The Garden Guide

Book: London Parks and Gardens, 1907
Chapter: Chapter 1 Introduction

Access to the countryside for children

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It is not possible for all London children to get into the country now that it is further away, so the more of nature, as well as true artistic gardening, they can be shown in the parks the better. It used in olden days to be the custom, among other May Day revels, to go out to the country round London and enjoy the early spring as the Arabs do at the present time, when they have the fete of "Shem-en-Nazim," or "Smelling the Spring." "On May day in the morning, every man, except impediment, would walk into the Sweet Meddowes and green woods, there to rejoyce their spirits with the beauty and Savour of sweet Flowers, and with the harmonic of Birdes, praising God in their kinde." (Stowe's "Survey of London"). It would surprise many people to learn how many birds still sing their praises within the parks of London, although the meadows and other delights have vanished. This serves to encourage the optimist in believing in the future possibilities of London Parks. [Sham el-Nessim (Arabic: ?? ??????, literally "sniffing air" or "breathing air") is an Egyptian holiday which can be traced back as far as 2700 B.C. It is a public holiday occurring annually on Monday, the day after the Coptic Easter Sunday. Wikipedia, 2007]