The Cottage Gardener 9: 319-321 (Jan. 27, 1853)

HARDY AND HALF-HARDY BULBS.

Donald Beaton

CALOSTEMMA.—This is a genus of very pretty Australian bulbs, belonging to the Pancratioid section of Amaryllids, and requiring about equal quantities of peat and yellow loam, with a little sand, to grow them in pots; but they will grow and flower out in a warm border during the summer, and increase themselves by offset bulbs The flowers are not individually large, but the colours are gay, and there are many flowers in each head or umbel. The cup, to which the stamens are joined, is nearly up to the middle of the flower, and the edge of it is fringed round with triangular teeth it is from this frill it has been called the Gay Crown, or Calostemma. The stamens rise only a little way above the edges of the frilled crown, and they carry small erect anthers; these, with a sharp-pointed style in the middle, add much to the significancy of the name.

CALOSTEMMA PURPUREUM.—This is a rich purple flower; and when the bulb is strong, and in good condition, there will be from fifteen to twenty flowers in one head (umbel), and each flower has a short footstalk (peduncle). The flower scape, or the stem which carries the head, is about a foot long, and the leaves a little longer. There is a midrib to every division of the flower in this genus, which is continued down to the seed-pod; and in this species the rib is as purple as the rest of the flower.

CALOSTEMMA LUTEUM.—A very pretty thing, but very scarce. Yellow flowers, with green midribs, and a rich purple at the bottom of each division of the flower, about the same size as the last; but this and the next require more sand in the compost than purpureum if they are grown in pots.

CALOSTEMMA ALBUM.—A much scarcer bulb even than the last, from which it differs only in the colour of the flower, unless, perhaps, that the fringe on the cup has the teeth a little sharper and smaller.

CALOSTEMMA CARNEUM (Flesh-coloured).—This is another very pretty plant, and is more hardy than the others. The flowers are bright pink, and about the same j size as those of the others. From all appearance, and from our knowledge of kindred plants, there is every probability that the whole four will cross with each other; and if they do, they promise as much diversity as the Gladioli. Sir Thomas Mitchel found this species on the summit of a chain of rocky mountains; he sent it to the Horticultural Society, in whose garden it flowered here, for the first time, about a dozen years back. There is another species called Cunninghamii, but I know nothing of it.

CARPODETES.—The accent is on the o. There is only one bulb in this genus known to us—a native of Peru, near Obragillo, in the province of Canta, where the natives call it Chihuanhuaita. It is figured in the "Flora Peruviana," where it is called Pancratium recurvatum. In those days every flower of this form was called a Pancratium, just as we might say to-day that a Tulip, a Hyacinth, or a Fritillaria, is a Lily. This bulb is middle-sized, oblong, and with a long neck, purplish, with black spots. The leaves are an inch wide, and ten inches long, and blunt at the point; the flower scape is stout, shorter than the leaves; the flowers are between purple and yellow, and the seed-pod is narrowest in the middle—a very unusual shape, so that the whole plant is easily known. Pure yellow loam, with a little sand, suits it best. It is a summer-growing bulb, which increases slowly by offsets, and is more safe in a pit.

CARPOLYZA SPIRALIS.—This is one of the smallest bulbs which belongs to the order of Amaryllids, and one that has puzzled more learned heads than any of them. Jacquin called it Crinum tenellum, but it bears the same relation to Crinum amabile, as the AEgilops does to the Talavera wheat. In the "Botanical Repository" it is called Crinum spirale. Le Heritier makes it Amaryllis spiralis, and the younger Linnaeus calls it Haemanthus spiralis, in the "Hortus Kewensis." As late as 1884, it was named Strumaria spiralis, in the "Botanical Magazine." Dr. Herbert, commenting on all this confusion, very justly remarks, "when each successive writer refers a plant to a different genus, as in this case, it may with great probability be surmised that it belongs to none of them;" and so it turns out with this one. Carpolyza, which is now adopted by common consent, was the name given by the late Mr. Salisbury, in his "Paradisus Londinensis." The flowers of this little bulb are very pretty, star-shaped, blush-white inside, and pinkish outside, quite pink in the tint; the scape carries two or three of them, and they are about the same size as those of Anomatheca cruenta; the leaves are not much stouter than those of a young onion three weeks old, and much in the same way, curiously twisted; the bottom of the scape has also three or four turns of twists, for which it is called spirale. It is a native of the Cape of Good Hope, growing near Cape Town. With the exception of Griffinia hyacinthina, it is the only bulb in the order that will grow better in peat than in loam. It flowers in the autumn, before the leaf, like a true Amaryllis, and grows through the winter like an Ixia, requiring the same kind of treatment in all respects.

CHLIDANTHUS FRAGRANS.—This is a yellow-flowering sweet-scented bulb, which is as much prized in the gardens in Buenos Ayres, Chili, and Peru, as any of the Narcissus tribe is with us. In its outward aspect it is not much unlike some kind of yellow Narcissus, but it belongs to the Pancratioid section of the order, although hardly any traces of the cup is seen. If there was a good demand for this bulb, they might increase it almost as fast as the potato, it is so notorious for making offsets, so much so, indeed, that they hinder the old bulb from flowering. It is a summer-growing bulb, and flowers freely with us in the open air; it will not stand out our winters, however, as the wet border splits the old bulb. It should be taken up in the autumn and dried. The very same treatment we give to Gladiolus psittacinus is best for it. It is not the Pancratium luteum of the "Flora Peruviana," as has been asserted. (See Clitanthus).

CHORETIS.—We know only two species of this genus, and two beautiful things they are, certainly; but how the learned demonstrator of the order, Dr. Herbert, could see any difference in them from Hymenocallis, passes my comprehension. The anther turns up a little at both ends, just like a school-boy's "pot-hook," and is attached to the filament a little nearer the upper end than is usual in Hymenocallis, and there is a little difference in the shape of the seed, that is all. However, I must keep to my text; I have no desire to change a name, but I must be allowed to make some few remarks from the evidence of my senses, and I shall show my ideas on Hymenocallis when I come to it.

Choretis inhabits the north-eastern parts of Mexico, and onwards through Texas, where Drummond met with them growing in good loamy-soil; but in pots they delight in a rather sandy-soil, and abundance of water; and I have not the least doubt that, if we bed a good stock of them, instead of being very scarce, we might turn them out in May into the margins of the ponds and ditches, where they would grow and flower as freely as rushes.

CHORETIS GLAUCA has the leaves upright, sea-green, nearly three inches wide, and twenty inches long; the flower-scape is stout, and above a foot long, carrying three or tour flowers on the top; the flowers are sessile; that is, without a footstalk. Every Amaryllid that is sessile, like this, most have the seed-pod resting on the top of the scape; from the seed-pod of this Choretis rises a green tube, full six inches long, longer then the tube of the Night-blowing Cereus (Cactus), then a wide open flower nearly four inches across, as white as a lily, with a tinge of green on the back of the midribs, and a large green eye. The cup inside is also very large, white, and jagged on the edge between the stamens. Altogether, it is a very beautiful flower. The bulbs may be kept dry six months, from the end of August to March.

CHORETIS GALVESTONENSIS (Galveston Bay, Texas). Another fine plant, in all respects like the last, only with all the parts much smaller, and with deep green instead of glaucous leaves, also four flowers always on a scape.

CLITANTHUS LUTEUS.—This is the Pancratium luteus of Ruiz. It has much the aspect of a small Narcissus, with yellow flowers, and always two of them on a scape; the flowers are stalked (pedunculate), the stalk above an inch long; then a round seed-pod, and a yellow flower with a longish, small tube, evidently very near Clilidanthss, and if the two would breed together, the offspring would be more entitled to be called Peruvian Daffodils than Ismene. Before 1840, this genus was spelled Clianthus, but that is now discarded, as giving a wrong meaning. There are two more species, humilis and Macleana, but I know nothing about them.

CLIVIA NOBILIS.—A well-known plant from the Cape, with the looks of a young Agapanthus, but with stiffer leaves, and with turned-down flowers from the top of the scape (Cyrtanthiform). This is of the very simplest culture, if you keep it from heat, and do not force it into any hurry. It will grow in any light earth in a pot. You might try all the mucks, from the Lobos Islands to the Isle of Dogs, on it, without any perceptible effect. It will grow well in moss without any earth; and it will grow in any light or heavy compost, if it is kept rather dry in winter. Whenever it gets sulky, and refuses to grow, you must shake all the soil from it, and begin afresh: there is no doctoring of it. If you keep the frost from it, in an outside border, it will flower and ripen seeds freely enough. I had it so, and it took more than a year to ripen its scarlet berries, which look exactly like the ripe seeds of Asparagus. Seedlings of it would tire one's patience with their slow growth; and if you try to force them, they are as likely to stand still as not. Dr. Herbert said, "I believe it to be as possible for a Clivia to breed with a Cyrtanthus, as with all Oak-tree;" but I differ from him, and from all who separate it from the vicinity of the Cyrtanthi.

