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 is needless to say that this is one of the most important commercial horticultural establishments on the Continent. Visitors to Ghent make a. rule to inspect it, and we never yet met with a lover of gardening who was disappointed. During the past summer it has had most formidable difficulties to contend with, now happily surmounted. Of all things water is the most necessary in gardens, especially on the Continent. M. V.Houtte found himself suddenly without any. The place had always been amply supplied by seven deep wells sunk some 20 years ago. These suddenly became dry. The water they had supplied had, moreover, deposited so much sediment in the pipes of his hot-water apparatus that it became choked up and would work no longer. Two important operations had, therefore, to be undertaken; to secure a new supply of water, and to reconstruct the whole heating apparatus of the nursery.
To obtain an unfailing supply of water advantage was taken of the dryness of the Scheldt itself to sink in its bed a huge coffer, the sides of which were pierced with holes. This was connected by means of a cast-iron 3-inch pipe 1900 feet long with a forcing-pump worked by a little donkey steam-engine, capable of throwing the water 26 feet high into a new reservoir holding nearly 9000 gallons. From this reservoir the water now flows through a fountain into a small "lake" which decorates the entrance of the establishment, and feeds 180 smaller cement basins all placed on the same level, whence it may be distributed over every part of the 8 acres, thus affording an effectual power of irrigation. We understand that some acres of Tea Roses and Rhododendrons which are thus flooded occasionally, are most grateful for the ammonia and phosphoric acid which the dirty lazy Scheldt conveys to them.
The new heating has been accomplished by means of the one-boiler system, for which Mr. Weeks was called in. Sixteen stokeholes to 16 boilers had been used. For these was substituted one stokehole and one boiler, with a boiler in reserve in case of accident. The other day, says a correspondent, "on a mis le feu au poudrc, tout se chauffait a rovir, et M. V. Houette etait des plus satisfaits." The work was done, not only well at last, but satisfactorily from the beginning. Mr. Weeks's foreman showed that he perfectly understood his business, and this specimen of concentrated heating has added another interesting feature to the great establishment in which it is placed.
We learn that the Flore des Serres, the regular appearance of which has been arrested by the accidents thus described, is about to reappear with all its former punctuality. - London News.