Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub
[blocks in formation]

season.

rapidly, and making strong short shoots in the early part of the

Some writers, among whom are Thunberg and Loureiro, referred all the pæonies which they saw to the P. officinalis. From China they were introduced to Japan, where they are extensively cultivated.

The introduction of the plants to England, from China, is attended with considerable difficulty ; the length of the voyage being so great, that nearly all the plants die on the way. But we are inclined to think that the loss of the plants is more to be attributed to the state they are in, when sent from China, and the mode of packing, tban from the length of the voyage. It appears that many of those brought here have been raised in the open ground, in a strong alluvial soil, and had all their strong thick woody roots docked short off, to fit a small pot, for the convenience of carriage, which we consider is sufficient to ensure the death of almost any plant during a voyage of three or four months. The plants are, for the most part, thrown away by the Chinese when they have blossomed once, as it is not believed they will flower again. At the time they flower, the offi. cers of the East India Company are absent at Macao, to which place they generally resort after the sailing of the ships, so that they have no opportunity to see the plants themselves when in bloom, but rely upon the native residents at Canton. This circumstance accounts for the uncertainty which exists in regard to the number of the varieties, and the dissimilarity in color of the flowers.

The best account of the Pædnia Moútan which has been published, was by the late Mr. George Anderson, in the Transactions of the Linnean Society. In that paper, which forms part of a monagraph of the tribe, written in the year 1817, he adopted the single-flowered plant as the type of the species, and the two others then known and described as species, be considered as only varieties. In this he was some time after. wards (1824) followed by De Candolle, who adopted his order of the plants; and subsequent writers have concurred with this method. The specific name, Moutan, was first given by Dr. Sims, in 1808. It was called by one or two writers, P. arborea; but the former name is now established, and we only occasionally see the latter applied in catalogues or minor works on gardening.

The tree pæonies are at once distinguished from the herba. ceous ones by their suffrutescent stem ; their shining pale green leaves, glaucious on the under side. The flowers appear earlier than the herbaceous species, and remain in beauty but a short time.

In giving a description of the pæonies, we shall be much indebted to a paper in the Horticultural Transactions, from which much of the information in the previous part of this article was gathered, by Mr. Sabine. These descriptions are rather long, or we should give them entire, using his own language ; we shall therefore extract only such as are interesting and useful to our readers.

Pædnia Moutan papaverácea.—This plant has been adopted as the type of the species, in consequence of its having single flowers. It has not been called papaverácea, or poppy-flowered, on account of the resemblance of the flower to a poppy, as many suppose, but because its germens, when enveloped by their membraneous covering, resemble a capsule or seed vessel of the common poppy Papaver somniferum. When first described in 1807, in Andrews's Repository, it was considered a distinct species : it was also considered as distinct from the varieties above-named, by Sir James Edward Smith, in Rees's Cyclopædia, and adopted as such on the ground of a supposed specific dissimilarity, founded on its germens being always cnclosed by a membrane; but it is now considered that this circumstance would appear in the varieties if the seed vessels were not multiplied beyond their natural number.

The flowers are sometimes semi-double, but this does not frequently happen unless the plants are old and of strong growth; their expansion is about ten inches, sometimes more; the petals are very large and broad; they spread out, but are not reflexed ; they are

white, with a deep purple spot on the lower part (or base) of each petal; the spots are rayed, in lines about an inch and a half long, from the centre, forming a brilliant and rich star in the middle of the flower ; the edges of the petals are a little jagged. The anthers are yellow, and are very conspicuously interposed between the dark spots on the petals and the deep purple case of the germens, the stigmas appearing united at the top of it.

