This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V23", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
How often do we come across gardeners possessing the best of practical knowledge, at the same time diffident about conveying their knowledge to others through the press. Not but what they are willing to tell all they know about growing this or that plant, but lack that confidence in themselves to put on paper for the benefit of others. Some of the very best methods of plant culture are hidden from this cause. I met the other day with one of this kind in the person of Mr. Murchie, Gardener for Mr. Boyd, Sharon, Pa. Some time before in the Monthly, I spoke of him as a successful plantsman, and my last visit to the greenhouses which he hascharge of convinces me that he can accomplish with the greatest success what I have always advocated as possible to be done, - the growing with success orchids and what are termed the higher grade of plants in a general collection of greenhouse plants.
In this collection I saw a plant of the new double Poinsettia which was par excellence. Grown as it is here it is one of the finest recent additions to our stock of greenhouse plants. The orchids appear to bloom with the greatest profusion; three plants of Coelogyne flaccida, were superb, two in baskets and one in a pot. The pot plant had eleven spikes averaging eleven flowers to the spike. I question the name of this orchid being correct. The specimens in baskets are small but flowering just as fine as those in pots, and look remarkably fine, the long racemes of flowers, hanging over the edges of the rustic baskets.
Phajus grandifolius was in perfection, two spikes being produced from a bulb, and as many aa twenty-two flowers on a spike. How often we see this plant in greenhouses, and how seldom we see it in perfection. When well grown it is a grand old plant.
Mr. Murchie has a seedling Phajus in flower for the first time, one spike having five flowers; the white is purer than the parent, and the brown on the lip darker. The spike is produced on the second bulb formed, being only two years from the seed, showing when properly handled how soon they can be brought into flower even from the seed.
Dendrobium nobile; this grand old orchid is here on blocks in baskets and in pots, all of them flowering profusely. Mr. M., however, tells me he finds most orchids succeed best in pots, and intends placing in pots most of those he now has on blocks. A large plant of Cattleya Warsce-wiczii with twenty flowers on it, truly a grand plant. This orchid appearing as it does in many different varieties, should be-more grown than it is. The flowers are something after the style of Mossise, but I think a finer flower and lasting a long time in perfection.
D. densiflorum was not in flower, but judging from the number of buds on the shoots it will be worth seeing when in flower. This is a somewhat difficult Dendobe to flower successfully, but it appears here as easily managed as any of the others. A splendid plant of Laelia anceps, Coelogyne cristata, Oncidiums, Cattelyas, and hosts of others are here all in the best of health. Of the other plants, Begonias held a prominence, all the best of the flowering kinds being collected. Digswelliensis, Mr. M. thinks the best for winter flowering, and as grown here is fine. Callas, bouvardias, passion flowers, Eucharis, Adiantums. Two plants of A. Farley-ense measured four feet across, fine specimens. All the fine and new Coleus sent out last season showed their fine colorings, being on shelves close to the glass. This house was just one blaze of flowers comprising of the plants mentioned, with many others requiring similar treatment; it is kept at a temperature not less than 55° nights. In another house kept at 50° were such plants as geraniums and carnations; among them I noticed as extra fine, Snowdon in habit dwarf and large flowers. Heliotrope covered with flowers. Cyclamen, a splendid strain, fuchsias.
Eupatoriums, conspicuous being stricta, and a large plant of the old Eranthemum pulchellum in flower; also Pleroma elegans with its dark blue flowers.
I sincerely hope that Mr. Murchie will favor the readers of the Monthly with the culture as adopted by him of some of these plants he is so successful with, as I am certain such details would be of great benefit to all of us. Let him leave all diffidence to one side, and rest assured such practical articles will be received by the Editor with pleaure.