Page images
PDF

46 FLORICULTURAL NOTICES.

Centeopo'oon Pastuo'sum. An extremely handsome Lobeliaceous plant has been received, with this title, at the nursery of Messrs. Rollisson, Tooting, from a continental establishment. It has been kept in a house with a temperature ranging between the stove and greenhouse, but will doubtless be found to endure the latter without detracting from its ornamental aspect, and may probably acquire additional vigour from it. When full-grown it appears to attain a height varying from a foot and a half to two feet and a half, the stems assuming a slightly flexuose character. The whole of the plant has a smooth shining appearance, if we except a trifling pubescence which is found on the petioles and extreme young shoots. The leaves are Usually about five or six inches long, of a lengthened ovate form, with a rounded base and an acute apex, and remotely toothed on the margins. Their fine green colour and lucid appearance are high recoirmendations. The flowers issue from the axils of the leaves, but are confined to the upper portion of the stem; and through their superior size, fine rose-colour, and immediate proximity to each other, they contribute a considerable amount of show. The corolla is tubular, curved, and somewhat flattened at the sides, with a two-lipped limb, the upper lip consisting of two convolutely reflexed segments, and the lower of three, two of which are falcate with their points approaching the intermediate one. It is a perennial plant, of an herbaceous or suffruticose habit, and as a large bush will be a conspicuous object.

Dendro'rium Kinqia'num. Several specimens of this neat little p'lant have been flowering for some time at the Hackney Nursery. The pseudo-bulbous stems are about four or five inches in length, closely clustered together in large masses, and have a broad base gradually tapering towards the top, which is surmounted by two*or three fine dark green oblong leaves. The flowerstalk springs from amongst the foliage, and supports a few small loosely arranged blossoms with pale purplish sepals and petals, and a lip beautifully marked with a sanguineous hue. It is a recent acquisition, and though not equal in size or beauty to many of its congeners, is, nevertheless, invested with considerable interest.

Epiphy'llum Ru'ckeri. This appellation has been given to a plant in the possession of Messrs. Rolhsson, of Tooting. It is, undoubtedly, nothing more than an improved variety of E. trunchtum, and exactly accords with that species in every respect except the colour of the flowers, which display a combination similar to those of Cereus speciosistimut—* rich violet merging into a fine crimson. We understand it has been in private collections for ten or twelve years, but not having come into the London market till lately, has only had a limited circulation. It has probably been obtained by fertilizing with some such species as Cereus replant.

Evria Profu'sa. We cannot claim a very showy character for this species, but there is a peculiar neatness and elegance about it, that is scarcely less interesting. The stem is in the form of a lengthened sphere, prettily striated, and on the upper part furnished with ample foliage of a pleasmg order. The blossoms are borne in racemes nine or ten inches long, and are exceedingly numerous, but minute, and yield a very agreeable fragrance. It is a product of Manilla, and has been flowering recently in the collection of S. Rucker, Esq., at Wandsworth.

Harrotha'mnus Purpu'rrus. This plant does not appear to answer expectation. In every instance that has come under our notice where flowers have been obtained at all, they have been insignificant in comparison with other organs,—a fault that meets with no compensation either in their quantity or colour. The latter is a pale, watery purple. A possibility remains, however, that it may eventually be somewhat improved, but we can hardly hope to see it attain a mediocrity of attractiveness. It has bloomed at Messrs. Rollisson's, and Messrs. Knight and Perry's establishments.

Phtsia'nthus Aorico'mus. The flowers of this beautiful stove-climber are so much like those of the Stephanotis ftoribunda, both in general contour and colour, that at first sight, if viewed apart from the plant, they might easily be mistaken for them. They are collected into tolerably large clusters, supported ou short peduncles which spring from the axils of the leaves. The diameter is about an inch and a half from the tip of one segment to the tip of the opposite one, but as these are considerably retlexed, thoy appear somewhat less. They yield a grateful fragrance, which is usually more powerful in the evening. When well managed it grows quickly, producing fine healthy stems clothed with leaves of an obovate form with an acute termination. The flowers are most profusely displayed during the autumn months, and individually last for a considerable period. At Mr. Knight's Nursery, a plant flowered a short time ago.

OPERATIONS FOR MARCH. 47

Rond&le'tia Specio'sa Major. Messrs. Henderson of Pine-apple Place have bloomed several plants of this superior variety. Its peculiarities are, larger flowers, with the segments broader and flatter, and produced in liner clusters. It possesses the same colour and freedom of blooming for which the primitive kind is so much admired. As an autumn and winter-flowering plant, it will be valuable.

OPERATIONS FOR MARCH.

Last month the efforts of the culturist were directed principally towards repressing the returning tendency manifested amongst house plants to resume an active state: in the present the general tenor of necessary operations denotes an essentially different aim. March is a month of preparation for growth, of gradually returning activity and vigour, and demands all the energies of the cultivator: consideration, promptitude, and perseverance, are alike indispensable, for without the full exercise of each and all, the whole after labours of the year may be nullified, and will certainly be deprived of a portion of their effect.

In illustration of these remarks, we need only adduce the fact that many plants require a full season to form and mature their growth, before any flowers are developed; and, if growth is delayed or checked after the proper period for excitation, or contracted through negligence in affording a sufficient proportion of nutriment, the inflorescence must be abridged in amount, or entirely prevented by the conclusion of the season, before the plants arrive at a condition capable of producing flowers; and plants that bloom in a much shorter period will rarely produce an equal quantity without a decrease in individual excellence, at any other than their legitimate time.