COBURGHIA.—This is "a happy family" of bulbs, they so agree with each other in their odd ways. If you ask a gardener what sort of things they are, he will say, "Peruvian bulbs, very beautiful, ma'am; very easy to grow; too easily increased—the worse luck; not very fond of water, or particular about soil; not over partial to a bright sun, it is true; but there is so much bother with them, as they go to rest all the winter; and you can begin them in the spring any time it is convenient; and then, you see, if one is pinched for room, as we generally are in the spring of the year, we can plant them out on a warm border, and they will grow all the same." "Yes, yes; but now I do not know what kind of flowers they produce." "Nor I, ma'am; for I never could get them to blow." There is not a gardener in the kingdom who has flowered the same bulb of any of the species of Cobourghia three years in succession, and yet they never refuse to flower the first or second year after they come over. In Mexico, and other Mexican cities and towns, they grow one of the species in pots, as we do hyacinths, time out of mind, and in such numbers that an erroneous idea has got into our books that it is a native of Mexico; but I have never heard of any of them being met with there in a wild state; and J. Maclean, Esq., a British merchant at Lima, dug up the one they cultivate in Mexico on the hills facing that part of the Peruvian coast; and he found some of them growing in scanty soil, on the edges of rocky precipices, where great heat and terrible gusts of wind must often affect them. The way I recommend their cultivation is founded on the following experiment on a variety of bulbs of this nature. On a slate stage, along the front of a greenhouse, which was freely ventilated day and night all the summer, I placed an inch or so of sandy soil the whole length, with another inch of clean white sand on the top; I had two objects in view with this bed, which was about twenty inches wide, and twenty-four feet long, to keep a damp bottom for pots, and to place a lot of obstinate bulbs between the pots, among which was one of Cobourghia incarnata. The bottom of the bulbs were on the bare slate, and a little extra soil placed round them to keep them firm. The drainage from the pots kept the soil constantly wet, and sometimes, in very hot weather, a quantity of water was poured in between the pots. The roots travelled rapidly along the slate, the leaves went off equally strong, and soon had to be supported. In September the incarnata threw up a strong scape very nearly two feet high, and carried five splendid flowers. Leucocoryne ixioides, another very obstinate bulb, flowered on this stage, with several others that are now better understood. It is very easy to imitate this in a division of a cold frame, or out under a south wall, by placing very soft bricks under a thin bed of very rich loam, and attending to the constant moisture.

The soft bricks would be much better than the slate, and the roots would cling to them like ivy to a wall. The heat would be scorching in the height of summer, but that is just what a vast number of bulbs from South America and Southern Africa seem to require in our climate, which is quite warm enough for their leaves and flowers. I know at least fifty as fine bulbs as one need want to grow, that would answer on this plan better than on any other that I could devise.

COBOURGHIA COCCINEA.—This beautiful bulb was first discovered by Matthews, who sent dried specimens of it to this country. Mr. Maclean was the next who found it, "in one of his excursions on the Cordilleras." He sent two bulbs of it to Dr. Herbert, and they soon flowered with him in pots, and in strong loam and rotten dung; the pots stood out-of-doors all the summer of 1839, which was cold and wet, were kept dry all the winter, and early in the spring, before the leaf, both of them flowered, in 1840 they went through the same treatment, and one of them flowered the same autumn, after the fall of the leaf. The flowers are like those of incarnata, but shorter, and a better scarlet. All the species have dark green tips to the lobes.

COBOURGHIA FULVA (Tawny).—Matthews sent dried specimens of this, also from Lima, and J. Wilmore, Esq., of Oldford, near Birmingham, was the first to flower it. The tube of the flower is full three inches long; the colour, a dull yellow mixed with grey and brown, with the usual green tips.

COBOURGHIA INCARNATA.—This is the species on which the genus was founded by Mr. Sweet. It was figured, before him, by Kunth, and called Pancratium. It is a native of Quito, growing on the banks of the river Machangara. The leaves are milky-green, the tube of the flower five inches long, the colour deeper than the word carnea would imply, more crimson, and the lobes blotched with green; it is a fine thing.

COBOURGHIA TRICHROMA (Three-coloured).—This was a puzzler for many years; no one knew where it was a native of; but it was extensively cultivated in pots in the city of Mexico, as we do Hyacinths, time out of mind. From this it is called "the Mexican species," in books; but it is a true Peruvian, and as bad to get to flower here as any bulb we know. Mr. M'Lean had it dug up on the Andes. The flowers are not so long as the above; the colour is light scarlet, the lobes edged with a paler colour, and a streak of green runs down the centre of each lobe, instead of the usual green blotch.

COBOURGHIA STYLOSA.—Osus, or osa, in our language, means a greater degree, or excess. Style is the female organ, and stylosa means it to be longer than is usual in this genus. Without the flowers this looks very much like incarnata. It is also from near Quito, where M. Harting found it, who sent it to the Horticultural Society. The flowers are as long, and larger in the opening than those of incarnata; but the colour is very different—indeed, peculiar—a dark grayish-green all up the tube, extending along the midrib of each division, which are otherwise rich orange-red; or, in other words, the colours in this species are reversed from the usual run in the genus.

COBOURGHIA VARIEGATA.—This is a handsome flower, and a great favourite with them in the gardens about Lima; but where it is growing wild I never heard. It is the only one of them which was met with by the authors of the "Flora Peruviana," who called it Pancratium, of course. All those flowers with a cup inside, to which the stamens adhere, were supposed to be Pancratiums in those days.

In addition to the brick-floor, I would advise the offset bulbs to be destroyed by twisting a sharp-pointed stick through the middle of them, or by pulling them off as soon as they can be laid hold of. They certainly hinder the flowering of the bulbs.


The Cottage Gardener 9: 361-363 (Feb. 10, 1853)

HARDY AND HALF-HARDY BULBS.

Donald Beaton

COLLANIA DULCIS (Sweet-fruited).—This genus bears the same relation to Alströmeria as Haemanthus does to Amaryllis; the fruit being a kind of berry, and the pulp of this species is eatable and agreeable to the taste. It grows near Pasco in Peru, at an elevation of from 12 to 14,000 feet, and is called Campanillas-coloradas, or Blush Bells, as we say "Blue bells," in Scotland. Both Matthews and Cruikshanks sent over specimens of it. Mr. Cruikshanks told me that it was the Blush Bells of the Spaniards, and that it grows in very poor land, and would be quite hardy in England. It has exactly the same way of growth as Fritillaria, with narrow leaves, and more of them, and with only two pinkish flowers on a stalk.

COLLANIA ANDINAMARCANA.—From the lofty mountains of Andinamarca in Peru. A splendid thing certainly; half-a-dozen flowers, or more, of a beautiful pink colour mixed with yellow, hanging down in a close bunch from the top of the stalk, and not unlike the flowers of some Blandfordia.

COLLANIA INVOLUCROSA.—Is a still more noble plant, and the best of the genus known to us. The flowers are large, very long, for this genus; the stamens longer, and the style longest of all; the colour a delicate pale yellow tinged with green. It has not been brought over alive yet; but it must come. It grows at St. Mateo, near Culluay, or some such name, in Peru, where it blooms in November. They all want the same treatment as Bomareas.

