This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
"If any one compares the Pelargonium flowers that were known in 1827 with those common in 1847, he will find it difficult to believe that they can all have had the same origin, and that twenty years have sufficed to produce so great a change as has really been effected. But if the varieties produced between 1842 and 1847 are examined, the ground of surprise will be changed, and the wonder will be, that the improvement which was so rapid in the first fifteen years should have become so slow in the last five. Yet the reason is obvious; hybridising, in the direction followed by the raisers of Pelargoniums, has reached its limit; we have obtained all the result that is obtainable. Therefore we say, Gentlemen, YOU SHOULD NOW SAIL ON ANOTHER TACK. PUT YOUR SHIP ABOUT; IT IS OF NO USE TO CRUISE ANY LONGER IN THESE SEAS; YOU HAVE DONE ALL THAT MAN CAN DO IN THIS QUARTER; AND IF YOU ARE WISE, YOU WILL STEER IN ANOTHER DIRECTION."*
On November the 20th, 1847, we were dodging under easy sail, Cape Expectation on the weather-bow, and Realisation Bay under our lee, the wind light, and clear weather, when Commodore Lindley made the signal for all captains in the Geranium fleet to go on board. Upon reaching the quarter-deck, the above was read to us from the Chronicle, and we were then ordered to return to our several ships. We were hardly aboard and gone below for a moment, before we heard our first-lieutenant order the hands to be turned out to tack ship. We were on deck in a minute. "Avast there I" cried we;" 'Not a brace or a tack Or a sheet will we slack!'
We'll run the risk of a court-martial; and hold our station, come what may." And so we quietly kept our luff, and watched Captains Catleugh and several others follow the commodore, and Captain Gordon, who, with a flowing sheet, made sail and went off for the "Capes." It was with great regret we saw our old friends disappear one after the other below the horizon, and it was no small loss to part from our gallant commander-in-chief; but we felt assured that, by abandoning our station, we should miss some prizes we were certain to make, if we continued upon the same tack and in the same seas. Our consorts Captains Foster and Hoyle agreed with us in opinion; and we have now the pleasure of presenting a faint representation of a prize apiece, which we have captured and brought in, with several others, since 1847. Next season we shall resume our station; and hope for continued success for years to come.
* Gardeners1 Chronicle, vol. vii. p. 763.
We do not despair of seeing something brought in from the Capes also, and we heartily hope there may be; and, to drop metaphor, Mr. Ambrose did win a prize last season for the production of a cross between the Fancies and a Cape species.
The latter end of this month, or beginning of the next, is a proper time for stopping plants intended for flowering in June. After this is done, let them remain moderately dry until the wound is healed. Carefully stop all shoots together, or you will have a straggling head of trusses. Plants for blooming in May should have their shoots trained out to admit the air and light freely into the middle of the shoots, to ripen them. Do not delay procuring any additions you intend to make to your collection.
Worton Cottage. John Dobson.