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.
This time-honored institution resumed its annual exhibitions this season, they having been, as our readers know, suspended by the burning of the hall. It was, unfortunately, caught in the formidable equinoctial storm, and hence the attendance of visitors was much below the numbers of former occasions.
There were excellent exhibits of cut flowers, fruits and pot flowers, vegetables being comparatively scarce. Hot-house grapes from Mr. Hus-ter, gardener to Mrs. Heyl, reminded the visitor of the old times when Philadelphia outdid the whole Union in this interesting branch of gardening. As, however, the weights of the bunches were not attached, we must be content for the reader to take his own meaning from the term "very fine." The same remark must apply to the pears and peaches of Edwin Satterthwaite, "very fine" being all that we have the opportunity to say about them. The peaches were indeed more numerous in varieties, and seemingly of better quality than usual from growers near Philadelphia, and as far as could be gathered from those who have some idea of Mr. Satterthwaite's business success in peach growing, it proves the success of Mr. Rutter's position, that there is more profit in growing peaches in comparatively dear land, near one's market, than to grow them in cheap lands where railroads take all you get for transportation charges. Some interesting comparisons might also be made in the productiveness of varieties.
Here, before the visitor, were some noble specimens of the Susquehanna peach, and some fine but not near as large specimens of the Crawford's Late. Judges, no doubt, would award the premium to the Susquehanna, and the public would applaud the decision ; but it would be a question with the fruit grower whether, with all its size, the Crawford's Late would not beat it by the far greater quantity it would produce. We hope to see the day when some such information as this can be given with these magnificent exhibits. The apple exhibit of Samuel Noble was equally "very fine." Friend Noble was explaining to a visitor, as the reporter passed by, that there was an increasing demand for good table apples for late summer, as well as apples for pies and sauce, the general impression being that there is no profit in table apples except for winter use. And he gave it as his opinion that the Summer Rambo, which he exhibited, was one of the best for this purpose. The Cornell's Fancy, he thought, would beat it in beauty, and was very saleable, but the Summer Rambo was his choice. On the table among the fruits were some fine leaves and flowers of the beautiful scarlet water lily, Nymphaea rubra, and the tiny N. pumila, which has a flower no larger than a hickory nut.
This probably came from Mr. Sturtevant, of Bordentown, N. J.; if not, we hope the real exhibitor will forgive the guess. The names of exhibitors are kept from the judges, and are not attached till after they have done their work - perhaps an advantage to them, but not so good for the visitor who loves to go early, before the cut flowers have lost their freshened faces.
Speaking of cut flowers, it is noticeable how great is the change in designs since the older times of the society. The work is admirably done. It seems impossible for taste or elegance to arrange flowers more artistically than our florists now do. But somehow it does not seem just the thing that we should be limited to anchors, harps, crowns, pillows and "gates-ajar," and absurd as the wish may seem, we almost longed for the "big whales," "Great Easterns," and other curious articles that constituted the "cut flower designs" of the olden time. One good friend, whose name had not yet been attached, and whose number has been forgotten, at. tempted a table design of roses. It must have looked very pretty when fresh, but the bunches of roses being fastened to pegs instead of placed in water vials, were completely withered, though only on the second day's exhibition. It was appropriately placed among the funeral designs, as the flowers which composed it were touch-ingly suggestive of the grave.
A very fine collection of plants, as they were not for competition, fortunately had the owner's name as well as the number on them. These were from Mr. Warne, gardener to Clarence H. Clark, Esq. Though somewhat prejudiced against leaf-plants, from that universal prevalence to the almost extinction of the gay flowering plants of the olden time, praise must be accorded to the stocky, well grown specimens of the various forms of veined and marbled Marantas. They will long be popular house plants. There was another fine collection, probably from Mr. Joyce,gardener to Mr. Baldwin. Mr. Joyce had a remarkably fine specimen of the Holy Ghost orchid of Panama. " Remarkably fine" here means seven spikes. He says it only flowers on alternate years. It was at least a great pleasure to find one collection of pretty flowering things in a collection of Gloxinias, which we believe came from Mr. Henry A. Dreer. Much as these have been improved of late years, probably few know the extent of the improvement. Spotted, pencilled, and of innumerable-shades of color, they are among the most attractive of summer blooming exotics. Space will not permit of further notes.
We can only say that President Schaffer, Secretary Harrison, Superintendent Andrews and the committee, deserve the thanks of Philadelphians for the very great efforts to re-introduce the wonderful attractions of the olden time. The exhibits were not what they might be if they had the full support of the many amateur ladies and gentlemen who abound about the city, and who, in the old times, did so much - but still there was room for encouragement, and for the hope that the old enthusiastic times would yet come again.