This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
With a brief review of varieties offered for sale in the years 184.5, 1840', 1847, ami 1848: to which is added a caution for 1849.
By An Annual Purchaser.
Loud and deep are the lamentations made by the trade that "times are hard," "trade dull," "money tight," and so forth. Might not these complaints be lessened by a little circumspection amongst the Dahlia fancy? (although the same remarks are equally applicable to other florists' flowers). But looking back to the varieties offered so late as 1845, I would ask, where is a large majority of them now?
I care not to enumerate all sent out that year, as I write principally from memory; however, the following are some of the batch: -
Albion, Marchioness of Ormond, Caledonia, Figaro, Gloria Mundi, Essex Primrose, Beauty of Chelmsford, Athlete (alias Wrestler), His Reverence, Essex Scarlet, Rosa Mundi, Queen of Gipsies, Lady Leicester, Mr. C. Kean, Mary the Rose of Keydell, Vanguard, Beauty of Stowe, Mons. Rignon, Beeswing, Antler, Alice Hawthorne, Empress of Whites (Heale), Dazzle, Empress of Whites (Smith), Duke of York, Arethusa, Marc Antony, Lady Sale, Ithuriel, Mary Ann, Duke of York (Harrison), Islington Rival, Cleopatra, Highgate Surprise, etc. etc.
I will repeat, where are they now? Beeswing, Gloria Mundi, Empress of Whites (Heale), and Cleopatra, are all, or nearly all, remaining after three seasons; of these Beeswing is certainly the best.
We had presented to our notice in 1846 - Sir E. Antrobus, Queen Mary, Cloth of Gold, Enterprise, Mazeppa, Empress of Scarlets, Lady Featherstone, Cream of Jest, Up, Park Rival, AJarchioness Cornwallis, Rose Unique, Attraction, Scarlet Unique, Henry Burn, Magician, Vanguard, Miss Prettyman, Camillus, Mrs. Caudle, Purity, Marquis of Bath, Captain Warner, Queen of Perpetuals, Mrs. Anderson, Lady Stopford, Duke of Cambridge, La Polka, Turtle Dove, Dr. Graham, Sarah, Pulchella, Burnham Champion, Princess Radziwill, Pride of Surrey, Queen Mary, Miss Sarah, Isabel, Blooming Girl, Paragon, Prometheus, Newington Rival (was Standard of Perfection), Bohemian Girl, etc. etc.
A goodly display of names, with "all their imperfections on their heads," from which I should only select Marchioness Cornwallis, Captain Warner, Mrs. Anderson, Princess Radziwill, and Miss Sarah.
Perhaps a little leniency may be necessary in passing sentence upon the varieties of 1847, - many of the doubtful sorts must yet have another trial; they were - Yellow Standard, Miss Vyse, Adelaide, Andromeda, Lady of the Lake, Honourable Mrs. Herbert, Captivation, Berryer, Louis Philippe, Scarlet Gem, Delicate, Goldfinder, Metropolitan, Ackbar, Robusta, Princess Helena, Van Am-burgh, Queen of the Belgians, Matchless, Star, Mrs. Edwards, Queen of Sheba, Felix, Lillywhite, Box, Mynn, Pearl, Rosetta, Rebecca, Duncan, Victorine, Metropolitan Queen, Cassandra, Fulwood Scarlet, Adonis, Aurora, Emily, Eugene Gueuoux, Lord St. Maur, Marguerita, Marquis of Worcester, etc. etc.
From these I select, as likely to remain with us some seasons, Yellow Standard, Scarlet Gem, Mynn, Berryer, Box, Miss Vyse, Louis Philippe, Andromeda, Marquis of Worcester, and Captivation.
1848 was quite as prolific of numbers as the years previously noticed. "If there were no first-rate varieties to report, the most I can say of the best is, they were useful, nor was there any striking novelty," colour excepted, say I. We had - Defiance, Attraction, Jane, Forest Flower, Golden Fleece, Triomphe de Peck, Pius IX., Countess of Clarendon, Cardinal Ferretti, White Admiral, The Hero, Eliza Miellez, Gipsy, Privateer, Maid of Honour, Fire-king (Turville), Fire-king (Harrison), Canary, Brutus, Gem, Othello, Admiral Dundas, Louisa, Oracle, Miranda, Delight, Negro, Rob Roy, Lady Ashley, Primrose superior, Preeminent, Mont Blanc, Samuel Girling, Helen Car, Boule de Feu, Hamlet, Compacta, Nell Gwynne, Amy, Dane Croft Hero, Crocus, War Eagle, Walter Hilson, Queen of England, Richard Cobden, Black Prince, Toison d'Or, Shy-lock, Imbricata, Coquette de Guiscard, Crimson Perfection, Aglae Magner, Belle de Rioley, Heroine, Triomphe de Meux, Victor, Lamoriciere, etc. etc. etc.
Of these, I prefer Toison d'Or, Shylock, Black Prince, Privateer, Richard Cobden, Crocus, Imbricata, Gem, Boule de Feu, Samuel Girling, The Hero, Golden Fleece, and Queen of England.
Hurried and imperfect as this list really is, I assure your readers, I "nothing extenuate, nor ought set down in malice;" after all, 'tis but the opinion or observation of one, and may have little weight with the many.
This brings me to the concluding part of my title - Caution! let this be the watchword. In selecting from those now offered - many with first-class certificates added to their descriptions - it is obvious that caution is necessary. My remarks are not made with any ill feeling, and I entreat the trade "to let me off this time;" for I desire not to bring the "house about my ears" (which by some may be considered rather elongated), nor will I knowingly inflict pain or injury, hence I defer giving my favourites from the forthcoming novelties of 1849. About seven half-guineas will provide a plant each of those "I have in my mind's eye, Horatio;" fully bearing in mind the multiplicity of prizes now so wisely offered by some societies for collections of six new flowers; but many are the errors we all commit in striving at quantity at the expense of quality.
The novelties of 1849, which I have at present seen offered, are:
Providence, Queen of the West, Charles Turner, Cecilia, Mr. Seldon, Grenadier, Beauty, Nursling, Duke of Wellington, Flora, Buffalo Girl, Hero, Duchess, Rubens, Earl Clarendon, White Lady, Queen of the Yellows, Windsor Castle, Hector, Beauty of Hastings, Dreadnought, Mrs. C. Bacon, Attractive, Queen of the East, Fearless, Dauntless, Confidence, Sunset, Lilac Standard, Purple Standard, Miss Chaplin, Sunset (Rawlings), Victoria Regina, Goldfinch, Elegantissima, Sussex Hero, Scarlet, Eclipse (Drummond), Portia, Violet Perfection, Princess Louisa, etc.
In conclusion, I give a list of the best 36 already out, which, with a few new flowers, will include all that the most ardent amateur need trouble himself with, as he seldom requires more than 24 sorts in one collection during the show season.
Andromeda, Beeswing, Berryer, Box, Boule de Feu, Black Prince, Captain Warner, Captivation, Cassandra, Crocus, Essex Triumph, Empress of the Whites, Golden Fleece, Imbricata, Louis Philippe, Lady St. Maur, Marchioness Corn-wallis, Mynn, Marquis Worcester, Mrs. Anderson, Miss Vyse, Miss Sarah, Nonpareil, Princess Radziwill, Privateer, Queen of Roses, Queen of England, Richard Cobden, Raphael, Scarlet Gem, Shylock, Standard of Perfection, Samuel Girling, Toison d'Or, The Hero, and Yellow Standard.
January 6th, 1849.