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may also apply. The nature and capacities of the situation are to be consulted. Smaller areas should be devoted to humble and showy specimens; larger and wider should embrace a greater and more various growth. So numerous have become the objects of the florist's care, that scarcely any soil or spot could be found, which is not suited to ornamental improvement. For shade and for sunshine, for moisture and for aridness, for fertility and for sterility, for mould and for sand, for clay and for peat, may be found plants appropriate. For trellises and for arbors, for pillars and for pediments, for vases and for baskets, for fountain and for mimic lake, are the very flowers and plants which are needed. For all seasons of the year, from earliest April to chill December, are hardier or more delicate, little or larger floral gems, which may gladden the heart of the recluse or of the generous. Only, to have them enjoyed in their perfection, every one should strive to do them justice. So propitious and kind a deity as Flora, should not be mocked with a want of taste and sense of propriety. She reigns over the graces and elegances of life and of nature; she expects her devotees to pay her their homage in the same spirit and truth.
The Massachusetts Horticultural Society also, has done much to introduce a better and more correct public sentiment in regard to the value and importance of Horticultural pursuits. By its judicious and high-minded management, we can see yearly, the improvements which are taking place around us in this respect. If it were for fruits alone, that our gratitude should be shown towards this Society, it would be no small matter. But it has by no means stayed its efforts or its hands in these. For the creation of new varieties of superb flowers, we are deeply indebted to its members. For the enterprise shown in the introduction of every thing of foreign interest, we ought not to forget some, and not a few, who hold prominent and laboriously useful offices of its honor and trust. For its weekly displays of every thing which the season affords, from the newest and latest Belgian pear to the prettiest annual or more gorgeous perennial, introducing to notice whatever is thus curious and valuable. And for its annual exhibition, intended to gratify the public, and to encourage its members to a laudable and more earnest endeavor: these are instances of the sagacity of its institution, and of the propitious results. It stands thus in a prominent and conspicuous point of view, and is recognized by its influence and effects, as in some measure the dictator of the public taste in those matters which more particularly concern it. To its tables resorts the inquirer after synonyms of undetermined or unknown fruits, or else to gather from the experience it has realized, some valuable information, which it is supposed capable of imparting. To its flower-stands resorts the inquirer after what is new or beautiful in floriculture, to learn something which interests him. To ascertain how some difficultly cultivated plant may be treated with success, goes the amateur, to find what he has not himself discerned. Of these, we have been. Much that is new, beautiful, curious, rare, valuable, we have thus acquired. We trust that a Society like this will continue to receive the public approval, and be the means of diffusing a correct taste as well as knowledge, in our midst.
The prominent as well as important situation in which this Society finds itself placed before the public, who look to it for the best and happiest results of Horticulture, in all its departments of operation, renders any thing savoring of a critical spirit, a peculiarly delicate affair. Yet, out of justice to the great and general cause for which the pages of this Magazine, Mr. Editor, are, we suppose, intended, we venture, with an attempt of a proper degree of modesty, to differ from the criterion of taste displayed in the Hall of the Society during the two last Annual Exhibitions particularly. We allude to those larger and smaller designs, which rendered a small space around the fruit tables still smaller, without adding any thing of general interest to the occasion. It seems to us a pity to destroy so many good, bad and indifferent flowers, dahlias, german asters, marigolds and eternals, by nailing them through the centre, like base coin, to wooden structures, called pagodas and temples, or sticking them on flat pieces of pasteboard, of the shape of battledoors, pentagonal stars, or any such devices.
We know not, but that we are little better, perhaps little worse than barbarian in our opinion, but such it is, and we shall dare the censure of such judgment. Statues, vases, columns, temples, &c. &c., are all well enough in their places; but, to our mind, they should be real. They should be works of art; not skeletons of wood made with saw and hammer and covered with fantastically arranged flowers, where the design is merely to make surface of masses of blossoms, or by pieces of moss and lichens glued on, to cover up the wood. In the open air, a bust, a statue, a broken column or a classic vase, are all attractive among embowering walks and sylvan shades. A rudely constructed arbor of crooked limbs of trees, naked or festooned with appropriate vines, would be a fit recess for Flora; and in larger and more extended grounds, a moss-house is very well, in the way of the picturesque, but such strange constructions of moss and withered flowers, certainly seem to be very much out of keeping, both with the Hall of the Society and with the intentions of Horticulture. We never have been able to look at all such efforts without a feeling that they were in a high degree puerile; and that they injured essentially the purpose and effect of public exhibitions of floricultural skill.
