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takes place in this month; this is preparatory to the expanding of the leaves, and ceases when they are out.
The gooseberry and currant bushes now show their young leaves; the ash its grey buds; and the hazel and the willow exhibit some signs of returning life in their silky enfolded catkins. The camellia japonica is the chief ornament of the green-house in this month, bearing very handsome and justly admired clusters of beautiful flowers.
Our gardens begin now to assume somewhat of a cheerful appearance. Crocuses, exhibiting a rich mixture of yellow and purple, ornament the borders; mezereon is in all its beauty; the little flowers with silver crest and golden eye,' daisies, are scattered over dry pastures; and the pilewort (ranunculus ficaria) is seen on the moist banks of ditches. The primrose too (primula veris) peeps from beneath the hedges.
A little lonely flower;
Deep in a mossy bower.
With gothic fretwork sprung,
And ivy garlands hung.
From an old tree's fall’n shell,
The lady in her cell.
She seemed to sit and look,
Pale imaged in the brook.
Beside my pensive maid;
Iu solitude and shade.
Darted its dazzling light;
Only, methought, some clear, cold star
Might tremble there at night.
No eye, methought, but mine;
Had spied her secret shrine.
In such belief:-cold eyes
Profane her mysteries.
Absorbed in still delight;
In with that quiet sight. In March, trouts begin to rise, and blood-worms appear in the water. The clay hair-worm (gordius argillaceus) is now found at the bottoms of drains and ditches, of a pale yellow colour, like the extremities of a fibrous root divested of its bark, or the fine strings of a harp coiled up and twisted together. The whole body of this animal consists of numerous annulations, or rings, which the creature has the power of contracting or dilating, when it becomes nearly a foot long, and smooth like a wire : the extreme points are transparent, and apparently harder. The designation of many of our land and water insects is very obscure, and from their minuteness, the places they inhabit, and the secrecy of their actions, we have little opportunity of becoming acquainted with their several functions; this hairworm, however, is supposed to perforate and form openings in clayey lands, which then become pas sages for water, admitting the roots of vegetables, and, in time, fertilizing the soil.
The equinoctial gales are usually most felt, both by sea and land, about this time.
The leaves of honeysuckles are now nearly expanded: in our gardens, the buds of the cherry tree (prunus cerasus), the peach (amygdalus persica), the nectarine, the apricot, and the almond (prunus
armeniaca), are fully opened in this month. The buds of the hawthorn (cratcegus oxycantha) and of the larch tree (pinus larix) begin to open; and the tansy (tanacetum vulgare) emerges out of the ground; ivy-berries are ripe; the cotton-grass (eriophorum vaginatum), wood spurge (euphorbia amygdaloides), butcher's broom (ruscus aculeatus), the daffodil (pseudonarcissus) in moist thickets, the rush (juncus pilosus), the spurge laurel (daphne laureola), and the coltsfoot (tussilago), found in woods, are now in bloom. A remarkable fact, never yet noticed by any author, may here be mentioned concerning the coitsfoot : wherever the earth from canals, roads, &c. is thrown up from the depth of five or six feet, or more, below the surface, in every part of England with which the writer has been acquainted, soon after its being so thrown up, coltsfoot is found growing in more or less abundance. In all probability the seeds of this plant have remained dormant for ages, till brought by this process to the surface, when light, air, heat, and moisture, prompt their vegetation.-(J.)
The common whitlow grass (draba verna) on old walls; the yellow Alpine whitlow grass (draba aizoides) on maritime rocks; and the mountain pepperwort (lepidum petræum) among limestone rocks, flower in March.
The sweet violet (viola odorata) sheds its delicious perfumes in this month.
To an EARLY VIOLET.
Sweet Violet !
I found you in the lone vale, bare,
You stood like dauntless Virtue pare,
Sweet Violet ! The barren strawberry (fragaria sterilis), and the yew tree (taxus baccata), are now in flower, and the elder tree (sambucus nigra) begins to put forth its flower buds. The hepatica (anemone hepatica), unless the weather be severe, gives brilliance to the garden with its bright pink flowers; and the houndstongue (cynoglossum) with its more modest flowers of pink or light blue. It is a common and vulgar error to suppose that the roots of the cynoglossum will drive away mice and rats. : The smelt (salmo eperlanus) begins to ascend rivers to spawn, when they are taken in great abund ance. The gar-fish, gar-pike, or born-fish (esox bellone), appears in this month. It is must esteemed in Devonshire and. Dorsetshire, though not upon the Essex coast and in London.-See our last vol. p.79.
The gannets or Soland geese (pelicanus bassanus) resort in March to the Hebrides, and other rocký isles of North Britain, to make their nests and lay
Much amusement may be derived in this month, as well as in the last, from watching the progress of worms, insects, &c. from torpidity to life, particularly on the edges or banks of ponds. See T.T. for 1817, p.53.--At the end of March, a brimstone-coloured butterfly (papilio rhamni) appears.
Bees may now be seen in the garden calling their various sweets. It appears that, in this year (1822), bees have, in an unusual manner, broken away from their hives, and formed settlements for themselves; probably influenced by the early warmth of the season, which rendered their hives uncomfortable, and
softened the wax of the combs; for although these creatures have the power of exciting, when required, a great degree of heat in their habitations, it does not appear that they have any method of lowering a natural temperature, when it becomes unpleasant or injurious.-For an account of a remarkable superstition respecting the bee, see our last volume, p. 80.
Towards the end of the month black beetles may be seen flying about in the evening; and bats issue from their places of concealment. Roach and dace float near the surface of the water, and sport about in pursuit of insects. Daffodils are in flower; peas appear above ground; the sea-kale (crambe maritima), a vegetable somewhat similar to, but more delicate than, asparagus, now begins to sprout. The male blossoms of the yew-tree expand and discharge their farina. Sparrows are busily employed in forming their nests. Young lambs are yeaned this month; and young otters are produced, which, as they grow up, prove as destructive in a pond, as a polecat in a hen-house.-See T.T. for 1821, pp. 87, 88.
In March, the farmer dresses and rolls his meadows; spreads ant-hills; plants quickets, osiers, &c.; sows flax seed, artificial grasses, beans and peas, broom and whin seeds, and grass seeds among wheat. About the 23d, he ploughs for and sows oats, and hemp and flax. A dry season is very important to the farmer, that he may get the seed early into the ground.
The pursuits of shooting and hunting having finished with the last month, the various animals have an interval allowed them to bear and rear their young; a circumstance which has occasioned the following lines of a modern poet :
The Season of Love.
And genial the zephyr upon me that blows;
And vi'lets their elegant perfumes disclose: