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.
The American Farmer, of Baltimore, has recently given an excellent account of the progress of Horticulture in Maryland, from the pen of our esteemed correspondent Captain Snow. So much of what he refers to is of national as well as local fame, we have been permitted to transfer the paper to our magazine:
"That the popular taste and demand for flowers and flowering plants has kept pace with this progress, at least in and near Baltimore, seems demonstrated by the growth in numbers and extent of the commercial establishments, which supply our own people, as well as ship largely to distant points.
No less significant is the disposition, now so common among private citizens, not only to enlarge their plant-houses, but to give them features of architectural effect, for the better display of the rich treasures which they accumulate from the vegetable world. The erection of such imposing and costly structures as the conservatories recently built by Mr. W. W. Spence and Mr. W:H. Perot; the maintenance of extensive ranges like those at Clifton; the constant additions to the area of glass-houses of Messrs. Rasin and Shoemaker, and others, and the increasing number of less pretentious but no less interesting conservatories and green-houses, both in town and country, all testify that the love of plants and flowers, and of their culture, is extending on every hand.
Our purpose here is, however, to speak of the great and rapid extension in this community of the business of selling plants and flowers; and to illustrate it by some facts which we have gained from various sources.
After the war of 1812-15, the first person in the city of Baltimore to offer for sale flowers and garden plants, was a German, by name Heuisler, who was located on the Philadelphia road, near the then city limits. Nearly cotem-poraneous with him was Mr. Booth, who possessed, probably, the first nursery, occupying the ground now bounded by Baltimore and Pratt streets, and facing on Schroeder, whence were sold trees, plants and flowers. Mr. Booth died in 1817. About this date, or shortly afterwards, James Wilkes, a Scotchman, and John Bastain, a Frenchman, had establishments on Lexington street, each selling from a general collection of plants.
In 1823, Samuel and John Feast, located on the Frederick road, cultivating trees, plants and vegetables, and they were the first to offer plants for sale in the public markets of Baltimore.. From this beginning the business has so grown that in every section of the city and on the roads leading into it from all directions there are commercial growers engaged in the production of plants and flowers. The number now in the trade, within the territory measured by a radius of seven miles from the City Hall, if we are correctly informed, reaches very nearly one hundred and twenty establishments. We have a partial list of the names of the parties now composing the trade, but from the difficulty of making it complete, we are unable to publish, it, as we had in contemplation, though we may do so at some future time. It is not only in the number of florists that Baltimore has been conspicuous, but she has achieved distinction by the intelligence and zeal in the production of new and improved varieties of numerous flowers.
The well-known Prairie Roses, - Queen of the Prairies and Baltimore Belle, - were raised by Samuel and John Feast, and constituted, at that time an entirely new class, perfectly hardy and' vigorous, of fine form and color, and though lacking in fragrance, long without a rival for pillars,. etc. In 184G, the Massachusetts Horticultural Society awarded to Samuel Feast its gold medal for the production of these roses, - an honor-rarely bestowed.
Edward Kurtz, an amateur florist who still1 lives, with his zest for horticultural pursuits unabated, exhibited in , 1836 his seedling Camellia Kurtzii, which was followed by numerous others, some of them of excellent form and substance, equalling many imported varieties. He also originated a number of seedling Azaleas, which probably equal any in cultivation. Some plants of these varieties, in supurb bloom were awarded at the last show of our Horticultural Society, one of its Certificates of Merit, only three of which have been issued.
Zebulon Waters, also an amateur, now no more, but whose love for and knowledge of plants is well remembered, produced many fine Camellias, some of the finest of which went out with numbers only attached. His Globe Carnatiom and Double Scarlet Multiflora are unique.
Samuel Feast also paid much attention to the Camellia, and his Feastii, Fair Ellen, Jack Downing, Mary Edmundson, Eliza Schroeder-and others, are well worthy of cultivation.
Two other Camellias of conspicuous merit were produced in Baltimore - Weaverii, a splendid red, by Joseph Weaver, and Mrs. Hammer, a fine pink, by August Hammer, an amateur.
James Pentland has made most fortunate essays in the direction both of Roses and Camellias; his Bourbon Rose, George Peabody, is equal to any of the dark sorts, whilst his Beauty of Greenmount, Woodland Margaret and Dr. Kane take rank among the best of Noisettes; and his Camellias General Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Anna, rise high on the standard of merit. In both classes Mr. P. has under test other new productions now likely soon to see the light, one of his new Roses having been lately displayed at our shows.
The Tea Rose Cornelia Cook, so great a fashionable favorite at present in New York and Boston, originated many years ago with Anthony 'Cook, a well-known florist of this city, still active in bis trade.
Wm. Fowler, gardener to the late Johns Hopkins, has produced some lovely Abutilons, which are finding their way into the hands of the trade.
John Feast has long been engaged in the origination of new plants. Among many others may be noted the Epiphyllum Feastii, a Cactus of surprising size and beauty; Aloe Feastii; Camellias Mrs. Lurman, a noble variety, Annie Feast, Mrs. Tabb, and many others; Carnation Mrs. Van Cott, etc.
Charles Campbell, formerly gardener to Dr. Thomas Edmundson and now to Mr. Winans, has produced some Fuchsias and Azaleas of exqusite beauty, many of which have gone into general cultivation.
Agustus Hack, an amateur, now deceased, left behind him a collection of Camellias numbering 489 sorts, many of which he originated himself, some of them equal to any in cultivation, as May Flower, Pearl, Lizzie Jones, Eliza.
In the classes of plants more readily hybridized there have been of course many new sorts introduced from Baltimore, some of which have gone into the trade, others disappearing.
(To be continued).