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258 Some Account of the New Shrub Spiræa prunifòlia. shrub from the specimen represented in the engraving, (fig. 25). Imagine a neat, deep-green, upright bush, covered with thousands of snow-white flowers, of the size represented, and as perfect as roses, and some idea may be formed of this new
Fig. 25. Spiræ'a prunifdlia. spiræa. Braving with impunity the severity of our hyperborean latitude [Belgium], it must be considered one of the greatest acquisitions for decorating the lawn or parterre.
We do not know the native country of this shrub. M. Siebold, to whom we are indebted for its introduction, we learn, found it cultivated in the Japan gardens, where it attained the height of six to eight feet. Its native habitat is supposed to be Corea, or the north of China, and it is sometimes found growing in a wild state in the environs of cities, but evidently not indigenous.
According to M. M. Zuccarini and Siebold, (Fl. Japan,) it forms an upright and bushy shrub, with slender branches, which are covered with a smooth, ash-colored bark, which, when old, detaches itself in thin scales. The leaves are oval, rounded at their base, a little acute at the apex, downy beneath, and denticulated at the edge. The flowers, which appear in clusters of four to six, the entire length of the shoots, are perfectly snow-white, and perfectly double. In shape, they resemble the double Ranúnculus aconitifolius, and their number and arrangement, as well as the light green of the foliage, and neat habit, render it the most charming of hardy shrubs.
Its cultivation is the same as that of the Spiræa trilobata, and other well known kinds; and it is increased either by division of the root or by layers. L. V. H.
Mr. Van Houtte has now the whole stock in his possession, and proposes to sell the plants by subscription the coming fall, as will be seen by reference to his advertisement. We trust it will soon find its way into our gardens.-Ed.
Art. V. On the Propagation of Stove and Greenhouse Ex
otics : in a Series of Letters. By James KENNEDY, Gardener to S. T. Jones, Staten Island, New York.
LETTER II. Propagation by Cuttings.
As my former remarks on the Propagation of Exotics seem to have met with your approbation, I will continue the article in your next number. I believe my last letter treated of the propagation by seeds, as far as necessary to insure success, and therefore I will devote this article to propagation by cuttings.
2. CUTTINGS.--Most exotics may be increased by this mode; many of them by young cuttings a little hardened at the base, some by ripened ones, and a few by means of very young ones. However, when it is desired to propagate any particular kind, a healthy plant should be chosen for the purpose. This is not generally borne in mind. Many cultivators select the shabbiest plant in their collection, without ever considering that it is to become the parent of many, and nine out of every ten will be diseased. Indced few, if any, will ever make good specimen plants, be they ever so well treated. At any rate, if the cutting be not healthy, reason will teach us that it cannot perform the functions necessary to produce roots.
If the kind to be propagated from is an inmate of the greenhouse, let it be removed to a moist stove about the first of February, where it will produce its young shoots early, and, when the shoots are of a sufficient length, say from 14 to 3 inches, according to the sort, take it back to its own department to harden off a little, and get ripened more or less, as may be required : this, however, must be regulated according to the sort in question. From the first of February to the end of May is the best time to increase by cuttings, as then the plants have ample time to root and be potted off in season to stand the following winter with success. But the time of taking off cuttings depends chiefly on the nature of the plant to be propagated. Heaths, epacrises, phylicas, diosmas, burtonias, &c. &c., should be taken off when the plants are in a growing state, or when they have nearly completed their growth; and this is generally in spring, or beginning of summer. If not naturally in a growing state at this time, it is easy rendering them so by a slight degree of artificial heat. Some take their cuttings off in the fall; but this practice I do not approve of, as it incurs the expense of artificial heat to protect them during winter; besides, the absence of light, and the presence of damp, will more than likely occasion many deaths; but, when taken off in spring, the bright days are coming, solar influence increasing, and, consequently, very little fuel is consumed ; and, what is of the most consequence, the plants are full as well established by winter as those put in in the fall.
In some kinds of plants, it is necessary to take lateral shoots, and these should be slipped off, so as to have with them the axillary formation of the bud and vessels of the leaf. Of these, the gnaphalums, helichrysums, burchellias, loganias, daviesias, and some banksias, are instances, some of which will not strike otherwise. The cause of this is, I expect, that the
I heel consists of wood, more or less ripened, and is not so likely to damp off after planting. However, let this not lead the young propagator to believe that he must have wood of these sorts thoroughly ripened (such is not the case): A medium state is the best and surest. The cuttings of succulent plants, and, in fact, all fleshy plants, should lie exposed in an airy place for some time after being severed from their parent, that their juices may become dried; for, if put in in a fresh state, the ends of the cuttings soon turn black and rot, whereby the expectations of the propagator are frustrated. Of these, the cactus tribe are instances, as well as the milky tribe, such as the succulent euphorbias, all of which are full of milky juices.
The sized pots I have been in the habit of using as propagating pots, are those of five inches diameter, and three and a half deep. Over the hole in the bottom, I put a large piece of broken pot or oyster shell, over which I place some finely broken crocks about the size of peas, and on this I put a little rough soil or moss, then my compost, composed of two thirds peat and one third mellow loam, with a little sand to keep the soil porous, that all superabundant moisture may freely drain off. With these materials, I fill my pots to within an inch or so of the top, and this inch I fill up with fine silver sand; give all a gentle watering with a fine rose watering pot, when they are ready for my cuttings. If the pot is well drained, this preparation will answer for most sorts of cuttiugs; the sand on top retains just sufficient moisture for the well-being of the cuttings, and no more; and the soil below the sand furnishes nourishment to the roots as soon as they penetrate through the sand. The shallower cuttings are planted, if they are well fastened, the sooner and better will they root, and there is less danger of their rotting or damping off. From half an inch to an inch and a quarter may be considered a medium length to be inserted; for ericas, epa
crises, and all such fine-leaved, delicate kinds should not be planted any deeper than absolutely necessary; but there are other sorts which will require to be planted deeper.
After the cuttings are planted, and well fastened in the pots of sand, give a slight watering; place the bell-glasses over them; and let each be taken to their respective departments, -the stove kinds to a bark bed with a moist heat, and the greenhouse kinds to the front shelves in the greenhouse,taking care to shade them when the sun is powerful, and to wipe the bell-glasses dry every morning; if this is not attended to, the moisture accumulating on the sides of the glass will cause the cuttings to turn mouldy, and eventually die off, even after they have struck root. When the sand appears dry on top, give sufficient water in the morning to reach the bottom of the sand. From June to October, the greenhouse kinds may be plunged out of doors in a dry, shaded border, when any that remain without rooting must be taken to their former quarters. While plunged out of doors, they should be defended from heavy rains.
The sooner cuttings are potted off, after they are rooted, the better; let thumb-pots be used for this purpose, and, when potted and watered, let them be kept close for a time, till they get somewhat established, being careful that they are shaded regularly when necessary: if any of them are drawn up weakly, let their tops be pinched off, which will encourage them to push strong and bushy. Those of the stove kinds not struck must remain in the bark bed, and not be removed till rooted. Geraniums, verbenas, &c., may be struck in a warm border any time during the summer; but when a large stock is required, the best time is September. There is an erroneous opinion entertained by many gardeners that a plant can only be preserved for a few years by cuttings, and that it is only by such that a plant can be raised so as to be propagated successively for ages. For my part, if I get a plant to strike root and thrive, I would not have any dread of losing it afterwards.
Staten Island, N. Y., May 20, 1847.
Mr. Kennedy's article will be continued in our next number. It is unnecessary for us to say that his letters show him to be a perfect master of his professsion.--Ed.