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AMERICAN WILD FLOWERS.
BY REV. F. C. WOODWORTH.
WHAT an array of beauty do our forests, fields and meadows present at this season of the year! We admire the richness and splendor of the garden and the green-house; we are delighted with the magnificence of the immigrant from a foreign clime-the magnolia, the rhododendron, the camellia, the peony-they dazzle by their gay and splendid hues; but more than these and all their companions, we love the modest, unpretending flower, blooming in its native haunts. We belong to the native American party,' so far as flowers are concerned. It is not that we love the foreigner less but we love the American It is because we prefer nature to art. It is for the same reason that Cowper expressed a preference for the country-because
"God made the country, and man made the town." It is because we see less of God in a garden of exotics-in the forest and mead more. It is for the same reason that we are more pleasel in viewing the features of the human face, as God made them, though exhibiting no uncommon beauty, than we are after the application of the rouge, or any of that genus. Something of this feeling the author of the " Deserted Village" seems to express, when he says,
"To me more dear, congenial to my heart,
One native charm, than all the gloss of art." Cultivation, in almost every instance, changes the natural peculiarities of exotic plants. With some, indeed, the effect produced by culture in a foreign clime is such as to destroy almost entirely their identity. The change, it is true, may be a desirable one, so far as their general appearance is concerned; but when subjected to minute scientific examination, these flowers are found to be unnaturally developed, and to have lost some organs altogether.
A beautiful emblem this of the general effect of luxury on the physical, intellectual, and moral condition of men; especially if they have been accustomed to a poorer and humbler walk in life. Such men may be more respected; perhaps their society will be universally courted; but, on the whole, luxury more generally mars and injures here, than it improves and beautifies.
We have often wondered that the flowers of
our woods received no higher marks of attention from the horticulturist. How common is it for those who certainly are not in the main deficient in floral taste, to collect for their gardens and green-houses, even at great expense and pains-taking, a multitude of exotics, while they overlook altogether the aborigines of the soil, within a mile of their own door! Why is it? Why this passion for every plant indigenous to other climes, so that scarcely å particle of enthusiasm can be afforded for those that smile so kindly upon us from their native haunts? Why is it, when a group of these sisters, from their mountain home, are presented as candidates for the favor of some fair friend, that we so often hear the remark, "Oh, they are nothing but wild flowers!" To us, it seems a want of correct taste, to say the least. It seems more than this-scarcely less than a disrespect to our citizens, by preferring foreigners to them.
Strange that these wild flowers should be neglected, when, as it should seem, most of them are endeared by some of the sweetest recollections of childhood. We never gaze upon these familiar faces in their solitary abodes, without feelings akin to those which the author of "Gertrude of Wyoming" has expressed in such beautiful numbers:
"Ye wild flowers! the gardens eclipse you, 'tis true;
For ye waft me to summers of old,
Some of the flowers of spring, which, in the latitude of the State of New York, have now disappeared, are perfect gems of beauty. The Sanguinaria Canadensis, or blood root, is one of the earliest. We have seen it in the month of March, unfolding its delicate white petals, which would not suffer in comparison with many of our most admired exotics, while the ground was covered with snow. Two species of the Anemone, found generally in the forest, appear somewhat later. One of these species, the Anemone Thalictroides, or rue anemone, with white blossoms, some three or four inches high, is perhaps the fairest of the family, and