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 death of Mr. Norton Johnson, of Germantown, Philadelphia, removes the last male representative of a family which has been closely identified with the fame of Philadelphia as a horticultural and botanical centre. One of the streets running through the estate is named Upsal Street, after the home of the great Swedish botanist, Linnaeus. One of the brothers, who died a few years ago, left all his property after the death of his wife, to the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia.
On these grounds is the famous Silver Fir of Europe, planted in the beginning of the present century, one of the first four introduced into the country by the Princes of Flushing, and which has been so often written about and pictured. It is one hundred feet high, but has been on the downward path for some years. The finest American Yew in the world is probably the one here. As generally known, it is rather a trailer than an erect grower as the European is. This plant makes a dense mass over fifty feet wide, rising to about six feet in the centre. It forms a circular bush of rare beauty. It is also about one hundred years old.
The only living specimen of the great Sequoia, a mammoth tree of California, that probably exists in the Atlantic States, is here. Under our suns the lower branches die, and generally after a few years die upward so rapidly as to kill the tree. This specimen happens to be growing under the shade of some huge white pines, which have lost their lower branches; hence though . the mammoth tree loses the greater number of the last year's side shoots, the growth of the disease is not rapid enough to kill all the same season, and hence there are enough to start the growth the next year. This sole representative of the California wonder is not therefore anything to boast of as a matter of beauty. Besides these, are some remarkably pretty Cryptomeria japonicas, which seem to be quite hardy after they have once been able to get a deep tap root. Pinus excelsa has also grown here to a very beautiful tree. In the garden borders are numerous rare herbaceous plants.