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.
There is hardly a flower in cultivation so generally a favorite as the hyacinth, and certainly not one which so gratefully repays the attention bestowed upon it. There is not a medium capable of retaining moisture but it will grow in, and it will give us as good a bloom when planted in wet sand as it will in the richest compost. Many people ought to be thankful for this spring visitor, from those whose delicate hands put the finish to the beautiful stands which grace the drawing-room, to the salamander-like men who, in a heat that would broil a steak, blow the thousands of glasses employed to grow them in water. There is not a smoky hole in the most confined manufacturing town in which the hyacinth will not bloom, if allowed moisture of some kind in which to lengthen its silvery roots. If we calculated by the means required for its growth, instead of the price of a rost, it might truly be called the poor man's flower. There is scarcely an individual who is permitted to live in daylight, but may indulge himself with two or three, if he be fond of flow-ers, and they will afford gratification till the bloom is over.
Let everybody who can raise three flower-pots, or three hyacinth glasses, buy a bulb of each color, and they will have flowers - ay, if they grow them in a smoky attic, or a still more smoky kitchen.
The Skirret is a garden vegetable, well spoken of in the Revue Horticole, but little known here. It belongs to the family of Umbellifers, and is a perennial plant, with bunches of fusiform, fleshy roots, from six to ten inches in length, and from three-fourths to one inch in diameter, somewhat crooked, of a russet color externally, the flesh being white. It is one of the richest alimentary roots; its flavor is slight, slightly resembling celery; is good fried and for soups. Its produce is enormous, and efforts are making to introduce it in place of the potato.