The sound of running water and the fragrance of unseen flowers are two of the subtlest charms any garden may have. I cannot stop now to give a list of fragrant flowers, but I saw two plants with fragrant foliage in England, which I must describe.
The first is sweet gale or bog myrtle (MyricaGale), which should not be confused with our native bayberry or candleberry (Myrica cerifera). "It is the only bush," said Mr. Amos Perry to me, "that grows with feet under water all the time." It is never a showy plant, as the flowers are minute and borne in short erect catkins; but it is very pleasant to brush against the foliage. When you grasp the leaves and crush them in the hand, there is a feeling of stickiness owing to the aromatic oil glands on the under surface of the leaves.
In great contrast to this bush is the Corsican thyme, the smallest flowering plant cultivated in gardens. I doubt if any plant in the world has so powerful an odour in proportion to its size. A full-grown plant is only about half an inch across, and consists of a rosette of leaves. It also has minute purple flowers which I have not seen. The fashion is to establish Corsican thyme in the chinks of a wall or walk, on stepping stones or wherever the foot may brush against it without crushing it. If you reach down to the ground and draw your thumb across this midget it scents the air for several yards in every direction. To raise such a plant from seed must be quite a job, yet wherever I saw it at all it seemed abundant, and I fancy it self-sows when established. The plants are offered by a well-known dealer in alpines, in Geneva, Switzerland, at ten cents each, and I should think a dime would just about cover each plant. Corsican thyme is sometimes described under the name of Thymus Corsicus, but the catalogues offer it as Mentha Requieni, and, according to Bailey, the proper name is Calamintha Requieni.