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Art. I. Notice of a Visit to Wentworth House. By J. B. W. WENTWORTH HOUSE, the magnificent seat of Earl Fitzwilliam, is about eight miles from Sheffield, and four from Rotherham. The Sheffield Directory, describing the house, states that it “ has a front of exquisite architecture, 600 ft. in length ; and the portico is peculiarly elegant. The hall is 60 ft. square and 40 ft. high, with a gallery 10 ft. running round the whole, which is supported by eighteen Ionic pillars, the intervening niches of which are ornamented with fine marble statues.”
The house stands on one side of an immense park, which is beautifully diversified with hill and dale, wood and water, and ornamented besides with an elegant mausoleum, erected in memory of Charles, Marquess of Rockingham. Fine views of the park and adjacent scenery are obtained from a long and wide grass terrace in the pleasure-ground, which is raised considerably above the park, and supported by a stone wall. The termination of this terrace, at one end, is a temple, covering a statue of Hercules destroying the dragon.
From this point there is an extensive prospect, in which, on the summit of a hill, a “graceful Ionic column, erected by the Marquess of Rockingham to commemorate the acquittal of Admiral Keppel,” is a conspicuous object.
Connected with the pleasure-ground, but enclosed by a wall, is an aviary, where a number of rare and curious birds are kept: this piece of ground likewise contains a large green-house, built in the old style, showy in appearance, but, like all similar structures, quite unfit for the cultivation, or even the healthy preservation, of most kinds of plants.
Two head gardeners are employed at Wentworth; one of whom, Mr. Thompson, superintends the extensive forcinghouses, kitchen-garden, and pleasure-grounds; the other, Mr. Cooper, manages the botanic department. Mr. Cooper is justly celebrated for his eminently successful cultivation of Orchidàceæ. His plants, in November last, were in the highest state of health and vigour, unapproached by any that I have seen, except,
perhaps, those at Chatsworth, which, also, are excellently grown. At both places, most of the finest specimens were growing in large lumps of turfy peat, piled up, in a bluntly conical form, 6 in. to 1 ft. or more above the tops of the pots; the roots of the plants interlacing through the mass, and binding it firmly together.
Herefordshire, January 14. 1840.
Art. II. On propagating, and preserving through the Winter, tender
Plants adapted for being turned out into Flower-gardens during Summer.
By N. M. T. Our flower-gardens are now, during the summer months, in many cases, almost exclusively decorated with exotics; and too much cannot be said in favour of a practice that enables them to rival, for a time, the sun-lit scenes of happier climes, from which we have lately received many plants so perfectly suited to such a purpose, and so exquisitely lovely when displaying their beauty in masses, that without them our gardens would be a blank indeed. What, in all the range of floral beauty, unlimited as it is, could compensate us for the loss of even that single group, the matchless verbenas? The duration of plants used for this purpose, under the mode of culture this practice has introduced, is only annual; as they require to be propagated in autumn or spring, produce their blossoms during the season, and perish at its close. As they cannot be turned out with any certainty of success until the season is far advanced, the small plants require to be planted thick enough to cover the soil, and produce an immediate effect. Thus a moderate-sized garden requires several thousands of plants to furnish it annually, a prospect that would have appalled even the best gardeners of yore; but at the present day, where sufficient means are allowed, the propagation of the plants is a matter of no difficulty. In cuttings, put in during February or March, failures seldom occur : when they do, they are generally the effect of too much confinement, and not, as is often assumed, of too much water. As a proof that cuttings when allowed plenty of air can hardly be over-watered, see with what facility most sorts strike root in water only. Plants are continually dissipating the moisture they extract from the soil into the atmosphere that surrounds them : they are, therefore, in constant action while the least difference exists between the moisture of the soil and atmosphere, and it is only while thus employed that a plant can be said to be a living thing, inaction being as incompatible with anything possessing vitality in the vegetable as in the animal world. Therefore, plants shut up until soil, plant, and atmosphere are alike impregnated with moisture, have every energy destroyed, and are often virtually dead long before appearances indicate it. This is too often effected by the universally recommended bell and hand glasses, producing a stagnation that speedily converts the very source of life into the cause of death, and renders the most extreme caution in watering necessary, the least excess fatal. But, allowing plants so treated ultimately to succeed, being placed where they can exist without an effort, it cannot be supposed that they will produce roots with the same despatch as those that are forced to maintain a continual struggle, and feel the want of them. For the sort of cuttings we are speaking of, during the early part of the season, double glass is altogether unnecessary: watering them overhead during sunshine, while air is admitted, will prove of more service than covering them with glasses or shading, a practice that ought to be avoided.
The inexperienced will find a frame with a little bottom heat, covered 4 or 5 inches deep with light soil, the cuttings planted in the soil, a most efficient apparatus; and those who possess a stove or hot-house will find that cuttings in pots, plunged in the bark-bed, and fully exposed to the light, will root without further trouble.