The germens are stated by some writers who have described them, as being six; but five is the usual number. The blossoms emit a rather unpleasant odour, common in many of the Rapunculàceæ, more particularly in all the tree pæonies. It has been figured in the Botanical Magazine, t. 2175, and Loddiges' Botanical Cabinet, t. 547, The foliage of the plant is distinguished from the variety rósea, by its petioles being tinged with red, and the folioles a darker green; the leaves of the Bánksiæ are similar, in having a tinge of red on the petioles, and in the darker hue of the folioles, but those of papaverácea are generally larger. The largest plant of this species in England was lately growing at Wormleybury, the seat of Sir Abraham Hume. It was introduced in 1802, and flowered for the first time in 1806. In 1826 the plant had attained to a great size, forming a bush of forty feet in circumference and seven feet high. In the month of April it was covered with its splendid flowers, and in the year last named, it produced six hundred and sixty flower buds, one hundred and thirty of which were picked off in order to increase the size of the remaining flowers. At the time Mr. Sabine's paper was written it was believed that no plant of this species had ever been imported alive into England, except the one above spokeo of; and, if this supposition is true, the whole stock now existing in Europe, has been raised from this. The species seeds freely if the stigmas are properly impregnated.

Pædnia Moutan papaveracea var. Bánksiæ.- This variety is more common in our gardens than the species just described. It is a very magnificent plant, and some of the blossoms that we have seen were of monstrous size. It was introduced in 1789, and was the first kind imported into Europe. It fowered for the first time in the year 1793. The flowers are large, very double and spreading, measuring in expansion from four to eight inches in diameter. The number of the petals varies according to the strength and health of the plants ; sometimes they are so double as to force the calyx to turn back on the peduncle. Frequently the flowers are produced with few or no petals at all; and again many are intermediate between that state and the fullest flower. The petals are of light pink colour, fading, as they open, to a faint blush, or white, towards the edges, and at the base deepening tu a purplish red: the dark colour is sometimes shaded into the pink, at others running into it in rays or featherings. The outer petals are large, the inner ones gradually becoming smaller to the centre of the flower, where they assume a deeper purple tinge, and are much jagged or broken at their edges. The germens are thickly clustered together, around which many yellow anthers appear, which are conspicuous when the flowers are not very double : when the flowers are full double, the anthers and petals spring out together from among the germens, and the petals are often considerably longer than those springing from the outside of the latter. Variations take place in the size of the flowers in the same season and on the same plantthe old plants, as we have before intimated, producing the finest blooms. When grown in green-houses or conservatories, the colour of the flowers is lighter than when they are fully exposed to the air. The blossoms give out a faint, generally, disagreeable odour. This variety is distinguished from the rosea, in the red colour of the petioles and the darker green of the folioles ; from papaveracea it is less distinguishable; the foliage is however smaller and coarser, with obtuse terminations and a more rugose surface. It is figured in the Botanical Magazine, t. 1154, which plate, however, is said to have been incorrectly coloured. It was introduced to France by Mr. Boursalt, in 1801, and soon after flowered in the garden of the Empress Josephioe, at Malmaison. It was introduced to England through the

[blocks in formation]

exertions of Sir Joseph Banks, from whence it takes its name. Many plants of this variety have been imported from China : it is probably more common there than any of the other kinds. In 1832 a plant was growing in the garden of Lady Stapleton, at Grey Court, Henley on Thames, which had been out in the open air about fourteen years; it measured five and a half feet high, twenty-seven feet in cifcumference, and produced two hundred and thirty flowers. It is a very beautiful plant, and should be in every garden, however small.

Pæònia Moktan papaveracea var. ròsea.—The plants of this variety we believe are in but few collections, and those that exist are quite small. Mr. Sabine describes two varieties; one as rosea semiplena, and the other as ròsea plena. But as there seems to be some doubt whether they are not one and the same plant, we shall only describe it under the name of ròsea. The Messrs. Loddiges question the authority of two distinct varieties, and, from what we can learn, we are induced to abide by their judgment. The original plant was imported in 1795, for the late Mr. Hibbert, and flowered for the first time in 1796. The flowers are as large as those of Báoksia, of an uniform rich pink, the edges of the petals becoming pale after a time. The outer petals are large and brond, notched deeply in the centre, and with crisped margins : the inner ones are long and narrow, much jagged at the edges, very numerous, and rise in the middle of the flower to a considerable height; the stamens appear mixed with the petals, and the germens are included in a nembraneous sheath. The scent of the flower is said to be agreeable. Double and semi-double flowers are frequently observable on the same plaot, and sometimes the whole of the blossoms produced in a season are semi-double. The first year the plant blossomed the flowers were nearly single. Since, however, they bave been very double, with occasional exceptions. The Messrs. Loddiges, who published a figure of this variety, from a plant in their possession, state that they received it originally from Mr. Hibbert, and that it always produces semi-double flowers. Until Mr. Sabine's paper appeared, the two kinds above spoken of were always considered identical. There is a variety, most common in the English collections, with semi-double flowers; but when we tako into consideration the fact, that in some seasons Mr. Hibbert's plant produced all semi.double ones, it is scarcely worth while to describe them as distinct.