CONANTHERA BIFOLIA and SIMSII.—We call these bulbs Conanthers, and of all the bulbs in the world they are the most difficult to deal with by the gardener. Botanists, I believe, were nearly in a fix with them some twenty years back (see Cummingia), but now the whole group, and there are not many of them, is placed in a transition state. To understand what that state is, let us suppose the Lilyworts to be an irregular field of say, corn, having another regular field lying a little way off beyond it. This second field, let its imagine to be Amaryllids; then the "little way," or isthmus, or narrow piece of land between the Lilies and the Amaryllids are occupied be the Conanthers. Twenty years ago they thought Conanthers were true Amaryllis; but now that these things are better known, it is found that they are only "Squills with the ovary (seed-pod) partially adhering to the calyx and corolla," or, as above, in the transition state. We gardeners are worse off than this, for none of us can keep them for any length of time, and never flower them but once, and that only if we happen to get them from their native places in a fresh state. They come from the most singular climate on the face of the globe, that of Coquimbo, the northern part of Chili which borders on Peru, being that part of the coast where rain ceases, where the little rain that does fall hardly ever sinks three inches deep in the barren, hungry soil. Bulbs from this province (Coquimbo) have hitherto defied our ordinary rules of cultivation. Under Cummingia I shall give my own latest notions about the way we ought to deal with them; suffice it to-day to record my last trials of them. Mrs. Wray, of Cheltenham, had a large importation of bulbs from the plains of Coquimbo, twelve distinct species, with a statement of the sizes and the colour and habit of the flowers. Finding them sulky they were all sent to me; and I am sure that seven, if not eight of them were never described by any English author. I tried them experimentally for eight years, and only flowered one, a Leucocoryne. The Conanthers are very low plants with blue flowers, but they are not true bulbs, as represented in our books, but tuberous-rooted plants, with the habit of bulbs. September and October (the spring months in Coquimbo) is their season to begin their growth and if hard frost is kept from them it is all they want, and I believe they would grow well in sand. If any of our readers could send me bulbs from this coast, carriage-free, I think I could find an easy way to flower them.

COOPERIA.—This is a genus of small bulbs, natives of Texas, whence they were sent by Drummond. There are only two species, or kinds, of them known to us, and one of them (pedunculata) with a stalk or peduncle comes so near Zephyranthes as to have deceived some writers. There is a figure of it in Sweet's ''British Flower Garden," but not very true, under the name Zephyranthes pedunculata. The late Professor Graham called it Seeptranthus Drummondii. The one called Chlorosolen in our Dictionary is only a slight variety from the stalkless (sessile) one called Drummondii. Both are all but hardy, and prefer a sandy border in the open air, where they flower from Midsummer till late in the autumn, without leaves, and ripen seeds freely. The scape has but one flower, and when that is over, the seed-pod begins to ripen, and up comes another scape to go the same round, and so on they go till after the leaves rise in October.

COOPERIA DRUMMONDII.—The flower scape of this species rises four or five inches high, and the flower stands upright on the top of it. The, tube of this flower is nearly as long as the scape, or rather longer than the tube of Fuchsia corymbiflora, and about the same size and shape, greenish at first, but dying off a faint pink colour. The top part, or opening of the flower, is not unlike a large white Chinese Primrose, only that there are six divisions in the flower. This and the next one open the flowers only at night; but once upon, they stand so for three or four days, and then fade with a blush tint, The way to show them off, is to have from twelve to twenty bulbs in a patch. There is no difficulty in getting a stock of them, even from one root, the first season, and the seeds ought to be sown, exactly like Ixia seeds, early in October.

COOPERIA PEDUNCULATA.—A shorter tube to the flower, and the flower having a stalk and peduncle, is all the difference between this and the last. The leaves of both are flat, very narrow, a little milky-green, and from a foot to eighteen inches long. Although they come very near Zephyranthes in affinity, and to Z. atamasco in locality, the latter growing in the southern parts of Carolina, the two families must not be planted together, because every species of Zephyranthes, without exception, goes to rest during the winter, while Cooperia is in full growth. Will any of them cross with Z. candida? a plant very unlike them in appearance, but differing very little from them in the private mark, that is, botanically.

CRINUM.—If it were generally known that some kinds of Crinum are as hardy as the new Gladioli, much easier to cross, and that they run into forms and colours, with which nothing that ever appeared in a Dutch Tulip can vie, surely people would grow them out in the borders, where they only require strong, rich soil, such as would suit brocoli and beans, and abundance of water for three or four months during hot summers, and in very hard winters to cover the borders with three inches of littery dung from the stable or framing ground. The largest and the best specimens that we have yet seen of the Japan Lilies are not to be compared in beauty or stateliness to some hardy crosses of the genus Crinum that we have seen, and yet the best of the original species, Forbesianum, has never been brought in contact with breeders till the summer of 1852. I have now only two bulb correspondents, and one of them thinks he has effected a cross last summer with the pollen of Crinum Forbesii, a splendid large bulb, from the banks of the Delagoa River, on the south-east, coast of Africa, having from thirty to forty large flowers and a tall scape, as rich in colour, and something in the same way, as the flowers of Passiflora kermesina (laetissime purpureis). Now, this Crinum is just a hardy as Gladiolus psitacinus, from the self-same locality; and yet you will not meet with one gardener out of five hundred who ever even heard the name of it. When I say that the best-known Crinum in England is a stove plant called Amabile, that it is a cross between two others (procerum and zeylanicum), neither of which are half so handsome as Forbesii, and that it is quite possible to have much finer Crinums than Amabile, and hardy enough to flower out-of-doors with us, not only that, but that such bulbs are already in existence, and that they do flower from May to October every year, surely it is time to ask amateurs to take up the genus Crinum for cross-breeding, and to sell the seedlings among the gardeners, who ought, before this time, to have worked them for themselves.

Crinum amabile is quite barren; it never furnishes pollen, neither will it seed; and there have been many such instances in the genus—seedlings coming to a dead lock at the first cross. There are three or four kinds of white-flowered Crinums from Australia, which cross freely, and produce fertile offspring, but as they are very little known I shall pass them, and mention only the three or four kinds from the Cape, which are well-known to bear seedlings from any of the Indian Crinums as hardy as themselves with the first cross. The best of the three is a dark purple variety of Crinum capense named Riparium in Bot. Mag., 2685. The next best is the white variety of the same, which they grow in Holland, and which they sell by the name of Amaryllis Africana, candida, and so forth. The third best is a comparatively small bulb, with a long neck; it comes in every one of those boxes of bulbs which our friends purchase for us from the Cape dealers; the name is invariably called Amaryllis longifolia, or capense: this has a dull white flower, and milky-green leaves. There is a hardier kind even than this, with the leaves perfectly green, and the flowers die of a bright pink colour. It is difficult, however, to get it through the bulb dealers.

Crinum capense, or Amaryllis longifolia, is a very common plant in England, where it is quite hardy, and flowers from the end of May to October, and ripens seeds by the bushel, if it is planted in strong soil by the edge of ponds or lakes. It is a regular swamp plant, and rests all the winter out-of-doors; but in a pot in the greenhouse it is evergreen, and I have known it to flower in February. It will cross with almost all known Crinums; seedlings of itself, without being crossed, will flower the fourth season, and some the third year; when crossed, some of the seedlings take longer time to flower. Crinum Goveni figured in the third volume of the Hort. Soc. Trans., and named after R. Gowen, Esq., present Treasurer to the Society, is a cross from C. capense by the pollen of C. zelanicum, yet it is perfectly hardy, and very handsome and fertile. Crinum Herbertii, named by Sweet, is a plant of great beauty, bearing ten or eleven flowers on a scape three feet high, and quite hardy in front of a greenhouse, although a cross by the pollen of C. scabrum (Bot. Mag., 2180), a bulb from Rio Janiero, and the hardy capense. The Crinums called Lindleyana, purplish on the outside of the flower; Loddigesianum, from Mexico, with a large portion of purple in the flower; scabrum, striped with red, very beautiful; zelanicum, deep purple; speciosum, white, striped with pink; and revolutum (Amaryllis revoluta of the Cape), striped much like speciosum, are those that I would recommend for crossing with capense for beautiful, hardy, border plants. It is true that such crosses have been already obtained; but then they are in private hands, and by an illiberal and jealous system, they are likely to remain so until we raise them afresh, and get some to surpass them from the breed of Forbesianum. I once had half-a-peck of the seeds from, or, rather, said to be from, the best collection of them in existence, through the influence of an officer high in the Councils of the Horticultural Society; but after all my trouble in nursing five hundred bulbs for four years, the whole turned out to be nothing but the common Crinum capense. The seeds of this species are as large as horse-beans, but some species have them much larger.


The Cottage Gardener 9: 399-401 (Feb. 24, 1853)

HARDY AND HALF-HARDY BULBS.

Donald Beaton

CUMMINGIA.—This is a genus of Lilyworts belonging to the section of Conanthers. Formerly it was united with the genus Conanthera, and I believe that the difference between the two was first pointed out to the late Mr. D. Don, by the late Lady Golden Cumming, whose name the present genus is intended to commemorate. The species are all natives of the north of Chili, and are difficult to flower, or to be kept in a flowering state; they should be grown in pots, and in poor sandy loam. The herbage is delicate, and the flowers are of the richest dark blue colour, such as some varieties of the hyacinth represent; and the shape and size of the flowers are between that of a single Hyacinth and a Scilla. I believe the roots (they are not true bulbs) would succeed better in small shallow pans than in deep pots, so that they would receive the benefit of a scorching heat, while the leaves and flowers enjoy a dry, airy, or open air culture, in our climate.

