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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/798

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

small flower-buds to the ripe, rose-colored berries. This very popular shade-tree belongs with the sumacs and poison-ivy, and is pervaded with a bitter, milky juice. Various species of acacias were in bloom. Good specimens of phyllodia were obtained from these trees, loaded with their small spheres of fine flowers.

The orange, lemon, and lime, in the genus Citrus, are all examples of plants that may have flowers and ripe fruit at the same time. This is most frequently true of the lime, next of the lemon, and least of the orange. However, it was not difficult to find orange-trees as early as December bearing a ripening crop of fruit intermingled with sprays of the famous fragrant flowers. The most impressive floral display was in the almond-orchards, where, rising from the dry, cleanly-kept soil, there were thousands of peach-like trees in straight rows, still without leaves, but in full bloom. The whole area was one vast sea of pink or peach-color, and the January air was full of the humming bees and lazy butterflies which were here finding so much to eat that life seemed almost a burden to them. As with some other species then in bloom, the almond-trees had been encouraged by the dry, warm winter, and had blossomed earlier than usual. This is a dangerous event, for, should the subsequent weather be cold and wet, the fruits blight, and the crop is much injured.

The leading winter-flowering ornamental shrubs are the roses, of which enough in praise can not be said. The heliotropes have a wealth of bloom, and a fragrance that scents the whole air. Geraniums (Pelargoniums) cover the sides of houses, and display a blaze of scarlet flowers. When water is supplied, the whole list of garden flowers may be obtained in midwinter. A circle of callas around a fountain or water-tank, with spathes a foot across and as white as newly fallen snow, was no uncommon sight. But this paper deals only with the plants that grow without irrigation and bloom from the dust.

We remained long enough after the first rains fell to see the foothills begin to grow green, and were confidently informed that in a short time the warm days would quicken all vegetation into new life, and, in place of a few straggling plants, the whole face of the country would be covered with a variety of flowers more to be associated with fairyland than anything on earth. However this may be, there are enough species which do not give up the struggle upon the approach of drought, so that, if a person is really bent upon finding blossoms, he may succeed, even though he wade through dust to get them.

 


 
The Bishop of Bedford lately said, in a sermon, of evolution, that we had read our Bibles wrongly before, and may be reading them wrongly now; and protested against a hasty denunciation of what might be proved to have at least some elements of truth in it, and against a contemptuous rejection of theories that we might some day accept freely and as not inconsistent with God's Word.