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 following information, although in reference to an English climate, will not be without interest to collectors of new and rare plants in this country, as it indicates what may reasonably be expected here:
"We resume our remarks upon the effect of the past winter on non-coniferous plants.
"Much was hoped from Daphne Fortuni, a beautiful species from China, but it can ouly be now considered as a greenhouse plant; the whole of the Daphnes must, indeed, be regarded as unfit for the winters of this country, except D. Cneorum, pontica, laureola.
"The Deutzias, with the exception of crenata, the young wood of which was cut 1ack near London, seem as hardy as Syringas. There is, however, less evidence as to D. staminea than scabra and gracilis.
"Such experience as bad been gained respecting the beautiful and graceful Tikapu, Draccena (or Cordyline) indivisa, of New Zealand, seemed to justify the expectation that it would endure our winters - at least as far north as London; and this was rendered the more probable in consequence of its forming part of the natural vegetation of Dusky Bay: but the illusion is very effectually dispelled. It is indeed reported to have suffered no injury in Messers. Veitgh's nursery, Exeter; and we can add, from personal observation, that the four graceful specimens decorating the beautiful terrace-gardens at Osborne are also quite safe, although facing the north; but Chiswick, Shiffnal, and Congleton, to say nothing of Ashbourne in Derbyshire, bear witness to the hopelessness of growing it, except in some favored southern locality.
"Duvauas seems to be tolerably hardy; about as much so as a narrow-leaved Phillyrea.
" The evidence as to Edwardsias remains unaltered by our present experience; they are hardy enough to be worth training on south walls for the sake of their handsome winter flowers, but their possessors must expect te find their beauty destroyed in every rigorous winter, although their general health may suffer no material injury.
"Of the Mediterranean Heaths, belonging to the arborescent breed, we scarcely know what to say, except that they are not to be depended upon north of London. Even in the south they are injured here and there; and yet even arborea, the tenderest of all, experienced no inconvenience in such situations as the north of the Isle of Wight.
"The glorious Eseallonia macrantha must rank in hardiness with the Arbutus and Bay; and like those plants will doubtless be universally cultivated wherever they will stand, even at the risk of what may happen with the thermometer at 4°. After such a summer as this has been, we should expect the plant to be as hardy as a Laurel; because its wood will doubtless have ripened. But when it remains soft, as it is apt to do in consequence of the disposition of the species to grow late, it must necessarily lose the ends of its shoots. Where this occured last winter, the wood that was ripe still survived and broke freely in the spring. We fear, however, that it cannot be called hardy in the northern counties. Of the other Escallonias, pul-verulna proved the tenderest, and montevidensis the hardiest; rosea and its varieties are about as hardy as a Gum Cistus.
"From what we have now learned, it is certian that experiments with the New Holland Gum Trees (Eucalypti) should be multiplied in every direction. It is true that E. robusta. globulus, and others, have generally perished; but they are among the tenderer kinds, and even globulus is growing unharmed on the terrace at Osborne. On the other hand, E, coeeifera can scarcely be said to have felt the cold against a south wall in the garden of the Horticultural Society, and there are many that exist in a wild state in still colder stations. Among these are some that the gold diggers of Mount Alexander might easily send home from the Australian Alps. We venture to prophecy that E alpina, for instance, found by Sir T. Mitchell on the summit of Mount William, will be as hard as a Holly.
"Eugenia Ugni of which we subjoin a sketch, is apparently as hardy as a Myrtle, and considering its great value as a fruit-bearing bush, deserves special mention. What experience has been gained about it amounts to this, that it was unhurt against a north-west wall, at Exeter, by the winter frost, though injured by the sudden fall of temperature in April; we also know that it is nearly allied to the common Myrtle, and that it is found wild on the hills near Valparaiso, as well as in Chiloe. Were it merely as an ornamental bush we should have passed it by without special notice, although its graceful habit, fine evergreen leaves, and numerous delicate blush flowers, render it no mean decoration of a garden. But it is the fruit of the species which gives it its true value; this consists of a jet black delicate juicy berry, as large as a black Currant, and produced in the utmost profusion; so that in the private gardens of Valparaiso the plant is grown as a common article of dessert, and is highly esteemed; as it well may be, for it is no exaggeration to say that it ranks in merit with the Peach and Greengage Plum. Upon this point, however, we shall have more to say hereafter.
Mention is made of it now with reference merely to its power of resisting cold.
"With the exception of Euonymus japonicus, all the recently introduced species of that genus proved too tender for general use, and must be regarded as suitable to the south and west alone.
"As to Fabiana imbrisata, what we have seen of it leads us to believe that it perishes from dryness of the air rather than from cold; for even in the most favorable stations, temperature alone being regarded, it dies, while in gardens near London a very little shelter suffices to preserve it. More experience is however wanted as to this.
"That Fagus Cunninghamia, the beautiful little Van Piemen's Land Evergreen Beech, is hardy up to the latitude of London we now hold to be perfectly well ascertained, for although it is returned from Kew as killed to the ground, we are inclined to suppose that the instance alluded to was owing to some local accident, or to its roots having been within reach of water. In the report upon which these notes are founded it is said that behind a heap of stones at Acton Greene, a very low situation in heavy clay, but in a position a little raised above the grovnd, it was hurt to the level of the atones, though uninjured below. We are now in a position to say that the 'hurt' alluded to proved to be confined to the leaves, and that the shoots themselves produced new branches as usual.