(CRIMSON JACOBEA LILY) Although this plant is a very old inhabitant of our gardens, yet its exquisite beauty certainly merits our attention, and, amongst a selection, this ought by no means to be lost sight of. It is a native of South America, and was introduced in 1658. It endures our winters pretty well in the open ground in warm situations, as under a south wall or bank side where it is sheltered from the winds. It should be planted about three or four inches deep, and, when the bulb is torpid, should be sheltered from excessive wet or frost. But the best plan for those to adopt who grow it out of doors, is to take up all the bulbs and dry them as soon as the leaves have decayed, and plant them out again early in the spring. They are most usually grown in pots, and kept in the greenhouse, where they make a splendid show from the end of April until June.
TROPÆOLUM MAJUS ATROSANGUINEUM
(DARK RED INDIAN CRESS) The Tropaeolum majus, of which the present plant is a variety, is a native of Peru, and is stated to have been introduced as early as 1684. Elizabeth Christine, one of the daughters of Linnaeus, is said to have perceived the flowers emit sparks like those of electricity, visible only in the evening, but this we have never yet observed.
All the species are easy of culture, and very strong, particularly the present variety. It does not grow so rampant as the common kind, but is much handsomer, and will, like it, grow in any light rich soil.
It is very readily increased by seeds and cuttings of the stem, cut off at a joint, and planted in pots of light soil, and placed in a slight heat, without glasses, or if not placed in heat they will grow when planted under a handglass, on a shady border.
ZINNIA VIOLACEA COCCINEA
(VIOLET COLOURED ZINNIA—SCARLET VARIETY) Seeds of this beautiful variety of Zinna [sic] were brought, amongst many other things, from Palermo, by His Grace the Duke of Devonshire. It far surpasses any other species of variety at present known.
All the plants of this genus are annuals, and are cultivated with the greatest ease, when treated as half hardy. The seeds require to be sown on a hot-bed in March, as recommended for other half hardy annuals, and by the end of May, or when the spring frosts are over, may be transplanted into the open borders, or placed in pots, at the option of the cultivator. The soil is a light rich loam.
TROPŒOLUM MAJUS VENUSTUM
(BEAUTIFUL LARGE-FLOWERING NASTURTIUM) This beautiful Nasturtium is a very suitable plant for pot culture, being of a dwarf, and very compact growth, and an exceeding free flowerer. We believe it was introduced last year from Ghent by Mr. Knight, King’s Road, Chelsea. The plant is no doubt quite hardy, and is increased by both cuttings and seeds, as recommended for the T. magus atrosanguinea in vol. 1, page 176.
We are indebted for our figure to the kindness of our friend Mr. Campbell, curator of the Manchester Botanic Garden.
As there are some curious phenomena connected with this genus we will add:—
The power of some plants to emit flashes of light is a subject so curious as to be deserving of more investigation than has at present been bestowed upon it. It is thus described in a note in Darwin’s Botanic Garden, vol. 2, page 144: "Miss E. C. Linnæus first observed the Tropœolum Majus, or Garden Nasturtium, emit sparks or flashes in the mornings before sun-rise, during the months of June or July, and also during the twilight in the evening, but not after total darkness came on; these singular scintillations were shown to her father and other philosophers, and Mr. Wilcke, a celebrated electrician, believed them to be electric. Vide. Lin. Spec. Pantar. 490; Swedish Acts for the Year 1792; Pultney’s View of Linnæus, page 220. Nor is this more wonderful than that the electric eel and torpedo should give voluntary shocks of electricity; and in this plant perhaps, as in those animals, it may be a mode of defence, by which it harasses or destroys the night-flying insects which infest it, and probably it may emit the same sparks during the day, which must be then invisible. This curious subject deserves further investigation. The ceasing to shine of this plant after twilight might induce one to conceive that it absorbed and emitted light like the Bolognian Phosphorus, or calcined oyster shell. The light of the evening, at the same distance from noon, is much greater, as I have repeatedly observed, than the light of the morning; this is owing, as I suppose, to the phosphorescent quality of almost all bodies in a greater or less degree, which thus absorb light during the sunshine, and continue to emit it again for some time afterwards , though not in such quantity as to produce apparent scintillations."
(REDDISH-BLUE IPOMOEA) The seeds of this splendid plant were collected by Mr. Samuel Richardson (an officer in the Anglo-Mexican Mining Association) in the province of Guanaxuato in Mexico, by whom they were presented to I. D. Powles, Esq., of Stamford Hill.
In the stove [a kind of greenhouse], about the months of July and August, this plant makes a very pretty show when trained up the rafters, or other parts of the house where it can be clearly seen. It flowers freely, and will grow well in soil composed of equal portions of loam and peat, with a little well-rotted dung.
