This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
Some thirty or forty years since, before Mr. Chater's time, Chinese Hollyhocks took well-merited precedence of all other Hollyhocks. Now I see by the advertisements of Messrs. Turner, Youell, and others, that Chinese Chrysanthemums of a foot high are to elbow their somewhat intractable predecessors out of the greenhouse into the borders. And truly there are few flowers that need dwarfing so much as those. But is it that these diminutive species are really natives of the Celestial Empire? Or is it not rather that the national epithet has come to be identified with any duodecimo edition of an ordinary plant, from the singular power that most singular of people have from time immemorial exercised over forest and orchard trees? I myself once succeeded, by the bye, in obtaining an apple-tree with four full-grown ripe apples on it, though it was only about as many inches high. That, however, died before the next season. But to return. Why should we not have Chinese Dahlias? It may interest some of your readers to know that I have accidentally found there is no difficulty in having plants to flower, and very tolerably in character too, when the blossom is many times the size of the whole plant.
About six weeks ago, when thinning the shoots of my Dahlias, I thought I might as well strike one of each, as, if they did not flower this season, they might make a duplicate collection of tubers for some friend. By putting them in a cold frame till the callus was formed, and then subjecting them to heat, they readily rooted; and there they are still in sixties, from one to three inches high, with the pots full of roots, and waiting to be planted out. But two of them when taken had buds formed, which I did not cut off; and now I wish I had taken none but such as had buds; for I think it would have attracted notice, even at Worton Cottage, on a Wednesday, to see on the table a bloom of Captain Warner or of George Clayton, if not exactly fit for a specimen bloom at an exhibition, yet still in very fair condition, on plants respectively 1 1/2 and 2 1/2 inches high. Probably I am now too late; but I have in consequence just taken off several tops with buds where they could be spared, simply for the sake of the curiosity; and if they come to any thing worth notice, I will inform you.
August 13th. Iota.