This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
Till within these last few years this flower was used as an ornament in the plantation or shrubbery border only; but it is now becoming an especial favourite with the professional and amateur florist, and bids fair successfully to rival, if not to outvie the Dahlia. The particular sorts selected for this purpose are of a character and family entirely different to those formerly grown. Instead of the bell-shaped blossom, shewing a large eye, the new and superior varieties have a semi-spherical flower exceedingly double, with closely serried petals, and a flat regular guard-leaf; the blossoms are so thickly packed around the stem, that the green leaf can scarcely peep between them, and in the best-grown plants it is almost entirely hid. These properties have, in the present season, been obtained in great perfection by Mr. Chater, of Saffron Walden, in whose nursery-grounds, consisting of about six acres, more than one-sixth is entirely devoted to Hollyhocks, 6000 of which are now in splendid bloom; and Saffron Walden may well be proud of such an extensive exhibition.
But it is not only in the vast number and variety of colours, but in individual excellence, as has been acknowledged by the gentry and florists who have inspected his collection within the last fortnight, that Mr. C. may fairly challenge the world to compete with him. The size and beauty of colour displayed in his seedling Comet, which is a fine ruby red, one would think, at first sight, could scarcely be surpassed. Equally beautiful in their several different characters and colours are his seedlings, - Enchantress, deep rose;
Rosea grandiflora, light rose; Attraction, elegantly veined puce and silver; Model of Perfection, white with chocolate ground; Commander-in-chief, remarkable for immensely long spikes of flowers towering nine feet high; the Queen, a delicate blush; Aurantia, salmon-colour; Pulchella, roseate; Pallida, lilac; Magnum Bonum, a rich glossy maroon; Snowball, purest white; Black Prince, sable black; Formosa, dark claret, with palmated leaves; Mulberry Superb; Delicata; Atro-sanguinea. Mr. C. has exhibited this season at Chiswick some of his beauties, grown especially in pots for that occasion; also at the Royal Agricultural meeting at Norwich, where he was awarded a prize for his seedling Comet, and a prize for the collection; and at the South London Floricultural meeting in the Surrey Zoological Gardens he obtained a medal. A visit to these superb and elegant flowers would be highly gratifying to every lover of Nature in her gay and brilliant forms.
Dunmow, Essex, August 27th. A. Barfield.
Note. - We received this too late for insertion last month. Some of the varieties have since been forwarded to us, and fully bear out all that is said in their favour.