This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V18", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Before proceeding with our notes we may say that it does not seem to be well understood that the plan of awards at this great exhibition is essentially different from any that has gone before, and in our opinion is far superior. In the old style there is a premium of a few dollars, or a medal of equal value, awarded to a mere handful of successful competitors. No one knows why he got that premium. It is all a matter between him and the judges. After he has the premium it is of no use to him unless he advertises it; unless perchance the recipient of the premium be one of those rare philosophers to whom the possession of the secret within his own breast that he has something superior is a reward in full for all his merit. Those who get no premium are absolutely unknown to the world, and yet very often the success of an exhibition is as much or if not more dependent on the nine who get nothing as the one who gets all. There is no one who has had experience as an exhibitor and has given any serious thought to the question but who would cheerfully give up his "premium" if the society would instead do the advertising for him. The Centennial Commissioners are the first to make the departure.
The plan they have adopted will in future be known distinctively as the "American plan." Everyone's exhibit will be noticed in the final report and its actual merits - not comparative merits - detailed. These final reports, going all over the world, and into the hands of every intelligent man, form the best possible advertisement, and worth to the business man a thousandfold more than any premium would be. Yet, and in the pomologieal department especially, we have heard people say they do not care to exhibit because there is no inducement. The inducements are even greater to them than to any other class of exhibitors. They not only have their names with the meritorious nature of their products with whatever medals may be awarded, not to them as competitors, but as marks of distinction, recorded in the final reports, but have the advantage of the publication of the preliminary reports of the committees upon which the final ones will be founded. Surely this is far better than any ordinary system of competition? Under the old system no report could be made at all until the close of the exhibition. Judges could not to-day award a premium for the best strawberry or other fruits, when to-morrow a superior one might be before them.
We can only say that they who dc not exhibit for "want of inducements " are the most strangely obtuse people we have ever met with. Not only do we approve of this American system, but we look upon it as the only system that can rejuvenate many of our tottering societies. In these days the best business men care much more for the advertising than the premiums. There are many cases where the premiums will be advantageous. There always will be some to whom cash is worth more than an advertisement, and especially will this be so with gentlemen's gardeners, so many of whom are badly underpaid for their services; but what we have said is in view of general principle rather than of special exception.
The main exhibitions of fruits promise to be a great success, though little may be done with continuous shows. At the time we write Horticultural Societies from Iowa, Michigan, Kansas, Indiana, Massachusetts, Ohio and Canada have asked for space for ten thousand plates for the 12th of September exhibit. Surely some of the other States will want to come in! It will no doubt be the most wonderful sight ever seen in this world, with the fruits at the Agricultural, and the Horticultural department with its plants and flowers. The annual exhibition of the Penn. Society is to go on as usual in their hall in Philadelphia. Philadelphia ought .to be the great central point for horticulturists in September, 1876. Independent of this, we believe the Horticultural Department of the Centennial will hold a special exhibition, but no details have been resolved on up to this time.
The grounds around the Horticultural Hall on the Centennial Grounds are becoming daily more beautiful. We notice in a leading paper some criticisms on the way the whole is laid out. It is easy to criticize when the reasons are not known. In a tremendous effort like this no one man is able to have his own way, even in his own department, and yet before the public he seems responsible for all. In regard to the horticultural grounds it must not be forgotten that the allotments belong to the exhibitors, and that their views had to be in a great measure consulted in the laying out. Our only astonishment is that with so many varied interests to serve and so many difficulties in executing the Horticultural Department should have turned out so well. The flowers will be better as the season advances. To-day we will glance at the trees and shrubs. Few of these are large specimens. They would have been failures if they had been. Some few of the large ones have died, but very few on the whole. European nurserymen are not in strong force. The leading ones are from Holland. R. Van Ness, of Bos-koop, has Hollies, Rhododendrons, Roses, Magnolias, and similar plants popular in European gardening; the trained fruit trees attracting much attention.
W. C. Boer,- of the same town, has a similar collection, with some very good Retinispora leptoclada among them. The grafted currants and gooseberries of Chas. Pohl, of Austria, attract universal attention. Grafted on the Missouri currant they seem free from the mildew which is the bane of the foreign gooseberries here. Messrs. Vietch, of England, have some very nice plants, as well as choice kinds of plants. These have been given to the City of Philadelphia. Some are too tender for our climate without some protection, but are so beautiful that protection should be cheerfully given them. Of these there is Veronica Traversii, with myrtle-hke leaves and an abundance of white flowers like spikes of Privet, and a Raphiolepis ovata about 2 feet over. The leaves are like those of a Pittosporum, and the flowers like the common Indian cherry. It is tolerably hardy. One of the best specimens of Prumnopitys ele-gans is here. It may popularly be likened to a conical-growing yew tree. It is a native of Valdivia. The Umbrella Japan Pine, Sciadopitys verticellata, is represented here by a specimen about 2 feet high. This is a remarkably beautiful and very hardy evergreen, but slow in growth while young.
Of the rare pines there is Pinus koraiensis, from the Corea. It is a five-leaved pine, as dark as an Austrian, but with fine delicate leaves. There are several interesting spruces, for instance Abies Hookeriana, one of our Pacific hemlocks, with dark, blackish leaves not half the size of our ordinary hemlock, and A. Hanburyana, from Japan, also like our Hemlock, but with very broad leaves. Then there is the Japan white spruce, Abies Aleocqui-ana, and the Japan " Norway" spruce, Abies polita, and a capital specimen of Retinispora filicoides. This is one of the most interesting of all hardy evergreens, having foliage like some Cheilanthes, or other fine-leaved fern.
Most of the remainder of the collection are various forms of Hollies and Rhodendrons, of rare species, and some trimmed into fanciful forms.