But, as I have already said, this is too simple an affair to be termed a difficulty; but the introduction of so many plants into the houses at a time when those wintered there are beginning to grow, and require more room, is a serious evil; to remove which as soon as possible, we are apt either to turn out the plants before the proper season, when they often suffer so much from premature exposure, that we are forced to replenish the beds, or endure their squalid appearance during half the season; or to retain the young plants, fifty or sixty together, in the cuttingpots, until they are finally turned out. This, no doubt, saves room, the labour of potting, and watering in a great measure; but it is the practice of the sluggard, and ought to be avoided with all his doings, as the plants invariably thrive better when potted singly, and allowed to establish themselves in the pots. To avoid these habits, and still retain house-room for more important purposes, select a sheltered spot, fully exposed to the sun, over which erect a temporary framework of rafters to support a roller, with canvass or matting. Cover the bottom of the space enclosed with sand. When the plants have been potted off, the pots filled with roots, and tolerably hardened, let them be taken to this shelter, carefully turned out of the pots, and each plant placed upon a small piece of turf previously placed upon the sand. As the plants are not expected to increase much in size while they remain here, they may be placed rather close together, thereby sheltering each other, and making the most of the space covered. As the plants are placed, let the space between each be filled up with sand, when they will require little attention, save an occasional watering, until they are removed to their final destination. Under such a shelter, the hardier sorts, or such as have been propagated in autumn, may be placed as early as the 1st of March ; the pots, and the room in the house that they occupied, to be employed in forwarding others to be treated in the same manner. High or cutting winds, heavy rains, and cold are to be guarded against, during which the canvass must remain down.
The mere saving of room is not the only recommendation such a practice possesses. When the plants are taken up
with the small piece of turf attached, it will be found that they have fornied numerous strong and fleshy spongioles, ready to seize upon the soil with the greatest avidity. They likewise suffer
uch when taken from under glass, and exposed to the direct influence of light: placed out so early, the cause is less powerful; the effect, consequently, less felt; and what they do suffer in appearance is entirely recovered while they remain where their appearance is not of the smallest consequence. Those who possess propagating-houses, and every convenience to supply the plants required of them, may deein it unnecessary to employ such an auxiliary; but the number of such is limited indeed, when compared with those who happily take an interest in a garden, and strive to make the most of the means placed at their disposal : to those who have only a green-house it is invaluable. Persons so situated would do well to propagate as many as possible in autumn; retain them in the cutting-pots during the winter, allowing them plenty of air, as the best safeguard against damp, the greatest enemy to plants at such a season ; pot them off, and place them under the shelter already recommended in spring. When judiciously managed, it is surprising how many plants may be thus produced, even by a single frame. Annuals intended for planting out in beds, for which purpose there are many sorts well adapted, ought to be sown in autumn, and treated in every respect like cuttings, when they will produce a far finer display than those raised in spring.
Specimen green-house plants, in pots, placed singly or in groups upon the lawn, when properly introduced, produce a fine effect. To prevent plants so placed having their roots injured by the action of the sun upon the pots, they ought to be plunged, or otherwise covered, and proper drainage secured. This is generally effected by a stratum of coal-ashes; but I have often had occasion to plunge plants where the remains of the ashes, turned up in digging, appear unsightly in the extreme: in these cases I drained the pots containing the plants by placing a small empty pot beneath each, and found the result so satisfactory, that I have adopted this plan wherever plants are plunged, it being free from every objection that applies to ashes. Pots are easier applied and removed; and more effectual, as by them worms are completely excluded.
The plunging taking place when the pots required for drainage would be lying idle, they may be so applied without any sacrifice.
Folkstone, Feb. 16. 1840.
ART. III. On moistening the Air in Hot-houses. By T. APPLEBY,
Gardener to T. Brocklehurst, Esq. The successful cultivation of orchidaceous plants being now almost an essential qualification for every gardener, I am induced to add my mite to the many useful directions that have appeared in your interesting miscellany. It is in consequence of having adopted something new (at least to me) in the method of moistening the air in our orchidaceous houses, that I am induced to send
you the following account of our success. We have two houses devoted to the culture of this interesting and fashionable family of plants. They are heated by hot water, one with round pipes, the other with square ones; and, although we had pools inside, and frequently wet the floors and the pipes, yet we still found the air much too dry. To overcome this many were our projects, and in the end it was resolved to put up a small steam boiler with a main pipe to convey the steam inside, and branch pipes to different parts, in order to fill the houses completely and equally at once with steam. This, after some little failures, and various trials, we have at length happily accomplished. The effect has far surpassed my most sanguine expectations. In twenty minutes after lighting the fire, the houses are so filled with steam that I cannot see the plants, when I am in the houses, at two yards' distance; whilst the plants themselves are covered with the finest dew imaginable, and though they have been immersed in this vapour twice a day, an hour each time, for now nearly two months, they are not in the least injured, but on the contrary highly benefited. Plants that had been at a stand here for eighteen months are now beginning to grow, while others that were sickly are now fast recovering. The most delicate flowers are not injured, nor their duration shortened ; whilst many species, considered difficult to flower, are now showing buds. The benefit to those plants which are hung up in baskets, or fixed to blocks of wood, is very apparent. I
may also mention that we grow a few of the choicer stove plants amongst the Orchídeæ, and their appearance shows that they derive benefit from the vapour with which they are surrounded. Some of these were infested with red spider, but this warm vapour bath was fatal to the insects, as indeed was naturally to be expected.