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.
Never have we enjoyed so fine a display of this queen of autumn flowers, as during the whole month of October last The summer was, as we all know, excessively dry, and remained so up to the early part of September. Then we had fine rains, and the stunted Dahlias burst into a vigorous new growth. Toward the first of October the nights became cool and refreshing, and the rays of the sun by day less scorching. Then thousands of flowers were expanded in rapid succession, and we had a magnificent display, lasting into November; enough to repay us amply for all the regret we experienced on account of this lateness.
The following list, prepared carefully while the plants were in the best condition, shows the best of a collection of upwards of 100 sorts, embracing many of the best English prize varieties of the last three or four yeers. Every one may be relied upon as fine; but we have noted a few ourselves, as worthy of particular distinction, and place them in small capitals. We will thank cultivators of the Dahlia to hand us lists of their best varieties.
Agnes - pure white, full size, and fine form.
George Glenny - bright yellow, full size, occasionally with a few red lines. George Villiers - dark velvetty purple, medium globular shape. Gem (Oakley's) - white and lavender, full size, with a dark lavender center. Mr. Francois - orange-scarlet, large and fine form.
I. Sickman - creamy-white center, tinged with lilac, the largest yet known. Clara - blush-white, tinged and tipped with crimson. Forget-me-not - white and regular, striped with crimson, Elegantissima - rosy-purple, striped and tipped with white, curious and pretty. Bob - vivid orange-scarlet, double petals, with creamy-white stripes inside. Beauty of the Grove - salmon-buff, striped and tipped with purple, full and fine. Unanimity - scarlet, tinged with yellow, full size. Claudia - violet purple, tipped with white, free bloomer. Mrs. Hansard - bright yellow, tipped with white.
Belle de Paris - pale lilac, edged and tipped with lavender-purple, very constant. Queen of Fairies - rosy-crimson, tipped with white. Queen of Beauties - blush-white, tipped and tinged with rosy-purple. Barmaid - creamy-white, tinged with purple. Queen of Primroses - primrose yellow. Grand Duke - bluish-lilac, full, of fine form.
Coquette de Dugney - rosy-lilac, tinged with salmon, a very constant bloomer. Miss Caroline - white, slightly tipped and tinged with purple. General Faucher - fawn color, very large and full. Sir John Franklin - buff, with rosy-salmon at the base, high center. Blanche Fleur - pale lilac, regular and fine. Nil Desperandum - vivid scarlet, large and full.
Beauty of Osborne - mottled orange, tipped with purple, large and full. Earl of Clarendon - orange-buff, and double and striped petals, globular and fine. We extract the following account of, new varieties, from the report of the National Floral Society's show, in London Gardeners' Chronicle:
Several seedling Dahlias were produced; Mr. Dodds, of Salisbury, had Miss Herbert, bronzy-pink, with light tip; Lord Raglan, a flower like Sir John Franklin, but lighter; and Mrs. Stowe, bright lilao-pink, to which a Certificate of Merit was awarded. Mr. Wheeler sent blooms of Lord Bath, a deep maroon, good in form and substance, and Primrose Peerless, a promising flower. Mr. Keynes sent Ruby Queen, a well-formed medium-sized flower, to which a first-class Certificate was awarded; Comet, pale yellow and pink, slightly striped with crimson, which received a Certificate of Merit; and Lady Folkestone yellowish-buff tipped with bright rosy-purple, which also received a Certificate of Merit. Mr. Rawlings sent Miss Frampton, deep red ground with shaded white tip, good form and substance, and well deserving the first-class Certificate which was awarded to it Mr. Pope, of Pimlico, exhibited Omer Pacha, scarlet, and Mrs. Howard, light yellow, shaded and tipped with deep salmon; a Certificate of Merit was awarded to the latter variety.
Mr. Rawlings also exhibited his seedling Dahlias, Dr. Reid, dark purple, and Mr. Critehett, deep scarlet.
Dahlias were again exhibited in considerable numbers. The Rev. C. Fellowes, of Shottisham Rectory, near Norwich, sent eight varieties, consisting of Cossack, a brilliant carmine, fall-sized flower, with close, well-formed center; the Nigger, which is perhaps the darkest flower grown, being nearly black, and smaller in the petal than Essex Triumph. Three blooms of each of the above two varieties were shown, and both had certificates awarded them. Mr. Fellowes also sent twelve blooms of his Prseninent, a large deep purple, and very constant, but not in a condition to receive any award. The other five were - Tasso, dark shaded puce, rather email, but fine in petal and form; Portrait, a light orange-scarlet; Harbinger an improved Shylock, a very deep flower; Agin-court, bright purple, and very promising; and Glenlyon and General Washington; the two latter not good. Mr. 0. J. Perrt, of Birmingham, was awarded a first class Certificate for his seedling fancy Dahlia, Baron Alder$on, orange, tipped with white. Mr. J. 3. Prock-ter, of Bermondsey, sent three varieties - Fanny Russell, Empress, and Miss Russell. The first named is a pretty fancy flower, of good shape and medium size, salmon-buff, tipped with pale flesh-color; this is a neat, smooth flower, and had a Certificate awarded to it.
Empress is a pretty light kind, something like Annie Salter. Miss Russell, lilac, is all that can be desired in form, but has a loose imperfect center, the petal standing upright instead of incurving. Lollipop, exhibited by G. Holmes, Esq., is a large reflexed flower, with a high center; the outline is very good, being nearly half a globe, of a curious pinkish-buff color. Three blooms were exhibited, and a Certificate was awarded to it, although a seedling of 1854. A first class Certificate was awarded to Mr. C. Turner, of Slough, for Espartero, a flower of great substance, smooth, and of good form; the center is close and high; the petals small, close, and well-arranged, nine blooms of this variety were exhibited. Dr. Reed, a dark maroon Dahlia, was exhibited by Mr. Rawlings, and has some good points, but as exhibited there was not enough of it. There were also nine blooms of Holmes' Ringleader, exhibited in excellent condition. Mr. Holmes sent twelve blooms of named varieties, in which we noticed a fine bloom of Sir John Franklin, which, when large, is without an equal in form; this bloom was deservedly admired".