Pæònia Moutan papaveracea var. Hùmei.-A variety slightly differeot from Bápksiæ. It was formerly considered identica with it, and we have some doubt about its possessing a claim to a distinct name. A figure of it is published in the Botanical Register, t. 379. Mr. Sabine states that it is “very near" Bánksiæ, only differing in having longer and thicker peduncles, blooming a fortnight earlier, and more abundant in petals.

Pædnia Moutan papaveracea var, Rawesii.-This variety was brougbt from China, in 1830, by Captain Rawes, from whence it derives its name. The plant was given by this gentleman to Thomas Cary Palmer, Esq., of Bromley, in Kent, in wbose garden it produced a premature bloom in 1825. The bracts are longer and more conspicuous than in any of the other varieties, The calyx leaves, instead of enclosing the bud in a globular form, are twisted up so as to come to a point at the top. The petals are pale, very slightly tinged with pink, and have a very satiny appearance : they are about twelve in number, and much lacerated at the edges ; the flowers, when fully expanded, measure about seven inches across ; the filaments are purple, and the anthers clustered closely round the germens, which are six in number. The foliage is stated to resemble an herbaceous pæony; the leaves are smaller and darker than any of the other kinds; they are similar in form, though the terminating feliole is deeply divided, often unequally, and sometimes the upper leaflet is cleft to its base. The peculiar characteristic in this variety, is the calyx leaves enclosing the bud, so as to come to a point at the top

The above plants were all imported from China, and were the only ones that bad produced bloom, in 1826, in English collec.

tions. No information of the introduction of any new kinds, since that time, has come to our knowledge. In Loudon's Hortus Britannicus, all the varieties, eleven in number, are stated to be from China. This is an error; three of them are English seedlings, and one name is probably repeated twice, making in the whole only nine, the same number as desreibed by Mr. Sabine. It will probably be some time before these seedling varieties will be introduced; but we will give a briot description of them, that their merits may be better known.

The plants were produced in the garden of the Earl of Mount. norris, from seeds which were saved from the papaverácea. They were sown about the year 1817 or 1818; three plants came up the year after they were planted, each of which flowered in 1825 or 1826. One is stated as a very distinct variety-the two others to approach each other so nearly, that they can scarcely be considered as sufficiently distinct to be separated. The following are the names :

Pædnia Moutan papaveracea var. carnea plena.—The blossoms of this variety are large, very double in appearance similar to Báoksiæ : the petals are smaller and more abundant than in the latter variety, and they have also a rich purplerayed spot at the base of each, like the papaveracea ; the ground colour is a delicate purplish pink. This variety is one of the two plants which has just been stated as being nearly alike in appearance.

Pædnia Moutan papaveracea var. álbida plena.-The ground colour of this variety is very pale ; not wbite, but suffused with purple. The germens are numerous, and the blossoms are larger than the last named variety. The growth is strong and vigorous.

Pædnia Moutan papaveracea var. Annesldi.—A very distinct and pretty variety, named by Mr. Sabine in compliment to Lord Mountnorris, who was the first who raised and brought into notice seedling varieties. The flower is small, not exceeding four and a half inches in diameter. It is nearly single; a flower containing eight or dine petals, which are heart-shaped, slightly jagged at the margin; the colour is a rich purplish pink, shaded into a darker purple at the base of the petals, which extends up the centre of each to the notch at the edge. A draw. ing of it is appended to Mr. Sabine's paper. (Hort. Trans. plate 7.)

