" Here jasmine spreads the silver flower, To deck the wall, or weave the bower."
Our common white jasmine is said, by Linnaeus to be a native of India, and also of Switzerland; but, in regard to the latter place, Martyn says, " It is confessedly exotic, although it is now so accustomed to the climate, that it grows spontaneously on tl^e rocks, particularly about Chiavenna." The seed of jasmine will not ripen in England, but the plant may be increased by layering down the branches, which take root in one year, when they may be separated from the parent stem, and transplanted. It may also be propagated by cuttings, which ought to be planted early in autumn, and the earth covered with sand or sawdust, to preserve them from the frost.
In the language of flowers, the jasmine is expressive of amiability. It was first introduced into France by some Spanish navigators, in 1560, where it was much admired for the lightness of its branches, aud the delicate lustre of its star-like flowers. The girls of Tuscany, it is said, wear a nosegay of jasmine on their bridal-day. The origin of this custom was as follows:—41 A certain Duke of Tuscany, the first possessor of the jasmine, wishing to preserve it unique, forbade his gardener to give away a single branch; but love reigned paramount in the gardener's heart, and. on the birth-day of his mistress, he presented her with a bouquet, in which was a sprig of jasmine. The delighted girl immediately planted it. It took root, and, the following year, was covered with flowers. By careful culture, she increased her stock, and was enabled to sell it to so good an account, that she soon amassed sufficient wealth to enable her to bring about a union with the fortunate gardener." It is said of the wild Cape jasmine, that when in full blow, its odoriferous perfume, in an evening, may be perceived at the distance of many miles.
The jasmine is a lingerer after the summer-time is past; and, long after the tenderer plants have shrunk from the approach of autumn's chill winds, we find it blooming in our path. Until quite late in the season we may find a solitary specimen, like a bright star, peeping out from among the green leaves, as if to recall the memory of the by-gone glories of summer, and to whisper hopefully in our ears that the flowers are not dead, but sleeping,—that the genial breath of spring will revive them, ere long, in all their original sweetness, beauty, and profusion.