This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
This queen of aquatics is now flowering beautifully at Syon, the seat of her Grace the Duchess Dowager of Northumberland. We delay giving particulars respecting its successful cultivation, etc. for another month, that we may do the subject full justice, and add a more perfect description of the plant, its flowers, etc. than we are at present enabled to do.
A notice of this noble aquatic will be found at page 319 of our volume for 1849. It was supplied by a correspondent who paid a hurried visit to Chatsworth, where the plant bloomed for the first time in England in November last. Since that time we have had ample opportunity of observing the habit of the plant for ourselves in the establishment at Syon, where, under the skilful management of Mr. Iveson, gardener to her Grace the Duchess Dowager of Northumberland, it has grown and bloomed most satisfactorily. From it one of the flowers and leaves exhibited at Chiswick on the 18th (see report, p. 139) was supplied. It will be far beyond the means of general admirers to cultivate this majestic Water-lily; but we have little doubt that it will loner form an attractive feature in such princely establishments as Chatsworth and Syon. The slate tank in which the plant is now growing at the latter place is 22 feet square; but our impression is, that a circular one, 40 feet in diameter, would not be at all too large for its full development under skilful management.
The basis of its successful cultivation appears to be a temperature of both air and water of about 85°, a constant introduction of fresh water at the same temperature, and the escape of an equal quantity, thus creating an imperceptible current. .Air, in suitable weather, may be freely admitted from above without injury. Indeed, there is every reason to believe that, when the plant is fairly at home, and our skilful gardeners are familiar with its character, it will grow like a weed; and we have every expectation that it will exceed, in size of flowers and foliage, all that has been reported of it in its native country. We believe some of our large manufacturers might readily cultivate the Victoria by diverting the condensed steam of their engines into a pond covered with glass and planted with it. We have in our mind's eye several reservoirs of the kind which might be thus converted; and from what we observed at Chiswick on the 18th, where the leaves and flowers were exhibited after being cut a considerable time, we are inclined to believe that the Sunday's rest of the steam-engine would not prove destructive to it.
At Syon, the tank will soon furnish a beautiful specimen of tropical aquatic vegetation. In the centre is the Victoria, with its noble foliage and flowers lying on the surface; planted by it are the different species of Nelumbiums, which will no doubt soon be in flower; at the several corners are Nymphseas rubra, ccerulea, dentata, and odorata, blooming beautifully, and growing most vigorously; and here and there, floating on the surface, are a number of Pistes.
The Duke of Northumberland has liberally distributed tickets to view the Victoria; and in a short time, when the alterations of the house are entirely finished, it will no doubt prove a highly attractive object.