In addition to these, Lord Mountnorris has a number of seedlings; one of these fowered in the spring of 1824. It is figured and described in Sweet's British Flower Garden, t. 238, as follows:

Pædnia Moulan papaveracea var. variegata.—The plant is a low-growing bushy kind, branching from the ground, and scarcely woody. The petals are white, stained with a deep rose colour in various parts; the base marked with numerous radiating streaks of violet and purple; the anthers are yellow; the flowers measure about six inches in expansion. It was raised from seeds of the papaveracea, which it is supposed had been aoci. dentally fertilized by some of the herbaceous species.

The only other variety of which we have any particular account is figured in the Botanical Register, t. 1771, viz. :

Pæónia Moútan papaveracea var. làcera. The petals of this variety are much cut and gashed, and distinctly bordered with a narrow edge of carmine. It was raised from seeds of either papaveracea or Bánksiæ, and flowered for the first time in 1834, the plant being then only three years old. It is stated by Dr. Lindley to be a very splendid plant.

Since writing the previous part of this article, and after it was in type, we have received some information respecting several new seedlings which have been raised and flowered in Franca

We have stated our opinion, that but a few years would elapse before the varieties of pæonies would be nearly as numerous as those of the camellia were a few years since, and it seems that our anticipations are already about to be realized. In the cata. logue of plants, for 1836, of the brothers Baumann, of Bollwiller, on the Upper Rhinc, who probably possess one of the finest

[blocks in formation]

66

66

nursery collections on the Cootinent, we find enumerated ten varieties, six of which we belive are seedlings of their own ; and we have understood by a gentleman, who lately received a letter from the Messrs. Baumanns, that they have a most magnificent seedling, which flowered, for the first time, the past spring, and also that they have many more seedling plants not named, and several which have not yet blossomed. We have no doubt but the number of new kinds will soon exceed even our seemingly great expectations.

The following are the names of the new kinds in the catalogue alluded to for 1836 :Pædnia Moutan papaverácea var. monstrudsa álba plenissima.

" lilacina plenissima.

lilaclua semiplena.
simplici.

purpùreo violácea plena.

" plena. The seedling which flowered this season, for the first time, has a blossom of an exquisite carmine colour, suffused with a deeper tint. The plant was raised from seed eight years since; it is very difficult to propagate, and will not probably become common for some years.

Both the Banksic and papaveracea seed freely, if the flowers are duly impregnated, but without which they rarely produce any. The plants come into flower from three to eight years from the seed, and the zealous amateur may perceive the results of his experiments as soon in this tribe as in the camellia.

The tree pæonies may be successfully cultivated either in the open air, or in pots in the conservatory, as they are hardy enough to eudure our most severe winters without protection ; and although we have a strong desire to see the plants display. ing their brilliant blossoms among the other shrubs of the garden, we would not by any means be understood as wishing them to be excluded from the green-house, more particularly from the conservatory. In either of these places they are exceedingly valuable plants, as they can be brought into bloom at any time from January to May; and when there are several plants in a collection (as there should be in every good one), the flowers may be produced continually through that period. In the open air the plants will be subject to occasional injury from early frosts, and their blossoms soon spoiled of their beauty, in warm situations, by the hot rays of the sun ; but the latter may be prevented by planting ou a north or west border, or in some shady aspect, where they will remain in perfection for a great length of time. In the conservatory individual powers are probably sbown to the best advantage; as they are not exposed to the chilling winds of spring on the one hand, nor the sun's heat on the other, the beauty of the foliage is also preserved. Individuals who do not possess any structure for wintering plants can have them in the border, while those who do should have them in both situations, certainly in the latter. A good method to flower the flowers in perfection would be to give the plants a good soil and an open situation, and erect over them a temporary light frame : this could be covered with glass at the period of their blooming, and their splendour preserved for a great length of time.

The plants are propagated by several different methods, viz. :by seeds, suckers, layers, division of the stem, cutting and grafting. Their increase was attended with considerable diffi. culty when they were first introduced; and this, as we have stated, has been one cause of their high price ; but this difficulty has been much lessened by experience. By seeds they are only produced for obtaining new varieties, as the plants are longer attaining a flowering state than by any of the other modes: the papaverácea and var. Báoksiæ, by impregnating one with the other, or either with any of the varieties, will probably produce plants different from their parents. Of the systems of propaga. tion we shall speak of each separately; first

By Seeds. We have never read any account of the method of raising the plants from seed: but we presume they may be sown in the same manner as camellia seeds; that is, to plant

them in the fall of the year, just after they are ripe, in small pots, which should remain in the green-bouse or frame until spring; they may then be placed in a hot-bed, wben, perhaps, some of them will come up ; such may be taken out and potted when they have made one growth, and the pots allowed to stand till the remainder vegetate.

Suckers. These may be often found growing from old plants, especially when they are standing in the open border; in this situation, however, they are not so easily detached as when the plants are in pots : in the border the operation should be performed by taking away the soil carefully from the roots, and, with a sharp knife, cutting the sucker off, with a portion of the root : the wound should be rubbed over with some dry earth, and the plant immediately potted in a soil composed of loam, peat, and sand. When the suckers spring from plants in pots, the balls should be turned out and divided carefully, leaving a piece of the old root attached to each sucker; these should be potted as just mentioned. Keep the plants in a shady place for a few weeks : the best season for performing the operation is in the month of September.

Layers. The method of propagating by layers is very simple; the plants should be standing in the border. In the spring of the year, when the buds begin to start, bend down the outer shoots into the soil, and, with a wooden peg or hook, fasten them into it; before doing this, a tongue, or longitudinal split, should be made in the inner side of the bend ; this operation should be done with very great care, as the shoots are extremely liable to be broken where they bend; make use of the same soil as for suckers. Layers are not generally rooted sufficiently to be detached from the old plant until the expiration of two years. A new system of increasing the plants by layers was a few years since made public. It consisted in taking away, in the month of February, a ring of the bark, about a sixteenth of an inch wide, between every bud on each sboot, in the manner common ringing is performed on trees. In this way each bud will occupy one inch of the stem between the rings. The stems, when thus prepared, should be laid down horizontally, about three inches under the soil, leaving only the leading bud at the end of each branch out of the ground. In six months each bud will have made a vigorous shoot and radical fibres ; in August carefully separate each plant, and pot them as we have recommended for suckers. We do not know whether this mode is extensively practised or not.

Division of the Stei:--This operation is, we believe, only practised by the Chinese ; but as it may be interesting to our readers to know how it is performed, we will detail the method. An old plant is selected, and the stem is regularly split into four or six equal portions from the top to the bottom, even among the roots; these divisions are kept separated until the wounds begin to dry, when the middle of the stem is filled with a sort of plaster made with mortar and rich earth, with which is mixed a small quantity of sulphur. The operation is performed in the spring, and the plants suffered to remain until autumn, when each division is separated with the portion of the root belonging to it.

Cuttings.-To increase the plants by cuttings is more difficult than by layers or suckers. They should be taken off in August or September, with a portion of the old wood attached, and planted in pots in a compost of loam, leaf mould, and a large portion of sand; drain the pots well, and plant the cuttings close to the sides of each ; cover them with bell glasses, and place them in a shady situation for a time, until winter, when they should be sbeltered from frost, and in February or March assisted in their growth by the aid of a hot-bed. After this they may be treated like established plants. Another method is, to take off cuttings an inch in length, in the manner of vine cuttings, with a bud on each ; slit up the stem behind and take away the pith ; insert them in pots, three inches under the soil, and plunge the pots in an exhausted bot-bed, where there is a tempetature of about sixty degrees. lo two months they will bave rooted and made young shoocs.

ON TAB CULTIVATION OF CACTUS AND CEREUS.

