User Rating: 5 / 5

Star ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar Active
 

Adjoining the street through which I always, in my childhood, walked slowly each Sunday, on my way to and from church, was a spot to detain lingering footsteps--a beautiful garden laid out and tenanted like the gardens of colonial days, and serene with the atmosphere of a worthy old age; a garden which had been tended for over half a century by a withered old man and his wife, whose golden wedding was spent in the house they had built, and in the garden they had planted when they were bride and groom.

His back was permanently bowed with constant weeding and pruning and planting and hoeing, and his hands and face were brown as the soil he cultivated. The "hot-glowing" crimson peonies, seedlings which the wife had sown in her youth, had become great shrubs, fifteen or twenty feet in circumference. The flowering shrubs were trees. Vigorous borders of box crowded across the paths and towered on either side, till one could scarcely walk through them. There were beautiful fairy groves of fox gloves "gloriously freckled, purple, and white," and tall Canterbury bells; and at stiffly regular intervals were set flowering almonds, St. Peter's wreath, Persian lilacs, "Moses in the burning bush," which shrub was rare in our town, and "laburnums rich in streaming gold, syringas ivory pure." At the lower ends of the flower borders were rows of "honey-blob" gooseberries, and aged currant bushes, gray with years, overhung by a few patriarchal quince and crab-apple trees, in whose low-spreading gnarled branches I spent many a summer afternoon, a happy visitor, though my own home garden was just as beautiful, old-fashioned, and flower-filled.

The varying grades of city streets had gradually risen around the garden until it lay depressed several feet below the level of the adjoining streets, a pleasant valley,--like Avalon,--

    "Deep-meadowed, happy, fair, with orchard lawns, And bowery hollows crown'd with summer seas."

A flight of stone steps led down to it,--steps very steep, narrow, and slippery with green moss, and ladies'-delights that crowded and blossomed in every crack and crevice of the stones. On each side arose terraces to the street, and in the spring these terraces flushed a mass of vivid, glowing rose-color from blooming moss-pink, forming such a glory that pious church-going folk from the other end of the town did not think it wicked to walk thither, on a Sunday morn in May, to look at the rosy banks that sloped to the valleyed garden, as they had walked there in February or March to see

      "Winter, slumbering in the open air, Wear on his smiling face a dream of spring,"

in the shape of the first crocuses and snowdrops that opened beside a snow-drift still lingering on a shaded bank; and to watch the first benumbed honey-bees who greeted every flower that bloomed in that cherished spot, and who buzzed in bleak March winds over the purple crocus and "blue flushing" grape-hyacinth as cheerfully as though they were sipping the scarlet poppies in sunny August.

The garden edges and the street were overhung by graceful larches and by thorny honey-locust trees that bore on their trunks great clusters of powerful spines and sheltered in their branches an exceedingly unpleasant species of fat, fuzzy caterpillars, which always chose Sunday to drop on my garments as I walked to church, and to go with me to meeting, and in the middle of the long prayer to parade on my neck, to my startled disgust and agitated whisking away, and consequent reproof for being noisy in meeting.

What fragrances arose from that old garden, and were wafted out to passers-by! The ever-present, pungent, dry aroma of box was overcome or tempered, through the summer months, by a succession of delicate flower-scents that hung over the garden-vale like an imperceptible mist; perhaps the most perfect and clear among memory's retrospective treasures was that of the pale fringed "snow-pink," and later, "sweet william with its homely cottage smell." Phlox and ten-weeks stock were there, as everywhere, the last sweet-scented flowers of autumn.

At no time was this old garden sweeter than in the twilight, the eventide, when all the great clumps of snowy phlox, night-rockets, and luminous evening primrose, and all the tangles of pale yellow and white honeysuckle shone irradiated; when,

    "In puffs of balm the night air blows The burden which the day foregoes,"

and scents far richer than any of the day--the "spiced air of night"--floated out in the dusky gloaming.

Though the old garden had many fragrant leaves and flowers, their delicate perfume was sometimes fairly deadened by an almost mephitic aroma that came from an ancient blossom, a favorite in Shakespeare's day--the jewelled bell of the noxious crown-imperial. This stately flower, with its rich color and pearly drops, has through its evil scent been firmly banished from our garden borders.

