From the The Scots Magazine – Thursday 01 June 1809.
Suggestions for the Improvement of the EDINBURGH BOTANIC GARDEN.
All about grew every sort of flowre,
To which sad lovers were transform’d of yore;
Fresh Hyacinthus, Phoebus’ paramoure,
And dearest love
Foolish Narcisse, that likes the wat’ry shore;
Sad Aramanthus, made a flowre but late;
Sad Aramanthus, in whose purple gore
Meseemes I see Aminta’s wretched fate,
To whom sweet poets’ verse hath given endless date.
To the Editor.
SIR, IT is with feelings of great satisfaction that we occasionally observe, the periodical work under your superintendance, hints and suggestions for the improvement this city; a subject which we should feel happy in observing more frequently brought forward. Many topics have been discussed in a style flattering to the industry and discrimination of your correspondents, and we take this opportunity also of expressing to you our tribute of applause.
The principle of doing good, ought to be recognized as the master spring of all our actions. Little service, either to individuals or to the public, is at all likely to result from a mere display of critical acumen, or of controversial writing. Actuated therefore by the desire of contributing to the advantage of our native place, we purpose at present to call the attention of your readers (among which number we hope there will be found some of those possessing both the ability and inclination to aid the undertaking) to some hints relative to an institution closely connected with our renowned medical school,—the Botanic Garden. That elegant and accomplished scholar Henry Home (Lord Kames) in one of his essays, •on Gardening, Etc• chap. xxiv. has expressed his opinion, that “It is not easy to suppress a degree of enthusiasm, when we reflect on the advantages of gardening with respect to virtuous education. In the beginning of life the deepest impressions are made; and it is sad truth, that the young student, familiarized to the dirtiness and disorder of many colleges pent within narrow bounds, in populous cities, rendered in a measure insensible to the elegant beauties art and nature and it appears to us far from an exaggeration, that good professors are not more essential to a college, than a spacious garden sweetly ornamented; but, at same time, without any thing glaring or fantastic, so as upon the whole to inspire our youth with a taste no less for simplicity than for elegance.”
Here shall, in the first place, express the satisfaction we derive from the admirable style in which the Botanic Garden is at present kept, at least so far as depends on the Superintendant [sic]. We have long been familiar with this garden; but at no period in our observation can we discover a more judicious plan to have been pursued in the management of the various plants.