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.
I have just returned from a trip with Dr. Parry to Aqua Caliente and vicinity. The Doctor is good company and knows everything. We made some good finds while there that I suppose he will let the world know of in course of time. He has squatted on palm logs and squinted into all sorts of crannies, and measured the Spinous Dalea, and got pricked for his pains; made all kinds of notes and rude draughts of things and got down on his hands and knees and goueed in the damp sand for depauperate or new forms; has gotten his bones well shaken over the cobbles and rocks of the washes; got out of grub; got caught out in a wind storm, and in a rain storm also. I wish you could have seen him perched up on the front seat of the buckboard, wrapped head and heels in a blanket, with one eye only visible - his botanical eye which is never shut. He would have passed muster very well as a small squaw; how the wind did blow to be sure. I believe we all were somewhat Indian looking, for each one, driver and all, was more or less swathed in blankets.
It was long after night-fall when we reached Whitewater Station, where supper, hot tea and a good fire soon made us happy.
If I keep on in this way you won't get much information about the little article I send you with this. Don't carve him up any more than you can help, and send me his dismembered remains home for interment (in the county paper), i. e. any part you don't use, if you would return it I should feel obliged, as the first drafts are very imperfect, and mutilated so that I could use but little of it, and I would like to use the parts that I suspect you will reject. I don't envy you the job of correcting it. I also send you a note for " the modern diet of worms." By the way there are no Abronias and no worms this year - season too dry. I hope to be able to write you again soon.
I knew I should be at it again, if it hadn't rained I should have let you off, but now I shall bore you some more - ain't you sorry? First, there is our find of a yellow Penstemon centranthifolius, a clear bright lemon yellow, pure and distinct, botanically no great thing, merely an odd color; but as a florist's plant a good thing, I hope. I brought it in last season and now it is in full bloom, and will keep on all summer; but I shall allow it to go to seed as freely as it will for next year's sowing. Either next year or the year after (when 1 see seedlings) I will place it on the market; it seems as healthy and strong as the typical kind. There is also a pure white Mirabilis Californica, which we have tried to get named, but not with success. Mr. Parry says if no one else will name it he will. I often think if botanists could see the plants growing they would discern the differences in them more readily. Another plant with which the Doctor is not suited, is our new Phacelia cordifolius, which isn't very heart-shaped after all, and he says is too pretty to have such a name.
But the worst thing of all is when my insignificant Penstemon. that I had made up my mind was to be a Parishi proved to be P. Rothrocki who had gobbled it up somewhere or another and got his name tacked on it for a handle. Well the Trichostema Parishi is a beauty, buds and all a beautiful purple. Why in the name of all the saints, new and old, don't you send an artist out here and do some of our plants; or still better come yourself. Why I'll drag you over the hills and plains and show you more gorgeous plants in one season than a decade of search will reveal in the East. Here is your glow of color and rare shapes in their delicate beauty that no eastern air can hope to produce. Come along, I want to see some of my pets in print for I love them. I belive you would hit it if you did. I will do what I can to assist you, stay or come, as you will. How are the plants we sent you doing? One great mistake all cultivators make is shutting off the sunlight from our California plants. I judge from drawings and infer from knowledge of ways of culture in vogue East. Our railroad is through now and we are in direct communication with the Atlantic States, which will help us in the shipping of plants.
You will probably be surprised to hear that Hyacinths now going out of bloom are a grand success out of doors here, and Doctor Stillman said that our Ranunculus were as fine as any he ever saw in Holland. The pansies bloom all winter; Triteleia uniflora has been in flower a month or more. Fritillaria persica begins to bloom the last of February. Narcissus are all gone. Caladium esculentum planted under six inches of water, has a leaf eight or ten inches long, that on land has no sign of leaf. Sagittaria chinensis is rarely two feet high. Vinca in bloom all winter. Lillies, Humboldt's are from three to six inches, with big red leaves an inch and a half or more across. Longiflorum which does remarkably well in the sun, and L. superbum sends up a head smaller than a lead pencil, half the size. Candidum is an evergreen almost, the stalk is scarcely down before the new one is up; the speciosums are all booming along and do nicely; Parry's lily is coming along; I think I planted the eastern species too deep as superbum is the only one up. How deep ought I to plant? Thompsonianum does so well this winter, I hope to flower it next year; had almost given it up. Thunbergianum promises well. Several others are up I do not recollect.
I long to try some of the more expensive sorts that I have hopes of doing well here, especially cordifolium, giganteum, and the more desirable species which, from descriptions, would suit our climate exactly, but my purse won't stand the pressure to purchase, so I semi-content myself with anticipation. Aquilegia truncatas, scarlet flower, is in full perfection. Delphinium cardinale is opening; also Penstemon centranthifolius and P. Clevelandi. Verbenas are now showing plenty of color, but not one mass of it as later. "Dinner is ready," and I have thought I would write a sketchy, jerkey little article now and then I would like to find some amateurs with whom I could exchange plants. There should be some such. Can you tell me? I can exchange with the trade, but I think they ought to buy; so I exchange as little as may be, though I long for more plants to nurse. And are not you glad that this is the end, and just suppose all of your correspondents were as voluminous. I think I have twirled my auger sufficiently for this time.
So adieu for the present; you may have mourn-ful anticipations after the future, for most certainly I shall write you againt Moreover I have that in my portfolio that I am fain should see the light in the Monthly. Dei gratia, and the favor of the editor.