This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V25", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
To most readers of the Gardeners' Monthly, the name Torrington will in no way be associated with horticultural pursuits. The rugged hills and frowning rocks of western Connecticut imply but little in the way of gardening progress. The incessant humming of machinery and the noise of the builder's hammer would be more impressive upon the mind of a visitor among us than the floral embellishment of many of our homes. It is to be regretted when one meets with such taste as | a house of snowy whiteness, blinds of a verdant hue and endowed with the neatest styles of architectural skill, surrounded with a fence that depicts a painter's talent, that inside chick-weed should run rampant, and purslane and the milk-weed luxuriate in unwonted freedom to the delight of crickets and grasshoppers. But thanks to the enthusiasm of many of our townsmen, and despite these happily now isolated scenes, there is even here now in the vicinity of Torrington much for the student of nature to look upon in her wild and unassisted state.
How sweet to meet her at early morning when the sun beams forth its rays of golden light among the brambles and through the thickets, changing dewdrops into pearls and revealing the beauties of the woodbine and clematis as they twine around any available support that comes within their reach, and imparts a living richness of verdure and beauty to many an uncouth rock or lagging fence. Polygonatum multiflorum (Solomon's seal), Arisaema triphyllum (Jack in the pulpit) are to be seen waging a war for existence as they push their way through a dense mass of vegetation. Ferns of many forms adorn the woodland dells and bedeck the brows of many a crumbling precipice. Side by side by the stately pine, the button-wood and the sumach, lives and reigns throughout the vagaries of our climate that beautiful maiden hair - Adiantum pedatum - in all its frailty and gracefulness. Pteris tremula and aqui-lina, Athyriums, Polypodiums, Lastrseas, Blech-nums and many others find dwelling places, if not on terra firma, imbedded in the bosom of some towering rock or peeping down from the limbs of some aged woodland tree. The wild flowers that array the wayside, the hill-tops and glen in garments of orange, pink and white are also a study in themselves.
But these wild scenes are not all we have here now, for in few places has gardening made more rapid strides than here under the guidance and through the indomitable energy and enthusiasm of the Hon. L. W. Coe, who now owns one of the most charming residences and possesses as rare and varied a collection of plants as is to be met with in the district, and all has sprung up within the past two years on a site that before gave place to dwelling houses, barns, miry swamps and gravel banks. A greenhouse and two graperies now stand, where but a brief time since, was a commodious homestead. The scene is now changed. All has vanished - not a vestige remains. Figs, grapevines and roses now flourish over the spot where the maternal parent might possibly have admonished an unruly child or watched with delight the juvenile freaks of her mirthsome progeny; and a bed of smilax now graces a corner where might have been a bedstead, a bureau or perchance the favorite resting-place of the family cat. The banana, the orange and lemon, the date palm and pine apple now thrive within a circle once hallowed by the sweet communion of family intercourse. The green turf now clothes where recently toads and innumerable amphibious creatures disported themselves in joyous revelry.
Rockeries, fine foliage beds, geraniums and choice shrubs give an appearance to the place that hitherto knew no beauty. The dahlia stoops its haughty head to receive the homage of the honey bee. The tuberose and heliotrope shed their fragrance on the surrounding air. The hollyhock, the sunflower and lily of aesthetic fame, weep over the unhappy fate of their less captivating floral gems. The Humea sways its feathery plumes, and the Hydrangeas bend their laden heads; while the Agave stands unmoved. Such revolutions as these, wrought in so brief a period of time, but faintly illustrate the taste and determination with which the beautiful art is now pursued on the part of the worthy proprietor.
