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.
The greenhouses of the Hon. Frederic Ames, at North Easton, Mass., should have a great interest for gardeners at all seasons of the year, because the collection of plants is so fine and the orchid collection so extremely rich and varied, and one that is rapidly increasing. Mr. Robinson, the able and efficient gardener, whom we met on entering, was much pleased to show us around. With him as our conductor, we enter the conservatory. Conspicuous among the other fine plants, with which the house is filled, was a grand specimen of Stenocarpus Cunninghami, six or seven feet high, breadth in proportion; a truly beautiful shrub, covered with its curious red and yellow flowers. Some fine plants of Grevilleas, also worthy of special mention. The roof was festooned with Tacsonia exoniensis, blooming very finely.
To the left of the conservatory are the vineries, in which are some extremely well grown plants of Dendrobes, undergoing the resting process; amongst them were such vars, as D. Falconeri, D. crassinode Barberianum, D. Wardianum, D. Devonianum, and a great many others, all looking as if they might be perfect wreaths of flowers in the blooming season. To the right of the conservatory, we enter the stove and palm house. I should say every plant in it was a specimen; palms looking very finely, Crotons leaving nothing to be desired in the way of color; Marantas, Cyanophyllums, and the gorgeous Anthurium Marocqueanum, giving the house that rich tropical look that we all desire to see. Trained the whole length of this house, which is 67 x 27, is a plant of that rare climber, Ipomea Horsfalliae. The flowers, a rich crimson, Gloxinia shaped. When I saw it, it was a little past, but bore unmistakable evidence of having been one mass of bloom the entire length of the vine. This plant only needs to be seen to become a general favorite. Mr. Robinson assures me that it is "easy to cultivate, a rapid grower, and very free flowering." There are so many plants to admire in this house that it would take too much space and time to mention them. Suffice it to say, they were all in good condition.
On leaving the palm house, we enter the fernery or grotto, 45 x 40, a very beautiful house. Growing in the midst of rock-work were some very fine tree ferns Such a house must be seen to be thoroughly appreciated; one cannot do it justice by description. The plan of the house, and the manner in which it has been carried out, is highly commendable. From the end of the grotto, we enter the Odontoglossum house, a structure ninety-six feet long, and filled with plants of that dark green color that denotes perfect health. It has been said that Odontoglos-sums were difficult to cultivate, on account of our hot summers. But here it does not seem so, the plants thriving and looking as if they were in their native element. Conspicuous amongst others in bloom, were some fine plants of Odontoglossum Madrense; near it was a specimen 0. nebulosum in fine shape. O. cirrhosum was represented by a remarkably well marked, large flowered variety. There were some good examples of 0. Alexandra and O. Pescatorea in bloom Dozens of plants of the last mentioned vars, fairly bristling with flower spikes. O. Rossii majus and 0. Bictonense, good plants, very nicely flowered. The plant in bloom of O. Ins-leayi leopardinum was very fine.
We notice, in passing a neat specimen of the elegant Restrepia antennifera, finely in bloom. The Oncidiums are represented in such varieties as 0. Forbesii, with a fine spike; 0. tigrinum, and several others of equal merit.
Before leaving this house I will record Lycaste Skinnerii alba, two plants in bloom, one with six of its beautiful blooms expanded. This is the finest of all the Lycastes that I have seen; and in Mr. Robinson's hands, that, as well as all the other cool orchids, luxuriate and grow freely. It would be difficult to imagine plants in a cleaner, healthier, or more vigorous condition. On leaving the cool orchid house, we enter the East Indian house, and the finest thing that meets the eye is a noble plant of Phalaenopsis amabilis, having a branched spike, with numerous flowers. A short distance from it is a plant of Phalaenopsis grandiflora equally as fine. In this house there were about one hundred P. Schillerianums in excellent condition, all showing flower spikes. Prominent were P. rosea, P. leucorrhoda and P. Lowii. Saccolabium giganteum, with two fine spikes; Saccolabium Harrisoni very tine. Dendrobium heterocarpum was very attractive; also, D. moniliforme, D. Bigib-bum, and D. superbiens.
Angroecums added greatly to the display in this house. A. eburneum excellent, and several very fine specimens of A. sesquipedale in bloom was a sight to be remembered. A. chailluanum also good. Ansellia Africana was represented by a noble plant in full flower. Calanthes were numerous and flowering finely. The vars, were C. vestita, C. vestita rosea, C. lutea and C. Veitchi!. Some fine Cattleyas in bloom, the vars, being Cattleya Leopoldii, Cattleya Trianae with several spikes a very rich type, C. Trianae macrochila, C. chocoensis, C. Warscewiczii deli-cata, (this variety was extra tine), C. Pinellii and C. marginata, all good. In Cypripediums there was C. Crossii (new) and the rare C. vexillarium, some fine plants of C. Dominianum, C. Sedeni, C. Pearcei, C. longifolium, C. Roezlii, C. venustum, and C. Harrisianum, all in bloom. The plants of Cypripedium insigne were numerous, and well flowered. There was also a plant of Cypripedium Spicerianum in bloom, probably the finest plant of this variety on the continent. This plant has six strong growths, one flower fully developed with two other flowers showing, This plant gained a silver medal in Boston last fall, and to Mr. Robinson the honor falls of hav ing first flowered Cypripedium Spicerianum on this side of the ocean.
There were other plants that richly deserve to be spoken of, such as Aerides, Cymbidiums, Vandas, and especially Vanda coerulea, with a large spike of its lovely blue flowers. Also the rare Cirrhopetalum medusae, and the Rodriguezia secunda. I noticed a Vanda gigantea showing seven spikes, which will be a rare sight in the near future. We pass from this house to the Mexican house, and here find some fine Oncidiums and Laelias. Oncidium ornithorrhynchum and O. ornithorrhynchum alba were good. O. incurvum, 0. Weltonii and 0. Cavendishii, with O. crispum, all combined to render the display peculiarly attractive. There were some fine vars, of Laelia autumnalis several plants of Laeilia anceps, were decidedly superior. One plant of Laelia anceps showing no less than twenty spikes.
These are a few of the many attractions to be seen at Easton, and to lovers of the beautiful I would say, a visit to Easton will repay them well. Mr. Ames is to be congratulated on the possession of such a rich collection of orchids, the sturdy health, the perfect cleanliness, and the excellent condition of all the plants, reflect the highest credit on the manager.