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.
Broad-leaved Evergreens, or others than Coniferae, are still the great want of ornamental gardening in the Northern and Middle States. And although, during the past few years, numbers of experimental trials have been made to test the hardihood both of old favorites and newly introduced plants, yet it can not be said that the results have proved very satisfactory; and excepting the Pinus tribe, few will be found added to our collections as perfectly hardy and fitted to endure the severity of our winters without protection. It is not enough that a plant holds its foliage and does tolerably well when planted in the shelter of a thick wood, or surrounded with a dense mass of Spruces or other hardy evergreens; it should be able to stand alone, and in such positions as are required, where it can be seen and admired in all its beauty.
When the Deodar Cedar was first introduced, hopes were raised of having a splendid addition to our hardy evergreens; but the test of a few winters has nearly destroyed them all, and north of Philadelphia, I might almost say of Baltimore, it is entirely neglected as unsuited to the climate. True, in favorable winters, and we sometimes have several together, it flourishes pretty well, losing, perhaps, only its leaves; hut then comes one of extra severity, and the plant is either entirely killed, or so permanently injured as to become an eyesore wherever seen. The same might be said also of the Cryptomeria, the Redwood, (Taxodium aempervirens,) Libocedrus decurrens, L. Chiliensis, Cunninghamia Sinensis, Arau-caria imbricata, Cupressus funebris, C. torulosa, Podocarpus coriacea, Euonymus Japonicus, E. fimbriatus, Ligustrum Japonicum, Ilex cornuta, together with a large lot of such old favorites as the Portugal Laurel, Sweet Bay, Laurustinus, Aucuba Japonica, Magnolia grandiflora, Olea fragrans, English Hollies, etc.
Some of these are seen occasionally planted out, and protected in the winter by coverings of straw, mats, boxes, or barrels; but at best these only partially effect the purpose, for in the spring, when uncovered, they are usually sadly shorn of their beauty, and present a sorry picture of dead leaves and injured shoots. An objection to such coverings, besides the trouble, more particularly when the plants attain any considerable size, is, they give a lawn or garden a bald appearance, worse even than deciduous shrubs.
Now, then, we can not afford to discard these altogether, and they take up too much room in an ordinary green-house, which can be better filled with Camellias, Daphnes, Acacias, and other choice winter-flowering plants.
The simplest and most effectual plan for preserving them in health during the winter is sheltering them in underground sheds, such as are commonly used by nurserymen for storing young stocks or newly imported trees in the winter season. A shed of this kind is easily constructed, and at a small cost, and when properly done will effectually keep out frost without the aid of fire-heat. Choose a spot that can be readily drained if necessary, and excavate to the depth of, say, five or six feet, and of a width of about fifteen feet; build up the sides with brick laid in cement, (or, if the sub-soil is gravel or sand, locust posts and plank can be used,) to the height of a foot above the surrounding surface, leaving a place for an entrance at one end. On this wall construct a roof, a span, resting on a plate, with spaces for sashes on either side. A shed thirty feet in length would require five sashes, three on one side and two intermediate on the other. The eaves should project sufficiently over to carry from the wall all water falling on the roof. Shatters for the sashes should be provided for severe weather.
The roof should he ceiled inside with tongue-and-grooved boards, and all thoroughly painted.
Grown in large pots or tubs, your plants can be stored in the winter season, and in the spring readily removed to the lawn or terrace. If grown in pots, when removed to the garden plunging to the rims in the earth will be found advantageous. A number of plants, however, will be found to require neither pots nor tubs, as their yearly removal will cause them to have perfectly matted balls of fibres, which can be preserved entire; and when removed to the shed and covered with earth, will be found fresh and healthy in the spring. The number of plants that can be preserved in a house of this kind is surprising; and not the least of its recommendations is its economy, as it requires no expense for fuel, and trouble attending fires. Watering will occasionally be required, and on fine days air should be given.
In addition to the plants already named, the following would succeed admirably, viz.: Agapanthus, Berberis Fortunii, Mahonia Bealii, Illiciums, Agaves, Pittosporum, Pomegranates, Escallonias, Myrtles, Tritomas, Hydrangeas, Erithry-nas, Brugmansias, Cape Jasmins, Oleanders, Figs, etc.
[The above, from an enthusiastic lover of evergreens, possesses a peculiar value, and will be read with interest by every one who has a lawn. A shed, such as he recommends, ought to be an accessory to every man's place; besides the plants named by "Professional," there are scores of others that might find a place there. The suggestion is a valuable one, and would probably carry greater weight with it were we at liberty to give "Professional's" name. Suffice it to say, that he is known and appreciated all over the country as one of our most accomplished horticulturists, and we have to regret that we can not bring him out oftener. - Ed].