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Knockholt, Windsor, and the scenery of Gray's Elegy stand foremost in the long perspective. Amid such scenery

O'er many a heath, through many a woodland dun,
Through buried paths, where sleepy twilight dreams
The summer time away,


does the ruralising Londoner, while the year is yet young, see himself footing it on the summer Saturday afternoon. But we are now near the end of the genial season for such rustic rambles. It is “ Autumn in the waning woods,” and Nature, after a period of ample fruition, is resting in the corn-field and the orchard. As we now look back on the long and lovely summer that is past, how many of the beautiful scenes we have mentioned do we find we have left unvisited! As each Saturday afternoon comes round, the lessening daylight is restricting our excursions and limiting our holiday pleasures to the nearer resorts around London. Whilst there is yet time for an Autumn ramble, whilst the landscapes are still robed in their leafage of russet and gold, let us add to our store of Saturday afternoon reminiscences of the season. In the suburbs and on the borders of London, and in the parks that bring the country almost to the heart of the metropolis, Nature appears in her most finished and sumptuous if not in her wildest attire, and surprises us with scenes we have too long neglected.

A river trip from St. Paul's Wharf to Battersea Park, and a tour round the celebrated Sub-Tropical Garden, occupied our last Saturday afternoon. As we entered the secluded and tree-belted region at Battersea Park, we were suddenly confronted with a strange and wonderful scene. On a beautifully-undulated landscape

-a greensward of dells and mounds, banks and knolls—there arose in the air a huge-leaved tropical vegetation. Palms and bananas, and the grand ornamental trees of the tropics, were placidly sunning themselves all around us, and breathing the open air of an English Summer sky. By the side of these tropical strangers there arose, in wonderful contrast, the flora of northern and Arctic latitudes. Lowly in stature and reticent in habit, our native plants atoned in beauty of foliage and colour for their deficiency in grandeur of form. They jewelled the ground with masses of brilliants and panelled the greensward with the most exquisite of tapestries. The scene thus


presented in the Sub-Tropical Garden was sumptuous beyond any we had witnessed in our Saturday afternoon rambles round London. Here, in the midst of an English landscape, and within half-an-hour's ride of St. Paul's, we had a glimpse of Nature as she appears in southern and equatorial latitudes. These tropical forms at Battersea Park were no less a stimulus to the fancy than a strange and wonderful picture to the eye. The palms and bananas suggested the tiger and giraffe, the elephant and the camel, in their natural home. The fancy was farther entertained in a dell of New Zealand treeferns. Quaint-looking and grotesque to a northern eye, with huge dark stems, and a head of leaves falling over high shoulders, these tree-ferns vividly suggested to the visitor the human aborigines of their native land, and enhanced the strangeness of the sub-tropical scenes at Battersea.

This Saturday afternoon, we again take the steamboat at St. Paul's Wharf for a trip on the Silent Highway to Battersea Park. We go to-day to look, not on sub-tropical scenery, but upon the scenery of an Alpine and Arctic landscape; for at Battersea Park there is the flora of the lofty snow-clad regions, as well as of the tropical plains. And we shall find hundreds of visitors on the same errand as ourselves. Here come, from all parts of England, rich amateur gardeners, to see for themselves the composition of the Alpine landscape which they mean to imitate at home. Here, too, come the less wealthy visitors,—visitors who sometimes take their Holidays on Highlands," and return to decorate their fore-court “rockery” or larger rear-garden at home, with botanical reminiscences of Snowdon, the Grampians, the Swiss Alps, the Scandinavian hills. The Alpine flora, as we all know, are the latest favourite of the tasteful flower-loving public. The Alpine landscape garden, with its miniature rocks and ravines, its upland valleys and waterfalls, its gentians, silvery saxifrages and sempervivums, its many flowers of vivid hues, is perhaps the prettiest and most perfect imitation of Nature that the gardening of to-day can offer.

From the steam-boat pier at Battersea Park, we again, in five minutes, reach the entrance to the Sub-Tropical Garden.

Again the finished garden to the view
Its vistas opens.



To the left is the dell of New Zealand tree-ferns of which we have spoken : to the right we at once get a sight of the Alpine scenery. Here we observe that two great mounds or miniature hills have been thrown up. At a distance we observe that their summits are hoary and snow-like. They are said by Alpine tourists to have something of the delicate primrose hue, or pale cream colour, which the snow assumes in the far distance. As we approach, we see that these miniature mountains arise from extensive highlands, plateaux, and upland valleys. Below the snowclad summits the lesser hill and uplands are swarming with a dwarf Alpine herbage, and alive with bright and vivid flowers. The zone of vegetation which is thus set before us, lies high above the region of deciduous trees; only a dwarf pine here and there shows itself above the plants and the minute herbage that cover the rocks. It is a striking and at first a puzzling spectacle to thousands of visitors to Battersea Park. Let us join the Saturday afternoon throng of spectators, and scan the scene more carefully.

The miniature snow-clad hills afford to the simplest visitor to Battersea Park the interpretation of the novel landscape. In the elevated and colder mountain zone of this Alpine scenery before us, the more vigorous vegetation of the lower regions fails from the earth. The tall trees, the trailers, and the bushes give place to an humbler but more exquisite flora. Here reign the minuter plants and the vivid coloured flowers, which in the lower and warmer zones are overcome in the struggle for life by a stronger and taller vegetation. Above the Alpine forests, and in the zone of pastureland that there succeeds, the dwarf, hardy, and beautiful flora before us flourishes supreme, with gradually lessening luxuriance, till it reaches the fields of snow and ice, and the awful solitudes of the glacier.

