This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
I heartily endorse most of Mr. Bacon's remarks on shade trees in the March number. There may be too much of a good thing; and if you can have trees all handsome, variety is better than sameness The Maple is really a very desirable tree; but have not old associations done much to give it unmerited supremacy! In New England you will see more Maples used as street shades than all others combined. Hardly any of its villages at all known for neatness and beauty, but has its avenue, or avenues, of century-old Maples; and the New England farmer, when he plants his street row, still selects the Maple as almost matter-of-course. If he does not select it, the one alternative is the Elm, which - I quite agree with Mr. Bacon - is the better tree of the two. Happily there is no necessity of being confined to either one of them, where there is room for variety. So far as my observation goes, I may hazard the opinion that all our most beautiful forest trees at the north may be successfully grown on any soil capable of good farm crops, if first well subdued and thoroughly drained.
I have seen equally fine Oaks and Elms on the lightest and on the richest of soils - on the poor plain, honored by the good taste and good cultivation of New-Haven's citizens, and on the rich clay of the (so-called) Ohio Black Swamp, or the alluvial of the Miami Valley.
In the forest the Hickory is, perhaps, oftenest found on rich, flat ground; yet some of the handsomest specimes I have ever seen of the species grow on light sand - sand a good way down, too. The Red Flowering Maple, oftener known as the Soft Maple, is mostly found native to wet, or rather low situations. In a variety row of my own, two years' planted, on high, stiff, clay soil, it thrives as well as any tree in the row.
Speaking of the Oak, Mr. Bacon says he has no reason to complain of the tardiness of its growth. Such is my experience. It grows fast enough, with good attention, to satisfy any one of reasonable expectations; and it is unquestionably the king among trees, as the Elm is the queen.
I am glad to see that your correspondent, " G. E.," calls attention to the Clinton Grape. For its hardiness and great productiveness, ten years of cultivation by my father and myself bear good witness. It is not quite equal to the Catawba as a table grape - having a pungency in the skin that imparts a rather unpleasant sharpness to a pulp which, alone, is both sweet and tender. For its hardiness and productiveness it is a valuable grape, where the Catawba and Isabella will not always ripen. Your correspondent says that in equal situations it ripens two or three weeks before the Isabella; my observation says from one to two weeks; even ten days grace often makes a very material difference in the value of a grape when frosts threaten to admonish the lagging season. I have little doubt that the Clinton will prove an excellent wine grape, though I have not seen it fairly tested. I have seen no greater nor more regular bearer; and have tried none that keeps better when packed for winter and spring use.
Wm. H. Scott. - Adrian, Mich.
Is there ever was a natural flower garden, it is the Sacramento Valley. Walk any place you please outside of the city, and wherever the plowshare of the husbandman has not been, there will you find a bed of beautiful wild flowers of every hue and description. Travelers by the Wayside, at this season of the year, are indeed "treading in a paradise of beauty." - California.