The Gardener’s Magazine 15(109): 168-170 (1839)
J. C. Loudon

ART. II. Annales des Sciences Physique: et Naturelles d'Agriculture et d'Industrie. Publié par Ia Société Royale d'Agriculture, &c., de Lyon. 4to. Tom. I. Livraisons 1, 2, et 3., pp. 346., plates and folding tables, meteorological and exhibiting agricultural book-keeping. Lyons, 1838.

THIS is one of the most respectable works of the kind published in France, whether we regard the matter, or the appearance of the publication. There are several papers in the three parts now before us, of a highly scientific, and yet practical, character, which would be well worth translating and publishing in ass English agricultural journal; and there are others, which we should translate for the Gardener's Magazine, if we could find room.

The first article treats of the physical geography and the geology of that part of France to which the Society confines its exertions, viz., the Department of the Rhone; an excellent idea, carried into execution in a superior manner, and illustrated by maps, diagrams, and weather tables. An article on bulbous plants, by M. Seringe, shows how they may be propagated by cutting over the bulb or bud a few lines above the plate, which forms the point of union of the stem or leaves and the root. The upper surface of the plate being, in fact, the stem not developed, or but very partially so. The scales of the bulbs are rudimental leaves, and in the axils of these, as in those of real leaves, there are dormant buds, which cutting over these scales or leaves calls into action. Sometimes even the frost destroying the outer scales of a bulb will stimulate the buds in the inner part to develope; and sometimes, when the scales are very closely compressed at top, the buds in their axils will develope, and protrude below. M. Seringe illustrates his general position by referring to a plant of Crìnum canaliculatum in the Botanical Garden at Lyons, which, being cut over a little above the plate, threw out no fewer than forty offsets; and he has given two figures (figs. 33. and 34.), the one to show a hyacinth bulb protruding offsets, in consequence of the outer scales being destroyed by frost; and the other to show buds developing horizontally, in consequence of the scale being compressed above. Passing over a paper on the vine, we come to one on the choice of a rotation, and the employment of manure, followed by a new mode of agricultural book-keeping; an excellent paper. One of the maxims of this writer is, that "there can be no good agriculture without abundance of forage obtained or grown cheap, and sold dear in the form of cattle." "Next to a good plough and a good harrow, the best machine for the farmer is the dung machine called an ox." At a meeting of the Society, held on the 9th of February, 1838, the idea of cultivating OEnothèra biénnis, for the sake of its roots, which are fleshy, mild, and nutritive, was suggested. This has already been done in England, but by no means to a sufficient extent. We do not see why the roots of this plant should not be grown to as large a size as those of the carrot or parsnep; we have tasted them dug up from the flower border, and found them much more agreeable than the root of the carrot in a wild state. The carrot has been civilised, so to speak, by M. Vilmorin, in three generations. (See our notice of the Bon Jard. for 1838, in p. 167.) The same member remarked of the artichoke, that it was known as an edible plant by the Romans, but forgotten or disdained during the dark ages, till it came into notice again in the 16th century. Almost all the parts of this plant, he says, may be rendered useful. From the leaves an extract may be obtained, which will serve as a substitute for quinine. The leaves may be cooked and eaten after the fruit is gathered, or used as fodder, and mixed with certain grasses; they may be substituted for hops in making beer; and they contain a great quantity of potash. At this meeting, in noticing the injuries done to the vine, it was affirmed by some that the lizard eats the grapes, and ought to be destroyed; by others, that it did not touch the grapes, but only devoured the worms and insects, and ought to be preserved. Notice was taken of the injury done to garden plants by the preceding winter, which appears to have been as great at Lyons as at London. Laúrus nóbilis, Laurocérasus, the Portugal laurel, the aucuba, the alaternus the phillyrea, roses, and hollies having been either killed or greatly injured, particularly in the nurseries situated near the Rhone. The common box was also injured, but the Majorca box not in the least; nor the single hibiscus, nor the Scotch and Weymouth pines. Apricots were killed in a peat many places ; and the shoots of the past year, of almost all trees, whether indigenous or foreign, were more or less injured. At a meeting of the 16th of February, 1838, the subject of the preceding winter was again discussed, when it was stated that grounds sloping to the west suffered less than those exposed to the south and east; and that elevated situations suffered much lees than the plains. Insects were not destroyed, and only some of them slightly Injured.