These preliminary observations bear directly on two of the great operations of March, potting and propagating. Before a plant receives any artificial stimulus, it is an axiom in culture that it be placed in a condition to support it vigorously. During the period of growth, moreover, a plant should ever be in a gradually progressive state; but when it has commenced to grow, and afterwards receives a check, in order to supply it with the means of continuing, a retrogression is made, and it is placed in a similar condition, if not worse, than at first Now most deciduous pot plants are benefited by an extensive renovation of earth in spring, and the same proceeding, but in a much more limited sense, is profitable to pot-evergreens. It must hence be obvious that a serious repression will be imposed on the development of shoots, if this work be postponed till long after the arousal of the plant from a state of quiescence. Potting, then, must be one of the first considerations ; but as all the plants will not be in an equally forward state, it is neither advantageous nor economical to go through this work promiscuously. Some plants will require it immediately, others may be safely deferred till near the end of the month ; consequently, a considerate cultivator will look over his collection from time to time, and select those which appear in the most immediate want.

The perusal of the pages of a former Volume, which contain a detailed account of the theory and practice of potting, and embrace all the modern improvements, may be beneficial at this time. We may here, also, repeat an oft-reiterated advice in the preparation of soil. That which includes a large proportion of stringy vegetable matter is invariably the most appropriate ; and to make it fit for the purpose, it should be cut with the spade into pieces of a few inches square, and afterwards reduced to the desired state by tearing it with the hand. This last is less material in the case of large plants than with small ones; but it should always be adopted for heaths, the finer New Holland Leguminouc, and other things with very tenuous, delicate roots.

As a general rule, young healthy plants are by far the most suitable to choose for making handsome specimens. Special circumspection should be bestowed on securing efficient drainage, and a regular circulation of fluid through the soil. This state can only be effectually attained by a particular attention to the texture of the soil used, which must, in all cases, be such as is free from the liability to run into a solid mass. Weakly or unhealthy plants will generally be benefited 48 OPERATIONS FOR MARCH.

by transplanting to a pot of smaller size; and large shifts must never be given to any except healthy specimens beginning to grow, and with good roots.

All those tender perennials, which were raised from cuttings in autumn, and have remained through the winter in the propagating-pans, should be potted off singly, or two or three in a pot, as circumstances dictate, in order that strong, healthy plants, may be furnished for the flowergarden in liny. We know that this matter is often necessarily deferred till April for want of room, and sometimes even altogether dispensed with ; but no one who has the ornamental condition of his garden in view through the summer months, will omit to avail himself of the advantages conferred by an early encouragement to grow. Plants preserved in the cutting-beds till they are required for the flower-garden seldom flower till August or September, and must be planted much closer, to enable them to cover the beds completely.

For the same reason, wherever an adequate stock of plants was not provided in autumn, or has been diminished by the casualties of winter, immediate resort must be had to propagation by cuttings to supply the deficiency. And if this is needful to a large extent, a frame or pit with a gentle bottom-heat should be set apart for the purpose. It is not, however, by any means a desirable plan to defer making a sufficient provision for the flower garden till spring, for the plants now reared are unable to attain the strength and hardihood of the autumn supply before they arc wanted for the beds.

The neglect of stopping the shoots of plants intended for the parterre is a very popular error. The chief object now ought to be to procure compact bushy plants, rather than long straggling ones. By this means a number of shoots will be ready to push forth immediately the plants take root in the soil, and it will ensure well covered beds, and a copious bloom, all other circumstances being favourable. The same practice must also be observed in the early spring with those pot plants that betray a rambling nature, or are too little inclined to branch laterally. And we may here insist on tho necessity for pruning away many of the twiggy growths of the preceding season at the time of the first spring potting, especially with deciduous species. If this is passed over, the shoots of the current year will be slender and imperfect, and if they produce flowers at all, they will be inferior to what might be obtained under more auspicious treatment.

This is a proper time for sowing the seeds of greenhouse and hardy perennials. Such things as Gloxinias, Thunbergias, Chinese Azaleas, &c, which ore very liable to "damp off" immediately after germination, should be eyed with a scrupulous watchfulness, and drying measures must be directly employed whenever an excess of humidity is thus pointed out This proceeding needs to be performed with caution, for a too rapid transition from wet to dry will act as bonefully as the evil itself. Annuals, moreover, may be sown, both for flowering early in the greenhouse, and for turning out into the beds. Balsams, Cockscombs, and similar things, may be sown in a stronger heat, and should be potted off very early, and kept in a worm pit or frame with a good bottom heat.

In the management of plant-houses and frames, moisture must still be cautiously awarded. If the weather be very dry and sunny, a slight syringing may be occasionally practised in the greenhouse, and will be necessary still oftener in the stove and orchidaceous house. In the greenhouse it should always, however, be done in the early port of the day; and both here and in the pits and frames any watering that may be required at the roots should also be given in the morning. The practice of continuing to throw wide the ventilators cannot be approved of now, as the plants aro beginning to grow and require more protection ; less air must consequently bo given, especially in koen windy weather. Indeed, we believe, that to the generality of New Holland plants a little extra warmth would be beneficial: in the case of many species it undoubtedly confers an improved appoarance.

Continue to employ every dovisable means for the effectual subversion of insects, for they will now multiply by myriads, and derogate the effect of the best system of culture, unless strenuous exertions are constantly made to preserve the mastery over them. Clear away all decayed leaves and weeds as they make their appearance; and when the weather is unfavourable for out-door work, let the outer surface of those pots that require it, be washed perfectly clean. Nothing enhances the effect of a collection of well-grown plants more than the maintenance of neatness, cleanliness, and order around them.

[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »