This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
The Calceolaria being a special favourite of mine, and having received a pressing invitation from my excellent friend Mr. Wilcke, of the Wingrove Nursery, Newcastle-on-Tyne, to inspect several collections of seedlings (including an extensive one of his own,) in that neighbourhood, I determined on availing myself of the pleasure; and accordingly, one fine day in the month of June last, I started on my expedition. Elated with what I saw in this locality, and the kind hospitality of my friend, I resolved at once to see what was doing in other parts of the country; and embracing the facilities now afforded to travellers by railway, I was soon in the midst of the southern Florists, and, of course, visited several of the gardens celebrated for the culture of this flower.
Ja' Andrem. Delt & Zinco.
Printed by C.Chabot.
I shall not attempt any particular description of the different nurseries and gardens I visited, as the object of my journey was purely to see what advancement was being made in the Calceolaria, and to take notes of novelties and new flowers, which I shall proceed briefly to detail.
Mr. Wilcke's nursery is situated about a mile out of Newcastle, and is a very neat and attractive spot. He has one greenhouse, and several pits devoted exclusively to the culture of the Calceolaria, and this plant he grows very successfully.
Amongst his seedlings I noticed John Deans, raised last year, and described by me in the Florist for February last, p. 57. It fully maintains its character, and is decidedly the most brilliant flower of the "Emperor class" I have seen. Unfortunately it is of rather delicate habit, and will not bear high culture.
Queen of Beauties (No. II) is a fine rich little flower in the style of Dickson and Co.'s Aurora, striped and blotched in centre with alternate streaks of dark brown and pink; a very attractive flower, but rather delicate in habit.
A nice symmetrical flower, well inflated, orange ground, and densely spotted in centre with tiny spots of brown.
There were in Mr. Wilcke's collection several other good seedlings of this year; but as they will be cultivated another season before being let out, I reserve further description at present.
Mr. John Deans, gardener to H. L. Pattinson, Esq. of Felling, Newcastle, has a fine collection. The greenhouses and conservatory were principally stored with the Calceolaria, most of which were seedlings.
Among the most attractive were, No. 60-50, sulphur ground, richly spotted with dark purple; outline good, and tolerably well inflated; habit fine. No. 13-50, yellow ground, richly marbled in front with dark brown; tolerable outline; inflated, and of good habit. Several other seedlings were fine in colour and marking, but defective in outline.
Mr. Kinghorn, gardener to the Earl of Kilmorey, Twickenham, is well known as one of the most successful raisers of the Calceolaria. His Lady Anne Charteris, Masterpiece, and Van Tramp, are each sufficient to gain celebrity in this respect.
At the time 1 inspected his collection, several of his this year's seedlings were cut down. The plants were, however, in fine condition; and his Arbelia, Mary, and Pearl, were in good character. His Mrs. Jewett is a beautiful flower, a seedling of this year; fawn ground-colour, singularly marked in front, and of good properties; habit tolerable. The flower was rather long when 1 saw it; but it appeared too far advanced in bloom to be in perfection. Several other promising seedlings were in the same state, and consequently not in a fit condition to report upon with accuracy.
Mr. J. Pennycuik, gardener to Henry Bevan, Esq. of Cambridge House, Twickenham, has a splendid collection. His seedlings are generally of excellent habit, and make beautiful specimens. That favourite variety, Baron Eden (raised by Mr. Pennycuik last year), was in superior culture.
No. 1-49 is a rich flower, well inflated; of good habit. No. 1-50 is a light-ground variety, beautifully marked, and of robust habit. These plants were fine specimens.
It is a pity these seedlings, with the facilities Mr. Pennycuik has for the purpose, were not exhibited at the Worton-Cottage Meetings, where I am sure they would have been duly appreciated.
Mr. W. H. Holmes, F.H.S., of Sudbury Nursery, Derbyshire, is justly celebrated as a raiser of this flower, having within the last few years raised several fine varieties; indeed his Hamlet is now the best light flower extant. Passing Derby during the night-time, I was unable to avail myself of the pleasure of a visit to this nursery, without interfering with other engagements; a circumstance I regret much, as I visited Mr. Holmes's gardens last year, and was greatly pleased, not only with his fine collection of plants, but with the taste and harmony displayed in the arrangement of the garden-grounds.
