This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
Among all of our showy early blooming hardy shrubs, perhaps none are more to be prized than Tree Peonias. The price of them, as compared with other shrubs, has undoubtedly prevented many a person from buying as buyers often do, on the representation of their beauty by the dealer; but the want of colors and distinctiveness has also been an objection and drawback to their more general introduction to the grounds of amateurs and others who desire the most of beauty with hardihood. To remedy this, Professor J. P. Kirtland, of Cleveland, well known as a zealous horticulturist and the originator of many rare fruits, cherries, pears, etc., at the suggestion and indication of Hon. Marshall P. Wilder, some fifteen or sixteen years since set about a course of practice by hybridizing and raising seedlings in order to test what advance and improvement could be made. Mr. Wilder forwarded the Professor a plant of the peonia with single flowers, the petals of which were a dark rosy purple, deepest in color at the base, and from this, but how, hybridized or otherwise improved in the seed, our friend who gives us these items does not write, some thousand or more seedlings have been grown, and this season a few of them have shown flowers of so much beauty and distinctiveness in color that the Professor has decided to name two of them.
The first named he calls after Hon. Marshall P. Wilder, as the instigator toward the production and as a due tribute to the man; while to every hearer of the name the association with all that is beautiful and good in horticulture or floriculture will ever be identified. This plant has a strong and vigorous habit, its blooms being of the largest size, from eight to ten inches in diameter, petals revolute, irregular, deep scarlet at base shading out to a clear light peach pink on edge, altogether one of the most strikingly attractive of the whole collection, and entirely distinct in its shade from any other.
The other one to which the Professsor chooses at this time to attach a name is also large in size of flower, and a vigorous grower and free bloomer, its blooms being a dark rich carmine at base of petals shading out to a peach-blow pink, not white, as is the case with the Papaverucea; but standing within ten feet of a Papaveracea, its character and distinctness are so plain as to at once attract the eye. This variety is named after Edward S. Rand, Jr., of Boston.
But the Professor has others yet unnamed, and our friend, who writes us a glowing account of their unprecedented beauty and variety, goes on to describe some as follows:
"One, an immense flower, seven inches deep and about eight inches across, broad revolute petals of a delicate, rich, deep rosy pink shading, and lined out to the edge into a peach-blow white, and full clear to the center. This, to my taste (writes our friend), is the gem of the collection, but it would not please the hund reds as well as Colonel Wilder. Another seedling, with large and full flowers, has the colors of Empress Eugenie (?) but the petals are more regular, round, and broadly flat like a rose, yet the margins are deeply serrated. Another has broad revolute petals, somewhat crimped on edge, of a pure white, shading into the base with shades of peach-blow violet. Another is with petals of a dark rosy purple, deepest at base, like the original single plant from which seed was obtained; but it is, if anything, a larger and more perfect-formed flower than the old Papaveracea. Another has flowers of the very largest size, some of them measuring nine by ten inches in diameter, with very large, broad, revolute petals of a rich, rosy, violet pink, deepening into carmine at base, and without a show of stamens, etc., in the center."
When we consider how perfectly hardy are the Tree Peonias, enduring all our temperatures as well as the oak tree, and the fact that a well-grown plant will give from sixty to one hundred and fifty blooms of most gorgeous flowers in a season, we can well appreciate the great item of floricul-tural beauty Professor Kirtland has now inaugurated, and which will doubtless soon become disseminated.
Strawberry Beds, as soon as they have done fruiting, should be dug over deeply between the rows, in order to have new plants from the runners take freely. It is well, as soon as the ground is dug, to go over and train out the runners from the main or old plants just to the point wanted, and sprinkle a little earth over each starting bud. Repeat this from time to time, and early in fall you can dig under the old vines, and thus help to increase the vigor of the young or new rows. Plants in hills should also be dug deeply around, because they now send out new roots and make new plants, as it were, from all around the mother or parent plant. Later in the season it may be well to cut out the old plant, thus leaving the hill a circle of plants rather than a mass. Plants in hills must have all runners taken off, and so also should those to be grown in rows have the runners destroyed just as soon as plants sufficient to reset the rows have formed.
Fig. 112. - The Old House.
Fig. 113. - The same Remodelled.