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.
It is very difficult indeed to describe that curious, but deeply-interesting group of Chrysanthemums, the Japanese varieties. There are so many different types of flowers, that though attempts have been made to classify them, the tendency to variation on the part of many of the new flowers seems to upset what had been so well done. Although of a distinct type from the Chrysanthemums in general cultivation, no difference of soil or treatment is necessary; a warm situation and good management is all that is required to secure a succession of flowers from November until January or February. As a general rule they bloom later and remain longer in bloom than the ordinary kinds, and they serve the important end of keeping our conservatories gay at a season of the year when flowers are very scarce. But to our descriptive notes of the new varieties: - Aurora, bright orange yellow, the flowers composed of a mass of straight, sword-like petals; Chang, purplish red, the outer surface pale amber, petals very long and curiously twisted, flowers of great size; Colonel Henery, deep golden yellow, the flowers composed of long, stiff, and somewhat narrow petals: this is regarded as one of the finest varieties ever raised; Chinoise, chestnut red, with yellow tips, flowers very large and with a fringed appearance; Emperor of China, blush, the centre rose-coloured, and tinged with yellow, the exterior florets are quilled, the rest expand, and curl inwards, flowers very large; Gloriosa, the flowers composed of long twisted florets, forming a flat head, colour rich golden yellow mixed with red, but becoming nearly altogether yellow as the flowers age; Helen M'Gregor, rich deep chestnut red, the flowers composed of long, loose, threadlike petals; Mandarin, canary yellow, petals very broad and much curled; Meg Merrilees, pure white with sulphur centre, the base of the petals take a tubular shape, but become flattened at the ends and much jagged, and so form large and somewhat grotesque flowers; Negro, very dark maroon, a fine hue of colour, the petals much curled; Rob Roy, purplish red on the upper surface, the under surface amber, and as the flowers have a curiously twisted and confused appearance, both colours are presented to the eye in a mingled form; Sultan, clear rosy lilac, the under surface of the petals silvery lilac, the flowers very large; Sol, clear wax-like yellow, with long, straight, ribbon-like petals, very showy; and Viceroy of Egypt, bright rosy lilac, the backs of the petals white, also very long and broad, and with an arched appearance.
Not a single new Pompone variety appears to have been raised for distribution this spring.
Of the Japanese varieties sent out in the spring of 1869 we can heartily commend the following: - Hero of Magdala, blood red, the reverse of the petals orange buff; James Salter, clear lilac or mauve; Meteor, bright golden yellow changing to orange; Regalia, orange, striped with bright red; and The Mikado, golden yellow. The foregoing are not only of very fine quality, but varied, and novel. Of the large-flowering varieties sent out at the same time, we must commend Beethoven, bronzy red, when fully incurved presenting a golden surface; Golden John Salter, golden yellow, changing to amber, a sport from the reddish cinnamon-coloured John Salter; Orange Annie Salter, bright orange, a sport from the yellow variety under that name; Pink Perfection, soft pink, very fine indeed; Plenipo, rosy purple; Princess Charlotte, a rosy blush - coloured, anemone-flowered variety; Rotundiflora, pearl white, changing with age to pale lilac; and Stellaris, amber, with a distinct yellow tip.
For the guidance of those of our readers who may be contemplating making up a collection of Chrysanthemums of the older kinds, the following selection from the large-flowering varieties may be relied on: - Alarm, violet crimson; Aurea Multiflora, pure bright yellow; Bella Donna, delicate lilac; Beverley, ivory white; Bronze Jardin des Plantes, bronze orange, with yellow centre; Enamel, delicate enamel white; Fingal, rosy violet, a fine colour; General Slade, Indian red, tipped with bright orange; Golden Beverley, golden canary; Jardin des Plantes, deep gold; John Salter, reddish cinnamon; Julia Lagravere, dark shining crimson; Lady Talfourd, delicate rosy lilac; Mrs G. Rundle, white, a beautiful flower; Ossian, rose, very fine; Prince Albert, bright crimson; Prince Alfred, rosy crimson, very fine; Prince of Wales, dark purplish violet; Princess Beatrice, rosy lilac, with silvery shade; Purpurea Elegans, rich purplish violet, very fine; Sanguinea, light reddish crimson, a fine hue of colour; and Virgin Queen, snow white.
This collection should also include Fleur de Marie, a very fine white anemone-flowered variety.
Of the Pompone varieties, the following will be found a selection of eighteen of the best kinds: - Adonis, rose and white; Andromeda, cream, with brown points; Capella, dark reddish chestnut; Diana, pure white, a late-blooming variety; Fairest of the Fair, delicate lilac, with silvery tips, one of the best; Florence, dark cherry, very fine; Jessie, orange amber; Lizzie Holmes, canary yellow, very fine; Madame Eugene Domage, pure white; Madame Fould, cream colour, very fine; Miss Julia, dark chestnut; Mrs Dix, blush, bordered with rose; Prince Victor, bright reddish maroon, very showy; Rose Tre-venna, rosy blush, very fine; Saint Michael, very bright gold, extra fine; and the following anemone-flowered varieties: - Ceda Nulli, white, with brown points; Golden Cedo Nulli, golden canary; and Mon. Astie, golden yellow.
In addition to Chrysanthemums, and the ornamental succulents before alluded to, Messrs Salter & Son have a large collection of hardy ornamental plants with variegated foliage, and herbaceous and Alpine plants, many of which can be seen growing in the borders about the nursery; also a fine and varied collection of varieties of Phlox decussata, an unusual collection of showy varieties of Iris Ger-manica, a most handsome and valuable tribe of hardy herbaceous plants, and of which they catalogue something like one hundred sorts; a very large collection of double Pyrethrums, a flower that has been much improved by Mr Salter during the past few years; the collection at the Versailles Nursery is well worth an inspection when they are in bloom during July and August: also Paeonies, Pentstemons, etc.
In several parts of the grounds there are to be seen all the year round patches of carpet-work formed of the dwarf-growing Sedums and Saxifrages, etc, from which a capital idea can be gleaned of their great usefulness when employed in such a way.
For many years Mr John Salter, the senior member of the firm, was established in business at Versailles in France. At the outbreak of the revolutionary movement of 1848 he had to relinquish his business, and came to England, settling down on the spot where by his subsequent doings he has achieved such a wide reputation. He has also published a work embracing a complete history of the Chrysanthemum, from its first introduction into England in 1764 until the present time.