This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
Rapid has been the improvement in form and colouring of this my favourite flower the last few years; but to judge from the varieties exhibited through the past season at the principal London shows, the march of improvement has been at a stand-still with regard to getting those new varieties which have been raised the last year or two into general stage cultivation. I have gone carefully over the reports of all the flowers exhibited in collections during the past season, and I find that the most popular varieties are of some years' standing as good show-flowers. It may be said that the newer varieties have not been "out" time enough; but surely, when both the Horticultural and Botanic Societies offer prizes for " new and first-rate varieties in 8-inch pots," it does seem strange that such crack flowers; sent out with such high characters, as Brilliant, Crusader, or Delicatissimum, all described as free bloomers and good habits, should not be found on the tables more than once in the season of eight grand shows.
That there are plenty of new and first-rate seedlings which are rewarded by a prize, and never, or rarely, afterwards shewn again in collections, no one can deny, as witness Mount Etna, Painted Lady, Cavalier, and some others, which are very good to take the individual flowers, but are completely useless for stage or exhibition purposes, while inferior-formed flowers, such as Orion and Armada, are more often seen because of their very splendid habit and freedom of bloom.
I think the way of shewing two-year old seedlings goes far to remedy this evil; though now a flower may receive a prize and be much praised, and yet not give satisfaction, as I hear is the case with many, and Gipsy Bride in particular. I think we are yet a long way from perfection, - we want " Magnificent" habits with "Incomparable" flowers; and were habit studied more, those who give their guineas would be better satisfied. I send you a summary of the names of those flowers which have been exhibited oftenest the past season, and I think this would be a good guide for placing dependence on ; for how often may we have a good flower that is never fit to make one in a dozen! Mr. Edwards has done much to assist amateurs in their selection of the very best Florists' flowers ; but Geraniums have been lost sight of; and I think if the principal exhibitors and cultivators were asked, they would readily send you or Mr. E. a list of those varieties they deem in every respect the best adapted for growing for exhibition.
The following is the summary:
Pearl (Drury's) has been exhibited .......22 times.
Forget-me-Not (Lyne's) . 19 „
Negress (Garth's) . . . . 18 „
Gulielma (Beck's) . . . 18 „
Centurion (Beck's) . . . 16 „
Orion (Foster's) . . . . 14 „
Rosamond (Beck's) . . . 14 „
Star (Beck's).....10 „
Salamander (Gaines') . . 9 times.
Mont Blanc (Story's) . . 9 „
Armada (Foster's) . . . 7 „
Ariel (Foster's) .... 7 „
Norah (Foster's) .... 6 „
Victory (Foster's) . . . 6 „
Gustavus (Beck's) . . . 5 „
Cassandra (Beck's) . . . 5 „ etc. etc.
Brilliant, Delicatissimum, Crusader, Emilia, Blanche, Rolla, Symmetry, and Virgin Queen, have been shewn only once.