CUMMINGIA CAMPANULATA.—This is the species on which the genus was founded by Mr. Don. It is figured in Sweet's British Flower Garden. It begins to grow late in May, and flowers for two months in the autumn, and goes to rest before midwinter. It is increased by dividing the roots like an Alströmeria, but the more they are allowed to bundle together the safer they are; all of them are, evidently, from a poor dry soil, where the few showers that fall to their lot, during the whole circle of their existence, affect them but in a very small degree, and their low, tender herbage seems rather to be nourished by the fogs and heavy dews which are peculiar to the sea-side plains in the north of Chili. Bulbs, and other plants, natives of a similar climate in South Africa, and in some parts of Mexico, and in other places that are refreshed with periodical rains, send their roots far and deep into the soil in quest of moisture while those on the lower plains in the south of Peru and the north of Chili, where rain, if it ever falls at all, seldom penetrates beyond an inch or two, root near the surface. Hence the reason why bulbs from this quarter fail with us when we encourage their roots to penetrate deep into our loose borders, away from the influence of the sun, which is more natural for them; and hence, too, my reason for recommending an opposite course for them. I would allow a free course for their roots on all sides, but I would prevent them from going down beyond two or three inches, according to the size of the bulb, by placing a close surface of soft porous bricks or sandstone under them, which I would keep constantly moist while the bulbs were in growth; and this can best be effected in a pit; and, when the bulbs were at rest, I would keep the glass constantly over them to increase the temperature and dryness about them. If the artificial bottom were placed on damp clay, all the better, as the great heat in the pit during the dry season would not dry up suddenly the moisture from the bricks; or, if it did in part, there would be a constant supply of moisture from the damp clay below; and we know that some of the large bulbs from the Cape enjoy a damp bottom to their roots all the time they are at rest. For that purpose, many good cultivators place their pots of these dry bulbs in saucers of sand, which they keep constantly damp.

CUMMINGIA TRIMACULATA, and TENELLA.— Both of those are very dwarf plants flowering in the autumn. The flowers of trimaculata are the darkest blue of the three, and the flower-spike or stem branches a little like that of a little Anthericum, a genus to which they are nearly related, so much so, that Persoon, a good bulb authority, mistook a little yellow-flowering plant from Mexico (Echeandia terniflora), with the very aspect of Anthericum, for a Conanthera. The three species require exactly the same kind of treatment, such as is indicated under the first species.

CYANELLA.—This is a small tribe of very old-fashioned plants, chiefly from the Cape, and are about as hardy as Ixias, and much about as large as the middle-sized species of Ixia, or say from ten to fifteen inches high, but they are not true bulbs, although they are Lilyworts. They belong to a large section of the order, once called after the Asphodels, but now, more generally, after the Anthericums. There is hardly a plant in this section with a true bulb. Yet all of them exhibit the aspect of real bulbous plants, and as such they are set down in most of our books.

CYANELLA ALBA, with white flowers; ODORATISSIMA, with rosy flowers: and ORCHIDIFORMIS with light blue flowers, are the best species for shows, and also for giving diversity of colours peculiar to the genus. They require opposite treatment to the Ixias, as they rest all the winter, begin to grow late in the spring, and flower at the end of summer. With a little care and management at first planting, and by keeping together all the half-hardy bulbs that grow and bloom in summer, and go dry in winter, the whole lot of them may be grown and flowered in any part of this country, and with much less trouble than in keeping common Scarlet Geraniums: all that is necessary, is to keep the rain from this border from the end of October to the middle of March, so that it is as dry as powder by that time, then the merest protection in very frosty weather will keep it safe, and by the end of March the border should be forked with a gentle hand, a few inches deep, and three or four good heavy waterings from some open pond, so that every particle from top to bottom should be thoroughly wetted, like the ball in a pot. A bulb-border should be arranged and filled-in just as you would a large pot—perfect drainage at the bottom, rough peat, and turfy loam, pieces of porous stone, lots of bones broken to a few inches in length, but not crushed. As much of charcoal in pieces not bigger than a dove's egg, all mixed together till you come within six inches of the top, then smother peat and loam, or whatever your bulbs like best.

CYCLAMENS.—The cultivation of these has been given repeatedly in THE COTTAGE GARDENER, and the means of improving them have also been fully detailed, if I recollect rightly. Like the Tigridia, their improvement is going on very slow indeed, but still on a sure basis, and I do not know that I can add any more to them now.

CYCLOROTHRA.—This genus of small flowering-bulbs stands in the same relationship to the elegant Calochortus, as Collania does to Alströmeria. They have nodding or drooping flowers, hanging down from the top of scapes, from eight to fifteen inches high; some of them, as alba and pulchella, were once included among the Calochorts. The genus was founded by Don, not by Sweet, as is supposed. Sweet only figured some of the earlier introduced species in his British Flower Garden. The same directions which were given for Calochorts are applicable to this genus also; but there is no difficulty in flowering any of the Cyclobothras, nor in keeping them, and most of them seed so freely, that they could be increased to any extent. All bulbs which droop like these should be planted where they could be seen above the eye, if that could always be done; peat-borders, or very light sandy soil suits them best.

CYCLOBOTHRA ALBA.—The nearest plant of any of our common bulbs, to compare to this family, is the little yellow Florentine Tulip which we force with other spring bulbs. The flowers of this alba are about the same size as those of this Tulip, and the plant altogether is about the same height and size.

CYCLOBOTHRA BARBATA.—This, the Fritillaria barbata of Kunth, is a very pretty yellow-flowering bulb from Mexico, requiring greenhouse culture in a pot. But as it goes to rest early in the winter, and is not very delicate nor difficult to keep, it will do very well in a border of mixed summer-growing bulbs. It flowers from the end of summer, for two months, and a strong-established bulb, in a light, deep border, will throw up a strong scape two feet high. The flowers are much bearded or hairy in the inside—a feature not uncommon to all of them, and to the Calochorts also.

CYCLOBOTHRA ELEGANS.—A very dwarf species with white dowers, quite hardy, and succeeds best in peat—say a peat border. It is one of Douglas's Calochorts, and is missed in our Dictionary and there is one called lutea in the Dictionary, which I do not know, unless it be

CYCLOBOTHRA MONOPHYLLA.—A very dwarf plant with small yellow-bearded flowers. This kind was discovered by Mr. Hertweg, on the Sacramento Mountains, in California. It is quite hardy, and not difficult to keep.

CYCLOBOTHRA PULCHELLA.—This is also a yellow-flowering bulb, with greenish sepals, and there is a delicate fringe on the bright yellow petals. It is a very pretty flower; the plant rises a foot or more, and is one of the easiest of them to keep, and to increase, as it seeds abundantly in the autumn.

CYCLOBOTHRA PURPUREA.—A very old-described bulb, and one of the best of them, and also one of the tallest; about the same size as barbata. It is a native of Mexico, and not quite so hardy as the more northern ones. Barbata, pulchella, and purpurea, are the three best, but they are all well worth growing, as their mode of growth, and of showing off their drooping flowers, would make a pleasing variety on a rich border of miscellaneous bulbs.

CYPELLA.—With very much of the aspect of Tigridia, and with smaller flowers and longer scapes, in some instances (plumbea, for instance). The Cypellas have the flowers still more fugacious than Tigridia. The same treatment in every respect will suit the two families; and also the Rigidellas, Beatonias, and Hydrotaenias. It is as likely as not that some of these will, one day or other, be found to be nothing more than sections of the Tigridias after all; greater marks of difference may be discovered any day between sections of other families that interbreed very freely. Without some such mixture of blood the Cypellas are not worth much, but the vermilion hues of C. Herbertii are very rich, while that of C. Plumbea is very curious. Herbertii is the best of the three, Drummondii the next, and plumbea the third.

