This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V23", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
The readers of the Monthly may possibly remember my note in the April number, on a plant bought under the name of Nicotiana suaveolens, and the disappointment and disgust it entailed. I think it no more than an act of simple justice, both to the dealer who sends it out, and to the plant itself, that I give this year's experience as a sort of sequel - and a very pleasing one - to the last. The plant previously described I bought at the greenhouse, and I now conclude it was through the ignorance of the attendant that this plant, whatever it may have been, was sold to me. I resolved not to give up without another trial, and in March last bought a paper of seed, which was sown on the 17th inst., and was up on the 21st. As soon as the second pair of leaves were developed, I knew they were not like the one previously grown. I transplanted them to the open ground early in May, and the 10th day of June they began flowering, and at this writing, Sept. 28, they are loaded with blooms. I am altogether delighted with them. I think them by far the most desirable new annual which has been introduced for years. They are so easily grown, flower so soon and so continuously, and withal are so extremely graceful in growth, and are so pretty, that I can unhesitatingly recommend them to all amateurs.
They are of a peculiar pure, waxy-white, averaging an inch and a quarter across, and the long, greenish-white tube adds to their beauty. At night they have a delicate and exquisite jasmine like fragrance, and being borne on long stems are particularly fitted for bouquet work. They combine finely with roses, lilies, fuchsias and other nice flowers, which so very few annuals do.
I desire, through the Monthly, to thank W. L. F., Hanover, Mass., for his kind response to my dismal jeremiad, and for the generous thoughtfulness which prompted the sending of seeds also. I received them May 18th, and sowed them the same day in the open ground. They came up quickly, and began flowering soon after the middle of July. I have a clump of about twenty plants, and I think there are not less than two hundred flowers on them now, and the number I have cut is past all reckoning. So far, I have not seen them advertised by any other seedsmen than Hovey & Co., Boston.
I have grown this year some of the newer varieties of Cannas, those with large flowers, aa well as fine foliage. Among those particularly good is Imperator, a tall-growing sort, with very large dark red flowers. Ornement du Grand Roue, foliage edged and tinged with garnet and brilliant scarlet flowers ; not quite as large as the former, but more closely set on the spike. Bon-netta excelsa has lovely foliage, veined and shaded with violet, and, in the young leaves, having as decided a "bloom" as the grape; flowers orange-red. Princess de Niece and Gloire de Provence have fine canary-yellow flowers of large size. I have, however, left the best for the last, viz.: Iridifolia. This is a magnificent Canna. The foliage is ample - the leaves on mine measuring twenty-seven inches long by fourteen broad. But its great glory is its splendid flowers, which are fully equal in size to the best gladiolus. The color is a lovely shade of carmine crimson, and the petals are so broad that the flower is almost round. One spike has, at this writing, ten of these large, elegant flowers. The plant is not as tall-growing as some, but is the finest in flower I have yet seen.
Will not some other of the Monthly correspondents give a list of those they have found best in their experience?
In this connection I desire also to suggest that some of the correspondents who have tried the new Coleus - Dreer's and Henderson's new sets - report thereon. Are any of them fit for bedding in full sunshine, and are the colors well kept, and do they "look like their pictures?" (See Gardener's Monthly for March, 1880.) And if any of them are good, what are their names. Also, which is best for inside decoration? Will somebody speak to the question ?
Accepting the endorsement of the writer in March number, I sent to Mr. Saul for Acalypha Macaffeana. I received it early in May. It was then about four inches high, and had a very consumptive look. I looked at the description in the catalogue and in the Monthly, and then I looked at the plant! I could'nt make them "dove-tail." It did not rally from the shock of removal for nearly a month, but then it went steadily and rapidly to work to redeem itself and its sponsors. It has done both most royally. The foliage is very bright throughout, and the blotches are unique and brilliant. I have now removed it to my window garden, to which it is an odd and altogether charming addition. I saw, at the September exhibition of the Mass. Horticultural Association, a fine specimen of Acalypha mosaica. It is a handsome sort, but not nearly as bright and showy as A. Macaffeana. Before closing this rambling article, I desire to say just a word about that charming rose, "La France." It was one among a dozen bought of Dingee & Conard Co., this spring, and I am just wild over it. I know it is an "old" sort, but I greatly doubt if any of the new ones can surpass it in delicacy of texture and coloring, in size or form and fragrance. I consider it simply perfect.
I have picked off many buds, as I know it is a little tender, and I wish it well established for the winter, but it will persist in flowering. Another, as free a flowerer as La France, but of a brilliant velvety-crimson, I had under the name of "Jean Thibaud." I am not sure it is that It is not as dark as that represented in descriptive catalogues. It is, however, a splendid rose, being fully five inches across, perfectly double to the centre, of globular form, and very fragrant, It has flowered all summer, and is also a good grower. The wood is very thorny, and every shoot forms a bud. I wonder if it can be "Jean Thibaud." I had not supposed that so continuous a bloomer. In closing I desire to thank the Monthly correspondents who replied to my inquiries concerning Eucharis amazonica. Unfortunately they do not quite agree, but I have concluded, after weighing the testimony, that if a professional florist does not succeed in flowering it in a greenhouse, I should not very likely succeed with house culture.
How very beautiful are the newer sorts of Crotons! Among these at the Mass. Horticultural Society's exhibition, I was particularly pleased with C. variabilis (Falcatus) and C. Queen Victoria. The latter is certainly the most brilliantly colored plant I ever saw The ground color of the leaf is a rich golden yellow mottled with green, and the tinting and shading ot magenta and crimson is very beautiful. The first named is also extremely pretty, with its odd shaped leaves and unique coloring.