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.
Several paragraphs in this journal have lately alluded to the Pampas Grass as highly ornamental. A number of questions regarding it have reached us, to which we reply, that it is scarcely known among us yet, though two or three friends have it coming forward. The following description is from the London Gardeners1 Chronicle: -
"One of the most interesting plants, now in flower at Turnham Green Gardens, is the Pampas Grass of Brazil (Gynerium, argenteum). This plant has twelve flower stems, each some eight feet long, about the thickness of the thumb, and supported by an erect panicle of inflorescence at least eighteen inches in length, which, beneath the bright sunshine, looks a beautiful, light-colored feather, spangled with silver; the panicle is in the form of the beautiful Arundo phragmites. The leaves, which are some seven or eight feet long, with a hard, flinty skin, grow in tussocks, which, in situations at all favorable, soon acquire a large size; when in flower, certainly few plants are more striking or magnificent in appearance than this gigantic grass, which, being perfectly hardy, will be found to be a great acquisition to ornamental grounds".
The Southern States may possess this beautiful ornament; at the North, it is much to be feared it will not succeed. The Gardeners' Chronicle gives this description: " A few blades of worthless grass in four months had formed a tuft large enough to be trusted to the unprotected ground; in four months more it had formed a great hemisphere of gracefully curving leaves. When winter came it went to rest; with warm weather it roused itself, and immediately commenced a gradual overflow of beautiful foliage, till in six months more it stood revealed in all the grace and majesty of its nature. It might be described as a fountain of vegetation, acquiring more and more force from day to day, till at last the gushing fluid sprang up into jets of living silver".
On a former page will be found an engraving of this new favorite.
The London Florist says: " For the decoration of gardens, the shrubbery, and rock-work, it is one of the most useful plants that have been introduced for some time. In appearance and height it rivals the Bamboo, and we can imagine few things that look better by the side of a piece of water, backed by clumps of dark Evergreens, Portugal Laurels, etc. Gynerium argenteum covers vast plains, the resort of immense herds of the quagga and wild horse, in the neighborhood of Buenos Ayres and the northern parts of Patagonia".
Keep the Pampas in the same pots till March, and in a cold pit, if you have one, or in the greenhouse, in frosty weather, and out in fine. Dig out a pit one yard across, and two feet deep, and fill it with fresh sandy loam, and a little very rotten dung, just what one would like for an early bed of Radishes. Plant the Pampas in this, and water once a week all through the summer. The best place for it is on the grass in front of evergreens, or the back part of a plant border, next to a Portugal Laurel. The dark evergreen is to set off the beauty of the spikes.
The principle of the Waltonian Case is the same as that by which tanks of water are heated, by passing hot-water pipes through them. The water is the body for retaining the heat in both cases. The chimney from the lamp, or gas-jet, in the Waltonian Case, must pass through a tin or zinc case full of water, as the hot-water pipes run through a tank. Heat a tube, or pipe, with either smoke, steam, gas, water, oil, or tan, and get the tube or pipe through a vessel of water, and the principle is the same. The water is heated by the heat of the tube, and parts with it slowly, and more uniformly than from tubes. If you bend a one-inch iron tube, and place the bent part against the back of a cottage grate, or the back of the fire, and run the two legs into a cupboard on either side of the fire, and there let both ends discharge into a can of water, on two levels, - one leg near the top, and the other leg near the bottom of the can, - you can have a can of boiling water in your cupboard. Or have a longer pipe, so as to get both legs out through the wall to the garden, or sun side of the house; then place the two legs in a long, flat, shallow vessel, like a beer-cooler, but on two levels, top and bottom, as in the can, and the beer-cooler will soon be as hot, or rather the water in the beer cooler will soon be as hot, as was the beer or wort when they put the hops in it.
From a lid to let up this heat, it would be easy to have bottom heat on a different principle from the Waltonian, - the principle of heating the water by its own circulation; while Mr. Walton heats by contact, without circulation.
To grow it well it requires a deep moist loam, heavily enriched with rotten manure and leaf mold; and during its season of vigorous growth - from the end of May to the end of September - it should be frequently supplied with weak liquid manure. Its natural habitat is beside the rapid and frequently swollen streams of South America. - Ibid., p. 174.