Our extent of glass at present is one conservatory, two graperies and propagating or starting house, with more in contemplation. The grapevines planted in January have this summer made canes from eighteen to twenty feet in length, and promise well for future fruition. In the conservatory and greenhouse we have the following collection of plants brought here at considerable expense within the oast twelve months :
Ananassa sativa variegata Allamanda Hendersonii
" metallica Arala filicifolia Ardisia crenulata AEschynanthus Lobbii Anthericum repens Acacia pubescens Bilbergia brachystackya Bertolonia guttata Bougainvillea glabra Begonias of many sorts Cissus discolor Corphya Australia Curculigo recurvatum Campsidium filicifolium Croton variegatum
Cycas revoluta " circinalis
Chamaerops humilis " Fortunii excelsa
Caladium argyrites " Bellymeii " Mad. Heine
Wightii " Albert Edward " bicolor Splendens " Meyerbeer " Excellent
Dieffenbachia Baumanii Dracaena terrainalis
•• Hendersonii Diplacus grandiflorus Euterpe edulis Euphorbia splendens
Jacquiniaeflora Eucharis Candida
" grandiflora Erica hyemalis
" autumnalis Eugenia albiflora Epiphyllum, 6 sorts Ficus elastica
" repens Gardenia florida
" Fortunii Gloxinias, many sort Hoya carnosa Habrothamnus elegans Hibiscus rosea sinensis Imantophyllum miniatum Ipomaea Horsfalliae. Isolepis gracilis Ixora Lobbii Javanica " purpurea " cuneifolia " accuminata " amabilis Jasminium grandiflorum
" de Bitean
Kalosanthes coccinca Luculia gratissima Libonia floribunda
AErides japonicum Brassia verrucosa Broughtonia sanguinea Calanthes Veitchii
Caelogyne cristata Cattleya citrina Cypripedium insigne
Harrisianum " venustum
Dendrobium nobile Epidendrum fragrans
Acrolepteris nidus avis Adiantuin Farleyense
" Capillus veneris " gracillimum " macrophyllum pentedactylon " pubescens " concinnum latum Athyrium filix-foemina Asplenium viviparum Blechnum Brasliensis Cibotium regale Davallia canariensis Gymnogramma chrysophylla " Wettershallianun Lomaria gibba
" " crispa
Lapageria rosea Latania borbonica Musa Cavendishii Medinilla magnifica Meyenia erecta Mimosa pudica Myrsiphyllum asparagoides Maranta Zebrina
" rosalineata Nepenthes hybrids maculata
Pilea muscosa Passiflora princeps
" quadrangularis var. Pandanus Veitchii Phyllanthus rosea picta Phoenix dactylifera Peperoma argyreia Panicum variegata Plumbago capensis Reedia glaucescens Russelia juncea Rivinia tinctoria Rhynchospermum jasmin oides Seaforthia elegans Stephanotis floribunda Sarracenia Drummondii alba Tillandsia zebrina
" leopardinum Tecoma jasminioides Tradescantia zebrina " discolor
" lucida var.
Thyrsacanthus rutilans Vallotta purpurea Yucca recurva
Epidendrum vitellinum majus
Oncidium flexnosum " sphacelatum
Odontoglossum maculatum " Rossi majus
Lomaria ciliata Nephrolepis davallioides exaltata Polypodium orleanum
Pteris cretica albo-lineata " hastata " longifolia " scaberula " serrulata Selaginella Wildenovii " caesia " caulescens " japonicum " Mertensii " viticulosa Woodvardia radicans.
Exclusive of this collection, we have a good assortment of cactus, camellias, azaleas and most of the nursery adjuncts for floral gaiety. And I now ask, is it not a good twelvemonth's work to bring this lot together? Palms from Astoria, pitcher plants from South Amboy, camellias from Waterbury, cactus from Utah, lilies from Honolulu, century plants from Mexico and Achimenes from England beyond the seas.
I would go more into the appearance, arrangement, etc, of many of these plants, but am induced to keep reticent on that matter, lest some of your readers might think I craved for egotistical fame. My maxim is "Honor to whom honor is due," and as a gardener and a lover of all belonging thereto, I could not let the efforts of my employer in the furtherance of my calling pass unnoticed.