We have always had a great admiration for a bouquet. At any season of the year, such a bunch of flowers is particularly agreeable. But the very idea of a bouquet seems to imply the good old English and familiar word, nosegay; some prettily arranged and easily handled affair, which one could carry lovingly about with him, and regale his olfactories with the breath of more than Araby's odors. But think, Mr. Editor, of such a bouquet,-a nosegay a yard or two in length, filled with dahlias, marigolds, both scented, indeed, but by no means perfumed, amaranths and zeranthemuns, for blossoms, with a sufficient back-ground of greenery of various sorts and kinds! There are bouquets, to be sure, of gigantic proportions, intended as centre ornaments for vases; we like these; much genius and true taste can be displayed in forming them; but we do object to those frame-work and pasteboard designs which lean against the walls on either side of the hall, wherein nothing is to be seen of art or invention, and the whole matter lies in tying in place, or nailing to a flat surface. We by no means would discourage enterprise or talent; but let it have its legitimate sphere. A florist should be a cultivator of flowers; he should learn how to present them to the eye, with the best advantage and taste. He should learn how to make them tell, so to speak; how to exhibit all their intrinsic charms. The fruit-grower should grow his fruit in such a manner as that he can realize all the healthful energies of that variety of tree, shrub or vine, which comes under his care. The saw and hammer belong only to him as accompaniments to the knife, to lay in wood, to prune out excrescent or useless branches. Both in their horticultural art follow nature, though they deviate from her at the same time. Nature is their mistress; to her general laws they are obliged to submit. The nearer they do this,—the happier they effect the union of their art with her laws, the more perfect their success. A finely cultivated plant displays more talent and skill than any number of pagodas of dahlias, or temples of hollyhocks. An elegantly grouped bunch of choice flowers, pyramidal or cylindrical in its contour, is far more attractive than hosts of moss-covered obelisks, decked off with stars of asters and wreaths of amaranths. For our own part, we would give more and go farther to see a single well grown rhododendron, or a new azalea, than all such efforts at effect, combined. Perhaps the trouble and expense of conveying choice and well cultivated pot specimens outweigh the advantages proposed; and that these more cumbrous designs can be fabricated on the very spot, and serve to make a show. This may be so; and there may be some weight in the observation; if so, we only regret the circumstance all the more. But certainly such is not the case with the others, with inelegant designs and strange perversities of withering, withered and long dead flowers. We do not presume that, if we are correct, our single anonymous suggestion will be adopted; if we are wrong in our condemnation, we are quite willing to remain in that predicament; nay, we rather prefer it to that of falling in with such notions, so contrary to our ideas of what would promote and encourage a floricultural taste in our community.
We have taken the liberty, Mr. Editor, to use your pages on this subject-matter of our communication, (if you think it worthy an insertion,) because, as we set out, so we repeat, that it has given us pleasure oftentimes heretofore, to notice your efforts to promote that elegance and beauty of design in floriculture, on which its success depends. We trust that you will be induced to continue in your course; and by such suggestions as you derive from foreign periodicals, (not always to be followed, indeed,) and from your own observations, that your Magazine will, as its title imports, become the medium of "all useful discoveries and improvements in rural affairs."
We have lately seen that a meeting of the proprietors of the Public Garden in your city has been held; in which were taken some active measures to carry out the plans of that Institution, as modified and improved, by the introduction and planting of all native trees and shrubs, and by making it a pleasant and profitable resort of the citizens of Boston. We trust that efforts so laudable will be carried into effect; and that success in its project will coöperate with the efforts of all lovers of horticulture, in elevating the public taste, and in thereby improving the public morals.
December 8, 1846.
Observations upon the Potato Rot. By J. S. B.,
West Scituate, Mass.
As the disease which has affected the Potato for a few years past, both in the United States, and in Europe, has excited a great deal of anxiety among agriculturists, and is yet involved in some mystery, any attempt, however humble, to throw light upon this subject, and to explain the nature and progress of this disease, cannot fail to attract the attention of those engaged in tilling the soil, whose wealth and prosperity are more or less affected by this prevailing epidemic.
Having pursued, during the past season, a series of original investigations upon the subject, the following are the conclusions to which I have arrived. The disease has not prevailed so extensively this year as it did in 1845; but yet, complaints have reached us of its ravages in some places, and almost every where slight traces of its existence have been perceived. I discovered such indications in my own garden, and having the facilities at hand, determined to give the subject a careful examination.