The Botanist's Companion, Volume II eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 295 pages of information about The Botanist's Companion, Volume II.


c.m. read common garden mould. b.m. — bog mould. l. — loam. b.l. — bog and loam, the greater part bog. l.b. — loam and bog, the greater part loam. s. — sheltered situation. a. — annual. bi. — biennial. p. — perennial. shr. — tree or shrub. c. — creeper. w. — adapted to covering walls.

As the soils recommended may not be generally understood; a little attention to the following rules will enable persons to discover what is fit for their purposes.

Loam—­the kind best adapted to the purpose of growing plants, is of a moderately close texture, between clay and sand, differing from the former in want of tenacity when wet; and not becoming hard when dry; nor is it loose and dusty like the latter; but in both states possesses somewhat of a saponaceous quality.  It varies in colour from yellow to brown, and is commonly found in old pastures:  it may also be remarked, that where any perennial species of Clover (Trifolium) are found wild, it is almost a certain indication of a fertile loam, and such as contains the proper food of plants in abundance.

Bog-mould—­is frequently found on waste lands, where Heaths (Ericae) are produced:  it is composed of decayed vegetable matter and white sand.  The best sort is light when dry, of a black colour, and easily reduced to powder.  Care should be taken to distinguish it from Peat, which is hard when dry, destitute in a great measure of the sand, and mostly of a red colour.  This contains in great quantities sulphureous particles and mineral oil, which are known to be highly destructive to vegetation.

The mould formed from rotten leaves is a good substitute for bog-mould if mixed with sand, and is often made use of for the same purposes.  These earths should be dug from the surface to the depth of a few inches and laid in heaps, that the roots, &c. contained therein may be decomposed:  and before they are used should be passed through a coarse screen, particularly if intended for plants in pots.

As loam has been found to contain the greatest portion of the real pabulum of plants, it has long been used for such as are planted in pots; and the component parts of bog-earth being of a light nature, a mixture of the two in proper proportions will form a compost in which most kinds of plants will succeed.  Attention should be paid to the consistence of the loam; as the more stiff it is, the greater portion of the other is necessary.


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