One of the most cheerful flowers of this and of my mother's garden was the happy-faced little pansy that under various fanciful folk-names has ever been loved. Like Montgomery's daisy, it "blossomed everywhere." Its Italian name means "idle thoughts"; the German, "little stepmother." Spenser called it "pawnce." Shakespeare said maidens called it "love-in-idleness," and Drayton named it "heartsease." Dr. Prior gives these names--"Herb Trinity, Three Faces under a Hood, Fancy Flamy, Kiss Me, Pull Me, Cuddle Me unto You, Tickle my Fancy, Kiss Me ere I Rise, Jump Up and Kiss Me, Kiss Me at the Garden Gate, Pink of my Joan." To these let me add the New England folk-names--bird's-eye, garden-gate, johnny-jump-up, kit-run-about, none-so-pretty, and ladies'-delight. All these testify to the affectionate and intimate friendship felt for this laughing and fairly speaking little garden face, not the least of whose endearing qualities was that, after a half-warm, snow-melting week in January or February, this bright-some little "delight" often opened a tiny blossom to greet and cheer us--a true "jump-up-and-kiss-me," and proved by its blooming the truth of the graceful Chinese verse,--

    "Ere man is aware That the spring is here The plants have found it out."

Another dearly loved spring flower was the daffodil, the favorite also of old English dramatists and poets, and of modern authors as well, when we find that Keats names a daffodil as, the thing of beauty that is a joy forever. Perhaps the happiest and most poetic picture of daffodils is that of Dora Wordsworth, when she speaks of them as "gay and glancing, and laughing with the wind." Perdita, in _The Winter's Tale_, thus describes them in her ever-quoted list: "Daffodils that come before the swallow dares and take the winds of March with beauty." Most cheerful and sunny of all our spring flowers, they have never lost their old-time popularity, and they still laugh at our bleak March winds.

Bouncing-bet and her comely hearty cousins of the pink family made delightsome many a corner of our home garden. The pinks were Jove's own flowers, and the carthusian pink, china pink, clove pink, snow pink, plumed pink, mullein pink, sweet william, maltese cross, ragged robin, catch-fly, and campion, all made gay and sweet the summer. The clove pink was the ancestor of all the carnations.

The richest autumnal glory came from the cheerful marigold, the "golde" of Chaucer, and "mary-bud" of Shakespeare. This flower, beloved of all the old writers, as deeply suggestive and emblematic, has been coldly neglected by modern poets, as for a while it was banished from modern town gardens; but it may regain its popularity in verse as it has in cultivation. In farm gardens it has always flourished, and every autumn has "gone to bed with the sun and with him risen weeping," and has given forth in the autumn air its acrid odor, which to me is not disagreeable, though my old herbal calls its "a very naughty smell."

A favorite shrub in our garden, as in every country dooryard, was southernwood, or lad's-love. A sprig of it was carried to meeting each summer Sunday by many old ladies, and with its finely dissected, bluish-green foliage, and clean pungent scent, it was pleasant to see in the meeting-house, and pleasant to sniff at. The "virtues of flowers" took a prominent place in the descriptions in old-time botanies. The southernwood had strong medicinal qualities, and was used to cure "vanityes of the head."

     "Take a quantitye of Suthernwood and put it upon kindled coales to burn and being made into powder mix it with the oyle of radishes and anoynt a balde place and you shall see great experiences."

It was of power as a love charm. If you placed a sprig in each shoe and wore it through the day when you were in love, you would then also in some way "see great experiences."

In the tender glamour of happy association, all flowers in the old garden seem to have been loved save the garish petunias, whose sickish odor grew more offensive and more powerful at nightfall and made me long to tear them away from their dainty garden-fellows, and the portulaca with its fleshy, worm-like stems and leaves, and its aggressively pushing habits, "never would be missed." Perhaps its close relation to the "pusley," most hated of weeds, makes us eye it askance.

