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.
I inclose a stem, with leaves attached, of the vine I mentioned in my note. Since I wrote you, I believe I have found out the vine. In Volume VI., page 141, of the Horticulturist, Mr. Downing speaks of a vine in the Bartram Garden which I suspect to be the same thing. It is the Golden Trumpet flower, Bignonia capriolata. There is not; in the place referred to, a satisfactory description of that vine, and I may, very probably, be mistaken as to its identity. However, you can tell by the sample I sent. [It is Bignonia capriolata. - Ed].
I do not know what parts of Kentucky to recommend to you to visit as most beautiful in park scenery; that portion of the State where the blue grass grows most luxuriantly, is certainly as lovely and pleasing to the eye as could be desired. The total want of undergrowth gives the whole face of the country a park-like appearance. The cause of this want of undergrowth is, that, originally, it was a dense cane-brake, and I have noticed wherever the cane has been eaten out, or killed out, nothing seems to take its place for years. In the mountainous portions of the State I have never been, but, I doubt not, the same beautiful views which burst upon the eyes of the early pioneers, are to be seen still.
Of this portion of Kentucky, known as the Green River country, I can speak more knowingly. I think, as a general thing, we have trees of as large and beautiful growth as can be found this side the Rocky Mountains. Our magnificent poplars (known as tulip-trees) are most aptly described by Mr. Downing, in his Landscape Gardening, but, when he comes to speak of the Sweet Gum as only attaining a height of thirty-five or forty feet, he never conceived the injustice he did the tree. I have frequently seen them in the rich Mississippi bottoms, six feet in diameter, and fully one hundred feet high; and many other of our most magnificent forest-trees are, unfortunately, only spoken of as they appear in a more northern climate.
That portion of the State called the Barrens, is worth seeing. When the State was first settled, there was little or no timber upon it, but now, most of it is covered with timber of small size, and generally of the oak species.
I should like to show you our river bottoms, the most extensive on the Ohio, where you can see the cotton woods and sycamores in all their pride of place, the finest specimen of black walnut, hickory, pecan, honey locust, hackberry, and box-elder, the eye of man ever rested upon; and last, but not least, my pet vine, hanging in beautiful drapery from the boughs of the monarchs of the forest. I could also show you a region of country (about ten thousand acres in extent) where the beaver once flourished, built their dams, and sported at pleasure, before the white men invaded their haunts. In those ponds, formed by the beaver, yon can see the cypress in all its glory, and, on the ridges close by, yon see the finest specimens of oak to be found anywhere.
In pomology I hope to interest you much, not that we have anything to boast of, but, on the contrary, we wish you to lend a helping hand, to lift us out of our obscurity. We want a Western Pomologist; all the works now written, so far as I know, are by Eastern men, who were wholly unacquainted with our fruits. It would be worth a pomologist's attention to investigate this subject, and write a book upon the " fruits and fruit-trees of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, and Tennessee." Such a work is greatly needed, and I hope the day is not far off when we shall be granted so great a boon. Your correspondent from Trenton, living within eighty miles of this place, mentions several varieties of apples I never heard of - at least, not by the names he calls them.
[Hooper's Western Fruit Book, published at Cincinnati this year, might aid our correspondent. We hope to examine this work soon. - Ed].