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.
It was the writer's intention to confine himself in these notices to those fine trees in his own immediate neighborhood, and suggest to other pens the pleasure they might confer on the readers of the Horticulturist by similar notes of their own localities; but being familiar with the far famed locality, Bartram's Garden, from whence the artist has taken his present illustration, it will not come amiss to give my subject a wider scope.
And first, omission must not be made to thank, the present owner, Mr. Andrew M. Eastwick, for the great care, with which every thing any way related to the great father of American Botany is preserved and cared for; from the old house he lived in, and which with his own hands he built, to the stateliest tree or humble shrub which he planted. Much has fallen before the unrelenting scythe of time; but a great deal - a very great deal - still remains to reward a visit from all lovers of trees.
The large Cypress ( Taxodium distichnm) is well known, having been the chief topic of every writer who has described his visits to the place. The height and dimensions of this specimen, an engraving of which is given this month, were taken inl853 by the author of the "Handbook of Ornamen-tal Trees," from whose little work the height of all the trees noticed in this sketch is taken. The height there stated is one hundred and twenty-five feet, and its circumference twenty feet. It is a fine tree for cool moist soils.
Another specimen that always seemed very fine to the writer is a Chinqwpin ( castanea pumila)twen ty-five feet high, and thirty-five inches in circumference. This, however, is fast going into decay. Some specimens of the Mahaleh Cherry (Cerasus Mahaleh) are the finest probably in the country - perhaps anywhere; for they certainly do not grow as large in their own native German woods, where it forms the St. Lucy wood of the French cabinet makers, as it does here. One specimen is forty feet high, and three feet in circumference, - rather a strong stock, one would think, to produce the so-called "dwarf Cherries" of our nurseries.
Some of the finest Ailanthus trees (Ailantus glandulosa) are here. One measures sixty feet high by seven in circumference. The female tree is very ornamental in fruit, and quite free from the disagreeable odor of the male, and in situations where its liability to throw up suckers is not objectionable, is perhaps one of the most ornamental trees we have. A specimen of the Copper Beech (Fagus sylvatica caprea) is a pretty picture, clothed with branches to the ground, a perfect pyramid, and fifty feet high by thirty-six inches in circumference. Though it is not so handsome a variety as the "blood-leaved," it is well worthy of general culture. Adjoining this is a fine specimen of the Yellow Wood ( Virgilia lutea - or perhaps more properly Cladrastis tinctoria) with several stems, which together at the base measure four feet round, and is fifty feet high. It is too rare a tree for one of such beauty, both of foliage and flower; but the seeds are not easy of access to our nurserymen, which is a fair excuse for its scarcity in their collections.
A "China tree" (Kolreuteria paniculata) is not near so fine as I have seen them elsewhere; but I can never look on its fine large panicles of golden yellow flowers, or the rich crimson and yellowed leaves in the fall, without a feeling of regret that a tree so accommodating to various soils and situations should be so seldom seen. A Sorrel tree (Lyonia arborea) is, I think, very remarkable for its size; it is sixty feet high, and four feet in circumference. A pretty tall "Shrub," and no disgrace to its specific name. A congener, growing along side of it - Andromeda puherulenta, next to the Kalmia, I would place as the most ornamental Shrub we have, but which to our disgrace Europeans alone seem to know how to do it justice. In the line of the Magnolias, the M. auriculata stands chief, seventy feet high, and five and a half in circumference. There are also some fair sized large leaved specimens (M. Macro-phyUa), forming a very dense and most agreeable shade. The best Cucumber tree (M. acuminata) is eighty feet high, and seven feet in circumference. A specimen of M. soulangeana, a hybrid kind, has every year hundreds of expanded flowers.