There was one attribute of the old-time garden, one part of nature's economy, which added much to its charm--it was the crowding abundance, the over-fulness of leaf, bud, and blossom. Nature there displayed no bare expanses of naked soil, as in some too-carefully-kept modern parterres; the dull earth was covered with a tangle of ready-growing, self-sowing, lowly flowers, that filled every space left unoccupied by statelier garden favorites, and crowded every corner with cheerful, though unostentatious, bloom. And the close juxtaposition, and even intermingling, of flowers with herbs, vegetables, and fruits gave a sense of homely simplicity and usefulness, as well as of beauty. The soft, purple eyes of the mourning-bride were no less lovely to us in "our garden" because they opened under the shade of currant and gooseberry bushes; and the sweet alyssum and candytuft were no less honey-sweet. The delicate, pinky-purple hues of the sweet peas were not dimmed by their vivid neighbors at the end of the row of poles--the scarlet runners. The adlumia, or mountain fringe, was a special vine of our own and known by a special name--virgin's bower. With its delicate leaves, almost as beautiful as a maidenhair fern, and its dainty pink flower, it festooned the ripening corn as wantonly and luxuriantly as it encircled the snowball and lilac bushes.

Though "colored herbs" were cultivated in England in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries as carefully as were flowers,--striped hollies, variegated myrtles, and bays being the gardener's pride,--yet in our old American gardens few plants were grown for their variegated or odd-colored foliage. The familiar and ever-present ribbon-grass, also called striped grass, canary grass, and gardener's garters,--whose pretty expanded panicles formed an almost tropical effect at the base of the garden hedge; the variegated wandering jew, the striped leaves of some varieties of day-lilies; the dusty-miller, with its "frosty pow" (which was properly a house plant), fill the short list. The box was the sole evergreen.

And may I not enter here a plea for the preservation of the box-edgings of our old garden borders? I know they are almost obsolete--have been winter-killed and sunburned--and are even in sorry disrepute as having a graveyard association, and as being harborers of unpleasant and unwelcome garden visitors. One lover of old ways thus indignantly mourns their passing:--

     "I spoke of box-edgings. We used to see them in little country gardens, with paths of crude earth. Nowadays, it has been discovered that box harbours slugs, and we are beginning to have beds with tiled borders, while the walks are of asphalt. For a pleasure-ground in Dante's _Inferno_ such materials might be suitable."

For its beauty in winter alone, the box should still find a place in our gardens. It grows to great size. Bushes of box in the deserted garden at Vaucluse in Newport, Rhode Island, are fifteen feet in height, and over them spread the branches of forest trees that have sprung up in the garden beds since that neglected pleasaunce was planted, over a century ago. The beautiful border and hedges of box at Mount Vernon, the home of Washington, plead for fresh popularity for this old-time favorite.

Our mothers and grandmothers came honestly by their love of gardens. They inherited this affection from their Puritan, Quaker, or Dutch forbears, perhaps from the days when the famous hanging gardens of Babylon were made for a woman. Bacon says: "A garden is the purest of human pleasures, it is the greatest refreshment to the spirits of man." A garden was certainly the greatest refreshment to the spirits of a woman in the early colonial days, and the purest of her pleasures--too often her only pleasure.

Quickly, in tender memory of her fair English home, the homesick goodwife, trying to create a semblance of the birthplace she still loved, planted the seeds and roots of homely English flowers and herbs that grew and blossomed under bleak New England skies, and on rocky New England shores, as sturdily and cheerfully as they had sprung up and bloomed by the green hedgerows and door-sides in the home beyond the sea.

In the year 1638, and again in 1663, an English gentleman named John Josselyn came to New England. He published, in 1672, an account of these two visits. He was a man of polite reading and of culture, and as was the high fashion for gentlemen of his day, had a taste for gardening and botany. He made interesting lists of plants which he noted in America under these heads:--

     "1. Such plants as are common with us in England.

     "2. Such plants as are proper to the country.

     "3. Such plants as are proper to the country and have no names.

     "4. Such plants as have sprung up since the English planted and kept cattle in New England.

     "5. Such Garden-Herbs among us as do thrive there and of such as do not."

This last division is the one that specially interests us, since it is the earliest and the fullest account of the gardens of our forefathers, after they had tamed the rugged shores of the New World, and made them obey the rule of English husbandry. They had "good store of garden vegetables and herbs; lettuce, sorrel, parsley, mallows, chevril, burnet, summer savory, winter savory, thyme, sage, carrots, parsnips, beets, radishes, purslain, beans"; "cabbidge growing exceeding well; pease of all sorts and the best in the world; sparagus thrives exceedingly, musk mellons, cucumbers, and pompions." For grains there were wheat, rye, barley, and oats. There were other garden herbs and garden flowers: spearmint, pennyroyal, ground-ivy, coriander, dill, tansy; "feverfew prospereth exceedingly; white sattin groweth pretty well, and so doth lavender-cotton; gillyflowers will continue two years; horse-leek prospereth notably; hollyhocks; comferie with white flowers; clary lasts but one summer; sweet-bryer or eglantine; celandine but slowly; blood-wort but sorrily, but patience and English roses very pleasantly."

Patience and English roses very pleasantly in truth must have shown their fair English faces to English women in the strange land. Dearly loved had these brier-roses or dog-roses been in England, where, says the old herbalist, Gerard, "children with delight make chains and pretty gewgawes of the fruit; and cookes and gentlewomen make tarts and suchlike dishes for pleasure thereof." Hollyhocks, feverfew, and gillyflowers must have made a sunshine in the shady places in the new home. Many of these garden herbs are now common weeds or roadside blossoms. Celandine, even a century ago, was "common by fences and among rubbish." Tansy and elecampane grow everywhere. Sweet-brier is at home in New England pastures and roadsides. Spearmint edges our brooks. Ground-ivy is a naturalized citizen. It is easy to note that the flowers and herbs beloved in gardens and medicinal waters and kitchens "at home" were the ones transplanted here. "Clary-water" was a favorite tonic of Englishmen of that day.

The list of "such plants as have sprung up since the English planted" should be of interest to every one who has any sense of the sentiment of association, or interest in laws of succession. The Spanish proverb says:--

    "More in the garden grows Than the gardener sows."

The plantain has a history full of romance; its old Northern names--_Wegetritt_ in German, _Weegbree_ in Dutch, _Viebred_ in Danish, and _Weybred_ in Old English, all indicating its presence in the much-trodden paths of man--were not lost in its new home, nor were its characteristics overlooked by the nature-noting and plant-knowing red man. It was called by the Indian "the Englishman's foot," says Josselyn, and by Kalm also, a later traveller in 1740; "for they say where an Englishman trod, there grew a plantain in each footstep." Not less closely did such old garden weeds as motherwort, groundsel, chickweed, and wild mustard cling to the white man. They are old colonists, brought over by the first settlers, and still thrive and triumph in every kitchen garden and backyard in the land. Mullein and nettle, henbane and wormwood, all are English emigrants.

The Puritans were not the only flower-lovers in the new land. The Pennsylvania Quakers and Mennonites were quick to plant gardens. Pastorius encouraged all the Germantown settlers to raise flowers as well as fruit. Whittier says of him in his _Pennsylvania Pilgrim_:--

                      "The flowers his boyhood knew Smiled at his door, the same in form and hue, And on his vines the Rhenish clusters grew."

It gives one a pleasant notion of the old Quaker, George Fox, to read his bequest by will of a tract of land near Philadelphia "for a playground for the children of the town to play on and for a garden to plant with physical plants, for lads and lassies to know simples, and learn to make oils and ointments."

Among Pennsylvanians, the art of gardening reached the highest point. The landscape gardening was a reproduction of the best in England. Our modern country places cannot equal in this respect the colonial country seats near Philadelphia. Woodlands and Bush Hill, the homes of the Hamiltons, Cliveden, of Chief Justice Chew, Fair Hill, Belmont, the estate of Judge Peters, were splendid examples. An ecstatic account of the glories and wonders of some of them was written just after the Revolution by a visitor who fully understood their treasures, the Rev. Manasseh Cutler, the clergyman, statesman, and botanist.

             
                                                    
Recommended 
If you have your own vegetable garden, then not only will you have a source of inexpensive, fresh vegetables, you’ll also be in complete command of how your crops are grown – so they can be as organic and natural as you like. Check out the huge guide to starting a vegetable garden from Gardenerspath.com.
                       

                                         

In Newport, Rhode Island, where flowers ever seem to thrive with extraordinary luxuriance, there were handsome gardens in the eighteenth century. A description of Mr. Bowler's garden during the Revolution reads thus:--

     "It contains four acres and has a grand aisle in the middle. Near the middle is an oval surrounded with espaliers of fruit-trees, in the center of which is a pedestal, on which is an armillary sphere with an equatorial dial. On one side of the front is a hot-house containing orange-trees, some ripe, some green, some blooms, and various other fruit-trees of the exotic kind and curious flowers. At the lower end of the aisle is a large summer-house, a long square containing three rooms, the middle paved with marble and hung with landscapes. On the right is a large private library adorned with curious carvings. There are espaliers of fruit-trees at each end of the garden and curious flowering shrubs. The room on the left is beautifully designed for music and contains a spinnet. But the whole garden discovered the desolations of war."