Mr. H. Major (now Messrs. Major and Son) of Knosthorpe, Leeds, was, I believe, the first who made any advancement in the Calceolaria as a show-flower. He informed me that he began to pay attention to the improvement of the Calceolaria by hybridising about seventeen years ago; his parent plants being Rugosa, Bicolor, and Arachnoides; that by fertilising these indiscriminately, he obtained various shades of colour, some of which were figured in Harrison's Floricultural Cabinet and Marnock's Magazine, and therein noticed as pleasing varieties. In 1834 the strain appeared much improved, and he was successful in raising some very good varieties (at least what were then considered so), amongst which was a crimson-scarlet self; a nice shrubby sort, which was named Majoriana, and which was figured in the Cabinet for April 1835. This variety was much admired at the time, and found its way into all parts of the country, and was generally cultivated for some time. After this, with the assistance of a small herbaceous spotted variety (the name of which Mr. Major had forgot), his varieties became numerous; selfs of many shades, clouded and spotted varieties, amongst which was a small white self, whence originated the beautiful light-ground varieties which have since been so much cultivated and admired.
All this while (although improvement in shape was not lost sight of), Mr. Major preferred and studied to procure variety and richness of colour, beautiful markings, and size; features which are remarkably striking in his flowers of the present day. Added to this, Messrs. Major's varieties possess that substance of petal rarely to be met with; and such flowers retain their character much better than those which are of a thin and flimsy character.
The following are some of Messrs. Major's best seedlings of the present season:
A fine rich yellow-ground flower, with large deep mahogany spots and markings; and of extra substance. Tolerable shape, but rather indented in front: a beautiful flower.
A large flower, of good shape and substance; straw ground, strongly marked in the centre with shaded mulberry.
A large and attractive flower; clean bright buff ground densely marked in centre with large blotches of very rich crimson-maroon.
A nice flower, prettily marked with rosy-purple on primrose ground; too thin.
A little compact flower; creamy white ground, with blotches of shaded claret in the centre, leaving a clear margin of the ground-colour visible; good shape.
A very excellent flower; yellow ground, richly marked with dashes of deep crimson-maroon in centre, and spots round the margin.
A very large and attractive flower; white ground, handsomely marked with singular large and small spots all over the surface of shaded crimson.
Unique, Novelty, and several other seedlings, are fine flowers; but the above I considered the most attractive, and generally of good habit.
Messrs. Major, I was glad to learn, are trying to secure some good self-coloured varieties; a class of flowers much wanted in collections, and which has lately been sadly neglected.
Mr. William Willison, of the New Gardens, Whitby, has two nice varieties, seedlings of this spring.
Belle Veau. A fine light mulberry-mottled flower; good outline and well inflated both back and front.
Grandissima. An attractive flower in the style of Baron Eden, but more striking in colour; shape tolerable; habit rather delicate.
Of my own seedlings I shall say nothing further, than that blooms and trusses of several of them were exhibited at the Worton-Cottage Meeting on the 5th June last, and reported to be of " an excellent class," two of which (Model and Negro) were selected for Mr. Andrews to take a coloured memorandum of.
Messrs. Dickson and Co. of Edinburgh are extensive cultivators of the Calceolaria, and eminent raisers of seedlings. During my absence a box of blooms had arrived from this establishment containing many fine flowers, but which, however, on my return, I found much faded. Julia, Duke of Richmond, Gem of the North, and Acantha, appeared to be very fine varieties.
Mr. N. Gaines of Surrey Lane, Battersea, also cultivates the Calceolaria rather extensively, and from him I had blooms of some good things. They were principally blooms of Mr. Kinghorn's seedlings which have already been let out.
Whitby, loth Oct. 1850. M. Woodhouse.
[Of the flowers figured in our Plate, Pearl, Resplendens, Capti-vation, and Surprise, were raised by Mr. Henry Major of Knos-thorpe, Leeds; Hamlet by Mr. Holmes of Sudbury, Derbyshire; Negro and Model by our correspondent, Mr. Woodhouse of Whitby. They were all exhibited at the Worton-Cottage Meetings, and given to Mr. Andrews to figure at the time. - Editor.]