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.
AT page 269, Vol. III., of the Horticulturist, will be found an engraving of the Double Brugmansia, cultivated by Downing. In the following article is described the B. sanguines, which must be one of the handsomest objects ever introduced:-
A noble specimen of this fine plant grows in the pleasure-grounds adjoining Crom Castle, the seat of the Earl of Erne. It was planted in a conservatory in May, 1845, and was then about three feet high. Notwithstanding severe annual pruning, it grew too large in a few years, and was considered scarcely worthy of a place under glass. In May, 1851,1 planted it in the open ground, having, the previous autumn, cut its roots three feet from the stem, and ever since it has attracted the attention, and been universally admired by the numerous visitors to this beautiful demesne. At the request of some ladies on a visit here, I measured the plant last August; it was then fourteen feet six inches high, and girthed at the ground two feet six inches, and covered an area of one hundred and sixty-five square feet. At that time it was really a beautiful plant, completely covered with flowers and foliage to the surface of the ground; I then counted one hundred and eighty flowers fully expanded, with twice that number ready to open. A gentleman told me, a few days afterwards, that he had counted above two hundred open on it.
It would be difficult to calculate the number it produced last summer, but I would say at least some thousands, as there was a regular succession from the beginning of summer, and it has now, January 5, many open on it.
It was planted in a mixed soil composed of loam, bog earth, a good portion of charred matter, rotten dung, and leaves - perfect drainage of course being secured. As I learned from experience that Brugmansia will not stand our winters without protection, ever since it was planted in the open ground I each year, in October, covered it by sticking poles in the ground, five inches apart, the spaces between being stuffed tight with grassy moss raked from an adjoining wood. A span roof is then put on, one side of which is thatched, the other covered with sashes, which has an additional covering in long continued frost; to make all sure, I put inside a few cast metal pipes, connected with a stove, but even last winter, although very severe, they were seldom used, as it requires a very great frost to penetrate through moss a few inches thick; at the same time, arrangement for free ventilation is provided. I take the protection gradually away in March and April, and altogether in May. It may be considered that the plant is not worthy the trouble thus bestowed on it, but few could see it in summer and make that remark. The branches are shortened in before covering, or it might have been twice as tall as it now is.
The accompanying representation will give some idea of the general appearance of the plant when in bloom.
There are many free flowering plants, commonly occupants of the greenhouse, which I think would succeed quite as well planted out as the Brugmansia, large specimens of which would add a new and interesting feature to our pleasure-grounds. I propose planting out a few next May, with a view to their remaining out through the winter, and getting glass structures made (so that they can be easily increased in size at pleasure, and removed in spring) for their protection. Some who have the management of gardens may remark, and perhaps with justice, that it is more easy to write about these matters than to get the necessary means for their execution; tout here, I am happy to say, such is not the case, as my noble employer, who is both indulgent and generous, puts no obstacles in the way of improvement or experiment. - Robert Dowling, Crom Castle Gardens, Co, Fermanagh, Ireland. - Gardeners' Chronicle.
It is scarcely possible that any amount of protection, short of the hot-water piped, in this climate, would preserve it through one of our winters, but. it is a plant that lifts very easily; if taken up early, potted in a large tub, and kept over the winter rather dry, in a cellar,- protected from freezing, and, on the return of spring, after all danger from frost is past, again transferred to the open air, it would no doubt succeed perfectly.
It may be remarked that the Brugmansias are often called Daturas, from the first name having been given to another tribe of plants. The Double White is a pleasing garden ornament.