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FIGURE 13. GROUP OF CROTONS.
and the temperature which it is growing in, the young plants, in from four to eight weeks, will have matted the "ball" of earth on the outside, so that it shows a net-work of roots when knocked out of the pot. It is then in the condition to be placed in a larger flower-pot, or to be "shifted," as it is technically called. If the slip has been in a pot two inches in diameter-and at first it should never be placed in one much largerit should be shifted into one three inches in diameter; if in a three-inch, to a four-inch, and so on until the size runs to six inches in diameter, when a somewhat larger shift may be given; if the pot is too large the plants will get water-logged. In the opera
tion of shifting into the smaller sizes, a layer of swamp moss (Sphagnum), from half an inch to two inches in thickness, in proportion to size, should first be placed in the pot; over this a layer of soil should be placed, in quantity sufficient to raise the "ball" of the plant to be shifted to the proper height-say from half an inch to an inch below the level of the rim of the flowerpot; then, in the space left between the roots of the plant to be shifted and the side of the flower-pot, the soil should be packed moderately firm. Crocks or drainage, other than the sphagnum, in flower-pots is not necessary except the larger sizes-say six or seven inches in diameter and upward; in
these, in plants impatient of water at the roots, such as roses that are being grown for flowers in winter, a layer of an inch or so of broken charcoal or broken pots should be placed in the bottom of the pots, and over this a layer of sphagnum. But there is another matter of far more importance for drainage than the drainage of the flowerpot, and which is almost always lost sight of, namely, to have the plants placed on some rough material on the shelf or bench, such as gravel or cinders-anything, in fact, which, when the plants are placed on it, will allow the water to pass freely off, and at the same time admit air under the flower-pot. In cases where this would not be practicable-with very large pots, as when plants are grown in rooms in the dwelling-house-chips of wood, a quarter of an inch or so in thickness,
but by compressing them into the limits of a mail package they are more or less crushed, and rarely arrive in as good order.
There is no flower-market in New York similar to that of the flower-market in Covent Garden, London. The plants sold as market plants are mixed up with other products, sold on street corners, in stores, from wagons, peddled in baskets, and in every other conceivable way, to the great disadvantage of the buyer, who in this way has no chance to select a variety from any one place. Fig. 8 shows a street flower-stand where the plants are getting chilled and drenched by rain. The flower-market of Covent Garden is one of the great attractions of London, and there is no reason why such a market in New York would not be equally successful. It is doubtful if
placed under the flower-pot, would answer the same purpose. This means of draining and admission of air to the roots is, of course, much more of a necessity during winter than summer, as, particularly in the greenhouse, the air is often surcharged with moisture, while in summer there is usually too dry an atmosphere.
Plants are shipped by mail and express mainly, and the methods of packing are now so complete that, though the most tender plants are sent to every State and Territory in the Union, often being eight days in transit, it is rare that they fail to arrive in good condition. To any place where they can be sent by express they should never be mailed; for not only are the plants always smaller that can be sent by post,
there is any large city, either here or in Europe, where everything relating to horticulture is allowed to go in such a slipshod manner as in the city of New York. Central Park is now a disgrace to the city as far as its floral attractions are concerned; and it is doubtful if there is any city in the Union which makes any pretensions to a park that cannot give more attractions to its people. The parks of Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore, Washington, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland are all filled with gay colors and redolent of fragrant odors during the summer months; and the Lincoln Park and South Park at Chicago are such as that great city may well be proud of. Fifteen years ago the site of the Chicago parks was the open prairie, and only four years ago the floral
department assumed form; and yet to-day it is doubtful if any park of its size, either here or in Europe, surpasses the Lincoln Park of Chicago in the beauty of its floral attractions during the summer.
This want of official interest in the subject is to be regretted, as the floral attractions of public parks soon find their reflex in grounds of private individuals, thus adding greatly to the interest and beauty of a city. So we find that the grounds surrounding the stone and marble palaces of New York City are meager indeed compared with the less pretentious mansions in Wabash and Prairie avenues, Chicago, in Euclid avenue, Cleveland, or in the Germantown suburb of Philadelphia.
