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.
Dear Sir: I was delighted with the communieation of your friend "S," in the July number, and I trust that no consideration will deter him from giving a further account of his experience, no matter how anomalous the facts may appear. Such articles must be interesting to all, and especially so to the young gardener, tending, as they do, to awaken a spirit of inquiry, and to prevent those early-formed prejudices so difficult to eradicate, and so inimical to the true interests of horticulture. But, apropos to the remarks of your correspondent, and in support of his opinion, that the atmosphere is the storehouse from which plants are fed, allow me to record a very striking circumstance with which I have long been familiar.
An old lady of my acquaintance, in Scotland, is possessed of a relic in the shape of a scarlet geranium, which has been the pride of her parlor window for upwards of thirty years! Every day during that long period, it has received its customary cup of cold spring water, and every summer, without further care, it blooms, and has bloomed, most abundantly. But stranger still, and more to the point, is the fact known to all the neighbors, and attested to by the lady herself, that the plant of which I write has stood in the same pot and in the same soil! ever since it came into her possession. In childhood, I have stood at the old lady's window, and wondered how the shining beauty could live, and grow, and blossom, in the hard, dry earth, that seemed to be part and parcel of the same antique vessel which contained it; and since I have become a gardener, the memory of the old geranium has done much to mould my ideas of the natural requirements of plants, and to convince me that however important the constituents of the soil may be, they are not, by any means, "the chief good".
With trifling exceptions, one plain mixture of porous earth is all I have ever used in potting, varying it simply by adding or withholding manure according aa the plant is or is not a rapid grower, and I find it to answer the purpose completely.
Trusting that some of our experienced and " knowing ones" will no longer hide their candle under a bushel, but, like friend " S," come forth cheerfully to aid in the world's progress, I am, etc.
[We shall be glad to hear from our correspondent again. - Ed].