Another very rare tree is Sophora Japonica, which, though generally supposed to be rather tender, has managed to live here to such advantage as to reach the height of between forty and fifty feet, with a fine spreading head. A very pretty grafted specimen of OEsculus rubicunda, every year presents a strong claim to the honor of being the finest cultivated Horse Chestnut by the large clusters of brick-red flowers it unfolds. Amongst the Oaks there is a fine variety to interest. A Quercus lyrata is sixty-two feet high, and six feet in circumference. In very favorable seasons it ripens its seeds even so far north as this, though in " Meehan's Handbook," by a slight error not then known to the writer, it is said never to do so here. The Over-cup White Oak (Quercus macrocarpa) measures sixty-three feet high, and six feet in circumference. This is the most interesting of the group for the beauty of its acorns; though in the splendor of its foliage, and pioturesqueness of its appearance, it is inferior to the unfortunately less known species (Quercus bicolor), the mossy cup or swamp white Oak, the large leaves, and dense foliage of which have probably no superior in beauty.
Some very fine specimens of the British Oak (Quercus robur pedunculate), and of the American White Oak (Q. alba), are not bad. The former is eighty feet high, and seven feet in circumference; the latter eighty-five feet high, and thirteen in circumference.
Amongst the trees little known, but very beautiful, Styrax grandifolium may be especially noted. The specimen here thrives in deep shade, is twenty-five feet high, and over one foot in circumference. In early summer it is a perfect nosegay of sweet scented white blossoms. Another Styrax (S. loevigatum) here, though a very pretty looking shrub, I do not ever remember seeing in flower. Halesia diptera, flowering nearly a month later than the JET. tetraptera, and with magnificent clusters of large white flowers, is a very showy small tree; it does not grow as large as the common kind. Cyrilla racemiflora is another special favorite, - an Evergreen laden with thousands of racemes of countless white and waxy blossoms, perfectly hardy and very accommodating. What have cultivators been about to entirely overlook its merits? Phyllyrea angustifolia, a European Evergreen, seems well "at home" under the shade of the Pine trees.
The Hop Horn Beam or Iron-wood (Ostrya Virginica) may also be here included, for though somewhat better known, it is rarely seen in cultivation. A fine slender Birch, covered with white looking Hops, will give a very good idea of it. This specimen is over fifty feet high. The Franklin, tree (Gordonia pubescens), with its large white flowers like single Camellias, thrives very well here in deep shade; as also does Stuartia pentagyna, a beautiful shrub of the same natural order. The odd looking Christ's Thorn (Paliurus aculeatus) has here obtained a height of thirty feet; its awful looking spines even more horrid than those of a Gleditchia horrida, yet when, in the fall, covered with large red berries, it is highly ornamental.
We might continue these notes of this highly interesting place, till the whole number was filled, but we must find space to notice the beautiful Evergreen, Bigno-nia capreolata, which, as a hardy vine of great beauty - in flower or out - as Mr. Downing and others, in the pages of the Horticulturist, have long ago taken the opportunity to notice. One excellent character in it is its doing so well in deep shade.
To a Pomologist there is not much here to interest. There is, however, the much celebrated fine old Petre Pear - the parent of all the Petres; and also the original "Chapman" Pear, which, though not of high rank with Pomologists, those who like a fair sized juicy Pear of the old crassanne flavor, know well how to appreciate.
[The great Cypress at Bartram's has been our admiration since boyhood; it stood, when we first remember it, near a fine spring of water, but it seems to have appropriated the whole to itself, the spring having disappeared; its long spreading roots send up those curious large knobs which the Southern negroes appropriate for beehives; altogether this specimen forms the noblest tree within our knowledge. Twenty feet in circumference is small, it is true, compared with the Wellingtonia Gigantea, with a diameter of twenty-nine feet two inches, but it affords the mind some little opportunity to judge what the latter must be. Bartram's Garden is the cradle of American Botany; the best book and the most readable of its kind is "Darlington's life and correspondence of Bartram and Marshall," which can be heartily recommended to every lover of unsophisticated nature. We know of no such instructive botanical biography. - Ed].