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.
First will come the Nordnrann Fir, a grand tree from the eastern slopes of the Caucasus. Its habit is close and compact, its color is a rich dark glossy green, its ultimate stature is among the highest, and it has a royal aspect approached by few other trees. The Noble Fir of California would approach it nearly, but for its very slow growth. The blue tint of the latter is very marked, and, when reaching a height of fifty feet, it is very imposing. Another very beautiful tree is the mountain form of the Picea grandis, and very distinct from the flat-leaved coast form. Happening to be the first to send it to England, it was there given our name, and is now considered their most beautiful evergreen. My best specimen, killed two years ago, was indeed a thing of beauty. Its leaves curled up in graceful curves around its stems, and lovers of trees would sit upon my piazza and gaze upon it for a quarter of an hour together. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to propagate, rarely to be obtained, and transplants very badly.
I cannot forbear to mention its qualities, although I do not care to excite your desires for that which it is difficult to obtain.
The Cephalonian Fir is a noble tree of tall stature. Some years ago I made an ascent of the Black mountain in Cephalonia, for the purpose of seeing this tree in its native habitat, and I was not disappointed. Clothing the upper mountain sides, with sufficient room for their branches, they rose well furnished to a height of eighty feet, and well repaid the labor of the ascent.
The Grecian Fir somewhat resembles it, and in color is between it and the Nordmann Fir.
The Picea firma of Japan is a flat-leaved and very distinct species, of rapid growth.
The Siberian Fir is a charming species, of slow growth, and color unequalled in its freshness.
The European Silver Fir is sometimes fine, but so inferior to many others of the genus, and so apt to deteriorate with age, that it can never have a very prominent place.
For our climate, the family of Piceas is by far the best of all the Conifers.
The Oriental Fir belongs to the Abies family, and is an exceedingly refined, compact and beautiful tree. It is one of those to which the eye will frequently turn and be satisfied.
The White Spruce of our northern forests is scarcely surpassed for the symmetry of its shape. It growth is also compact, and it has a blue-steely tint, valuable for the production of strong contrast. The Menzies and Engel-mann Spruce have also this steely tint to perfection, and are species of rare merit. The color of the Engelmann is quite remarkable for its light bluish gray, and the young shoots are very beautiful. It is yet, however, difficult of attainment.
The Bhotan an Pine is a very graceful tree from the Himalayas, growing as rapidly and as tall as the White Pine, somewhat resembling it in general appearance, but with more drooping, pendulous leaves. It is not, however, so well adapted as the White Pine to all localities.
The Pinus Ayacahnite is a perfectly hardy species, from the mountains of Mexico, of a still more drooping and graceful habit, and remarkable for the light green of its foliage.
The Pinus nuerghus is a second-class tree of rather bush-like habit, and rarely growing over fifteen feet. Its spreading and marked character make it essential to a lawn. The Atlas Cedar is very distinct and beautiful, - the nearest approach to the Cedar of Lebanon which is permissible in this climate, and thought by some botanists to be only another form of it.
The Aides elata is a variety of the Norway Spruce, and is a remarkable tree, and always excites admiration. It throws out its branches like the naked hairy arms of a giant, and grows with the greatest luxuriance.
Having thus disposed of a few of the larger trees, we come to those of smaller growth,