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 really encouraging to behold our State Horticultural and Pomological Societies actually leaving the dry and profitless discussion of fruits, and taking up more time with the search for information about planting more trees, shrubs, vines, and ornamental plants. The difference between growing fruits for the palate for profit, or plants for their ornamental value, is decidedly marked. We are reminded, in this connection, of the remarks made some time ago by S. B. Parsons, before one of the Clubs of New York, in the course of which he said:
"Those who grow fruits for market do so for the purpose of making money by filling the stomachs of their customers. This is certainly a commendable and legitimate transaction, and I would not wish to discourage any one who is engaged in this business; still, there is very little in the mere act of growing fruits or plants for sale, that will develop the higher elements of our nature. But, on the other hand, the man who purchases a fine tree or shrub for the purpose of ornamenting his grounds, does not look upon them as a source of profit, but purely as an ornament - something that he can and does enjoy, free from sordid thoughts. I have been all through the various fruit fevers' that have prevailed during the past twenty years. I planted a large pear orchard; but the blight killed a portion, and a dry summer finished the remainder. When the grape fever was at Its height, I planted two acres of Delaware; but my profits have been exceedingly small. Other varieties have done better, and with some kinds of fruit I have been partially successful. The taste for horticulture is rapidly increasing, and probably in no one branch is it more apparent than that of ornamental plants. Few men will, at the present time, live in a house not surrounded with ornamental trees.
These may not be of the most costly varieties; and it is not necessary that they should be, for the dearest are not always the best. Our native trees are as beautiful as those of any other country, and the masses should become better acquainted with them by planting specimens in their grounds. I do not know of a more beautiful tree than the tulip, or whitewood, as it is* sometimes called. The sugar or silver maples, liquid amber, magnolias, and scores of other native trees are to be had very cheap, and often for the mere cost of digging and planting.
"There is, however, a great want of taste in those who plant trees about their dwellings, and a majority of our people place them too near; and when they become large they overshadow the buildings and make the place look gloomy. No large trees should be placed nearer than one hundred feet to a dwelling-house. Place your large trees in a group, where they will form a background, and then gradually tone down with smaller trees and shrubs, until you reach the house, leaving it free to sunlight and air. Evergreen trees may also be planted in groups, or as borders to extensive grounds, and smaller evergreen shrubs placed within or by the side of them.
" There is too much sameness in the appearance of the leaves of our large evergreen trees to furnish a very great variety; but, by introducing what are termed the broad-leaved evergreen shrubs, a striking effect can be produced. The rhododendrons are probably the very finest and best of all. Their leaves are not only superb, giving a cheerful appearance to a garden even in winter; but their flowers add.another charm, which must be seen to be appreciated."