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Virginia Strawberry
In olden days strawberry leaves were added to cooling drinks and used in baths. According to Eleanour Rohde, strawberry wine was a favorite of Sir Walter Raleigh. But best of all uses is to eat the berries with sugar and the thick, clotted cream of Devonshire, called crême renversée in France. The wood strawberries served with white wine are luscious too.
It is no longer in the United States Pharmacopoeia, nevertheless the volatile oil distilled from the leaves is much used to rub on joints for rheumatic pains, for lumbago, sciatica, and similar complaints. It is also administered internally in the treatment of rheumatic fevers.
Hyssop is said to give a fine scent and taste to honey and should be planted near beehives. An essential oil extracted from the green portions is fragrant, and used in making melissa water, and in English eau de cologne, and, like clary sage, gives a note to perfumes today.
Elecampane is not a potherb or a perfume plant, but is included because of sentiment, and because, with its somewhat coarse, daisy-like golden flowers, it is a handsome plant for a background to the other herbs.
Florentine Iris
This exquisite iris is a hardy plant native to central and southern Europe, and in our own South it is almost a weed. It flowers about the third week in May and rises eighteen inches or more high. In spite of the fact that it is not new or in the least expensive its pearly iridescent color and delicate iris-like fragrance make it one of the most desirable irises.
Laurel, Sweet Bay
The laurel is native to the Mediterranean region where it grows to a tree up to forty feet high. Its glossy, evergreen, scented foliage is famous as composing the wreaths of victory and the tree has played an important role in Greek and Roman mythology. No one could call the laurel a herb, but the leaves are so constantly mentioned in recipes, and it is such a handsome plant, that we recommend every herb gardener to have at least two of them.
The Spirit Of The Mountains
To get a fair impression of Switzerland and the Swiss at the outset, then, it seems to be advisable to clear away this common misconception of mountain ranges as being the nurses inevitably of heroic human natures. The Swiss have been absurdly over-praised by some, largely because of this root fallacy that a mountain people must have all the virtues.
The Earliest Swiss - The Lake-Dwellers
To her lakes rather than to her mountains Switzerland owed the beginnings of civilisation. Nowadays, as the curtains of mist are rolled away from the past by geologist and anthropologist, we are coming to a clearer idea of the origins of this wonderful civilisation of ours, which makes the common routine of a plain citizen today more full of wonders than any legend told of an ancient god.
The Swiss in the Middle Ages
Throughout the Middle Ages Switzerland and the Swiss were always in the eye of Europe. Sometimes the spectacle they presented was that of a patriot people pushing back the tyrant and the invader with an unearthly courage, and luck more unearthly still.
Modern Switzerland
There is carved in the face of a great rock at Lucerne a lion, wounded to death, resting upon a broken spear. It is the monument of the Swiss Guard massacred in the defence of the Tuileries at Paris in 1792. The close connection between France and Switzerland in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries made it natural that the despotic French kings should employ the faithful and courageous Swiss mercenaries as guardians of their palaces.
Switzerland - Literary Associations
Byron, Shelley, Wordsworth, Ruskin, Arnold all had close associations with Switzerland, and there still continues to flow there a constant stream of the world's genius. It is everybody's playground, and seems to have the power to tempt the man of imagination to longer stay.
The Swiss and Human Thought
Calvin was not Swiss-born, but reached Basel in 1535 as an exile from France. He had been destined for the Roman Catholic priesthood, changed his plans and became a lawyer, and at Paris was drawn into the orbit of the French Reformation.
The Swiss People Today
Hotel-keeping is the chief apparent occupation of the Switzerland known to the tourist. But there is apart from that in the towns a busy industrial life. Since the use of water-power for generating electricity has come to be understood Switzerland has progressed more and more as a manufacturing country.
Alpine Climbing
Though Switzerland does not contain within its borders more than one-third of the Alps, and the greatest height of the Alpine range (Mount Blanc) is wholly within France, the Alps are always associated with Switzerland in the popular mind ; and with good reason, for the country is particularly and almost wholly Alpine in its character.
