This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
To the article I sent you for insertion in last month's Florist, you were pleased to add some comments of your own on the cover. Now, in reply, I can only state, that for many reasons a correspondent's name is often best withheld: what may go down very well under the signature of A. B., would hardly be noticed were the plain name of John Smith of some obscure village (perhaps a hundred miles off from the head-quarters of floriculture,) appended to an article; and so the only course left is for you, in your editorial capacity, to insert such papers as you may deem most likely to interest the great variety of readers of your periodical. Be it remembered that the spirit of Junius's letters was much more telling in its effects from the fact that the author was, and is even now, I believe, unknown. Not that I wish for a moment to compare myself with that powerful wielder of the pen, for an article written to aid a flori-cultural journal can surely have no personal or political feeling; and the name of the author cannot be of much consequence while his pen is used only for the legitimate purpose of spreading floricultural information.
If this is not considered of sufficient interest for the readers of the Florist, it will not be inserted, and no one will be any the worse, except that the paper will have been wasted; and the writer must consider himself fortunate in already seeing five of his concoctions appearing in such a respectable and well got-up work as the Florist really is.
As in my last I endeavoured to shew the Geraniums oftenest seen on the London exhibition-tables, my present object is to give the names of Dahlias seen also in like manner. This ought not to be considered a rule altogether; for the season may not have suited some flowers: Dreadnought, a very perfect crimson; Walter Hilson, a nicely formed orange; Samuel Girling, a very model of form; and several others that have come well in former seasons, have not been shewn once this year. Another reason is, that perhaps the anxiety to exhibit novelties causes older equally good varieties to "hide their diminished heads," and thus each year they will get "fewer and fewer, and then by degrees beautifully less." Amongst varieties let out previously to 1850, the following have been exhibited:
Let out in
1849 Duke of Wellington
1847 Yellow Standard . . .
1849 Mr. Seldon.....
1848 Richard Cobden . . .
1849 Mrs. Bacon.....
1846 Marchioness of Cornwalli;
Let out in
1849 Purple Standard . . .
1843 Essex Triumph . . .
1847 Scarlet Gem........
1842 Admiral Stopford . . .
The above return is not so complete as could be wished, owing to the difficulty there is now in obtaining full reports of the large country exhibitions, the Chronicle never chronicling these events now, though in former years as many as ten reports of provincial ^hows have appeared at once. Could not the Florist add some sort of a supplement to give these very useful reports, and so cause it to be regarded as the head organ of the floricultural world? the Midland Florist, a threepenny publication, has done this for some time past, to the great satisfaction of its numerous readers. The varieties let out this season now demand our attention. The fol-
Sir F. Bathurst.....
Duke of Cambridge....
Queen of Lilacs..........
There are several shows not yet reported - Salisbury, Shackle-well, Slough, and the Grand Birmingham and Metropolitan; but I do not think the result of them will materially afreet the above statement.
In conclusion, a few words on the novelties of 1849 and 1850 may not be unacceptable to your readers, though they only give the experience and observation of one individual. First and foremost, then, stands the Beauty of Hastings, a flower which, with all its boasted qualifications, has not appeared once through the past season. Its failings appear to be "hard and treacherous in its eye," and in size not coming up to the point required for a front-row flower; but possibly in another season it may "come out better." Then Dreadnought has not once been exhibited, I suppose on account of size, being generally small; but a better dark flower I have not grown this year, so constant, and in form and outline a perfect model. Bushell's Duchess has appeared only once, though many were the good points it was stated to possess; it is now marked to be thrown out. Rubens and Dr. Franklin have proved but very transitory planets; and Dauntless and Queen of the West have been very diffident in appearing before the public, for reasons best known to their respective growers.
To turn now to the more pleasing task of praising the " Stars of the Season." All must own that the Iron Duke has proved himself worthy of his noble name; indeed, take him for all in all, he is, in my opinion, the Dahlia I should grow were I only able to cultivate one variety. Mr. Seldon is another noble variety, and is a fitting companion to the Duke; I have not seen a bad flower of either this season. Fearless is a very fine lilac, pretty constant; Grenadier a useful ruby-crimson, not always high enough in the centre; Mrs. C. Bacon, a very useful novel variety; Purple Standard, good, but not novel in colour; Queen of the East, a variable variety, sometimes blush, and oftener fawn, and would be better a trifle closer; Earl of Clarendon, a rich orange-scarlet, at times hard in the centre; Negro, a useful dark, but a little too much ribbed in the petals. To -peak of the varieties sent out this year as a whole, they have caused another step in advance. Sir F. Bathurst will long be a favourite, being very constant; a good yellow is obtained in Mrs. Seldon, and a fair white in Snow-flake; Queen of Lilacs is rather coarse, but still good; Fame is a good acquisition, being a great novelty in colour; Charles Turner will be much admired as a constant tipped variety, though its outline might be rounder, and it might be a little deeper.
Queen of the Isles has not been all that was expected of it from the well-known integrity of its "sender out;" but it may prove better another season.
The novelties for next year having been so recently described in your account of the exhibitions, I need say nothing further, except that I think the most popular of them will be George Glenny, Queen of Beauties, and Hon. Mrs. Ashley; though, as a whole, the results of the season 1850 will not come up to that of 1849.