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.
Having half a day at my disposal while at Baltimore the past week, I availed myself of the opportunity of visiting the orchid-houses of Capt. Chas. H. Snow, at Edgewood. They are not large, and are heated by means of small copper boilers; one of sufficient capacity for each house, - the least expensive mode of heating with hot water I had ever seen. One of the houses is partially below the surface of the ground, the other upon a side-hill, adding thereby to their warmth in "Winter, and coolness in Summer, and at all times increasing the humidity of the atmosphere, which, with proper ventilation is such a necessary requisite to successful orchid culture. I had not before seen other than the most expensive houses constructed for growing amateur collections of these beautiful plants, and I was therefore surprised at the great success Capt. Snow has attained in these cheaper structures. They were full to overflowing with a grand display of these floral gems. Cattleyas, Dendrobiums, Lselias, Lycastes, Odontoglossums, etc., a sight one can seldom witness in this country. Capt. S. has made the cultivation of Orchids a study, not merely from books, but from the actual care of the plants.
He can give you the name of each particular variety, its former habitat and mode of growth, and, what is wonderful to one inexperienced, can tell them all by their foliage, often almost identical. He knows the treatment each requires, and when it should rest, and when be started into growth again, and when it will bloom. He has but few East Indian Orchids in his collection, having devoted his attention chiefly to those from this continent especially South America, but had a fine display of Dendrobiums Pierardii, and others in bloom. I also saw a small plant of Odontoglossum crispum, newly imported, opening for the first time, exceedingly delicate and beautiful. Cat-tleya Aclandise, so rich and so difficult to grow, and so shy of bloom, not to mention a row of Lycaste Skinneri which charmed the beholder more than all the others, and had been scarcely a year in his possession.
From his articles in the Gardener's Monthly, I was aware he must have a great love for practical floriculture, but when I saw what results can be attained by a little time, care, and patience, and at very moderate expense, I was convinced that Orchid cultivation in the United States can be made as successful as in England, and at far less cost; and I believe the time is not far distant when a fine Orchid in bloom will not be the rare sight it now is, or a small collection of these curious plants the exclusive property of the wealthy few.