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.
The sketches of public gardens and private grounds which, from time to time, appear in the Gardener's Monthly, are, I am sure, read with pleasure by thousands. It is worthy of the cosmopolitan character of the magazine, that we thus get information of what is going on to the uttermost ends of the earth. It will do no harm to consider now a little of what is going on near the home of the Gardener's Monthly, in the public squares of Philadelphia. As often noted, they are a disgrace to modern civilization. Even people without a particle of taste have become ashamed of them; and the pressure from this source has resulted in at least a mechanical improvement in Independence Square, and the commencement of a similar attempt for Washington Square. Even here, no attempt whatever is done in the way of gardening taste. Trees are left which would be better away; others are taken away which might as well remain. They are pruned with a vengeance; or, that which should be thinned out left to offend. Insects, which any person of intelligence could control, are left to destroy the most valuable material, and things are planted so that they cannot live, or in places where they could not live' even though the editor of the Gardener's Monthly planted them.
There is no question but though special pains were taken to select from the million the most unfitted to improve or look after our city squares, the city money could not be more ig-norantly or more wastefully squandered. Why is it that so intelligent an. art as gardening should fall into the hands of ignoramuses? Can any one tell?
[Our correspondent has not exaggerated the state of affairs. The city squares are in the Department of City Property, which means a very varied species of supervision. A Commissioner of City Property may be remarkably well fitted for some of those duties, and yet not know a maple tree from a cedar of Lebanon. For any thing he knows, a man who is able to distinguish a wheelbarrow from an express wagon is a first-class gardener, and the employment of such a one will seem to him all the more proper perhaps if he is able to command a few votes at election times; for even a commissioner is human, and will stretch a little to hold a fat office if he possibly can.
The best remedy for the disgraceful state of things referred to by our correspondent, would be to place these small city parks under the care of the Park Commission. But the Commissioner of City Property by virtue of his office, is a member of the Park Commission, and it might be that he would still be a "sub-committee " to superintend the squares. There would, however, be this advantage, that a body of men with more intellectual pride than a mere "City Commissioner" is supposed to need, would be responsible for the disgrace. - Ed. G. M].