This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
It has been truly said, that "public taste, as regards certain classes of plants, is very capricious." I well remember the time when almost every flower-garden could boast of its Mimulus bed, and when every fresh addition to this really pretty genus was hailed with no ordinary interest. I shall not soon forcret the satisfaction which beamed in the face of our " Andrew Fairservice" when he was shewn the beautiful M. cardinalis, which was a great novelty some fifteen years ago. It was introduced, about the year 1835, by the late lamented David Douglas, who, as most of our readers no doubt know, " lost his life in the pursuit of his art, and than whom no man of science has left a higher name behind him." Cultivated in the open ground, in moist rich soil, this fine plant flowered abundantly with Andrew from July to the end of September. About the same year, Mr. Smith, a nurseryman in Islington, raised a pretty seedling, which he called " Smithii," between M. variegatus and M. luteus rivularis. It was something in the way of that represented by your plate, but much smaller, and far more starry. Andrew obtained this; Luteus and Roseus he had before, if my memory serves me rightly. And now little was purchased in the way of Mirnuluses for some time.
A few years afterwards, an Irish seedling called Maclainii, a great improvement on R.oseus, made its appearance; and with this, Luteus variegatus, and others, tolerably good beds were formed. In the present day, however, even after the lapse of some dozen years, and with our improved garden-hybrids, one rarely meets with a clump of Mirnuluses in the flower-garden. This may partly be attributed to the great number of good bedding-plants of so many colours that we now possess; and partly to most of the Mirnuluses being found to be too coarse for beds. But if unsuitable for masses, they are very effective in small patches, scattered here and there "with careless hand" in American borders or in damp corners, where they can receive partial shade, and perhaps a little protection in the most severe weather. The finer kinds are well worth cultivating in pots for greenhouse or conservatory decoration. When grown in this way, the pots should be roomy, and the plants should be liberally supplied with water.
The common Musk (Mimulus muschatus) planted here and there by the sides of the shrubbeiy among Rhododendrons, or in Rose-beds, is much admired for its cheerful yellow flowers, and delightful fragrance. When it and Roses bloom together, the whole has a very pleasing effect.
A small neat species of Mirnulus called " Tricolor" was introduced by the Horticultural Society from California, about a year since. Its general colour is delicate pink, with a deep crimson spot at the base of each lobe, and a yellow stain along the lower lip.
The subject of your plate was raised by Mr. Layton of Hammersmith, and will be valued by all who are fond of Mimuluses. The flower from which your drawing was made measured two inches in diameter. As will be seen by your representation, it is rich yellow margined with crimson.maroon, and having a handsome blotch of the same colour on each petal; throat spotted.