This section is from the book "The Gardener V1", by William Thomson. Also available from Amazon: The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener.
The ordinary monthly meeting of this Association was held in the Imperial Hotel, Dundee, on Friday evening, the 4th ult. - the President, Mr D. Day, in the chair. There was a full attendance of the members. After the usual preliminary business, Mr George Johnstone, of Glamis Castle Gardens, read a paper, entitled, "A Few Practical Hints to Young Gardeners." He said that young gardeners who could do their work well mechanically, and had gained a good knowledge of the nomenclature of plants, were not to consider themselves as finished tradesmen. The gardener required tact and much forethought. He had the seasons to consider, and how and when to do the different kinds of work so as to give a return at a certain given time. A correct and methodical note-book ought to be the constant companion of every young gardener, noting the dates of sowing of the different kinds of vegetables and seeds, their produce, and their time of maturity for the kitchen. The same attention should be paid to both fruits and flowers, so as to insure the required result at a certain time.
While it was not absolutely necessary for the horticulturist to be either a chemist or a botanist, a knowledge of these sciences would be much to his advantage, and he advised every young man to make himself conversant at least with the rudiments of them. Mr Johnstone concluded by suggesting that the Dundee Horticultural Association should devise some plan whereby young gardeners could be examined in the various branches of horticulture, and certificates granted according to their respective merits.
Mr W. S. Watt, landscape-gardener, Broughty Ferry, followed with his first paper on "Style in Suburban Landscape-Gardening." Mr Watt said he had been for upwards of thirty years an anxious student of nature, and he was confessedly an admirer of the picturesque. Under certain circumstances, however, nature required assistance from art ere she could assume that beauty of form, harmony of dress, or sweetness of face which captivate and add additional charms to the landscape. Mr Watt then briefly described the various styles carried out in different European countries from the earliest period of history to the present day. He recognised only three styles as being really pure and distinct from each other in their details of arrangement. These were the architectural, as applied to flower-gardens in the vicinity of the mansion; the gardenesque, geometric-picturesque, and the purely picturesque, as adapted to lawns, shrubberies, and parks. The gardenesque was a favourite style with some; it admitted of pleasing outline in curved walks and boundary-lines, and in clumps in beds on the lawn. The style was very suitable for villa grounds of from one to four acres in extent.
The geometric-picturesque style, where it could be carried out in grounds of from four acres and upwards, he believed to be the perfection of modern English landscape-gardening A favourable locality admitting of hill and dale, cascades, rivulet, lake, rockery grottos, etc, would enable the clever landscape-gardener to produce effects at once diversified and attractive. Although an admirer of this particular style he thought that landscape-gardeners should try to produce originality of designs. He ridiculed attempts to imitate natural scenery on a small scale when the landscape-gardener should have called to his aid artistic design, and mentioned that there were no less than thirty-six landscape-gardeners, so called, in Dundee. He regretted that some aspired to practise the art who had not learned even its rudiments; and he condemned the building architect's interference, as he considered his proper sphere lay in an opposite direction.
Mr Watt concluded his very able and interesting paper with an appeal to young gardeners who might desire to make landscape-gardening a branch of their profession, to begin its study early.
Mr M'Arthur, Kinbrae Gardens, Newport, exhibited splended specimens of Welch's Giant Brussels Sprouts, Williams's Magnum Bonum and Blood Red Onion, which he recommended for their keeping qualities, splendid Leeks, and six exceedingly handsome fruits of "Warner's King" Apple, grown on a west wall. The Brussels Sprouts were exceptionally fine, and were pronounced by he entire meeting to be second to none that had ever come under their notice.
Mr M'Arthur stated he got the seed originally from Messrs Cutbush & Sons, London, about six years ago, and that he had selected the best stocks for seed every year since. His practice was to sow in a box early in February in greenhouse temperature, and gradually to harden them off for planting in the breaks. I may say that I saw the several varieties grown in the Chiswick Gardens last season for trial, and can testify as to its superiority over them. Mr M'Arthur received the hearty thanks of the meeting for his splended exhibits; and after a vote of thanks to the speakers and the chairman, the proceedings terminated.