This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V26", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
One of the last of the many beautiful new plants raised or introduced by the late Robert Buist, was this azalea, named by him for his daughter Miss Helen. The stock was disposed of to an English florist just before his death. A correspondent of the Gardeners' Magazine, thus notes its behavior in the Old World:
"Whether the azalea which has been recently introduced under the name of Miss Buist will equal those old favorites, Fielderi and Indica alba, for supplying the markets with flowers during the winter, I cannot undertake to say. But from my experience with it during the past two seasons I am persuaded that it is a valuable addition for the private gardener. It has a very neat and compact habit, and when well grown, flower buds are produced at the point of every shoot. The flowers which are produced in clusters of three or four each, are of snowy whiteness, waxy in texture, and rather small in size, averaging perhaps an inch in diameter. For bouquets they are in some respects preferable to those of the other azaleas mentioned. There yet remains to be mentioned another good quality, and that is, earliness of flowering. Plants that make their growth in the spring may be had in bloom with a very moderate amount of fire heat in November, and by introducing a few plants at intervals a succession of the very acceptable flowers may be obtained throughout the winter.
This variety, which, I believe, was introduced from America, is a capital companion to Mrs. Gerard Leigh and others of the same type distributed six or seven years since".
This interesting variety referred to from an English source in our last, was raised from seed by the late Robert Buist, and the whole stock purchased by Mr. B. S. Williams of London. It was named "Miss Buist" by Mr. Outram, the agent of Mr. Williams. One special merit in the variety is the remarkable thickness of the corolla, and which enables it to remain a long time without wilting when cut and placed in water.
Under the misname of Mrs. Buist, the Garden has this good word for this American variety: "When this Azalea gets better known and has had time to attain a good size, it will be found to be a most valuable plant for many purposes. In habit of growth, and indeed in all respects but the color of the flowers, it is an exact counterpart of amoena. Its white flowers, whether on the plant or cut, cannot fail to please. It is unfortunately a slow grower, but as it possesses so many good qualities we can afford to put up with that failing".
A correspondent sends us a specimen of this pure white azalea. It behaves as represented, keeping stiff and firm long after other white azaleas have wilted.