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.
In the old world they use beets in flower-gardening. The aesthetic admires the effect they produce, but when the uncultivated is told what they are, and learns they are beets only, he is apt to exclaim, " What beets! the common beets we grow in the gardens!" and the plant seems to him to have already lost half its beauty.
Here we have a very beautiful new plant. If we say it is one of the ginger family, may be it will risk its popularity with those who only know ginger as a cordial, or as something which ranks with pepper or salt. It will be best for these people to do as the doctors do - give it a name they do not understand. Instead of pure water or bread crumbs, they will write aqu. dis. or pan. pulv., and the patient meekly swallows down the wonderful stuff and soon gets well. So instead of a "ginger," we can call this a Zingi-beraceous plant, and none be the wiser, and all admire.
It was introduced from Borneo by Mr. Curtis, the collector for the celebrated firm of James Veitch & Son, of Chelsea, London, who give us the following account of it:
"The stems, which are about as thick as a goose quill, are much crowded, twelve to eighteen inches long, and gracefully arching on all sides, giving the plant a very elegant contour.
They are furnished with deep, glossy, green leaves, and terminate in a dense raceme of flowers, of which the bracts are scarlet and the perianth yellow. The plant is continuously in bloom during the greater part of the year.
"The elegant habit of this plant, its richly-colored flowers of singular structure, and their long duration, render it a most useful and interesting addition to our Stove-flowering plants. The flowers are also effective for bouquets.
"It was awarded a certificate of merit by the Royal Botanic Society, July 6th. and a first-class? certificate by the Royal Horticultural Society, October 11th, 1881".