About the middle of October last, we were favoured with the sample from which our drawing was made, by Mr. Cameron, Curator of the Birmingham Botanic Garden, where it flowered profusely in the stove.
Although it has been considered to flower only in the stove, there is no doubt but it would produce abundance of blossoms in a sheltered situation, against a south wall, in the open air, especially if the wall is flued.
(MR. MUNRO’S MALLOW) A very pretty species of Malva, found abundantly by our lamented friend Mr. David Douglas, in 1836 [sic], on the barren plains of Columbia, in North America, shortly after which it was sent to the London Horticultural Society, in whose garden it flowered in 1829, and was figured in the Bot. Reg., vol. xvi, t. 1306. Mr. Douglas speaks of this plant as one of the most beautiful he had collected (1836) [sic], and certainly when well grown it is very handsome, and deserves extensive cultivations; indeed no garden should be without it.
It will do well, perhaps best, treated as a greenhouse plant, being less exposed to violent rains, etc., but it grows very vigorously, and flowers most profusely, at almost any season if planted in the open border; in this case it will require to be taken up and potted on the approach of bad weather, and kept in a cold frame during winter with slight protection. When planted in very rich soil it does not succeed so well as when the soil is somewhat poor and open; it requires a good deal of water when grown in pots, which should have an open drainage, as the roots detest soured water or soil.
All the species of this genus may be increased by seed, which should be sown, if in the open border, in April; but this species if grown in pots would be as well or better sown a trifle earlier, in a closish nearly cold frame.
Our drawing was made in Mr. Young’s Nursery, Epsom, in August 1837. The generic name is a Latin alteration of the Greek, Malake, soft, in allusion to the soft mucilaginous qualities of the species. Malva was esteemed an excellent vegetable with the Romans, but what species they made use of is uncertain; one sort of Mallow is used as food by the Chinese.
The specific name is given by Mr. Douglas, in compliment to Mr. Munro, the present very skilful and intelligent gardener to the Horticultural Society.
(SPREADING SAGE) We have pleasure in submitting to our readers a correct delineation of a plant which appears likely to engage, in the ensuing season, no inconsiderable portion of popular attention. To ensure a due estimation of its merits, we need not appeal to the uniform testimony of every writer who has hitherto noticed it, though, in this respect, few plants present stronger claims to consideration. We rest our recommendation on higher grounds, and at once direct the reader to the annexed plate; of which, however, we think it proper to observe, that the colour of the flower is considerably less brilliant than it is naturally, since it is found almost impossible successfully to imitate its transcendently intense and dazzling hue.
To illustrate the accompanying beautiful figure, we may remark that the spike of flowers therein represented is far from being a solitary ornament to a plant of this species. From the summit of each of the principal stems, (which in a large plant would doubtless be numerous,) and also, though at a somewhat later period, from the extremities of all the lateral shoots, a similar number of flowers, of equal size and splendour, is produced. Ample evidence of its propensity to flower was afforded us during the autumn of last year in the nursery of Messrs. Low and Co., Clapton. Although much mutilated by the continued process of decapitating its shoots for the purposes of propagation, it did not cease blooming till the approach of winter, notwithstanding it had likewise sustained a check by transplantation from the open ground to a pot in the greenhouse.
Seeds were received in the early part of 1838, from a mining district in Mexico, called Real del Monte, and with many others simultaneously procured, vegetated, and produced plants in the spring of that year. Plants of this species, and of another less interesting, were placed out in the open ground about the month of June. Little attention was bestowed upon them, but our present subject grew rapidly, and towards the latter end of August a few flowers were developed. Its real character being thus ascertained, it was almost immediately removed in a pot to the greenhouse, where it blossomed most abundantly, and in this situation it has since been retained. We are informed that roots of it were imported by other individuals, about the same period as the seeds before-named, in the cultivation of which similar success has been experienced. No opportunity has been afforded us for examining the roots, but Mr. Low states that they are thick and fleshy, inclining to be tuberous, and hence their capability of enduring so long a voyage with impunity may be accounted for.
(STRIATED-FLOWERED ABUTILON) Originally introduced to the Glasgow Botanic Garden by Mr. Tweedie from the Banda Oriental, and by Mr. Gardner from the Organ Mountains, this graceful species has latterly been transmitted to English collections, and been grown in those around London for nearly two years. It possesses a considerable share of sterling excellence, which resides chiefly in the splendid colours and pretty striping of its flowers, as well as the engaging manner in which they depend from the stems of their long slender peduncles; but cultivators too generally deem it a straggling plant, and unfit for ornamental purposes, on account of the weakness of its stems, and the great distance between the foliage.
