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.
A few days ago the writer received per mail several mysterious looking packages, bearing the post mark of Ranch, Utah, the headquarters of the famous plant collector, Mr. A. L. Siler. Suspecting what they were, the promised gift of the above named gentleman, I opened each parcel with great expectations, and was well rewarded for my pains.
Familiar as I am with the members of the Cactus family, I was nevertheless surprised with the peculiar features of some of their alliances when first we met the other day. " Well, well," exclaimed my astonished wife, " is it possible such odd looking things exist either here, or in any other land?" Truly may it be said of them, "they are fearfully and wonderfully made." As vegetative marvels they are as strangely fashioned as any of Nature's eccentricities can possibly be, and how natural it seems for the good folk to wonder what they are, and enquire if these are really flowering plants, and from whence they came. They are equally astonished when informed they are natives of this hemisphere, and increase and multiply as well as other individuals of the organic world. And now, Mr. Editor, having briefly hinted at the abnormal forms under notice, let me add for the information of those less fortunate than you, or I, who have seen and said so much about them that they are by no means floral frauds. When in bloom, their flowers are as gay and beautiful as anything in the vegetable kingdom, and are as easily managed as any plants in cultivation.
Admiring them as I do, I can well understand Mr. Sargent's enthusiasm while gazing upon the vast and unique collection of succulents in the great gardens of Kew, England. As 1 occupied so much space during 1877, in the July, August and October numbers of the Monthly, with " The Rhymes and Recollections of a Cactus Man," I must forbear to say any more about them, although I feel sorely tempted to go on. So in conclusion, will only state that between the " vegetable monstrosities " before me, and the fact of their having come safely through the post office there are about equal comments made upon the curiosities of nature and the mysteries of the mail bags.