This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V22", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
While visiting the large establishment of Robert J. Halliday, Pennsylvania avenue, Baltimore, we were shown some new, rare and beautiful plants, viz., Louis Chretin a Rex, or ornamental leafed Begonia, said to be a new seedling. The leaf is bordered by a band of apple green, shading into a maroon-brown; the latter forming also a large irregular spot in the centre. The space between the border and spot is tinted with a gray-green. Over all glimmers a dark rosy-purple lustre, that deepens in the centre, and at the veins, giving to the young leaves a specially rich appearance.
A Begonia metallica (one of the newest) has a broad leaf at the shoulder, but narrows rapidly after to a sharp point. The veins are so deeply indented as to give it almost a convoluted appearance. Its general tint is of a light-bottle or apple-green. A bright metallic lustre covers the leaf, which in the whole plant has the effect of sun-lit dew upon it. A large plant of the Begonia metallica exhibited in the Horticultural Society of Baltimore, last fall, excited much admiration.
In a fine collection of Ferns, a variety of a pale green tint, named Hicrolephia hirta cristata, was conspicuous for its elegance of form, and a peculiarly graceful fringe terminating the points of each matured frond. Its nature is delicate, requiring the atmosphere of the stove or hot-house to keep it in perfection. It is anew one.
A large purple and white Petunia, quite double, with the petals exquisitely fringed, is another attraction among new plants. A climbing plant, which can also be trimmed to a shrubby form, has minute, delicate fern like leaves, the young ones of which show a tint of maroon, giving a rich coloring to the whole plant, and contrasting elegantly with the mature green leaves. It is named Paullina thalictrifolia, and the fronds are said to resemble those of a highly divided maiden hair fern.
We would call attention also to another lovely plant not quite so new, the Campsidium filici-folium, from the Fiji Islands. It is a climbing plant, which grows easily. It is very elegant, and has delicately cut leaves, resembling a fern.
Anthericum variegatum, another novelty, is a handsome plant, with long narrow-pointed leaves bordered with white. The matured plant sends out slender trailing-stems that bear small white flowers. There is a green variety which grows very freely, the name of which we have been unable to ascertain. When in full vigor the branching, drooping stems make a graceful adornment for vase or wall-pot, when placed either side of the door or window.
The above are a few of the many fine plants shown. One improvement we saw that we hope will extend to other establishments, viz., the evident purpose of making beauty of arrangement one of the features of the place. We wonder, as a matter of policy, that others do not follow the plan, as all that florists can show of the proper placing and developing of each characteristic beauty is an inducement for purchasers to buy, that they may emulate it. We have frequently seen plants so badly placed as to hide instead of show their loveliness.
In one end of the hot-house the wall was entirely covered with mess, held in by wires. In this are growing Selaginellas (Lycopodium), Orchids, Ferns, etc, and with these and some of the wild plants introduced with the moss form a fairy scene of beauty. Near these orchids are suspended also ferns, and overhead droop the branches of the lovely Allamanda Schottii with ite primrose colored bells, mingled with the large dark-blue flowers of a tropical morning glory, the Pharbitis hispida Dickensonn. Tree ferns, delicate filmy leaved ferns like a cloud of airy-green; climbing Selaginellas (moss), with the exquisite steel-green tint, so rare; Dracaenas in stately grace, and of varied color, with hanging or climbing plants interspersed, and others of beautiful forms or colors, made up the charming assemblage. Added to this in the centre of the house a wall or grotto is formed of West India brain coral, in the interstices of which are growing on one side sun-loving plants of various kinds, and on the other, lycopodiums, ferns, begonias, arums and other moisture-loving plants, among which trickle tiny streams of water that fall tinkling into a large tank surrounded with fairy-ferns, and containing water plants. In time these will be walls of living verdure and a rare pleasure to see.
Something of art, and more of nature (for who can rival her inimitable grace), combine to make a refining and constant pleasure; for the pleasures of nature seldom weary. The love of flowers and trees is one that time seldom destroys, for it is renewed day by day, and constant investigation only adds to our knowledge of the wonders and great wisdom and power of their Creator.