In the Southern colonies men of wealth soon had beautiful gardens. In an early account of South Carolina, written in 1682, we find:--

     "Their Gardens are supplied with such European Plants and Herbs as are necessary for the Kitchen, and they begin to be beautiful and adorned with such Flowers as to the Smell or Eye are pleasing or agreeable, viz.: the Rose, Tulip, Carnation, Lilly, etc."

By the middle of the century many exquisite gardens could be seen in Charleston, and they were the pride of Southern colonial dames. Those of Mrs. Lamboll, Mrs. Hopton, and Mrs. Logan were the largest. The latter flower-lover in 1779, when seventy years old, wrote a treatise on flower-raising called _The Gardener's Kalendar_, which was read and used for many years. Mrs. Laurens had another splendid garden. Those Southern ladies and their gardeners constantly sent specimens to England, and received others in return. The letters of the day, especially those of Eliza Lucas Pinckney, ever interested in floriculture and arboriculture, show a constant exchange with English flower-lovers.

Beverley wrote of Virginia, in 1720: "A garden is nowhere sooner made than there." William Byrd and other travelers, a few years later, saw many beautiful terraced gardens in Virginian homes. Mrs. Anne Grant writes at length of the love and care the Dutch women of the past century had for flowers:--

     "The care of plants such as needed peculiar care or skill to rear them, was the female province. Everyone in town or country had a garden. Into the garden no foot of man intruded after it was dug in the spring. I think I see yet what I have so often beheld--a respectable mistress of a family going out to her garden, in an April morning, with her great calash, her little painted basket of seeds, and her rake over her shoulders, to her garden of labors. A woman in very easy circumstances and abundantly gentle in form and manners would sow and plant and rake incessantly."

In New York, before the Revolution, were many beautiful gardens, such as that of Madam Alexander on Broad Street, wherein their proper season grew "paus bloemen of all hues, laylocks and tall May roses and snowballs intermixed with choice vegetables and herbs all bounded and hemmed in by huge rows of neatly clipped box edgings." We have a pretty picture also, in the letters of Catharine Rutherfurd, of an entire company gathering rose-leaves in June in Madam Clark's garden, and setting the rose-still at work to turn their sweet-scented spoils into rose-water.

A trade in flower and vegetable seeds formed a lucrative and popular means by which women could earn a livelihood in colonial days. I have seen in one of the dingy little newspaper sheets of those days, in the large total of nine advertisements, contained therein, the announcements, by five Boston seedswomen, of lists of their wares.

The earliest list of names of flower-seeds which I have chanced to note was in the _Boston Evening Post_ of March, 1760, and is of much interest as showing to us with exactness the flowers beloved and sought for at that time. They were "holly-hook, purple Stock, white Lewpins, Africans, blew Lewpins, candy-tuff, cyanus, pink, wall-flower, double larkin-spur, venus navelwort, brompton flock, princess feather, balsam, sweet-scented pease, carnation, sweet williams, annual stock, sweet feabus, yellow lewpins, sunflower, convolus minor, catch-fly, ten week stock, globe thistle, globe amaranthus, nigella, love-lies-bleeding, casent hamen, polianthus, canterbury bells, carnation poppy, india pink, convolus major, Queen Margrets." This is certainly a very pretty list of flowers, nearly all of which are still loved, though sometimes under other names--thus the Queen Margrets are our asters. And the homely old English names seem to bring the flowers to our very sight, for we do not seem to be on very friendly intimacy, on very sociable terms with flowers, unless they have what Miss Mitford calls "decent, well-wearing English names"; we can have no flower memories, no affections that cling to botanical nomenclature. Yet nothing is more fatal to an exact flower knowledge, to an acquaintance that shall ever be more than local, than a too confident dependence on the folk-names of flowers. Our bachelor's-buttons are ragged sailors in a neighboring state; they are corn-pinks in Plymouth, ragged ladies in another town, blue bottles in England, but cyanus everywhere. Ragged robin is, in the garden of one friend, a pink, in another it flaunts as London-pride, while the true glowing London-pride has half a dozen pseudonyms in as many different localities, and only really recognizes itself in the botany. An American cowslip is not an English cowslip, an American primrose is no English primrose, and the English daisy is no country friend of ours in America.

