I have but another word to say. If any of the class to whom I appeal incline to let “I dare not wait upon I would,” hear the experience of a bold enthusiast, as recounted by Mr. Castle in his small brochure, “Orchids.” This gentleman had a fern-case outside his sitting-room window, six feet long by three wide. He ran pipes through it, warmed presumably by gas. More ambitious than I venture to recommend, “in this miniature structure,” says Mr. Castle, “with liberal supplies of water, the owner succeeded in growing, in a smoky district of London”—I will not quote the amazing list of fine things, but it numbers twenty-five species, all the most delicate and beautiful of the stove kinds. If so much could be done under such circumstances, what may rightly be called difficult in the cultivation of orchids?
This is a subject which would interest every cultured reader, I believe, every householder at least, if he could be brought to understand that it lies well within the range of his practical concerns. But the public has still to be persuaded. It seems strange to the expert that delusions should prevail when orchids are so common and so much talked of; but I know by experience that the majority of people, even among those who love their garden, regard them as fantastic and mysterious creations, designed, to all seeming, for the greater glory of pedants and millionaires. I try to do my little part, as occasion serves, in correcting this popular error, and spreading a knowledge of the facts. It is no less than a duty. If every human being should do what he can to promote the general happiness, it would be downright wicked to leave one’s fellow-men under the influence of hallucinations that debar them from the most charming of quiet pleasures. I suspect also that the misapprehension of the public is largely due to the conduct of experts in the past. It was a rule with growers formerly, avowed among themselves, to keep their little secrets. When Mr. B.S. Williams published the first edition of his excellent book forty years ago, he fluttered his colleagues sadly. The plain truth is that no class of plant can be cultivated so easily, as none are so certain to repay the trouble, as the Cool Orchids.