Click here to return to the Tutt Library Home Page

Century Chest transcription 58

1507 N. Cascade Ave.
Colorado Springs, Aug. 3rd 1901

To The Lovers of Gardens, of the year of our Lord 2001 - Greetings -

We feel sure that you will be interested to hear about the gardens & trees of Colorado Springs as they are in the year 1901. What a pleasure it would be if we could look ahead a hundred years and see your gardens! but as I cannot do that, I must be content with trying to give you a picture of our gardens and trees of today. I have no doubt that with improved methods of irrigation, and of storing water you will have made the wilderness blossom as the rose. & that all this land under the shadow of Pikes Peak will truly be a "land flowing with milk & honey." The only native trees that we have near Colorado Springs, are the cotton-woods & these follow the few water courses and the rest of the prairie is barren of trees except for an occasional grove of spruce trees which lend a tract of welcome green to the landscape. The first settlers of Colorado Springs planted cottonwood trees along the streets and these are now very large trees though they have suffered severely from the high winds, and in many instances are badly broken. A severe storm last year uprooted hundreds of the largest trees - the roots of all trees here, being very shallow on account of the shallow soil - I am told that Mr. Stockbridge of Col. City planted the first cotton-woods, on Pikes Peak Ave. and on Tejon Street. The great objection to this tree as a street tree, is the fluffy cotton that it sheds during the months of July & August. When the wind blows the air is filled with it; like a snow storm & it gets into one's eyes and moves in a way that is anything but pleasant. The largest cotton-wood in town is in the 600 block on North Cascade - it measures at base, 9 ft. 2 in. in circumference and is 55 ft high. At first only cottonwoods were planted, but about the year 1880 they began planting other trees. Experimenting with maples, elms etc. These trees were found to do well here. And after that date comparatively few cotton-woods were planted except among people who could not afford the better grade of trees. The largest maple tree in town measures 4ft 9 in at base and is 50 feet in height. The largest elm measures 4 ft 3 in at base, and is 45 ft. in height. These two trees are growing in Mr. Kennedy's garden, 105 N. Weber St. Elms grow very slowly here and the high winds break the branches. Maples and box elders seem to be the best trees for this locality. Especially if they are well taken care of, and due attention is paid to keeping them trimmed. Irrigation seems to make the trees grow tall & thin but by cutting them back every year or two, they can be forced into good shape. It seems a great pity that in laying out a town on this boundless prairie the originators of Colorado Springs did not make the lots in the residence part of the city larger. The blocks are only 400 ft square but between each one, running north & south, 20 ft is taken off for an alley. Hence the largest plan one can have, is 400 ft by 190 ft. but the small place is only 100 ft by 190. Mr. Louis Ehrich has the largest place in town (400 by 190) and it occupies the west side of the 1700 block on N. Cascade Ave. (Block F. in the D. Russ Wood addition).

