This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
It is one of the features of the present day, that every pursuit and calling of importance has its organ devoted to the diffusion of information on subjects connected with it. Horticulture, so far from forming an exception to this rule, is perhaps more abundantly supplied with periodicals than any other of the kindred sciences.
That there are more than can live, few will doubt; for, with the exception of our own little work, all of them are intended to be a source of pecuniary profit to their proprietors or conductors, and we may be quite sure none will be carried on long at a loss. Some, therefore, must cease with the present year, for our experience tells us there is not above one of the whole number (The Gardeners' Chronicle) that pays more than an insignificant sum beyond its actual cost. To us it has been very interesting to watch how, in bidding for public favour, their conductors observe a propriety of language very different to that which was to be met with some years ago in such wrorks. In several earlier publications lying before us, we find articles and communications which, for scurrility of language, appear fit for Billingsgate or St. Giles's alone, and yet mixed up with them are frequent allusions to " looking up from Nature to Nature's God," and to the refinement of mind sure to attend on a love of gardening pursuits.
In these remarks we are not to be supposed penning a dying note for the Florist and Garden Miscellany, We steadily progress in public estimation; though at a pace far too slow for our active temperament, which thirsts for that improvement an enlarged circulation alone will enable us to effect. But our principal object in making these discursive remarks has been as a preface to introducing to the favourable notice of our readers, the first number of Lindley and Paxton's Flower-garden, The objects of the publication are so well and clearly stated in the following prospectus, that we reprint it; glad of the opportunity of acknowledging the generous manner in which Professor Lindley has ever noticed our little work, though springing from views and opinions in some degree antagonistic to his own. All our readers who can afford to do so should procure the first number; and as we learn it was hurriedly got out, they may assure themselves that, beautiful as it is, its successors will surpass it.
"The design of the work now offered to the public is to supply, in monthly parts, as full an account of all the new and remarkable plants introduced into cultivation as is necessary to the gardener, and as the price and extent of a periodical will permit. The history of such plants will be sought in the botanical works published on the continent, to which English cultivators have little access, as well as in those of our own country, and in the gardens or herbaria from which they are derived.
It is expected that by this means the English reader will be able by degrees, by mere reference to the indexes of matter which will accompany each number, to ascertain the real horticultural value of the numberless so-called novelties with which the lists of dealers are crowded. The infinite number of double names, which botanists call synonymes, but which in common parlance are termed aliases, will also, it is hoped, be gradually referred to their true denomination, and the purchaser thus be spared the mortification of finding that after procuring half-a-dozen different names, he is still in possession of but one species, and that perhaps one with which he was previously familiar.
To effect this purpose, it is proposed to separate each number into two distinct parts. In the first part will be found three coloured plates of plants, which from their beauty, or remarkable tints, especially demand this expensive style of illustration. Here it is not proposed to introduce any species which can be as well represented without colour; by which means a large part of the expense of botanical periodicals will be saved for the purpose of being applied to the embellishment of the second part. Nor will the public be in any respect a loser by this arrangement, for it is doubtful whether more than three really fine new plants appear in a month in this country, on an average. The title of the second part, ' Gleanings and Original Memoranda,' fully explains its purpose. It will consist of notices, long or short, according to the importance of the subject, of as many plants published in contemporary publications, or observed by the authors, as can be enumerated in eight or ten pages. Unimportant species will be merely mentioned; those of higher interest will be described at greater length; and of the most remarkable there will be introduced woodcuts, in which an attempt will be made to combine accurate representations with some pictorial effect.
The effect of this arrangement is to introduce into the present number an account of thirty-five species, of which eleven are figured. Supposing each number to contain a similar amount of species, a yearly volume will include 420 accounts of plants, of which 132 will be illustrated; by far the largest number yet comprehended in any scientific English botanical periodical.
In the selection of species for full illustration, it is intended to divide the plates as nearly as possible between stove, greenhouse, and hardy plants; so that each department of the flower-garden may be equally cared for. The editors, however, anticipate some occasional difficulty in accomplishing this part of their plan, in consequence of the much larger number of novelties annually introduced to the hothouse and greenhouse than to the open borders. In the present number the species figured are, stove three, greenhouse two, and hardy six. On no occasion will there be more than one coloured orchid in each number.
Since this work is intended for English readers, the English language will be adopted, as far as possible, in all familiar names and descriptions. English names of the plants represented in the coloured plates will be given in preference to technical Latin ones, in the hope that by degrees the ear may be relieved from the necessity of dwelling upon sounds which, even to the learned, are often harsh and unpleasant. There seems to be no valid reason why the system of talking Greek and Latin, without understanding it, may not be banished from familiar natural history. At the same time, for the convenience of foreign naturalists, and of those who prefer technical to familiar words, the names employed in strict science are also given, and the distinctive characters of the species are added in Latin.
The proprietors also wish to state, that in order to spare their subscribers the necessity of continuing to purchase a book of this nature for an unlimited series of years, and of thus incurring an expense of unknown amount, it is intended absolutely to terminate the present work with the tenth volume. But with the cessation of the present work it is intended that another, with a new title, but upon a similar plan, shall immediately succeed it; so that those who may wish to extend their subscription will have the opportunity of doing so, while those who may be desirous of discontinuing their purchase will be in possession of a complete work. In this way the necessity of breaking up a periodical into wdiat are called series, or new issues, - which are merely thin disguises, intended to conceal the purchase of fragments of a work, will be entirely avoided".
The coloured illustrations in the present number are: 1. Drummond's side-saddle flower; 2. the glittering gland-bearing Trumpet-flower; 3. Walker's Cattleya. The woodcuts are: 1. Aristolochia picta; 2. leaves of Berberis Japo-nica; 3. B. loxensis; 4. B. Darwinii; 5. B. tinctoria; 6. Spiraea decumbens; 7. Grammanthes gentianoides; 8. Calan-dria umbellata. The sixteen pages of letterpress are of the interesting character to be expected from such men as John Lindley and Joseph Paxton.