But we make a great mistake if we suppose that palms are all fan-shaped. Many, if not most, belong to the feathery, or pinnate, type of beauty. The Northern florist sells more plants of the feathery Kentias and Areca than of the fan-shaped Latania. And we find this feathery grace highly developed in another great tropical family — the bamboos. (See plates 107 and 67.) So full are bamboos of tropical suggestion that people are always surprised to learn that there are any which will survive a Northern winter. Yet a better rule of action would be to assume that every tropical type has its Northern representative. And in my experience the Northern plant is often more beautiful than anything of the kind in the tropics. What maidenhair can the tropics boast that has the beauty of our own Adiantum pedatum ? And is there any plant in the immense family of aroids which has so innocent and boyish a prettiness as our own Jack-in-the-pulpit ?
So with bamboos. There are six very fine species that are hardy at Philadelphia and I described many others in Country Life in America for March, 1905. Indeed, bamboos are nothing more or less than grasses, though they flower only after a long time and then die.
Among flowering grasses the most celebrated is pampas grass, great specimens of which are sometimes wintered in cellars as far north as Philadelphia. But I would rather have something that is hardier, even if not so showy, e. g., the giant reed (Arundo Donax) and Ravenna grass. Eulalias I never loved, but sometimes they fit well.
There is a noble reed which raises its spears in serried ranks all summer, on the great salt meadows near New York, and in the autumn its military hosts are crowned by myriads of waving plumes. The name of this reed is Phragmites communis. No nurseryman sells it. I wonder why ?