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branches long and slender, and entirely of a bright purple hue. The flowers of these expand the soonest by 10 or 14 days, the petals of the ray longer, often twice as long as the other, and the plant altogether makes a more gay and striking appearance. Indeed, a field of these, of from 5 to 10 acres, or even of one acre, viewed from an elevated distance, in the month of September, adds a very remarkable feature to the landscape.
Now it may be that these differences are those of a variety only, for so far as I can see, the specific character given by Linnæus, “H. fol. ovato. cordatis trinervüs," and even the recent one in Eaton's Manual, “Leaves 3-nerved, scabrous; lower ones heart-ovate; upper ones ovate, acuminate; petioles ciliate; root tuberous,"—will apply quite as well to one sort as to the other. Still if it be true, as is most probable, from its having been introduced into this country from that direction, that its native habitat is Texas, or Mexico, whilst the old one hails from Brazil, I shall continue to think, till the matter is settled by authority, that the new sort is also a new, or at least a different species.
As to the taste of hogs for them, it seems to be an acquired one, like that of men for oysters, or pickled olives. They almost always reject them at first, but after a while begin to relish, and then become ravenously fond of them,—turning up and pulverizing the soil to a great depth, in search of the smallest fragment.
There is a great difference of opinion as to their value in an economical point of view; some unhesitatingly pronouncing them a humbug, while others think they are destined to produce as important a change in our rural economy, as did the introduction of the root culture into England. For myself, I believe that, with judicious management, they may be made to reduce greatly the expense of raising pork—and that they would be well worth cultivating, were it only for their effect in renovating the soil.
Athens, Ga., Nov. 16, 1846.
Art. Vi. On the Cultivation of the Pelargonium, with a De
scription of Several New and Fine Seedlings. By EDWARD Beck, Esq., Worton Cottage, Isleworth, near London.
It is with much pleasure that we announce to our readers, that we have been able to secure the assistance of Edward Beck, Esq., one of the most successful amateur cultivators of the Pelargonium, as an occasional correspondent of our Magazine. Mr. Beck has been particularly successful in the production of new varieties of pelargoniums, and his seedlings of the last three years have annually carried off the first prizes, at the Exhibitions of the London Horticultural and Royal Botanic Societies of London, for this most beautiful but far too lightly prized flower by our amateur cultivators.
Mr. Beck has also been one of the most successful cultivators of roses in pots, which have recently been made objects for prizes by the London Horticultural Society, and his gardener, Mr. Dobson, obtained the highest prize for the best twelve varieties. But so wedded to the cultivation of the pelargonium is Mr. Beck, that he has offered his whole stock of roses, the finest collection in pots in the kingdom, for £50, and he states, to use his own words, that "I find if I am to be as successful as I desire, I must not undertake too much, or something will be neglected, so I make every thing subservient to pelargoniums. I grow some choice orchids, but they are, at times, shamefully neglected, though we often show them in my slate articles* very creditably, and now and then pick up a prize." This is the true way to acquire great results, for
* Mr. Beck is an extensive manufacturer of slate pots, which are finely adapted to large Camellias, oranges, &c., and they may be obtained at the annexed prices in London :
8. d. 12 inches square,
We hope some of our extensive cultivators will import a few and try them. We intend to do so. They are far better looking than the unsightly tubs generally seen.-Ed.
amateurs too often, with little time to devote to their gardens, and unwilling to incur great expense, grasp at too much, and too frequently have but little to show either creditable to themselves, or gratifying to their friends.
Last year, Mr. Beck raised about 3,000 seedlings, out of which he has kept, for a second year's trial, from twenty to thirty plants. Of every plant he keeps for trying a second season, he saves only two or three cuttings which he continues to grow; and these, when their merits are fully proved at the exhibitions of the second season, are propagated for a stock. Mr. Dobson, he informs us, has his stock “in wonderful condition, both seedlings, yearlings, and two years old. The latter I am particularly interested in, because there are some entirely novel points in their characters.” Another season, it is his intention to publish an illustrated catalogue, which shall exhibit the true characters of the flowers, the faults as well as the merits.
Mr. Beck is, strictly speaking, an amateur cultivator, but the fame of his seedlings spread far and wide, and there were so many applicants for his plants that he was induced to offer them for sale; and to such an extent has the demand been, that the past season, his orders exceeded in value three hundred pounds sterling, for young plants to be delivered in October. No better test is needed to show the great merit of his seedlings.
