This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V20", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
This is the residence of John Hoey, Esq.; nearly 200 acres is embraced in the domain, which is located about half a mile from the beach, on a gently rising grade, having a frontage of some 4000 feet. The mansion is located some 1200 feet from the entrance, and from that distance looks as if framed in the foliage of a clump of trees, which, however, is some distance behind it. On both sides of the main drive is a broad expanse of lawn, unbroken by tree or flower-bed, and of a verdure unexcelled; on each side of the same drive is a mammoth ribbon line bed, running a length of 800 feet - the effect of these beds, when I saw them in the light of an August afternoon, in contrast with the velvetlike lawn, is something never to be forgotten, and it is doubtful if in all the experienced art of Europe they have ever been surpassed. The materials to form the combination of color was nothing new, but it was the harmonious blending and the healthy vigor and keeping of the plants that rendered the effect of the whole so fine.
The first line was composed of Alternan-thera latifolia, then followed " Mountain of Snow" Geranium, Achyranthus Lindeni, Coleus "Golden Model, " Achyranthus Gilsonii, Coleus Verschafelti, Stevia serrata variegata (a plant new for this purpose), Genl. Grant Geranium, Centaurea gymnocarpa, Coleus Verschafelti, Coleus " Negro, " Pyrethrum "Golden Feather, " and Alternanthera magnifica. These formed beds about twelve feet in width rounded from each side so that the red line of Geraniums formed the centre. On the plateau immediately in front of the residence were some very fine beds massed in colored foliage, and a large triangular bed of succulents, embracing a most interesting collection of Agaves, containing nearly every known species in cultivation here. At this point also was a crescent-shaped bed, the ground work of Alternanthera, bordered with Golden Feather, in which was written in very fine lettering, - the letters formed of Echeveria secunda glauca, - the words " The Charm of Life is Love, " and " Nature here shows Art." The number of plants necessary to make this bed was 50, 000. The whole number of plants used for bedding purposes, Mr. James Mackay, the able gardener in charge, estimates at not less than a million.
To grow this immense numher of plants at least 40, 000 square feet of glass or nearly an acre of greenhouses are used; these are put up in the most substantial manner, and in many of them some exquisitely grown specimens of plants are now to be seen, in Crotons, Dracaenas, Marantas and Ferns especially.
A novel feature, as well as a very ornamental and useful one, of Mr. Hoey's greenhouses is the French lattice shading formed by thin strips of wood one inch in width with half-inch space between; these are connected by rings and can be rolled up as readily as an ordinary window shade. These shades must soon come into general use, as in a climate like ours they are invaluable, being not only a shading against our tierce Summer suns, but bid defiance to hail storms and materially protect in Winter against cold; they are yet expensive, however, costing nearly twelve cents per square foot, equal to the cost of the whole wood work of a greenhouse. Another feature observed at this most interesting place was a plan that Mr. Hoey inaugurated to heat the water used in watering. The pipes supplying the water for each house are run along on the heating pipes, so that for the purpose of syringing in Winter, tepid water can always be obtained. Gas jets, with reflectors, are arranged in the principal conservatories, so that in the evening when desired the plants can be lighted up.
No wonder that the name of John Hoey is a household word at Long Branch. Its thousands of pedestrian visitors are welcome at all times to enjoy the glories of this modern Eden, so lavishly adorned by its munificent owner. At 4, P.M., the gates are thrown open for vehicles, and it is no unusual thing to see three hundred carriages at one time driving through the grounds. The classes that visit Long Branch are, many of them, people of means and refinement, and this liberal example of Mr. Hoey's is already doing more to educate our people in matters of this kind than can well be estimated, so that all interested in the progress of horticulture, whether professional or otherwise, owe him a debt of gratitude that ere long they will not be slow to acknowledge.