apples, Pears, Peaches, Apricots, Quinces and Plums are also to some extent in cultivation. All of those fruits succeed better than the Apple. With irrigation, fruits grown here are nearly independent of the clouds for their supply of water. Nature has made the soil all that is required for success. But late " Norters," after a summier-winter, such as south-western Texas is now enjoying, quite often blast fruit-growers' hopes of a crop, even when the fruit is nearly half-grown. No part of Texas, unless it be a small portion of the state near Brownsville, is exempt from those sudden extremes of cold. There seems to be no way to avoid them except for the state to throw up a range of mountains, say, a mile or two high, along its northern boundary. The occasional destruction of a fruit-crop, unless the trees, too, are injured by the cold, as they sometimes are, might, however, prove a less serious loss to the grower than to the consumer of the fruit. The proximity of the river and the sparseness of the human population in this region afford pleasure-seekers good hunting, and sometimes plenty of game. Away from the settlements wild turkeys are still abundant. Dry weather has driven most of the quail to regions favored with more rain, and therefore with moregrain-fields where they may glean. I saw asingle covey of the handsome California species near the city, andthe Texas Bob White is also here. The common American deer and the antelope are yet common. Here, too, the colored man may still luxuriate on his favorite opossum. The fox, raccoon, badger, lynx and three or four other species of cat, including the dreaded Mexican lion, two species of wolf, the black bear and the southern armadillo, with the fox-squirrel in abundance, inhabit this portion of the Rio Grande region. From the summit of Round Mountain, a sedimentary hill in the lower San Felipe valley, on a clear, bright, early winter morning, a broad and pleasant field of views opens up to the visitor. He sees the San Felipe, with its beautiful valley, from its source to where it is lost in the Rio Grande; the winding valley of that river, Del Rio, the hills and mountains in the distance; and across the Rio Grande he sees scores of the thatched adobe houses in Mexico, while the peaks of San Rosa Mountains stand up against the distant sky. To northern readers a botanical excursion on Christmas may seem untimely. But-here we were on Christmas-day in southwestern Texas. Some wild plant may be collected every day of almost any year. That is especially true of the present winter, in which no norther has yet visited Texas. I am writing in early February, and here at Fort Clark, even Sophorasecundiflora shows its violet flowers, and many individuals of the Berberis, common to this region, are in full bloom. A little farther south of us Peach-trees are already pink with their blossoms. On the lowlands, near Rio Grande, grow Baccharis glutinosa and B. angustifolia. All the beauty that Nature has vouchsafed to the genus Baccharis resides in the elongated plumose pappus of some of her species. Neither of the species mentioned is celebrated for its beauty, but at Uvalde, near the lake, I saw another species, probably B. salicifolia. It was in the full glory of its fruiting and was attractive and handsome. The species growing here are somewhat useful. They are tall shrubby plants, growing ten or more feet tall and becoming three to four inches in diameter. Mexicans use the slim trunks for fagots, for light fencing and for thatching. They are also useful in holding together and strengthening the banks of irrigating ditches. B. angustifolia is known as Cedar wherever it grows in western Texas. There are several dams across the San Felipe to afford more water-power or to supply the irrigating ditches. In the ponds created by the dams, and everywhere in still water, Nymphoea advena grows in great luxuriance, and hundreds of its peculiar but homely flowers appear above the water. In both still and flowing water of the San Felipe, along whose banks we strolled, queer little Trichocoronis rivularis is very common. Sometimes it makes the surface of the water white with its small flowers. It is a composite and clearly amphibious in its way of living. In shallow water it roots in the soil at the bottom of the stream in which it grows. In deeper water rootlets and all float. When growing in water, which sometimes fails it, still it is not discouraged, but pushes its roots into the liman and grows equally as well there. It is a south-western species. JULY I8, I894.] Garden and Forest.