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.
Notwithstanding the terrific heat of July, this first week in August finds the floral department of the Centennial Bureau of Horticulture a blaze of glory, and receiving applause from all quarters. Our remarks of last month, calling attention to the fact that this is mainly the work of exhibitors, have been appreciated, and both the press and the public have been led to notice what the florists and nurserymen are doing, in a way gratifying to both. The Public Ledger of Philadelphia at once had a very full notice of the exhibits in the department, and it is to be hoped that our rural papers, which above all we should expect to do justice to such affairs, will have once in a while a little to say about it, as well as of the striking features in French ribbons, or the novelties in a Japanese parasol. To-day we make a few notes on the floral features, aiming chiefly to give such information about them as will interest those engaged in flower gardening, whether they get the chance to visit the exhibition or not.
In the laying out of the grounds for exhibition purposes there were some plots not taken up, and these the Centennial Commission has had to fill up themselves. All this has been arranged under the direction of Mr. C. H. Miller, the Chief of the Bureau, and makes one of the most beautiful floral features ever seen. Usually the forms of flower beds amount to nothing. Their real outlines can be seen on a piece of paper, but not on the grounds. A circle, or a parallelogram with rounded ends, is nearly as good as anything else when seen sideways, but here the beds can be looked down on from considerable elevations, and the harmonies of color and form be seen and appreciated. The beds are planted on the massing and ribbon styles, and the greatest success is that not one single variety has failed - and this failure often steps in to spoil a gardener's efforts in this climate. The principal plants employed by Mr. Miller in producing his effects we note to be Geranium Lucius and General Grant, Coleus Verschaffeltii, Irisene Herbsti, Glau-cium corniculatum, Artemisia stellaris, Cineraria maritima, Centaurea gymnocarpa, C. Candida, Py-rethrumaureum, Vinca major, Petunias, Variegated Arundo and Cannas. The various varieties of dwarf Achyranthus also enter largely into the work.
Mr. Thomas J. McKenzie, of Philadelphia, has a circular bed with four small semi-circular projections. The style of this bed is remarkably well adapted to effective results. The wings are set with Scarlet Salvias and other fall flowering plants, so that full effects aimed at will not be seen till next month,
Messrs. A. Hance & Son, of Red Bank, aimed to make a star out of Geraniums in a circular bed, using white variegated leaved kinds for the ground color, and different kinds of colors for the limbs of the star, but the heat kept some varieties from doing well, and interfered with complete success.
Peter Henderson, of New York, makes some admirable floral displays; exhibiting one hundred different varieties in one bed, all named. We were about to make a note of those which seemed to stand the sun best, but we noted that in some corner, or in some one part, all the varieties did well, and in other places all did poorly. It is clear, therefore, that it is not wholly the sun which causes some varieties to do well or ill; but in addition, there is something in the irregularity or regularity of manure, or some other little thing which, when known, may make success out of almost any kind. One of Mr. H.'s beds is a large circle with the plants arranged in the following order: - Centre, dark leaved Cannas, then var. Arundo, Caladium esculentum, Coleus Ver-schaffltii, Golden Coleus of some kind, apparently Queen Victoria, Irisene Eerbsti, Cineraria maritima, and finally near the grass, Alternanthera versicolor. This was a very effective combination, and would have been better if Glaucium had been used for the Cineraria, which was too weak for a heavy circle.
C. H. Wilson, of Montgomery Co., Pa., has a circle with the following combination: - Centre, of Cannas; next, of scarlet Geraniums; then of Coleus Queen Victoria; then silver Artemisia, and finally a ring of Alternanthera versicolor. For such a combination very large plants of scarlet Geraniums should be used. Here they are much too small. The other plants outgrow them.
Mr. Robert Scott, of Philadelphia, has a magnificent rectangular bed of General Grant Geranium, and another of Tea Roses. These were blooming charmingly, and show that with a proper selection of kinds for massing, a regular parterre of Tea Roses would be one of the most charming scenes in summer decorative gardening.
Mr. W. F. Boyle, of Philadelphia, has a very pretty circular bed. The centre is Irisene aurea recticulata; then Coleus Bausei; next C Verschaffeltii, Centaurea gymnocarpa, Irisene Eerbsti, Centaurea ragusina, and finally Alternanthera amosna. All these seemed to come up well in their order as intended. He also has an attempt at a star of Coleus, and somewhat successful. The head and tails are of Coleus Verschaffeltii, while the tails or points are shaded off by varieties of a lighter color.
