The Cottage Gardener 9: 140-142 (Nov. 25, 1852)
HARDY AND HALF-HARDY BULBS.
ON the first appearance of THE COTTAGE GARDENER, I promised the Editor, in my haste, that if I could not serve him in any other way, I could "do" the bulbs for him. Ever since, I have found that promises to Editors are like marriage vows—if you once break them, you will probably be out at elbows to the end of this chapter. As if to prove all this, I have now on the table seven folio pages full of the names of hardy and half-hardy bulbs, alphabetically arranged, with their natural orders indicated, all culled, industriously, from the pages of our useful COTTAGE GARDENERS' DICTIONARY by a correspondent (S. S. S.) and I am to give, from the epitome condensed by my friend, Mr. Fish, in the pages of the Dictionary aforesaid, an extended view of their propagation and cultivation, in conformity with my hasty promise.
If I were to do this in a consecutive order, from week to week, and from Agapanthus to Zephyranthes, I should be called to account; therefore I shall only give a chapter on them now and then, when nothing else is more pressing.
To save repetitions, I shall observe at once, that the different soils for bulbs ought to be well exposed for some time before using, so as that all vegetable remains in the compost may be quite decayed, and well incorporated with the mass by frequent turnings; that most bulbs are much improved by soils far deeper than many good gardeners are aware of; that planting with a dibber is injurious to many delicate bulbs, unless good clean sand is used at the same time, and if it is, planting with a dibber is the best practice. The reason of this is, that the sides of a hole made by a dibber will fall heavy on the bulb after the first frost or heavy rain, or, if they stand, will be apt to hold water too long, or make more of it pass down over the bulb than would do so if all the soil over the bulb were free and loose. By making a comparatively large hole for the size of the bulb with a sharp-pointed stick, or dibber, and then putting in an inch or two inches of sand, then the bulb, after that by filling over the bulb, and all up the hole to the surface of the bed or border, with more sand, all the bad consequences of dibber-planting are got rid of, and a freer passage for the leaves through the column of sand is provided, and the sand, besides lying less heavily over the bulb, is not so apt to injure it as the soil is; besides, the wire-worms, and other grubs, which delight in the mischief they do to bulbs, do not like to work among sand, I suppose sharp silver or river sand tickles them too much to be pleasant. Add to this, that if the mark-stick or tally over the bulb is lost, you have only to scrape a little on the surface till you come to the top of the sand column, and then you are sure of the place.
Almost all greenhouse bulbs, particularly those of them which do not grow actively during our winter, may be grown in a border by the side of a wall, or other building, if they are planted six inches deep, and a slight protection is given from heavy rains and frost. A very small bulb will he able to push up its leaves six inches through a column of sand; and I have seen a Crocus, that was accidentally buried two feet deep in trenching a border, come up as vigorously in the leaf as if it were only four inches deep; and I have often seen the Crocus flower when the tube of the flower must have been a foot long, owing to the depth of the covering over the bulbs. On the whole, therefore, I shall lay it down as a rule, that all bulbs, whether hardy or otherwise, that grow to the size of an ordinary Crocus, may be planted six inches deep, if sand is placed all round them, and straight over them to the surface; and that four inches deep is the safest for such bulbs as do not grow to the size of a common Crocus; and that without sand, or very sandy soil, these depths are too much, although they may not show the bad effects for the first few years after planting.
I am rather ambitious that these papers on Bulbs should be as complete and useful as our present knowledge would warrant us to expect; therefore, if I omit anything, or say things that a reader does not comprehend—or if he knows, from actual experience, a better way than I shall point out—pray let him write directly, as soon as he reads each paper, and put what he means in as few words as possible.
AGAPANTHUS umbellatus, albidus, and variegatus, are three forms of the same beautiful plant—the blue African Lily. Some people believe that there are two more forms of it under cultivation, one much taller, and another considerably less than the common one. I cannot decide the point; but I believe the supposed difference arose from different modes of treatment—at least, I never saw any form of the blue one which could not be referred to the common sort. Albidus is not such a strong grower as umbellatus, and the flowers are of a bluish-white colour. It is a desirable variety, and so is the variegated one. There are no other bulbs that I am acquainted with, except some of the Asiatic great Crinums, which delight so much in our very strongest loams, fertilised by the richest manures, as the blue African Lily; and it will bloom and look green in a pot with soil that would stint an Aloe, provided abundance of water is given. I have known it to look well with the roots immersed in water for four months during the summer. It seeds freely with some gardeners, but is seldom increased that way, as it stoles, or makes side suckers so freely.
The most singular thing that I know of in the whole order of bulbs is, that this, a true evergreen, will flower yearly, for many years in succession, out in the open ground, after the leaves are destroyed every winter by frost: but of the fact itself I am quite sure, I never knew a frost under 7° injure the leaves, while 10° or 12° of frost will kill them outright. It makes a bold, fine-looking bed, and it is the most useful pot-plant we have to stand out in summer about the doors, or accompanying architectural works, or in terrace-gardens, as the leaves take no hurt with any wind, and the flower-stems are so stiff that a gale has no effect on them. It can be kept over the winter in pots, with less light and with harder treatment than any other bulb, and very little water will do for it from November to March. March or April is the best time to divide it for increase: but it may be divided any day from that time to October, if not all the year round. It is necessary to use a sharp spade for dividing it, for the roots are strong and much interlaced among each other. A small portion of roots will do with each division, and, in potting them, use strong, stiff loam and very rotten dung, leaving more room for watering than is usual with other plants, as it requires large supplies of water during the summer.
Agapanthus albiflorus is only a variety of the former, and of much less strength. It requires lighter soil, and more care in winter, but is not cultivated nearly so much as it deserves. There can be no question about getting new and useful varieties if the pollen of the blue one were applied to the flowers of this; but I never experimented on this family, and cannot say if this will ever seed.
Agapanthus variegatus also is scarce; but now that a taste for variegated plants is on the rise it will be more run after. Neither of the varieties make such free growth, or produce suckers like the old species; and both of them require lighter soil, and more careful treatment than the old species. I never heard if either could be trusted out-of-doors in winter; probably not. They belong to a section of the order Lilyworts, named after Hemerocallis, the day lily. The others best known of this section are the sweet tube rose, the beautiful Blandfordias, the splendid Tritomas, and the rigid New Zealand Flax Phorium tenax.
(See also Arnot's hardy Agapanthus)
ALBUCA.—This is a genus of South African Lilyworts, belonging to the section of Squills (Scillaceae), a section which abounds in beautiful bulbs, all of which cast their leaves when going to rest. The species of Albuca are numerous, and very ill defined; many of them come here with assortments of "Cape bulbs," but they are soon lost. The bulbs are generally small, light-coloured, and very tender-skinned; and the least mishap causes them to rot, as it does the Lachenalias, from the same country. Some of them are the very smallest bulbs at the Cape, and almost defy our attempts at growing them for any length of time; and others throw up stout flower-stalks, two or more feet high, with a crowd of little white flowers on the top. The most of them have white, or creamy-yellow flowers; but the whole family, like the Alliums, are more for botanic gardens than for general culture, and, what is singular, I believe they all dislike peat. Very sandy loam seems more favourable to them. I lost nine kinds of them in two years, by putting them in a peat bed, inside a cold frame. They came direct from the Cape in May, and that may have caused the failure, as all of them begin to grow late in the autumn.
We mentioned seventeen species of them in the Dictionary, but I much doubt if half that number could be bought in the trade. Albuca major, fragrans, aurea, and viridiflora, would give a good representation of the genus; but fragrans is very ticklish to keep. Pot-culture would suit them best; and the moment the leaves turn yellow, the bulbs should be turned out of the pots, and put on a shelf to dry in the sun for a few days, and then to be laid by in silver sand till the end of October. At potting-time, place sand round the bulbs, and do not water them till the leaves appear.
ALSTRÖMERIA, not Alstromaeria, as some spell it.—As far as we know, all the species of this genus of fine plants have tuberous or fascicled roots. All of them in our gardens live out the winter with little or no protection or, if they are grown in pots, they require abundance of air, and large supplies of water while in a growing state. They delight in deep, rich, light soil, well drained, except A. aurea, which will do in still, damp clay, as well as in common, rich, kitchen-garden soil. The species are exceedingly difficult to distinguish from varieties, as much so as Calceolarias; and from one peculiarity common to them all, they are liable to cross each other in a state of nature: hence the great confusion in the names. This peculiarity is in the style, or female organ, which never ripens for the pollen till all the pollen is dead and gone in the same flower; but as the flowers do not all open at the same time, the stigma of the foremost flower gets fertilized by the pollen of the next that opens; meantime, it is as likely as not that strange pollen may find access when more than one kind grow together.
