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.
This is another of those pretty villa residences that have sprung up within the last few years, giving a character to this interesting neighborhood. The grounds are of limited extent, but the green-house and shrubbery contain some objects of rarity and interest, which give the place a more interesting character than it would otherwise possess.
Considering all the bearings of this place, we think the hot-houses and green-house, most unfortunately situated. Built on the side of a deep bank, with the back running within a few rods of, and parallel to, the main front of the mansion, the back walls and chimneys present a very ungardenesque appearance from the piazza of the house. 'Tis not very uncommon to see persons making such a hobby-horse of one stereotyped idea, that they entirely destroy every other therewith connected. The hot-houses at this pretty place, are a standing manifestation of this fact; not from any fault in the worthy proprietor, who has spared no expense in their construction, but from a cause which has been also the bane of hundreds of others besides.
The range consists of two graperies, with a green-house between them, spanned on the projecting ridge and furrow plan. The former are good houses for growing grapes, and most elegantly finished and fitted up. The green-house in the center is, I believe, a counterpart, if not an exact copy, of the one at Mr. Bio blow's, noticed in my last. It is approached from the house by a spiral stair-way, which descends from the ground level behind, and enters the green-house through a door in the back wall; a most awkward and unhandsome arrangement, to say the least of it. In fact, this plant-house is more out of place than any structure of a similar kind I ever beheld. But it stands under the lee of a deep terrace, and that consideration was apparently sufficient to counterbalance all others; at least all others have been made subservient to it, although finer sites than is presented by other parts of the ground, could scarcely be found. We believe Mr. Lelland contemplates an addition to his plant-house this season, which is not yet begun; and were it not for the fine orange and lemon trees now crowded together, we would be tempted to wish that it never would.
It is seldom that the plan or appearance of a structure of this character, can be improved by alteration or enlargement, and unsuccessful attempts generally leave the building worse than at first. Besides, it would hardly be advisable to make the conservatory project farther on the vineries than it does at present, and the same money which would be required to make this house what its proprietor wishes, would build a better structure from the foundation, and upon a far better site.
The orange and lemon trees alluded to are indeed splendid - we thought the finest trees we had ever seen, and the fruits too were splendid. Even in our comparatively tropical southern states where the orange grows with far more luxuriance than in our green-houses here, the fruit for size, richness, and abundance, could not be surpassed. We felt sorry to see them so much crowded for want of room to extend their branches, but notwithstanding their crowded condition, they were in vigorous health. The house contained many other good plants, and had the beautiful Wistaria, in full bloom, trained on a trellis under the roof; though hardly in its proper place, is nevertheless a beautiful object, and forms an agreeable contrast to the dark green foliage of the plants beneath.
The vines here are vines in good earnest - we never saw such young wood as they made last year - the canes nearly an inch in diameter. In one house the vines were just commencing their growth, which contained also a fine lot of peaches in pots. Why is this plan of producing early peaches not more extensively adopted? Fine early crops can be produced, and with very little trouble or expense, and lucky are they who this winter have peaches under glass, for there will be very few out of doors; indeed none at all about here. There is not a single peach tree in my garden, rather sheltered too, that has a young shoot alive. How fares it with them on the Hudson, and in the peach orchards of New Jersey?*
There are many other objects of interest about here that I would mention, but I shall throw aside my pen till another time. Tours truly, Horticola.