This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
The genus Abelia belongs to the Natural Order of Caprifoils, and contains some pretty species; but none handsomer than the subject represented by our plate. It was found by Galeotti in the Cordillera of Oaxaca and Vera Cruz, on the Peak of Orizaba, at an elevation of between nine and ten thousand feet. It was originally called Vesalea; a name under which it has been exhibited at our metropolitan exhibitions, where it attracted, much attention; but it is no doubt a true Abelia. It has some resemblance to a Fuchsia; and is said to have borne that name in the Belgian gardens, through which, we believe, it reached England. All the species of Abelia are hardy, or nearly so; and many of them, nay, most of them, are found in abundance in the eastern districts of Asia.
For the following account of this interesting plant we are indebted to the kindness of Messrs. Pince and Co. of Exeter, whose Nursery furnished the specimen from which our plate was prepared.
"When, as a Mexican production, we first became acquainted "with this gracefully-growing plant, not being then aware of the alpine region from which it came, we treated it rather tenderly in the greenhouse; but subsequent information induced us to plant it out in the open air, upon rock-work, where it has thriven amazingly, forming an elegant pendant bush three feet high, and more than four feet in diameter. It has been covered this spring with more than 2,000 rich purple-crimson flowers. The plant has stood in the above situation two winters without the least protection, and is altogether unblemished by the weather. We should, however, state, that neither of these winters have been severe ones, therefore we have to suspend our judgment before we can pronounce it to be thoroughly hardy. Should our expectations of its hardiness, however, be realised - and we are sanguine that they will - a more appropriate ornament for rock-gardening could hardly be met with, its rich evergreen foliage being not its least recommendation for that purpose.
"Spirited and truthful as the present representation of it is, no adequate idea of the great beauty of the plant can be formed from it: it ought to be seen carelessly and gracefully spreading its numerous branches, loaded with flowers, in every direction, to be thoroughly appreciated.
"Nothing can be easier than the culture of this plant: a mixture of equal proportions of sandy peat and loam, with good drainage, suits it well".