This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
Those Auriculas are called pure, or self-coloured, that have but one colour besides that of the bottom; that, for example, are either red, crimson, of a fine colour, purple or violet; for those that are all white or yellow are sorts that are degenerated, as I shall shew hereafter.
There are many of a brown colour round the bottom, which makes it look clear and very neat. These are said to be transparent, clouded, or milky; and are much valued when this quality is added to those before enumerated.
This kind never degenerates; and although a bottom that shoots into angles, and is not round, is generally a disgrace to a flower, yet it may be borne with in one that hath all other good properties.
There are some of these kinds so finely and distinctly circumscribed with a black or brown circle round the bottom, and so differing from the other pures, that one would think they made a fourth sort; but to have them long in bloom in perfection, care must be taken that the soil they are planted in be not too wet; they therefore must be watered with care and prudence; for by means of too much moisture that beautiful black or brown ring is often destroyed and imbibed in the other colours, and renders that flower insupportable, which otherwise would raise admiration in the nicest judges. These flowers are seldom so large or thick leaved as the other pures; but then their brilliant appearance on the stage makes full amends for their want of size.
Man is insatiable, and always wishing: I am not able to decide whether this be really a fault or no; but if it be one, the florists are guilty in a superlative degree. The pures, the flakes, and the bizarrs do not sufficiently gratify him. The dark-coloured, the transparent, or milky, might, one would imagine, give him full satisfaction. No, he still craves more, to wit, that which is shaded; and possibly this kind of pure, as desirable as it appears to him to-day, will not please him to-morrow. I say this kind of pure; for you see even the pures divided into three classes, two of which I have described. I proceed now to give you a just idea of the third.
Those fine dark velvet pures are said to be shaded (ombrces in French) when the brown or black colour communicates itself from the middle of the flower-leaf in such a manner towards the edge, as to make it (the eye) appear perfectly clear. These are the finest flowers in the world; such, for example, are Le Feu Ombre, Le Feu Tingresse, Le Panebroeck, Le Panerock, or Reine Elizabeth.
But it seems as if nature had taken great pains to produce them, for these are not very large. Well! am I not myself one of these insatiable creatures? I possess many of these kinds of pures; I admire them, but would have them larger: once again, the florist is never to be satisfied.