Thursday, November 17, 2016

1890 - Charming Bird's Eye View Engraving of John Lewis Childs' Floral Park

I can't resist these engraved bird's eye views!

I missed this one when I posted on John Lewis Childs

To make it even better I notice it is an engraving by my favorite horticultural artist and engraver, A. Blanc.

Wouldn't it be wonderful to have a model train toot-tooting
around a model of this farm?!!!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Odds & Ends and Old Photo of Proud Morning Glory Lady

Vick's floral guide for 1875

A while ago I posted an old article extolling the virtues of petunias as a winter window plant.

Now I find another summer favorite, the morning glory, might also be a good winter plant!   In an 1877 issue of the Fruit Recorder and Cottage Gardener a Mr. Rowe says it does very well. 

 This comment is backed up 20 years later by James Vick in his Vick's Illustrated Monthly Magazine so I think it must be good advice.

If they are, it would certainly go a long way towards making the cold days of February and March more bearable!

The proud lady gardener's dress pattern seems a small version of the pattern made by her morning glories!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

1835 - Mr. Ives and his Squash

I'm a sucker for people who love their particular vegetable and push it...

The Magazine of Horticulture, Botany, and All Useful Discoveries 
and Improvements in Rural Affairs, Volume 1, 1835

Mr. Ives of Salem Massachusetts appears in the horticultural journals for many decades presenting his squash. Starting around 1835, everyone seems to agree is really a good squash for pies and winter keeping. Incorrectly identified at first as a variety of the summer type, Cucurbita melopepo, it is a Cucurbita maxima, in spite of having a thinner skin than you might expect.

Mr John M. Ives, of Salem, Mass. has furnished us with the above cut and the following description of a very useful vegetable. 
Fruit obovate, depressed on one side; stem very large, and inclined upwards, almost at right angles with the fruit; a small truncate callosity at the other extremity. Color reddish cream, with spots or dashes of bright ochre when in maturity. Flesh orange, seeds large, pure white, with an elevated margin; average weight, eight pounds. 
The above new variety of Squash, Cucurbita melopepo var. has been lately brought into notice in this vicinity, on account of the delicacy of its grain, and excellence of flavor. We have called it "Autumnal Marrow" as it comes in succession to the summer varieties, but may be kept throughout the winter.
A peculiarity in this variety is the extreme thinness of its skin, being of the consistency of the inner envelope of an egg. 
We recommend it to all lovers of this vegetable for its many excellent qualities: we speak thus confidently from the testimony in its favor of those who have used it at their tables.
We find there is nothing gained by forcing the plants in a hot bed, as there is no difficulty in ripening the fruit in almost any season, provided the seed is sown as early as the first of June, or at the time of sowing the Canada Crook-neck, as it ripens much earlier than that variety. We think the plants are stronger and healthier raised in the open air than under glass. 
The greatest difficulty in the cultivation of the Autumnal Marrow is to keep it from the large squash bug (Egeria cucurbitacece.) If care is taken to destroy them previous to the depositing of the eggs there is but little trouble in checking them. 
With regard to the proper soil for their culture, we find that newly broken up grass land is better than highly manured soil, as in the latter they run and grow so vigorously as to form the fruit too late in the season. In a quantity which we had raised on a highly manured spot, their average weight was but about five or six pounds; whereas others grown upon old grass land turned up in the spring of the same year, averaged from nine to twelve, and some larger. They should be thinned out on the appearance of the third leaf, to three plants in a hill. 
This vegetable is well worthy of cultivation not only for its fine quality, but for keeping well in winter. I have a number perfectly sound, which have been kept in the same situation with the Crook-neck since they were housed in October last.
A current source of the seeds can be found at Victory Seeds. From their catalog...
"Early mentions of 'Boston Marrow' describe it as weighing from five to six pounds. By the mid-1930s, its size had been increased to what we now see today. The fruits have reddish-orange skin and measure about twelve inches in diameter by about sixteen inches in length. Weighing from eleven to over fifty-two pounds each, they average about twenty-five pounds. The flesh is fine-grained, yellow-orange, and bakes to a bright orange color. 
The leading seedsmen of the late 19th Century referred to 'Boston Marrow' as the "true pie squash," and seemed to prefer it over the drier varieties. It can be used as a table squash as well as for pie filling."

Monday, November 14, 2016

1872 - A Particular Turban Squash

I came across this article when looking for squashy stuff for the Sturtevant series.  It is pleasantly opinionated, I liked it, so here it is!

Turban Squashes.

