« ElőzőTovább »
PROPERTIES OF THE PETUNIA. 1. A Petunia should have strong stems and a close habit-large, thick, round, and flat flowers ; abundance of bloom, while short and handsome.
2. The colour or shade is a matter of taste ; but such is the fancy of people in these days that a new ugly colour would be thought more of than an old handsome one.
3. Such is the state of glorious confusion into which modern botanists have brought things by their silly antics, that when Mr. Tweedie sent home the purple variety, Dr. Hooker called it Salpig lossisintegrifolia ; Professor Don, Nierembergia phænicia; and Dr. Lindley, Petunia violacea. Yet these are the people who pretend to teach the uninitiated how to know plants.
PROPERTIES OF THE PINK. · The properties of the pink, so far as form, substance, and some other particular features are concerned, should be the same as those of the carnation and picotee.
1. The flower should be circular, and rise like half a ball.
2. The petals should be thick, broad, smooth at the edges, without notch or serrature, regularly disposed, and each row smaller than that immediately under it.
3. The ground should be pure white ; and the colour, whatever it may be--from rose-colour to dark red, or from lilac to dark purple, ap
proaching black-should reach from the inside of the petal far enough outwards to show in front beyond the petals above it, and form a rich eye.
4. A narrow plain even lacing or stripe of the colour should appear inside the white edge, which should be just the same width outside the lacing as the lacing itself is, and as even. . 5. There should be no break or vacancy in the lacing, and the colour inside of the petal ought, as well as the lacing, to be well defined, forming a circular coloured eye or centre to each row of petals
6. Self-coloured petals, split petals, and split pods, are disqualifications. Notched or saw-like edges, broken or imperfect lacing, specks or foul marks on the white, thinness or flimsiness of texture, looseness of construction, or deficiency of petals, are glaring faults.
7. In a general way, in all other respects but the size and colouring, the properties of the pink should be similar to those of the carnation and picotee; and no pink ought to be less than two inches in diameter. : The progress of the pink—that is, the transition from saw-edged petals to rose-leaved petals, as they are improperly called, has been slow; and such is the disposition to a serrated edge, that some of the kinds which will one season bloom almost without a notch, will in other seasons be rough and serrated. But this disposition may be conquered by any one raiser of new sorts, who will uniformly throw away, or give away, all the varieties which come at all rough, or which do not exhibit a manifest improvement, and reserve
none but those whose petals, many or few, are of the right kind. A semi-double variety with good petals is infinitely better to save seed from than the most double flowers which are deficient in that particular; and no flower offers so much opportunity and so much room for improvement.
These rules are now acted upon throughout the country, more or less. In some few places, however, where the marking of the flower is considered of higher importance than the form, they still treat the pink as a semi-double flower; and if they can get two rows of petals, and two to stick up back to back, they think it enough, and therefore exhibit loose, flat, ill-looking specimens, which among the florists more advanced in taste would be thrown away ; and as a handsome double flower would make such things very ridiculous, they actually pull out the petals of any that would by their superior form and character show the semi-double varieties off to a disadvantage, and reduce them to the miserable state of the majority. The varieties, therefore, which will do well enough for some localities, would be considered a complete take-in if sold in the south : but the difficulty of making a man adopt an improved race, when it renders all his present collection worthless, is by no means easily got over; and the facility with which he can raise the sorts good enough for such easily-pleased people, increases the difficulty. In a quantity of seedlings raised near London, one great improvement in the kinds we already possess, in a hundred or two, would satisfy a man, and of the remainder, which he would throw to the dunghill, there could be a
score semi-double varieties that would be acceptable where the miserable things we speak of are shown. It is, therefore, not likely they should adopt hastily a style of pink which would condemn their starvelings to destruction ; and that the public may not see the contrast, they reduce our best varieties to two rows of petals, when obliged to show them. Time, however, has done wonders, and will continue, in spite of a vitiated taste and opposing interest, to make inroads upon the easily procured but worthless kinds which, for the present, form the majority of collections in particular localities; though every year lessens the ground they occupy, and narrows the influence of the florists, who obstinately defend a race of flowers half a century behind the improvements of the southern cultivators.
THE PROPERTIES OF ANNUALS.
As there is no answering for what seed will produce unless it can be kept very distinct, little or no dependence can be placed on the continuance of some things, however well they may come one season. The encouragement to produce extraordinary novelty and beauty is not so great, because there are no means of continuing it with certain ty. However, much has been done by “roguing," as it is called, that is, removing all that are bad, the moment they open ; and to decide this, we must first determine what constitutes perfection in Annuals; without going to individual forms of flowers, so different in their nature, there are some points that apply to all, and among them, the following are important.
The first, then, is great quantity of flower to small quantity of foliage, so as to form a mass of colours without the green being conspicuous. This may be illustrated by Nemophila insignis, which forms a bright blue carpet, and Clarkia pulchella, which does not.
The second quality is necessary to the first ; breadth of petal, even to the filling up of all flowers with divisions so as to become circles, illustrated by the Phlox Drummondi, and Virginian Stock, both divided flowers, but the former filling up to a circle, the other narrow, and therefore presenting less surface of colour.
The third, smoothness of edge, by which neatness is preserved, and the eye not offended with raggedness, and confusion, illustrated by the Double Stock, and Ragged-Robin.
The fourth, elegance, and compactness of form, as pleasing to the eye and associated with neatness, illustrated by the dwarf Larkspur, and the branching.
The fifth, thickness of petal, by which the bloom is prolonged, and preserved in good condition, illustrated by Candytuft, and the different Poppies.
The sixth is colour. In florists' flowers, where a great variety is an object, denseness of colour is all we care about, because we want as many shades as we can get ; but in Annuals, brilliance is an object. Dull leaden-coloured blues, dirty