Mr. Ehrich put out a lot of 4 year old maples in 1890 which are now good trees, shading his lawn and little walk. The next largest place in town is ours (300 ft X 190 ft) & it occupies 8 lots in the 1500 block east side Cor. of Buena Ventura St. on Cascade Ave. (also in the D. Russ Wood Addition 2 blocks south of Mr. Ehrich's place). The trees on this place were planted about twenty years ago and with one exception it is the best & most varied collection of trees in town. The list includes many varieties of maples, 2 varieties of elms, box elders, several very fine honey locust trees, 2 large Balm of Gilead, 2 Lindens, and some other varieties. The original place was only 200 X 190, but when we bought it last summer we added 100 ft north & filled this lot with trees. Our trees were too close together on the old place, so we moved many of them to the new lot & purchased twenty other trees which we also planted in this lot. George Langman, an Englishman, did the work for us in a most satisfying manner. The trees that we moved in our place were the largest that had ever been moved in Col. Spgs. the largest maple measuring at base 2 ft 11 1/2 inches - This tree was cut back to about 20 ft in height, it was taken up with a very large ball of frozen earth and moved a distance of over a mile to our place. Gen. Langhman sent east for machines to move these trees. Four horses were required to move it - and six or eight men. The hole had previously been prepared by taking out six double loads of gravel & this was filled to the required depth with manure & loam. This tree is now in fine condition & is covered with hearty foliage. In fact, with one exception, every tree that we moved is in a hearty condition & all are making good new growth of foliage - Geo. Langhman seems to have more success than any one else in town in moving trees. As he is so careful in lifting them with a large ball of earth. Hundreds of other much smaller trees that have been set out in the past year are either dead or dying - Another man here M.E. Stover is most successful in transplanting Colorado blue spruce trees - these are very different to move but when once established they take kindly to our garden soil, and we have many beautiful specimens in town. Mr. Stover who is a ranchman living back on the prairie, comes into town every spring & fall & makes many trips into the mountains, bringing back about twenty five young trees in a load & he very seldom loses a tree. He takes up a large ball of earth & carefully wraps sacking about the roots & earth & then plants the tree sack & all giving it a thorough soaking into water. He put 12 fine young spruces in my garden this spring. For the modest sum of $25.00. They ranged in height from 3 to 5 ft. & are all making a strong growth. Lombardy poplars are used here to form hedges or screens and when well clipped & irrigated they form fine close hedges 15 ft high - & are used to break the wind or seem unsightly objects. I know of only one catalpa tree in town, & that is in Mr. Ashby's garden on N. Nevada Ave. It was covered with beautiful flowers this spring & was much admired. I also know but one horse chestnut tree - I believe that many of the eastern trees would grow here & I mean to send east this fall for horse chestnuts, dogwoods, flowering cherries & plums and other variations. There has been great lack of enterprise here among both the growers & owners of gardens, they have seemed afraid to try experiments - and so, have planted the same thing over & over, till one place looks most like another with absolutely no individuality.

