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 the many varieties of plants with beautiful foliage, grown for the adornment of our dwellings and green-houses, none are more attractive than the Variegated Zonal Geraniums. In England much attention has been paid to them, and the number of new seedlings produced has been so great that exhibitions have been held in London of these alone. In this country, until within a year or two past, our knowledge of them has been limited to the silver and gold edged varieties. Some dozen kinds of these we have tested for bedding purposes, but have found them worthless, with the exception of, perhaps, one variety, Mountain of Snow, which we illustrate. The center of the leaf is green, with a broad margin of nearly pure white; the plant is a tolerably vigorous grower, and makes a fine display as an edging to beds of plants with dark foliage, such, for instance, as Coleus Verschaffeltii. The silver and gold edged geraniums are mainly " sports," as they are termed, from the green kinds. It is not an unfrequent occurrence that a plant will produce a shoot the leaves of which are green margined with white or yellow, and in some instances the entire branch will be white. Cuttings are made of these, and in the case of those showing variegation are rooted without difficulty.
Those of a pure white we have never succeeded in growing; although they sometimes strike roots, they coon dwindle away and die. There have been other varieties introduced of late with pure yellow leaves, the only specimens of which we possess is one called Golden Nugget, and a seedling of our own which much resembles it. Neither of these will, we think, retain their color in open culture under our powerful summer sun. A very fine variety of this class is Sceptre d'Or, the leaf of which is of a pure bright yellow with a distinct red zone. In open culture the zone fades out entirely, but in-doors the plant is very desirable. Cloth of Gold is a variety having a light green center with rays of yellow and a yellow edge. Last season it endured the sun well, the colors being much brighter than under green-house culture. We consider this variety well worthy of attention for garden decoration.
Fig. 135. - Mountain of Snow.
Fig. 18a. - Cloth of Gold.
Some two years since a friend brought over, from England, Mrs. Pollock, a variety well known there, and extensively used for bedding purposes, raised from seed by a Mr. Grieve, and which has attracted much and well merited attention. We were fortunate enough to obtain plants of it, which we have carefully tested during the past season. Out of doors it succeeds well, and grows vigorously until July, when the colors begin to fade, and after that until last of September it is not an object of beauty. New leaves produced after that time are well colored and handsome, but the place for this variety is the green-house and for room decoration, in which it surpasses by far any plant in our collection. The leaves have a green center with a zone of reddish bronze, edged with bright red, almost scarlet, tints, and the margin of the leaf deep yellow; leaves large, flat, and of very regular shape. When well grown, larger than our illustration. Plant, a vigorous grower; under green-house culture it needs a sunny exposure to bring out its colors.
Many new seedlings are announced in England, which, if we may judge from the descriptions given and prices asked for the plants, must be very superior. We hope to obtain some of them for trial another year. We take from the Gardener's Magazine descriptions of some of the best.