This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V18", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
We are in receipt of the following striking circular from Tennessee:
" New Flower - Agave virginica.
This plant was discovered a few years ago in one of the beautiful valleys of East Tennessee, and is well worthy of cultivation for its curious structure and delicious fragrance.
Foliage large - some plants during this season having reached two feet in diameter. Some of the leaves are fluted and of a deep green color; others of a pea-green shade; others variegated, spotted with blood red drops. " The stalk grows from three to six feet in height, having on each from thirty-five to fifty flowers. It remains in bloom from six to eight weeks. Its fragrance is very sweet, peculiar, and unlike any other flower known to the discoverer. The arrangement of the flowers upon the stem reminds one more of a group of Chinese characters than anything else. It has improved wonderfully under cultivation.
The soil for its cultivation should be a rich loam. When the bulb is potted in the fall, and kept in a hot-house or conservatory, its beautiful foliage contrasts strongly against other plants, and blooms early in the spring. When potted in the spring, it flowers early in July, continuing into September. It can also be propagated from the seed, flowering the second year.
I can furnish a limited number of these bulbs at 50 cts. each, or $4.00 per dozen. Seeds, 25 cts. per package, postage prepaid. Those ordering by express must pay charges.
Being the original discoverer and cultivator of this plant, it can only be purchased from me."
It illustrates well how one may tell the truth and not convey a good idea. There is nothing that one can object to, in fact, in what is said, and yet those who bought would be disappointed. The flowers are sweet and curious but not showy. It bears culture very well - some we have had for several years in our garden thriving under all vicissitudes. So far as the writer of the circular is the first to make an effort to introduce it into general culture, he is the "discoverer," nothing more. It is however worth growing.