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ground in May, or plants may be grown in pots in the greenhouse: for a single plant, a nine-inch pot answers well. The height is dependent on the treatment. — English Journal of Horticulture.
Gloxinia, Gesnera, And Achimenes Culture. — All thrive well in a compost of turfy loam, peat, and leaf-mould, in equal parts; adding sand if the soil require it. It should be sandy. The size of pot for the gloxinias will depend upon the size of the tubers. Those two, three, or more years old, should, in the first instance, have pots twice their diameter ; and when they have grown a few inches high, and filled the pot with roots, shift into pots three inches more in diameter. The gesneras, if of the tuberous-rooted kinds, as G. purpurea macrantha, require the same sized pots as gloxinias; but if of the scaly-rooted kinds, as G. zebrina splendens, they should have pots in proportion to the number of roots put into each. A seven-inch pot may have five tubers, and a twelveinch pot twelve roots. For achimenes, pots are not so good as pans eight inches deep, and one foot to one foot six inches wide. The tubers may be placed in these at an inch apart. All require the temperature of a stove, — from 6o° to 650 by night, and from 70° to 850 by day; or they may be started in a hotbed, and, when a few inches high, removed to a vinery at work.
Propagating Cupressus Lawsoniana From Cuttings. — The best time to put in cuttings is towards the end of summer, or when the growths are com-' plete. The young shoots of the current year should be selected, taking them off quite close to the old wood. They should be inserted in pots or pans in silver sand; the base of the cutting resting about half an inch above a layer of loam at the bottom, over the drainage. The pots should be placed in a warm greenhouse or propagiting-house, or set in a frame with a mild bottom-heat; and should be covered with a bell or hand glass. The sand must be kept moist. Though plants will grow from cuttings, they are not equal to those raised from seed.
This method may also be successfully employed for propagating Sequoia gigantea and many other evergreens.
Pleroma Sarmentosa. — This very beautiful species was discovered by Humboldt and Bonpland in the cool valleys of Peru. It appears to be not uncommon, having since been repeatedly found; and is known to the natives as Flore de Gallinaso. The plant is well adapted to greenhouse culture, and is one of our most valuable recent introductions. The flowers are very large, freely produced, of a royal-purple color; leaves ovate-oblong, dark green.
Figured in Curtis's " Botanical Magazine," tab. 5,629.
Sarcanthus Erinaceus. — A lovely but very rare orchid, native of Moulmeyne. The leaves are a dark glaucous-green; the flowers delicate rosy-white, with pink lip, in long, pendant spikes, from rough, shaggy stems. It is of very slow growth, but flowers freely during the summer, requiring the usual treatment of Indian orchids.
Figured in Curtis's " Botanical Magazine," tab. 5,630.
Dessert-orange Culture*— In the diary of that "fine old English gentleman," John Evelyn, may be found an intimation to the effect that he had eaten as good " China oranges " plucked from his own trees as he ever wished to eat. In those days, dessert-oranges were, it seems, called "China oranges." Although oranges were cultivated in France long before Evelyn's time, yet they were considered merely ornamental appendages to palaces and mansions. No thought seems to have been turned to them, so as to consider them fruit-trees: and even Evelyn, with his remarkable horticultural sagacity, does not mention that he had ranked orange-trees among fruit-trees; for in his "Kalendarium Hortense," when he mentions, for every month, "fruits in prime, and yet lasting," no mention is made of oranges. It would seem, therefore, that his gathering of oranges fit to eat was an accidental occurrence; and we are led to suppose, from the silence of gardeners for nearly two hundred years as to their culture, that the orange-eating world has felt perfectly satisfied with imported oranges, brought quickly by fast-sailing vessels. Still the difference between oranges freshly gathered from the trees, and the very finest imported, is most remarkable. There is a crispness and fine aroma in oranges freshly gathered, difficult to realize, unless they are promptly compared with imported fruit: they are indeed a luxury, and, as such, will be cultivated ere long in every good garden.
The houses best adapted for their cultivation are the large span-roofed, twenty-four feet wide, six feet high at each side, and fifteen feet high in the centre. A house of this size will require eight four-inch hot-water pipes, four on each side; as artificial heat is required all the year to ripen oranges in one season perfectly.
A smaller span-roofed house, five and a half feet high at each side, and twelve feet high in the centre, heated by four four-inch hot-water pipes, two on each side, is almost as eligible' for orange-culture as one even of the larger size. A house of these dimensions,with a central path, and a border on each side planted with orange-trees, would form a pleasant and productive orange-garden; but to form an orange-grove, so as to have trees of fine growth and to give abundant crops, the larger house must be resorted to.
