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.
Mr. Editor, - Some twenty-five years ago, it was the custom of a neighbor of our's, to throw open his garden gates on a certain Sunday in each year, when multitudes from town and country, would flock together to see the tulips, of which there was perhaps a greater display than in any one other garden in the whole county.
Your correspondent, then being but a stripling of a boy, whose parents thought proper to keep out of such crowds, was sorely vexed, for even then I admired flowers; but thanks to the kind proprietor, (an old bachelor,) who would take me through his garden on a week day, show me his flowers, his trees, wild geese and ducks, domesticated Guinea fowls, rare hens, etc. Oh, how these little incidents call me back a quarter of a century, and make me feel almost young again.
Well! tulips and hyacinths were ever after favorites with me, but I never had a choice one of my own, until my interest was again excited by seeing a report of the Philadelphia exhibitions for several years, wherein I noticed in nearly all instances Peter Raab, (our florist friend,) of Seventh and Parrish streets, Philadelphia, took the highest premiums.
Last summer I ordered from him some bulbs of both tulips and hyacinths; owing to the delay of the vessel which imported the bulbs, I did not get them until December, and thought it would be a poor affair; yet I planted them as well as I knew how. This spring they started early; and such hyacinths! why, the very best I could find in well-kept gardens here, were no comparison to the very poorest of mine. Every color, from pure white to nearly black; double and single, had spikes nearly a foot long. They were the admiration of every one. Every one ordered roots, but I had to tell them they were not for sale. Instead of selling what I have, my order for some hundreds more has been sent to Europe some time ago. Any one who has once seen such hyacinths as those will not think of being without them. The tulips were equally fine, and showed the country people here what tulips are. M.