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.
Report of T. C. Maxwell, of Genova, to Western New York Horticultural Society.
Probably never before was there a time when so many intelligent men were so deeply interested in the cultivation and development of Ornamental Trees and Plants - when this interest was so wide spread - when so many men were looking for u Sports of Nature," and striving by the best modes of culture, to produce such novelties as will interest the great army of Nurserymen and the immensely greater number of Amateurs, and it is the opinion of the writer that all who have, or will give this subject unprejudiced thought, will concede that these efforts are not without reasonable and encouraging results - the horticultural world moves.
It is true that some of these new things at first appear to some as deformities, unsightly and unworthy of a place in good collections, and so are hastily condemned, yet when we become acquainted with their peculiarities and see them used by men of skill and taste, we can but see that they will add greatly to the interest and beauty of the picture we make about our dwellings and in our parks and cemeteries.
On Mt. Hounes, Fishkill-on-the-Hudson, is found a sport from our well known Hemlock. The species we all know is remarkably graceful and beautiful, lofty and grand, but this sport grows down as persistently as the Kilmarnock Willow - a real deformity, and yet on Mr. Sargent's lawn it is one of the most interesting and ornamental plants in his entire collection - "a thing of beauty," with which scarcely another tree or plant on these most beautiful grounds or in all the land can compare.
In England, a nurseryman is sending out a Juniper, "hardy as an Oak," of a beautiful golden yellow through and through. He says "we may a few years hence see our lawns and pleasure grounds adorned with pyramids of gold and we are told that in France is found a Birch with leaves as purple as the Purple Beech, and we hear in one direction of a Dwarf Weeping Spruce and in another of an Upright Larch, and in another of a Variegated Spruce, and a Golden Arbor Vitae, and of various other sports, some of which we can but hope will prove valuable acquisitions. The numerous variations in form of growth, shape and color of leaf, are adding largely to our list of choice valuable trees and plants, for ornament.
We are getting variegations of leaf, yellow and white, in nearly all our ornamental trees and shrubs, both evergreen and deciduous, and a few cases of tri-colors. Some of these sports are very beautiful, and yet they appear to many persons who only give them a passing glance, as sickly specimens, only fit to be thrown away, and .in this careless way, no doubt, many valuable things have been lost, but the time has come when anything remarkable in shape of tree, shape or color of foliage, should have a careful trial, and if found worthy, propagated and disseminated.
The word "evergreen " in many minds is so associated with the green of our old Balsam Fir and Norway Spruce, that they will scarcely accept as an evergreen any variation from the color of these well known trees, but if they will examine the best catalogues of this country as well as Europe, or what is worth a hundred times more, examine a good collection of trees and plants, they will be interested to notice the many beautiful hues of green evergreens - the white evergreens, some spotted with white foliage all through the plant, and others white only on the ends of the branches - the blue or glaucous evergreens, some of which are exceedingly beautiful - the yellow evergreens, some yellow all through the tree, and others only on the ends of the branchlets of the current year's growth, and in some varieties this yellow and white foliage is sound and hardy - the white will probably prove more liable to burn in the summer than the yellow. Perhaps it will not be out of place right here to say, that I think the best way to bring out the greatest beauty in these variegated evergreens is to give them a good place where they will make a reasonable growth every year, and then clip them in regularly, so as to get a full supply of new branchlets all over the plant, just where we want them .
In this country where we see so many small sized yards and lawns - so many containing less than an acre of ground, I think our best dwarf evergreens are worthy of a thousand times more attention than they have heretofore received . It seems but a very few days since I planted near my front door a beautiful Austrian Pine - it was very beautiful, and though some distance from the street, many times we have seen people stop and look at it, and come into the yard and walk around it, but now it is so large it obstructs the view, detracts from the appearance of my house, looks out of place and must be cut down . If I had planted a handsome Dwarf instead, and placed the Pine some distance from the house, I might have saved the tree, and added largely to the beauty of my place .
We do not want our houses overgrown with trees - we must have the sunshine about them . Neither do we want large trees only standing about us as so many stiff sentinels . The beauty of many a nice little home is spoiled by large trees. It is the opinion of the writer that we should plant our larger trees some distance from the house, if possible -on small places near the outskirts of the lot, and then how beautiful and effective the dwarfs inside, and then the open clean lawn, in the whole plan using care to produce variety without regularity . For groups near walks and drives and near the edge of the lawn, nothing can be more interesting or effective than these fancy and dwarf evergreens . It is an encouraging fact that, in different parts of our country may be found men of wealth and taste, who are collecting on their own private grounds all the varieties of evergreens that can be found, and so well are they pleased with their efforts and specimens, that others are following the ex-' ample .