The spring work at the Botanical Garden is now well under way and in a few weeks nearly all the plants will begin to bloom.
In the section of the garden devoted to the culture of strictly American plants, large beds of phlox and violets are now in bloom, also much of our native columbine and June berry. There are also many pansys, forget-me-nots and tulips scattered about the garden.
In the greenhouse there are many rare and curious plants. One of the most interesting of these is a lace leaf plant from Madagascar, so called because its leaves are mere skeletons and look very much like a fine green lace. Among other plants in bloom is a butterfly orchid and a curious plant called the Holy Ghost plant, whose bloom resembles a tiny dove.
Among the latest acquisitions are some large tree ferns, which stand from six to fifteen feet high. A large Cycas palm is now at that stage when both old and new leaves and the fruit are shown. A tall bamboo tree overtops all the rest of the plants. One fern which was brought from Australia some years ago now measures over four feet in diameter at the base. Among the smaller ferns are very beautiful specimens of the golden and the silver ferns and many varieties of the maiden hair fern.
By far the most interesting plant in the greenhouse to a casual observer is a century plant, which is about to bloom. The plant is budded and the bud has grown over four feet within the last week and it promises to be in full bloom by the first of June.
Two other very interesting plants are the sensitive plant and the telegraph plant. The former has very fine leaves which if touched by the hand will immediately fold themselves up and draw away from the disturber. The latter has very fine leaves which in very warm weather keep up a continual motion which seems like the motion of a telegraph sounder.
In the economic plant department are many fine specimens of our economic plants such as coffee, tea, cinnamon, arrow-root, and anctiona or quinine plant, together with small specimens of the log-wood plant and the indigofero or the indigo dye plant.
Later on in the season nearly all of these plants will be removed from the greenhouses and a semi-tropical garden will be made in one corner of the garden.