This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V18", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
In paying a flying visit to this famed city of Central New York, I have been induced to see its beautiful cemetery, especially its conservatory, which is at present so interesting to all for its novel use. Upon reaching the cemetery I found, to my surprise, one of your own correspondents, and late gardener to that famed establishment of Mrs. Packer, Brooklyn, Rod. Campbell, who has the entire charge of all here. Not to dwell upon personalities, I will try and describe to the readers of the Monthly, through your kindness, something about this conservatory chapel. This building is built in the shape of a triple arch, the centre one reserved for funerals and the two smaller ones for plants planted out in prepared borders, and in' these beds are planted some ten huge Camellias, about the best of whites I have seen in this country as to size and shape. One of these trees was at one time the property of Thorburn, of N. Y., and lately the property of James Parks, the celebrated Brooklyn florist. All these trees have been removed from Brooklyn to Utica, no mean undertaking for so large plants, or rather trees, and were planted in this conservatory chapel, and are looking remarkably well considering it takes so long a time for such large trees to recover and take hold of their new abode, which is well-known to practical men; and in a few years these Camellias will be objects worth looking at, if they only receive proper care, which they will receive in the hands of Mr. Campbell; but what ruins more establishments of all kinds is the continued change of gardeners, and more so in corporations of this kind, where peculiar influence often reigns.
But such is not to be hoped from this cemetery, which has set a noble example to all others. The city of Uti-ca may feel proud of its cemetery, and the good judgment shown by its trustees in studying the welfare of its lot-owners. In returning to the conservatory I have found some nice plants of Azaleas, and a miscellaneous collection of plants, all a little too small for such a large house, but on the fair way to make good specimens. At one end of the building are two stories 16x20, one devoted to ferns, of which there is a small collection, but in good health; in the other are some Palms, Dracaenas, Rex Begonias, and a lot of other nice things, which will in time make a nice display. On the roof of the conservatory are trained some fine Passifloras and roses, such as Lamarque and Glorie de Dijon, the roses to take the place of the Passifloras in after-time, the whole forming a beautiful festoon of graceful vines. Over the vestibule is a gallery, from which a grand view is obtained of the auditorium; and all around at the north end of the building, suspended from the roof and almost right over where the casket is placed, is a white stuffed dove carrying a bunch of artificial flowers; a beautiful thought, representing that symbol on our earth, of peace as represented by our faith of old.
This idea originated with a Mr. Hopper, one of the trustees of the association, and the originator, - or might I use the term inventor - of a glass conservatory chapel; a gentleman of fine ideas and culture. Off from the conservatory are some other houses devoted to plant-cultuie; and in one of these is a small collection, but healthy, nice plants of orchids, and some Crotons, Clerodendrons, Screw Pines, Dief-fenbachias, Eucharis amazonica, in flower; Me-dinella magnifica, Alocasias, Marantas of sorts; Anthurium Scherzerianus, fine plants of Peper-omia maculosa, and a host of other good subjects too numerous to mention; but from what the writer saw in the city and vicinity the last-named plants are as yet a little too far in advance of what the people are educated to, in our inland cities; but it is to be hoped the example set at Philadelphia and at the last exhibition of the New York Horticultural Society will improve the taste of our better class of people up to that evinced abroad. Around the conservatory is a flower-garden laid out in harmony with the buildings surrounding it, which is a very important feature in ornamental flower-gardening, and of which Mr. Campbell has shown himself to be a master while in Mrs. Packer's employ.
As yet the flower-garden at Forest Hill is not complete; but for all there are some fine beds, especially one made in the form of a pillow and in the centre is laid out a beautiful cross, quite in keeping with the cemetery ground, and its uses; for the cross is a symbol of all. I am afraid that in a few years from the present, if Mr. Campbell is left in the management of Forest Hill, its namesake near Boston will have to look out for its laurels; as Forest Hill of Utica is in a fair way at the present to wrest from its brow, its past glory. From the flower-garden I will take the reader to the grounds. The site of the cemetery is simply grand. The visitor can see in every direction as far as the eye can reach, and feast on beautiful landscape. Among the finest monuments here may be mentioned those of Messrs. Lawrence, Crouse, Farwell, Comstock, Veeder and others, not omitting that of Mr. Barnard, which is to the writer the finest thing within the whole cemetery. It represents a beautiful canopy of the finest Italian marble, and in the centre of the canopy or arch is a bust of Faith, by the late H. Powers, and the last work of that great sculptor, whose works Americans and Europeans alike admire.
Mr. Barnard ought to have the thanks of his community for placing so valuable a work of art in their beautiful cemetery. I must now conclude this letter, as I am encroaching on your valuable space, but I could say a great deal more. One objection to this cemetery is the poor way of getting there. Visitors have at least to walk over a mile to get to the entrance. Not far distant from Utica is the famed Trenton Falls, well worthy of a visit. The writer has a few notes on the Falls, and surrounding country and vegetation, and would be glad to communicate the same to the pages of the Gardener's Monthly, as he is at all times ready to aid its readers.