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.
By Wm. Robinson, Editor of the Garden, & c., London: John Murray; New York: Scribner & Welford.
The indefatigable Mr. Robinson has issued many beautiful and useful works, but probably and one which will prove more acceptable than this, His "Parks and Gardens of Paris" was well received by the community, but with all its admirable points it is to our mind excelled by this. As he himself says in the preface, "Gardens generally are still poor in variety of flower and form. There is much more in flower gardening than is usually seen. It is an art that in all stages of life might afford men infinite pleasure, and work at once innocent, healthy and refining. But they cannot know of its charms without a complete change in the narrow and 'hard' way in which it is generally practiced," and the work proceeds on just this plan. It shows what gardening is now, and what it might be; how labored, costly and unsatisfactory it is, and how simple and satisfactory it may become to even a limited purse. It is profusely illustrated with plans of gardens and grounds, sometimes showing them as they are, and then as they should be, with full directions for laying out and adorning them. We have often had inquiries for such a work, but have been unable to name any one that covered all the ground as this does.
Though called the "English" Flower Garden it is in a great measure suited as well to America. In fact, it is a work which should have a wide sale in our country.
The candid reviewer of a work is expected to point out the short comings as well as the excellencies of tasks like these. It is extremely rare that some point may not be seized on for adverse criticism. It is a pleasure to say that it is no easy task to find anything faulty in this. We expected of course to find the universal coining of common names before they were common, and thus leading to a perfect Babel in nomenclature, exemplified in this as in some former work by the same au-author. Instead, we find the teaching that " it is generally a good plan to give a place to the ' commmon name.' The Columbian maple, the Dove plant, the Maiden-hair - these and such things that are really 'common,' or have some recognition, or some meaning or association, should be given; but to merely translate the Latin name to give us something like the 'acuminate-leaved-Sarcoglottis,' or the 'long-tubed Brain-bane' is not desirable." This sounds so much like our own teachings, that it came with gratification. But some of the contributors - for the work is made up by many leading specialists - have not always remembered this wise lesson, and especially the author of the chapter on Campanula, a crop of just such translations as are justly, as we think, condemned on another page.
Some of these separate chapters too seem to have fallen into not over-competent hands. The one on cactuses is very faulty. When we are told that " eight or ten spe-' cies of cacti were seen in the garden of Dr. Bell at Manitou, in Colorado," all wild "in the neighborhood," the accuracy of the statement depends on whether a few dozen or a few hundred miles are covered by the word neighborhood. The figure of the "North American Echinocactus," is not an Echinocactus at all, but Mamillaria vivipara; and in the text Echinocereus and Echinocactus are all confounded under the former name, while one Echinocereus naephiceus seems to be an imaginary name, or possibly bad proof-reading for phce-niceus. While on the subject of cactuses, we may say that here we have a correct sketch of Echinocactus Simpsoni, while the colored plate given in the. nth volume of the Garden was not, as we pointed out at the time of issue; notwithstanding which Mr. Sereno Watson had it subsequently in his bibliographical references without correction, whereat we were much surprised.
As we remarked before, slips of this kind, common to most works, are rare in this, and we can cordially commend it to American readers, as perhaps the most profitable floricultural work that has appeared for many.