This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
By the time the present Number meets the eye of the public, the floricultural campaign will have begun in right earnest. Amateurs will therefore be able to judge for themselves what properties a good Cineraria ought to possess; and it would be well if the properties of every florist's flower were accurately portrayed in the pages of The Florist: all would then know when a good flower presented itself to their notice, and would make their purchases accordingly. In laying down the following rules, I have been guided by the known and acknowledged laws of floriculture; but I am well aware that there is no flower yet produced which comes up to the standard set up by florists, and it is highly probable that there never will be. Nevertheless, there must be some fixed rules to judge by; and it has been thought best to fix the standard of excellence high, so that he who comes the nearest to it may receive the greatest honour.
In judging the properties of a Cineraria, the size of the flower is of secondary consideration; but where every other property is equally good, a large flower will always take the lead, and I do hope yet to see every pip as large as a half-crown, and as round as a full moon. The petals individually should be broad, obtuse, and of good substance; the outline being well defined, without a notch or indenture, and so arranged that no confusion occurs, each petal naturally taking such a position as to form collectively a well-arranged flower, and the nearer it approaches a perfect circle the better. The petals should slightly cup; a perfectly flat flower will pass, but if the petals reflex it is a fatal point, and cannot be overlooked. The disc ought never to exceed one-third the diameter of the flower: a large disc invariably destroys the beautiful proportions that constitute a good Cineraria.
The habit of the plant should be close, throwing up a large compact mass of flower, exhibiting to advantage the individual blossoms which compose the truss. A tall, spindley, gawky-looking plant is an abomination in the eye of a florist. The foliage should be clean and well expanded; the leaves of some varieties have a natural tendency to curl, and this is a defect for which even a good flower cannot compensate.
In judging a flower, colour must of necessity take the last place, most persons having a sense of colours peculiarly their own; but, as a general rule, the high colours have most admirers. For selfs no rule can possibly be laid down, as they embrace every shade, from pure white to a bright crimson; yellow and scarlet are perhaps not altogether hopeless colours for the Cineraria. In the tipped or particoloured ones, a definition may be ventured upon: in these, a fine dark disc, with a well-proportioned ring of pure white surrounded by rich crimson, shading off to the points of the petals with a rich plum colour, presents the most beautiful object the Cineraria has yet attained. The ring of white surrounding the disc ought to be of the purest kind, and well defined; and when composing one half of the petal, it throws a liveliness into the flower, which can only be appreciated by being seen. An outer circle of pink forms a most delicate flower; but a mazarine blue and a rich purple are much wanted.
Stoke Newington. A. Kendall.