Horticultural Imposter at Sheffield

The Gardener's Magazine and Register of Rural & Domestic Improvement, 1: 454-455 (Oct 1826)

Horticultural Impostor. A man has gone about London, the two last autumns selling the roots of oenanthe crocata, for those of a newly imported species of dahlia. He found a number of purchasers. As the oenanthe is one of the most powerful of vegetable poisons, the substitution of its roots for those of the dahlia, which are edible, may possibly be attended with dangerous consequences. The following description of this plant is from Gray’s "British Plants." Oenanthe crocata, yellow-water drop-wort, Hemlock drop-wort, dead tongue, &c. Pentan, dig. Lin. Umbelliferae, Juss. (Fig. 95.).

The Gardener's Magazine and Register of Rural and Domestic Improvement, 3: 217 (Nov 1827)

Horticultural Impostor. — I consider it would be well to caution the readers of your Magazine against a man now travelling the country, offering tulips for sale, which he says are tree tulips, and will produce many flowers on one stalk of various colours, and, I am sorry to say, many have been imposed on by him here. I should have thought the striped dahlias sold all over the country, by such another fellow, last year, had not been quite forgotten. He asks 1s. 6d. each for the tulips, and says I have purchased twenty dozen of him, and that he obtained them when abroad. —C. Hale Jessop. Cheltenham, Sept. 1827.

The Gardener's Magazine and Register of Rural & Domestic Improvement, Volume 5(18): 215 (April 1829)

A Horticultural Impostor at Sheffield. — A fellow has been cheating people here, by selling what he described as tree-tulips, growing the usual size of common tulips, but which produce many flowers on one stem, and some of them of different colours. This impostor called on me, in August, 1828. He said he received them from a brother residing in South America; that he was the under-gardener in Lord Fitzwilliam's botanic garden at Wentworth House, near Sheffield; he said they had bloomed them in great perfection at that place last year. Knowing the gardeners at that place to be truly respectable, I, along with many other gentlemen, purchased some of each kind. My gardener planted some of them in pots, and placed them in the forcing-house; others in a cold green-house; and some out of doors; some are about six inches in height. I have been looking for the side-branches, but in vain. One he calls the Eye of the Mountain; there is also the Pride of the Valley, but, he observed, the Rose of the Valley surpassed all, it had so fragrant a perfume.

He appeared about 6 ft. in height, about 45 or 50 years of age. I took him into my stove; he appeared to be well acquainted with the names of most of the plants, was dressed like an under-gardener, and talked much of their last new plants at Wentworth House. 1 fancy he reaped a plentiful harvest in this neighbourhood; was here on the first day of August, 1828, and, some days afterwards. As he mentioned to me correctly the name of the head-gardener there, as well as the name of the gardener in the botanic garden, under whom he said he worked, I, as well as my neighbours, had no doubt of the man's respectability. As people do not like to subject themselves to the laughter of their friends, for their gullibility, I shall subscribe myself only— M. P. Sheffield, Feb. 26. 1829.

The Gardener's Magazine and Register of Rural & Domestic Improvement, Volume 5(21): 459 (Aug 1829)

A Horticultural Impostor from Paris. — Sir, On reading your account of the Sheffield impostor, I determined to inform you how I have been deceived by a Frenchman. In December last, a M. P****, from Paris, announced his arrival in the Times paper, at No. 4. Green Street, Leicester Square. I called on him, and was shown a printed catalogue of his stock, and I purchased several articles. The following I have already proved, and have little faith but that I shall be equally deceived in the georginas, carnations, yellow nerium, and others: —

A double yellow camellia proves a single red; a double tricolor camellia the same; a yellow double China rose, and a tricolor, a lemon, and a brown ditto, all turn out to be Rosa semperflorens and common China roses; a yellow moss rose turns out to be the common moss rose, a double white the Cabbage Provins, and a tricolor the Rose de Meaux.

I hope you will caution your readers against being duped by such travelling gentry, and enable them to profit by my experience, and go in future to respectable nurserymen. — A. B. Banbury, June 13. 1829.

Nursery Fraud