Another genus, called Bomaria, is often confounded with Alströmeria; but the distinction between them is evident, without any knowledge of botanical points. All the Bomarias twine like hops, but none of the Alströmerias do. Some of my friends assert that they crossed Bomaria acutifolia with a species of Alströmeria; but, I am so acquainted with the ways of both, that I would as soon believe in the union of the man-in-the-moon with Diana of the Ephesians. Collania and Sphaerine, two genera of which we have no species in cultivation, intervene between Alströmeria and Bomaria; and, if any reliance can be placed on their characters, none of them would or could be crossed with either an Alströmeria or Bomaria. I am thus particular, because, sooner or later, both of them will be great favourites with the cross-breeder.
A. aurea, alias Aurantiaca (golden).—Native of the Island of Chiloe; flowers orange, streaked with red, on stalks three to four feet high; quite hardy in England; seeds freely, and increases by the roots as fast as Spear-grass. It ought to be as common as Poppies. I have had it four feet high in clay so stiff that it could not be dug without dipping the spade in water every other thrust; and I believe it would grow in a marsh, or at the edges of ponds or lakes. None of the family like dry chalky soil.
A. Cummingiana.—Named after Mr. Cumming, who first discovered it "on mountains near Valparaiso." It comes nearest to Hookeriana; flowers all the summer and down to November, in the open air, and is as hardy, apparently, as a Crocus, it planted six inches deep in rich loamy soil. The stalks are from ten to fifteen inches high, and the flowers of various colours—yellow, brown, and green, chiefly.
A. caryophyllaea (Clove-scented).—This is the proper name for the old A. ligtu, a stove plant, which requires light soil, and rest from October till March. It flowers soon after it begins to grow and as soon as the stems cease growing the plants should be removed into a greenhouse for the rest of the season; without this change it seldom flowers at all, and now it is very scarce. The flowers, crimson and white, are very handsome.
A. haemantha (Blood-coloured).—Notwithstanding the name, the colour of the flowers is not much different from that of aurea; but in the meadows near Antuco, in South Chili, it sports naturally into white, vermillion, yellow, orange, and lemon colours. It is also the mother of thirty or forty varieties, called Van Hout's Alströmerias; and all of them rest three or four months, from July, and they ought to be taken up every second year, as they bury themselves deeper and deeper at every growth. A tulip bed, or one for hyacinths, made after the old florist school, suits them best, and they should he abundantly watered after they throw up for flower, and they grow slowly from November through the winter, and, if they appear above ground early in the spring, they ought to have a slight protection.
A. Neillii.—Named after the late Dr. Neil, of Edinburgh, the best friend Scotch gardeners ever had. I am afraid this plant is lost; it was very difficult to manage. The flowers are of a very pink colour, with yellow blotches. I only saw one plant of this. It had all the appearance of being a genuine species, and wanted the twist in the leaf so common in the genus. Some of this species have been seen growing out of this clefts of the rocks, and this appears to me to be one of them.
The Cottage Gardener 9: 160-162 (Dec. 2, 1852)
HARDY AND HALF-HARDY BULBS.
Alströmeria Hookeriana, alias rosea.—This is a beautiful dwarf species, and one of the hardiest of them, keeps its leaves the whole winter in the open border, unless the winter is very hard; and if the tops get killed it is the first of them which is above ground in the spring. It will grow in the very richest kitchen-garden soil; but the front of a vinery, where the border is well drained, is the place it likes best. It is also a good pot-plant, as the leaves and flower-stems are more rigid than any of the rest—besides being dwarf, like pulchra. The colour is difficult to describe: rosea was a bad name for it, as one-half of the flower is not rose colour; the points of the petals are greenish, then rosy, the bottom of the upper or back petals are light and full of streaks and speckles, with a shade of yellow between the white and rosy parts. It will not cross with peregrina, psittacina, or aurea.
A. peregrina (the Foreigner).—This is the oldest of the genus under cultivation. It was gathered along with a few more of them by a Frenchman named Feuillet, who first introduced them. Linnaeus named them for the Frenchman, and founded the genus on peregrina, but, by a misprint, it is called "pelegrina," in Feuillet's book and in the Cottage Gardeners' Dictionary; also in every list of them, but one, that has appeared in the old or new world from that day to this. Dr. Herbert corrected the error, however, in 1837. Peregrina means a foreign lady," and it is evident that Linnaeus, who was fond of joking, gave a feminine termination to Baron Alströmer's name, purposely to suit peregrina. It is one of the best pot-plants among them, and is hardy enough to live in a border or cold pit, if the border is slightly covered during frost. There is a garden variety of it with white flowers, which does better in a pot, and Cumming found a greenish-white variety of it near Valparaiso; still it is not easy to get it to cross with others, and the white one does not always come true from seeds.
A. psittacina (Parrot-like).—This is the next tallest and hardiest after aurea, and will grow and flower in the open border in any good garden soil. The flowers are dull red, with green tips and black spots. This came out in 1829.
A. pulchella (Pretty).—Orange and red, approaching to scarlet. For many years this was considered a distinct species, and, as such, it was figured in all the Magazines; but now it must fall into Van Houtte's Ghent varieties along with another called Simsii or Simsiana. They are all from a common type—haemantha, and any one may run them into endless varieties. Since I wrote about haemantha (page 142), I have learned that M. Van Houtte denies a hybrid origin to his seedlings, but that he had them from wild seeds—which only proves that the seeds were gathered in South Chili, where Poeppig states that he found haemantha in meadows near Antuco, running into all shades of red, orange, lemon and white. Another, called pilosa in the "Botanical Register," is one of them. All these varieties make a gorgeous bed planted together, and are as easily managed as so many common tulips or hyacinths, only that the roots ought to be taken up every other year to prevent their going too deep in the bed.
A. pulchra (Fair) —This is the last in our enumeration of them; it was first figured in the Botanical Magazine. It is called tricolor, in Hooker's Exotic Flora, and Flos Martini, in the Botanical Register. Cumming found it near Valparaiso, and it appears to have a great range in Chili, according to the other travellers. When I was collecting the species, many years ago, I found two or three seedlings of this at Mr. Loddige's Nursery, at Hackney; they were a dirty white, with green tips, and not worth much, but proving how much they are given to sport. Tricolor is a better name than the true one, but it has four distinct colours, if not five—a white or light ground, streaked with purple, red and green tips, with a dash of yellow across the petals. It is quite as hardy as the rest of them, and is well adapted for pot-culture. I once had a beautiful bed of them, a circle, planted thus—a large mass of aurea in the centre, then a row of psittacina, round that haemantha, and some of pulchra, and peregrina, in one row, for want of a good stock of them, with a border of Hookeriana; this bed I afterwards turned into a basket-form, by planting a row of Bomarea acutifolia, and hirtella, or ovata, as some call it, quite round the sides; the bed was three feet deep, and nearly one-half of quite rotten leaf-mould, with a soft yellow loam. The two Bomareas grew ten to twelve feet in this, and were trained round and round, and at a height of eighteen inches, on sticks with a handle of hasel rod across, on which acutifolia was trained from both ends. This bed was much admired, but now, by using the best of the Ghent seedlings, along with aurea and psittacina in the middle, a splendid bed, of any shape, might be made much easier, and I can vouch for it, that if it was hedged with those twining Bomareas, planted also eighteen or thirty inches, so as to get a thick mass of them, they would much improve the bed, and be in character too, besides the novelty of the thing; for I am not aware of any one else having ever used them so. I may remark, that almost all the Alströmerias are natives of Chili, and that out of forty Bomareas described, none were found in the whole of Chili, but two species. The rest are natives of Peru, and northwards into Guatemala and Mexico.
