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.
This is an indigenous variety found in some of the swamps around here, grows two feet in height. I was greatly delighted when I first met it growing in an amateur's garden. I called on the late Mr. Williams, an enthusiastic botanist, for directions where to find them. He cheerfully went along with me, and we found five clumps. We took them home and I potted the smallest, and put the largest into tubs two feet in diameter; this was in October, 1879. The first of them was in bloom the end of March. One tub had thirty-six flowers on at one time; some of the stems had three flowers on. They made a grand display, pleasing all who saw them. Farmers who called them the nervine plant said they were the largest flowers of such they had ever seen. When I would draw attention to Cypripedium insigne, it would hardly be noticed after seeing spectabile.
It is astonishing that this lovely orchid is so seldom met with. It is easily grown, doing well in a cool corner of the garden, and so far as I have ascertained, forces well; better still, it lasts almost as long as the Calla after being cut. The flowers were greatly admired in New York by my employer and those who saw them. Pleased with the first attempt, I have a number started this winter. Those which I grew the past season will be earlier than those newly brought in; of course all plants are easier forced after the first season. The tubs in which they are grown have holes halfway down the side, which keeps them always moist, and they need less care in the summer; others have them in the usual way. Fibry peat is used in potting, and liquid manure given when growing freely. I tried to germinate seed got by crossing, but did not succeed. Any information on the subject will be gladly received through the Monthly.
Is Gentiana acaulis an annual or perennial? Is it easily grown? [Supposed perennial. Ed.G. M.]
A Utica, New York, correspondent says: - "Mr. Meehan, I enclose in a small box, by mail, some flowers of Cypripedium spectabile, which I grow extensively. I have in flower now about one hundred 32-inch pans, each pan having from eighteen to thirtyseven flowers. To my fancy there is no more beautiful Cypripedium ever grown, and their culture is very simple indeed. I have always had a passion for these flowers ever since I had the pleasure of seeing them in flower in the Birmingham (Eng.) Botanic Gardens, some years ago. Some of our native flowers are neglected for the denizens of other climes which are of inferior merit."
[These were remarkably fine specimens. Any notes on their culture we are sure would be acceptable to our readers. - Ed. G. M.]