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.
One of the most remarkable catalogues ever published has just appeared in Leyden; it contains a priced list of the Japanese plants actually cultivated in the nursery of Siebold & Co., of that place. As is well known, the Dutch monopolize the intercourse of Europeans with Japan, the country most in climate like the British Isles, but resplendent with a vegetation infinitely richer and more varied. Camellia, Cephalotaxus, Cryptomeria, Aucuba, Chimonanthus, Clematis, and Pyrus Japonica, sufficiently indicate how beautiful and hardy is the Flora of Japan, to say nothing of Weigela, Forsythia, and the whole race of Montana. Availing themselves of their commercial privileges, the Dntoh have sedulously occupied themselves with the acquisition of everything most worthy of introduction to Europe, and the result is already a total number of 3 or 400 species and varieties offered for sale by the firm above mentioned. Of so curious an assemblage we are sure that a brief acoonnt will be interesting to all lovers of gardens.
We shall, however, confine our remarks to what are represented to be hardy races.
In the first rank stand Conifers, among which we find four species of Cephalotaxus, Juni-perus japonica and procumbent, Pinus densiftora and "the true" P. Massoniana, Podocarpus Coraiana, Retinvspora squarrosa, and that famous Thuja dolabraia. The last has no price attached.
Among forest-trees are mentioned two Sycamores, Acer japonicum and polymorphum, the stock of which is held by Van Houtte, and Ulmns Kejaki, which, we are assured, furnishes the most valuable timber known in Japan.
Fruit-trees comprehend a very early Apricot called Armeniaca Mume, whose early rose-colored flowers are extremely ornamental, while the fruit, owing to the firmness of the flesh, is particularly well adapted for preserving. There is also a plant allied to Pyrus japonica, named Chamomiles umbilicata, thns described: " The fruit of this variety is perfumed like Violets, and, in the hands of the confectioner, surpasses in flavor all the fruit in our gardens." Mention, moreover, is made of a Japanese variety of Peach.
Small flowering trees and shrubs form a considerable part of the catalogue. The following appear to be the most remarkable: Acacia Nemu; a weeping Apricot named Armeniaca pendula, whose branches are described as falling almost perpendicularly; a new variety or two of Aucuba japonica; Catalpa Kampferi; a Judas tree, Cercis chinensis; Corylopsis spicata, a small bush resembling the Hazel; Weigela hortensis; Indigofera Iwqfiui; a variety of Kolreuteria japonica; a new Privet; Lilsoea glauca, a yellow-berried Laurel; Malm Toringo floribunda, and Rinxo, three dwarf Apples, abundant flowerers, well adapted for forcing;
Rhus Otbeckiiy "on whose leaves galls are formed of better quality than those of Aleppo;" Ligtutrum Ibota, the true wax Privet, on which the wax insect (Asiraca cerifera) naturally feeds; two Roses, called Iwara and Camellia; Spiraea ruputris; Tamarix chinentis; and a great mar sorts of Tree Fawny.
Finally, there is a considerable number of herbaceous plants, among which are included several new kinds of Funlcia and Lilium, a Burdock called Lappa edulis, the roots of which are eaten like Scononera; a couple of Irises; Polygonatum japonicum, whose roots are a substitute for Asparagus; a Polygonum called Sieboldi, recommended as a green crop for cattle food, as an excellent bee plant, etc. etc.; and the Chinese Tarn, which M. Siebold calls Dioscorea opposita, and to the hardiness of which he fully testifies. He also offers seeds of the Soja japonioa, the real plant from which the sauce called Soy is prepared.
Some of these novelties have been already introduced into England, and are offered for sale by E. G. Henderson. Who will be the first to advertise these interesting articles in America?
Washington City, D. C, June 3,1856.
J. Jay Smith, Esq. Dear Sir: I have just sent to your address a box of Strawberries, a new French variety - Vicomtesse Herioast de Thury (one which I received under the name of Duchesse de Traveso proves to be the same). I have grown this strawberry two seasons, and have no hesitation in pronouncing it first rate in every respect - its foliage is large and firm, and not subject to scorch or burn under the fierce rays of our summer's sun. And through the last intense cold winter it passed unhurt without the slightest protection - here then are the two first and most essential qualities for a strawberry to possess, namely, hardiness and capability of withstanding brilliant sun. The fruit you will perceive is of good size, bright color, firm flesh, and exquisite flavor - in addition it is a most abundant bearer, swelling off a fine crop of fruit of uniform size.
I have now fruiting Omar Pacha, Nimrod, Comtesse de Marne, Princess Royal, with many other new French and English kinds. Respectfully yours, John Saul.
[The box was received and the berries were in the finest condition. We pronounce the Vicomtesse a valuable fruit, with the qualities given above. It will be an excellent market variety, some of the berries having kept perfectly, after their journey, for five days, without the least decay. - Ed].