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.
How well the Golden Yew stands the sun was effectually demonstrated here; and the moral drawn was, that it should on no account be planted in the shade. The plants of the Ascot Golden Irish, a form raised from seed, were beautifully tinted with gold. This retains its hue even in a sandy soil, but the striped kinds do not keep their colour well here at Ascot.
Mr Standish firmly believes in the undoubted beauty of Paul's new crimson Thorn, as he is working it extensively. He finds it does better budded than when grafted, and recommends it accordingly.
In the matter of Euonymuses Mr Standish is especially rich. Among newer forms were - E. latifolius argenteus, in fine character; a great lot of it had been worked as standards; it is a fine thing, when growing in this way, to stand about among darker-leaved shrubs, as the bright-looking heads of the Euonymus gives a life to them. E. radicans latifolia variegata is very distinct from the ordinary form of E. radicans variegata, and is very good also. E. latifolius albo-variegatus is a most exquisite shrub, having the whitest variegation of all the large-leaved kinds; it is perfectly hardy, having withstood 40 degrees of frost without sustaining the slightest injury. The Japanese Skimmia oblata is well worthy of notice, being covered with a profusion of fine red berries. Cupressus Nutkanensis alba of Loudon has a very handsome variegation, and was raised from seed by Mr Standish. Here, too, was the fine Viburnum Sieboldii, said by Siebold to stand out in Holland throughout the year: if it should prove hardy in this country, Mr Standish thinks it will be one of the finest evergreens we have. Aucubas are a wonderful feature at Ascot; Mr Standish goes into them very extensively indeed.
There was a large quantity worked as standards, in which form they are invaluable for winter decoration, and were showing berries in great profusion; they are also suitable for terraces and conservatories. The first male plant of Aucuba Japonica was imported from Japan by Mr Standish, who was enabled therefrom to exhibit the first specimen bearing berries which had been produced in England, or even in Europe. These plants are destined to play a very prominent part in the adornment of gardens, as nothing can be more beautiful as Evergreens than they, with their dark glossy green leaves, bearing every sort of variegation, from the large yellow blotch down to the very smallest speck, which renders them quite distinct. It has now been proved that the fertilising properties of one male plant of good size are sufficient, by the aid of insects, for a space of 100 yards square.
Passing now into the orchard, some of De Jonghe's seedling Apples met our view. One of them bore an enormous quantity of small red fruits; another was smaller in size, with the branches of the tree literally breaking down under its load of fruit; another was not so red, but a fine Apple. Unfortunately, there was reason to fear any identification of these fruits could not now be made. Lord Derby is a very fine sauce Apple. New Hawthornden is a fine culinary Apple also, and succeeds Lord Suffield. Mr Standish has also raised new Peaches, and with considerable success. Two especially have been mentioned with great favour - viz., the Early Ascot and the Marquis of Downshire. These were raised from the Pitmaston Orange and Violette Hative Nectarines, fertilised by the Noblesse and Barrington Peaches. Twenty seedlings were raised, and although the Nectarines were in every instance the seed-parents, but one of the twenty seedlings proved a Nectarine. Both these new Peaches are wonderfully healthy and vigorous growers. They, together with a number of older kinds, were planted out on a piece of ground, and the marked vigour of the new varieties was clearly perceptible. The Early Ascot ripens in August, the Marquis of Downshire two or three weeks later.
The former is highly commended, and our own experience goes to confirm its good qualities.
In some parts of the grounds were beds of Lilium Tigrinum Fortunei, which is darker in colour than the old variety, and has larger umbels of flowers.
Seedling Rhododendrons are a marvellous feature at the Ascot nursery. The seed is sown in January in pans; when the plants are large enough they are pricked out in boxes, and planted out thickly in the month of August, in beds about 2 1/2 feet wide, between lines of Arborvitse, running from the south to the north, about 8 feet apart. Across the beds run at intervals other lines of Ar-borvitse, about 6 feet apart. The Rhododendrons are three times transplanted; by doing this they are encouraged to make roots, and form nice bottoms to the plants. Mr Standish has also succeeded in getting some nice breaks in the way of seedling Rhododendrons. Amongst the various shades of R. Catawbiense raised more than forty years ago, there were some approaching white in colour, such as album, elegantissimum, delicatissimum, and others. About 25 years ago Mr Standish crossed some of these with R. ponticum and other spotted kinds, which produced R. Minnie, a late-blooming kind, and a fine batch of seedling white varieties. About ten years ago, Mr Standish used R. Boddartsianum, R. cinnamoneum, and R. Cunninghami, and crossed them with R. Minnie. Those named have flowers much spotted, and Mr Standish's aim was to get some late-blooming white varieties with spots.
The result more than exceeded his expectations, for not only did Mr Standish get plants that would flower all through June, bearing flowers spotted almost black, chocolate, red, maroon, and various other colours, but alse red, cerise, and chocolate blotches on a pure white ground, as well defined as those on a show Pelargonium. A very beautiful variety that flowered last June has been named R. Baronness Isabelle Taintegnies, and has flowers with the blotch so apparent that it can be detected with the naked eye some distance away. Another interesting cross has been made by taking R. Blandy-anum and impregnating it with R. Thompsoni, one of the Sikkim kinds; the flowers of this are all pendulous. Yet, singular to state, some of the hybrids so obtained are larger in size than R. Blandyanum; - for instance, the Ascot Brilliant, which has flowers of the most intense shining blood colour. He has also flowered some very fine reds raised from R. Blandyanum crossed with Minnie, and R. Johnsonii crossed with the same, five years ago. Mr Standish has also crossed R. Aucklandii with some of the late white-flowering kinds, and has plants at the present time from 12 to 15 inches in height, and he hopes to flower some of them in a couple of years from this time.