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"GARDENS," says Sir Thomas Brown, " were
before gardeners, and but some hours after
the earth." A passion for gardening seizes
us before we know what horticulture means,
and, but some months after, we come into the
world. On my first visit to London, when a
tiny child, an early question which a relative
put, was, " Won't you like to walk round the
garden? " Of course, I liked. But fancy a
country babe's astonishment to find the
garden no other than Covent Garden Market,
then unadorned by architectural devices.
Still, a market makes an excellent garden-
walk, as we shall see by-and-by. Instruction
may be gained, whether you eat your breakfast
of bread and grapes while strolling
amidst the waggon- loads of tomatoes, the
bushels of red and yellow funguses, the piles
of gourds, the sweet and stickey basketfuls of
figs, which encumber the surface of an
Italian piazza; or whether you fortify your
stomach against the cold with a "drap
o'whuskey" previous to contemplating the
ragged kale and the snow-white bonnets
which flutter in the markets of granite-built

The land o' cakes is the land of gardeners,
or rather the land which sends forth hordes
of gardeners to invade the southern wilderness
with fork and spade. As the pictured
negro, praying for emancipation, had a label
streaming from his mouth, inscribed " Am I
not a man and a brother? " So I, wanting to
procure a seed or scrap of something rare,—a
nice healthy cutting with a little bit of root
to it, to borrow the famous habitual phrase
of Mrs. Bloomwell, Fellow of the Royal
Horticultural Society,—I would shout to make
myself heard, "Am I not a Scotchman and a
brother-gardener? " I have poisoned myself
with boiled dahlia-roots, potato-nasturtiums,
and new-invented yams. I have flayed the
inner coat of my stomach in attempts to
revive salads of garden-rocket, American
cress, and blessed (cursed? ) thistle. I have
not obtained a black rose by budding a white
one on a black-currant bush,—and never tried
to do so; but I have grown early tuberoses
by starting the bulbs, when potted, in
an oven; and have raised palm-trees from
date-stones by a happy combination of steaming
and roasting in a cooking-stove. I have
worked away with the watering-pot (full of
mystic soup, more invigorating in its effects
than viper-broth), while the first drops of a
heavy shower were descending; and I have
swept the snow over a bed of alpines, while
the white flakes were falling fast. In short,
sketch any sort of caricature you please, put
"Very fond of gardening " under it, and I'll
not deny that it may apply to me.

Whither shall we first direct our steps ?
Let us take a turn in the Flemish garden, for
the sake of its convenient proximity, after
having put up our horse and carriole at the
sign of the Belle Jardinière, or the Pretty
Gardeness. The word has need of a modified
termination in a land where, of
innumerable horticultural agents, it may be
sung, " And she's of the feminine gender."
My opposite neighbour complains of a bad
back-ache, because, his wife being without a
domestic, he is obliged himself to weed and
dig,—work which, otherwise, he would no
more be expected to do, than to wash up the
dishes or suckle the baby. Our own little
maid, such a neat-handed Phyllis in the
kitchen, is not less adroit in our garden of
herbs; and, to complete our successions, she
absolutely insists on some purslane and
golden-leaved sorrel from Flanders. Also
some belle dame or beautiful lady (orache) to
put into the soup; also some good salad
seed, with a basket of the full-grown, autumn-
sown plants therefrom, called grandmeres, or
grandmothers, on which she will subsist as
long as a morsel remains. All flesh is grass;
all French men's and women's flesh is the
concentrated substance of garden-vegetables.
Without billions and trillions of leeks and
carrots, mountains of cabbage, Egyptian great
pyramids of sorrel, and salading enough to
smother a whole county beneath its weight,
the grand French nation would droop, and
would soon fall into an ailing state.
An English village, suffering under the
supposed visitation of an overwhelming
avalanche of lettuce and endive, would
consider the dreadful accident as hopeless,
and would submit to its fate with becoming
resignation. A French community, like the
rat imprisoned in the cheese, would deliberately
and resolutely set to to eat its way
out of it. An English farm-lad ran away