This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
Development of the perpetual-flowering carnation (Remontant, Monthly, Forcing, or Tree). Figs. 805-807.
The perpetual-flowering race of carnation, which has been brought to its highest state of perfection by American growers, and which is generally regarded as the "American carnation," really originated in France, and was grown in that country from its origin in 1840 until about the year 1856, before it was introduced to America. A French gardener, named M. Dalmais, obtained a constant-blooming carnation by crossing CEillet de Mahon, which bloomed in November, with pollen from CEillet Biohon, crossing again with the Flemish carnation, the first-named sort being disseminated under the name "Atim." By the year 1846 varieties in all colors had been secured and the type permanently fixed. These were taken up and improved upon in quality by other enthusiasts, among whom were M. Schmidt and M. Al-phonse Alegatiere, of Lyons, France. The latter succeeded in securing varieties with rigid stems which in 1866 were given the name "tree-carnation." M. Schmidt's most prominent varieties were Arc-en-ciel and Etoile Polaire, which were grown for several years. But the strong rigid-stemmed varieties obtained by Alegatiere, which were termed tree-carnations in 1866, proved of greater value commercially, and became more generally cultivated.
About the year 1852, a native of France who had settled near New York City, imported plants of this strain,
Fig. 802. Section of normal carnation flower.
Fig. 803. The anthers are leafy, showing one process in doubling.
Fig. 804. Carnation, Picotee.
and cultivated several varieties for a number of years. About the year 1856 the firm of Dailledouze, Zeller & Gard imported plants of La Purite, a rose-colored variety, also Mont Blanc and Edwardsii, white, and Manteaux Royal, red-and-white variegated. These were used for crossing, and the first variety produced in America, about the year 1858, proved to be a great improvement on existing varieties. It was named "Mrs.Degraw," and with another white variety named "Flat-bush," was disseminated about the year 1864. Other varieties followed, and the work was taken up by other growers, among whom were M. Donati, who raised Astoria, a yellow which is conceded to be the ancestor of all the yellow varieties grown today; Rudolph Heintz, who raised Heintz's White in 1876; Chas. T. Starr, whose most famous variety was Buttercup, introduced in 1884; Jos. Tailby, whose Grace Wilder became and remained the standard rose-pink variety until the introduction of Wm. Scott in 1893; John Thorpe and W. P. Simmons, who introduced Portia, Tidal Wave, Silver Spray and Daybreak in the eighties; Sewal Fisher, whose Mrs. Fisher appeared in 1890 and became one of the leading whites; E. G. Hill, whose most notable productions were Flora Hill, the leading white for several years, and America, a scarlet; R. Witterstaetter, who obtained Estelle, Aristocrat, Afterglow and Pres. J. A. Valentine; John Hartje, who raised the scarlet Jubilee; Peter Fisher, whose Mrs. Thos. W. Lawson, Beacon, and Enchantress with its several sports, became leaders in their respective colors; C. W. Ward, who disseminated Governor Roosevelt, Harry Fenn and Mrs. C. W. Ward.
The late Frederick Dorner conducted the most systematic work in developing the carnation, and succeeded in producing a strain which is recognized as the highest development of the American carnation. His records, which cover a period of 22 years, contain a complete list of the many thousands of crosses made during that time. This strain is distinguished for its easy-growing habit, its freedom and steadiness in producing blooms, the diversity of colors and its adaptability to commercial growing. His labors produced such varieties as Wm. Scott, Mme. Diaz Albertini, White Cloud, Mrs. Goo. M. Bradt, G. H. Crane, Lady Bountiful, White Perfection, Pink Delight, White Wonder and Gloriosa, all leaders in their respective colors.
Through the rapid strides in its development, after being introduced in this country, the carnation established itself as one of the leading flowers for commercial growing and now stands second only to the rose in commercial importance. Not only does it share equally with the rose the bench space in most large growing establishments, but many large ranges are devoted entirely to the carnation. Growing methods have been perfected by the carnation specialists until the practices employed during its early history have been entirely superseded. Since its first arrival in America, over 1,200 varieties have been introduced, and the quality has been improved until the highest developed varieties produce blooms measuring 4 l/2 inches in diameter and are carried on rigid stems 3 feet long.
In 1891 the American Carnation Society was organized to promote the interests of the carnation. By holding exhibitions annually it has assisted materially in popularizing the flower. A system of registering new varieties is in operation, which prevents confusion in nomenclature.
From this country, the improved strain of the perpetual-flowering carnation has returned to European countries, being grown in increased quantities each year and displacing all the older types of carnation for commercial growing.
Culture of outdoor or flower-garden carnations. Fig. 808.
Americans are not sufficiently aware of the excellence of some of the forms of the flower-garden or border carnation. While perennial, like the greenhouse carnation, many of them bloom profusely the first year from seed and are described as annuals. The Marguerite type is one of the most useful. These forms bloom by midsummer from early-sown seeds, and with some protection the plants will pass the winter in the open and bloom again the following spring. The Margaret strain, distinct from the Marguerite, bears double flowers, sulfur-yellow, and also blooms the first season from early-sown seed. The Chabaud strains behave similarly. The Grenadins (Fig. 801) bloom the first year from seed. They produce fine singles, of simple form and strong fragrance, although more than half of any sowing from improved seed may produce various degrees of double bloom. Riviera Market and others bloom in autumn from spring-sown seeds. The culture of the hardy or flower-garden carnations is very simple. Their profusion of summer bloom makes them desirable.
Fig. 805. The modern florists' carnation. High-centered dark-colored bloom.
Fig. 806. Modern florists' or forcing carnation.
The Picotee class (Fig. 804) is little known in this country. It is a hardy perennial in England, and the fine strains are often propagated by layers (Fig. 809). They also do well from seeds, blooming freely the second year.