This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V21", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Out-door gardening will not take on the magnificence that once surrounded it, for many-years to come. The great ambition of the rich man of fifty years ago, was to have a town house for winter, and to spend the summer in a nice country place. It was extremely fashionable to have a country seat. "Without the country seat, one was "nobody to speak of" in the highest social circles. But with the introduction of the railroad system, the mountain and sea shore were brought within a reasonable distance, and instead of the country seat, the watering place, the tour to Colorado or to Europe is the chief ambition of the average man. There are still a few country places left, but they are not near as numerous in proportion to population as they were even so recently as A. J. Downing's time. The country places that most abound now are simply suburban residences of an acre or two, convenient to railroad, so that the head of the family can attend to daily business in the city, and in which the family can reside the year round.
Of course there are exceptions, but this seems likely to be the general rule for American life.
But the love of gardening and of flowers will increase, even in the more confined limits which gardening finds itself subjected to, and it may be a speculation as to what shape the new gardening will take. For our part we believe that during the next ten years there will be wonderful growth in the taste for greenhouses and conservatories, and for having structures of various kinds to hold or to grow flowers attached to dwelling houses. We want to call the attention of our garden architects to this probable tendency in popular taste. At present when an ordinary architect is desired to arrange for a conservatory with the plan of a dwelling house, he knows no more of what is required than that celebrated fellow, the Man in the Moon. The result is that plants roast, freeze, or are killed by gases; and the most unsightly part of the dwelling is the conservatory. But there are ladies and gentlemen who have more success with these places. Very often these are entirely under their own management, as well as of their own design, and it shows that it only requires a little practical knowledge on the part of designers to enable every one cheaply to enjoy plants as well as other domestic comforts. And then we want more means" in conservatories for making room plants successful.
To many the fumes of illuminating gas make a deadly enemy. Yet this can be in a great measure obviated by plant cabinets. At the present time the plants are set in the windows, and they may get the gas or the frost on a cold night, and nothing much can save them. But cabinets can be made to hold the plants, and in this way they are secure from gas; and the case can be put on wheels, and moved away from the window on very cold nights, after the family has retired.
Irrespective of the interest connected with plant culture, the little greenhouses or conservatories may themselves be made architectually beautiful and yet be well adapted to the growth of plants. Annexed is a cross section of a very pretty design for such an ornamental conservatory, just suited to be in connection with a dwelling house.
Several ladies, the past year, have sent us memorandums of their successes with room plants, and plant attachments to their dwellings, which were very welcome indeed. "We trust they will be continued, as it is in this direction we look in the future for some of our most popular forms of gardening.