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.
Like the pines, there are comparatively few spruces sufficiently dwarf in habit for the city or village garden. But the few that are suitable are gems of their kind, and the most beautiful of all is a native of New York State, having been found upon the banks of the Hudson, a few years ago. It is known as the Weeping Hemlock, and may be considered to be among the evergreens what the Weeping Willow is among deciduous trees - i. e., the "Queen of Weepers." I. regret, however, to add that it is still scarce and not yet in market, but probably will be very soon.
There are also several varieties of the spruce of a very dwarf habit. One known as the "Pigmy" resembles the Norway Spruce in everything except size - a full-grown specimen scarcely exceeding three feet in height. Another variety, called Gregoryana, forms a neat little dense ball of green, one to three feet in diameter and about the same in height.
There are also many other varieties belonging to the same genera or species as those named above; but I have named enough to show that there is no lack of materials with which to satisfy those who may desire to make a fine display. But, as I have already hinted, there are other evergreen shrubs, not belonging to the "cone-bearing" section, which should not be omitted in forming groups, either large or small; and first on the list I would place our native Kalmias. The Kal-mia latifolia, or Broad-leaved Laurel, has no superior among what are termed "broad-leaved evergreens." The unopened pink flower of this plant is a marvel of beauty and symmetrical proportions, and when in full bloom we have no flowering shrub more attractive.
The Narrow-leaved Kalmia (K. angustifo-lia) is much more dwarf in habit, and the flowers are deep red, approaching a crimson, when grown in a half shady situation.
Next to the Kalmias the Rhododendrons should come in for a share of attention. They are, however, coarser growing plants, and should be placed in the center or so as to form a background to the less rapid growing kinds. Of course, I refer to the rapid-growing species, like our native R. maximum and R. Catawbiense; for there are among the exotic species some which are of exceedingly dwarfish habit. The species and varieties are almost innumerable; but comparatively few of them are perfectly hardy or thrive in our changeable climate. Still there are enough of the really superb sorts to satisfy any one who may wish to indulge in cultivating rare or common Rhododendrons.
We have also other kinds of dwarf evergreens - such as Eunonmymus Ilex Aucubas, Rhodora, Daphne, Calluna, and Mahonias - which may be appropriately introduced to give variety and add to the richness of large or small plantations. The "Evergreens" may be composed of cheap or costly plants, to suit the purse or taste of the owner, for novelties among evergreens command a high price, as well as in anything else. The costly kinds may be introduced if one can afford it; still the older and cheaper gems are fully as desirable and beautiful as the new and rare. - The Independent.