Respecting the latter particulars, no plant has suffered more from inappropriate treatment. Although Dr. Lindley, in a passing notice of it in the Botanical Register, recommends a greenhouse as the fittest situation with regard to temperature, yet the greater number of culturists still keep it in a stove [a kind of greenhouse]; and when, as a necessary consequence of their imprudent management, it assumes a rambling habit, they denounce it as an unsuitable species for common collections.
Having given some attention to the subject of its culture, we find that, in the nursery of Mr. Fairbairn, Clapham, a specimen stood in the open ground during the winter of 1838-9, without any protection, and with complete impunity. We saw the plant in question during the frost of last December, and it appeared in admirable health. This fact will render apparent the absurdity of growing the plant in a stove. In extensive places it may, notwithstanding, be occasionally treated as a stove plant, since, when there is an abundance of other specimens placed in the foreground, so as to conceal the bottom portion of its leafless branches, the fascinating flowers and light waving foliage will form a desirable relief to the eye from the ordinary sorts of tropical plants.
(THE EXETER FUCHSIA) The floricultural markets are now rapidly becoming filled with all kinds of hybrid Fuchsias, between some of which the most discriminating judge would scarcely be able to perceive any tangible distinction, or one which could be expressed in words. And this is in great part due to the hybridist taking hybrids which are not themselves sufficiently distinct in habit, or in the form and colour of their flowers, to breed from; the result of which practice must always be an increased confusion among the sorts, without obtaining anything novel enough to deserve special notice or culture. It cannot be too much urged on the attention of those who seek to obtain good seedling hybrids, that the parents must, in all cases, be very distinct species; or, if themselves, seedlings, they should be equally different.
By following out this principle, the beautiful Fuchsia now figured has been raised by Mr. Pince, of the firm of Lucombe, Pince, & Co., of Exeter... It was raised during the spring of 1842, and planted out in the open border with many other seedlings. It first flowered there, and has proved to be quite hardy at Exeter.
We cannot say much concerning it from personal observation; but we are informed that it blooms freely, and is a very handsome plant. The flowers are certainly fine, and of the very best colours. It would appear to bloom best when suffered to produce its blossoms at the natural season, and not at all forced forward. A cool greenhouse or pit will therefore be most favourable.
Like all hybrids of this class, it should have a tolerable rich soil, and a rather large pot. Either leaf-mould or rotten manure should be freely mixed with loam to form a compost for it; and it will require to be carefully watered in the summer, because Fuchsias are apt to be injured by drought at this season.
(Mr. Skinner’s Columbine) In the Botanical Magazine, from whence we have gleaned the substance of the preceding description, it is stated that this fine species was sent to Woburn Abbey by G. U. Skinner, Esq., from Guatemala; and it flowered in the gardens at Woburn for the first time. Its most prominent characteristics are the great length of the spurs in the flowers, the protrusion of the stamens, and the brilliant red colour of the lower part of the flower-spurs. It ranks with the admirable A. glandulosa among the best members of the genus.
Having, in some places, been very improperly treated by being placed in a stove [a kind of greenhouse] or warm greenhouse, and forced too early into flower, its appearance in a few of the London collections this year has been far from favourable or natural. The flowers have been much impoverished in regard to size, and altogether deprived of that splendid colour which constitutes their leading attraction. Hence it has been deemed inferior even to A. Canadensis. It should be remembered, however, that a forced specimen of a hardy plant affords no criterion of its merit; and that the proper season at which this species should blossom is the months of August and September, while its proper position is the open ground.
Our drawing portrays a specimen which flowered vigorously with Mr. Glendinning, nurseryman, of Turnham Green, towards the end of last July. Being very correctly coloured, a good notion may be gained from it of the plant’s beauty.
Although the species seems to be purely hardy, and will therefore attain its best character in a sunny border, thoroughly drained, and composed of a free loamy soil, it may not be considered unworthy to be grown in pots for the greenhouse or conservatory. Where managed in the last-named manner, it should be kept in a peculiarly light and airy situation; for, unless it be grown in a cool place, it will bloom too soon to bloom finely, and without plenty of sun, its glowing hues will degenerate into something very little better than a dingy compound of red, green, and yellow.
It can be multiplied freely by division, in the same way as the other Columbines. Possibly, also, it will ripen seeds in a warm border, open to the south; and, should such be the case, the means for a very abundant increase will be furnished.
We recommend all those who cultivate the plant, (and it is highly deserving of general favour,) to guard against the error of forcing it in any way, or they will invariably be disappointed in it.