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.
The French have at last succeeded in producing double flowers of the Zinnia, of various colors, which are pronounced by Dr. Lindley to be large, and very double and beautiful. Some of our enterprising seedsmen will no doubt soon have the seed for sale.
We have to thank Mr. Bliss, of Springfield, Mass., for a paper of the new Double Zinnias, which we shall grow with great care. If half that is said of them be true, they will become popular flowers, as the single ones already are. In the same parcel was a paper of "extra superb" Pansy seed, one of our favorites.
We present our readers with a "portrait" of the new Double Zinnia, taken from the London Gardener's Weekly. It is said by the editor to be a "correct representation," of the natural size of the flowers. It is remarkable for its great symmetry. The plants were grown-by the Messrs. Carter, of Holborn, who received the seed from a correspondent in Oude, India. The Messrs. Vilmorin also received their seed from India. This is said to be all that is known of the history of these new Zinnias. " It will be seen from our cut,' says the Gardener's Weekly, " that the ordinary florets of the centre of the flower in the common Zinnia are here transformed into flat, petal-like colored ones, similar to those on the border of the flower, (florets of the ray,) and we are informed from the before-mentioned respectable seedsmen, that this character is permanent, and that the plants come in as true from seeds as China Asters, the different colors separate, and the double forms still double." So far as we can form an opinion from the above engraving, and what is said by Dr. Lindley and others, we are disposed to think that we have a substantial acquisition in the Double Zinnia, one the more to be prized since it is in its greatest perfection at a time when many other flowers begin to fade.
It is to be grown the same as the single varieties.
There is a little diversity of opinion in regard to the merits of this flower. We must record our opinion in its favor. Some of the seed sent out may have been mixed with single varieties, and thus produced disappointment We were so fortunate as to have some seed sent to us last spring by Mr. Bliss, all of which produced double flowers, not a few of them being quite as perfect as the fine drawing we gave. They were planted very late, however, and produced no seed. We have thought the late planting may have had something to do with the perfection of the bloom. The seeds, indeed, were not put in the ground till July, having been very carefully mislaid. We tried to get others, but could not, and planted these with little hope that they would bloom, but were most agreeably disappointed. We mean to repeat the experiment of late plant- ing. It should be known that the Double Zinnia opens with a single row of petals, the filling up being an after process. We mention this, because a friend of ours, who brought some of the seed from Europe and planted them in his greenhouse, on seeing a few flowers open single, as he supposed, threw away his whole collection, embracing nearly a hundred plants, which had been carefully potted off.
In addition to our own plants, we saw many fine blooms of the Double Zinnia in different places during the last season. We do not hesitate to recommend all our readers to grow it. We again present our engraving of it, for the benefit of those who did not see it last year.
These have been so vastly improved of late years, that a good fall-blown one now is equal in size and regularity of petals to one of the miniature or bouquet dahlias. By the side of the double varieties, the older or single ones seem but little better than weeds.