5

Graftings.—This is not generally performed on the shoots of of the stand, however, may be left altogether to the taste of the the shrubby ones, unless there is a greater stock of the more cultivator, as something of the kind is iodispensably necessary commop kinds than is wanted, and it is wished to increase a to train up the shoots that they may be kept in regular order. rare variety. The operation is performed in the manner called The superfluous growths must be taken off with a sharp knife, crown grafting. A few weeks before grafting, the earth is remembering to reserve, if possible, the strongest growths. The drawn away from the roots; just before the plants make their admirable appearance of this plant when in full bloom attracts autumn growth, it is drawn up again, and the operation per- the attention of every person ; its beautiful rose or blush coloured formed. The plants must be protected from frost during winter, flowers expand in June and July, and the plant presents a splenand in the spring they will begin to grow; they are afterwards did show for a fortnight or three weeks. The flowers are treated as established plants. A method was, a few years since, produced from the sides of the stems, and the dark coloured vein, adopted of grafting the shoots on the herbaceous species P. which is generally observable, that leads from the centre of the officinalis. It is as follows :-take off the cuttings of any of stem to the bud, is almost a sure sigo of a flower. This species the tree kinds; then slit the tuber, from the crown downwards, is a native of South America, and has been cultivated about about two inches ; form the scion like a wedge, insert it into twenty-five years. the slit in the tuber, fitting the barks on one side as exactly as Epiphyllum truncàtum.-(Cáctus truncatus Lk.) is a fine sort : possible ; bind them well together with strong bass, over which the stems are flat, and about half an ioch in width : the extremity put a brass wire, to prevent the parts spreading when the bass of the shoot is scolloped out, as though bitten off by an animal : is decayed. They are then potted deep enough to allow the the flowers are of a darker shade than those of speciosum, and earth to cover the tuber, and set in a cold frame or pit, kept more elongated the habit of the plant more close and comclose and rather dry, and shaded from the sun for a month. pact : this has been cultivated ten or twelve years. Protect from frost during winter, and afterwards treat them like Cèreus Ackermáni is a new variety, and rivals the far-famed old plants.

Cèreus speciosissimus in the beauty of its flowers ; however, it In the cultivation of the plants very little care is needed. If is deficient of the fine purple tinge which is so prominent a growing in pots, they may be placed in a back shed, or any feature on the inner petals of the latter plant. The flowers situation until wanted to flower. The only care requisite is, in expand in a similar manner, and continue three or four days in not allowing the plants to start suddenly into growth, and bud great perfection, and they are also equally large; by some cultiprematurely. If standing in the green-house, they should be vators it is esteemed second to none of its co-species that are yet kept away from the fues, or bot water pipes, as heat is injurious kaown. The habit of the plant resembles E. speciosum; the to the plants; when in bloom keep them in a sbady part of the stems are more fleshy and broader, and of a lighter green colour; house, and the beauty of the flowers will be longer preserved. sometimes the young growths are quadrangulur, or four-sided, After the fowers have faded, set the plants in the open air ; but they ultimately grow out to a thin expansion, broad and flat. ne-pot them every year. The compost, as the plants get The time of flowering is in May and June ; , it has been cultivated stronger, should be mostly loam, with a little leaf-mould. Plants but five or six years. in the border only require a good loamy soil, and occasional Cèreus Jenkensònia is also a new variety, and resembles E. prunings.

speciosum in its habit of growth : the flowers are of the same We have thus, though we fear at too great length, given our shape, only considerably larger : the colour an elegant crimson : readers a full account of the tree pæony. We shall endeavour time of flowering June and July, and has been cultivated about to keep in view the production of all new varieties, and all that

four years. are worthy of note will be speedily made known through our Cèreus Vandèsia is quite new and scarce : this also resembles pages. In the mean time we hope the amateur tlorists of our E. specidsum in its habit of growth ; the flowers are of the vicinity will endeavour to produce from seed new and choice same shape, but as large as those of Jenkensònia, and a shade sorts. Patience is only wanting to ensure to the grower a rich darker in colour. It is a free grower, and well adapted for reward for his labours. We would also request those persons, training to a trellis, or a round stand. Time of flowering July who have the facilities, to procure plants from China, in the and August. hope that some of their wonderful sorts, if such they have, may Opúntia vulgàris.-(Cáctus Opuntia L.) This species has be accidentally introduced.

been cultivated more than two hundred years. It is too well

known to need any description ; with good treatment it will -oops

grow luxuriantly. Its large fleshy broad stems are admirably

well adapted for grafting all the kinds we have now spoken of ON THE CULTIVATION OF VARIETIES OF CACTUS upon, which can be done in the following very simple manner, AND CEREUS.

