This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
I think I told you that I would give you some account of the Chel-laston (or Swarkstone) Tulips; and 1 will now endeavour to redeem my promise, premising that if there ever was a gordian knot in this class of flowers, it is amongst these, which would require even the summary measures of an Alexander to disperse or disentangle them. One serious drawback is, that the breeders have many of them been sold out as mixtures, without name or number; another is, that though the breeders had a certain number on the raisers' bed, yet they were altered. Some say, that as they broke or became rectified, another number was given them; if so, it was bad policy in the raiser.
It is also asserted by Mr. Gibbons, that they were originated from Rose Vesta, a foul-cupped rose, and a bizarre known in the neighbourhood of Derby as Count Villaflor. In the absence of any other information, we must conclude that this is correct, though the seedlings evince a much higher and better parentage.
In bizarres there appears a scarcity; though what few there are, are good, with few exceptions.
Pilot was broken first by Mr. John Spencer of Adholton, near Nottingham; at all events, he first' shewed it, and named it as above; and this title was adopted by the raiser. It is a flower of good form and purity, being a shade more than half a globe when in full bloom. In some situations the flame is apt to be light; but I have grown it in good style, when, take it all together, there were few to beat it. It favours Captain White, or San Joz most, without that incurving at the upper part of the petal, which detracts from that fine old flower.
Caliph was broken and named by Mr. J. F. Wood of the Coppice, Nottingham; it is a third-row flower, from a strong bulb; equally good in form with the preceding, but not quite so coarse or heavy; a very fine variety, pure, the flame reddish brown, but a very distinct and attractive sort.
Captain Sleigh I do not think much of; the beam is apt to run through at the top of the petal, and is otherwise coarse, slightly stained also at the base of the petals.
Competitor, with the exception of a similar fault, I have seen a good feathered bizarre; but it is either uncertain or scarce, as it is seldom cither staged or noticed in any part of the country, as far as my observation goes.
The great majority of these breeders are byblcemens; and I much fear, that when broken feathered, they have been christened one thing, and when flamed, from the same breeder, another. This is the case with Princess Royal (flame) and Maid of Orleans (feathered). The breeder is light coloured, and remarkable for its purity and the large and bold anthers which surround the seed-vessel. In the flamed state it is often beautiful; but when well feathered, there are few byblcemens to beat it.
Criterion is a very distinct variety, beautifully flamed with violet; a broad petal, of much substance, and with an excellent-formed cup; it will reach about the third row.
Model of Perfection is a plum-coloured feathered byblcemen; a strong root will reach the third row: it is, however, very uncertain; the colour apt to be muddy. The form is good, and the marking very heavy; in fact, there is too much of it.
Duchess of Sutherland, alias Midland Beauty, is a feathered rosy byblcemen, rather sportive, and has been shewed both as a rose when young, and, at a more advanced period of its growth, as a byblcemen. I fear this sort has other designations than those above quoted.
Grace Darling is a flamed byblcemen, nine times out of ten, I should say, with too much colour in it. It is very difficult to meet with the correct variety, as most Florists who broke any thing very good from unnamed breeders all concluded they were possessed of "the heroine." I should say that there are several better flowers amongst these seedlings, and certainly much more to be depended on. The cup is good, and the marking peculiarly rich and glossy; the flame is very heavy, and the feathering laid on in a piece, without those delicate markings and pencillings so desirable in the feather. I do not think that even the raiser knows the breeder when he sees it; in fact, one of the oldest and best judges amongst the growers of the neighbourhood has repeatedly stated as much.
The Countess of Harrington is, when in good character, one of the best; but the great fault of this, as well as many others of these flowers, is, the beam breaking out heavily at the top of the petal, instead of stopping short, and the feathering meeting it. This variety has an excellent cup, pure and well marked. There has been a feathered flower lately broken, certainly a beautiful thing, appropriately called "The Chellaston Beauty." This has all the character of the Countess, except being a deep, dark feather. I think it likely to be one of the best amongst them. Whether Sir James Harper Crew, a recent aspirant for public favour, is also broken, from the same breeder, I cannot say, but certainly appearances are very much in favour of the supposition.
About this variety there appears to be great diversity of opinion: in its true character it should be a fourth-row flower, with large bold cup, finely feathered with dark purple. I understand it was once finely grown by the late John Thackeray, who resided in the neighbourhood of Nottingham; I have not, however, heard of it being fine elsewhere. I have grown it named; in that state there is not much character about it.
This is one of the most steady feathered byblcemens I have; the cup is good, and the marking nicely done. It is not so dark as some of the varieties approaching the hue of the Norwich Black Bagot; it will reach a third row. In really good roses there is. much scarcity; for I consider Fanny Cerito, Nonpareil (with its stained base), Lady Leicester, and Lady Vernon, but second-rate. I can, however, give a different character to Catherine, which, when not too full of colour, is a superb flower; it is large, pure, and highly coloured; the petals are thick and velvety, and the marking nicely laid on. I think this decidedly the best rose of the family.
I must now conclude this brief notice by stating that as breeders and as rectified flowers they make a conspicuous figure on any bed, and will be welcome to every collection, however small: true, they are often coarse and sportive, but time will rectify this; and were it not for the excessive confusion that prevails amongst them, they would be much more valuable than they really are.
H. S. M.