Mr. W. C. Wilson, of Astoria, has an irregular bed, but the plants arranged in belts and ribands regular and irregular. The general effect is very fair. There are many plants here not in general use, but would come in well in places. There is a pretty Gauva, perhaps G. Lind hiemeri, a cham-aepenae, a narrow-leaved silver Gnaphalium, the Santolina. incana and some nice Petunias.
Gibson & Bennett, of Woodbury, N. J., in a very pretty circle, make good use of dark Verbenas inside a circle of Golden Feverfew. We never saw anything set Verbenas off better.
Mr. Zeller's Perpetual Carnations, suffered fearfully from the heat.
Mr. John Dick, of Philadelphia, makes a very large display, and is chiefly interesting for the great amount of information one may glean from it, as to the rarer plants that may be used to advantage in summer gardening, but are not often seen. Here, doing remarkably well after this dry and hot season, we noted Festuca glaum, Euonymus radicans variegata, Abutilon vexillarum variegatum, Alternanthera of many varieties, Muh-lenbeckiaplatyclada., Salvia coccinea, Talinum patens variegatum, Plumbago capensis, and a very dwarf Eupatorium colaestinum. The effects, too, of his beds of Echeverias, Aloes, and succulents generally, in comparison with other flowering plants, are beautiful in the extreme.
Mr. Siebrecht, of New York, has a specimen of rock-work. It has the great disadvantage of being surrounded by highly ornate gardening, under which circumstances rock-work never looks well. The critics as they come on generally want to know what that pile of building stone does to improve the landscape, forgetting, as we have said before, that this piece of land is for special exhibits, and not to show off a grand illustration of perfect landscape gardening. It is indeed astonishing that so very little to offend critical taste in landscape gardening occurs in the management of so many special exhibitors' tastes, and the result speaks highly for the talent which secured so much unity. Mr.Seibrecht's rock-work is a very good piece of mechanism, and when in that part of a garden landscape where rock-work tells well, would have a good effect.
Mr. Geo. Such has a collection of plants illustrative of tropical gardening, a branch too much neglected with us where our hot summers suit these plants so well. Here are rare Palms, Iago, Bananas, Agaves, and other things, all in absolute perfection.
The Pacific Guano Company have a very large exhibit of plants, large numbers very rare and valuable. They have not been planted with any view to make gardenesque effects, but rather to show the results of the article they deal in. But still the many luxuriant blooming plants make the exhibition grounds in that part very attractive.
Mr. A. Felton and Mr. Maginly, of Philadelphia, and Mahlon Moon & Son, of Morrisville, have beds of various articles which attract visitors.
Mr. H. A. Dreer has Gladiolus, Verbenas, Petunias, and other standard plants for which this firm has long been celebrated; and Mr. W. K. Harris, the Geranium raiser, has a bed of his most approved seedlings.
Mr. Thos. Robertson, of Philadelphia, makes a very good exhibition of many varieties of Coleus.
The German and French exhibitors make very fine shows in their several departments. The Gladiolus of Eugene Verdier, of Paris, was undoubtedly the finest thing of the kind ever seen in this country; and the Roses of M. Sou-pert and Notting, of Luxembourg, elicited high praise. Charles Verdier also shared his brother's honors in the Gladiolus line.
Krelage, of Harlem, Holland, contributed many beautiful collections of bulbs, and amongst other things shamed Americans by sending back for exhibition here a very large bed of Asclepias tuberosa. Thousands who saw it no doubt suppose it is from China or Japan, or some other far-away place, and no doubt orders will flow to Holland for the roots. Mr. Krelage deserves all the orders he will get.
Mr. Lachaume, of Havana, carries off all the honors for Agaves, Succulents, etc, but these we have already noted.
The amount of space devoted to the out-door horticultural department is about 40 acres; the amount of space available for exhibitors, exclusive of walks, borders, buildings, and reserve space for ornamental gardening, is a little over eight acres, or 282,673 square feet. The amount of space occupied by American exhibitors is 239,173 square feet; by foreign exhibitors, 43,-500 square feet. Of these England occupies 8,000; Spain, 8,500; France, 15,000; the Netherlands, 6,700; Germany, 4,500, and Austria, 800 square feet. There are 56 exhibitors in the American section (not including those in-doors), and 27 in the foreign section. The number of plants or other objects exhibited in the American section is 59,500, and in the foreign section, 10,233, divided as follows: England, 1,801; Spain, 2,088; France, 4,164; The Netherlands, 1,000; Germany, 1,200, and Austria, 80.