This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
Heaths and Epacrises are generally named in the same breath, so closely do we associate the two genera; but we need hardly state that they belong to different natural orders, which are very dissimilar. In his Vegetable Kingdom, Dr. Lindley, speaking of Epacrids, says, "This Order differs from Heathworts chiefly in the structure of the anther; but that organ being one of the principal features of Heathworts, any material deviation from it acquires an unusual degree of consequence. In the latter Order, the anther consists of two cells, usually furnished with peculiar appendages; in Epacrids, it is one-celled, with no appendages whatever. In some other respects Epacrids are different from Heathworts. All natives of the Indian Archipelago, or Australasia, or Polynesia, where they abound as Heaths do at the Cape of Good Hope. It is remarkable that only one or two Heathworts are found in the countries occupied by Epacrids".
1. Radiata .
3. Unique .
Epacrises, as every body knows, are among the most valuable of spring-flowering greenhouse shrubs, and we could ill dispense with them at that season. But as with Heaths, too much sameness at one time existed among them; and this led enterprising cultivators to hybridise the sorts they possessed; and the results have been highly successful. Our friend Mr. Story has effected much in this way by crossing E. impressa with E. grandiflora. In 1842, he bloomed between 200 and 300 seedlings, the produce of this cross, and vice versa; but little was obtained better than the parents. He, however, did not despair, and on the next trial his expectations were better realised. He crossed these seedlings upon Grandiflora, and vice versa, and many beautiful and distinct varieties were the result. This cross produced flowers both brilliant in colour and various in character. If such seedlings, therefore, were obtained from parents not very remarkable for brilliancy of colouring, what might we not expect through the agency of E. miniata, the brightest of all Epacrises? Indeed, it would be difficult to name a more beautiful greenhouse plant than this variety itself makes.
Its glowing, almost scarlet, white-tipped tubes, which, under good management, are produced in abundance, have a charming effect.
By means of Epacrises, Primulas (to which P. altiaca when "let out" will form a good addition), Cinerarias, Camellias, Hyacinths, and other forced bulbs, Azaleas, Rhododendrons, Violets, Cyclamens, and some of the early Heaths, as Gracilis, Hiemalis, Willmoreana, Grandinosa, etc, a small house may be kept in a blaze of flower all the early spring, and at very little expense or trouble.
We subjoin a list of the best and most distinct varieties, which are as follows: -
A species raised from imported seed by Messrs. Loddiges, producing plants of various degrees of merit, but all pretty much alike. The best is of a rich salmon pink, shading off towards the tip (which opens well) to white; tube long; angular growth, but good habit if judiciously stopped, blooms most freely in May or June, but is partially in flower all the year.
This is also an imported species; stout short tube; creamy white flowers; deep green attenuated foliage, imbricated and erect; beautiful habit; blooms in May and June.
A deep blush or pale rose-coloured flower; short spacious tube; fine reflexing tip; attenuated foliage; stiff erect habit; and a free bloomer.
In all respects like Hyacinthiflora, except being a very good white. (This and the preceding variety are decidedly the best of their class).
A small French white short-tubed flower; distinct and very pretty.
Moderately long tube; light rose, shading off to a pure white, and having a finely reflexing tip; free bloomer.
Tube medium length, of a deep rosy purple; very showy, and a free bloomer.
Rosy red; brilliant colour; very fine.
This flower is of the purest white; short tube; fine reflexing tip; smaller than Candidissima; close neat foliage; it produces long and compact racemes of bloom; first-rate flower.
Long rosy purple tube, shading off toward the tip (which does not generally reflex well) to white; angular growth, similar to Miniata; blooming principally in May and June, partially all the year; an imported species.
A variety of Limata, though distinct; the tube of this flower being purplish, shading off to a very pure white; not good in habit.
A short bulky deep-blush tube, as large as that of Hyacinthiflora, but contracting towards the tip (which is rather small for the size of the tube), presenting a somewhat cramped appearance; blooms freely in long compact racemes.
This is an imported species, with stiff, close, imbricated foliage; stout short tube; excellent compact habit, and a more pure white than Laevigata; it blooms in May.
This, as its name implies, is a scarlet; the best of that colour at present in cultivation. We have never grown the plant, but are given to understand that it is somewhat difficult to manage. The flower is rather small; but the foliage being dense, displays a compact raceme of flower.
A sweet-scented, compact-blooming white flower; short tube, erect habit, attenuated foliage, distinct, and pretty.
Dark rosy short-tubed flower; erect robust habit; profuse bloomer. This, as well as the former, are imported species.
In all respects but colour like Impressa rubra.
An orange-scarlet tube, of medium length, with an open well-reflexing tip, of somewhat paler colour; good habit, and profuse bloomer; distinct.
Not very unlike Ardentissima; a pretty variety, but not sufficiently distinct; a free bloomer.