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.
There are very few of these; we could hear of but two, one kept by a Frenchman, on the Paseo, who has but little to show, the owner being in poor health. Pedrigal's, however, exhibits a good, appearance; the proprietor speaks Spanish only, and he knows only the Spanish names for his plants. This difficulty meets you everywhere, and all being new, the information yon can pick up may be said to be the "pursuit of knowledge trader difficulties." Here we found a number of beautiful plants unknown to oar green or hothouses, many of which, with a whole cargo of air-plants, .were preparing to be, and have since been, shipped to our townsman, James Dundas, Esq., under direction of his enthusiastic relative, Mr. J. Lippincott, Jr., who intelligently explored chapparals, climbed mountains, and underwent every kind of fatigue, and sometimes native opposition, to fill Mr. Dundas's noble houses with the best things that conld be procured.
Among them is one plant that will be new to a vast portion of our cultivators. Mr. Pedrigal calls it Camellia arborea, and it is about the size of a healthy young Camellia of three years' growth; its peculiarity is, that when set above a stream of water, at a height, aa we saw it, of eight or ten feet, it sends down to the water a tube, round and elastic, looking as if made of thread or soft leather; at the end of this are a few little roots, and through these nourishment is sucked, and sent in the hose! to the plant*
Mr. Pedrigal supplies a vast many native plants, to European gardens, and to this end, propagates and collects the best air-plants and epiphytes. Every small and large tree in his garden, is the bearer of numerous specimens, so that the place has quite an air-plant air, quite novel and amusing. On a Mamon-tree will be seen air-plants bearing the flowers resembling a monkey, a spider, and a butterfly, proceeding apparently from the same roots which have been grown together from the same starting-point His verbenas attain the height of six feet I and have concluded to become ascending runners, in compliment to the climate. Then there are trees covered with such novel flowers and fruit, of which we had no previous knowledge, that a year instead of a few days would be required to give them reality to our readers. We must, however, name, in Spanish fashion, the Pinon real (of which we obtained a fine drawing for publication in onr last number) and La Carolina (of the Bombaceae family), two of the most gorgeous things imaginable. A running vine here attracted all eyes.
In Spanish, it is the Flore de cinco meses (five months flower), most superb and novel; but all our specimens were taken from under pressure of a trunk by a wieked Spanish chamber-maid, and thrown into her slop-bucket! which will account for our want of success in naming many articles that were highly interesting and novel.
Mr. Pedrigal has some fine specimens of Araucaria Braziliensis, and sells at reasonable prices. Mr. Lippincott very much reduced his varied stock, and we are happy to know they have all arrived in Philadelphia in excellent condition.
We saw at this garden one of the most valuable woods known to the world: the Hibiscus tiliacae, a Malvacea; its fibre is used extensively for making ropes, and its wood is of that durable and elastic quality which gives the long and very strong and elastic shaft-poles of the volante, and which is indispensable, in the absence of hickory, to the manufacture of that universal vehicle.
Roses are about as good as our own; great attention is now being paid to this long-neglected flower, which it was thought would not succeed here; but the Paradise and Persia of roses is in the vicinity of Natches, which we shall attempt to describe hereafter.
*This proves, on neater examination, to be one of the Clusias, the rosea or syphon plant, mentioned as enveloping the trees and palms, and named in Mr. Sauvalle's letter in onr last number along with Clusia alba. The species are trees abounding in a tenacious glutinous juice, of a balsamic flavor, whence the English name Balsam tree. C. rosea has handsome flowers; the fruit is green and of the size of a middling apple, with eight lines running like the meridians of a globe from the stalk to the crown of it. When it ripens it opens at these lines, and divides into eight parts, disclosing many mucilaginous scarlet seeds, resembling those of the pomegranate. Bee the former description of the alba.
While on the subject of gardens, we must not omit that of one of our friends, N. J. Gomez, Esq., on the Cerro Road, near the town. Mr. Gomes is an enthusiastic horticulturist, and is likely to do mnch where so much is wanted to introduce a taste for the beet kinds of fruit; he works alone, bnt with knowledge. At his premises, we had the pleasure of tasting the cberimoyer, the apple banana, and various others, and of feasting our eyes on roses and "qneer things" in the way of vegetation, so numerous that we were quite discouraged, and pnt by oar pencil in despair! What a pity the island has no Horticulturist, nor a tingle print that gives any attention to the topic.