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.

52.  Viola odorata must not be passed over among our favourite native flowers.  This is of all other plants in its kind the most interesting.  It forms also several varieties; as Double purple, Double white, and the Neapolitan violet.  The latter one is double, of a beautiful light blue colour, and flowers early; it is rather tender, and requires the protection of a hot-bed frame during winter.  It is best cultivated in pots.

53.  Vinca minor.  Lesser periwinkle.—­This is also a beautiful little evergreen, of which the gardeners have several varieties in cultivation; some with double flowers, others with white and red-coloured corols, which form a pleasing diversity in summer.

54.  Vinca major.  Great periwinkle.-I know of no plant of more beauty, when it is properly managed, than this.  It is an evergreen of the most pleasing hue, and will cover any low fences or brick-work in a short space of time.  The flowers, which are purple, form a pleasing variety in the spring months.

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53.  Beta vulgaris.  I have noticed this plant before, both as to its culinary uses and for feeding cattle:  but having received a communication from a friend of mine who resides in the interior of Russia, relative to his establishment for extracting sugar from this root, I cannot omit relating it here, as it appears to be an interesting part of agricultural oeconomy.

“I have here two extensive fabrics for the purpose of making sugar from the Red Beet, and we find that it yields us that useful article in great abundance; i. e. from every quarter of the root (eight bushels Winchester measure) I obtain ten pounds weight of good brown sugar; and this when refined produces us four pounds of the finest clarified lump sugar, and the molasses yield good brandy on distillation.  This is not all; for while we are now working the article the cows are stall-fed on the refuse from the vats after mashing; and those animals give us milk in abundance, and the butter we are making is equal to any that is made in the summer, when those animals are foraging our best meads.”—­ Dashkoff, in the government of Orel, 1500 miles from St. Petersburgh, Jan 7, 1816.

The above account, which is so extremely flattering, may no doubt lead persons to imagine that the culture of the beet for the same purpose in this country might be found to answer:  and as it is our aim in this little work to give the best information on these subjects without prejudice, I shall beg leave to make use of the following observation, which is not my own, but one that was made on this subject by a Russian gentleman, whom I have long had the honour of enumerating among my best friends; and who is not less distinguished for his application both to the arts and oeconomy, than he is for his professional duties, and his readiness at all times to communicate information for the general good.

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The Botanist's Companion, Volume II from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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