Amaryllis.—Since this genus was Printed for the Cottage Gardeners' Dictionary, strange relations respecting it have appeared, which overthrow both Dr. Herbert's arrangements, and that by Dr. Lindley, in the Vegetable Kingdom. The greatest amount of practical knowledge on one side, and consummate philosophy on both sides, were not sufficient to bear the natural test of a true arrangement. In the Amaryllidaceae, the greatest point of difference by which Amaryllis, and other allied genera are kept asunder, is a solid flower-stalk, or a hollow one. So many genera have the flower-stalk hollow, or pipy, and so many the reverse. According to Dr. Herbert's ideas, a bulb with a solid flower-stalk or scape, could no more be crossed with one having the scape hollow, than with "an oak-tree."
In the Vegetable Kingdom, the true Amaryllids are also divided into two sections, the point of difference being the cup or coronet, peculiar to many of them, as the cup inside the flower of a Narcissus. All Amaryllids having this cup in the flower are in one division, and those of them wanting the cup in the other. Two very simple and convenient arrangements, but they are not natural, neither are the genera in them placed according to their natural affinity. In both, Amaryllis is placed far from Vallota, and in both, Vallota is kept much asunder from Brunsvigia, yet the three ought to stand side-by-side, and be followed by Cyrtanthus. Dr. Herbert could not cross one species of Brunsvigia (multiflora) with Amaryllis, therefore, he thought Brunsvigia might "yet be upheld." But in New South Wales, where all the Brunsvigias and Amaryllises cross freely, the cross seedlings from Brunsvigia multiflora are the most showy of all, as we might expect. The gentleman [Bidwill] who effected this cross with whom the plants first flowered in 1847, tells us (Gardeners' Chronicle, 1850, 470), that as many as from twenty to forty flowers were on a single scape, and that the "colour is generally like that of Passiflora kermesina." And at home I have put the union of Vallota, Cyrtanthus, and Brunsvigia Josephinae, beyond a doubt. If Dr. Herbert was alive, he would be the first to acknowledge the necessity for re-arranging of the genera afresh, and this explanation was necessary at the outset, in order to remove doubts that might naturally be entertained against such and such crosses as I shall suggest here and there in these papers on bulbs. I have no wish to change a single name; it is more convenient to hold on as we are, as we do with Azalea, Rhodora, and Rhododendron. All that I claim is, a fair hearing, because I have now no means of pushing such experiments myself.
Amaryllis Belladonna.—This is the best known of all the family; and whatever we may think of the soil in which it is found growing at the Cape, there is no doubt but it likes a good rich soil and an open air treatment in this country. I never saw it growing in a pot half so finely and so vigorously as it does in the open air. Miller's compost for it is as good as any that has been tried since; at two feet deep, after draining the border, he mixed a quantity of rotten dung; after that he put a foot of rich garden loam, planted his bulbs, and used a lighter soil on the top, the bulbs standing six inches deep. We have seen lately how beautifully they get it to flower at Claremont under similar treatment, and a change every sixth year. I have also seen it flowering well with the bulbs nearly out of the ground, in a very rich border. It increases fast from off-set bulbs, but does not seed freely, or but very seldom in this country. In Australia it seeds freely enough, and the cross seedlings from it there would be a great acquisition in this country, particularly the crosses from the pollen of Brunsvigia multiflora; and there is no reason why it should not sport there as Hippeastrum does here. Belladonnas, and all other bulbs which grow in winter and rest in summer should not be planted in mixed borders, nor where the roots of large trees or bushes can reach; the latter will suck away the goodness from the soil; and growing plants require water in summer; and these Amaryllises are better in the dry while they are at rest. There are two varieties, one of them paler; and the third species mentioned in the Dictionary, Blanda, is not in any public collection in this country, as far as I can learn. When I come to the other sections of the genus, I shall speak of the best mode of treating a whole collection of them; but, as they are now pushing out of the ground, I may remark generally, that they require air constantly, and large doses of water from the time the leaf is two inches long and if they are in pots it is better to water them from below by a saucer full of water, now and then, but not constantly; say as much as the soil can take up in a couple of days; then take away the saucer for ten days or a fortnight.
There is a scarce little bulb, called Cyrtanthus uniflorus, Gastrenama clavatum, and other names. It is a true Amaryllis, and so are all the Cyrtanthus Brunsvigias; and there is little doubt but Strumaria and Hessea are also true Amaryllises—at any rate they require the above treatment at this season, as well as all other half-hardy bulbs that grow in winter.
ANDROCYMBIUM.—There are three species of this little-known genus in our Dictionary, but they are not worth while for their beauty, only as botanical sections, or curiosities; that they require sometimes to illustrate lectures and so forth. Their flowers are small, and dull, greenish white.
ANISANTHUS (see Antholyza) from which Sweet divided them upon grounds not now recognised by botanists.
ANTHERICUM is on any list, but there are no bulbs in it, and therefore I shall pass it, although botanists make it a section of the lilies; at best they are only Asphodels.
The Cottage Gardener 9: 203-204 (Dec. 16, 1852)
HARDY AND HALF-HARDY BULBS.
ANTHOLYZA.—The species of Anizanthus are now referred to Antholyza by common consent, but there is no feature by which they can be distinguished from Gladiolus, except the fore-shortening of the front or lower petals, that part being, as the botanist says, abbreviated. Antholyza being almost united to Gladiolus, through this section having the lip abbreviated, it is immaterial whether we join Sweet's Anizanthus to Gladiolus—their true position—or to Antholyza, whose flowers are more Anizanthus-like than like Gladiolus flowers. I never heard if these two forms of Antholyza, or even the Anizanths, could be crossed with some of the nearest Gladioli, such as Watsonias tristis, and concolor.
The whole order of Irids, to which these plants belong, stands much in want of a thorough revision. Meantime, gardeners and amateurs might greatly assist in this reformation by instituting experiments, perhaps not so much for the purpose of increasing popular varieties, as to determine how far they will stand the test with the pollen. Try if Antholyza Ethiopica, cunonia, or splendens, will cross with any wild Gladiolus, or with any cross Gladiolus, that may have the flowers less regular than usual. Is it possible to cross Antholyza with Watsonia? Should these experiments fail, try them differently; let the species of Antholyza be first crossed with each other; Watsonia the same; and then see whether the crosses, or any of them, will unite the two genera, or fall back to Gladiolus through some one of its numerous crosses.
Antholyza AEthiopica, cunonia, and splendens, are the best three in this genus for the flower border, and they hardly ever refuse to grow in any kind of soil that is not too stiff. In pure, fresh peat they will luxuriate and produce abundance of fresh offset bulbs; the same in a deep, light, rich border of sandy loam and very rotten leaf mould; and they are more accommodating than the Ixias, for they may be planted any time from the end of September to the end of April. At the Cape, they would seem to be stilled in the hard brown coats and remains of the old bulbs, but that is the best condition for them to drain and throw off the wet from them, and with such natural guards they may remain for many years in a border without being disturbed. I have seen splendid examples of them in pots, in very rich, light soil, but not so good as I have seen them in an open border, being planted six inches deep, and supplied largely with water from the time the flower-stalks appeared.
Antholyza praealta.—This is the next best after the three scarlet ones, and, like them, it grows from two to three feet high. The flowers are orange with a tinge of red.
Antholyza montana.—This is comparatively a small plant for an Antholyza, and is much more like one of those curious species of Gladiolus one often sees from the Cape; and when we remember that it was through Gladiolus tristis, the oddest thing you ever saw, that Dr. Herbert laid the foundation of the beautiful races of them which we now so much admire, dare we assert what is "looming in the future" of this montana?
Antholyza quadrangularis is another anomaly in its way—indeed, it would take a clever botanist to say what it is; and after that a few touches of the pollen might prove that it was no such thing. The flowers are narrower and less shortened in front than those of cunonia or splendens, and the colour is that faintish yellow which few admire; but the plant is as strong and as easily managed as cunonia, or any of the more fashionable Gladioli.