CYRTANTHUS OBLIQUUS and CARNEUS.—The first is very well figured in the Botanical Magazine, 1133; and carneus equally so in the Botanical Register, 1462. They are all of this genus that I shall speak of to-day. They are both evergreen, and the only evergreens known to us in the genus. Their leaves are much alike: thick, firm, and very blunt at the ends; the bulbs are considerably larger than those of the Belladona, and they are very difficult to grow, and to increase, without the exact kind of loam they like. The yellow loam from Wansted Common, near London, suits them remarkably well, with only a very little sand added to it. Mr. Wheeler, of Warminster, used to grow them very healthy many years ago, but Dr. Herbert could never succeed with these two. I have been more successful with them than any one here, or in Australia, where they are quite at home. Once in seven or eight years will do to repot them, and they must have as small pots as they can be got into. They delight to be in a strong draught all the year round, where the air is admitted in the front of a greenhouse from May to October; and in the front of a late vinery, where the air is kept quite dry all the winter, and at a temperature from 45° to 50°, or even 60°. A resting house for Mexican orchids would also suit them in winter, if they were kept near where the air is admitted; but they will not keep healthy for many years if they are wintered either in a good greenhouse, or the cool end of a stove. In July, 1819, I flowered C. obliquus very fine; the flower-scape was thirty-five inches long, and stout enough at the bottom to make a walking-stick. I got it to cross, and to bear seeds by the pollen of Valotta purpurea; the seedlings are old enough now to show the cross to be beyond a doubt, and yet there are not two other bulbs in the world whose flowers are so much unlike each other. I have also obtained a true cross from one of the great Candelabra plants of the Cape (Brunsvigia grandiflora), by the pollen of Valotta, and others have done the like between Brunsvigias and Belladonnas; so that all these should now be placed, in a consecutive arrangement, immediately after Amaryllis. In Australia they can seed the Cyrtanths freely enough, but they cannot get the seeds to vegetate, and I promised to tell why under Brunsvigia, for I learned the why by sad experience.

The seed-pod never changes colour, nor will it open until long after all the seeds are ripe, and as soon as they are ripe they will sprout immediately in the centre of the pod, and all that do so can never be got to continue their growth after being exposed to the air. I was so fearful of some unlucky accident with my seeds, and I was sure that no one would believe me, that I effected such a cross at all, if I lost my seedlings, and being also aware of the seeds ripening before the pod gives any signs of it, I gathered the last pod in the right state, and sent it to Dr. Lindley, with an earnest request that the seedlings should be reared in the garden of the Horticultural Society. In a few days after this I was very much amused indeed at finding that the officers of the Society thought I was quite daft. They sent me a polite letter, thanking me for a green pod not half ripe enough; but they qualified this in the Journal (1850, page 136), and said they had a dozen of seedlings, ripe or not ripe.


The Cottage Gardener 9: 438-440 (Mar. 10, 1853)

HARDY AND HALF-HARDY BULBS.

Donald Beaton

CYRTANTHUS.

THE two evergreen species of this genus, or rather section of Amaryllis, were disposed of in the last article; and the following go to rest from the end of October to March or April, and flower after Midsummer with the leaves on, and so till September, according to the kind, and the time they began to grow in the spring. After seeing how readily the Valotta purpurea crossed with C. obliquus, there can be no doubt of its crossing with some of the deciduous species, whose leaves and flowers the blood of Valotta would much improve; and there is another section of Amaryllis, called Gastronema, which is as sure to cross in with there as if we had the crosses now before us. Then, if the deciduous character of these Cyrtanths and Gastronemas would so influence the Valotta side of the breed as to go to rest in winter, as no doubt it would in time, we should possess a new race of summer-flowering bulbs, as hardy (for the summer) as Tulips, and with even richer colours, combined with finer striping than is seen in the Carnation.

Any one who knows the flower of Valotta purpurea may see, from the short description of the following species and those of Gastronema, how easily this could be effected. Hence it is that I put a great stress on the value of the genus Cyrtanthus, the bulbs of which are not at all difficult to manage, if the proper yellow loam is got for them, and the right treatment allowed. These bulbs ought to be covered with soil, and not be half-exposed as we do with Brunsvigias and similar large bulbs, because they are very susceptible of injury from damp in winter while they are at rest, and the covering of dry soil saves them much. On account of their permanent fleshy roots, it does not do to shake them out of the soil, like Gladiolus bulbs, while they are at rest. They will resent any pushing into forced growth in the spring beyond the temperature of a high airy shelf in the greenhouse. The one called Ventricosa in the Dictionary, has never been in cultivation, as far as I can make out; but all the species have the flowers more or less ventricose, or bulged out in the middle.

CYRTANTHUS ANGUSTIFOLIUS (Narrow-leaved).—A bad name, as others of them have the leaves still narrower. This is the easiest of them to grow, to flower, and to keep, as well as to increase, for it will seed freely. The flowers are four or five, of a rich orange-red, and they hang down from one side of the scape. The leaves are about a quarter-of-an-inch wide, and purple at the bottom, like those of Valotta purpurea.

CYRTANTHUS COLLINUS.—This is a native of the hills near Genadendal, 100 miles east of Cape Town, it is a very handsome kind, with eight or nine crimson, or poppy-scarlet, flowers, and with three leaves as narrow as the last, becoming very slender and purplish at the bottom—indications of its affinity with Valotta. The shape of the flowers, the insertion, and length of stamens, and the relative length and position of the style, are of not the slightest use, as private marks, for determining species, or even sections, in the genus Amaryllis, to which all these bulbs properly belong.

CYRTANTHUS ODORUS.—Only four crimson, slightly fragrant flowers, and these not quite so pendulous as is usual. The leaves are much narrower than in the last two; they are linear, or the edges nearly meeting along the back.

CYRTANTHUS PALLIDUS.—Five dull pink flowers, paler above the middle; quite pendulous. Very narrow, dark green leaves, attenuated, or becoming smaller, at both ends.

CYRTANTHUS SPIRALIS.—A very marked species, from the leaves growing spirally, in the shape of a corkscrew, There are six or seven flowers, quite pendulous, and of two shades of yellow, giving them a rich soft tint. From Uitenage, near Algoa Bay.

CYRTANTHUS STRIATUS.—Only three or four flowers, pendulous, as usual, beautiful red colour and streaked with yellow; leaves broader than in any of the other deciduous ones a full half-inch, a foot long, and speckled with red at the bottom. If I am right in considering the shape of a flower as of no value for generic distinctions in Amaryllis, what else is to hinder this pretty flower from being a Gastronema. That it will cross with that section, I have not the slightest doubt in my own mind; nor that the seedlings will be the prettiest striped flowers among all the bulbs—regular Carnation stripes, in fact. The late Mr. Rollison, the father of that respectable firm at Tooting, used to grow these Cyrtanths beautifully; and Mr. Carter, of Holborn, has them often on sale from the Cape growers. They are natives of the eastern territories of the Cape of Good Hope, and so readily known by their coral bells banging from the top of the stem, that a common shepherd might be entrusted to gather them in his walks.

DAUBENYA.

DAUBENYA AUREA and FULVA.—Anybody who remembers the very curious bulbs that were named after Masson, the botanical traveller in South Africa, will have no difficulty in recognising these two no less curious plants; and, as far as gardeners are concerned, there is not the slightest difference in the management of these from that necessary for the old Massonias; indeed, the colour of these flowers, and those of Massonia being bell-shaped instead of tubular, and marked with honey pores inside, are the only points of difference, or private mark, between Daubenya and Massonia. The two genera are only fit for botanic gardens. The leaves are very handsome, dark green, thick, and shining, not more than three inches long and nearly as broad. When full grown, they look much like the leaves of Haemanthus coccineus; when half grown, they fall on each side the same way; then an umbel of flowers comes out from between these two leaves, with hardly a stalk, and the bunch of flowers looks as if it was held by the closeness of the bottom of the leaves; the first one has yellow flowers, the second tawny ones. The bulbs require the same kind of treatment as the Brunsvigias.

DIANELLA.

These are also very old-fashioned herbaceous plants, with grassy leaves, and spreading panicles of small bine flowers of different shades, and tuberous roots, looking very much like bulbs, and as such are recorded in our books. They are excessively pretty little things, and as easy to manage almost as Crocuses; but they are out of fashion. The great Horticultural Societies have banished all the best of the old-fashioned plants from cultivation. There is no great good ever effected without some evil or hardship felt in some quarter or another; and those New Holland Diana Lilyworts had to retire to give place to such things as Gloriosa superba, and things that are neither superb nor glorious. Any light sandy loam will grow Dianellas of all sorts; they will also grew well in peat; and flower for a long time in summer. They seem to fill up the corresponding space in New Holland which the Conanthers do in South America, and there is a great general resemblance between the two families, only the Americans are bad to grow—these the reverse.

