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But to raise a seedling is one thing, to raise a fine seedling, a far different. Of many hundred raised in the course of the last few years, by the writer, not more than half a dozen have been worthy of preservation, and only one (and that produced by chance really a first-class flower.
In raising seed, much may be done to insure its quality by planting fine varieties together, and allowing them to intertwine, then gathering the seed from these plants. No rule can be laid down to obtain any desired color, for the seedlings sport infinitely. We can only approximate towards definite results; thus, if we plant Annie (white)
and Robinson's Defiance (red) together, the seedling will be
likely to be pink.
The flowers of the verbena are of every color and shade, except light blue, which color has never been obtained. A good yellow verbena has not yet been produced. There is a miserable variety, with a small truss of dirty yellow
flowers. The writer, some years since, by a curious process
of watering and fertilization with a white verbena, obtained a seedling, which proved, on blooming, to be of a light straw color; the plant was weak and sickly, and died before cuttings could be taken. Since that time he has tried the
experiment often, but never with any successful result.
The qualities of a first-class verbena, as laid down by
florists, are: roundness of flower, without indenture, notch,
or serrature; petals thick, flat, bright and smooth; the plant should be compact, with short, strong joints, either distinctly of a shrubby habit, or a close, ground creeper or climber; the trusses of bloom, compact, standing out from the foliage, the flowers meeting, but not crowding each other; the foliage should be short, broad, bright, and enough to hide the stalk; in the eyed and striped varieties, the colors should be well defined and lasting, never running
into each other, or changing in the sun.
As a window plant, there is nothing that will give more
bloom than a verbena. Let it be trained on a trellis, and
give it all the sun possible; the more sun, the more bloom. Pinch the shoots, to prevent its becoming too rambling, and give air enough, and your work is done.
The production of seedlings, as above directed, is a very pretty amusement, and very simple. Seedlings will bloom
in three months, from the seed.
Verbenas may be grown to advantage in the garden, either in masses, as single plants, or upon rock-work; many
pretty effects may be produced by a careful arrangement of colors; they are also well adapted for hanging pots and for vases, in which they will bloom profusely.
There is no flower which, if properly grown, will better repay the care required, and none which will show so well with but little attention, and we trust that these few remarks may lead to a more careful cultivation of this beau
This plant is always admired for its fragrance, and will
ever be a favorite for window culture.
It is a native of Peru, and has been in our gardens since the year 1757.
The details of culture are similar to those prescribed for the verbena; the soil should be strong loam, with a little
sand and manure.
The heliotrope is seldom grown as well as it should be. It should have frequent re-pottings, and be allowed to grow
large. We have seen them in parlors, in large tubs on
wheels, and eight feet high. Such plants are in themselves bouquets of beauty, being always covered with flowers. Train the main stems of the plant to a trellis, and let the
branches droop naturally, and as they will gracefully. The plant bears the knife well, and breaks freely, so it can be
The common variety is H. corymbosum, then the oldest, E. Peruvianum; H. Volterianum is a fine dark variety,
but not so strong growing.
Florists' catalogues contain many varieties, but the above are the best for general culture.
This plant is only valuable as a window plant in summer and early autumn. The chief variety cultivated is the Scarlet Mexican Sage (S. splendens), introduced from Mexico about forty years ago. It is a rank growing shrub, with long, jointed stalks, crowned with rich, scarlet flowers. The best way to grow it is to set the plant in rich soil in the garden in spring. It will grow vigorously. About the last of September pot it (it transplants easily), shade it for a few days, then remove it to a sunny window, where it will delight you with its brilliant blossoms for two months. Then keep it cool until spring, and repeat the operation until the plant becomes so large as to be unmanageable ; then spring cuttings must be taken off and rooted.
The proper soil is, three parts loam, one leaf mould, one manure, with a sprinkling of sand.
Salvia patens is an exquisite blue flowered variety. It blooms well in the garden in summer, and the fleshy roots may be preserved like a dahlia through the winter.
There are many other fine varieties.
This flower, from its earliest discovery and introduction, has been a popular favorite. As year by year newer varieties have been discovered, or finer seedlings raised from old favorites, it has steadily advanced in favor, till now, the rich man's choicest green-house and the poor man's garden alike boast some of the varieties of this beautiful plant. In the limits of a short article, like the present, it will be impossible, of course, to give a detailed description, or even to mention all the varieties; many are only desirable in a collection, being of inferior beauty; while others are rare, or of difficult culture, and therefore found only in the green
houses of amateurs.
The different varieties of tropæolum divide themselves
into three distinct classes. First, those with bulbous, or
rather tuberous roots, such as Tropæolum azureum and