From the experience I have gained, I firmly believe that no conservatory, no orchid-house, no greenhouse, is half so beautiful or interesting as an orangehouse constructed on the principles I now advocate, and provided with fixed roofs, rafters twenty-four inches apart, glazed with large pieces of glass, and admitting abundance of light; so that in December, when the trees are covered with their golden fruit, and many of them showing their snowy-white, perfumed flowers, the scene is indeed enchanting, and is enhanced by the agreeable temperature, which need not be higher than from 500 to 60° Fahr. (io° to 150 Cent.) in cloudy weather. It is not fierce heat in winter that ripening oranges require, but an even, agreeable temperature, such as is experienced in the Azores during that season of the year.
The houses above mentioned should have side ventilation, as in orchard-houses: viz., an opening in each side of the large house, two feet wide; for the smaller
* From the Report of Proceedings of the International Horticultural Exhibition and Botanical Con* gress of London, 1866; a very interesting record of that great horticultural gathering, just issued .
houses, one foot wide. These openings should be in the centre of each side, and shutters of wood or sashes employed to close them; the latter, of course, being the most agreeable. >
In houses thus treated, orange-trees may be cultivated in pots or tubs, or planted in the borders. There is no doubt that more rapid growth would take place if such borders were heated by having hot-water pipes placed two feet under the surface: but, from recent experience, I am inclined to think this is not absolutely necessary; for, if the borders are raised eighteen inches above the surface, they would have sufficient heat from the atmosphere of the house, and their temperature would be quite equal to sustain the trees in health.
The cultivation of dessert-orange-trees in pots or tubs is very simple. The compost they require consists of equal parts of peat, loam, and manure thoroughly decomposed. The two former should not be sifted, but chopped up with the pieces of turf and roots so as to form a rough compost . The trees will grow in this freely, and bear abundantly; but they should have gentle, constant root heat: this is best given by enclosing hot-water pipes in a shallow chamber of bricks, and placing the pots on a flooring of slates or tiles forming the roof of the chamber.
The compost for the borders in which orange-trees are to be planted should consist of turfy loam two parts, and equal parts of thoroughly decomposed manure and leaf-mould. After planting, the borders should be trodden down firmly, as orange-trees seem to flourish best in firm loamy soils. In the orange-gardens of Nervi, where orange-trees are, or used to be, so largely grown for exportation, and imported by the London dealers in oil, &c., the soil is a tenacious yellow loam.
The best form of tree for an orange-garden under glass is the round-headed, — a form which it seems to take naturally; for if it is endeavored to be cultivated as a pyramid, which would seem desirable, its lower branches soon become weakly and unhealthy. If trees with stems two or three feet in height are planted, the lower branches may be gradually removed till a clear stem of five feet in height is formed; and this height will be found sufficient. They may be planted from five to six or seven feet apart, according to the size of the house, and the room which can be afforded for each tree. It must not be forgotten, that, in small houses, the heads of the trees may be kept in a compact state by summer pinching, and in large houses be allowed a greater freedom of growth, so that the owner of an orange-garden in England may sit under the shade of his orange-trees.
There are but few kinds yet known of really fine dessert-oranges. The amateur who wishes to plant an orange-garden to supply his dessert must not think of planting the numerous varieties of the genus Citrus, grown by Italian and French cultivators: they are mostly what are called fancy sorts, and are more prized for their foliage and flowers than for their fruit.
One of the most charming and prolific of dessert-oranges is the Tangierine. The tree has small leaves, and seldom attains a height of more than seven feet, even in North Africa. Its most valuable quality is its early ripening; so that in October, just as the late peaches and other soft fruits are «rver, this luscious littie fruit is ready for the dessert: and, when freshly gathered, no fruit can be more gratifying or delightful, as its aroma is so delicious, and its juice so abundant; in this respect, offering a pleasing contrast to those imported from Lisbon in November and December, the flesh of which is generally shrunk from the rind, instead of being ready to burst, as is the case with those plucked from the tree. They should, in common with all home-grown oranges, be placed on the table with some leaves adhering to their stalks; thus showing that they have not made a voyage.