An article on Oxalis Deppei, by M. Hénon, describes the plant as at once ornamental and useful; the leaves forming a good substitute for those of the common sorrel. The plant, according to this author, has not been correctly figured, either by Loddiges or Sweet; and it is still worse delineated in Les Annales de Flore et de Pomone, for 1834-5. A very elegant figure in outline, with various dissections, illustrate this paper.

The most interesting article in the three livraisons before us is, a Report on the Gardens and Nurseries in and about Lyons, by a committee appointed for that purpose; but this we have made the subject of a separate article, in a preceding page.

At a meeting held Feb. 16. 1838, M. Seringe, a botanist whose name often occurs in De Candolle's Prodromus, read a memoir on the advantage of pruning the mulberry at the same time that the leaves were gathered from it, in which he argued, from physiological considerations, that this would produce a handsomer and a longer-lived tree, and a greater return of leaves.

March 9. The purple laburnum was the subject of discussion. It was supposed to have been raised from seed in 1828; a mistake, as will be seen by our Arboricultural Notices, p. 122.; and M. Seringe, M. Hamon, curator of the Botanic Garden, and M. Hénon, secretary to the Society, expressed doubts as to whether the appearance of the purple cytisus on this supposed hybrid was not effected by some trick.

March 30. Notwithstanding the immense quantity of mushrooms brought to market at Lyons, the supply is not sufficient for the demand, and they are brought from Paris, where they cost one franc a pound, and the carriage amounts to another franc. M. Chaine, the only market-gardener in Lyons that ever grew mushrooms, and whose cellars and forcing-houses produce them every day in the year, has this season, up to this date (March 30.), sold early radishes to the amount of 12,000 francs. Such is the effect of commercial prosperity upon horticulture. (p. 241.) The silver medal was adjudged to M. Chaine, for having been the first to cultivate the mushroom at Lyons. The founder of the Society, in 1761, l'Abbe Rosier, proscribed the use of mushrooms, on account of the accidents which sometimes happened to those who ate them.

At the exhibitions of the 24th, 25th, 26th, and 27th of May, 1838, a great many rare and handsome plants were brought forward by about forty individuals. The majority of the plants were in pots or boxes, from the hothouse, green-house, or pits; but there were also many cut flowers, and branches of hardy plants. At this exhibition there were also various implements of horticulture and agriculture; and among these were included figures in copper, or in sheet-iron, and painted in oil in imitation of nature. Cálla aethiópica and Agàve were so well executed, that a "very great number" of the spectators took them for living plants. Imitations of this kind, more particularly of the Agàve, are common in Italy, where they are put in vases on the piers of gates, parapet walls, &c. An instrument named "une approche" was exhibited by M. Guillermin, the use of which is to hold together two branches that are to be grafted by approach. Rustic tables and flower-stands were also exhibited. The number of articles in all, plants included, were about 1,500, of which 200 belonged to amateurs. Of the plants supplied by commercial gardeners, 517 were purchased by the Society, and put into 362 lots, represented by an equal number of tickets, which tickets were purchased, and the plants drawn for in the manner of a lottery. Every lady, as she entered the exhibition room, was presented with a nosegay. A Memoir sur les Fruits de Géraniaceae, by M. Seringe, contains some curious matter respecting the monstrosities which occur in the geranium, &c.

We have passed over a number of other papers, relating to geology, the vine, the silkworm, and agriculture, as being unsuitable for this magazine.