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.
Natchez is pre-eminently the " Persia of roses." In no part of the Union have we ever seen them attain such perfection and beauty. It so happened that we were in this Paradise at exactly the "happy moment," the 4th of April, when there was a gush of bloom that was as delightful as surprising.
The best exhibition was at the garden of Mr. Andrew Brown, on the river, a short distance above the town, sheltered by a high bank. Here reside Mr. and Mrs. Brown, in the handsomest garden, without exception, we have seen for many years. Both are enthusiasts, directing and enjoying to the fullest extent their beautiful domain, and by their liberality and goodness in dispensing novelties brought at great expense from long distances, have created a gardening spirit in this region. The entrance view of their long garden vista tells the story at once; an eye accustomed to looking after effects is delighted, and knows what to expect. After this coup, the details are highly satisfactory; the borders of each bed, where we should depend upon box edgings, are formed of dwarf pompone roses, little miniatures of a few inches in height, and all of them in the fullest bloom. Nothing of the kind can be more beautiful; it blooms all winter except January, and is an evergreen. Mr. Brown's Chromatella, Luxemburg, La Reine, Belle Isidore, Solfaterre, Cloth of Gold of a really gold color, it was difficult to designate, and we had to ask their names, so very superior in size and color are they to the same kinds at home.
The Sanguines climbs to the height of eighteen feet over evergreens that add to its beauty. Moss roses are quite superior to those of Paris. The Gloire de France was never exceeded anywhere. Heine de la Gul-tare measured thirteen inches in circumference. Myrtle is used for borders and hedges, and over these clamber in wild luxuriance the Red Hermosa and the Lamarck. Ivy seems as if it would encircle every mound and tree, knowing no limits.
Then the fruits; peaches, pears, plums, fig-trees as large as our apple-trees, all conspire to carry the garden lover out of his former experiences. Grapes damp off, and though Mr. Brown has planted long acres of them, he has not a satisfactory return. The Pittisporum is cut like box bushes, and was full of bees and bloom. The evergreen magnolia has been made much of in this garden, and Mr. and Mrs. Brown deserve great praise for showing what a garden may become with intelligence and love of the subject. Mr. B. is a correspondent of several learned societies, and has done good service to science by exploring the geology of the Mississippi Valley.
Coniferous trees have not been much introduced here, but they have an evergreen substitute of extreme beauty and value. The Gloria Mundi, as it is here usually called, is a feature that with care in other matters makes the gardens of Natchez rival the finest in England. It is the Prunus Lauro-cerasus, growing as rampantly as the Osage Orange, and may be trimmed into every shape. The finest effects are produced with it as single plants, avenues, and hedges.
After visiting many beautiful, nay, superb residences, we passed a day at the beautiful seat of General Quitman, where hospitality and refinement rule supreme. An elegant mansion, fine garden, and park-like grounds commanding fine views, first impress the stranger, but an introduction to the owner is an event to remember. General Qnitman posseses more mementos of the high estimation of his countrymen than any man we know, and he has filled more honorable offices than we can enumerate; so that it is somewhat difficult to address a gentleman so full of titles. You may say Governor, General, Congressman, and a long list of epithets'without going wrong. We were shown the numerous swords presented to him, and were astounded at the display. Commander of the City of Mexico, General Quitman has a set of superb pictures of the place, and others of the successful battles in which he fought. A fine and productive garden is found here, the General understanding all its details. A very valuable library leaves nothing to desire.
We must only enumerate the beautiful residences of the millionaires of Natchez, or we shall run such riot as will leave no space for our valued correspondents.
Natchez being on a high bluff, enjoys the reputation of a healthy situation, and here resort the wealthy cotton planters of this region, uniting to form a society that has few if any superiors in the world for intellectual cultivation, elegance, and refinement. The following are the country-seats we saw: -
Dr. Mercer's, Laurel Hill; Gen. Quitman's, Monmouth; Mrs. Williams', Ashland; Mrs. Ogden, Kenilworth; Mrs. Dunbar, Hawthorn; Judge Boyd's, Arlington; Major Chotard's, Somerset; Mr. McMurran's, Montrose; Mr. Marshall's, Richmond; Dr. Duncan's, Auburn; Mr. Shields', Montebello; Mrs. Elliot's, Devereux; Mr. J. P. Walworth's, The Burn; Mr. Surget's, Clifton.
We are afraid to trust ourselves with any further description of Natchez, and leave its hospitalities with regret, only adding the single remark, to avoid its hotels.
Our next number must conclude the reminiscences of this highly interesting "trip".