EVERYTHING that fosters admiration for the objects we paint should be exploited. Our natural delight in the exquisite forms of buds, flowers, twigs, and leaves should not be checked by looking upon them as details with which we have no concern ; rather we should look upon them as the delightful ornaments that deck our idol with a new fascination for each passing season (Illus. 92). Every year we find new cause for happiness in the growing buds, unfolding leaves, and the shaping of blossom. We add to our pleasure in these things by tracing their development. We cannot but wonder at the manifestation of the perfect mechanism that enables a small bud to contain during the winter a complete set of leaves, stem and flowers, and to unpack them in regular order at the coming of Spring.' Then we watch the unfolding of layers of crumpled up leaves as they emerge from the bud, each still nursed by a protecting stipule ; and see them take an unwonted position to protect themselves from cold or when they sleep (Illus. 93). We note their change in colour and texture, month by month, until the fall, when the delicate greys and daintiness of form of the bare twigs seems even more satisfactory than the full richness of summer.
The understanding of how a tree grows from a seed will not help us to paint trees any better ; but we may gain by it an added interest to counteract some dry details of construction that are of importance to us in our art. For instance, the Sycamore has its seed encased in two round balls linked together at the base by a pair of wings. This winged fruit, when ripe, comes spinning through the air, and lands some distance from the tree. The radicle (little root) appears, and soon pushes its way into the ground, and the seed case is lifted into the air by the growing stem. In it are the pair of seed-leaves, lying face to face and rolled up in a ball. Soon they push the husk off and unroll themselves, until presently they are spread apart like bands of narrow green pointed riband in the shape of a V. Next, the first pair of real leaves appear between them ; but these only show the rudiments of the lobes so characteristic of the
* 1 "We apply the word ' bud' to an assemblage of undeveloped leaves, placed on a short axis about to develop itself into a branch." This concise and pleasing definition is taken from Wilson's translation of botany by Jussieu.
perfect leaves. The next pair of leaves resemble the mature ones more closely, and it should be noted that the pairs of leaves are set at right angles to one another. It is a remarkable thing that in this little tree, a few inches only in height and a week or two old, the chief character of the whole tree should have already asserted itself (as shown
ILLUS. 92. OPENING FLOWER BUDS OF GUELDER-ROSE
Observe the exquisite precision of each part set at right angles with its neighbour, and the decorative shapes.
in branches anti leaves being arranged in pairs, each pair at right angles to the next).
In other trees besides Sycamores the leaf buds afford a wonderful example of the ingenuity displayed by nature in all her arrangements. There is pleasure in noting the many different ways in which leaves are packed in the bud, so as to conform to its rounded shape and yet to take up the least possible space. Some are rolled up like a spill, others folded like a fan, others folded in half ; every possible device seems to have been made use of, not only in the folding up of individual leaves, but in the precise order in which the layers of them are packed together (see Chap. XVII., Figs. 175-182). The methods of protection of these young leaves during the winter are equally diverse ; some are packed in wool, others varnished with a gum, or are protected by
ILLUS. 93; WAYFARING TREE
The unpacking of leaves at the coming of Spring
stipules that fall off as soon as their mission has been brought to conclusion (Illus. 94, 95) ; but the care exercised over some buds begins in the summer, when they lie snugly hid at the base of the leaf-stalks
Many beautiful effects and forms are provided by the means of dispersion that is given to seeds. The winged forms of the Hornbeam, Maple, Ash, Sycamore, and Lime are in themselves beautiful, and are interesting as showing means of conveyance by the wind.
The down and tufts of hairs to which fruits of some Willows are attached give the trees an uncommon and interesting appearance at the
ILLUS. 94 AND 95. THE PROTECTION OF HORSE CHESTNUT BUDS BY VARNISHED SCALES AND LINING OF WOOL
ILLUS. 96. YOUNG LEAVES AND FRUIT OF THE WYCH ELM
Notice how the buds turn downwards, and the folding of the leaves
ILLUS. 97. THE DOWN THAT COVERS ONE OF THE LESSER WILLOWS WHEN THE SEEDS ARE LIBERATED.
time they ripen (Illus. 97). The flowers or fruits on all trees are conspicuous at some time of the year ; and our pleasure in them need not be confined to the most outstanding, such as the delicate Apple or Larch blossom, or the gay Cherry, Hawthorn, or Horse Chestnut. There are others less shapely in themselves, yet capable of changing the whole appearance of the tree. This the catkins of many trees do, particularly those on the Hornbeam, Spanish Chestnut, and Alder ; the Hazel or Birch without their " lambs' tails " would have lost something of their power to charm. We see dark Hollies changed to white by the profusion of the blossom, the Scots Pines dusted with yellow pollen, Rowan trees and Hawthorns painted scarlet and crimson with their fruit, Ash trees tufted with bloom--as Gilpin puts it, " in such profusion as to thicken and enrich the spray exceedingly, even to the fulness almost of foliage "  --we could continue the list till hardly a tree was excepted.
What a mass of material in the shapes of tree-flowers and leaves lies to hand for the decorator ! In the blossom of the Holly alone are found four distinct shapes of geometrical precision (Chap. XIX., Figs. 269, 270). One is apt to look at a leaf, and notice that it is long and narrow, or short and rounded ; but one forgets to ask oneself why it is given that shape, and yet a little inquiry shows that the shape of the leaf coincides with its method of attachment to the twig. We owe much to the men who have made the common facts of life interesting to us, and to none more in this connection than Lord Avebury,. who in such books as Buds and Stipules; Leaves, Flower, and Fruits brings home to us the perfect construction of nature, even in her smallest formations. Buds are not mere lifeless eases containing young leaves. Not only do they lengthen and become fuller, as we should expect, with the young growth within thcm, but they move--some curve towards the twigs, others away from it, others turn upwards and downwards. Some are constructed of dry scales that wither and fall off as the leaves emerge, others are made up of stipules that lengthen with the leaves ; those of the Sycamore and Norway Maple attain a considerable size ; the latter take a rich scarlet colour when exposed. Cones are interesting from the exactness of their construction, and if we follow the spirals of imbricated scales we find that the cones of all the Pines are not alike in those spiral arrangements. Nature in every detail displays variations of a great plan that is in itself different from other plans. In the words of Ruskin, " they seem perpetually to tempt our watchfulness and take delight in outstripping our wonder."
* 1 Gilpin's Forest Scenery, 1808.
* 2 Better known from his writings as Sir John Lubbock.