One modern style of flower-garden decoration is what is termed "ribbon-line" planting, or "massing in colors," which is found to be far more strikingly effective than that of the mixed border of twenty years ago. Fig. 7 shows a star-shaped and a circular bed so planted, the materials being plants with contrasting colors of leaves-yellow, scarlet, white, carmine, bronze, crimson, etc. It is not unusual in some of the public parks, in the cities before named, to have ten thousand of such plants planted in one bed. Another style of this mode of planting is what is known as the "carpet pattern," or
"mosaic system," which is done by using low, compact-growing, succulent plants, such as the different species of Echeveria, Sedum, Sempervivum, etc., from which the different shades of color are obtained, so as to get by the use of living plants an effect similar to carpet or mosaic work; and as the plants used grow only a few inches high, and are kept at a uniform height, the effect of such planting, framed in a green lawn, is very striking. Although we have no representation of this work in any of our public parks in the vicinity of New York, yet tens of thousands of the visitors at Long Branch, N. J., during the summer months, will recall the grounds of Mr. John Hoey, at Hollywood, where a quarter of a million succulent plants last season were used in the carpet-pattern work, and upward of a million other plants were required to form the "ribbon-line" and "massing-in-color" beds. To grow the plants for this purpose, thirteen immense greenhouses are in use, some of them eight hundred feet in length. About one thousand tons of coal are used to heat these greenhouses in winter. Few professional horticulturists are better versed in such matters than Mr. Hoey, who, however, does this solely at his private expense, to gratify his scientific taste for botanical knowledge. His grounds and greenhouses
are thrown open to the public, and hundreds of carriages and thousands of pedestrians are daily seen in the grounds at Hollywood, to which they are as welcome as if it were a public park.
The cut-flower business, another phase of horticulture, is perhaps greater in the United States than in any other part of the world. Certainly the use of cut-flowers in New York, for bouquets, baskets, and other designs, is far greater than in either London or Paris, and the taste shown in their arrangement here is vastly superior. It is estimated that three millions of dollars were paid for cut-flowers in New York in 1880, one-third of which was for rose-buds. Immense glass structures are erected in the suburbs for the special purpose of growing cut-flowers to supply the bouquet-makers of the city. Not less than twenty acres of glass surface is devoted to the purpose of forcing roses alone, during the winter months. At some seasons the prices paid for these forced rosebuds are perfectly astounding. One grower, of Madison, New Jersey, took into New York three hundred buds of the crimson rose known as "General Jacqueminot," for which he received, at wholesale, three hundred dollars, and which, no doubt, were retailed at a dollar and fifty cents to two dollars each. A flower-dealer in Fourteenth street, a few days before Christmas, received the only four of this same variety of rose that were offered in the city, and found a customer for them at sixty dollars, or fifteen dollars apiece, or eight times the value of their weight in gold.
Roses are now in great vogue, and the skill of the grower is taxed to the utmost to produce novelties, or the older varieties cut of their regular seasons. The Camellia Japonica, which was so popular twenty years ago, is but little used, while the Carnation Pink, of which there are now many beautiful colors, is grown nearly as largely as the rose. At the holiday seasons of Christmas, NewYear's, and Easter, the prices range with the demand, which is always three or four times greater than at ordinary times. Fig. II is the Calla Lily, now so largely grown for Easter decoration, and for which nothing could be more appropriate.
The use of plants for decoration is much more common in European cities, in churches, dining-halls, or ball-rooms, than with us; probably, in part, for the reason that in our severer winter weather it is often exceedingly difficult to transport large tropical plants from the suburbs without injury from frost; for the plants used for table decoration are nearly all of the most tender sorts, and are natives of warm latitudes.
These plants, when used for decoration, are either placed singly or in groups, as the requirements of the place to be decorated demand. The kinds used are mainly plants valued for the grace and beauty of their foliage, and such produce a better effect than plants with flowers, especially in gas-light. Fig. 12 is a group of palms of small size, averaging two or three feet in height. When used singly, large specimens ten feet in height are sometimes employed. Fig. 13 is a group of Crotons. These plants are graceful in form, and the coloring of the leaves is most exquisite, running through all the shades of orange, scarlet, purple, yellow, etc. Fig. 14 is a group of Dracanas (Dragon-tree). The green kinds have great symmetry of form, while those having the leaves colored present a gorgeousness which few flowers possess, their broad tropical foliage being carmine, white, crimson, and yellow intermingled in the different species. Fig. 15 shows a mixed group of palms, marantas, and pandanus, conspicuous among which is the rare fern-like palm known as Cocos Weddeliana. Fig. 16 is a fern group. All of these species give beautiful decorative effects.
The plants for decorative purposes are mostly supplied by florists making a specialty of growing plants for that purpose. The class of plants fitted for this purpose are often difficult of increase and slow of growth, and are, therefore, relatively more valuable than the more common plants. They are rarely bought when used at public dinners, or even private receptions, but are hired from the growers, the price paid, however, being about half their value, even for one night, as the chances of injury from gas, or in transportation, must be taken into consideration.