This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
Various species of Verbena were cultivated in our gardens before the year 1828; but, if we are not mistaken, it was about that year that the beautiful V. Melindres, the most striking of the then existing species, was first figured and described. About ten years afterwards, V. Tweedieana was figured and described by Don, together with Erinoides, Lamberti, Rugosa, and others; and during that space of time a few important additions had been made to the genus. But who shall enumerate the varieties which made their appearance during the next ten years! Each returning season produced multitudes of fresh candidates for admiration, and now our parterres glow with Verbenas of almost every shade and colour. Much confusion, however, exists in the genus, owing to the fact, that the same plant has been "let out" under different names. The besetting sin of seedling raisers (we will not say all, for we know of many exceptions) is, that they name their productions without taking sufficient pains to discover whether or not they have brought forth any thing new.
So much has this system prevailed with regard to the Verbena, that Mr. Beaton, one of our most intelligent gardeners, stated, in 1843, that, "after seeing all about London, and collecting nearly fifty varieties of Verbena, I reduced them to twelve sorts, and three or four of these are for neutral beds; that is, beds with no decided colour!" Surely a statement like this, emanating from so accurate an observer as Mr. Beaton, should lead florists to compare their seedlings with those already "out," as far as they have opportunity, before they name them.
2. Princess Alice.
3. Royal purple.
No. I. Eclipse, raised by Mr. Gates, of Chichester, ground-colour white, or very delicate blush, with a stripe of rose running up the centre of earl, division of the corolla; flowers a full size, trusses large, with the marking distinct.
No. 2. Princess Alice, raised from seed by Mr. Wyness, gardener to her Majesty, at Buckingham Palace. It was shewn at the Royal South London Floricultural Society, and was awarded a certificate of merit; it is described in the first Volume of The Florist, p. 280, thus: "The truss is large, and the individual flowers well formed, with a rosy spot in each division of the corolla (round . the tube), distinct, and very pretty".
No. 3. Royal Purple was raised by Mr. Young, of New Cross, from seed saved from Emma, which variety it much resembles in habit, but the colour is darker and brighter.
Mr. Wyness has favoured us with his mode of propagating and cultivating the Verbena in pots, which will be found in another part of our Number.