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.
I selected a plant in a London greenhouse, and carried to this country in my hand, as it were. In fact, we had the Double Lobelia in our nursery as early as June, 1873, and was getting a nice stock of it. During my visit to your city in September of that year, Mr. Buist asked me if we had it, and made me promise him an early plant. I promised him the first plant we sold, which was October 1st, 1873. Our plants were all set out among a lot of Double White Chinese Primroses which were planted out in a bed in one of the houses. On the last night of September the slugs, or snails, made an attack on them and eat off every one of them even with the ground. Not one of them ever grew the least bit afterwards. It appeared to have poisoned them. To say that I was disgusted and discouraged only partially describes my feeling at that time. From that time to the first of last June we imported about 30 dozen plants without getting one alive. I even hired a man to bring out some plants, telling him how to manage them, but he not knowing the importance of the plants had them packed in a box, and they were lost. At last, upon leaving London, I selected three fine plants, and I landed in New York with them in full flower, from which we soon had a stock.
The plant varies in color of flowers from a very light sickly blue to a deep, rich, dark blue. The latter are worth having, and with the opportunity at my command I did not select the former.