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.
I send some photographs by the same mail as this. Photograph No. 1, beginning at the top : 1, Erianthus Ravennae; 2, Canna and Artemesia; 3, Celosia; and 4, white flowers of the Hibiscus Boo-Yong, that I wrote to you about in the December number of the Gardener's Monthly. White flower with narrow leaves, a flower of Cactus triangularis night-bloomer, but was in this faded condition at nine o'clock A. M. Spray of small pink flowers of the Antigonon vine to the right, two stems with narrow lanceolate leaves; on the right, a very beautiful shrubby evergreen Acacia with yellow flowers and blue-ish-green leaves, the color of those of the Carnation pink. The withered flower was Datura violacea, but though fresh from the garden with-ered on the way to have its picture taken. The leaf on the left is the leaf of the Hibiscus with the white flower. Small white flowers you will recognize as Jasminum grandiflorum. Large dark leaf of the Red Ricinus.
Photograph No. 2. 1st. The Tuberose was the second flower from the same bulb, which had bloomed in July and again the first of November. The Tuberose is a fine specimen of the average tuberose as grown here - the common large variety. I have had a thousand in bloom at one time; none inferior, many of them better. They are of no market value here. A boy with a dozen spikes carried them around the streets and home again without being able to sell one for ten cents. Sedge grass in centre, Pampas grass to the right, and a small spray to the left. The large one on the left is Erianthus Ravennae; in the center were some sprays of Atragene, but they are indistinct although they look handsome; these were stuck into a pot in which a small plant with imperfect clusters of Clereodendrum fra-grans is growing, three variegated leaves of Ficus Parcelli, Marechal Neil bud lying upon the Celo-sia Uniola, etc. The fronds of fern and sprays of Biota you will easily recognize.
We had these taken to send to some of our friends, and as we enjoy each month perusing the Gardener's Monthly, we thought it might possibly be proper to send you one of each.
Gardening is yet but partially an art in this genial climate, and will not make much progress until we have a horticultural work suited to our climate. The lessons learned by experience are valuable to others, but the florist or nurseryman who has to earn his daily bread cannot afford time to teach all mankind gratis what he has learned. Yet people pay more each year for foreign plants and seeds not suited to the climate and soil, and for those which would succeed if properly cultivated which are lost, than would pay for a periodical suited to the wants of the climate. Yes, we lost a worthy friend and co-laborer when Dr. Swasey died during the late epidemic. It does not always follow that a writer has the practical experience. Dr. Swasey had experience, which makes the loss the greater.
You say in the January Monthly that the E. Ravennae is light brown with you. Is not that owing to the way it is cured ? I cure mine by the French method: Cut before it has shot entirely out of its sheath. I hang it up head down, to dry. I think not more than two showed any color in fifty plumes. It has been admired here as more rare than the pampas.
I had some Persimmons, Texas variety, to send you last fall, but procrastinated until they spoiled. The Persimmon here grows very large, at least two and a half inches in diameter. They commence ripening the last of August or first of September. They require no frost, but on the contrary, ripen during our hottest weather; the thermometer is usually about 90° in the shade. The fruit dealers usually have them on their stands, and persons accustomed to them are very fond of them. The black or dark purple persimmon, which grows in places in Texas, is a beautiful small-leaved evergreen; the fruit ripens in July, but can scarcely be called edible; the tree will bear clipping, and is very ornamental.
Retinospora plumosa here, during the cold of winter, turns as brown as tan-bark, and on this account is objected to, although a very beautiful tree all the rest of the year. Thujas and Biotas also turn brown for a few weeks in January.
[We are not sure that this letter was intended for publication, but the manner in which a "leggy" pot-plant was fixed up for an occasion, so interested us that we have had an engraving made of that phothgraph; and besides there are other good hints that we thought deserved more than a mere "pigeon hole." We hope to be pardoned for using the letter in this way. - Ed. G.M].