This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V22", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Being recently on a visit to Sharon, Pa., I visited the greenhouses of Mr. Boyce, also those of Mr. Curtis, judging these gentlemen from collections of plants at both places, they possess horticultural tastes of a high and refined kind. The places are adjacent to each other, and situated on an elevated portion of the town of Sharon, which is one of the iron manufacturing places on the banks of the Shenango river.
I visited the place of Mr. Boyce first, and found plants and houses in excellent condition, - the plants in the best of health and the houses clean and orderly. They consist of four plant-houses and a large grapery. As the vines were dormant at the time I was there, and covered up, I cannot say in what condition they are in, but judging from the surroundings they are in a condition to give satisfactory results. Of the plants in bloom, I noticed among a general •collection of winter-blooming plants, some fine specimens of Begonia Ingrahamii, a fine, bright crimson, flowering kind, with bright green leaves; the spikes are borne on good long stalks, making them useful to work into baskets and other floral designs.
A good spike of Lselia anceps was produced from a healthy-looking plant. This is a beautiful orchid, and when well taken care of, as it is here under the treatment of Mr. Murchie, gardener for Mr. Boyce, well repays all labor bestowed upon it. Large plants of Adiantum Farleyense an luxuriant growth I observed in this collection, and alongside were fine plants of the beautiful Adiantum gracillimum. What a difference between the size of the pinnules of these species, but both beautiful.
Some of the finest " heads" of the double Poin-eettia I have had the good fortune to see, are grown in a house here. This has never been much of a favorite with me, but under the conditions I saw here, I must say it is simply grand. Fine spikes of Euphorbia Jacquincefolia made the stage decorations graceful with its bright crimson flowers. A good plant of Lasi-andra with its peculiar maroon-colored flowers was also conspicuous.
To mention all the well-flowered plants in this collection would take up too much space. Every plant was a specimen in itself, and so well arranged that the stages looked like well managed groups of different colors, giving considerable credit to Mr. Murchie for his skill and close attention.
Upon entering the houses of Mr. Curtis, I found Mr. O'Brien, the gardener, just putting the "finishing touches" on a well-arranged basket of flowers. It was of large size, the flowers used being white Camellias, Primulas, Carnations, Cypripediums, Poinsettias, etc., and on a white ground with scarlet Bouvardia were the numerals 86, being the age of the lady to whom the basket was to be presented as a New Year's present. The general collection of plants here are much the same as at Mr. Boyce's place. There is, however, a most select collection of orchids and well grown. I observed two well grown plants of Dendrobium densiflorum,an evergreen orchid from India, with very showy flowers. Another evergreen orchid of similar habit there, was a good specimen of D. Farmeri. A well-flowered plant of Cypripedium Roezlii, but which I considered a very inferior variety, the petals being shorter and poorly colored compared with any I have seen. The beautiful Cypripedium niveum was also well represented, besides many more good kinds.
Chinese Primulas were well grown, large flowers and abundance of them.
Some excellent specimens of Azaleas and Camellias, also Palms, Dracaenas, and hosts of other valuable plants. There are five houses here and all heated with flues in which soft coal is used. Considering this and the excellent health of the plants, considerable credit is due to Mr. O'Brien, demonstrating, in fact, that good plants can be grown with good management in houses heated by flues.