DRIMIA.

This is another congregation of old-fashioned Lilyworts from the Cape, but no one grows them now, and they were never worth much out of botanic gardens; but they will grow and flower in any light soil. Ciliaris, lanceaefolia, and purpurascens are the best of them; but they are now very scarce, and seldom met with.

ECHEANDIA.

ECHEANDIA TERNIFOLIA, alias Conanthera echeandia and Anthericum reflexum.— A small, yellow-flowered tuberous-rooted plant, a native of Mexico whence it was obtained by Sir Charles Lemon, with whom it flowered in 1837 for the first time. It is only botanically interesting.

ELISENE.

ELISENE LONGIPETALA, alias Pancratium ringens in the "Flora Peruviana." Pancratium and Hymenocallis come so close to each other in the first-described species, that no one could tell which was which in the absence of the seeds, and each of them has branched out into sections so very different in aspect as to have often deceived the most learned fully as much as ever Amaryllis did; and here is the very last example that I can call to mind of the description of what appears on the face of it to be only a well-marked section of Ismene; this Elisene is not farther removed from Hymenocallis than Ismene; and I am quite sure, as far as one can say in the absence of facts, that both of them, with several other plants that are now held by botanists to be distinct genera, will be proved, in the long run, to breed together, and with Hymenocallis—thus exemplifying the adage, that the first idea and the last one are sure to be right. The first idea was, that all the lily-like flowers with the nectarian membrane were Pancratiums; now we begin to see that Pancratiums are very limited indeed, and that nine-tenths of the Pancratioid plants must ultimately be arranged under Hymenocallis.

Elisene longipetala is one of the handsomest bulbs related to Ismene, and, like it, is a native of the Peruvian Andes. The first time it flowered in this country was in 1840, at the end of March, after resting all the winter. The flower scape was a yard high, and carried six large white flowers, whose divisions, or petals, were much longer than is generally seen in allied bulbs; hence the name. The first is an ancient name of romance—a celebrated beauty. No bulb can be more easy to grow than this, if it gets a complete rest for four or five months in winter, and is planted in pure sand, like the old Peruvian Daffodil, Ismene Amancaes. After flowering in the spring it ought to be planted out-of-doors about the end of May, like the Jacobaea Lily (Sprekelia), where it will grow with great vigour till the end of September. On the first appearance of frost it ought to be dried; exactly the same kind of treatment as one would give to Sprekelia formosissima, except that it must have a potful of sand to flower in, and a large quantity of sand put under it in the border, and the roots must be preserved in winter as well as the bulbs. A cross between this and Choretis glauca, or Ismene calathina, would be a treasure, as either of them would render the breed of Elisene later in flowering, so as to come in the open ground with us; but for a hardier constitution cross it with Ismene pedunculata, judging from what has been revealed in the "Vegetable Kingdom," and I think I know as much about that as any one. I am quite sure that "A. S. W.," who has written on the cross-breeding of fowls, has got the right end of the story—analogy can go no farther—experience must do the rest; but it must be done as he says, else stamens and cockerels pull in opposite directions.

EUCOMIS.

The bulbs belonging to this genus are all from the Cape; they are as old as the hills, and as well-known to old gardeners, like me, as Crocuses or Tulips. When we were all young this was one of the commonest stove plants we had to water; after that they turned out to like the greenhouse better; and, last of all, they are found to do out in a border, close under the wall of a greenhouse, or, better still, the front wall of a stove. Mr. Jackson, of Kingston, like me, is very fond of the old Cape bulbs, and of bulbs in general; both of us worked very hard in our younger days, and now we can spare half-an-hour occasionally to talk about old things, and ways; and, in our very last conversation, the bulbs under review were the subject of the story. He has many of them in front of his houses, and some almost out of the ground by over-growing; but the frost never hurts them so far as to keep them from flowering every year. But, to begin with young bulbs of them, they ought to be planted four or five inches deep, and to have a good portion of sand all round them, as the skin of the bulbs is very soft and tender, so that wireworm, and other grubs, like to feed on them. The flowers are not very showy nor striking, and I shall, therefore, occupy no space in describing them individually. They are hardly worth while growing in pots, except it be for their leaves and spotted leaf-stalks. To the eyes of a gardener they are of the same value as the Haemanthus family.

EUCROSIA.

EUCROSIA BICOLOR.—This is not a very striking bulb, yet the natural colour is much better than it is represented in any of our books; but I hardly know to which to liken it in any of its parts. The leaf is different from that of any other bulb I know—three or four inches long, nearly three inches broad in the middle, and tapering to both ends; the flowers are vermilion, with dark lines, and looks as if it was taken from the umbel of some fine Alströmeria. There was a large importation of it once to "Lee's Nursery," and Sweet told them it was a native of Cape Horn, and so they left the pots in a cold frame that winter, and every one of the bulbs were killed. Its natural locality was not determined till 1836, when Dr. Jamieson found it at an elevation of 1000 feet, "on the descent towards Jaguachi," in Peru. It likes strong loam, greenhouse culture, and rest in winter.

FERRARIA.

The Ferrarias were never great favourites with any one, owing to the very short time each flower keeps open, and their dull colours. Cypella plumbea is better than any of them, keeps longer its flower, from June to August, and has the charms of novelty and the novel colour, lead colour, to the bargain; yet no one grows it. Ferrarias require exactly the same treatment as lxias, which see. The three best of them are antherosa, atrata, and undulata.

FOURCROYA.

FOURCROYA GIGANTEA and LONGAEVA are not bulbs, but large plants between bulbs and American Aloes, with flower-stems which rise higher than the American Aloe, and they flower only once or so in a life-time, and are fit only for botanic gardens, where all the gardeners know more than we can tell them in our quiet homely way.

GALAXIA.

By cutting short the remarks about such bulbs as this, that are really not worth much or about which there is really very little chance for improving them, I shall have the more room to say all sorts of things about those which deserve our care and philosophy. Graminea and versicolor are the only two worth potting in this genus, and they are rather shy—the bulbs perishing often, without one knowing why. Very sandy peat and Ixia treatment suits them best.


The Cottage Gardener 9: 477-480 (Mar. 24, 1853)

HARDY AND HALF-HARDY BULBS.

Donald Beaton

GASTRONEMA.

GASTRONEMA CLAVATUM.—From a memorandum which was inserted in the Dictionary, to the effect that Gastronema clavatum was lost, one of my bulb correspondents wrote to say that he had it, that it bloomed with him the summer before, and that Mr. Carter, the well-known seedsman of Holborn, had it on sale, under the name of Cyrtanthus uniflorus. That is the name by which it was published in the "Botanical Register," in 1816, or 1817; but Dr. Burchell, who gathered it with his own hands, and who first brought it to flower in his own garden at Fulham, had seen as many plants of it in Africa with two flowers on a scape as with one. In outward appearance the flower has not the least resemblance to a Cyrtanth flower, yet from the private mark the name must be justified, for undoubtedly it is a true Amaryllis, like all the Cyrtanths. Seeing, however, that the different sections of Amaryllis are so very different in their outward looks, it is much easier for us to mind them by having each section under a different name, as Brunsvigia, Valotta, Cyrtanthus, Gastronema, and Nerine, when we can prove it to be a distinct member of the family. It is from this and the next species, when they come to be crossed with Cyrtanthus striatus, that I anticipate the great desideratum—rich carnation-striped flowers, and the flowers as regular in the outline as those of Valotta, but wider in the mouth;— then, and not till then, we shall have florists' flowers that will drive all the Tulips back to Holland and Dutch water.

Gastronema clavatum is a very small bulb, from the eastern parts of the Cape territory. It goes to rest all the winter, begins to grew late in March, and flowers at the end of summer; but not being much bigger than a Crocus bulb, and being very scarce, it should be grown in a pot in the best yellow loam, very touch reduced with the best silver sand; a deep pot, font. inches across, would be large enough to flower five of these pretty bulbs; the drainage must be perfect, and once in five years would he enough to change the soil. The leaf is not unlike a crocus leaf, of a milky-green colour the flower scape is from six to eight inches high with one, sometimes two, flowers, nodding a little to one side; it is not much bigger than the flower of a large white Crocus, but differently shaped, and pure white, with six crimson bands, one up the middle of each division of the flower; the top part of the flower spreads out wide open. Dr. Burchell's bulbs of it flowered in the open border, but the wet killed them in winter.

