This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
I am quite an enthusiast for raising seedling florists' flowers, and would strongly urge both nurserymen and amateurs to devote some portion at least of their time and space to this interesting process; for there yet remains much to be done. On the advantages thereof, and the interest excited thereby, I need not dwell; but I would briefly advert to one source of disappointment to which the raiser of seedlings is subjected, viz. a disposition in seedlings to degenerate the second year. I have frequently seen seedling-blooms of Dahlias, Pansies, and Calceolarias, particularly the latter, very promising; indeed, possessing all the essential properties of a good flower, the second year so to degenerate as not at all to resemble the same thing. As to whether this is a common or casual occurrence, and to what extent generally, I should like to have the opinion of extensive seedling raisers. That the circumstance is not rare I am fully persuaded, by the fact of having bought varieties the second year, which were highly praised when seedlings, not only by the raiser but by respectable journals, and which have turned out the veriest rubbish, not worthy of either name or place in any collection; such as no nurseryman who valued his reputation would have dared to offer to the public, had the seedling-blooms been of no better character than those produced the succeeding year.
If seedling flowers generally, then, are so apt to degenerate, surely this argues in favour of nurserymen blooming seedling plants another year before sending them out, and perhaps at very high prices?
Whitby, Dec. 12, 1849. Zephyrus.
[All seedlings should be exhibited and seen as two-year old plants. Parties who buy new varieties from descriptions given in gardening periodicals on flowers sent for opinion are very likely to be misled; and this makes us anxious that our " Note-book" should be found a register of all the really fine things that have appeared during the (rent season. - Ed.]