Natural Beauties of Switzerland
To the tourist who contemplates a first visit to Switzerland, perhaps the best centre of interest is Lucerne. There he may enjoy at the outset all the characteristic charms of Swiss scenery—the beautiful lakes, the meadows, and orchards stretching up from the blue waters to the hills, the great mountains of Rigi, Pilatus, and the Stansenhorn.
Avalanches and Glaciers
For the proper study of glacier beauty it is recommended to Alpine travellers that they should arrange to camp for some days in the glacier region. But there are good examples of glaciers within walking distance of some of the higher hotels.
The Alpine Clubs
Before the growth of the influence of the Swiss Alpine Club, the Swiss did not indulge in mountain-climbing as a sport on their own account to any very great extent. But the Club is working to arouse a national amateur (as opposed to mercenary) interest in the national mountains, and the quick growth of its membership seems to argue well for its success.
The Flowers of the Alps
The Swiss Alps have their chief worshippers in the summer for the climbing, in the winter for the sports. A few insist that the rich colouring of autumn is the best season of all. A larger and a growing number visit the Alps in the spring for the flowers.
Swiss Sports
There is a great distinction between the national sports of the Swiss and those of Switzerland. The games which attract so many thousands to the Alps in winter are in no cases peculiar to Switzerland, and are rarely indigenous. Tobogganing and skiing, like mountain-climbing (as a pleasure), have been introduced to Switzerland by visitors.
Swiss Schools
The Swiss educational system is at once generous and practical, with compulsory attendance enforced and gratuitous instruction, books, and materials provided. Teaching begins in the national schools, called the Primarschule, which are attended by children of all ranks and at which attendance is compulsory from the age of nine until the completion of the fifteenth year.
Switzerland - Some Statistical Facts
Switzerland is not all scenery and hotels. The little nation has a prosperous life apart from the tourists who make of its mountains a playground. There is interesting matter to be gleaned from the facts given in the publications of the Swiss Federal Statistical Bureau.
True Lavender
Lavandula vera produces the best oil. The deeper the color of the calyx the stronger the scent. In some dark flowers there is said to be a suggestion of jasmine. In France the oil is distilled from the wild plants, and in England, where the best of all lavender perfumes are obtained, the oil is extracted from cultivated plants.
Lovage is native to Europe, and according to Vilmorin the whole plant has a sweetish aromatic odor, which it did not have in my garden.
Lemon Verbena
The leaves of lemon verbena are used for flavor and perfume. Infused in a cold fruit drink such as barley water, lemon squash, and iced tea, they are said to enhance the flavor of the lemon in the drinks, and make it taste like fresh limes. The dried leaves are said by some to be good as teas, but we found them tasteless.
To make horehound candy, a popular domestic medicine, the fresh plants are boiled down until the juice is extracted, and then sugar is added and the whole boiled until it candies. It tastes bitter, but has a definite flavor of its own.
German Chamomile
The plant is an annual, and is much smaller and has coarser leaves than those of the Anthemis nobilis. The flower stems are glabrous, rising to seven or eight inches high, and bearing flowers three-quarters of an inch across.
Balm tea was thought to be good for fevers, headaches, and asthmas. It is said to be carminative and antispasmodic. The oil from the plant was in salves for healing wounds. According to Parkinson, the juice of it was made into a tansy with eggs, sugar, and rose water and given to women to bring on the afterbirth, others said it increased the flow of the milk.
Wild peppermint plants prefer a moist soil, but in the garden a deep soil which is a little moist is satisfactory. The largest supply of peppermint oil comes from America and Japan, but it is also cultivated in Europe.
Bergamot mint, lemon mint, and orange mint, is native to Europe and naturalized in America. It is deliciously fragrant and tastes of lemon. Although it is naturalized in America, no plants were to be obtained, so mine came to me from Edinburgh. These have a purplish corolla and are more reddish than most mints, have smooth flower stalks and decumbent smooth stems to two feet long.
Bee Balm
The bee balm is a handsome plant native from Quebec to Michigan, and south to Georgia. It has conspicuous, raggedy, red flower heads, and exceedingly fragrant leaves and flowers. The whole plant except the stems feels soft and woolly.
Sweet Cicely
The sweet cicely is native to the mountains of Savoy, and has become naturalized in England, Scotland, and Ireland. The leaves are fern-like, or tansy-like, much divided, each little division having its margins cut and being hairy.
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