What cheerful and appropriate furnishings the old-time gardens had; benches full of straw beeskepes and wooden beehives, those homelike and busy dwelling-places; frequently, also, a well-filled dove-cote. Sometimes was seen a sun-dial--once the every-day friend and suggestive monitor of all who wandered among the flowers of an hour; now known, alas! only to the antiquary. Sentiment and even spirituality seem suggested by the sun-dial, yet few remain to cast their instructive shadow before our sight.

One stood for years in the old box-bordered garden at Homogansett Farm, at Wickford, in old Narragansett. Governor Endicott's dial is in the Essex Institute, at Salem; and my forbear, Jacob Fairbanks, had one dated 1650, which is now in the rooms of the Dedham Historical Society. Dr. Bowditch, of Boston, had a sun-dial which was thus inscribed:--

    "With warning hand I mark Times rapid flight From life's glad morning to its solemn night. And like God's love I also show Theres light above me, by the shade below."

Another garden dial thus gives, "in long, lean letters," its warning word:--

    "You'll mend your Ways To-morrow When blooms that budded Flour? Mortall! Lern to your Sorrow Death may creep with his Arrow And pierce yo'r vitall Marrow Long ere my warning Shadow Can mark that Hour."

These dials are all of heavy metal, usually lead; sometimes with gnomon of brass. But I have heard of one which was unique; it was cut in box.

At the edge of the farm garden often stood the well-sweep, one of the most picturesque adjuncts of the country dooryard. Its successor, the roofed well with bucket, stone, and chain, and even the homely long-handled pump, had a certain appropriateness as part of the garden furnishings.

So many thoughts crowd upon us in regard to the old garden; one is the age of its flowers. We have no older inhabitants than these garden plants; they are old settlers. Clumps of flower-de-luce, double buttercups, peonies, yellow day-lilies, are certainly seventy-five years old. Many lilac bushes a century old still bloom in New England, and syringas and flowering currants are as old as the elms and locusts that shade them.

This established constancy and yearly recurrence of bloom is one of the garden's many charms. To those who have known and loved an old garden in which,

    "There grow no strange flowers every year, But when spring winds blow o'er the pleasant places, The same dear things lift up the same fair faces,"

and faithfully tell and retell the story of the changing seasons by their growth, blossom, and decay, nothing can seem more artificial than the modern show-beds of full-grown plants which are removed by assiduous gardeners as soon as they have flowered, to be replaced by others, only in turn to bloom and disappear. These seem to form a real garden no more than does a child's posy-bed stuck with short-stemmed flowers to wither in a morning.

And the tiresome, tasteless ribbon-beds of our day were preceded in earlier centuries by figured beds of diverse-colored earths--and of both we can say with Bacon, "they be but toys, you may see as good sights many times in tarts."

The promise to Noah, "while the earth remaineth seed-time and harvest shall not cease," when heeded in the garden, brings various interests. The seed-time, the springing-up of familiar favorites, and the cherishing of these favorites through their in-gathering of seeds or bulbs or roots for another year, bring pleasure as much as does their inflorescence.

Another pathetic trait of many of the old-time flowers should not be overlooked--their persistent clinging to life after they had been exiled from the trim garden borders where they first saw the chill sun of a New England spring. You see them growing and blooming outside the garden fence, against old stone walls, where their up-torn roots have been thrown to make places for new and more popular favorites. You find them cheerfully spreading, pushing along the foot-paths, turning into vagrants, becoming flaunting weeds. You see them climbing here and there, trying to hide the deserted chimneys of their early homes, or wandering over and hiding the untrodden foot-paths of other days. A vivid imagination can shape many a story of their life in the interval between their first careful planting in colonial gardens and their neglected exile to highways and byways, where the poor bits of depauperated earth can grow no more lucrative harvest.

The sites of colonial houses which are now destroyed, the trend, almost the exact line of old roads, can be traced by the cheerful faces of these garden-strays. The situation of old Fort Nassau, in Pennsylvania, so long a matter of uncertainty, is said to have been definitely determined by the familiar garden flowers found growing on one of these disputed sites. It is a tender thought that this indelible mark is left upon the face of our native land through the affection of our forbears for their gardens.

