From time immemorial Flowering Plants have been objects of especial care and delight; but probably at no period was there a greater interest exhibited, both as regards the introduction of new ones, or the cultivation of those we already possess, than at the present. Botanical collections are to be found in almost every part of the globe, from the torrid regions of India to the cold and icy poles.
In consequence of these exertions great numbers of new plants are annually introduced; and in a few years, should these additions continue, our present extensive collections will appear comparatively scanty and meager.
That these valuable introductions may be rendered of general utility, several splendid botanical works, containing coloured figures, are published periodically; and during the past year nearly two hundred new plants have been figured in them, some of which are exceedingly beautiful.
This regular annual increase, added to the stock already in this country (nearly thirty thousand), does not merely swell the size of our botanical catalogue, but renders indispensable the existence of a work which will be an unerring guide in the selection and nurture of such as are worthy of extensive cultivation; and yet of so low a price as to be within the reach of all classes.
This selection, it is true, might be made from the botanical works already in course of publication; but, it must be confessed, the high price of these places them beyond the reach of most flower cultivators: while the cheap periodicals, although unobjectionable in this respect, are manifestly defective in other points of great importance; the plates they contain bearing but little resemblance to the plants they are intended to represent.
To obviate these objections, each Number of the Magazine of Botany will contain four Engravings of Plants, of the natural size, beautifully coloured, from original Drawings. The letter-press will be illustrated by numerous Wood-cuts of Plans of Flower Gardens, Elevations of Garden Structures, Utensils and Instruments necessary for Florists and others who take delight in the cultivation of Flowers: and also of Figures representing the practical operations necessary for the proper management and full development of their several beauties; without which figures it is hardly possible to render intelligible the peculiar and requisite mode of operation.
The text will comprise Botanical Descriptions of the Plants figured; the Time of their Introductions; the best Mode of Culture; and every other particular essential to their perfect growth. Every beautiful plant, newly introduced, if considered worthy of notice and general cultivation, will be described, and, if of sufficient importance, accurately figured.
As great confusion often exists amongst cultivators, in consequence of our very eminent Botanists so frequently changing the names of Plants after their introduction, great care will be taken to constantly adhere to the names first given, if at all consistent. In some cases the change is indispensable.
Each Number will also contain a Calendar of the Work to be done in each Month in the Flower Garden, including Descriptions of all kinds of Insects which infest Flowers, with the most efficient methods for destroying them, or preventing their depredations; together with such other information as is requisite for the successful propagation of Plants.
The object of the author being to render the work practically useful, and one on which implicit reliance may be place, the modes of culture recommended will be given from his own daily experience and observation. And as a medium of conveying sound practical instruction,—its utility increased by the beauty of its illustrations,—he hopes to render it deservedly popular with every one interested in this highly pleasing and interesting pursuit.