This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
At a meeting held in Regent Street on the 7th ult., Mr. Fairbairn of Clapham exhibited a beautiful collection of Cape Heaths, for which he received a Banksian medal. Mr. Moore of Chelsea sent Plumbago Larpentre, which we are sorry to state has hitherto not realised the expectations formed of it. Dr. Lindley remarked that, as it was found on the old walls of Shanghae, where the winters are even more severe than ours are in England, it might possibly be found to do best out of doors, in a warm well-drained herbaceous border, or on rock-work. This, however, requires to be proved by experience. Messrs. Veitch shewed two plants from a greenhouse, and flowers and leaves gathered from the open ground, of a new Oxalis, from Peru, called Elegans. It is unsuited for a greenhouse, as a glance at the specimens exhibited proved; but to the open garden it certainly forms a great acquisition, for it is very pretty. "The leaflets are firm, fleshy, of a dark rich green, and stained with purple on the under-side. From the centre of these rises a stalk about nine inches high, bearing a truss of five or six rose-coloured flowers," having a green eye surrounded by a well-defined belt of dark purple: it received a certificate.
Some Verbenas were shewn by Messrs. Henderson and Harrison, and Mr. Turner of Slough sent most beautiful boxes of Carnations and Picotees, even at this late season, and a pan of Heartsease. A certificate was awarded the Carnations and Picotees, and a similar award was made to Messrs. Wrench for two Fuchsias from their little greenhouse on the leads of their warehouse at London-bridge. The garden of the society furnished a nice collection of Achimenes, among which was the beautiful deep crimson A. pyropaca, a species not so well known as it should be, for it is quite a gem of its kind; the new Abronia umbellata, a pretty greenhouse plant, with delicate pink heads of flowers something like those of a Verbena: we should think that it would do well for bedding. Along with it were Bigonia acuminata, the best of the genus for a greenhouse, where it blooms freely and colours well; and Zauschneria Californica, a plant which we can hardly recommend too highly, for when well grown and covered with its deep crimson flowers, it really forms a most charming bush; but this is not all, - the property perhaps that recommends it most favourably to the amateur is, that it can be flowered profusely in quite a small state. It is a plant which no greenhouse should be without.
Finally, there was a plant of Mimulus tricolor, with which we are not so well pleased as when we first saw it. Its flowers are certainly very pretty; but then it has an ugly grey aspect, and it is said to be so delicate in constitution, that it is hard to cultivate. It may, however, produce a good cross with some other species.
At a late meeting of this Society, the Dowager Duchess of Northumberland produced a new sweet-scented Verbena from Santa Martha. It was a half-shrubby sort, with white flowers. Dr. Lindley stated that it would cross with our common garden kinds, and that the offspring of such a cross would, in all probability, prove sweet-scented. At the same meeting, Messrs. Henderson shewed a new Veronica, a cross between V. speciosa and salicifolia. It was about intermediate between the two, and very pretty. The flower-spikes are first violet, and then they change to white.
This is at hand: let us review the past season in connexion with our gardening pursuits. If we have been too lavish in our expenditure, and thereby impaired the enjoyment which would otherwise have been ours, let us resolve to exercise a wise economy, and to curtail resolutely. If, on the other hand, our means will allow of our doing so with propriety, let us increase our payments for labour, plants, materials, etc. There is not a more real charity than the employment of the deserving labourer or of a well-conducted lad. Money expended with a nurseryman enables him also to expend more with others.
At a late meeting, Mr. Schroder of Stratford produced a most lovely exhibition of Mr. Skinner's Barkeria (B. Skinneri). It consisted of three plants of this charming Orchid, each bearing from twelve to fifteen spikes of rosy-purple flowers. It is difficult to conceive any thing more handsome at this proverbially flowerless season than these were; and we would advise all who have the means, to cultivate this Barkeria pretty largely for winter decoration. It forms a worthy companion to the ever-blooming, chaste, white-flowered Phalsenopsis amabilis and grandiflora. Mrs. Lawrence of Ealing Park sent, among other things, the very scarce Vanda violacea, having two beautiful pendent spikes of pink-stained white waxy flowers, which, a short distance off, might easily have been mistaken for those of an Aerides. The same garden also furnished the rather new orange-flowered Aphelandra, which bids fair to become a favourite stove-plant. Of other subjects, perhaps the most beautiful was a dwarf Chrysanthemum from Mr. Moore of Chelsea. It measured twenty inches high and the same across, and had thirty-one stems or branches, ofwhich twenty-eight bore one or more blossoms each. It had been raised from a cutting put in in March last, and topped occasionally to keep it dwarf.
In conclusion, we should not forget to mention that Sir W. J. Hooker of Kew communicated a well-executed water-colour drawing of the country where the Sikkim-Himalayan Rhododendrons are found. In the foreground it represented Dr. Hooker, together with his attendants, in the costume of the country, in the act of receiving Rhododendron flowers from the natives. It will be recollected that Dr. Hooker is now collecting these fine Rhododendrons, which grow plentifully there, almost within the range of perpetual snow.
Few plants were exhibited on this occasion. A fine specimen of Phaius grandifolius was shewn by J. Gadesden, Esq. of Ewell Castle, for which a Banksian medal was awarded. Mr. Lod-diges of Hackney sent a collection of Orchids, in which we noticed a charming pale rose-coloured variety of Odontoglossum Cervantesii. A pretty sky-blue Cineraria, but too small, was exhibited by Mr. Layton of Hammersmith; and Mr. Glenny sent a collection of Hyacinths, in which perhaps the most striking were Satellite, a bright lake kind, and a dwarf flesh-coloured sort called Alida Catherina: with them was a pot of remarkably fine Crocuses. Among plants from the Society's garden we observed a new and rather pretty Siphocampylus called Manettiaeflorus, which promises to prove useful. It had a fine shining myrtle-like foliage.
The weather being somewhat unfavourable, few subjects were produced; but among them was a great novelty in the shape of the long-tailed Lady's Slipper (Cypripedium caudatum), an extraordinary-looking plant, from the side of whose flowers hung down two long tails, from which the species takes its name. These tails were at least 15 inches in length. This came from Mrs. Lawrence of Ealing Park, who has flowered it for the first time in England. From Syon came a flowering plant of Odontoglossum hasti-labium, or halberd-lipped Odontoglossum, a rather new and pretty species; and Messrs. Henderson sent a finely-grown specimen of Acacia diffusa, a free-flowering and beautiful variety for pot-culture. Along with it was also a very fine large white-flowered Epacris named Hyacinthiflora candidissima, which was raised, we believe, by our friend Mr. Story. A scarlet Gesnera, and some other small plants, came from Mr. Henderson of St. John's Wood; and in the collection from the gardens at Chiswick was a most beautifully flowered Epidendrum aurantiacum, a plant which we have had throw up its flower-stems plentifully enough, but the individual blossoms have never expanded.
We have two plants in that condition at the present time.