This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V24", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
(Concluded from page 281).
From here I went into a long range of houses in the rear of the tropicals to admire the large rose plantations, which showed thrifty, healthy bushes and buds enough to supply a city. Numerous large carnations full of flowers, bouvardias, violets, and a large number of echeverias, everything in perfect condition. On account of the heat we wandered in a lovely path along the bank of the river, all shaded, inviting seats in temples, from where we admired these charming panoramas spread so gloriously before the eye. These temples are located where views are most interesting. At the end of this walk is a grand opening, where nothing obstructs the vision over a beautiful lawn from the residence to the river, presenting a magnificent picture; and from the river the mansion shows itself in its full splendor. The river is ornamented with a substantial wall on the coping of which, for about five hundred feet in length, a large collection of aged century plants, in painted tubs, are placed at short distances, and give the place a royal appearance. Passing down through steps in the wall, we took great pleasure in walking along the beautiful beach in front.
Passing a little further on, we came to a landing in front of which lay a magnificent yacht, appropriately named the Locust, ready for pleasure trips. At this point an engine house, bathing houses, sail boats and small boats are ornaments of this property. While returning by the same route and enjoying this lovely walk we were fanned by a delighful breeze from the river, and splendidly entertained by Mr. Emerson, who gave us interesting recitations on " Mark Twain".
We were nicely cooled off and ready to proceed with our further inspection.
From here we walked towards the elegant mansion, passing through agrove of white locust which when in bloom spread its pleasing and nourishing perfumes wide over the country and furnished the name (Locust Grove) to this magnificent home. The celebrated Hudson river runs in front of this elevation with its steamers, all sorts of sailing vessels and pleasure boats which go gliding charmingly along the whole scene, and add to the embellishment of this location. All this looks as if it belonged to the property, and represents these superb country seats still more perfectly; replacing a thousandfold the artificial ponds which are generally connected with these parks. The views up and down the river, almost endless, show cities and villages with their church steeples, buildings, castles, farms, fruit growing cultivations and steadily improving landscapes. Arriving at the mansion we were fairly dazzled with the beauty of this luxuriant edifice, of this handsomest residence of the Hudson and exquisite model of modern architecture. And it is said that the inside, furnished with all comforts, ornaments and works of art which the world offers and money buys, surpasses by far in preciousness the enormous cost of this truly royal palace.
A lady deeply interested in a book, sitting on the piazza, some youths, the pictures of health, taking a ride in a stylish little wagon, drawn by a cunning little pony, and who by their laughing faces appeared to be perfectly happy, were objects that delighted the beholder. The old gentleman holding an umbrella over his head and walking over the grounds, had his eyes all over. All these were models for the genius of a painter. The pleas ing sound of a piano struck our ear, and showed that all the arts are cultivated and are at home here. Flowers, music, paintings are displayed, both outside and inside, and the whole is a successful illustration of a lovely piece of poesy. The floral decorations in front of the house surpass everything. They are like a magnificent exhibition. On both sides of the steps in front, the whole length of the piazza, crotons are displaying their beautifully marked, shining and singularly formed leaves. Right and left large, elegant vases, tastefully filled with suitable plants and vines (taking nearly a hundred to each vase) are placed like guards on each side, and festoons of ampelopsis hang from tree to tree.
Beyond the wide place in front of the house is an apparently endless green lawn, ornamented with numbers of shade and ornamental trees, evergreens and flowering shrubs tastefully and scientifically planted. It is a splendid panorama, like a paradise. On the border of this is a row of precious Japan and Chinese vases, filled with all sorts of showy plants, the highest opposite the entrance of the door lowering to both ends and forming an arch where other large vases were placed. The length of this exhibition-like decoration was at least three hundred feet. The newest varieties of coleus are specially beautiful, arranged in tubs and vases, and show their color more distinct and exquisite than any time heretofore; and the hydrangeas, with their numerous pink, white and blue globular flowers are adding considerably to this great decoration. In fact, in looking over the entire plantation, the proper culture, together with the richness of the soil, renders this plantation as complete and recent in effect as if it had been planted three months ago.
The same superior style prevails harmoniously all over.
We followed along the carriage road when Mr. E. called attention to the rare ornamental trees. Perfectly formed evergreens and beautiful flowering shrubs planted in groups and singly were skillfully located. We had to go from one side to the other to admire, and not let any of these beauties escape. The new Japan maples with their peculiarly formed leaves and singular color attract special attention. Groups of rarest evergreens, the centre highest, show like one tree. Beautiful shrubs change off harmoniously, and every novelty which will thrive in this climate seems to be in this collection. Three gigantic black-walnut trees under whose wide spreading limbs many have enjoyed the pleasing shade, are land-marks and have a history for themselves. Nature has here her own language and scripture. A very old apple tree with its branches to the ground, and running quite a distance along from the tree, forming a group for itself of large dimensions is a great curiosity and a perfect beauty when in bloom.
These old settlers attract just as much attention as their proud foreign neighbors growing alongside of them.
Here we arrived at the bridge leading to the carriage road. By turning to the starting point we observed artistic single statues and allegorical groups of bronze castings suitably located and so full of expression that they seem to talk, and one comprehends at once their signification. They seem as if animated with living souls. One group represents a struggle with a panther. The fearful expression of the face, all the nerves and muscles strained at the dangerous position of the victim, the desperate fight he makes and the faithful clog taking hold, give hope for his relief. Another group reveals two graceful females en. trusting their secrets to each other, manifesting it by holding the finger to the lips. Still others represent pictures from mythology and horticulture representations.
Passing by we came to the carriage house and horse stables where one can find all sorts of comfortable vehicles and the noblest bred horses in a building which cannot easily be excelled. Mr. Dinsmore has help enough for everything, and sees himself that everything is punctually and properly performed. Consequently order, neatness and cleanliness prevail all over. Every considerable improvement or embellishment favoring this remarkable home is carried out after counsel with competent and approved judges. Mr. Dinsmore is willing to open his purse generously and deserves public recognition as a protector of art. He is pleased to have every visitor enjoy his famous park.
Arriving at the limit of the park, from whence we started, we thanked Mr. E. for his kind-ness in piloting us around and giving all possible information. All I have to say is, that he is beyond question the most superior gardener Mr. D. ever engaged, and that under his care and management for the last twelve years, it has come to this flourishing condition. Mr. E. is an active artist, and is devoted to the art with soul and body at all times. He has no other desire than to fulfill his mission to the satisfac tion of his employer. Passing through the barn, yard we saw full-blooded bulls led by a ring through the nose to the watering trough. Inside the barns were some of the finest heifers, like deer, with their friendly faces and black noses, and a large herd of the most beautiful Alderney cows home in their night quarters. We spent a delightful day, and talked over these scenes all the way home and many times afterwards. __________________