New improvements of planting and gardening (1726)

Richard Bradley

SECT. XI.

Of STOCK-JULY-FLOWERS, vulg. GILLY-FLOWERS.

THESE are Shrubs, like the former, commonly about two Foot high, some Sorts of them blossoming almost all the Year. The single Kinds of them are all raised from Seeds sown in March, and will come up and be fit to transplant the Autumn following, but do rarely blow till the second Year, unless they be raised in Hot-Beds, or are of the Annual Kind, as they call it. Among the Seedlings we often find Plants with double Flowers, which should be carefully transplanted into Pots, for the Ornament of the nicest Places in the Garden, or to adorn Chimneys in the Summer. The double Kinds may be increased by Slips or Cuttings planted in May, June or July; but it is not worth while to propagate the single Ones after any other manner than from their Seeds. There are five Sorts of them, besides the Dwarf Kind, or Annual Stocks for Edgings. The White Flowering Kind, that with the Purple Flower, the striped Sort, the large Red Brompton Stock, and that Sort which blossoms the first Year; of all which the Brompton Kind is esteemed to be the best. The Scent of their Flowers is very grateful, and the several Colours of their Blossoms, if they are well mix'd, are extremely Beautiful. They love a light natural dry Soil, and are apt to perish by too much Wet in the Winter, therefore it is advisable to sow a young Nursery of them about August to blow early the next Year, if the great Plants drop off, as they will do in all severe Frosts.

I cannot any where, so properly as in this Place, take Notice of an Observation which an ingenious Gentleman has communicated to me concerning the Seeds of Plants, and particularly those of the Stock-July-Flower: He says, that he once bought some Stock-Seed of a Gardener near London, which he sow'd in his Garden in Oxfordshire, and brought him great Store of double Flowers, and some few single Ones of an extraordinary Colour and Bigness, which were so much admired by the Gardeners round about him, that he was continually solicited for some of their Seeds. He saved a large Quantity, and supply'd several curious Persons with it. What he gave away, maintain'd for the first time of sowing its first Excellence, but what he sow'd in his own Garden lost its good Qualities. In short, he was now become a Supplicant to those he had set up, and from the Seeds they had saved, he had his first good Fortune in many Double Flowers, while those who had saved the Seeds complain'd of their ill Luck, and were apt to say, that if they had not gather'd them with their own Hands, they should have believed they had been imposed upon. At last they all agreed mutually to exchange the Seeds of this and other Flowers annually, and every one had good Success. This Story, I think, plainly shews how much the Change of Air and Soil contributes to improve some particular Vegetables.