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.
The ordinary monthly meeting of this Association was held in the Templar Hall, Reform Street, on Friday evening, the 6th ult. - the President, Mr D. Doig, Rossie Priory, in the chair. There was a full attendance of members. Mr J. D. Ker, Douglasfield, read an interesting and exhaustive paper on "The Culture of the Stage Auricula." He said the Auricula stood pre-eminently a working-man's flower, - it required little room to grow an even extensive collection. As many as from two to three hundred could be cultivated with success in a garden of but a few square yards - the only requirements necessary being a good dry frame and a little careful attention on the part of the cultivator. Unlike many other flowers, the Auricula, provided it got a fair amount of light and air, would thrive and bloom to perfection in almost any atmosphere. Having described the sub-classes of the Stage Auricula, Mr Ker said there were now practically two distinct races - the Alpine Auricula, in which the centre part of the flower was more or less green; and the Stage Auricula, in which the centres were always white.
Some of the rarer sorts were very difficult to propagate, as shown by the fact that some varieties which, fifty years ago, could be bought for from 10s. to 15s., were not now procurable for double and sometimes triple that sum. This did not result from the delicate nature of the constitution of the plant, but because they were very shy in giving off lateral buds or branches. Mr Ker's remarks were illustrated by a selection of choice plants of Auricula in splendid bloom, thereby corroborating all he had said as to their culture.
Mr John Stewart, Arbroath, then read an instructive paper - illustrated by drawings - on the "Relations of Bees to Flowers." In the course of his remarks he said : "Orchard and garden fruit growers are almost entirely dependent on bees to fertilise the blossoms so as to 'set' the fruit. The stigmas of Strawberries, Blackberries, Apples, Pears, etc, come to maturity long before their anthers, hence bees are necessary to convey the pollen from the old to the young bloom. In Gooseberries the anthers are ripe long before the stigmas, so that self-fertilisation is impossible; and unless there are bees to transfer the pollen from the young to the old bloom, the ovary always withers and drops off along with the flower. The showy colour and sweet scent of flowers attract bees. The variegated lines and spots guide them to where the honey is situated. At the same time, when the visits of insects are to benefit the flower the honey flows more freely. Thus bees get their supply of food, and for this treat they fertilise the flower. Bees, therefore, depend on flowers for their subsistence.
In return, the very existence of many flowers depends on bees." In addition to the Auriculas exhibited by Mr Ker, a large branch of the inflorescence of a splendid double rose-coloured Cineraria was exhibited by Mr Joseph Robertson, gardener, Bayfield, West Ferry. Messrs Laird &. Sinclair also sent a neat tray of spring flowers from their Monifieth Nurseries, amongst which were the two very fine Narcissi, "Emperor" and "Empress," the two best varieties of this interesting genus; several very pretty Primulas, including P. ciliata purpurea, P. denticulata, P. marginata, and the comparatively new P. platy-petala, the blue-flowered Arobus cyanus, the interesting Trillium grandiflorum, etc. All these exhibits were much admired, and were minutely inspected by many of the members at the close of the meeting. Hearty votes of thanks were awarded the several speakers, and the meeting terminated.
The ordinary monthly meeting of this Association was held in the Templar Hall, Reform Street, on Friday evening, the 3d ult. - the president, Mr D. Doig, Rossie Priory Gardens, in the chair. Mr Thomas Milne, Linlathen Gardens, read a paper on "Hardy Border Flowers." Having dealt with their general culture and arrangement in a former paper, he confined his remarks more directly to the special culture of a few favourite sorts. These he detailed in their order of flowering; and his remarks were illustrated by from sixty to seventy distinct varieties of these delightful hardy flowers, all distinctly and correctly named, presenting a beautiful and interesting table of varied blossoms. Amongst the most noticeable of these were Aquilegias caerulea and siberica, Dodecatheon elegans, Leucojum aestivum, Anemone sylvestris, Phlox subulata, Asphodelus luteus, Primula cortu-soides amoena, Linum alpinum, Myosotis coelestina, Anthericum liliastrum, and Muscaria moschata. Mr Milne also exhibited a stand of twenty-four varieties of hybrid Rhododendrons. Mr Frank Young then read a most interesting and able paper on the "Physiology of Plants and Animals," tracing many of the relations that exist between the two kingdoms of nature.
The general action of the animal kingdom in oxidising carbonaceous substances with formation of carbonic acid gas, and the reducing of this in the green parts of plants under the influence of sunlight, were experimentally illustrated under this head. Mr Young spoke at length on the "blue glass" question, showing that it had no scientific basis whatever; that, in fact, the work of many eminent botanists had proved the retarding effect of the blue rays on growth; and further, that the yellow rays of light were the most effective in decomposition and assimilation. The paper was illustrated by several experiments performed by Mr Frank Collyer. An interesting discussion followed on this "blue glass" question, the general conclusion of the practical gardeners present bearing out what Mr Young had demonstrated - namely, that the blue glass, so far as had come under their observation, in no way assisted or perfected the growth of plants. Hearty votes of thanks were awarded the several speakers, and the meeting terminated.