China Asters were first sent from China to Paris in 1730, and have since been carried to all civilized countries. At their first introduction they were single, and of only two colors, red and white. The Germans have taken great pains to improve this flower, and the better sorts are usually called German Aster. The French are particularly fond of Asters, and grow them in the greatest perfection. The flower from which our plate was taken (fig. 1) was grown from French seed, and is called Poeony Aster. We were unable to make them ripen their seed, and have since learned that in France the seed can only be ripened under glass.

The culture of the Aster is similar to that of the Balsam. They generally flower better if transplanted than if allowed to remain where the seed was sown.

The Portulacca (fig. 3) is a succulent, spreading plant, that loves the hottest and dryest weather. There are four varieties, the scarlet, crimson, yellow, and white. They grow almost as readily as weeds, and may be sown very early in the spring. We know of few more beautiful objects in the floral world than a bed of the Portulacca.

1. BALSAM.

1. BALSAM.

2. PAEONY ASTER.

3. PORTULAOCA.

The China Aster - Aster Chinensis #1

An English gardener, after trying the various kinds of Asters of recent introduction, recommends the following:

For large beds, the Hamburgh Prize, Paeony Perfection, the Victoria, the Coekado, and the Hedgehog, are the most desirable.

For medium sized beds, ribbons, etc., the Dwarf Chrysanthemum, the Dwarf Victoria, and the Schiller Dwarf Pyramidal are the finest; being compact, and of even growth, bearing their flowers conspicuously above the foliage.

To cut for bouquets, the Imbrique Pompon, and the Dwarf Bouquet elegantissima, are of the most exquisite colors, and perfect models in shape, varying from the most miniature to the size of a Pompon Chrysanthemum.