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.
Toronto, still the capital, presents few attractive features to the traveller, except the Government Library, in which are collected many treasures that have not found their way across the border. The sandy soil of the site is a drawback to the planter, but they are active in public works, have a long planted avenue leading towards the grand new college in progress, and efforts are made by private individuals to secure beauty and shade on their premises which have not been in vain. Probably the talked-of removal of the government officials to Ottawa has retarded the progress of Toronto. The Governor's mansions, in town and out, have some fine trees. Leaving till next month a brief allusion to the Rapids of St. Lawrence, we come to Montreal. Few sites for a city can ever expect to rival Montreal for beauty of situation. The lower part is devoted to business, and rising like successive terraces, the views are as fine as eye could wish. The winter climate, though severe, is less so than that of Quebec, and around both, that of summer is not exceeded for salubrity and beauty.
Their flora may be less than that of more southern latitudes, but the grass and trees are as green as any part of the United States; if they have fewer ornamental trees to select from, they treat the very considerable number they possess so judiciously that the eye scarcely misses the deficiencies. In bulbs, roses, and bedding out plants they quite equal us - indeed we were sometimes tempted to think they exceed our average. Glass is so extensively used, that they have a great supply ready for the first blush of spring; we saw as good beds of verbenas, etc., as in the most favored regions.
Our expectations of seeing ornamental places, green-houses and graperies, were greatly exceeded on our arrival here. Horticulture is much in favor, and there are probably more glass structures for fruit and flowers in Montreal, than in any other city of the same population on our continent.
We found the amiable President of their effective Horticultural Society, James Ferrier, Jr., Esq., son of the Hon. James Ferrier, and the able Secretary, S. Jones Lyman, Esq., prepared to receive us, and make our stay in every respect agreeable and instructive. Mr. William Brown, of the Cote des Neiges Nurseries, near the city, was also in waiting to give us his valuable time and services in a tour of inspection. To these and others we are under great obligations.
The old town of Montreal is at the foot of the mountain, the gentle first ascent of which has been finely treated by laying out wide streets, and cutting up the ground into large lots of many acres each - some smaller and some more extensive. The views thus obtained are of the finest description; city, river, and distant mountains afford an ever-varying scene; the changes of light from sunshine to storm, from the half concealment of mist or rain, the moonlit distance, and the rising of the sun, are here enjoyed in perfection. Taking advantage of the mountain side, each seat has some novelty of scene, some variety of surface, some peculiarity, which makes an ever-recurring anxiety in the visitor to discover who has been most successful in selecting the commanding locality. Where so many are extremely beautiful, it is difficult to decide. We proceed in the order in which we visited them.
Seat of the Hon. James Leslie; Peter Turner, gardener. This is a very handsome and most comfortable and home-like residence, with a garden in which excellent care was evident in each operation in progress. Early in July everything had the luxuriance of spring; the roses were in perfection, and a vast number of fine flowers and fruit trees grace every nook and corner. Peaches of good quality are produced on walls, or covered by matting on cold nights,, precisely as in England; the Black Apricot is hardy with moderate shelter. Mr. Leslie's grapery was in excellent condition. He cultivates the Black Hamburgh, Black Cluster, White Sweetwater, Royal Chasselas, Wellington, Ac., and has a prospect of a noble crop. Mr. Turner has exhibited native grapes from the open ground, but generally only moderate success attends their culture in Montreal.
Mr. James Cooper, a most worthy and estimable man, is engaged very extensively as a market gardener. For years he has been one of the successful competitors at the Horticultural Society's exhibitions. His greenhouses, containing a valuable collection of plants and vines, were destroyed during the great fire, but he has lately built a commercial grapery in excellent style, and expects to be rewarded by the sale of the fruit, at fifty cents the pound. His vines are young, but very promising.
A. M. Delisle, Esq., has a young grapery, a conservatory attached to the house, and a fine garden, filled with fruit and flowers.
William Lunn, Esq. ; Mr. Middleton, gardener. Here we found all the accompaniments of a gentleman's homestead; a great extent of glass, and more going up; large plots of the newest verbenas and other showy bedding plants; graperies in the finest health, and a commercial business transacted which evidenced a most extensive demand for the ornamental, no less than the useful. Mr. Lunn is an enthusiast, who combines with a love of the subject a spirit of enterprise which gives him the full enjoyment of his pursuit, with no doubt a good return.
Mr. Lunn has plantations of grapes in the open air, including the White Sweetwater and Black Cluster, and has occasionally ripened the Black Hamburgh, by great care, without protection. His neighbor, Henry Chapman, Esq., has a very fine stove and green-house, containing a valuable collection of choice exotics and rare plants, maintained at considerable expense. The grounds are laid out with taste, and evinced careful cultivation.
Mrs. Holland's seat; John Ingles, gardener. This is a very fine example of successful planting, good keeping, and of a lovely home. The operations of a thorough establishment are ably superintended by Mr. Ingles. His lawns were in the best condition of an English garden; flowers and fruit seemed regardless of the winters they had encountered, and smiled and coquetted with the sun as if they had never known the absence of its ardent rays. The grapery here is worthy of remark, but where nearly all the houses we visited were in the best order, it seems almost invidious to particularize. The English style is conspicuous everywhere, and it needs no comments of admiration.