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.
He complains, and with perfect justice too, that with all our facilities of fruit culture, and an admirable climate, we have lost the love of gardening. " I am nearly disheartened to see the houses in nearly all parts of the country I have visited, as bald and bare and uninviting, from the absence of any trace of a garden, as the flank of any grim sea-rock. Along the banks of the Susquehanna - a region that seemed to me one of the noblest and sweetest of Nature's own gardens - I saw numbers of what appeared to be farmers' or respectable mechanics' houses, with hateful, tall green-flowered weeds leaning over the path to the door, and no trace of any plant useful to man, or beautiful. Sometimes the walls started stark-naked from hard and not clean pathways. Sometimes a few insect-worried cabbages approached even the door-step. What a difference between what Mr. Carlyle calls 'an umbrageous man's rest, in which a king might wish to sit and smoke, and call it his,' with its roses and honeysuckles and fuchsias clambering in through the very windows in crowds, and the dreary, arid prospect round thousands of American houses.
" I have been told more than once that the climate discourages people from attending to gardens; but that this is not the real cause, I know; for I have seen not a few villa gardens in this country as fresh and beautiful as any with us. I notice the old flowers of English gardens thriving here and there, and even if such subjects should 'burn up' in summer, have you not sub-tropical plants wherewith to embellish your gardens with deep and graceful verdure ? Everywhere I have been sub-tropical plants thrive better than they do with us, and Carinas and Caladiums ought to be as easily preserved through the winter here as the dahlia of an English garden".
Here, at last, we have a candid opinion from an unprejudiced person, and behold how well it confirms the very words we wrote to the English Gardener's Magazine, on the Characteristics of American Horticulture. Every word of ours is fully proved by the best of witnesses. In that article we deplored the lack of gardening in America. We deplored the exclusive attention to fruit. We said that the great mass of the people had little love for horticulture for its own sake, save as a means to make money, while home gardening had never been as fully encouraged and developed as it ought. Our friends of the American Agriculturist and Gardener's Monthly, who felt we were doing injustice to our side of the Atlantic Ocean, can now see what others think of us, and find that our position is sustained after all.