GASTRONEMA COCCINEUM.—If one had the face to assert, twenty years ago, that anything new, in the way of bulbs, could yet be discovered in our Cape Colony, he would be botanised out of the country. Masson, Forbes, Burchell, and Bowie, and a host of private searchers besides, had so scoured the country from one end to the ether, that nothing worth looking at were left behind, as the story went. "But stop a wee!" Since I began writing this page, a drawing of a Chandelier bulb (Brunsvigia) was set before me, perhaps the finest of that section, and I know it has never yet been described. In 1846, I had three bulbs from above Algoa Bay, and Dr. Herbert, to whom I sent two of them, could not even guess what genus they belonged to. Much about the same time, Mr. Backhouse, of York, had one of the handsomest of all the Tritonias (aurea), and here is another of his recent introductions, one of the very prettiest bulbs in all Africa, south or north; and the probability is, that scores, just as handsome, are yet to be had there. There was a capital book published on "The Genera of South African Plants" in Cape Town, in 1838, by W. H. Harvey, Esq.; 100 kinds of Amaryllids and 300 Irids are described in this book, and 8,000 species of Cape plants in the whole. According to the review of it which I have read, this book would assist in getting hold of very good things yet from the Cape. But let us hear about our newest Amaryllid from hence, Gastronema coccineum. This very handsome species is four times as large in all the parts as the last, but with only one flower on a scape, which is four or five inches high, hollow, and of a milky-green colour. The flower is stalkless on the top of this scape, with a long greenish tube, which is curved from the pod; the throat expands wide, and is of a deep rose colour, and with six crimson lines running down from the bottom of the segments on the outside; and opposite these, in the inside of the throat, are six white bands, and each of these white bands has a crimson line up the centre. The segments, or six divisions, of the flower spread wide open, and turn back a little, as if on purpose to let you see the lovely markings below. These divisions are of one colour, deep rose, thus forming altogether one of the richest of all our new bulbs, and one which ought to be in every collection, or selection, of bulbs in the three kingdoms and in the colonies thereto belonging. It is as easy to grow as Valotta, with nothing but loam and sand. As all those Cape Amaryllids delight in friable loam of different textures, according to the size of the bulbs, and as they do not like to be disturbed from pot to pot, nor to have the same soil changed for years together, it seems madness to add peat or leaf mould for them, as is done in some nurseries; the effect of which is, that after the first year or two the peat gets rotten and sour, and the leaf mould turns to a black slimy mass; the roots feel the bad effects of this; they begin to canker, the leaves get more and more sickly, the bottoms of them inside the bulb die off without ripening, and bring a mortal disease to the very heart of the system; and if another growth is made, the leaves are all spotted and blotched; and of all the hopeless things which we attempt to put right, this is the most desperate and hopeless.

GEISSORHIZA.

GEISSORHIZA, or Tile-root.—These are Cape Irids. In the "shipping list" for May 1846, it will be seen that II. M. ship Winchester arrived in England from the Cape of Good Hope; and by that good ship I received one of the finest assortments of bulbs that ever was made up there, or anywhere else, a list of which now lies before me, or rather is pasted in my Album—a curious old sort of book, which has served me for years to hold things which were too heavy for my brains. There is a memorandum in this list, saying that Mr. J. C. Lacy, apothecary, Port Elizabeth, Algoa Bay, South Africa, was then agent for a wanderer in those parts, from whom seed-roots, bulbs, and 37 kinds of Zamias, could be had on very low terms, for cash. Among lily bulbs were a large number of species, or rather kinds, for there is not a man on earth who can tell a species from a variety, in nine-tenths of the generality of Cape bulbs, They are so numerous, and run into each other so much, that, as Mr. Harvey said in his book on Cape plants, when they all open after a shower, the country looks as if there had been a shower of butterflies."

GEISSORHIZA SECONDA, if it would flower all the summer, would make the prettiest sky-blue bed of all the plants in creation—but it only blossoms for three weeks at the end of spring, and is too small to be trusted out of a pot, yet it is a very hardy greenhouse or frame bulb.

GEISSORHIZA VAGINATA AND OBTUSATA, I think, are the two best kinds, at least they are equally handsome to any in the genus; Obtusata is a very handsome little bulb, with rich cream-coloured flowers, which are streaked with pink on the outside; and Vaginata is akin to it, but very different in the flower, which is of three colours—the bottom is a rich dark purple, the middle a soft yellow, and the tops of the segments, or lobes of the flower, are marked with a large dark blotch. There are also Rochea, or Larochea, and setacea with excisa, and the first three named used to be common in the seed-shops some years since.

They are all best managed in pots, and a number 48-pot will flower five of the largest roots, and seven of the smaller ones. The best soil for them is good peat, and one-third sand, and they, should be potted at the end of September, and be treated like Ixias tell the winter; they flower from the middle of April to the end of May, and soon die down after that—as the Tulips do.

GELASINE AZUREA.

This is quite a new genus of South American bulbs, of which several kinds have been seen, but not brought over alive. Mr. Tweedie discovered the present species "in stony places near Rio Grande," and it is as hardy as a Gladiolus, and with small blue flowers, and the leaves keep on almost all the year round; very sandy loam, in a border with the different species of Zephyranthes, is the right place for it.

GETHYLLIS.

With the exception of Carpolyza, the different kinds of Gethyllis are the smallest of all bulbs, belonging to the order of Amaryllids, and they are all from the Cape. Ciliaris, Afra, and spiralis, are common enough at the Cape, and generally come in a collection from the Cape dealers. The bulbs, on their first arrival, look much like Crocus bulbs, with longish necks. They have pretty, white, starry flowers, and two of them, spiralis and Afra, are blush on the outside, and look very pretty in the bud. Ciliaris flowers without the leaves like a true Amaryllis. The leaves are not much stouter than those of very young Onions, but the most curious thing about them is that the seed-pod is buried in the neck of the bulb, and that is peculiar to all the kinds. No one in this country knows anything of the rest of them, except by report. Masson gathered specimens of three or four more kinds of them; and long ego, there was such a rage for numbers of plants, instead of fine flowers, that people actually marked the names of dead plants in their books and catalogues, thinking they might get them before the year was out and in that way many names are in black and white of plants that were never gathered in a living state. There is an extremely rare kind of Gethyllis (undulata), which I once thought I had, but was mistaken. In the dried state the leaf of this singular bulb is the most curious of all the bulbs known. It is six inches long, or longer, a quarter-of-an-inch wide, flat, and both edges are waved in-and-out, is regularly as if it were done so with a crimping-iron, and on the swell of each undulation there is a hair-like bristle sticking out; and the leaves of villosa are as full of long hairs as a cat's tail, and some of them as firm as his whiskers. They all do with the same soil and treatment as Carpolyza spiralis.

GLADIOLUS.

This genus of very curious and very diversified originals has gained a step or two in the way of improvement at the hands of the cross-breeder, and the cross kinds have acquired such a hold on garden patronage, and their culture, propagation, and history, are now so well understood, that we see every point in their history and management discussed, and that more ably and freely than is done for the Tulip, Hyacinth, or Ranunculus. Therefore, I need not take up time and room in this series about them, farther than to remark, that we do not owe the success of the crossing in this genus to the industry and intelligence of the gardener, so much as to the scientific views and precepts of Dr. Herbert. The result obtained by crossing Gladioli is only as a drop in the bucket to what may be revealed when the industry of a generation of able and willing minds is brought to bear on the greet mass of ornamental bulbs, of which my notes take cognisance of hardly but one section—that which contains the half-hardy kinds. Before I finish my say on this subject, I hope to be able to got in the point of the wedge, which must, sooner or later, split the great stumbling-block which lies so awkwardly in the road to improvement; and when the wedge is once fairly introduced, there will be no lack of strong beetlemen to drive it out, from time to time, until border and pot bulbs become as plentiful as blackberries, and as gay as butterflies and moths.

HABRANTHUS.

