|Osmond Tiffany, Jr. (1823 -95) was the oldest of five sons of Osmond Capron Tiffany, one of the earliest merchants of Baltimore who built the first cotton mill in the South, and Ann Checkley Shaw. Osmond Jr. was a student at Harvard (1840-42) but did not graduate. He sailed for Canton in May 1844 and arrived in Macao on the following Sept 22. He then went on to Canton. His ship departed Canton a little before the Chinese New Year. Tiffany married Ann Pinkney White in 1847 and the couple had four children. After being a Baltimore merchant and author, he was ordinance clerk at the U.S. Armory in Springfield, MA (1862-63), paymaster's clerk in the U.S. Army (1863-64), and a custom-house liquidating clerk in Baltimore beginning in 1869. As an early American writer of things Chinese, his 1849 work, The Canton Chinese, was widely read and cited. His other books included A Sketch of the Life and Services of General Ortho Holland Williams (1851); Brandon, Or A Hundred Years Ago: A Tale Of The American Colonies (1858); and Elmwood, Or, Helen and Emma. The American in China (1862). He edited Sacred Biography and History.... (1868, 1871). and also wrote several articles for various newspapers and periodicals. 1|
The Canton Chinese, or the American's Sojourn in The Celestial Empire
by Osmond Tiffany (1849):
"Another point of some interest to the stranger, and particularly the botanist, is the Fah-tee garden. This lies about a mile above the hongs, on the Honam side of the river, and is in fact divided into two separate gardens by a little creek making out from the river.
"They are open all day, and foreigners are permitted to visit them at any moment.
"The gardens are owned by a number of the rich natives of Canton, are of great extent, and filled with rare and beautiful plants, and at certain seasons the eye may be gratified with the magnificent display of ten thousand japonicas in bloom at one time.
 "A very excellent and pretty collection of plants in flower may be made in Canton, by obtaining a man from these gardens, who brings any that you want, attends to them as long as they remain fresh, and then changes them for others, and all for a trifling consideration.
"When you visit the gardens you may bring away with you japonicas, and any other flowers not considered very rare, for the mere asking, and any of the plants will be furnished at reasonable prices.
"If to go on shipboard, orange or japonica trees are in small size put into boxes filled with rare earth, and the top of the box is made of roof shape, and to open and shut at pleasure. In this lid are inserted thin laminę of pearl oyster shells used in China so extensively in lieu in glass, in order to afford light to the plants even when they are obliged to be closed in stormy weather.
"You enter the garden through a sort of lodge for the gardeners, and which serves also as a storehouse for every thing necessary connected with their vocation; there were thousands of flower pots plain and ornamented, glasses for delicate young plants, and for others covers pierced through with holes to allow the young green shoots to spring out and curl all over the form. There were also porcelain seats and chairs for gardens, though these might be had cheap in the city.
"The plants were arranged in long rows on benches, on the ground, or planted against the brick wall, and every one in the vast number looked vigorous and healthy.
"The orange trees were loaded with golden rich-ness, and bore a different look from the sickly absentees in our hot-houses; and here were the little cumquat oranges of blood red color, and used only in preserving.
"The Chinese are so fond of the queer and fantastic as to carry their taste even into nature, and not contented with bringing plants and flowers to the highest state of perfection, they must torture them into singular shapes and dwarf them, as they do the feet of their women.
"In this manner one will often see in small pots plants that, left to their natural growth, would require wide space, yet are in full leaf and fruit. The stems of orange trees, for instance, are very thick, the leaves abundant, the fruit sound, and the whole will not be more than a foot in height.
"No other people have succeeded in forcing nature out of its own way so completely, and it is the result of long study and practice, just as fruits that, in a wild state are unfit to eat, are rendered delicious by culture.
"The Chinese gardeners effect this dwarfing by commencing with the plant very young, cutting off some shoots, and bending others, and preventing the sap from spreading, by fixing ligatures around the branches.
"Thus the animus of the plant is confined to one small portion of it, and after a while, art overcomes the natural disposition of the tree, and it bears and thrives in its contracted state.
"The horticulturists are also very fond of training shrubs into the shapes of birds, men, or animals, and often effect a surprising resemblance to the object they  imitate. Their work of this kind in roots has been already noticed." ...
"The botanist will find much to repay his curiosity in the Fah-tee gardens, and they offer the best opportunity to him, in a country where he cannot wander as she pleases.
"Very few, if any, good collections of Chinese plants have been made ; many thousands of specimens have left the country, and a small number comparatively have crossed the ocean in safety. The length of the voyage, unpleasant weather, and want of proper care and room have proved great obstacles to the successful introduction of them into England and America.
"They could best be transported in some government vessel, where there would be plenty of air, room, and at the same time, good shelter; but until a ship is dispatched especially, our naturalists may despair of having a good collection" ... 
"The Fah-tee gardens, as I have observed, are divided by the little creek which our boat sails up so gaily, and which forms a snug harbor for vessels bound down to Canton, and suddenly met by a heavy head wind.
"The inclosures [sic], especially on the side of the creek that strangers do not visit, (for most of them are quite content with seeing one side of the Chinese in all respects,) are shaded with lofty trees, and it is pleasant to hear the winds murmur among their lofty branches, after being shut up for weeks in Canton, with scarce a blade of grass in sight.
"These gardens are not like the private grounds of the rich, but are mere receptacles for plants, and in consequence, display none of the decoration and curious embellishment that attaches to Chinese landscape gardening in general. There were several bridges and summer-houses placed amidst pools of water, but these frog ponds were used chiefly for watering the plants.
"The gardeners were evidently men who thoroughly understood their vocation, and were stimulated by enthusiasm at the same time. They were polite and anxious to show us their plants, and did not withhold any information we asked for. They were different from the generality of the people, who are very shy in their answers, as they imagine that foreigners are always trying to get the upper hand of them.
"In truth, men accustomed to spend their days in  studying the works of nature are apt to bear a natural and simple demeanor." 2
The Harvard Graduates' Magazine, December 1907, pg. 340;