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.
Mr, Editor: As I have made a few remarks in your last number permit me to add a few more. This being the first year in 21 that I have been disengaged, I thought I would take a run around, to see how matters stood among the fraternity in gardening in our eastern cities. I visited the city of Bangor, much noted for horticulture, and I must say that great credit is to be given to the ladies of that city for their great zest and love for flowers. Still, we know they can not perform the hard labors in the gardens, of pruning, training, digging, etc., and must hire a gardener. This can be accomplished very easy, for gardeners are so numerous that one could be set to every vine in the city at the same time to prune it One evening I met one of them coming from one of the principal private gardens in the city; asked him if he was the gardener. "Yes." I asked him what he called that vice, traversing over a portion of the house. " Why, that is a grape-vine," said he. "Do you ever prune it?" said I " Oh yes," said my brother gardener. " I am going to tie it up, and see to it tomorrow." " Well, it seems to grow well," said I "Yes, man, it will grow'to the top of the house this year." Yon may judge of the knowledge of brother G., when he did not know the difference between a grape-vine and the Virginian Clematis. Anxious to take a look in the garden, I took the liberty of entering.
There I saw currants growing as thick as a tuft of rushes, with I suppose seven-year old wood, all of which was suckers.
I made it my business to go and see one who was considered a professor in working about greenhouses; he did not really know the difference between a span roof house and a lean-to. There are European pretenders of gardening, men who occupied no other position than diggers; they come here and they are gardeners; but, as I said in my last, where there are European gardeners, they can not be confounded; they know gardening in all its branches; but from their constant labors, together with having to study the new introductions which are daily made to the floral and vegetable kingdoms, they can not become such refined penmen. But no matter how simple may be their writing, there will be more truth and information contained in it than can come from any other source.
There is another class of gardeners, which I call old petti-fogging fellows, who knew a little of gardening in Adam's days, and you can not convince them of any improvements in gardening of modern times. They do not read a book, for they really believe that the reading of horticultural books is just the blind leading the blind. Asked one of them about fruits and flowers of superior merits of modern times; they know them not These are the men who impose upon the public, and hurt.the reputation of good gardeners. But, Mr. Editor, I will tell you of one thing I saw this spring, which I was sorry for; a fruit and vegetable garden, that its owner, a noble and generous horticulturist, had spared neither money nor his attention to render a source of happiness, as well as a most valuable appendage to his splendid new establishment; it promised last year to be every thing that could be desired in that department; this year, in my opinion, it has lost its whole character, if you think the following a means of doing so.
In the centre of this magnificent garden this year I see close to its handsome gravel walks a Bee house; in another part a hot-bed; and another structure, as I was informed, elevated to a high eminence, to be seen from all parts of the grounds, as follows: lawn, flower garden, green-house, vinery, summer-house, and as an ornament in the kitchen garden, conspicuous to every eye, for the accommodations of Mr. G. and his workmen, an unsightly looking privy, if you, Mr. Editor, should think those taking away the character of a highly kept garden, say so, as it might learn others not to commit such errors.
This is a hard working time for gardeners to write, but perhaps you will make this article out This last mentioned place is in Portland or its vicinity.
Limerick, Me. Yours, J. G. Rilly.
[There are undoubtedly some pretenders and bunglers among your brethren, and we are afraid you have got more than your proportion down in Maine; but then there are also many intelligent and really excellent men among them. Something like a weeding process would seem to be desirable. A gardener who does not read is a pitiable object, unfit for any responsible position; he belies his profession and degrades himself. A bee-house may very well be introduced as a distant object in the grounds, but it must be of a purely ornamental or rustic character; it should never be by the side of any frequented walk. The unsightly object you allude to is out of place: the idea of introducing such a thing as an ornament is absurd. If it must be placed where seen, let it be concealed as much as possible by vines and clumps of shrubs. Forecast as well as foretaste is needed in all these matters. - Ed].