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.
In the Southern part of the city is another of those medium-sized, breathing places which is a favorite resort for the people living in that section. So popular indeed is this park, that nine out of every ten persons one speaks to on the subject will tell you "Benton" is the prettiest park in the city, and naively ask : " Now, don't you think so?" The grounds are kept in excellent order, and one is sure of finding a profusion of flowers in bloom all through the season.
Roses are extensively planted, chiefly Teas and Bourbons and free-blooming Remontants, like Madame Charles Wood and General Washington. It is no unusual sight to see thousands of flowers open at one time. Each color is planted by itself, and the beds cross and interlace each other in delightful confusion, the whole forming one continuous border on the edge of a large pond.
This flower garden has many little fancies which are full of interest. Thus, in one place a tiny thread of water trickles down a bank, forming a shallow pool at the bottom scarcely deep enough to cover some rocks which lie scattered around. A sensitive plant near by has thrown out a strong shoot which is creeping like a huge centipede over these rocks. The whole thing does not occupy more than six feet, yet what a world of attraction is centred in this spot.
In another place a tunnel has been built under the road-bed, and leads to a distant part of the park. The entrance to this is planted with tropical plants and looks like a bit of fairyland. Overhead a handsome vine - "Passiflora princeps" - makes a dense shade and is festooned with hundreds of flowers of a carmine red color. In fact, this vine blooms all the time, for in winter this bit of scenery is covered with glass and remains intact.
On the north side of the park is a low range of glass where the bedding plants are raised through the winter. From thirty to forty thousand plants are used, roses in this respect being classed as bedding plants. Experience teaches that roses raised annually give more bloom and better satisfaction, with less attendant expense, than roses preserved from year to year. Re-montants, as a class, are not grown at all. Six thousand roses are now being pushed vigorously forward for the coming season.
" Why do you plant so many flowers ?" was a question put to the gardener in charge of the park. The answer was pregnant with meaning : "The people demand it," and the day will come when no park will be tolerated without its flower garden.