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.
The country seat of Matthew Baird, Esq., situated at Darby, Delaware County, Pa., under the skilful management of Mr. James McAdams, the gardener, is one of the neatest kept places in the vicinity of Philadelphia.
The flower garden is tastefully laid out in different shaped beds, which were planted with a variety of tropical and bedding plants calculated to produce the best effect, while in the background were some fine specimens of choice evergreens.
Adjoining the mansion house was a small conservatory, well arranged with a choice collection of begonias, ferns and ornamental plants, the ends of the conservatory being glazed with looking-glass, giving the interior the appearance of being three or four times as large as it really is. In the middle of the house was a very fine aquarium, filled with a variety of plants and fish, while in two smaller ones I noticed some of the largest specimens of Cyperus alternifolius that I ever saw. Adjoining the conservatory is a small vinery, from which the fruit had just been cut. Mr. McAdams remarked that the vines had borne well, and, judging from their appearance, I saw no reason to doubt the statement. Descending a flight of steps, and crossing the carriage road, I entered another range, consisting of stove and orchid house, palm house, and two large pits for forcing tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, and other vegetables. At the time of my visit (in September), one of the pits had just been started with cucumbers, and the gardener complained bitterly of the depredations committed by the ants, and would like to know how to effectually get rid of them.
For want of a better remedy, he lays down raw meat bones, attached to short wires, which as they become covered with the pests are dipped in scalding water. By this means thousands are destroyed, but their number does not seem to be diminished.
In the palm house I noticed some fine specimens of Dracaenas, Crotons and Allamandas; and one of the finest grown plants of Dracaena um-braculifera it has been my good fortune to see. It must be fully six feet in height. There were also some fine specimens, well marked, of Hydrangea speciosa, Croton aucuboefolium, and Duranta Baumgartnerii. The old Aspidistra lu-rida variegata seemed better marked than in common. Among the palms I noticed some magnificent specimens of Areca rubrum, Lata-nia borbonica, Seaforthia elegans, Cocos plumosa, and Caryota excelsa, many of them so high that, although the tubs were sunk in the floor, the tops barely escaped the glass. Mr. Baird will have to raise the roof of the house or donate his large palms to the Centennial conservatory, for certainly their present quarters will not accommodate them another year.
The benches around the house were bright with specimen Coleus, which gave a very cheerful appearance. In the stove, adjoining the palm house, there was a fine collection of Orchids, principally on blocks, all looking very promising, as was also a tine collection of Sela-ginella, grown in pans of no mean dimensions. Leaving this range, I next entered the greenhouses. Here I noticed a very neat specimen of Cycas revoluta, and quite a number of magnificent Ficus elastica and Oleander plants; also a very healthy collection of Camellias, so thickly Bet for flower that thinning out the small buds was necessary. The Azaleas, of which there were some fine specimens, all looked very promising. One house was devoted to bedding plants, and another to winter flowering, plants, such as Stevia, Heliotrope, Cinerarias, Bouvardia, and various kinds of winter flowering geraniums and roses, from which to supply bouquets, etc.
Among the Zonale geraniums I noticed one called "Happy Thought," which Mr. Baird has recently imported from England. This variety is quite distinct from anv I have ever seen. The variegation being in the middle of the leaf, and a broad belt of deep green around the edge. This variety, I think, will make quite a stir when it gets into commerce, and will, no doubt, be the parent of a new class of variegated geraniums.
Mr. McAdams informed me that they were about to 'introduce Cowan's new compensating system of heating, Mr. Baird having had an agent in Europe all summer for the purpose of examining the apparatus before bringing it out to this countrv.
Knowing that you are always on the lookout for novelties to lay before the readers of your valuable journal, I determined to pay another visit after the first hard frost - when they hoped to have the apparatus in full working order - and open to the inspection of those who wished to examine it. I accordingly paid a visit about the beginning of December, and found the apparatus to consist of a limekiln and an improved boiler.
The cut taken from Cowan's circular will give the reader a better idea than pages of description.
This establishment formerly took three- furnaces, and a like number of boilers, to keep up the heat in the different ranges. Without removing the old boilers, these have now all been connected by passing four-inch hot-water pipe, laid in eight-inch terra cotta pipe, from one range to another, under ground, and the whole apparatus seemed to work admirably.
It is claimed for this system that it is compensating, because the lime drawn from this apparatus can be used for different purposes, also that it requires no night attendance, and is adaptable anywhere that lime-stone and coal are procurable. It is in general use in most of the large establishments of the United Kingdom, both public and private, and in one place, near Liverpool, England, four miles of four-inch pipe are heated by one kiln, which formerly took the united aid of sixteen boilers.
To Mr. Baird belongs the honor of introducing this system into this country, and I think it does not require a prophet, or the son of a prophet, to predict that this system will eventually revolutionize hot-water heating in all large establishments.
[There are figures for reference in the cut, but we have not the copy to correspond. We pre sume, however, the cut is explanatory, in so far as the main principle is concerned. - Ed. G. M.]