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to produce this miserably imperfect thing in fine order.
It has been often wondered why it is not a more general favourite,—the answer is in the shape of its flowers ;- it is a gay, but an illlooking thing at the best : the eye does not rest pleasantly on it ; there is no depth in its flowers -no symmetry, no size—it is mean. There is no reason why these bad points should not be got rid of in a few seasons. · The form we have given for the flowers is right for every one of the species; it cannot be wrong for any one of them, and according to the habit of the plant, so the bells may hang pendent, or turn outwards. In branchy plants, they should hang pendent like the Fuchsia ; in plants with only upright shoots, they would look better with their mouth outwards or upwards, according to the height of the plant. We sadly want to see the horrible looking star flowers banished from the face of the garden, and proper forms encouraged in their places ; so that wherever there are kinds, and there are many, which have these monstrous ugly forms, the sooner the florist takes them in hand the better.
The florists have made many flowers so much better, that botanists have altogether lost their favourite species ; though to meet the insatiable appetite for novelty and quality which pervades the floral republic, they are obliged, most reluctantly, to admit the splendour, and praise the beauty of the garden varieties.
PROPERTIES OF THE GERANIUM OR
1. The petals should be thick, broad, blunt, and smooth at the edges, and slightly cupped.
2. The flower should be circular, higher at the edges than in the centre (so as to form rather a hollow, though by no means a deeply cupped bloom), without puckering or frilling ; and where the petals lap over each other, the indentation caused by the join should be hardly perceptible.
3. The petals should lie close on each other, so as to appear a whole flower rather than a five petalled flower.
4. The stem should be straight, strong, elastic, carrying the blooms well above the foliage. The footstalks of the individual flowers should be stiff, and of sufficient length to allow the flowers to show themselves in an even head, fitting compactly edge to edge, and forming a uniform bold truss.
5. The colour should be bright and dense, whether it be scarlet, crimson, rose colour, purple, lilac, or any of the modifications, the spots on the upper petals should be boldly contrasted with the ground, and the darker the better : both upper petals should be alike, both side petals alike, and the lower petal uniform.
6. All white grounds should be very pure ; and the colours, no matter what they be, on the white, should be decided, well defined, and by no means flush into the white.
7. The spots on the upper petals, or the marks in any other, should not break through to the edge.
8. Colours being a matter of taste do not affect the real properties so much as other points, unless it be on the score of novelty ; on this ground a bright scarlet would be desirable, and a black spot. We have plenty of approaches to both, but none very near.
9. The plant should be shrubby in its habit, the foliage close, and of a rich bright green, the joints short and strong, able to support themselves in every part without assistance. The flower should be large, not less than five in a truss, and come at the end of every shoot.
The obvious faults of most geraniums are, long and pointed lower petals, uneven, twisted, notched, or puckered edges, long footstalks, which make the truss loose and open, weak shoots, and stalks, that will not hold up the flowers without propping, which destroys the appearance of the plant altogether ; small leaves and long joints, which make the plant open, the habit gawkey, and the foliage poor.
The societies which intend to encourage the geranium should give prizes for plants only one year old, from cuttings, require only one truss of bloom, but allow as many as any body likes to grow ; consider none to be trusses which have less than five blooms, require all to be shown in 32-sized pots, and have the nursery-men's class twelve, amateurs' six ; allow a class open to every body for single plants and seedlings, in which only one truss shall be allowed to the
plant, and the seedlings should compete with the named flowers, and, as is the case with the auricula, allow no support of any kind whatever.
With regard to large specimens, the reader may take our word for one fact—not one of the trusses out of the hundreds exhibited will be found so good as it ought to be ; and though they make, under the present rules of showing a great staring object, they have not a solitary merit that should engage the attention of the gardener, the man of taste, or the man of business. The gardener ought never to be employed on such effeminate work, as placing a hundred sticks to a geranium; the man of taste would despise it when it was done, and the man of business would view it as a waste of time and labour.
PROPERTIES OF THE CROWN IMPERIAL.
The fault of this plant is, that it is too large for the small portion of flowers which it has when at its best ; to compensate for this in some measure, the foliage is handsome, and highly ornamental. The principal objection to the flower is its dingy colour, exhibiting, as it does, only the outside of the bloom. The plant doubtless takes its name from the peculiarity of its form. It grows upright, after the fashion of the common white lily; but the leaves are longer, and handsomer, the flowers come out near the top, in a row of bells or tubes, touching each other, and reaching all round the stem, and the top of the plant, which continues to grow, form a
beautiful crown of foliage above this bunch or row of bells.
1. The plant should be from the ground to the bells twice the length of its longest leaves.
2. The tubes, or bells, should be close to each other, on footstalks three inches long, standing out horizontally half their length, and gracefully bending downwards the other half, so that the bells are suspended at a distance from the main stem, and touch each other.
3. The colour should be bright lemon, bright yellow, or bright orange colour.
The bells should be large, and as long as one and a half of their diameter; the mouth widest, and turned both out and up to show a portion of the inner surface.
The margin should be level, and free from indentation or serrature. The crown should not exceed in height the space occupied by the flowers ; that is, there ought not to be more green above than there is yellow below.
PROPERTIES OF THE PEONY. The Peony, like the Hollyhock, is in general a confused mass of petals and florets, crowded like some of the Roses into such a heterogeneous flower, that it is difficult to define what it is, though we may in some measure determine what it should be to become beautiful. As a plant it may be tolerated ; as a show-flower never ; the principal quality in a show-flower is symmetry and variety. In the Peony, there is comparatively neither. The only one fit to exhibit as a