Comic Annual, 9 (1838), 147–56.
Hints to the Horticultural
Horticulture, Expertise, Theory, Practice, Botany
Acknowledging that it is 'always dangerous [...] for a mere theorist to offer suggestions to practical men', Hood observes that he has not 'the usual qualification of a horticulturalist—a plant bearing his patronymic' (147). He nevertheless brings forward 'a few plain rules, founded on personal observation and study, and directed to points hitherto not touched upon, from the voluminous encyclopedias down to the dwarf works on Botany' (148). His observations are intended for those amateurs in London and the suburbs without gardens, especially women, who wish to grow their own flowers. 'The technical terms, as well as the phrases marked as quotations, are borrowed from the only herbaceous volume in my library,—"Paxton's Magazine of Botany"' (149). The illustration captioned 'Botanizing—A Bog Plant' (facing 139) depicts a bearded and bespectacled gentleman up to his waist in a bog, but holding aloft a flower which he has picked. The rules are all comic. The first, 'To produce a "Blow" from Plants at any Season of the Year' (149), gives directions for putting them out in the wind. The second, 'To destroy Vermin in the most effectual Manner', suggests throwing slugs, snails, earwigs 'and other nasty insects' into the street so that they land on the clothes or receptacles of passers-by and are 'carried off' to distant houses of various sorts, 'so as to provide against the insects returning' (151–53). The third, 'To water Plants so that none of the Moisture may be wasted or lost', argues that watering should be done in such a way as 'to bestow the excess of fluid on proper objects' (153). The illustration captioned 'Pour Mary Anne' (facing 153) depicts a distracted woman attempting to water her pot plants on the windowsill; the water is falling instead on the foliage decorating the bonnet of a young woman, who is walking beneath the window with a small boy. The illustration captioned 'Pot-Luck' (156) depicts a man wearing an apron and carrying two tankards of beer, which are being spilt since he has a large plant-pot upturned on his head; a further potted plant and broken pieces of plant-pot are falling to the ground around him.
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