Of American nurserymen Mr. R. Buist has a choice collection, mostly evergreens. Among these a Retinispora pisifera aurea about 5 feet high is very attractive. This proves so hardy that it is becoming very popular. There is here an Euonymus aurea marginata, which lessens one's regrets that golden Hollies do not thrive in our climate. And then there is the beautiful variegated white dwarf, E. radicans variegata, of which much more might be made in our garden work than is made. Mr. Buist's collection is well massed and very effective.
Messrs. Hoopes Bros. & Thomas, West Chester, Pa., have a collection of 40 kinds of ivies, with flat trellises of wood and wire. It is a good chance to note the merits of the various kinds, and if the mass of judges did not decide that the old sorts are better than the improvements we should be surprised - a little delicate form called Conglomerata we might except. It is very neat, and as few would regard it as an ivy at all at first glance is, perhaps, why it seems to be an exception in beauty.
The same firm have a collection of Coniferous evergreens which does them much credit, each tree neatly labeled. A Sciodopitys here is nearly as good as Vietch's. The most beautiful pine in the collection is, perhaps, Pinus insignis, from Lower California, but unfortunately it is not hardy in these Middle States. The collection affords an excellent chance to study differences. Here is Pinus Ayacahuite approaching P. ex-celsa; Abies nobilis, and A. magnifica, appearing much the same; and Abies Albertiana, which will puzzle any one to tell from a common hemlock. Then the student will find kinds like Pinus Elliottii, and others that he could perhaps see nowhere else, and well worthy of examination.
R. B. Parsons & Son have also an excellent collection, mostly Rhododendrons and other evergreens. The Rhodendrons, as well as those of S. B. Parsons & Son, are admirable specimens, and make one regret that some one had not thought to make an effort to get a tent for them as well as for Mr. Waterer's. Perhaps they will know better "next time." Among the good things is an admirable specimen of the curious gray Retinispora squarrosa. It is about 6 feet high and proportionate in width. Also an admirable specimen of that best of all first the Picea Nordmanniana.
S. B. Parsons & Son have a special bed for the Japanese plants of Mr. Hogg's direct introduction. There are many varieties of the Japan maple - Acer polymorphum - among them, the best perhaps being the A. p. atropurpureum. There is among them a very singular maple with leaves like a Hornbeam and appropriately named A. carpinifolia. It seems somewhat allied to the well-known Tartarian maple, and will no doubt serve the same purposes in landscape gardening. Then there is the variegated Planera Japonica, and Daphne gwenkwa, a light blue flower, which will probably become a very popular hardy, early-flowering shrub. In their general collection of rare plants is the blood-leaved Norway maple - Acer Schweidleriana - and a beautiful purple-leaved Daphne mezereon.
Mess. Asher Hance & Sons, of Red Bank, N. J., have a small collection with some very good things in it. Especially one of the finest plants of the beautiful Japan Sumach, Rhus Osbecki, we have ever seen. It is a new idea and a good one to graft the dwarf Catalpa Kaempferi on our stronger native one. There are also here among other things that will well lepay tree lovers a good blood-leaved birch, weeping yellow elm and a Taxodium pendulum.
Miller & Hays make an exhibit intended to illustrate arrangement and taste in landscape gardening. The whole tract is of a rather oblong shape, and at the two ends are clumps made up chiefly of rare and choice evergreens. In about the centre of the plot is a light mound containing in the centre an Aralia spinosa, a capital thing for effect in American gardening. Around this is a circle of cannas, then one of pampas grasses, then var. bamboo. Around these taller things then follows a circle of Irisine Herbstii, a circle of Centaurea gymnocarpa. Then there is a slope of a few feet of grass, and finally a frame of Coleus on the natural level around the whole. Between this central and the end clumps are beds, some with palms, some with succulents, and others with colored-leaved plants. The whole makes a very elegant design, and is much appreciated by lovers of good gardening.
Besides this Mahlon Moon, of Bristol, has a collection of hardy trees and shrubs, and there are one or two other collections on the grounds that are well worthy of the visitor's examination.
The flowers we hope will be in condition for a notice next month. In the meantime let us say to our readers and the correspondents of agricultural and other intelligent papers that this outdoor department may be as worthy of attention as anything in buildings. They rarely receive any attention from newspaper men, as the plants seem to- be a part of the grounds, and not the work of exhibitors. Immense praise is given to some exhibitor in a,building for enterprise which really cost him but little, while here in the open ground are thousands of dollars expended, and no little amount of loss and anxiety to accomplish, that few people stop to think about. It is natural in the daily papers to pass these things over. The city folks have little ideas of gardening, but we look for more encouragement from " our own" people.
Philadelphia, June 29th, 1876.
General A. T. Goshorn, Director General U. S. Centennial Commission.
Sir: - The undersigned jury on special pomo-logical products respectfully report that during the week ending with this date, the season for strawberries being past and that of raspberries hardly commenced, the exhibits have been light.
Mr. A. L. Felton, of Philadelphia, exhibited on the 27th a plate of a raspberry named "Felton's Early Prolific."
Mr. Chas. Finger, dealer, exhibited watermelons from Georgia of excellent quality and in good condition after their long journey. And to day Mr. Felton had on the tables plates of "Northern Wonder" raspberry, and of the "Hornet." The last named kind is the largest variety yet known, and these of Mr. Felton were of good average size, some of the berries measuring seven-eighths of an inch in diameter. Mr. Felton has also two kinds " Seedling Cherries," the best one in quality equalling and very much resembling the well-known "Black Heart." Mr Van Zant, of Chesnut street, Philadelphia, exhib ited a few " Hale's Early Peaches " and four apricots received in excellent condition from California.