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probable, however, that some benefit might be produced by planting a small number of male hops in each garden (for the hop is of that order of vegetables which bear the male and female flowers on different plants). The advantage of this practice is experimentally proved with regard to the ash and elm, which are of the same order; for it is remarked, that the plantations in which there is a mixture of male and female trees are far more vigorous, and less liable to blights, than those which consist solely of females or males.
The number of plants in flower is now very sensibly diminished. Those of the former months are running fast to seed, and few new ones supply their places. The uncultivated heaths and commons are now, however, in their chief beauty, from the flowers of the different kinds of heath or ling with which they are covered, so as to spread a rich purple hue over the whole ground. Low moist lands, too, are adorned with the gentiana amarella, and the beautiful purple blossoms of the colchicum autumnale, or meadow saffron.
Several species of the numerous tribe of ferns begin now to flower. These plants, together with mosses, lichens, and the various kinds of sea-weed, are arranged by botanists in the class Oryptogamia, the individuals of which have small inconspicuous and generally colourless flowers, or rather seed-vessels, for they have no petals. The tallest species in these kindred families are the ferns, some of which, that are natives of America, greatly resemble, and equal in height, the lower of the kinds of palm trees. They may be distinguished by their pinnated or finely divided winged leaves, and their rust-coloured seeds, which are produced in small circular dots, or lines, cr patches, on the back of the leaves. One of the commonest species in this country is the fern or brakes; another not unfrequent sort is the polypody, or hart's-tongue, with long undivided leaves of a bright green, adorning with their tufts the base of moist shady rocks; but the most beautiful kind that this island produces is the female, or wood-polypody, with large deep-green tufted leaves, very finely divided, frequently found in considerable plenty in rocky woods; when placed in a green-house it acquires a brighter colour, and a more luxuriant growth; it becomes an evergreen and extremely ornamental plant. The uses in the economy of nature of this numerous family are many and important: growing in places where few other vegetables will flourish, as heaths, commons, marshes, and woods, they afford by their broad spreading leaves a very acceptable shelter to various birds and small quadrupeds, as well as to the more lowly and tender plants; the sweet mucilage with which their roots abound, gives nourishment to many insects, and contributes to the sustenance of the human species in the northern and most barren parts of the globe: in this country, the common brakes are made use of for littering cattle, and thatching, and, when green, are burnt in great quantity for the alkali that they contain.
Some of the choicest wall fruits are now coming into season.
The sunny wall
Some time about the middle of the month, the viper brings forth her young: it couples in March or April, and from twelve to twenty-five eggs are formed in the ovary of the female, and hatched there, from which soon after issue the young, nearly of the size of earth-worms.
The insects that make their appearance during this month, are the apis manicata, one of the species of solitary bees; the papilio machaon, semele, phlffias, and paphia, some of the latest butterflies; the phalena pacta, a white moth ; and the ptinus pectinicornis, which in its larva state is well known by the holes that it bores in wooden furniture. Flies also abound in windows at this period. Bulls begin their shrill autumnal bellowing.
About the 12th of August the largest of the swallow tribe, the swift or long-wing, disappears. As the weather is still warm, they cannot be supposed to retire to holes and caverns, and become torpid during the winter: and being so admirably formed for flight, it can scarcely be doubted that they now migrate to some of the southern regions. Nearly at the same time rooks no longer pass the night from home, but roost in their nest trees. Toung broods of goldfinches are still seen; lapwings and linnets begin to congregate; and the redbreast, one of our finest, though commonest, songsters, renews his music about the end of the month.
THE CORN HARVEST.
Corn-harvest is the great characteristic of this month. The sun and the earth have blessed the labours of man, and the season of fruition is now at hand. Of all the beautiful months of the year, none are more beautiful than August. The dark tint of the trees and hedges is relieved by the clear and golden hues of the ripening harvests. The wheat fields, as Wordsworth says, shine out on the hill sides " like golden shields cast down from the sun."
At this season of nature's abundance, we might almost persuade ourselves that human want was a fiction; see yonder that line of lusty mowers sweeping down the abundant crop of pale barley, how vigorous, how cheerful their appearance. Those are not the sons of misery and starvation; they have made acquaintance with barley long before this, and in a form quite as congenial to them, whether in the brown loaf or the foaming tankard; and now turn to the wheat-field, which is a still more attractive scene. What a pleasant picture it presents us with. There is the jolly farmer, the king of the field, and there are all his people, stout men and women, young and old, laughing and working together. The broad corn-field with its groups of people; its sunny ears falling before the sickle, and its piled up shocks lying beneath the clear, cloudless sky, which bathes the whole as it were in a flood of calm sunshine, is a splendid picture; but look into it more in detail, and what a number of lesser, but equally interesting pictures it presents; here a group of labourers in their picturesque attire, which spite of our English want of costume, seldom fails of effect on such occasions, resting and refreshing themselves from the basket and the wooden bottle; there a group of children, who having followed their mothers to the field, are yet too young to labour, but find infinite occupation in the hedges or among the shocks; here sleeps a baby pillowed among sheaves; watched perhaps by a little brother or sister, or it may be a dog, more watchful and patient of his confinement than any little human guardian would be on a day and in a scene like this. Tes truly, corn-fields are full of pictures, and they suggest to us many wonderful and lovely passages of life from the remotest times. How exquisite are the pictures presented to us in the Scriptures where corn-fields are the scene. Ruth, the Moabitess, when she " gleaned in the field after the reapers, and her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz," or when, " as it fell on a day that the child of the good Shunamite, went out to his father to the reapers, and he said unto his father, My head, my head; and he said to a lad, carry him to his mother; and he took him and brought him to his mother, and he sate on her knees till morn, and then died;" or when Christ and his disciples walked on the Sabbath day in the corn-fields, and "the disciples being hungry plucked the ears of corn, and rubbed
them in their hands, and did eat." All is beautiful, all is tender and touching; and as we walk in the corn-fields even now, these glorious old scenes live again, and will continue to do, so long as corn grows.
An average crop is satisfactory; but a crop that soars high above an average—a golden year of golden ears, sends joy into the heart of heaven. Let the people eat—let them have food for their bodies, and then they will have a heart to care for their souls.—Christopher North.
In the young merry time of spring,
When blue-bells nod within the wood,
When merle and mavis sing their fill,
Green is the young corn on the hill.
But when the merry spring is past,
And summer groweth bold,
A thousand flowers untold;
But then as day and night succeed,
And summer weareth on,
The red-rose groweth wan,
When on the breath of autumn's breeze,
Goes floating, like an idle thought,
O, then what joy to walk at will,
Upon the golden harvest-hill!