The botany tells us that bouncing-bet has "escaped from cultivation"--she has been thrust out, but unresentfully lives and smiles; opening her tender pinky-opalescent flowers adown the dusty roadsides, and even on barren gravel-beds in railroad cuts. Butter-and-eggs, tansy, chamomile, spiked loosestrife, velvet-leaf, bladder-campion, cypress spurge, live-for-ever, star of Bethlehem, money-vine,--all have seen better days, but now are flower-tramps. Even the larkspur, beloved of children, the moss-pink, and the grape-hyacinth may sometimes be seen growing in country fields and byways. The homely and cheerful blossoms of the orange-tawny ephemeral lily, and the spotted tiger-lily, whose gaudy colors glow with the warmth of far Cathay--their early home--now make gay many of our roadsides and crowd upon the sweet cinnamon roses of our grandmothers, which also are undaunted garden exiles.

Driving once along a country road, I saw on the edge of a field an expanse of yellow bloom which seemed to be an unfamiliar field-tint. It proved to be a vast bed of coreopsis, self-sown from year to year; and the blackened outlines of an old cellar wall in its midst showed that in that field once stood a home, once there a garden smiled.

I am always sure when I see bouncing-bet, butter-and-eggs, and tawny lilies growing in a tangle together that in their midst may be found an untrodden door-stone, a fallen chimney, or a filled-in well.

Still broader field expanses are filled with old-country plants. In June a golden glory of bud and blossom covers the hills and fields of Essex County in Massachusetts from Lynn to Danvers, and Ryal Side to Beverly; it is the English gorse or woad-wax, and by tradition it was first brought to this country in spray and seed as a packing for some of the household belongings of Governor Endicott. Thrown out in friendly soil, the seeds took root and there remain in the vicinity of their first American homes. It is a stubborn squatter, yielding only to scythe, plough, and hoe combined.

Chicory or blue weed was, it is said, brought from England by Governor Bowdoin as food for his sheep. It has spread till its extended presence has been a startling surprise to all English visiting botanists. It hurts no one's fields, for it invades chiefly waste and neglected land--the "dear common flower"--and it has redeemed many a city suburb of vacant lots, many a railroad ash heap from the abomination of desolation.

Whiteweed or ox-eye daisy, a far greater pest than gorse or chicory, has been carried intentionally to many a township by homesick settlers whose descendants to-day rue the sentiment of their ancestors.

While the vallied garden of our old neighbors was sweet with blossoms, my mother's garden bore a still fresher fragrance--that of green growing things; of "posies," lemon-balm, rose geranium, mint, and sage. I always associate with it in spring the scent of the strawberry bush, or calycanthus, and in summer of the fraxinella, which, with its tall stem of larkspur-like flowers, its still more graceful seed-vessels and its shining ash-like leaves, grew there in rich profusion and gave forth from leaf, stem, blossom, and seed a pure, a memory-sweet perfume half like lavender, half like anise.

Truly, much of our tenderest love of flowers comes from association, and many are lovingly recalled solely by their odors. Balmier breath than was ever borne by blossom is to me the pure pungent perfume of ambrosia, rightly named, as fit for the gods. Not the miserable weed ambrosia of the botany, but a lowly herb that grew throughout the entire summer everywhere in "our garden"; sowing its seeds broadcast from year to year; springing up unchecked in every unoccupied corner, and under every shrub and bushy plant; giving out from serrated leaf and irregular raceme of tiny pale-green flowers, a spicy aromatic fragrance if we brushed past it, or pulled a weed from amongst it as we strolled down the garden walk. And it is our very own--I have never seen it elsewhere than at my old home, and in the gardens of neighbors to whom its seeds were given by the gentle hand that planted "our garden" and made it a delight. Goethe says, "Some flowers are lovely to the eye, but others are lovely to the heart." Ambrosia is lovely to my heart, for it was my mother's favorite.

And as each "spring comes slowly up the way," I say in the words of Solomon, "Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out"--that the balm and mint, the thyme and southernwood, the sweetbrier and ambrosia, may spring afresh and shed their tender incense to the memory of my mother, who planted them and loved their pure fragrance, and at whose presence, as at that of Eve, flowers ever sprung--

    "And touched by her fair tendance gladlier grew."