viz. :-first, take off the cutting from the plant that you wish to

insert on the Indian fig-then make an incision in the stem with Cèreus flagelliformis.-Creeping cereus is an old inhabitant of a sharp penknife, as near the same shape and size as possible as the stove and green-house. Tbe stems of the plant, wben in a that of the cutting; observe to take the piece out so as to allow healthy luxuriant state, resemble a wbip-lash, whence its trivial the scion to be inserted about an inch deep. If this is neatly name, ilagelliformis. This interesting species, when interspersed done, there is no fear of success. Let any person imagine the with some of its co-species, that are of a more robust growth, splendid effect a large plant will have four or five feet high, makes an elegant contrast, showing to the most careless observer spreading in every direction, with some of the sorts here men. the difference in the habits of growth in the same family of plants. tioned grafted on it, growing most luxuriantly and flowering The flowers expand their blossoms in the months of May and profusely ; this we have seen, and can assure our readers that June, and are of a dark rose colour, arranged indiscriminately it was a beautiful object, and we hope ere long to see this very along the stems of the plants--although sometimes a number of interesting family of plants more generally cultivated, them are closely set together, not in a cluster, but in one straight line, one or two inches apart. It is a native of Peru, and has been cultivated more than one hundred years.

Epiphyllum speciòsum.-(Cactus specidsus) is also an old ON THE GERMINATION OF THE NELUMBIUM favourite : the stems of the plant are tbia and flat, from one

SPECIOSUM. BY J. L. R. half an inch to two inches in width, and of a very irregular habit of growth; but by judicious pruning it can be made an Having received from a friend a fresh out of this splendid elegant plant. Stands of a circular form, or flat, in the shape oriental plant, I was induced to watch the development of its of a ladder, sbould be used for training this plant to; the shape germination. After remaioing in a glass of pure water on my

[blocks in formation]

mantel for about three weeks, I perceived a wide debiscence Dear its summit, and the first emission of young roots.

A compost of clay, vegetable mould and sand, in nearly equal parts, was then provided, and the nut partially planted in it. The pot was then plunged in another, glazed and water-tight, and covered with river water to the depth of three or four inches. In a few days the first leaf appeared, curiously convoluted, by its ridges being rolled towards its disk. Not long after its expansion another made its appearance, and in the course of a month five have been developed in considerable vigour. The plant then seemed to make a pause for a few days, when I perceived a strong and thick rhizoma pushing downwards from the axis, and throw. ing out a profusion of roots about half the distance of its length; till finally a new leaf has been evolved from the extremity of this root stake

The germination of the pelumbium is interesting, on account of the seeming absence of cotyledons, and thus possessing the anomalous character of an exogenous acotyledonous plant. Much uncertainty exists respecting its true physiological development. On the outside of the base of the albumen is the embryo, enclosed in a membranous bag or sack. This, by Richard, was consi. dered its cotyledon, and he accordingly placed the genus among the Monocotyledons and Endogeneæ. De Candolle and Mirbel considered it as exogenous and dicotyledonous, regarding the sack as a peculiar membrane, and possessing, also, a two-lobed embryo. From the structure of the stem, the character of its leaves, and also of its flowers and fruits, little doubt cau remain that it more properly should be arranged according to the opinion of the two latter botanists.

The sacred Lotus of the Nile is the present species. Accord. ing to Delile this celebrated locality of antiquity cannot boast of its present possession. In China, where it is extensively cultivated, its rhizoma and nuts afford a considerable article of food. These, served up with apricots, walnuts and ice, were offered at breakfast to the British ambassador and his suite. Some of the Japanese and Chinese deities are represented as sitting on its broad and peltate leaves, thus distinguishing it as a sacred plant.

