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.
The June exhibition of this Society was held at their Hall in Westchester, last week. The efficient officers and managers of the institution had spared no pains to fit up the building in the most tasteful and convenient manner for the accommodation of the lovers of Flora, mechanics, artists and manufacturers - as well as for the accommodation of visitors.
Some account of the numerous articles which were presented, with most of the premiums, will be found in the Record to day, under our Horticultural Department. It is necessarily imperfect, as indeed no pen could do justice to the many beautiful specimens of natural objects, arranged and prepared by the hand of beauty and taste. There were magnificent specimens of green-house plants - and numerous designs of flowers, shrubs, grasses and vegetables. The atmosphere was fragrant with the perfume of the flowers, and at the same time vocal with the songs of birds and the noise of the fountain. There were some beautiful specimens of moss work, and also grottoes of shell which could only be fully admired by being carefully studied out and examined. The needle work adorned various parts of the Hall, exhibiting many rich designs wrought out with a taste and judgment that could be looked for only in the cultivated minds of the gentler sex. The walls of the building were adorned with a number of exquisite paintings in water colors and pastil, reflecting great credit upon the artists.
In the department of wax flowers and vegetables. and
The leading topic of town gossip and newspaper paragraphs just now, in New-York, is the new park proposed by Mayor Kingsland. Deluded New York has, until lately, contented itself with the little door-yards of space - mere grass plats of verdure, which form the squares of the city, in the mistaken idea that they are parks. The fourth city in the world, (with a growth that will soon make it the second,) the commercial metropolis of a continent spacious enough to border both oceans, has not hitherto been able to afford sufficient land to give its citizens, (the majority of whom live there the whole year round,) any breathing space for pure air, any recreation ground for healthful exercise, any pleasant roads for riding or driving, or any enjoyment of that lovely and refreshing natural beauty from which they have, in leaving the country, reluctantly expatriated themselves for so many years - perhaps for ever. Some few thousands, more fortunate than the rest, axe able to escape for a couple of mouths, into the country, to find repose for body and soul, in its leafy groves and pleasant pastures, or to inhale new life on the refreshing sea-shore. But in the mean time the city is always full- Its steady population of 500,000 souls, is always there; always on the increase.
Every ship brings a live cargo from over-peopled Europe, to fill up its crowded lodging-houses; every steamer brings hundreds of strangers to fill its thronged thoroughfares. Crowded hotels, crowded streets, hot summers, business pursued till it becomes a game of excitement, pleasure followed till its votaries are exhausted, where is the quiet reverse side of this picture of town life, intensified almost to distraction?
Mayor Kingsland spreads it out to the vision of the dwellers in this and desert of business and dissipation - a green oasis for the refreshment of the city's soul and body. He tells the citizens of that feverish metropolis, as every intelligent man will tell them who knows the cities of the old world, that New-York, and American cities nature, and her innocent recreations. That because it is needful in civilized life for men to live in cities. - yes, and unfortunately too, for children to be born and educated without a daily sight of the blessed horizon. - it is not, therefore, needful for them to be so miserly as to live utterly divorced from all pleasant and healthful intercourse with gardens and green fields. He informs them that cool umbrageous groves have not forsworn themselves within town limits, and that half a million of people have a right to ask for the "greatest happiness" of parks and pleasure grounds, as well as for paving stones and gas lights.
Now that public opinion has fairly settled that a park is necessary, the parsimonious declare that the plot of 160 acres proposed by Mayor Kingsland is extravagantly large. Short sighted economists! If the future growth of the city were confined to the boundaries their narrow vision would fix, it would soon cease to be the commercial emporium of the country. If they were the purveyors of the young giant, he would soon present the sorry spectacle of a robust youth magnificently developed, but whose extremities had outgrown every garment that they had provided to cover bis nakedness.
These timid tax-payers, and men nervous in their private pockets of the municipal expenditures, should take a lesson from some of their number to whose admirable foresight we owe the unity of materials displayed in the New York City-Hall. Every one familiar with New-York, has wondered or smiled at the apparent perversity of taste which gave us a building - in the most conspicuous part of the city, and devoted to the highest municipal uses, three sides of which are pure white marble, and the fourth, of coarse, brown stone. But few of those who see that incongruity, know that it was dictated by the narrow sighted frugality of the common council who were its building committee, and who determined that it would be useless to waste marble on the rear of the City-Hall, "since that side would only be seen by persons living in the suburbs!"
Thanking Mayor Kingsland most heartily for his proposed new park, the only objection we make to it is that it is too small. One hundred and sixty acres of park for a city that will soon contain three-quarters of a million of people? It is only a child's play-ground. Why London has over six thousand acres either within its own limits, or in the accessible suburbs, open to the enjoyment of its population - and six thousand acres composed too, either of the grandest and most lovely park scenery, like Kensington and Richmond, or of luxuriant gardens, filled with rare plants, hot-houses and hardy shrubs and trees, like the National Garden at Kew. Paris has its Garden of the Tuilleries, whose alleys are lined with orange trees two hundred years old, whose parterres are gay with the brightest flowers, whose cool groves of horse-chestnuts, the Elysian Fields, are in the very midst of the city. Yes, and on ground of five hundred acres, which makes the Arcadia of her citizens. Even the smaller towns are provided with public grounds to an extent that would beggar the imagination of our short-sighted economists who would deny "a greenery" to New-York; Frankfort, for example, is skirted by the most beautiful gardens, formed upon the platform which made the old ramparts of the city - gardens filled with the love-liest plants and shrubs, tastefully grouped along walks over two miles in extent.