This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V21", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Having been a careful reader of the Monthly from its first issue up to the present time, and knowing that its columns are open to everything that pertains to the interest of Horticulture, I venture to send you a brief account of a visit which I have promised myself these past three years, to see a gentleman who has become somewhat famous as a successful grower of that beautiful bulbous plant, the Cyclamen. For several years Mr. C. B. Gardiner of Newburyport, Mass., has made exhibitions at the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, which has been the delight of everybody who have been fortunate enough to see them, and I think you will bear me witness that where any florist makes some one thing a specialty he is more apt to be successful than when he takes hold of everything, and has no special object before him; at least this is one case. According to agreement we embarked for Newburyport, March 17th, - St. Patrick's Day, - amid snow and rain. Upon our arrival we were met by our genial host, and after a drive of some four miles, found ourselves at the desired place, and upon being conducted to the house devoted to the culture of the Cyclamen we beheld a sight long to be remembered.
There were about five hundred and sixty plants in bloom in five and six-inch pots; each pot having an average of from twenty-five to one hundred and fifty and two hundred flowers and buds, while hundreds of flowers had been picked for the market. The color of the flowers varied from a pure white to the most beautiful deep rich magenta, and were all well above the foliage, some of which was very finely mottled, forming a delightful contrast with the flowers. We measured one of the largest plants which had been set aside as a single specimen; it was grown in a ten-inch pot, size of bulb seven inches in diameter, and had at least three hundred flowers and buds; the flowers of this were a pure white, and the foliage a deep glossy green, there were several other varieties equally as large.
The plants are grown in a span roof house, running north and south, in a temperature of not over 40° at night and running from 50° to 55° during the day with sun, at which time an abundance of ventilation is given. Mr. Gardiner thinks that once in two years is enough to re-pot, and when he does, uses the following compost; four parts of meadow muck, after it has been heaped up and exposed to the action of the frost for one year, four parts of old hot bed soil, two parts leaf mould, two of old rotton cow dung and one of sand, thoroughly mixed, being very careful to have good drainage so that the water will pass through quickly, this is of great importance. In potting the crown of bulb to be kept above the rim of the pot, no liquid is ever used. As the foliage begins to turn yellow water is gradually withheld, and they are placed in their Summer quarters under the bench of the same house, being watched carefully and watered only when any bulb shows signs of shriveling. When the bulbs begin to grow they are again placed on the bench and treated as already indicated. Mr. Gardiner attributes his success to keeping the house cool and not forcing the growth in the least.
There was not a spindling plant among them; any one might have been transferred to a cool room without effecting them in the least. The Cyclamen is valuable not only for commercial purposes, but as a window plant has few if any superiors.