The Gardeners' Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette, pp. 468-469 (July 28, 1849)
Cape Bulbs, Saving Pollen
Donald Beaton
The Gardens, Shrubland Park, Ipswich

I am glad to see your correspondence “Micklewell” appear again in your pages, treating on Amaryllids. I have just now a bulb of Cyrtanthus obliquus, throwing up a strong flower-scape—the third specimen I have flowered in these 20 years, and I should much wish “Micklewell” to try its pollen on those Vallotas he mentions, particularly those grown in the cottage windows, as they are more likely to seed than those we cultivate with more care in gardens. I could send him some anthers in a letter, and if the Vallotas to be dusted were placed in a saucer of water as soon as the flower-scape appeared, it would assist the plants to make seeds. It would also be desirable to dust some of their own pollen, and if these did not seed nor those dusted by the pollen of Cyrtanthus, the question of the union of the two plants would still be left open. Dr. Herbert was long of opinion that the Vallota and the two evergreen Cyrtanthi would unite by their pollen, although in his arrangement he placed Gastronema between them.

If “Micklewell” or any other of your readers happen to flower Brunsvigia Josephinae this autumn, I would be much obliged by a few anthers of it, cut off before they open, and folded in a packet of tissue paper to be sent in a letter, as I had lately to renew the border in which our plants of Josephinae grew, and I fear this has disturbed their roots so much that they will not flower this season, although they ripened ample foliage. When these Brunsvigias are growing in a free border they gladly receive any amount of water and liquid manure, also from Christmas up to the beginning of May; and so do the Haemanthi. I want the pollen of B. Josephinae to see if I can push a cross between it and the Belladona; a cross which, I believe, has not yet been effected; but Dr. Herbert obtained seeds from Amaryllis blanda by the pollen of Josephinae, and as A. blanda is hardly to be met with now, I should be content with a cross from the less showy Belladona.

Another pollen I am most anxious to obtain is that of Gastronema elavatum, a little African Amaryllis which I could never flower, and which is often received among Cape bulbs under the name of Amaryllis pumilio, and is said never to produce more than two flowers on a scape, often only one.

There is no question now but pollen, if carefully preserved, will retain its virtue for some years. It is more than 12 years since I stated that you might gather pollen on the alps of Thibet, carry it home safer than seeds from the same plant, and apply it successfully at home, and I have seen no reason yet to alter this opinion. If Dr. Hooker or Mr. Low had sent home the pollen of those beautiful Rhododendrons they met with in the east, there is no doubt but it would fertilise our hardier varieties here, and thus procure new crosses of great and general interest.

Beaton Biblio