For shrubs, we have a tiresome procession all over town of lilacs & snowballs! With scraggy hedges of wild roses, yellow roses & japonica & not a decent hedge among them all! When I suggested growing fine roses here, there was an outcry - "What grow roses in this adobe soil & with our cold winters; never!" Yet I won first prize at the Horticultural show here last season for outdoor roses, some specimen of "Paul Negrow" measuring 14 in. in circumference. These plants have stood 3 winters of zero weather dying down each year to their covering of manure & leaves but forming splendid new wood each year. The popular flower here is the sweet pea that lovely flower worthy of being lady-in-waiting to our Queen the Rose for no one ever disputes the supremacy of our Queen among flowers. Every other lovely flower must bow her head when the Queen is on her throne. Never, except in the moist climate of England, have I seen such perfect specimen of roses as I have grown in this same "adobe soil." Baroness Rothschild is in all her glory in my garden & I have cut specimen this year on stout stems, 14 in. long every leaf of foliage perfect and from its crown or cluster of five sprays of leaves one Queen lifted her divinely pink head in royal beauty. The favorites in my garden all kneel to the "Baroness." "Mr. John Laing" - "Mlle. Gabriel Linzet," "General Jack," Paul Negrow" Anna de Dierbuck" "Merveille de Lyon" "Alfred Colomb" & others of the "Hybrid Perpetual" type. "American Beauty" is doing well but is a new-comer in my garden. I have 500 rose bushes & I will put in as many more this year. "Cruison Rambler" & Gloire de Dijon" have stood their first Colorado winter & I hope will prove a success. 30 plants were set out in May but I am cutting 35 or more roses every day & they are the admiration of all who see them. Dahlias do well here & are very popular. Dr. Gates (Vice President of the Horticulture Society) has the oldest & best garden in town & raises many varieties of old fashioned flowers not seen elsewhere. His garden is always a blaze of color though he pays no attention to formality or arrangement. Mine is a sort of experimental garden & I am trying all the things that they say will not grow in Colorado & the Horticulture Society is watching it with great interest. The question of rose growing here we consider seated in the affirmative. It is only a question of proper care & of soil. We are not following the usual method of planting, which is to take rol [?] a barrow load of gravel, plant a shrub in the hole & wonder why it makes growth so slowly! But in making our hardy borders we dug out all the gravel to a depth of 5 ft. (making the borders 100 ft. long & from 5 to 10 ft wide). This was replaced with loam & manure & with this fine soil we planted shrubs, with lilies, iris, holly hocks, hardy phlox etc. planted among the shrubs & as a border. This work was done last autumn & this summer we planted hundreds of pink & white gladiola bulbs among the plants. The border against the grass is of nasturtiums & sweet allysum. There are only a few people who take any real interest in this garden here. Most of them think they have done their duty to their neighbors when they have set out a bell of scarlet geraniums eyed [?] with dusty miller! I am so accustomed to eastern gardens that this lack of interest is a great trial. (I am a New Yorker & only came here 3 years ago for my husband's health & he got entirely well in this splendid climate). The great object of one horticultural society is to induce people to take a greater interest in the growing of really good flowers & shrubs & we expect to see a great improvement on these lines in the next few years. The lawns here are like green velvet and are the feature of the town. The streets are all bordered with irrigation ditches & every place in town is flooded once a week with six or eight inches of water. We are also allowed to use the sprinklers attached to the hose every day from 6 to 9 A.M. & from 6 to 7 P.M. For my layer place I have 8 hose attachments & they are all in use every day. A fine of $3.00 is collected from any one found using the hose out of the regular hours. Collection of winds which are allowed to grow on the edges of the ditches in many parts of town but action will soon be taken on this subject. Handsome residences are fast being built all over town & as the vacant lots are taken up and improved, green lawns taking the place of weeds, Colorado Springs will in time be a really charming town. It has great possibilities and is improving every year. The broad streets shaded with trees are very attractive and as the centres of the streets will grow each year in beauty we hope to park upper Cascade Ave this year. The large trees that I have tried to describe will probably be gone before this letter is read but I want to locate some young trees which may be in existence in 2001. Mrs. Cheney of Boston, Mass. owns the place opposite & in 1892 they set out a large number of young 3 inch elm trees. These ought to be giants in 2001 if they receive care & water. The Cheney place is 200 ft on N. Cascade, west side of the street in the 1500 block corner of Buena Ventura Street. I will enclose a drawing of the plan of my garden to give some idea of a Colorado garden of 1901. The sun dial in the centre of the formal garden is of curved gray stone & came from an old Italian garden. Under a sprawling locust tree is a carved white marble bench (also from an old Italian garden). When I have afternoon tea at five o'clock & enjoy the beauty & scent of my beloved garden. For to me there is no joy in the world quite equal to the delights of a garden and there, while I enjoy the beauty of the garden of today I plan the still more lovely garden of next year. For no true gardener is ever satisfied. The sun dial marks the flight of time, as one sunny day follows another in this land of blue skies and sunshine & this is its motto, "Give light to them that sit in darkness, and guide our feet into the way of peace." And as I sit under mine own vine and fig tree & dream of what the garden will be in the years to come & wish that I could know if it will be in existence when this letter is read. It so, give a kindly thought to the one who planted it and loved it so dearly. Under another cover will be found catalogues of famous nurseries, that will give a better idea of the culture & varieties of flowers grown at the beginning of this century than I can possibly give & I am sure they will be of interest to all flower lovers. I will also enclose a series of articles on our wild flowers by one of the professors in the college. The vacant lots in town have been perfect mosaics of flowers this summer & suggested hue [?] oriental carpets in their vivid covering, deep pinks & purples of vetches, sky blue & indigo blue of "penstemon" and yellows of daisies. In June these same fields were carpeted with what I call wild "crecopsis" but do not know the true name. The fields all about town & these vacant lots were waving masses of gold, veritable fields of the cloth of gold surpassing in beauty the famous poppy fields of California. I have written down in this long letter all that I could think would be of interest to flower lovers of the next century.

I wish that I could add to the box, the masses of superb roses that are beside me as I write. For there is one flower that I do not believe can be made much more beautiful & that is our Queen. It seems as if she had reached perfection and so dear flower lovers, and garden lovers of 2001 we bid you God-speed & hope that your fondest hopes for gardens & trees are being realized that your gardens & rose bowers are all that you long for them to be in this fair land of clean skies, bouncing air, and splendid mountain ranges and that dear old Pikes Peak may look down in 2001 on an even fairer scene than he guards today for he is the guardian of this plain & we look up at mine lovingly every day. When he puts on his storm cap we look out for storms but if his head rises proudly above the storm clouds then we think the rains will pass us by and so we learn to love his rugged grandeur. With trash wishes for the prosperity & happiness of Colorado of the future, I am

Faithfully yours,

Patty Stuart Jewett C.S.
Chairman Woman's Advisory board of the Horticultural Society

[map of garden]

This is only half my garden. Another just like it will be added this fall to the north end of the garden & will be reached by a flight of stone steps.

Letter 2

August 5th, 1901

To the Horticultural Society of Colorado Springs of the year 2001. Greeting

I have been requested by Mr. Ehrich to represent the Horticultural Society in the century box. Two other envelopes hid be found in the box. Addressed to "Lovers of Gardens" these contain catalogues of flowers & plants, colored plants etc. & also a long letter on the condition of arboculture & horticulture in this city at the present time. The horticultural society was started about three years ago and have held two exhibits in large tents in the North Park. The exhibit of 1900 was superior in every way to the one of the previous year & we hope this year to far surpass last year. I enclose the report of last year's work. And the list of prizes for this year. The work among the school children, is especially interesting promoting a love of flowers and of nature among the children in their early impressionable years.

Seeds are given out free to the public school children every May to all who will take than & each child is expected to either exhibit the flower or vegetables grown from these seeds or give a good reason why they are not shown. We also have in view the improvement of the town in many directions. In cultivating the [land?] for finer shrubs & hardy flowers & in beautifying the streets by parking them in the centre of the streets. We hope to find some means of getting rid of the nuisance of weeds by the ditch boxes. The [illegible] advisory breath [?] is working for these ends & hope the coming year may show their work. In permanent improvements to the city - Governor Orman is expected to open the show this year, and exhibitors are coming from all over the state. The show of sweet peas was particularly fine last year. Mr. Harris, president of the society, winning for the second time the silver cup offered by the Burpee Co. of Phila. For the best twenty sprays each of 25 varieties. It is now his property. Mr. Horn won many prizes for fine sweet peas. Mr. Wilmore of Denver the "Dahlia specialist" exhibited a superb collection of dahlias - Dr. Galis had a fine exhibit of hardy flowers & gladioli. These shows are most useful in showing people what can be grown here successfully. I took first prize for ten true hybrid perpetual roses on long stems. The exhibits by the school children were most creditable. I have never seen finer heads of candytuft & marigolds. Some of the vegetables were very good also. Mr. Smith the florist of dogurills [?] had very fine asters. I truly believe from what we see at these exhibitions and from my own experience, that almost all flowers cam be grown here successfully (barring rhododendrons azaleas and other moisture-loving plants). It was thought that Jap. Iris would not grow here but I have a thrifty bed of exhibition plants, that look perfectly comfortable and at home in my garden. The bed is made very rich and is down 6 in. below the level of the garden. I have let the hose run in this several hours a day, but I am now putting in a perfrated [?] pipe on the dampen [?] in the middle of the bed & will let the water run in the pipe several hours a day. The plants were only put out in June, but they have had some superb flowers already. So with the experience of a hundred years of careful gardening and experimenting - I feel sure that your gardens will be very beautiful- with all good wishes & hopes for the success & beauty of this fair city under the shadow of our beloved Pike's Peak. I am Faithfully yours

Patty Stuart Jewett C.S.
Chairman of the womans advisory board Horticultural Society

Top of Page        
Click here to return to the CC Home Page