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.
What a beautiful tree is this! and how useful in our climate, where I have no doubt it will be as much at home as in the Provinces of Northern China; it is a very rapid, vigorous grower - I have known a young plant in England grow four and a half feet in one summer, and this is not unusual. In this country it is also exceedingly rapid in its growth. Plants of it, which I had seen in Britain about twelve feet high and feathered to the ground, were already a combination of grace and beauty. Too much cannot be said of this tree, of which, indeed, as yet, we know but little. Hear Mr. Fortune on it: "Never in my life had I seen such a view as this - so grand, so sublime. High ranges of mountains were towering on my right and on my left, while before me, as far as the eye could reach, the whole country seemed broken up into mountains and hills of all heights, with peaks of every form. While gazing with wonder and admiration on the scene, my attention was arrested by a solitary pine tree of great size, standing about a hundred yards from the gateway; no other trees of any size were near it. Its solitary position near the pass, and its great height and beautiful symmentry, made it appear more striking.
What could it be ? Was it new, or did we already possess it in England ? I must confess that for a few seconds I had eyes for nothing else. Chairs, coolies and mountains were all forgotton, and I believe had the guard of celestials attempted to prevent me from going into Fokien, the only boon I should have asked at their hands would have been to be allowed to go and inspect this noble pine. The Chinese guard, however, had not the slightest intention of interfering with my movements, and, as the tree was on the road side, I soon came up to it, and found it to be the Japan Cedar (Cryptomeria Japonica), a tree which I had already introduced into England, and which, even in a young state, had been greatly admired there. I had never before seen such a noble specimen, and although I would rather it had been something new, I felt proud of having been the means of introducing into Europe a tree of such size, symmetry, and beauty. It was at least one hundred and twenty feet high - it might be much more - as straight as a larch, and had its lower branches drooping to the ground. It had not been 'lopped,' like other Chinese trees, and was evidently preserved with great care.
My Chinaman looked upon it with great admiration, and informed me it was the only specimen of the kind in this part of the country, and that it had been planted by some former Emperor when he crossed the mountains." The plants of this distributed by the Horticultural Society Of London about seven years ago, are now bearing abundance of seed in Europe - indeed, many have done so for the past three or four years; we may, therefore, expect it will 6oon become plentiful, as it seeds in such a young state. There is a variety named Lobbiaenum, which, in a young state, shows little dissimilarity from the species. Native of the Northern Province of China and Japan.
* Continued from May number.