As there may be many readers of the present work who are well acquainted with the older genera and with what may be called the "standard" species and varieties of shrubs and trees, it has been thought desirable to group the principal kinds of modern interest in a chapter to themselves, in spite of the fact that in some cases the genus to which they belong is treated in other parts of the work. Any risk of confusion which might arise from this arrangement is obviated by a system of cross references and a complete index.
The majority of the kinds named are new, but there are a few cases in which a plant long known to botanists has come recently into commerce and is new to most amateurs.
The most remarkable of the new shrubs and trees have come from China. Many were collected there by Mr. E. H. Wilson, Abbé Delavay, Dr. Henry, and Abbé Farges; others have been raised from imported seed by various connoisseurs.
The travels of Wilson have been attended with almost startling success. Ground hitherto untouched by plant collectors has been explored, and genera and species of entirely unsuspected beauty and interest have been brought to light.
It would be no exaggeration to say that, great as the developments in every phase of gardening have been in modern times, there is none in which more remarkable progress has been achieved than in shrubs and trees, particularly Chinese. Before becoming attached to the Arnold Arboretum in America, Mr. E. H. Wilson explored Western China in the interests of a British firm of nurserymen, James Veitch and Sons, Ltd., and it was through this great firm that the best of his early introductions were put before the public.
The successes of Wilson entitle him to rank with the greatest of plant collectors, such as Douglas, Fortune, Thompson, and Maries. It is probable that many of his discoveries will find permanent places in the gardens of shrub-lovers in Britain and America, although some are of botanical rather than garden interest.
We are far from being at the end of this wonderful stream of new shrubs and trees. An enormous collection of seedlings in being raised and tested by the Hon. Vicary Gibbs and others, while the present work is in the press. Many of these are entirely new and, judging by their appearance in the young state, are both distinct and valuable.
Meantime, the following are notes of the principal new and special kinds: