This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
In these remarks it is not the intention of the writer to question the wisdom of seeing all flowers intended for figuring in your Journal, in preference to depending upon drawings. Indeed, with such facilities as you now offer in the Florist, there is little need of them. But the question at issue is, - Is the drawing of Magnificent by Wakelin a truthful one? does it fairly represent the original? If it does not, then have both the artist and the grower practised a fraud upon the fancy: this is the point I wish to come at.
It happened to be show-day in this locality, and a goodly muster of amateurs were assembled (among whom was the writer), feasting their eyes on "Flora's favourites," when Mr. Wakelin brought home the drawing of Magnificent; and Mr. Macefield solicited the opinion of all present as to the correctness of the likeness. Not less than twenty persons, all fanciers, and two of them artists by profession, bore testimony to the correctness of the drawing, one only differing, not that it was flattered, but, on the contrary, that the drawing did not bring out the beauty of the original, - there was a squareness about the copy which did not exist in the flower: this was the only difference of opinion among all present. Another point I would allude to is, - Did those gentlemen who complain of the quality of their flowers purchase the roots of Mr. Macefield? If they did, and they bear no comparison with the drawing, then have they just cause to complain; but if not, wherefore put the blame upon his, Mr. M.'s shoulders? An almost parallel case occurs in the very Number of the Midland Florist that contains the notice of Magnificent, respecting Barr's Violet Alexander. It there appears that Amyntus has been extensively grown as Alexander; now, might not these parties with equal grace blame Mr. Barr for their having the wrong thing?
The editor of the Midland Florist does not hint one word doubting the correctness of the likeness, but takes the plain, common-sense view of supposing that he has got an inferior break. Your correspondent S. S., in No. XVII. of the Florist, plainly states that he saw several different breaks, and among them one tinged yellow. To this I would add my testimony, having broke it in three different characters, two of which are excellent, but the third is worthless. In conclusion, I fearlessly assert that Wakelin's drawing of Magnificent, as grown by Mr. Macefield in 1848, is as correct a likeness as ever I saw of any flower in my life.*
57 Elizabeth Street, Hackney Road, London. H. Wolfe.