This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V24", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
The past season has been very unfavorable on account of the protracted drought. There has been no rain storm in this section since July 5th, until September 4th, when there was one of several hours' continuance, but not sufficient to penetrate to the roots of vegetation. Almost unclouded skies, intense heat, little dew, and only two or three showers. The reader can judge what would be the condition of our gardens. For several weeks, owing to the scarcity of water, we have been obliged to let our flowers suffer, and many have wholly dried up. It has been a time to test what plants, of those commonly grown, are most reliable under such conditions. Again have I been led to admire the faithful endurance of the geranium family under hardships and shameful neglect. The old stock plants have not had their feet wet for two months, yet they are green and vigorous, though blooms have not been so abundant as heretofore. Of course the small plants bedded out in four-inch pots have been watered quite often ; they have not grown, as heretofore, to sturdy plants, but all their vitality has been expended in blooming. Portulaccas, wholly neglected, have been in their glory, and the lilies were never so large and fine.
A golden-banded Japan opened ten days ago and measured, when fully expanded, nine and one half inches from tip to tip; the inner petals were five and one half inches in length. This double giant was borne singly, on a stalk only twelve inches high. Will the editor please tell us, is such a lily not rare?
I did not know that they were ever double. [We never saw one. - Ed.] The blossom had only three stamens instead of six, as usual. The bulb was planted last autumn. Although I have but a few lilies they were never so prized, and their blooming will cover a period of three months. [ advise everybody to cultivate lilies just as fully as they can. With us, the last of October is a good time to plant bulbs of lilies and tulips, though the first of November will do very well. The Hypericum, of which I made previous mention, has been in bloom a month, and though under very unfavorable surroundings, has proved satisfactory. It is truly a desirable hardy shrub. Tabernsemontana camassa, with its laurel-like leaves, and double, white, fragrant flower, has been blooming for two months and is still full of buds. It is my first success with this greenhouse shrub, and I am greatly pleased with it. Poso-queria longiflora is another new plant to me, received from Mr. Saul, in June, and which I greatly admire, though it has not bloomed. It is thus described: "This plant forms an elegant bush, and is very free flowering.
Leaves large, somewhat ovate, coriaceous and shining green; flowers tubular, pure white, produced in large corymbs of a dozen and more, waxy like, from three to four inches long and deliciously fragrant." It makes a very handsome pot plant with its shining green, leathery leaves, and when there is added the large fragrant flowers, it must be a very choice thing. Will some one who has had it in bloom report upon it, and is it a winter bloomer? I have a Tydaea in bloom, Mad. Hal-phen. the first I have ever seen. It somewhat resembles the Gloxinia in leaf and shape of flower. Color, carmine tube, lower lobes lightly tinted with lilac and spotted with carmine; upper lobes spotted with rose. Xenophon is thus described : "A fine large flower, tube cochineal orange, salmon red lobes covered with a dark red netting, throat spotted and marked with dark carmine." Wonder - magnificent flowers of a dazzling orange vermilion, veined with black, in majestic spikes. Tricolor - limb pure white, dotted with bright amaranth, tube crimson. Uranie - very large flower, finely striped with scarlet upon a lilac ground, orifice deep straw yellow.
I have given names and descriptions of a few of the many, that those unacquainted with them may have some idea of their beauty.
The drought has prevented me from testing many novelties of which seeds have been sent me; indeed the annuals have mostly proved a failure. One place in my garden has, however, been brilliant for several weeks with the blooms of the new Godetia, "Princess of Wales," which surpasses my favorite "Lady Albemarle." The color is very vivid, ruby crimson, with the outer edges bordered with pale rose. I regret that the new Eschscholtzia crocea flore pleno has not yet bloomed. So desirous am I of seeing its flowers I think I shall pot a few of the plants. It is thus described: "One of the grandest novelties that has come under notice for many years. A beautiful bright orange scarlet, shading off to salmon red color. The flowers are of great sub stance, the appearance of the plant in growth being particularly distinct and charming. It is quite as hardy as E. crocea, and the flowers are produced in the greatest profusion." Mr. Saul gives this in quotation as not being responsible. Perhaps he has not tested it personally.
Will some successful one give a brief report?
Since I began this essay the blessed rain has been falling for eight hours, and its steady pour makes sweet music to the ear.