nifying odd, irregular); with flowers striped or variegated with three or four different colours, with irregular stripes or spots. Third, picotees, piquettes, or piquetées ; edge fringed, usually having a white ground, with spots or small stripes of scarlet, red, purple, or other colours. To enumerate the varieties would be useless, says Green, as they are not permanent, and every country producing new flowers almost every year, wbich, though at first raising they may be greatly valued, in two or three years become so common as to be of little worth, especially if they prove defective of any one good property, and are turned out to make room for new sorts. I will therefore refer my readers to the lists of the florists and nurserymen, who import them or raise them from seed, who have a great variety under pompons dames. The following are what the florists call the good pro. perties of a carnation. The flower-stem should be strong, and able to support the weight of the flower in an erect position. The petals should be long, broad, and stiff, and easy to expand, or, as the florists term it, should make free flowers ; the outer circle of petals should turn off gracefully, in an horizontal direction, and should be sufficiently strong to support the ioner petals, which should diminish in size as they approach the centre. The petals should lie over each other in such a manner, as that their beauties can meet the eye at once; the middle of the flower should not advance too high above the other parts, and the edges should be entire, without fringe, notch, or indenture ; the colour should be bright and equally marked all over the flower; the flower, when blown, should be very full of petals, and the outside perfectly rouud; the stem should not only be strong, but straight, not less than thirty, por more than forty. five inches high; the flower should not be less than three inches in diameter, and the petals well formed-neither so many as to appear crowded, por so few as to appear thin ; the lower or outer circle of petals, commonly called the guard-leaves, should be substantial, and rise perpendicularly about half an iuch above the calyx ; the calyx should be at least an inch in length, and sufficiently strong at the top to keep the bases of the petals in a close and circular body,

Propagation and Culture of the Carnation.-Having obtained & quantity of good seeds, prepare a proportionable number of pots or boxes, filled with soil mixed with rotten cow-dung &c., incorporated well together ; then sow the seed and cover them with about a quarter of an inch of the same compost, sifted finely; place the pots or boxes in an airy part of the garden ; keep the soil moist, and shade them from the mid-day sun and heavy rains. The time for sowing the seed is about the first of May; in about twenty days the plants will come up and if kept clear from weeds and duly watered, they will be fit for trans. planting about the first of August, at which time prepare some beds of the same compost as they were sown in, in an open, airy situation ; plant them in rows, about ten inches apart in the row, and twelve inches from row to row; during the winter cover the plants with pine boughs, or any other light covering ; by these means they will generally flower the following summer. When they begin to shoot up their stalks to flower, they ought to be supported by sticks, and attentively looked after as soon as they begin to blow, to ascertain which of them promise to be good flowers ; pull up all single and ill-coloured flowers, to allow the others more air and room ; propagate the good ones by layers.

To Propagate by Layers.--After you have made choice of such shoots as you intend to propagate, and have loosened the soil round the plant, and, if necessary, raised it with fresh soil, that it may be level with the shoot intended to be laid down, strip off the leaves from the lower part of the shoot, and cut off the top of the leaves; make choice of a strong joint, the third or fourth from the crown of the shoot; then with a sharp knife make a slip close below the joint, about three fourths through the shoot, from the joint upwards ; remove the swelling part of the joint where the slit is made, so that the part slit may be shaped like a tongue; for if the outer skin be left on, it will prevent their pushing out roots; then make a hole in the earth

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

Permit me, dear Sir, through the pages of your valuable maga. zine, to submit a few hints to your readers on the cultivation and propagation of some of the varieties of this beautiful class of flowers, viz., the carnation, picotee, and pink. The cultivation of these plants has occupied the attention, and called forth the labour and care, of some of the great and good in ages that have passed away. Would it be asking too much of the present generation, while the “ schoolmaster is abroad," to turn aside a few moments, and admire nature in “ her boliday suit and Sunday clothes ?” I will take it for granted, it is pot; indeed, I cannot but believe a love of flowers, and a taste for cultivating them, is rapidly increasing: in every direction we see magazines spring up, devoted to floriculture. Such being the case, I am induced to send you the present article, although I am aware I can add but very little, to advantage, to what others have already said on the cultivation of these plants, or bring anything new before your readers ; yet I shall endeavour to select and lay beforc them, in a condensed form, the directions and opinions of others, and a few general remarks of my own, on the successful culti. vation of the pink, picotee, and carnation.

The Carnation.—Modern florists value this plant highly, and distinguish it into four classes. First, flakes, of two colours only; the ground white, with a large stripe of scarlet, crimson or other colour, going quite through the petals. Second, bizarre (sig

« AnteriorContinuar »