Below from: 
American Agriculturist, 
Volume 31, 1872

A gentleman who called at our office some weeks ago mentioned a very fine squash, the seeds of which he obtained at Florence, Italy, from the palace garden of Victor Emmanuel
Victor Emmanuel II was King of Sardinia from 1849 until 17 March 1861, when he assumed the title King of Italy to become the first king of a united Italy since the 6th century, a title he held until his death in 1878.

We expressed a wish to see this squash, and sometime after received from Mr. Caywood, of Clarksburgh.W.Va., a specimen raised by him. We give an, engraving of the one sent, which seems to be a highly exaggerated Turban squash. 

In the ordinary Turban variety the projection, at the blossom end is small in proportion to the body of the squash. 

In this Florentine one the main bulk consists of this projection while the body proper is small. In our specimen the projecting portion is very deeply three lobed and the skin of a dull cream-color; the body part is dark orange, with green splashes. 

We do not find any description that quite agrees with our specimen, though it is like the Turban squash of the French with the projecting portion much larger than ordinary.

Mr. Gregory, in his work upon squashes, says in speaking of the French Turban, it is 
"the most worthless in quality of all the varieties of squash that have come to my notice." 

This remark certainly can not apply to our squash, as upon trial it proved very fine, and quite equal in quality to those we consider standard varieties. The "Improved Turban" is said by Burr to be probably an acclimated sub-variety of the French Turban, while Gregory claims that the "American Turban," which is the same thing, is the result of hybridizing, owing its form only to the French Turban and all its excellent qualities to the Hubbard or other varieties with which it may have been mixed. 

In the American Turban the projection before referred to has been by selection so much reduced in size as not to be conspicuous. Perhaps in the squash we have figured the selections have been made with a view of securing the greatest amount of protuberance. At all events here is a squash quite as good as tho American Turban, with the shape of the condemned French Turban intensified. We shall look with interest to the progeny of this squash.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

1840 - 1930s -The Elliotts of Pittsburgh, Seedsmen, Nurserymen, Writers

Family businesses always catch my interest.  The passing down of an interest in horticulture along with ability to successfully run a business is a chancy scenario!  

The Elliott family had not shown up in my readings until this month.  With 1848 as the entry of the first generation into horticultural business, and two (found so far) succeeding generations continuing, growing, and changing the business, the Elliott's have left their mark on the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area and horticulture in general.  The son and grandson have left books available online to read.

I found this envelope image on eBay and went in circles trying to track down W. R. Elliott.  At first I only found J. W.'s business, then a reference to B.A. and finally the New York Botanical Garden's page which beautifully puts the family, and its individuals, in perspective.  It is a good read...with many tantalizing threads to follow even though it primarily outlines the most recent Elliott's career. 

This 1871 envelope is from the first in the line of Elliott men who had been in business at this time for almost a quarter of a century.  It was William R. Elliott (a former blacksmith) who founded the first Elliott nursery in Pittsburgh in 1840.

Benjamin A. Elliot was next in the business.  While he loved his roses and carnations which he raised in the nursery, he also offered seeds.  Like his father he appears to have let the printer design his envelope! 

He had been in business at the time of this stationary for thirteen years.

Benjamin A. also began lobbying for the use of plants that were hardy.  
To this end he wrote a book, A few flowers worthy of general culture : an effort to win for hardy plants a recognition of their great wealth of beauty.

April, 1888

Benjamin A. competed in the 1882 Pennsylvania Agriculture Exhibition in Pittsburgh, racking up a respectable number of awards.  Below are snippets of the awards.

J.W. Elliott on the right.

I am sad that I could not find an envelope for the more famous grandson. I wonder why, since he was so very prominent in the trade.  It will turn up on eBay someday I am sure!

It was J. Wilkinson Elliott who had the personality to make it big on the national and international horticultural scene.

If you are interested in his career and travels, do go to the NYBG page and read it.

J. W. was, it seems to me, more of a business man and horticultural writer and educator than a nurseryman.

He was dedicated to improving gardening through better plants and was extremely involved in the horticultural world, but I have the impression his hands stayed much cleaner than his father's and grandfather's.  

The catalogs I have looked at always acknowledge another man's nursery as growing his stock for him, and he retains the exclusive right of distribution.   These nurseries are all over, and he appears to have specialists caring for specific plant types.

J. W.'s 1902 book; READ HERE

Another very excellent paper is from the Journal of the California Garden & Landscape History Society . It explores J.W.'s move to California when he was older.  This wonderful photo is from that PDF.

Related????  No indication at this time... Elliott Brothers & Burgess Nurserymen and Florists Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  A subscription to would come in handy!

I guess that is it for now.  Time to iron clothes...tomorrow is a school day.