Pelargoniums, like many other plants of easy and rapid growth, which every body thinks there is no art in cultivating, are too frequently seen in any thing but the real condition in which skilful and judicious treatment will bring them; and the errors also lie as much in cultivating too highly as in not cultivating at all. The very large plants which are often exhibited, and which now continue to form highly attractive objects at the Horticultural Exhibitions, may be, and undoubtedly are, fine specimens of what art may accomplish, so far as growth, form of the plant and abundance of bloom are concerned; but the quality of the flowers is generally—w might say always—sacrificed to the luxuriant growth of such huge specimens. Witness what Mr. Beck writes us on this head :
“Let me, while on the subject of these plants, remark, that,
if you want to see fine flowers, the pots must be filled with roots, the foliage ceasing to be luxuriant previous to the bud's expanding; this throws the remaining vigor of the plant into the flowers, and then you will see them in their true characters on the two year old plants. I assure you very candidly, if my varieties had been shown by Mr. Cock only last season at our exhibitions, the flowers would have been entirely condemned, his plants were so fine, the bloom so bad. But happily our collection was always there to vindicate my judgment in sending them out. In no one instance last season, did I see my productions in their true character, all aiming at large specimens, had their plants growing when they should have been flowering, the foliage, in some cases, running over the bloom."
We do not, by any means, wish to condemn the practice of growing large plants; on the contrary, we have recommended it: but then we should not do so with kinds intended to show the delicacy of color, or excellent pencillings, which constitute the real beauty of the pelargonium. But large specimens form handsome show plants, always admired, and to fill up the tables of a Horticultural Exhibition, most prominent objects.
We trust our remarks, with the following hints on their cultivation by Mr. Beck, will have a tendency to redeem the pelargonium from the neglect to which amateurs seem to have consigned it. In England, the choice kinds command a rapid sale, as we have just seen, at prices rarely less than one pound, and from that to two pounds two shillings sterling per plant, exceeding even in value, taking into consideration its rapid propagation, almost any other plant. But with us, fifty cents is the standard price, while a camellia, or some other plant far less suited to parlor cultivation, commands quadruple that sum.
We would suggest to the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, the propriety of establishing prizes for the exhibition of the pelargonium, with a view to bring it into proper estimation : a series of prizes, on the principle of the London Horticultural Society, which has been highly advantageous to a just appreciation of its great merits, and at the same time given it a rank first among the amateur collections of plants. That plan is as follows :
Pelargoniums in collections of twelve new and first-rate varieties cultivated with superior skill, in eight-inch pots.. Gold Banksian medal, £7. Silver Gilt, £4. Certificate of excellence, £2 10s.
Pelargoniums, in collections of twelve varieties in eleven-inch pots. The same medals. [These are the large specimens.-Ed.]
Scarlet Pelargoniums, in six distinct varieties in pots not less than eleven inches in diameter, Silver Gilt medal, £4. Certificate of Excellence, £2 10s. Large Silver medal, £i 15s.
To be disqualified, if not really fine.
Some such arrangement, reducing the number of plants to sir in the place of twelve, if thought expedient, the better to accommodate amateurs, with one of the Society's, or one of the Appleton Gold medals, and two or three smaller prizes, would be the means of at once rescuing this flower from the commonality, if we may so use the word, into which it has of late fallen. May we not hope that our hints will be duly weighed before making up the list of prizes for 1847 ?
We now come to the directions of Mr. Beck for the full cultivation of the plants, as laid down in a small treatise published by him, but which, being now out of print, we publish, to save the author the labor of rewriting :
The following remarks upon the management of the pelargonium, are principally intended for the guidance of private growers; for the method of training adopted by exhibitors is not that which I think best calculated to make the finest display upon the home stage. It is requisite that plants intended for exhibition should have every truss carefully supported by a stick, or they would not bear the transit without considerable injury; this gives them a stiff, unnatural appearance, very different to that where Nature predominates over Art. Again, for exhibition, it is requisite that the flowers should be much closer to the foliage than is desirable in a private collection. If the accompanying directions are followed, the plants ought to be close and bushy until the end of April, when the flower-stalks should push boldly above the foliage, so that when the whole are in flower, the eye should rest on a rich varied sheet of bloom, unbroken by the disfigurement of the innumerable sticks so offensive at our great Metropolitan Shows. I have endeavored to give the colors accurately; but the tints are so varied, and called by such