Among full-sized oranges, the Maltese Blood takes the first rank. When quite fresh from the tree, it differs much from those imported; although the voyage as now made by steamers is of short duration. I was not so fully aware of this till early in January, 1866, when I was able to compare some fine imported fruit with some gathered from my trees. I found the former, although rich and juicy, yet flat in flavor compared with those freshly gathered: they lacked the crispness and aroma which were most agreeable in the latter. The great advantage in planting this sort is its tendency to bear fine fruit while the trees are young: they are indeed so prolific, that trees of only two feet in height have here borne nice crops of fruit.
Some varieties, quite equal to the foregoing in quality, but without the red flesh so peculiar to these "blood-oranges," have been imported from the Azores, the paradise of orange-trees. One of the most desirable sorts is called simply the St. Michael's orange. This kind has a thin rind, is very juicy, and bears abundantly, even while the trees are young. In the orange-house, these will ripen towards the end of December, and throughout January and February, in common with the Maltese blood-oranges.
No one but an amateur of gardening can imagine the pure, quiet pleasure of taking a morning walk in the orange-house during the above-mentioned dreary months, and plucking from the trees oranges fully ripe. I have had much experience in the culture, and, I may add, in the eating of fruit; but I can say with a firm conviction, that I have never enjoyed any kind of fruit so much as I have oranges of my own plucking in winter.
In addition to the three leading varieties I have mentioned, there are several kinds which will doubtless prove interesting and valuable. It is not to be expected that so much variation in flavor, as in the pear for instance, can be met with in oranges. I believe, however, that, when our orange palates are educated, we shall find many delicate distinctions in the flavor of oranges. As far as I have gone, I have found the Mandarin orange larger and more flat in shape than the Tangierine, and not so good as that sort. The Embiguo, the egg, the silver orange, the Botelha, the white orange, and some others, all varieties from the Azores, are of various degrees of excellence, and are all worthy of a place in an English orange-garden.
There are many various forms of the genus Citrus, which, in a large orangegarden, may be cultivated, and prove of Interest to the cultivator; but I have thought it proper to confine myself, in conformity with the heading of this paper, to the kinds of oranges proper for our desserts. It may, however, be not thought out of place if I mention that the lemon, more particularly the imperial lemon, is well worthy of a place in the orange-garden; as is also the small lime, which is a concentration of acidity.
In these few remarks, I hope to be excused any lack of full and proper directions to carry out my conceptions. It is at all times difficult to tell people how to cultivate even a cabbage; for, unless full directions are given as to which end should go into the ground, it is just possible that a tyro in gardening would plant it head downwards. So it is in the higher branches of horticulture: it is only an outline that can be given in print; the picture must be filled in by observation and study. Ten minutes' showing will do more than ten hours' reading: still, without the preparation of reading, the mind will not take in what is shown. Thomas Rivers.
Symphocampylus Humboldtianus. — A new and elegant species from Peru, far superior to the well-known S. bicolor; the flowers being produced at the end of the branches, instead of straggling all along the stalk: the flowers are also bright scarlet, and freely produced.
This species succeeds in a greenhouse; and, being easily propagated, like the rest of the family, will probably soon become common. The genus Symphocampylus is nearly allied to Lobelia, and abounds in showy flowering plants.
Figured in Curtis's "Botanical Magazine," tab. 5,631, and also in "Floral Magazine," tab. 313, under the name of S.fulgens.
Peperomia Arifolia, Var. Argyreia. — An elegant foliaged plant, collected in Southern Brazil, by Mr. Weir, for the Royal Horticultural Society.
The flowers are comparatively inconspicuous, as is the case in many foliaged plants; but the leaves are very beautiful, being of a dark glossy green, elegantly marbled with white above, and glaucous-white on the under side. The leaf-stalks are long, deep red. All the plants of this genus are well adapted for ornament, as the foliage remains long in good condition, and is seldom infested with insects. The plants are readily propagated, and of the easiest culture.
Figured in Curtis's "Botanical Magazine," tab. 5,634.
"The Floral Magazine " for March figures the following plants : —
Sophronitis Grandiflora, Var. — A variety of this well-known free-blooming orchid, with larger leaves, and flowers of the brightest scarlet. The species is one of the most valuable orchids, and should be extensively cultivated.
Camellia Mrs. Dombrain. — A new variety, introduced by Verschaffelt. Petals pink, margined with white; flowers very double, and regular.
In this connection we may remark that Hon. Marshall P. Wilder has in his possession several new seedling camellias which have not yet been disseminated, and of which we propose to give figures and descriptions in the course of the next year.
Pompon Chrysanthemums. — St. Michael; a large flower, bright goldenyellow. Countess; small flower, blush tinted with lilac. Madge Wildfire; vivid red, with large golden tips.