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has four or five hundred acres of land
appropriated to various plants; and from the
system adopted, not only is the gross
produce large and valuable, but the number of
different plants is very considerable. One plant
requires a whole year to arrive at perfection,
while another will yield its marketable
produce in a few months; one is cultivated for
the sake of its flowers, another for its leaves,
a third for its seeds, a fourth for its stem, a
fifth for its root. On all these accounts,
the herb-grower studies closely the
characteristics of each plant, and so parcels
out his ground that there shall be no idleness.
The days of fallow have passed
away. As some philosophers declare that
change of employment is the best rest for
mind and body during all working hours, so
do cultivators insist that absolute rest to a
field is absolute nonsense: the field, they
say, is never tired of growing crops; it is
only tired of growing one particular crop.
Hodge the ploughboy, of blessed memory,
when asked to mention the most
luxurious enjoyment which his heart could
conceive, declared that swinging upon a five-
barred gate, and gnawing a ham-bone the
while, would be his crowning felicity. Yet
Hodge would have liked an occasional change
even from this ecstasy. The same with
land. Each crop exerts a particular and
peculiar action upon the soil, and often
renders it better fitted than ever for some other
particular crop.

The ground of the market-gardens within
a few miles of London is tilled and manured
to the very highest degreemore being
spent upon an acre than on any other
garden-ground that can be named. Eight
or ten pounds per annum are often paid as
rental, besides a great expense in soil, and
manual labour. But what is the result?
That four or five crops may be got from
the same piece of ground in one year;
each crop making its appearance in due
season, and the ground being strong and
hearty, after all. These market-gardens have
already been noticed in Household Words,*
and we will therefore now keep to herbs.

*Vol. vii. page 409.

Roses are not herbs; but they employ the
skill of the Mitcham herb-growers; scores
of acres of roses constituting a great part
of his vegetable riches. The roses are grown,
not for the sake of their flowers, but for the
essence which can be extracted from them.
The rose-fancier need not be told that the
varieties of his favourite flower are very
numerous, and that while some are distinguished
for delicacy of form and exquisite tints of
colour, others are more rich in perfume.
Of course, the least costly varieties, so that
they possess the proper extractive qualities,
will be sought by the rose-water makers;
for, although rose-water is already dear
enough, it would be yet more so if
choice roses were employed. About the
months of April and May, men, women,
and children assemble in the rose-gardens,
pick the delicate petals of the roses, deposit
them in large bags, and convey them to the
places where the distillation is to be
conducted. The distillation is managed carefully,
but with simple apparatus. Rich and
fragrant as this rose-water is, it is as nothing
compared with the attar of the gardens of
Ghazeepore and Fayoum. The distillation from
these eastern roses is left to stand. In early
morning, when the nights are still cool, a
delicate film is found to have risen to the
surface of the rose-water; this is removed by a
feather, and carefully deposited in a small
phial. Another night's rest enables the rose-
water to throw up a second dainty film;
another removal takes place and so on,
day after day, until the phial becomes
filled with its precious treasure. The phial
is placed for a short time in the sunshine,
and the attar arrives at perfection. A
prodigious consumption of materials is requisite:
one lac (a hundred thousand) of roses to
produce one tolah (a hundred and eighty grains)
of attar! The rose-grower's arrangements
at Ghazeepore seem to be
remarkable. The land near the town is laid
out in rose-gardens, each rounded by high
mud walls and prickly-pear fences, to keep
out cattle. The gardens belong to
Zemindars or land-owners, who plant the rose-
trees at the rate of about two thousand to an
English acre; they let out the land and the
rose-trees to cultivators, at a yearly rental.
The distillers of rose-water buy the roses
when at the proper state, cause them
to be gathered, and conveyed to their
distilleries. Rose-water of various
degrees of concentration is distilled; and the
attar is prepared as already stated. So
precious is this true cream of roses, that
the market price has occasionally been
six times that of an equivalent weight
of pure gold. The rogues adulterate it,
we may be sure; by means of sandal-oil,
sweet-oil, and other substances. The essence
of a thousand roses are contained in about
a quart of the best rose-water, after the
small amount of attar has been removed.
Mitcham, though not comparable to
Ghazeepore, can produce roses sufficient for a large
supply of essence of roses, and oil of roses,
and rose-water, and other delicacies, pharmaceutic
and perfumetic. One or two of the
Mitcham gardens have laboratories attached
to them, where essences and oils are
extracted; but, usually, the plants are sold to
the regular distillers of perfume.

Roses and chamomiles are about as unlike
as two plants may be; yet they are both
grown here in one garden, and both for the
sake of the flower. At one of these Mitcham
herb-gardens as much as a hundred pounds a
week is sometimes paid to women and children
for picking chamomile flowers at the

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