This section is from the book "The Gardener V1", by William Thomson. Also available from Amazon: The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener.
Your correspondent "F. W. B.," p. 145, indulges in a grim joke on the price of Lily bulbs, possibly deriving his inspiration from the well-known but misleading advertisement which has appeared in the columns of a horticultural journal ever since its first published number, and will appear, so we are informed, unaltered till the last number of that journal is issued, which, judging from its present success, will not be till the end of time.
But lest your readers should fail to see the joke and be deceived by the statements of "F. W. B.," permit me to state that good bulbs of the Lilies be mentions - viz., Neilgherriense, Wallichianum, Polyphyl-lum - may be obtained from the New Plant and Bulb Company, Colchester (and I doubt not from many other firms), at the low price of 5s. each, and 10s. 6d. for the best bulbs. When, therefore, "F. W. B." indulges in such tall talk as 36 to 50 guineas a dozen, he is simply drawing a very long bow. Lilies may be "considered" at a much more reasonable rate. Alexander Wallace.
Colchester, April 20, 1881.
N.B. - The three above-named Lilies are about the rarest and most highly priced of all. A fairly good representative collection may be obtained in the autumn for three guineas, well worthy of " consideration".