Treasures of Aromatic Literature(Authors) Abram Linwood Urban

How much would be lost if the small and lowly of the garden had been left out! I like to recall the words of a dear old lady who said of her pansies, "I Love the little things best of all. They look up into the face of their Heavenly Father as if they hadn't anything to be ashamed of."
It is not admiration so much as love that these simple flowers command. There must be something very human in the common flowers. There must be a very close relationship, since they appeal to something so very deep in us.
The mignonette has a charm wholly its own. We were drawn to it by its delicately refined scent.
To many persons the odor-giving properties of flowers are their chief charm. A rose is preferred tor its perfume more than tor its color or its form. Scarcely will they have come to a flower before they bend to discover its scent.
To all lovers of flowers this is one of their attractions. An evening in the garden would be much less pleasing but for the subtle fragrance of lilies, mint, lavender, rosemary, roses, and the sweet scent of the cedars as it comes faintly through the twilight.
This fact is instructive. There is a subtle relation between the human soul and the senses. It may be called a unity—in some less perfect than in others, but always marked in the artist. In one the sense of sight most stirs the soul to utterance; in another it is sound that most reaches the deeps of being; but perhaps the least material of things that reach the soul through the senses is perfume.
This, probably more than anything else, suggests the thought that the soul of the flower is expressing itself in its fragrance. Some one has said that "a flower without perfume is like a beautiful woman without piety."
It is true, perfume may be sensuous and coarse, but so may be color and sound. Color may be strengthened to a painful glare, and sound to a torture.
"There are flowers with a scent so powerful as to give an impression almost of intemperance and voluptuousness." But there are also flowers with a scent so delicately refined that it suggests a spiritual quality veiled in mystery. There are odors that you not so much trace like a fact as you accept them as a presence.
Such is our Sweet Mignonette, and in its delicate fragrance is much of the secret of its charm. It has eminently the poetic quality— chaste, moderate, haunting.
We will not indulge in moralizing. It is easy to fall into the dulness of the mere moralist. It is better to let truth speak in its own language in its own way. If this little flower does not tell to you its message, none other can.
And yet, on a bed of sweet odors one is apt to dream dreams.
A sane mind will not "confound a perfume and an orison." An esthetic thrill is not an aspiration. But the sane mind will be wholesomely affected by both.

My garden of dreams

By Abram Linwood Urban

To me the flowers of the night seem to have more of mystery and of poetry than those of the day. The night invests them with a mysterious and untellable charm, and draws from them powerful perfumes of which they are utterly devoid during the day. White petunias lose their common quality and become exquisite at night. The nicotiana, a disconsolate thing by daylight, opens its stars there by the side of the evening primrose, making with its fellow the most perfect blend of silver and gold. How they lure the night moths with their radiance and heavy scents!
There is a giant lily that, by moonlight, has a strangely weird dignity, and the little nightscented stock, whose dull gray leaves and small, dull-colored flowers close and droop during the day, as soon as the sun has set opens its tender flowers and pours upon the still night air the sweetest fragrance. 
There are flowers too fine in their reserve to lay open their heart to the garish light of day. The lotus flower pines in the sunlight, but when the Moon God woos her she unveils her A MIDSUMMER charms and meets his gaze with kindling eyes. Drfam 
The queen of the night is the moon-flower on the lattice, but she needs the breath of the night to lay bare her heart.
"Sweet child of the pale and the passionless Moon,
Thou art but the Dream of the slumbering Night."
Poor, indeed, is the life that has not known some one love, so deep, so fine, so tender, that it lives in the heart of his dream!
The night garden appeals with a peculiar power to the mystic that lives within the soul of each one of us. Why is it that we are sure to look up to the heavens at night, although we may never lift our eyes while the sun gives us day? Is it because at night the things at our feet are less clearly seen and are therefore less insistent?
The wide sunlight helps us to think of the broad, bright, and simple; the night makes us feel what is lofty, mysterious, and dim. Gretry's words come to mind—"God shuts off this world once every twenty-four hours so that we can see the universe."

My garden of dreams

By Abram Linwood Urban

The rosebud that greets me in the morning ing will not remain a bud. It must needs burst,  for the life within it is so abundant that it can no longer contain it all, but in blossomed brightness and swimming fragrance must let forth its joy and gladden all the air. To bloom is the law of its life, and should the bud refuse to expand, it would quickly rot at heart and die. The heart that refuses to give will as surely wither and die.



That which I hold to be the main formative principle of art in the garden—that which uses nature for the expression of human sentiment and so humanizes and spiritualizes nature— may be worked out in many ways. One way to accent this human element in the garden is to place in it accessories of the nature of garden furniture. Of course, unless the garden be spacious, it is a mistake to crowd in such accessories. But no garden, however small, is altogether complete.if it lack a seat or two located in some spot conducive to quiet thought, with some fragrant thing, such as the Sweet Brier, growing near, and some charming bits of the garden to be easily seen. And whatever else is missing in the garden, the sun-dial must not be lacking. The sun-dial has been beautifully called the “garden altar.” Is it not fitting? Nothing so impressively sounds the religious note of the garden. “There is a mystery of eternity in a sun-dial” as it marks the shadows passing. “Amidst ye floweres I tell ye houres” is a very old motto for the dial face, and nothing tells us better of life passing on into eternity. The sun-dial should be placed in the very heart of the garden, that from it we may look in every direction.
Such is what I have ventured to call the beauty of suggestion; but there is another element of beauty of spiritual quality which the garden may have in a high degree. As the garden grows, association touches it more and more with a spiritual beauty. Each plant, as we watch and care for it, acquires a little history of its own,and about many a spot or plant tender memories of those we love are gathered. And so our gardens become rich in poetry and history.

The Voice of the Garden

By Abram Linwood Urban

There is a mystical side of nature which calls to the soul of man and compels the feeling that there is something that comes through material things that is more than material, that is, indeed, spiritual. It carries our thoughts and feelings out of the material to something akin to our own spirits. There is something that comes through eye, ear and imagination, that speaks to the heart and conscience. There are hints and intimations of something more than eye, or ear, or mere intellect discovers.
There is hidden, somewhere, in every one of us, the mystic, and to this hidden man, out of the deep mystery, Nature speaks. It may be only when alone amid Nature’s vast silences that this hidden man wakes to consciousness. There he touches shoulders with strange things. Some realize this mystical relationship with nature most when in touch with nature’s gentleness, but each of us is most conscious of it when most alone with it.
This is what explains the charm of the garden for the dreamer when twilight deepens toward night, and form and color grow less clear to sight, and the sounds of the outside world are stilled. It is then that he knows himself most near to the great Mystery. It is then that he learns most of its meaning, though only a scent with lightest breath touch him, or he hear no more than the rustle of an overturned leaf. The rose of summer, or the leaf of autumn, the perfume evanescent as the dreams of youth or lingering as the memories of childhood, each has for this soul its message, sweet, wholesome, and true.
If only we could find words to tell just what the flowers say to us! But they speak a language not easy to translate into our common speech. The thoughts of the flowers reach into the heart of things, thoughts often too big for words.

The Voice of the Garden

By Abram Linwood Urban