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 feel very math inclined to take up the cudgels against yourceav respondent "Working Gardener," in behalf of that exceedingly beautiful and much abused order of plants, the Cacti.
I do not care for the jealousies of " practi-eals" or "amateurs," with regard to the silver medal it is true that practical gardeners have not attended to the cultivation of these plants, because, with the exception of the winter flowering Epiphyllum. truncatum, and its varieties, they cannot he used in bouquets, nor ii the taste for them sufficiently general to allow of their being cultivated for sale; consequently they do not pay.
In this neighborhood, I know but one "practical" who cultivates them for the " love of them." All honor to him for it.
There are certainly five or six collections in this county, which might contend for the silver medal in question, and Mr. Working Gardener is mistaken in supposing that the course would be " walked over," as I think I know at least two collections from which better selections could be made of " twenty best grown species," than from that of the practical he alludes to.
As for having twenty species in flower at once, I dont see why that should present any difficul-ty; I could famish a dozen m flower in an hour or two, without going to any large collection. I will have in flower in a week or two, Cereus speciosissimus, C. Jenkinsonii, Scottii, flagil-liformit, Grahamii, and Mamillaria uncinata, yet my Cacti do not exceed fifteen specimens of all kinds.
Depend upon it, Mr. Editor, a horticultural society is as right m bestowing prises on an order of plants, the extreme beauty of whose flowers no one will question, as on any class of florist's flowers which may happen to be in fash-fen, I know that it is the fashion at present to "snub" Cacti, but the fashion may change, when we shall hear working gardeners talk as learnedly about Cersi Epiphylla, and Phyllo-cacti, as they now do about Fuchsias, Cinerarias, Pansies and Chrysanthema, for, as Mr. BUIST says in his last edition, "the time is not far distant when this family will be successfully cultivated in every parlor window, and the whole tribe will be sought for with more avidity than any other class of plants that have ever been brought into notice, not even excepting the Rose".
Wishing Mr. Working Gardener more taste, I remain, Mr. Editor, your ob't servant, A Philadelphia Amateur.
J. Johnson. The tall varieties of Cacti should be grown in rich light compost. - The old system of starving them in lime rubbish, is quite exploded by good gardeners. They will live through the winter very well in any house from which frost is excluded. Give but little if any water in winter, and very sparingly in spring, until the bloom buds arc visible. Then give them more, and while the buds are forming place thein near the glass, so that they may have all the sun and light they can get.