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.
Some three years since, I think, at the request of Mr. Downing, I sent him for publication in the Horticulturist some memoranda respecting the effect of our northern winters upon the new evergreens. It may not be unacceptable to such of your readers as are interested in this matter, to give them the result of my increased experience in the cultivation of these trees.
I would premise, in the first place, that the past winter has been a peculiarly trying one upon every species of tender or half-hardy plant There have been great and frequent alternations of temperature and the ground being often unprotected by snow, the alternate freezing and thawing upon the surface has had an additional effect Notwithstanding these disadvantages, my trees have gone through with the following success:
A good deal browned; most Of the foliage has fallen, though the buds seem good. At Mr. Hogg's gardens, at Yorkville, this variety seems hardier than the Deodar.
Uninjured; foliage quite green, and buds perfect.
AH perfectly hardy.
Leader gone; otherwise uninjured.
Perfectly hardy, and promises to be very distinctive.
Hardy; but seems only a stunted variety of our native Double Spruce.
All the above varieties of the Silver Fir are very desirable, and I should say unquestionably hardy.
Hardy. This is beginning to be so well known, that it is hardly necessary perhaps to say anything in favor of its gracefulness and beauty.
Hardy. Grows with great rapidity, but resembles in foliage and habit the Pinaster.
These three promise to be among the most extraordinary of Pines. The foliage is six to eight inches long, of a peculiar green, and there is an exotic look about them that arrests attention. They have been entirely uninjured this winter, though their first year out.
Hardy this winter, though previously it has suffered. A superb tree.
These four were planted so late last season, that I thought it more prudent to take them up. I am therefore unable to speak of their hardihood from my own experience. The former I have seen at Dropmore (Lady Granville's) ten to twelve feet high.
Hardy, and one of the most desirable of evergreens.
This seems to be very highly esteemed in England for its so resembled Junipers; but as they get up, the character changes very much to a Cypress. I am not sure of the hardihood of this tree. My best specimen was killed last winter, though an inferior one is uninjured, except the tops a little brown.
Perfectly hardy when well established.
A little tender the first or second winter; afterwards apparently uninjured by the severest cold.
My experience has been with this tree, that it suffers more from over than under protection. My best specimen, some twelve feet high, was destroyed during a mild winter from too much and too close covering, though it had gone through a much severer one with the slightest protection. I am quite satisfied that in my latitude they should be on the north side, and in the shadow of houses or woods, to be entirely successful.
This stands perfectly well with me on the north side of a wood, if planted on a mound, so that the water rups from the roots on every side, and in about two-thirds of Rockaway (white) sand to one-third leaf-mold.
Quite hardy, and, from its resemblance to the Araucaria, a very desirable plant where the latter will not stand.
Hardy and very striking.
Hardy and desirable.
Hardy and curious.
All beautiful and hardy.
There are two acquisitions to our evergreen shrubs which I desire to mention here as well worthy the attention of amateurs. They are, Hex latifolia and Hex laurifolia. It was the impression of Mr. Downing that the laurifolia was the only Hex that would generally stand our climate. At his suggestion I imported some, and they prove entirely hardy. I can say the same, or nearly so, of the latifoliay which, having a leaf like a Camellia, only larger, will prove the greatest possible acquisition.
Among the Rhododendrons, Waterers' hybrid catawbiensis (100 plants of which, in forty odd varieties of bloom, he sells for £10,) are also great additions to our evergreen shrubs, being perfectly hardy, and blooming the year of importation. So also will be the eighteen varieties of Sikkim Rhododendrons, if they will stand our climate.
The Andromeda floribunda does very well with me, and hat quite a pretty white flower.
The different Mahonias are too well known now to need further commendation.
Among the things I hare imported this spring, with a view of acclimating, are Garrya elliptiea, Skimmia Japonica, Stauntonia latifolia, Cedrue Deodara viridis, Cryptomeria triridie, Cryptomeria nana, Berberrie Darwinii, Fitzroya Patagonica, and Saxe Gothoea conspicua. My success with these I may perhaps have the pleasure to communicate to you on some other occasion.
[This paper of Mr. Sargent's presents the results of the most extensive and carefully conducted experiment that has been made, to our knowledge, in America, in the cultivation of rare or recently introduced evergreen trees. With untiring zeal, and regardless of cost, he has for many years been collecting every new evergreen tree that has been announced as in any degree likely to endure this climate; and here we have a full account of bis failures and success so far. To gentlemen improving their grounds or forming arboretums, to nurserymen, and in short to all who feel interested in arboriculture, the information is invaluable. The list we have here of those which have proved perfectly hardy, embracing as it does the greater number of the noble Pines and Firs of northwest America and the Himalaya, shows what ample resources we are to have in forming plantations both for utility and ornament - Ed].