This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V26", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
In any attempt to give a description of the scenery in localities where it has been my pleasure to pass through, I know I should come far, very far, short in making the impressions that many writers have done on a like subject. However the pleasure is within me, and will remain as long as life lasts, and to others as long as autumn leaves will fall.
At this season of the year, peculiar and characteristic of America, the forest trees don their lovely foliage. It was but a few months ago the leaves leaped from their little buds, and we may imagine them like children clapping their hands with wonder and delight. All through the summer they have been joyously at work, and now, seemingly to celebrate nature's golden wedding with gorgeous display, like all living things, they will soon leave us and the sad autumn winds seem like a funeral dirge as they pass over trees bare and leafless, and over dry withered grass. Most people, whether travelling by rail or otherwise through the suburbs of Philadelphia, seem attracted and delighted by the panorama before them at any season, and especially railroad passengers cannot but be impressed by what they see.
As we ride along with lightning speed the scenery is ever changing, - now we are in a dingle or bosky dell, now in the mazes of tangled woods. Passing along, the eye strikes some unique and beautiful object in the distance, perhaps a stately mansion with its peculiarly well kept lawn and surroundings, or a group of trees with their colors blended tastefully with the sombre hues of the Norway firs and their species, white pines towering above with a wierd yet commanding prominence; a group of rhododendrons and other shrubbery, with now and then a bit of water scenery, and we pass out and again gain sight of some other object equally unique and charming. Rarely, anywhere, can be seen so much varied beauty.
Beautiful and extensive mansions continue far out into the country, demonstrating the prosperity, the love and good taste of the business men of that city in seeking rural homes where health and enjoyment only can be attained.
Philadelphia truly is a city of homes, fostered by its boundless enterprise and the solidity of its capitalists. Everywhere is seen a marked degree of improvement from the humble cottager to the voluminous millionaire. Both seem imbued with the spirit of adornment, and in greater or less degree they display their several tastes. Many an old and well laid out place we have around us which attest the skillful hand of the landscape gardener, and which at one time, dear Editor, were objects of beauty. It makes one deplore the condition of some of these, and to wish that the old enthusiasts were still alive.
I may possibly venture upon dangerous ground when I say that some of us gardeners are too monotonous in our general routine. Not only in the greenhouse or conservatory, but on our lawns -and here may I commend an article by Mr. N. Robertson, Supt. Government Grounds, Ottawa, Canada, in the July Monthly, on "Greenhouse Decorations" - a very good suggestion and an important one.
Variety and some originality should mark our labors, as in laying out our beds on the lawn. I know of some places that have appeared the same for years as if nothing else would grow there, or if moved elsewhere would surely die, seeming to adopt the passage " as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end, Amen." Certainly it gives extra labor in making changes; but if done well, and at the proper time, there is no disfigurement of the lawn, and the change is wholesome and generally appreciated. Permanent designs, no matter how often the colors are changed, I do not think are consistent with the highest taste. This is my opinion. It may not meet with the approval of every one, but I am open to conviction.
Centre Square, Pa., Oct., 1883.