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.
The Farmers' Club of the American Institute is "before the public" as a valuable and influential body, laboring for the improvement of Agricultural science and practice; falling back for reputation and resources on the Institute itself - not very popular with the friends of progress. Yet, at the meetings of the club.
Sound knowledge disseminated The entire field of science is covered by the yarious questions proposed, with what success it is not our province here to say.
At the meeting on February 7th, a very important subject was on the paper for discussion - "The Embellishments of Farms and Gardens." Wm. Lawton, of New Rochelle, Westchester county, was in the Chair. Few of the gentlemen present felt disposed to enter on the subject of the day; and, at the request of the Secretary, R. R. Scott offered the following observations:
R. R. SCott - The subject is not so unimportant as may at first sight appear; and, If considered in an extended sense, is worthy of more attention than some of the gentlemen present accord to it Embellishments may be considered in two classes; those which, while they afford ornament, are also remunerative, or at least of some utility. Ornamental farm buildings may be considered as embellishments, while they may be more convenient than those constructed without ornate character. A very important point may be gained by embellishing the farm. Those persons accustomed to city life, and opposed to living in rural residences, may be induced by degrees to take an interest in agriculture, tending to draw more capital into this most healthy and remunerative of all occupations. As to the embellishment of the garden; the garden, properly laid out, is itself an embellishment as a whole, but If the proper taste is not displayed, and the various objects thrown together confusedly, it ceases to be so. It would appear presumptuous in me to occupy the Club when others, much more experienced, have declined to open the subject My purpose was to show that economy and embellishment might be united to a certain extent.
Professor MapEs - I concur in the remark of Mr. ScoTT respecting the importance of the subject, and only regret I am not sufficiently conversant with the details to discuss it I am not prepared to dictate to men of taste in the ornamental department of the farm and garden. The shape of trees itself Is an important matter; for beauty In them, as in all other races of vegetables and animals, is spoiled by want of arrangement The pruning-knife must be used to regulate them, but with skill, and other equally important matters attended to. The eye readily detects the departure from the line of beauty; and the interspersing of trees, of varied outline and figure, adds variety to the landscape. No man should make his approaches by straight lines. The curved line is by all admitted to be the proper one in such eases; the letter s is a good example. The genius of DowNING was equal to this task, and MoNamaba's system of clumping is very appropriate. The arrangement of colors must be kept in view; how would a lady look whose head was of a color not in accordance with the remaining portions of her dress? A red headdress, yellow body, and blue skirt, would appear to be but three distinct pieces of a woman.
The Chair made some very good observations on the Importance of planting valuable ornamental trees; such as Black Walnut, Butternut, English Walnut, Elm, Beech (Purple and Copper), Ash, and a variety of choice hardy shrubs. Cedars are very ornamental. A very fine specimen of the Cedar of Lebanon may be seen at the residence of Mr. Ash, Throgs Neck, Westchester county; it is seventy years old. Trees grow while men sleep, and are gradually increasing In value.
R. G. PabdcE - I feel a little the Importance of this subject, but am sorry that I have been late in coming in. Planting of trees is but little attended to; not so much as it should be. One difficulty Is that many do not know how to commence, or how to plant a tree; and must employ others who have a knowledge of the operation. One great means to remove this want, is the reading of horticultural periodicals. The Horticulturist, for instance, when in the hands of Mr. DowNING - and indeed, now, under the management of Mr. BaRRY - has effected much, and Is decidedly the most useful work of Its kind in the country. Much Information may be obtained by conversation and Intercourse with such men. Visit the different places, and observe the treatment adopted by men of experience and taste. Removing and transplanting large trees is little understood by most men; all it requires Is a little skill and expense.
Mr. Pardee went on at length to show the advantage of arboriculture.
A gentleman introduced the Magnolia as a good subject for conversation; and requested information as to the Swamp Magnolia, which he obtained from Messrs. Mates, Lodge, LawtoN, and others.
Mr. Lawtox had a plant sent to him by Messrs. PabsoNS, as Magnolia grandiflora, which had proved quite hardy.
Mr. LoDGE doubted that it was grandiflora as that Is an evergreen, and should not lose Its leaves in a suitable climate. Many shrubs and plants are more hardy than is supposed; my Camellias stand well during the winter, and will flower at a temperature of 84° to 86° Fahrenheit, if sheltered. In reply to several gentlemen, Mr. L. stated that his plants were young, and had not yet bloomed out doors.
The Chair urged the importance of planting at a good distance, as trees grew rapidly and became too close in a few years; take space enough at the beginning.
Prof MapEs alluded to the peculiarity of the Magnolia seeds; they hang from the seed vessel by a cord, and in when first introduced at five dollars a plant. He requested some other person to furnish more particulars as to its history, Ac, and called on R. R. Scott to offer his opinion.
R. R. flcoTT - The rose referred to is by no means rare, bat may be found in most old collections where (here is sufficient apace for it. No choice collection would admit it. I agree, it is a very free bloomer, and may be admired by many. The last five dollar rose brought before the public was the Augusta; and, as there are very different opinions about its character, I would be glad to hear some gentlemen who have tried it and paid their money. Such matters are of importance to the unskilled amateur.
Mr. R.G . Pardee furnished some information as to its history and character. We shall reserve his remarks for another opportunity. S.