Where the birds dare not build, nor insect's wing
Flits o'er the herbless granite.

What a contrast with the giant and stimulated growths of the tropics are these lowly Alpine plants, this minute, delicate, and exquisite vegetation, "refined in Nature's laboratory, all coarseness and ruggedness eliminated, all preciousness and beauty retained !

To the visitor who has seen the Alpine flora in their most loved haunts in Switzerland in the months of June or July, this beautiful scene ai Battersea Park is rich in happy reminiscences. Many a happy hour it recalls spent in


“ Rambling com cluster to cluster on the side of some great Alp; the scent of sweet herb or sweeter Daphne perfuming the invigorating air; the melody of the cattle-bells borne up from some far-off pasture; while the great blue vault of heaven above seems reflected in the gentian clusters at his feet. There the pale lilac Crocus studs the meadows; the pink Dianthus and the purple Aster, orange-eyed, spangle the banks; the Stone-crop of many kinds, yellow, white, and crimson, clings to the rocks, thriving where all other plants would wither. Great Anemones, white and sulphur coloured ; Gentians of deepest blue, Campanulas, Geums, Alpine Forget-me-nots, pale pink Primulas, and purple Heart's-ease make the Alps which lie in the zone between 6,000 and 8,000 feet, like a great flower-garden. Beyond this region the flowering plants begin to disappear from the turf, and the mossy Saxifrage and Androsace have their home among the rocks that stretch up to the snows."*

Let those who would prepare to enjoy such a sumptuous picture of the Swiss Alpine flora, as it flourishes in June and July, prepare for their tour by a visit to this miniature scene at Battersea Park.

A true appreciation of the beauties of the Alpine flora will add much pleasure to the Londoner's Saturday afternoon rambles around his metropolis. Although Alpine plants predominate in the more elevated regions where no taller vegetation can exist, there are plenty of plants, specifically Alpine (some with a wonderful history of migration and vicissitude), to be found growing wild around London. It may give us an incentive to seek them in our Saturday rambles with nature, if we read the praises of the Alpine flora in the following passage from a writer who has laboured well to commend them to English tastes :

“Alpine plants, have the charm of endless variety and endless diversities of form and colour. Among them are little orchids, as interesting as their tropical brethren, though much smaller : Lilliputian trees, and even a treelike moss, that branches and grows into an erect little pyramid, as if in imitation of the mountain-loving pines; ferns that creep from narrowest crevices of high rocky places, often so small and minute that they seem to cling to the rocks for shelter, not throwing forth their forms with airy grace, as they do in more favourable scenes ; numerous bulbous flowers, from lilies to bluebells; evergreen shrubs, perfect in leaf and blossom and fruit as any that grow in our shrubberies, yet so small that an inverted finger-glass would make a

Rev. T. G. BONNEY's Switzerland.

roomy conservatory for them; creeping plants, like their mountain brethren, rarely venturing above mother earth, yet trailing and spreading freely upon it, and when they crawl over the brows of the rocks or stones, draping them with curtains of colour as lovely as any afforded by the most vigorous climbers of tropical forests ; foliage plants, small it is true, yet far more interesting than the huger ones we grow under this name; numberless minute plants that scarcely exceed the mosses in size, and quite surpass them in the way in which they mantle the earth with fresh green carpets in the midst of winter; and succulent' plants in endless variety, which yield not in beauty to those of America or the Cape. Smaller than the very mosses of our bogs, these succulent plants, in losing the stature of their tropical brethren, have replaced their horrid spires with silvery spottings and lacings. In a word, Alpine plants embrace nearly every type of the plant-life of northern and temperate climes, chastened in tone and diminished in size, and infinitely more attractive to the human eye than any other known.*

This Battersea Park representation of the Alpine flora commends the description thus given.

We have not yet exhausted our Saturday afternoon in looking at this beautiful and suggestive garden picture of the country of the chamois and the lämmergeier. The lover of Alpine horticulture will now notice the contrast between this mountain landscape scenery at Battersea Park and the average English garden “ rockeries” of the period. Here we miss those scorched and blackened heaps of brickyard rubbish which stand foremost in so many attempts at rockwork and Alpine gardening. How often in suburban and villa grounds, amid masses of refuse from the brickkiln, does many a practitioner in Alpine gardening and rockwork plant his sempervivums, ferns, and saxifrages, his Alpine roses, glacier pinks, and mountain forget-me-nots, with a vague impression of Alpine scenery to come! But here, at Battersea Park, a dense minute turf of saxifrage or moss swarms all over the the ground; the sub-structure, whatever it may be, nowhere appears to the eye.

. Let us return by the way we came, passing once more as we go, the New Zealand tree-ferns. We enter another garden, with the Lake to the right of us. Soon we see, on our left, huge masses of solid sand-stone rock. They rise up by the side of the Lake (opposite the boats), in great natural terraces and cliffs. faces of the rocks are fissured and jointed, as if weathered and

* Alpine Flowers for English Gardens. By W. ROBINSON, F.G.S.

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