The Horticultural Exhibits at Buffalo
By Frederick W. Taylor, Superintendent of Horticulture
Everybody's Magazine   October 1901

After visiting the establishments of nurserymen and florists, to purchase from catalogues such plants as may be needed to work out certain effects requires skill and judgment. To approach the best growers and specialists in every department and secure from each the cream of his assortment, so placing it that it is not simply a separate exhibit, but part of a thoroughly planned and beautiful whole, was the problem presented to the managers of the Horticultural Exhibits of the Pan-American Exposition. The area devoted to the main out-door horticulture exhibit is about twenty acres, supplemented by considerable areas inside the canal and adjacent to, or near, the Horticulture Building. For the aquatics there are two large basins and any number of ponds, lakelets formed by enlargements of the canal, and lagoons or bayous.

The large tract first mentioned is so situated that the visitors entering by the Elmwood gate must pass through at least a portion of the floral exhibits, for nearly or quite half the entire number of admissions were later registered at this gate, so that those who saw these exhibits as the season advanced were very many indeed.

None of the large buildings of the Exposition are upon, or adjacent to, this tract. The Woman's Building, which is a transformed club house, is the only building it was necessary to consider in the treatment.


On the north the boundary is the canal, down to the very edge of which, and even into it, the planting is carried. A great part of the bedding depends for its effectiveness upon the massing of large quantities of single varieties. It is doubtful whether there was ever seen in America a finer and more beautiful tulip show than resulted from the carefully planned plantings made the autumn of 1900. It is always an unfortunate fact that the attendance at Expositions in the early days is so light as to bring the tulips to the attention of few eyes. Those who saw the Pan-American show must surely have felt repaid for even a long trip.


A bed of Crimson Rambler Roses, planted in the fall of 1900, was one of the most satisfactory and showy features of the bedding.

The plants of this exhibit were graded in size from low bushes at the border, to strong standards four feet high in the centre. At blooming time the conditions were perfect, and the best known rose growers of the country were warm in their expressions of satisfaction and surprise at the splendid results produced. By careful estimate there were not less than 300,000 blooms in full flower when the bed was at its best.


It requires study as well as great resources to bring together nearly a hundred species of Evergreen trees, but it has been done here by a single firm, making a collection worthy of any arboretum, and presenting opportunities for study and comparison not often found. The number of species of pines, spruces, firs, and other Evergreens will surprise many.


There are shown about ten thousand Cannas, occupying thirty-five different beds, best old varieties being represented as well as many new ones; some of which have not yet been disseminated. A bed of "Black Beauty," with a border of "McKinley," a dwarf, bright scarlet, is one of the handsomest displays on the grounds. "David Harum" has a fine bronze leaf, with an orange-scarlet flower; while "Garret A. Hobart " has a bright green leaf, with a splendid scarlet truss. " Buttercup " is a beautiful yellow, "Victory" a splendid orange-yellow - all new creations.


A bed of new hybrid Delphiniums was very much admired. Pansies were represented by about a dozen beds, and an immense bed of Verbenas attracted universal attention. About half-a-dozen new varieties of Geraniums, as well as several of the old standard varieties, occupy beds. Two dwarf varieties, which are likely to be in great demand soon, are "Dryden" and " America." Of the larger Arthur Hewitt growing varieties, there are " Le Soled," a magnificent scarlet, and " Pasteur," an orange-scarlet. A bed of the new hardy Altheas, containing over twenty varieties is interesting, while Hardy Phlox are shown by several firms in over fifty varieties.


The display of herbaceous plants is very extensive, and includes nearly all the desirable representatives of this class. They occupy beds near the margins of the grounds.


The displays of Water-lilies are perhaps the largest ever made. The Victoria basin, 125 feet in diameter, contains two plants of Victoria Regia and two plants of Trickerii, besides twenty-six plants of exotic Nymphaeas. In the cool basin of the same size there are three groups of Nelumbiums of different species, and twenty-four groups of Nymphaeas, among the latter being several varieties that have not yet been sent out. In the several groups of hardy Nymphaeas which border the east and west Mirror Lakes are fifteen hundred plants, which have been in holiday attire since July 1, and which include all the well-known as well as the choicest varieties. Many of these Nymphaeas are hybrids raised by a famous aquatic expert of Philadelphia.


Exclusive of the Water-lilies, there are about two hundred beds devoted to exhibits, varying in size from 100 square feet to 6,000 square feet, and embracing exhibits of about fifty of the leading horticultural firms of the country.


The splendid piece of statuary, "The Chariot Race," by Roth, needed a fit setting, and this was given by surrounding it with Bay Trees and Hydrangeas. The fountain was placed in the hands of a single exhibitor who, in conjunction with the department, worked out a scheme which is at once simple and striking. Grass would not be considered a promising subject to work into presentable shape as an extra ornament to a lawn, except as one occasionally sees pampas grass used in that way, but one bed, skillfully arranged as to the relations of the colors and sizes of the various species used, is as artistic, beautiful, and graceful as can well be imagined.


The return to an appreciation of the simple but extremely effective and decorative flowers and garden plants of our grandmothers is illustrated by two great beds made up of a carefully studied grouping of Anemones, Rudbeckias, Campanulas, Sedums, Coreopsis, Plumbagos, Lobelia Cardinalis, Pentstemons, Salvias, Veronicas, and a score more equally simple old-fashioned things, delightful in their simplicity and freedom from the flaring colors and gaudy general appearance of too many of the more recent candidates for popular favor.


Pan-America is the home of the entire family of Cacti, and of course these interesting plants should be shown in quantity and in variety. The entire opportunity for showing this group was left in the hands of an exhibitor from Mexico, who has worked out an arrangement and a grouping at once striking and instructive. Nearly fifty varieties are shown properly labelled and grouped.


The exhibit of live plants of special interest because of their production of some form of food or spices, received most careful consideration and is a surprise to many. Among the varieties shown are Tea plants, Coffee trees, Vanilla vines, Pimento shrubs, Pineapple plants, Cocoanut trees, Bananas, and many more.


Perhaps the most pleasing and popular features of all were the flower shows. The season was so late and irregular that no one flower came in on time, so that instead of a single flower having everything its own way for a few days, to be followed in turn by another which would have no competitor, there were usually parts of two flower shows going on at once. Thus the Carnations reached over into the time allotted to the Sweet Peas, which in their turn divided honors with their successor, the Gladioli.

It was a graceful tribute to the popularity of Horticulture which prompted the selection of the Horticulture building to fill the post of honor, directly opposite the main Government building, and those having in charge the selection and distribution of the exhibits felt at all times that they had no easy task before them in working out a scheme that should be in harmony with the surroundings, and that should not suffer by comparison with the architectural and electrical effects which were planned to excel anything in their respective lines ever produced.

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