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.
It will likely surprise you not a little to learn of my return to America. Sometime in last April I left Australia for my native land, Russia. Through so many years absence, estranged to all and everything, I found it rather difficult to keep along smoothly with the prevalent customs of the country, so I took up again my wandering staff to set out for another land. Since then I have been about two months in England, and left a short while ago for this country. It is an old saying, "no one wanders beneath palms with impunity," and so perhaps it stands with me now too; and certainly the recollection of those tall, slender gum trees of that beautiful country beneath the southern cross is still too fresh in my memory, and often as by a magnetic power, I find my thoughts unwillingly wandering away to that far-off land; and I truly believe I never would nor could forget all the beauties and grandeur of nature I came across in my rambles throughout the Queensland bush and forest.
Words would fail me to assure you how gladly I felt pleased to see in the January number of the Gardener's Monthly your comment on the collection of Mr. W. Hill's timbers of Queensland. It is perhaps the first time on record such a complete collection of samples of timber yielding trees of Queensland, of only one of the Australian colonies has been exhibited, and Mr. Hill with his indefatigable energy well deserves all merit for collecting and preparing those timbers. No one could hardly credit how much trouble and actual labor is attached to this. Many of those logs were brought hundreds of miles from the interior, or dragged over on horses from the deep ravines of the rugged coast ranges on the Cape York Peninsula. The collection as it stands, with the botanical arranged and practical descriptive catalogue 6hows the fine knowledge of botany Mr Hill possesses of this colony, and I sincerely hope he may be spared for many a year to come to continue the good work he is doing among his fellow colonists.
Although true, the forests of the red Australian cedar Cedrela Toona, and the Kauri or Dundathu pine Damara robusta, are fast disappearing notwithstanding the protective law under the axe of the timber gatherers, 1 would like to call your attention to the facts, to the immense number of plants and trees of this kind distributed annually among the settlers by the director of botanical gardens Brisbane. As the heaviest items stand foremost the Cedar cedrela toona 20,000 plants; Damara robusta, 10,000 plants; Grevillea robusta, 10,000 plants; Araucaria Bidwillii, 8,000 plants; Coffea arabica, 10,000 plants; Thea bohea, 3,500 plants; T. assamica, 500 plants; Ilex Paraguayensis, 300 plants. All this is grown at the "Forest Reserve Nursery," at Indnoroopily near Brisbane. Among valuable acquisitions made lately at this nursery belong the American catalpa, Taxodium distichum, Liriodendron tulipifera, Acer sacchar-inum, the hickory and some thousands of the honey locust, the Gledischia, the seeds of which I had collected from the old venerable specimens on my frequent visits to the "Bartram Garden," while living at Darby road.
The locust is known and commonly called among the colonists as "the Bartram tree." Thus perhaps, never expecting at the time to return to the States, I have planted in Australia a living sourvenir of Bartram and his garden. It may perhaps also interest you to hear that on my last visit to my home in the Crimea, I discovered that the phylloxera had already found its way to the vineyards there; the plague having been introduced by an amateur grower, by smuggling grape cuttings in from France. By the latest news I heard the Government is taking due precaution, as some hundreds of acres of grape have been rooted out and burned. I hope they succeed in checking the farther progress, as the forests along the whole southern and best portion of this wine growing district, are overrun by a wild grape. Should only the phylloxera get a hold among them, I believe it never could be exterminated.