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.
This has just been published by, we suppose, Wiley & Co., and, like the others, is from the pen of Charles Downing. It brings pomologica.1 knowledge down to date.
Orchid Culture. By E. S. Rand, Jr., New York; published by Hurd & Houghton. From Claxton, Remsen & Haffelfinger, Philadelphia.
Mr. Rand's works are put out in the most beautiful style known in horticultural literature, and this is equal to any that have gone before. The typographical execution is nearly perfect, and this is a good feature in a work with so many "hard names" as orchidese possess.
As regards the matter of the book, we suppose Mr. Rand does not want to claim much on the score of originality. 272 pages out of 472 are made up of descriptions of the best known species, taken from various sources. Why he has given no description of the genera as well we cannot explain, unless it be that the botanical works in which they are described are not so convenient of access to copy from. There are lists of orchidese for cool-house culture, similar to those which have appeared in the Gardener's Monthly, Gardener's Chronicle, Garden, and other publications.
Indeed, it is Mr. Rand's weak point that he hardly does justice in his works to his cotempo-raries. He, for instance, professes to give a " History of Orchid Culture in the United States," and what he knows of this subject, as it relates to Philadelphia, he tells in the following words:
"In Philadelphia, Robert Buist, one of our oldest florists, has a small orchid house. Mention should also be made of a small assortment grown by Caleb Cope, in Philadelphia, about 1S50, which was dispersed after his death!"
It will be strange news to the flourishing young family of our good friend, Caleb Cope, to hear of his death in this sudden manner. We hope and believe, however, that this esteemed and honored gentleman will yet live many years, and that when in the fullness of time he shall be called away from us, his great services to horticulture and to orchid-growing horticulture will be recorded by a more intelligent pen. In the great collection at Glen Ridge - his own collection-which in his "history" Mr. Rand so much glorifies, there are but 269 species, - a list we are quite sure the "small collection" of Caleb Cope equalled, if it did not excel. There was nothing of consequence known at that day, that was considered worthy of culture, that was not purchased; and the collection was continually being weeded out, and the places filled by the kinds on trial. Besides the orchid house, the large Victoria lily house, and other houses, were made to do duty to contain the plants of this superb collection.
Then there were the magnificent collections of James Dundas, Mrs. Rush, and Matthew W. Baldwin, about which Mr. Rand seems to know nothing at all, besides smaller collections by other persons, - and at the present time surely the collections of Mr. Pratt McKean, and of Mrs. Baldwin, under the management of those excellent gardeners, Messrs. Newett and Joyce, are worthy of some note in a "history."
We confine our criticism to the Philadelphia part of this so-called history. Baltimore may ask why Captain Snow has been overlooked, and other cities may have each its own grievances. We regret to have to make these remarks. In many respects we regard Mr. Rand as one of the best friends of American horticulture, and he is capable of much better work than this.' But American cultivators have great difficulties in making themselves known. The Old World like a wealthy firm in business, has a perfect machinery for advertising its doings. It is extremely difficult to run against established channels. Even our own people, who ought to know better, are prone to think there is no horticulture at all in America, and look to Europe for the supply of every little trifle they want, and for every scrap of information they need. Those of us who are laboring for American advancement, are anxious, not that we shall have a reputation before Europe for what we do not deserve, but that we should get credit for what we have; and it is therefore peculiarly mortifying to these workers to have books like these go forth to the world as the best that America can do.
Amidst all this to regret, there is one comfort: nothing is really so simple as orchid culture - nothing in floriculture more fascinating. Mr. Rand's book is a beautiful one, and with all its shortcomings, is calculated to increase the taste for these curious plants. It is far from doing justice to the subject, but it will aid in a good cause.
Manual on the Culture of Small Fruits. By E. P. Roe.
Small fruit culture is much further advanced in America than in Europe, but we think comparatively in its infancy here. All engaged in it continue to find something new, and every writer who honestly gives his own practical experience, is helping small fruit culture to a healthy and vigorous growth. Since we wrote our last paragraph in reference to Mr. Roe's little book, we have the volume itself. It is just of the character we have referred to, and will have its good use. We fancy some cultivators would do things differently, and that is well enough. Mr. Roe simply tells what he has done and what he would do, and on the whole what he says commends itself to our judgment. He is not extravagant in praise of varieties. Of the Highland Hardy raspberry, 'for instance, he tells us that it is " infinitely better than none," and after all this may be, at the option of the reader, great praise; for the best any one ever ate may claim just such a character.
Mr. Roe is a successful raiser of seedling fruits. His gooseberries received high praise from Prof. Thurber, who is usually careful and discriminating in his judgment, and if Mr. Roe's practice in small fruits prove as good as his varieties, the little tract will be well worth the 50 cents asked for it.