BABIANA.—A common observer could not tell a Babiana from a Sparaxis, nor some of the latter from Ixias, and some species of Ixia run so close to Tritonia that, without knowing the ''private mark," no man could know the one from the other. The colour, size, or texture of the seeds is no criterion of generic differences among these Ixia-like plants. The insertion of the stamens, here or there, in the flower would carry the same weight with a pollen master. Versatile anthers, smooth or jagged spathes, and other marks of distinction, have been useful enough hitherto as "private marks" for telling present arrangement; but sooner or later the whole must be laid aside, and a reconstruction of Ixias be made; therefore, cross all the species as if they were in one genus already,—if they do not mix, that is no sign of a natural difference, and if they do, it will prove useful in two ways—an improvement in the garden varieties, and a check on the labours of the systematist. All the Babianas are quite dwarf plants, and more fitted for pot-culture than out-of-doors. They prefer sandy peat when confined in pots, but out in a border they will do without a particle of peat, if the soil is very light. Four inches is deep enough for the bulbs, and if a handful of clean sand is put round half-a-dozen of the little bulbs in a patch, they may remain undisturbed for several years. Whether in pots or in a border, they ought to be planted early in October, and not to receive more than the first watering at potting time until the leaves are well up above the ground; and there is not a plant in the whole order (Irids) that likes to be without a free admission of air during every period of its growth. There is about a score of species in this genus, but their culture being so uniform, I shall not waste space with separate accounts of them. Under Sparaxis I shall show a good way of growing a collection of such bulbs in the open air.
BARNARDIA SCILLOIDES.—This is a small, half-hardy bulb from China, with purplish small flowers. I think it was introduced by the Horticultural Society; at any rate, I recollect it as among the earliest plants that Dr. Lindley named on his own account. A figure of it first appeared in the Botanical Register in December, just twenty-six years ago, when I was at Altyre, and the late Lady Gordon Cumming sent for it at once. It did not seem to like pot-culture, and I have not seen or heard much about it these twenty years; but if it is in cultivation it is well worth having, as few bulbs of its small size flower at the same time—the height of summer. A light, sandy soil will suit it best; and if grown in a pot, the bulb ought to be freed from the soil as soon as it rests, and be kept in sand in a dry place; it might be so kept all the winter, and planted early in February.
BEATONIA ATRATA, curvata, and purpurea.—These are small Mexican bulbs, that are very nearly hardy. Purpurea, on which the genus was founded by Dr. Herbert, was discovered in Mexico, by Galeoti, growing along with the Jacobaea Lily, Sprekelia formosissima. All three refuse to grow in peat, and prefer a good, loamy soil, made light with sand; they grow and bloom during the summer, and require to be kept dry from October till March. I believe the whole stock of them in the country were in Dr. Herbert's collection when it was dispersed and that they are now very scarce. Naturally they are intermediate between Tigridia and Cypella, among the Irids. There is another fine Tigridia-looking bulb, growing on the top of the mountain San Felipe, in Oaxaca, in Mexico, which is not yet introduced, I believe; but it would repay a diligent search, and the range is not far out of the route from Vera Cruz to the city of Mexico.
BESSEAR ELEGANS, fistulosa, and Herbertii.—These are also small Mexican bulbs, very pretty, and all but hardy. Fistulosum was figured in the Botanical Register, some twenty years since, from a plant flowered by Dr. Herbert, who called the genus Pharium; but it was pre-occupied by Schultes, and Pharium is now cancelled. Herbertii is among the newest of our Mexican bulbs. Elegans is the best of the three; the flowers are drooping from the top of the stalk, of a rich orange-crimson, and red stamens, They require exactly the same treatment as the Beatonias; but their affinity is with the Barnardia mentioned above, being Lilyworts, of the Squill section.
BLANDFORDIA.—If Anthericums were as gay and varied as Alströmerias, Blandfordias, and Bomareas, they would be equally entitled to a place in our series, for, properly speaking, none of them are bulbs, or corms either; but strangers and all who care little about looking under the surface of things, need not mind the roots when the flowers are gay, and look as if they were produced from real bulbs. Blandfordias, with all the aspect of bulbs, are, in reality, only herbaceous plants; their constitution is much stronger and hardier than their outward looks would indicate; indeed, no one who can flower a good Hyacinth three seasons running, need fear trying any of the Blandfordias without having more convenience for pot-bulbs than would serve to grow Hyacinths well. Blandfordias are from Australia; they belong to the order of Lilies, and to the section of Day Lilies in that order; and the nearest plants to them in that section are the Tritomas, from the Cape of Good Hope.
Almost all who like to grow the most showy herbaceous plants know Tritoma uvaria and media. A young plant of Tritoma media would look much like an old established plant of Blandfordia; orange, crimson, and scarlet, mix in the flowers of both; both are increased from side suckers taken off in the spring, and some of the Blandfordias seed freely, but Tritomas do not seed.
I am not aware of any family of plants that have been yet tried by the cross-breeder, from which better plants for the mixed choice border could be expected than this and Tritoma; and, notwithstanding the difference in their flowers, I can see nothing in them to debar their union; get a cross between the old Blandfordia nobilis and Tritoma uvaria, and if it comes intermediate between the two parents, raising nobilis higher in the world, and reducing uvaria to the dimensions of all ordinary border-flower, where, among all the herbaceous plants, can such another gem be looked for? There is one thing, and one only, which is proved by cross-breeding, and that is, that if the pollen of a hardy plant, like Tritoma uvaria, is dusted on a less hardy one, as Blandfordia, the offspring would take after the hardier parent in constitution, therefore Tritoma should be the pollen parent. I shall never believe that these may not be crossed together, till all we know of the means of effecting a difficult cross are exhausted.
Blandfordia nobilis.— It was on this species that the genus was founded in 1803. A strong plant of it will throw up a central flower-scape two feet high, bearing a cluster of drooping flowers on the top, the colour being a rich orange-red. It seeds freely, and the seeds ought to be sown the same day they are gathered; but they will keep for months. Good yellow loam, two parts, and one-part of turfy-peat, with a little leaf mould and sand, is the right compost for full-grown plants; for younger stages, reverse the proportions of loam and peat, and leave out the leaf mould. But to see this plant in perfection, it ought to be grown out in the open air, in a deep rich border, three summers running, and to be taken up in October, and kept half-dry through the winter, or, what would be far better, to be left in the border, keeping frost and heavy rains front it in winter. All the other species have much of the family appearance; and after you know one of them, you would find little difficulty its recognising any of the genus—orange, crimson, and flame-colour, being the prevailing colours. There is a new and tall species that was little known at the time the genus was printed for THE COTTAGE GARDENERS' DICTIONARY. It was introduced by Mr. Low, of Clapton, with whom I saw it last October, and others of the same genus; the name is Flamea, or flame-colour, and they say it grows from three to four feet high, and is easily kept and increased. I linger for opportunity to try a crossing in this beautiful genus.
The Cottage Gardener 9: 240-242 (Dec. 30, 1852)
HARDY AND HALF-HARDY BULBS.
ANOMATHECA CRUENTA (Blood-coloured).—Of all the small bulbs from the Cape of Good Hope this is the easiest to manage and to increase, and it holds in bloom longer than any other bulb belonging to the Irids with which we are acquainted. From November to March or April, it may he laid by in a drawer in a paper bag, and if it is then potted in peat, or any light sandy soil, it will soon sprout and be ready to turn out into a south border, in patches, or as an edging, in May, where it will soon be in flower; and if the seed pods are destroyed as fast as they are formed, the roots will keep on flowering till the frost puts a stop to them. It seeds as freely as oats or barley. February is the best time to sow them in peat—you may sow them "as thick as hail," and in May turn out the ball and divide it into four or six pieces, planting each piece separately in the open border, and by the end of July they are in bloom. I have seen it come up in the borders, from self-sown seeds, as thick as grass. No frost will hurt the seeds, but I am not sure how much frost the bulbs will endure. If there was a good demand for it, there is no reason why it should not be increased so that it could be sold as cheaply as snow drops.
ANOMATHECA JUNCEA (Rush-leaved).—This is not a very desirable species and I question very much whether it is an Anomatheca at all. I have known so many mistakes about bulbs, that I have very little faith in the characters on which they establish genera; yet the genus was founded on this very plant, which is quite a dwarf, with a rather delicate bulb and small lilac-coloured flowers. It must be grown in a pot and in good turfy pest with a sixth part of sand.
BOMAREA.—Beautiful as most of the Alströmerias certainly are, we know none of them, either in cultivation, or by dried specimens, that can at all vie in beauty and stateliness with some of the Bomareas, of which shoot fifty species, and many wild varieties, have been figured and described, although we have hardly half-a-dozen of them yet in cultivation, and none of these even second-rate, except Acutifolia, from Mexico. About a dozen years back, Mr. Pentland brought over three sorts of them from different situations near Cusco; but that seems to be too far south for much beauty in this genus: the best sorts being in a belt of country in Peru, a few degrees on either side of the line. I never heard the history of the large collection which Hartweg sent to the Horticultural Society, and which were lost at Carthagena; but, from the point where he crossed the Andes, and from the higher sources of the Magdalena, he must have met with some of them. Mr. Veitch has others gathered by Mr. Lobb; but hitherto they have flowered in winter, and not to Mr. Veitch's mind: and no doubt, as his name is up for the best new things, he will not risk the chance of giving disappointment, so he proves his things before he lets them out of his hands. If his Bomareas are really winter-flowering plants by nature, they will not do here, as they, all of them, ought to flower in the open air, and in dry weather, else their delicate tints are gone. After describing what few of them we have in cultivation, I shall give the names and localities of some of the best and most desirable to procure, in the hope that some one will lay a train by which to get them down from the mountains to some ports in Peru, and thence home by the Panama route. In Chili they call the whole tribe, Flos Martini, "St. Martin's Flower." Perhaps the same in Peru, and if so, that would be a hint to any of the natives for looking after them.
BOMAREA ACUTIFOLIA.—This is the best of those we have in cultivation. In good, rich soil it twines up ten to twelve or fifteen feet, and flowers in drooping clusters from the ends of the shoots. When the young shoots are about six inches long, in the spring, if the tops are broken off, they will branch better, rise less high, and flower more abundantly. The flowers are nearly scarlet. It ripens seeds freely when trained against a wall, but the plants do not always come true from seeds: all the variations that I have seen are inferior to the species. The simplest way to train all of them is to drive a nail at the bottom of a wall, and to fasten a string or wire to it, fastening it again at the height of eight or ten feet, and if it gets but one turn round the bottom of this it will train itself for the rest of the journey; and if it is a mild season it will keep green to Christmas. It will not cross with any Alströmeria.
BOMAREA EDULIS.—The accent is on the U, but half the world put the stress on E. This is a West Indian stove plant, a native of St. Domingo. In the Botanical Magazine, and some other works, it is called Alströmeria salsilla, a very different plant from Chili. The flowers are middle-sized, chiefly red, and the leaves are quite smooth. It is a scarce plant now.
BOMAREA HIRTELLA.—This is the second best species in cultivation, a native of Mexico. The sepals are red, and the petals greenish, dotted all over with red dots; it does not run so much as Acutifolia, but it is more hardy, growing up to a stake in the common shrubbery, as I saw it last October, and in flower, near Oxford, in the beautiful garden of the Rev. J. Lys. It seeds against a wall, but will not cross with Acutifolia, from the same country. It was first named by Sweet, and figured in his British Flower Garden. After that it was called Ovata in the Botanical Magazine; but Ovata is a nonentity, and must be expunged from our Dictionary. It goes to rest earlier, and rises later in the spring than Acutifolia; these are the two that would twine round for an edging to a bed of Alströmeria.
BOMAREA SALSILLA.—This is a Chilian species, and one of the oldest, being the third species which Feuillet brought to France, Peregrina and Ligtu being the others; but, by a strange oversight in the Botanical Magazine, Ligtu and Salsilla, out-door plants, were confounded with Edulis and Alströmeria caryophylloides, which are stove plants, and the error is handed down to this day in some collections. Salsilla is a very scarce plant; the flowers are purplish-red, the two back petals having a black spot at the bottom, and the lower petal a light spot. Like Acutifolia, it does not always come true from seeds.
BOMAREA SIMPLEX.—There are three varieties of this with reddish-pink flowers. They are Mr. Pentland's plants from Cusco, and they flowered out-of-doors, against a greenhouse, with Dr. Herbert, at Spofforth, in Yorkshire, but what became of them when his collection was dispersed I never ascertained. These are all the Bomareas that I know of in cultivation. Matthews, Tweedie, and Col. Hall, are our chief authorities for the best not yet introduced, of which the following are the chief:—
B. superba. Flowers large, orange and red, twelve in a head, and each flower nearly two inches long. Peru.
B. crinita. Flowers orange and red, on footstalks as long as those of Cobaea scandens, setting the flowers widely apart; they are longer and larger than those of superba, and ten in a head. It must be a magnificent thing. Peru.
B. crocea. This is figured in the Flora Peruviana, from " Chumpulla in the Peruvian province of Panama." It is saffron-coloured, and grows eighteen feet high.
B. pardina. Twenty large flowers on short stalks, making a superb head of yellow or orange flowers, spotted like a leopard, found by Col. Hall at a place called Patacocha, "on the western declivities of the Andes, at an elevation of 6000 feet." A splendid thing.
B. Patacocensis. "Another magnificent plant," from the same locality as the last; flowers reddish-yellow, and thirty or more of them in a crowded heed.
B. lutea. Flowers bright yellow (Col. Hall), by the road to Mindo, at an elevation of 9000 feet, "on the western declivity."
B. formosissima. Figured in the Flora Peruviana; flowers large, purplish-red and yellow, the petals richly spotted, and as many as eighty flowers have been counted in one head! It grows from ten to twelve feet high, "in woods near Munna."
B. Hookeriana. Petals deep orange; sepals red; one hundred flowers in one head! and leaves six inches long. From the province of Chacapozas, in Peru.
B. densiflora. In habit and colour like Acutifolia, and with nearly as many flowers as Hookeriana, and from the same locality.
Now, to say nothing of some most beautiful Alströmerias and Collanias that might be met with, and fifty more plants equally beautiful, that we know of only from dried specimens, these Bomareas themselves would pay a spirited nurseryman to send out a clever man on purpose for them. Every one of them would outlive the winter with slight protection, or, what is just as likely, without any protection whatever. Their very names are circulated to-day for the first time among British, or even European gardeners, and how can we push for things we know nothing about.
BRAVOA GEMINIFLORA (Flowering-at-the-joints). This is a small bulb, and in looks is the nearest to an Ixia of all the Amaryllids. The bulb is solid like that of a crocus, and about the same size. From among its Ixia-like leaves, it throws up a jointed flower-scape, nine or ten inches long, flowering all the way up, two flowers at every joint, of the same shape and colour as the flower of Watsonia meriana, a dull red-tubed flower, but not more than a sixth part of the size. It is a native of Mexico, where it takes a wide range. Galeottu found it growing with Sprekelia formosissima. I had it from him, and I flowered and seeded it in an open border. It goes to rest all the winter, and will grow in any light soil. It does not appear to do well in a pot. I never see this plant without its reminding me of an item in the invoice sent with it— £48 for a stupid mule, which made a false step, pulled a huge Cactus out of a gorge, tumbled over a precipice, and broke his neck, yet the brute may be alive to this day for ought that I know. The British Consul in Mexico at the time could tell the tale better than I can.
BRODIAEA CALIFORNICA.—This is a true Lilywort, and is hexandrous, or six-stamend, notwithstanding the views of Decandolle, which are followed in our Dictionary; the old genus has been split many years, and the species with three barren stamens are now called Leucocoryne. The present species is the newest of them. It was sent to the Horticultural Society, in 1848, by Mr. Hartweg, from "the mountains and plains of the Sacramento, where it is scarce." It is a very desirable hardy bulb, with pale-blue flowers, having a dark line up the centre of each petal and sepal. It propagates itself readily by offset bulbs from the old one, and it flowers in any good garden soil from July to October; but the great value of this plant is for improving the other species, on the supposition that it will cross with any of them. The Chilian section, called Leucocoryne, are the most difficult to keep, to flower, or to increase, of all the half-hardy bulbs. One of them, which I shall mention in its proper place, is so like this one, in flower, and both are so like grandiflora, except in the relative size of the parts, that one can hardly believe they would refuse to cross. The constitution of this plant must be very similar to that of the Chilian species, judging from the nature of the two localities.
BRODIAEA CONGESTA.—This is a North American species from the southern states, and may require, like grandiflora, some protection in hard frost, as does the Atamasco lily, from the same parts. This has a light blue flower, but is more dwarfish, and smaller in all its parts than grandiflora. The three are not well adapted for pot culture, owing to their way of growth, like the Ixiolirions of Syria, and our own Squills. These, their allies from America, look better in borders, and are less liable to mishaps there than in pots. For a man to be able to grow a good collection of bulbs in pots, he would require to find out a part of the world where no one could get at him from one year's end to another.
BRODIAEA GRANDIFLORA.—Notwithstanding the name, this flower is not quite so large, nor of such strong substance as B. Californica. In other respects it is much like it, and it is equally hardy, and flowers in summer. They all rest in the winter, and prefer a light, deep sandy-soil, if it is fresh, and if not, leaf mould is the dressing for them. In very hard weather the border should be covered with saw-dust, tan, or coal ashes, and, what is of much more consequence, means should be at hand to throw off the wet. Much wet is more injurious to half-hardy bulbs than cold and frost when the soil is dry, and placing clean sand about them is the best preventive.
BRUNSVIGIA.—All the true Brunsvigias form a very natural section of Amaryllis, with which they are now known to interbreed, establishing identity of kind. They have all very large oval bulbs with a short neck; their leaves are very broad and recumbent, or lying flat. They all flower in the autumn, after resting three or four mouths, and before the leaves come, and all of them grow with us from October till May. Amocharis falcata, the Brunsvigia falcata of our Dictionary, and of others, differs essentially from the true Brunsvigias—in resting four or five months in winter, and in not flowering until the leaves are full-grown. Our Brunsvigia ciliaris, disticha, and toxicaria, belong to a very different section, if not a true genus, called Buphane; and Brunsvigia coranica of our Dictionary is an Amocharis, and cannot be determined from A. falcata, unless the two were in flower together. Coranica is figured in the Botanical Register, and called an Amaryllis, which is very probable; but the fact has not been yet proved; at least not to our satisfaction. Buphane can hardly be an Amaryllis yet we have seen so many barriers of generic distinctions broken down in these plants, that the wisest cannot say with certainty which is, and which is not, a proper limit to the genus, in the absence of natural experiments in crossing them. Therefore, in treating on all the species under Brunsvigia, as they stand in the Dictionary, I shall notice their sections within brackets, and explain their cultivation separately under each species.
The Cottage Gardener 9: 260-260 (Jan. 6, 1853)
HARDY AND HALF-HARDY BULBS.
BRUNSVIGIA (BUPHANE) CILIARIS.—This, with distycha and toxicaria, forms a distinct section of Brunsvigia, and they are much more difficult to flower and to keep in good health than B. Josephinae, B. grandiflora, and B. multiflora, the true Candelabra plants of the Cape. This species was found growing in strong clay, along with species of Mesembryanthemum, and a strong yellow rough loam with a little sand suits it best in a pot. Good drainage and small deep pots, in proportion to the bulbs, with the soil pressed close together and to the bulbs, are all necessary points for this plant in particular. The pots called upright 24's, or upright 16's, must be used for most of the imported bulbs of this and of B. distycha. If this bulb is received from the Cape in the summer, or at any time after the end of February, without any signs of growth in it, the grand secret is not to pot it until the end of the following August. In the mean time it should lie in the sun, with free air, and be kept as dry as possible, and be turned round and round, and every time the white bugs looked for and destroyed, which come over in myriads with all large bulbs from the Cape. If the bulbs stand half-an-inch from the pot at the widest part it is enough and after once any of these large bulbs make healthy roots and leaves, they should never be disturbed again until they break the pot with extended growth. After potting, give one good watering from below by means of a saucer, and the moment you see the surface of the soil turning damp remove the saucer, and that watering should last all through September. Early in October the bulb ought to be in leaf; but if it should not come into leaf till Christmas, no heat should be applied, nor any kind of forcing, and from the moment the leaf can be seen, the bulb should have as much air as if it was out-of-doors; and if actual frost is kept from it no cold will affect it during the winter, and very little water will do for it till the middle of February. Then increase the watering by degrees, and if a sunny month, the bulbs may have water every other day until near the end of April, and by the end of May it should be at rest, and receive a dry and hot rest till the end of August or middle of September, when the flower scape ought to give the first indications of life and motion. The flowers are pinkish, and come in large heads like those of Agapanthus; and a strong bulb in Africa will have as many as 230 flowers in one head.
BRUNSVIGIA (AMOCHARIS) CORANICA. This large bulb must be kept quite dry from October to the end of March; then to be potted in the same kind of soil and in the same way as the last. The natural heat of that season is quite enough, for it is in a greenhouse or cold pit until about Midsummer. An old-established bulb might stand constantly in a saucer of water from the middle of May, but to have no more water than would just cover the bottom of the pot. When the leaves are full grown in June the pot should be plunged to the rim in a brisk bottom-heat of 85º, and a strong current of air allowed day and night. Without this it does not throw up the flower scape; when this appears, and is four or five inches high, bottom-heat should cease, and the constant moisture at the bottom be renewed until the flowers begin to open in the greenhouse. After that give no more water than will keep the leaves fresh until they begin to change colour. It' the bulb should not flower, keep it in the bottom-heat until the leaves die down.
BRUNSVIGIA (BUPHANE) DISTYCHA.—This is one of the largest of all the Cape bulbs, and is readily known by its dark skin. It is a darker looking bulb than any from the Cape but it seldom comes in those boxes the traders make up for speculation, probably because it grows beyond the range of their gathering. It requires exactly the same treatment as Ciliaris.
BRUNSVIGIA (AMOCHARIS) FALCATA.—It does not matter whether we take this or Coranica as the species, the other is only a little variation from it. If a very old bulb of one of them were to flower at the same time with a very young bulb of the other, one might find a slight difference in the shades of the flower, but that is all. The misfortune of these bulbs is, that their cultivation was so little understood at first that few could flower them; so that one botanist seldom had an opportunity of examining more than one or two species; and each succeeding botanist had a different notion about the points that distinguish one species from another, and the result is, that not the slightest reliance can be placed on all that has been written botanically on Amaryllids from the days of Linnaeus.
BRUNSVIGIA GRANDIFLORA.—This is the next largest bulb, and a true Brunsvigia, flowering before the leaf in September or October, after resting all the summer, and growing with us during the winter and spring like a Hyacinth. The same treatment we give to our best Hyacinths will just suit it. If it were shut up close in a cold frame for ten days, before the end of January, it would not recover itself that season it is much more impatient of want of air than Josephinae. I had a native specimen of the flowers of this bulb gathered within tide-mark, or, at least, very near the sea, in Table Bay; and the naval officer who gathered it was confident that the roots must have been often in salt water. There were forty-two flowers in the umbel, and each flower stalk was a foot long, and probably more before drying. There is not much difference in the flowers of this and of Josephinae. They are a dull-red colour chiefly; and after all the talk we make about them, they are not very showy or gay, but only curious. Multiflora is of a much brighter colour; and that of Amocaris falcata is gayer than either of them.
BRUNSVIGIA JOSEPHINAE.—This is the easiest to flower of them all, and the easiest to keep. A smart frost has no effect on the leaves. I had common pot Geraniums killed, roots and all, within a foot of it in a border, without any had effects either on its broad, recumbent leaves, or on the neck of the bulb, which was up to the surface. There are two or three varieties of it, unless they arise from the difference in the age of the bulbs. One of them is certainly more streaked with minute dark lines in the flower. Any attempt at forcing this bulb deranges it for twelve months. The pot cannot be too small for it, if the bulb can be got inside of it, and a good depth for the roots; the bulb is just as safe if only one-third in the ground; and it never wants a change till it splits the pot, like a strong Crinum. I have seen it with only fifteen flowers on a scape, but generally there are from twenty to thirty, and they spread out candelabra-fashion, quite as much as those of B. grandiflora.
BRUNSVIGIA LUCIDA.—This name must be expunged from the genus, the plant it is applied to being a true Nerine. It was by a mistake in Dr. Herbert's Appendix that it got into this genus. He, however, made the correction in his Amaryllidaceae. It suffices here, therefore, to say, that it must be kept growing all the winter in a low temperature, and with abundance of air. Strong, friable, yellow loam suits all this race.
BRUNSVIGIA MARGINATA.—This bulb is totally lost to us. It was found by Masson on the west coast on this side of the Cape, and is figured by Jacquin; but as it is supposed to be the only link by which Amaryllis can be united to Nerine, through Brunsvigia, I shall describe it, in the hope that some one journeying from Cape Town to the Orange River may fall in with it. Any one the least acquainted with plants may know it. The leaves are about three inches wide, and four long, when the flower scape appears; and there is a red tinge all round the edges of the leaves, which no other African bulb represents. On squeezing the leaf between the fingers it has a disagreeable smell. The flowers are a little waxy, and not quite scarlet. Any one who could get this bulb and carry it to Sidney, would open a sluice which would drown one-half of our bulb botanists, and would very nearly place the beautiful Amaryllis on the same footing which Linnaeus gave it.
BRUNSVIGIA MINOR is only a dwarf variety of Josephinae, if even that.
BRUNSVIGIA MULTIFLORA.—A true Brunsvigia, and the best of them, but was mismanaged for more than twenty years, through Mr. Sweet saying that it was a stove plant, in the first number of "The Gardener's Magazine." He said it was like Haemanthus multiflorus, but they were then (1826) in such confusion that we hardly knew which he meant. But these multifloras, however, will live out-of-doors with a very slight protection, and Sweet never could have written that from his own practice, for heat soon spoils them. It requires exactly the same treatment as B. Josephinae, B. grandiflora, B. ciliaris, and is the best of them for crossing with Belladonna on one side, or with Valotta and Nerine venusta on the other. A triple cross from the three last would make the finest genus of all that we know of in Amaryllids; but we want the connecting link (B. marginata) before Nerine will breed with any of them.
BRUNSVIGIA RADULA.—A small bulb, also from the west coast on this side the Cape, of which we know nothing beyond Jacquin's figure. Like B. marginata, it comes near to Nerine. Thus it would seem that the intermediate link which is wanting to connect Amaryllis to Nerine inhabits a zone on the north-west limits of the genus in Africa, where no botanical collector visited since Masson.
BRUNSVIGIA STRIATA.—This is either a variety of B. multiflora, with the flowers more streaked, or a nonentity.
BRUNSVIGIA (BUPHANE) TOXICARIA.—This, like all Buphanes, has the flowers much crowded in the head. They are smaller and more erect than in the true Brunsvigia, but the same kind of culture and soil will suit them. A strong, friable, yellow loam, pressed hard, and with good drainage, is best. One accustomed to Cape bulbs could pick out B. toxicaria at first sight, from the light brown colour, and the long shape of the bulb. An upright hyacinth-pot is sufficiently long for a full-grown bulb of it. The least touch, or cut, to any part of the living substance will cause it to bleed a thick creamy substance, which is said to be poisonous, and which, I know, will stain linen badly.
The best of all these is Brunsvigia multiflora and Amocharis falcata, and then B. grandiflora, and the fourth, B. Josephinae; and except it be for experiments, these four are all that are worth growing of the very large Cape bulbs. B. ciliaris, if well grown, would look well, or rather interesting, from the great quantity of flowers in one head. None of them are worth crossing in England, except to prove how far the limits of Amaryllis extend, because seedling bulbs of them take half a lifetime to flower; but in Australia, New Zealand, the south of China, Natal, or Valparaiso, and such places of similar climate, they are, of all other bulbs, the most promising.
Under Cyrtanthus, which is another section of Amaryllis, I shall point out the cause why crosses in many of these sections have failed in Australia. Alter getting through all this bulbs, I shall point out classes of them which will do to grow together in different ways. Meantime, two corrections have reached me already, for which I am very thankful. I said that none of the Collanias were introduced; they are Alströmeria-looking plants, with a growth exactly like the common Fritillarias of our own meadows, all upright rigid stalk, the top of which bends over, from which a cluster of flowers hangs down. Collania dulcis, flowered at Spofforth, and was figured in "The Botanical Register" in 1842. I said that the error about pelegrina was continued by every one save Dr. Herbert; and am told that Dr. Lindley writes peregrina since the mistake was discovered. I am too old now to take offence at anything in this way, and would wish to be criticised severely in all I advance on these bulbs, to see how far we can make THE COTTAGE GARDENER a standard authority for them; any facts, however trifling they may appear to others, will assist me materially.
The Cottage Gardener 9: 301-303 (Jan. 20, 1853)
HARDY AND HALF-HARDY BULBS.
BULBINE.—This is a very old-fashioned class of plants, which were very much sought after when the rage for herbaceous plants, or, indeed, any class of plants which promised a long array of hard names, was at its height; flowers were very little thought of then in comparison to the numerical strength of a "collection." The future historian of our days will have to record that we began to run into the opposite extreme early in the nineteenth century, and that we discarded a host of beautiful plants for no other reason than that we could not manage them, for bedding out, or for specimens for flower-beds, or the exhibition tables, until towards the middle of the century we began to perceive that the improvement of races could be pushed beyond the province of the mere florist. Even then, however, I fear we shall not have left much to raise the character of Bulbines or Bulbinellas. The only difference between Bulbines and Anthericums is in the colour of the flowers, the former being yellow or yellowish, and the others white. On account of the succulency of their leaves, they might be supposed to be Asphodels, but all of them are true Anthericums, and they require the same treatment, to be planted on a warm dry border of light sandy-soil, and to be slightly protected in winter, which is easily clone, as the stalks and most of the leaves die down in the autumn. They are now very scarce, and can hardly be met with out of Botanic-gardens. It is on record, that a great number of them were lost in the hard winter of 1740), which were never introduced a second time. I never saw but three or four kinds of them, and that many years ago. They are not bulbs, but tuberous-rooted.
CALLIPHRURIA HARTWEGIANA.—This is a handsome flower that has never been figured yet. It was ''sent cut," eight or nine years ago, by the horticultural Society, who had it from Hartweg. It was discovered by him at a place called Guaduas, in New Grenada. Dr. Herbert called it Hartwegiana, and described it in the Botanical Register for December, 1844, from specimens sent to him from the Society's garden, where it flowered for the first time in March, 1844, along with the leaves. The flowers are green and white, and seven in the umbel or flower-head; the tube of the flower is greenish, and its lobes white, tinged with blush. The leaves are petiolated, that is, broad above and tapering so much at the bottom as to become a footstalk, like a Funkia-leaf. It seems to be related to Griffinia, and to be treated exactly like the more hardy Hippeastrums, requiring strong loam, good stove heat after the flowers are over, so as to get the leaves ripened well before they die down. Naturally, it seems a winter grower, but it is not positively so like Amaryllis. It can be made to grow and go to rest, just like a Hippeastrum, either in May or September, or, by degrees, it would begin to grow at almost any season. There have been many mistakes about this fine bulb. There are two plants in cultivation very different from each other, called Hartwegii and Herbertii. These two names are in the Botanical Register. The first and true name is in the body of the work, and Herbertii in the index; but there is only one bulb yet known in the genus. Dr. Herbert spells it Caliphruria (from Kalos), but in the "Vegetable Kingdom" it is Calliphruria, which we followed in the Dictionary. The bulbs increase readily by side offsets.
CALOCHORTUS.—This is a genus of very beautiful bulbs, found on the north-west coast of North America, and en to California. It was named by Pursh, a Prussian botanist, who travelled in North America, and wrote a book on the plants he collected. The unfortunate Douglas was the next traveller who met with them, and he sent or brought over quantities of flowering bulbs of them to the Horticultural Society, by whom they were largely distributed to the Fellows. He also wrote a paper on the genus, which was read before the Society, and printed in their Transactions in 1828 (Hort. Soc. Trans., vol. vii). They are hardy, or all but hardy, and are true Lilyworts, occupying an intermediate position between the wild Tulips and the Fritillarias. The bulbs are solid, the leaves are strongly nerved, and the flowers of some of the species are large and very handsome. The southern limit of the race is in California, where they dwindle into were dwarfs, and self-coloured flowers, such as the little yellow one which Hartweg met with in the valley of the Sacramento, and which is now in cultivation; but in his Journal he speaks of another of them, which he found in April, or early in May, but not just in flower. It was high up in the mountains, and not far from the snow, then melting down and watering the soil, where this Calochortus was in fine leaf. The last conversation I had with Mr. Hartweg was about this very bulb, and the whole genus, to see if I could trace out the cause why those beautiful bulbs had disappeared from cultivation. I flowered three of the best of them in pots, and while in the dry state; after that they died without any apparent cause. It was just the same all over the country as far as I could learn; but I heard afterwards that Mr. Groom, the great bulb-grower of Clapham, has succeeded with them. Mr. Hartweg believes that none of them, but especially those discovered by Douglas in Oregon, or Colombia, should be grown in pots, but in peat borders, where they would be neither too wet nor too dry. My own opinion of them is, that we did not allow them sufficient time to ripen the leaves and bulbs, after flowering; that they are rather of the nature of Tigridia bulbs, and, like them, take a long time to ripen in our cold soil, and that, without being thoroughly ripe before they are allowed to go to rest, they will perish. Hartweg says, the little California species stand intense heat, and look perfectly green in the leaf after all the rest of the small herbage in these parts is scorched up.
CALOCHORTUS MACROCARPUS (Large-fruited) is one of the finest we knew of them—a large, wide, open flower, chiefly of a rich purple colour.
CALOCHORTUS VENUSTUS is, perhaps, the next best of them. Its flowers are as large as those of macrocarpus; pure white in the upper parts, but the lower parts are clear creamy-yellow, and streaked with deep red marks, with a conspicuous spot at the bottom of each petal resembling a drop of blood. Altogether it is a charming flower.
CALOCHORTUS SPLENDENS.—Equally beautiful, and more resembling macrocarpus than the last, being of a lilacy-purple, and having a small dark spot at the base of the petals.
CALOCHORTUS LUTEUS.—This is a Californian species, where it was found both by Douglas and Hartweg; and it flowers later with us than the rest—in September and October. The three sepals are green, and narrower than the petals; the latter are yellow at the points, and green below. In the middle is a yellow band of hairs, among which are seen deep spots of blood colour.
CALOCHORTUS NITIDUS (Showy).—This is a much smaller species than any of the rest, but we know little about it, except from Douglas's account of it in the Transactions of the Society already alluded to. The flowers are chiefly purplish. Douglas heard of another species, " a magnificent plant;' growing about the "confluence of Oakenagen River." where the roots are gathered by the wild Indians, cooked, and devoured as they do their ''quamash" roots (Camassia esculenta), another bulb belonging to a kindred section of the order.
CALOCHORTUS PALLIDUS.—This is a very small plant, a native of temperate regions in Mexico, whence it was introduced to Belgium in 1844. The flowers are pale yellow, on comparatively long footstalks, three or four of them forming the umbel. They appear at the end of summer, and, like all the family, the bulb goes to rest in the autumn. It will be in keeping with an allied genus called Cyclobothra.
CALOCHORTUS ELEGANS.—This is the Chalochortus of Pursh and Douglas, and the Fritillaria barbata of Kunth, also of our Dictionary, which is wrong, for it belongs to a kindred genus named by Sweet, which includes, as we shall soon see, several pretty little Calochortus-like flowers but they all droop, or have nodding flowers, as the botanists say.
CALOSCORDIUM NERINEFLORUM.—This is a very dwarf bulb from China, with the leaves and habit of an Allium, and the flowers of the same purplish or pinky hue as the Guernsey Lily. It is hardy, or all but hardy, but so apt to be overlooked, if planted out by the side of an open border, that it is best to keep it always in a small pit, in any light sandy soil. Hesperoscordium is another form which these little garlic-like bulbs assume on the opposite shores of the Pacific, in the far west, and of which we shall remark when we get round to them.
CALLITHAUMA.—We missed this extraordinary genus of Peruvian bulbs in our Dictionary. But three distinct species of it were introduced to this country the first, called spathulatum, by Richard Harris, Esq., of Liverpool and the other two, viridiflorum and angustifolium, by Dr. Herbert, with whom they flowered in 1840-41; and there are figures of them in the Botanical Magazine (April, 1841). Ruiz and Pavon found C. viridiflorum plentiful in the woods of Huassahuassi, and in stony places of Palca, in Peru. They called it Pancratium viridiflorum in the "Flora Peruviana," having an enormous cup inside the flower. They represent the scape of this bulb six feet high, bearing four or five large flowers, "beautiful, entirely emerald green." Ruiz's dried specimens of "this marvellous plant" were lost by shipwreck. Those that flowered at Spofforth were only of ordinary size, and the narrow-leaved one seemed to be only a variety of the other; both of them green-flowered.
C. spathulatum was gathered some hundreds of miles from Truxillo, in Peru. It seemed to like more heat than the others. The flowers of this species are green also, but it never flowered in England, and few could grow it except Dr. Herbert, who found it to thrive best in loam. The genus seems intermediate between Ismene and Coburghia. Dr. Lindley considers it a true Ismene; in fact, a green Peruvian Daffodil, which is not far from the mark.
Any of our young readers who would be content with a great name and a little fortune, have only to procure specimens of all the Pancratiform-Amaryllids that I hope to tends upon in this series, grow them as I shall say, and cross them diligently until they disclose their real affinities, and fill our borders with the gayest flowers in the country.
Let us now see what Pancratium-like, or Pancratiform alias Pancratioid, means, having thus incidentally mentioned the word. One who knew as much about one flower as another, could see no difference between a Lily and an Amaryllis; and there is a kind of Lily and a kind of Amaryllis, which, if a flower of each was gathered, and the "private mark" kept out of sight, there is not a man on earth who could tell, with certainty, which was the Lily, or which the Amaryllis; yet, by showing the private mark, a child could learn in two minutes to know any Lily from any Amaryllis, in any part of the world. The private mark is, that in all the lilyworts, the seed-pod is in the inside of the flower, at the bottom, as in the tulip. The Amaryllids have the seed-pod always on the outside of the flower, like a Fuchsia. In Fuchsia microphylla, the opening of the flower is only an eighth-of-an-inch from the end of the seed-pod or berry, whereas the opening of the flower of Fuchsia corymbiflora is four or five inches from the berry, and so it is with flowers of the Amaryllids; some have long tubes to the flowers. I shall mention one whose tube is more than ten inches long, and some have hardly any tube, and the rest have tubes of different lengths; still, it is easily seen whether the seeds are to be inside the flower or outside; and so, if it is a Lily or an Amaryllid. Now, besides this mark of distinction, the flowers of an Amaryllid take after three particular forms, each of which is as easy to know as the berry or pod-mark. The first form is called after the Daffodil, Narcissiform. A single Daffodil looks as if two flowers were grown into one; the inside one is called the cup, or coronet, and in olden times, the nectarium. This inside cup diminishes, in different kinds, until all that can be seen of it is a mere ring at the bottom; but whatever the length or the size of the cup, all the plants in the section have their stamens growing inside the cup, and free from it, so that you could cut away the flower and the cup without hurting the stamens. Every bulb in the world, with a cup inside the flower, or the mere rudiments of a cup, and having the stamens free from the cup, belongs to this Daffodil section. There never was a more simple thing to learn than this, except the next great section of Amaryllids, which also has a cup inside the flower; and here, likewise, the cup takes different forms and sizes in different kinds, but still there is a cup, and to the inside of this cup all the stamens are fastened the whole way up, and at regular distances all round the flower. If you were to split a flower of this kind the stamens must come with it, and if you now tear off the flower itself, and keep the cup with its six stamens (they are almost always six), the thing would look like the feet of a duck, the stamens representing the toes, and the cup the web part of the feet. Then what is to hinder any one, who can distinguish a duck's foot from the hoof of an ass, from knowing to which of these two sections a flower belongs as soon as he sees it? This hoof is the same as the cup without the stamens, and the web-feet the cup with the stamens; the hoof is the Daffodil section, and the webfoot the Pancratium section. But the third and last section is even more simple than these two, for there is no cup at all; nothing but the outside flower (perianth) and the stamens, with the seed-pod outside the flower, as in the Fuchsia. This is called the Amaryllis-form section. All the bulbs in existence, if the seed-pod is on the outside of the flower, must belong to one of these three great divisions. Therefore it is most essential for young people "to learn this by heart." If the English people, who went over first to Peru, were to know these three simple things, or even two of them, they would have never fallen into such a glaring mistake as to call Ismene, the Peruvian Daffodil, because Ismene has the stamens joined to the cup, and a large cup it is too, and very wide in the mouth, so that they could see the difference with one eye. In these days, however, people would not be let off so easily; and in a few more years, if the world keeps going round so fast as it does now, depend open it that any one going to a strange place, who could not explain, or talk about the simplest elements of the principal branches of Natural History, he or she would be set down as of low breeding, and would be talked of all over the place in more ways than one. Let us, therefore, this very season, begin with the Snowdrops, and not rest satisfied until we can tell the orders to which every bulb belongs which comes in our way in flower.