The genus Habranthus is associated in my mind with "Gretna Green." Not, however, in the way of run-away or clandestine marriages, but as being the best known point to strangers in that line which separates two very distinct races of people—the English and the Scotch. What the real difference is between these two races neither the lawyers nor the philosophers can tell us; but that there is a difference, and it very marked difference, too, no one who knows both the races can contradict. Then, if I make Habranthus a Gretna Green between two races of bulbs, that are quite as dissimilar in their ways as are the English and the Scotch, and call the bulbs immediately on this side of the Green, Amayllids, and the bulbs on the other side of the Green, to a certain extent, Hippeasters, how will a stranger know an Amaryllid from a Hippeaster? Much easier than he could ''the natives" from each other. But this kind of knowledge is not, and cannot be taught in schools, or in books; it must be learned by that kind of mental philosophy by which we can tell two sisters or two brothers in a crowd at first sight; and this philosophy is called intuitive perception. After one knows a good many kinds of bulbs, there is no great difficulty in referring a new kind to the group to which it naturally belongs by this perception. Some kinds of Habranthus would be referred to Amaryllis by this philosophy, and others of them to Hippeastrum, by the same perception. So that the line of difference between Amaryllis and Hippeastrum is lost in the very midst of Habranths, and whoever finds it out will make a little fortune of it; and the following description of species may help the inquiry, as well as introduce a race of beautiful flowering-bulbs to the notice of the reader.

HABRANTHUS ADVENUS, alias Amaryllis advena and Hippeastrum advenum.—This species is not mentioned by name in the Dictionary, but is included under Hisperius, which is only a fanciful name given by Dr. Herbert, to cover three or four kinds, which, like advena, form the western extremity of the genus in Chili—as the Greeks and Romans distinguished Spain and Portugal as their Hesperia, or the far west. The bulb of advena is dark, nearly round, and not quite so large as a middle-sized hyacinth bulb. Leaves narrow and blunt. The flowers come generally six on a scape, bright red, with, the lips of the segments yellow. Pallidus is only a very small variety of this, named by Loddiges, in the "Botanical Cabinet," and the same variety is called citrina in the "Botanical Register." Miniatus is the third variety of Herbert's Hisperius—it has pale reddish, flowers, and much larger than these of pallidus, but not so large as those of advena, which are nearly as large as a Valotta flower. Miniatus and advena are well worth growing—pallidus is not.

HABRANTHUS BAGNOLDII.—So named after Captain Bagnold, who first brought it over from Chili. A large black bulb, with a long neck, blunt sea-green leaves, not more then a fourth-of-an-inch broad—a green scape, with six beautiful large yellowish flowers, spotted and tinged with red—the peduncles are very long in this species, quite three inches; the bulb is from the southern parts of Chili, (Hesperia), and grows in strong or gravelly ground, as do the three last, and all of these must have good drainage and sandy loam. They all flower in summer, before the leaf, and grow through the winter.

HABRANTHUS BIFIDUS.—From Buenos Ayres, where the bulbs are not so dark as those oil the western side beyond the Andes. Leaves not quite half-an-inch wide —four large dark purple flowers, darker, and lined with green below, with the rudiment of a bearded membrane, or what I call the eye-lash—the very bottom of a bulb-flower without a tube, I tell the eye—the Nectarian membrane, diminishes, in different kinds, till at last there is only a ring of it round the bottom, and when this ring is fringed, or bearded, as they call it, I call it the eye-lash as more expressive, and this eye-lash brings Habranthus in contact with Hippeastrum for the first time; and if ever the two genera can be crossed together it will be through the species thus marked with a beard, or eye-lash. There is another variety of this named literalis, which Tweedie found at Monte Video, growing within the tide mark.

HABRANTHUS CONCOLOR.—One of the newest of the genus, a native of Mexico, whence Hartweg sent it to the Horticultural Society. The bulb is black, the leaves broader then in the more southern ones, being fully half-an-inch wide, a foot high, and sea-green, and the scape is one-flowered, the flower a greenish, or pale yellow, but rather handsome in its way.

HABRANTHUS GRACILIFOLIUS and BOOTHEANUS.—Two very handsome varieties, particularly the latter, which first flowered with Sir Charles Lemon, to whom it was sent from Maldonado, by Lieut. J. Sulivan, of the Beagle. Bulb black, and of the size of a pigeon's egg; the leaves very slender and wavy; light rosy flowers, produced singly on the scape.

HABRANTHUS INTERMEDIUS.—Supposed, at the time it was first described (1827), to be intermediate between rutila and advena: the first a Hippeaster, and the second as above. This species has much of the aspect of some small Hippeaster, which, after going through the furnace of scientific investigation for a quarter-of- a-century, I should not be at all surprised to hear would cross with a true Hippeaster, and if so, my views about Gretna Green tell in two very different ways; first, as the point dividing two different races; and the next, as the very spot where two of them might go together, at a push, notwithstanding all our private marks. A dark bulb, native of Brazil, with bright green narrow leaves, and wide open flowers of a dull red colour, having a greenish-yellow eye or bottom; apparently, a Hippeaster, to all intents and purposes.

HABRANTHUS KERMESINUS, alias Amaryllis Kermesina.—One of the very gayest and prettiest flowers, claiming kindred with Amaryllis, who was a pretty country girl herself, and whose name was immortalized by Virgil. The bulb is dark brown, not bigger than a pigeon's egg; leaves scarcely a quarter-of-an-inch wide, and hardly a foot long; s sea-green scape, carrying four large deep crimson flowers, of the most vivid tint, and ribbed at the bottom with yellow. A south Brazilian bulb of exquisite beauty. It flowered first with Sir Charles Lemon, from whom it was figured in the "Botanical Register," vol. xix., plate 1638.

HABRANTHUS PHYCELLOIDES.—Another very charming bulb; a native of Chili, with a very different-looking flower from the usual run in this genus. Six of them form a brilliant star spread out, as they are, on long footstalks, or peduncles, from the top of the scape; the opening of the flower, which is more than two inches across, is of the brightest shining scarlet, like the Phycella ignea; the bottom of the flower, which is a short tube, is a delicate soft yellow. When crosses between Cyrtanthi and Valotta become multiplied some of them will look much after the likeness of this beautiful flower. The bulb is large and black, with a very short neck; leaves milky-green, blunt, and about half-an-inch wide. It is, certainly, a puzzle to the most learned, to know how to deal with, and to classify the interminable shades of variations that are constantly met with among bulbs, natives of the temperate zones of the earth; and here is a proof, in this very flower being made into a Habranth.

HABRANTHUS PRATENSIS, which was met with by Poepping and Zuillet, in south Chili, growing in the meadows of Antuco, with Alströmerias, and which they said had a scarlet flower with a yellow bottom. I know nothing of it besides; whether it was introduced to this country I know not. McRae, one of the first collectors sent out by the Horticultural Society, sent home a dried specimen from Conception, Chili, a very beautiful purple Habranthus, now called speciosus. I know nothing more of this either. Pumilis and roseus are the same; and a very dwarf, pretty little bulb. Spathaceus is a variety of Angustus, which I left out till I had the two together. This is well represented in the "Botanical Magazine," 2639, with large purple flowers, edging into the character of a Hippeaster.

HABRANTHUS VERSICOLOR.—This is one of the small flowered ones, as roseus and Andersonii, and worth the whole of them put together. The flower is chiefly white tipped with red on the segments, and with bright red streaks at the bottom; the scape, the envelope (spathe), and the flower-bud are all of one colour—a rosy-pink; but when the flower opens the parts take to the usual colour; there is only one flower on a scape. Andersonii is the next to this, and is dull compared with it and roseus. The colour is a mixture of dull red and brown but there are five or six varieties, all from Buenos Ayres; and all but hardy here, flowering all the summer; and all the dwarf species ought to be set thick in a patch, as there is but one flower on each scape.

HABRANTHUS ROBUSTUS was very common about London twenty years back. It was the largest flower of all the single-flowered ones; the colour a purplish-rose; and as fast as one flower opened the seed-pod from a former one was ready to gape open, full of black seeds, which ripened every year. There are several other kinds, and some of them very pretty, mentioned by travellers, and one is beautifully spotted on a light ground, very much like a flower of Alströmeria peregrina. This is called punctatus. It is a Chilian species, sent by Reynold to Sir W. J. Hooker. It has its limb very prettily dotted, and is of a rosy colour.

Culture.—Every one of those beautiful bulbs would flower out-of-doors in this country. They all flower from the end of summer, and some of them late in the autumn, according to the time the different kinds go to rest. The whole of them keep green all the winter, and dislike damp and confinement. They rest at different periods from April to July, and after awhile push up their flowers before the leaves. They delight in fresh sandy loam of loose texture, and the border, or pot, cannot be too well drained for them. They are best in borders in front of plant houses; and, as they are green all winter, they must have glass over them; but the bulbs should only be just covered, and be set in silver sand. If any of them should cross with Hippeastrum the seedlings would inherit the hardihood of this family, and some would give up their winter growth, and some, perhaps, would assume their full foliage before the time of flowering—three points of very essential improvement.

 

Beaton Bibliography