Horticultural Exhibitions in London
by W. Goldring
At a late meeting of the floral committee of the Royal Horticultural
Society at South Kensington among many novelties
was a group of seedling bulbous Calanthes from the garden of
Sir Trevor Lawrence, who has devoted much attention to
these plants and has raised some interesting hybrids. About
twenty kinds were shown, ranging in color from pure white to
deep crimson. The only one selected for a first-class certificate
was C. sanguinaria, with flowers similar in size and shape
to those of C. Veitchii, but of an intensely deep crimson. It is
the finest yet raised, surpassing C. Sedeni, hitherto unequaled
for richness of color. The pick of all these seedlings would
be C. sanguinaria, C. Veitchii splendens, C. lactea, C.
and C. porphyrea. The adjectives well describe the different
tints of each, and they will be universally popular when once
they find their way into commerce.
Cypripedium Leeanum maculatum, also shown by Sir Trevor
Lawrence, is a novelty of sterling merit. The original C. Leeanum,
which is a cross between C. Spicerianum and C. insigne
Maulei, is very handsome, but this variety eclipses it, the dorsal
sepal of the flower being quite two and one-half inches broad,
almost entirely white, heavily and copiously spotted with purple.
It surpasses also C. Leeanum superbum, which commands
such high prices. I saw a small plant sold at auction lately for
fifteen guineas and the nursery price is much higher.
Lælia anceps Schrœderæ, is the latest addition to the now
very numerous list of varieties of the popular L. anceps. This
new form, to which the committee with one accord gave a first
class certificate, surpasses in my opinion all the colored
varieties, with the possible exception of the true old Barkeri.
The flowers are of the average size and ordinary form. The
sepals are rose pink, the broad sepals very light, almost white
in fact, while the labellum is of the deepest and richest velvety
crimson imaginable. The golden tipped crest is a veritable
beauty spot, and the pale petals act like a foil to show off the
splendor of the lip.
Two new Ferns of much promise received first class certificates.
One named Pteris Claphamensis is a chance seedling
and was found growing among a lot of other sporelings in
the garden of a London amateur. As it partakes of the characters
of both P. tremula and P. serrulata, old and well known
ferns, it is supposed to be a natural cross between these. The
new plant is of tufted growth, with a dense mass of fronds about
six inches long, elegantly cut and gracefully recurved on all
sides of the pot. It is looked upon by specialists as just the
sort of plant that will take in the market. The other certificated
fern, Adiantum Reginæ, is a good deal like A. Victoriæ
and is supposed to be a sport from it. But A. Reginæ, while it
has broad pinnæ of a rich emerald green like A. Victoriæ, has
fronds from nine to twelve inches long, giving it a lighter and
more elegant appearance. I don’t know that the Victoria
Maidenhair is grown in America yet, but I am sure those who
do floral decorating will welcome it as well as the newer A. Reginæ.
A third Maidenhair of a similar character is A. rhodophyllum
and these form a trio that will become the standard
kinds for decorating. The young fronds of all three are of a
beautiful coppery red tint, the contrast of which with the emerald
green of the mature fronds is quite charming. They are
warm green-house ferns and of easy culture, and are supposed
to be hybrid forms of the old A. scutum.
Nerine Mansellii, a new variety of the Guernsey Lily, was one
of the loveliest flowers at the show. From the common
Guernsey Lily it differs only in color of the flowers. These
have crimpled-edged petals of clear rose tints; and the umbel
of flowers is fully six inches across, borne on a stalk eighteen
inches high. These Guernsey Lilies have of recent years come
into prominence in English gardens since so many beautiful
varieties have been raised, and as they flower from September
onward to Christmas they are found to be indispensable for
the green-house, and indoor decoration. The old N. Fothergillii
major, with vivid scarlet-crimson flowers and crystalline
cells in the petals which sparkle in the sunlight like myriads
of tiny rubies, remains a favorite among amateurs. Baron
Schroeder, who has the finest collection in Europe, grows this
one only in quantity. An entire house is filled with them, and
when hundreds of spikes are in bloom at once, the display is
A New Vegetable, a Japanese plant called Choro-Gi, belonging
to the Sage family, was exhibited. Its botanical name
is Stachys tuberifera and it was introduced first to Europe by
the Vilmorins of Paris under the name of Crosnes du Japon.
The edible part of the plant is the tubers, which are produced
in abundance on the tips of the wiry fibrous roots.
These are one and a half inches long, pointed at both ends,
and have prominent raised rings. When washed they are as
white as celery and when eaten raw taste somewhat like Jerusalem
artichokes, but when cooked are quite soft and possess
the distinct flavor of boiled chestnuts. A dish of these tubers
when cooked look like a mass of large caterpillars, but the Committee
pronounced them excellent, and no doubt this vegetable
will now receive attention from some of our enterprising seedsmen
and may become a fashionable vegetable because new
and unlike any common kind. The tubers were shown now
for the first time in this country by Sir Henry Thompson, the
eminent surgeon. The plant is herbaceous, dying down annually
leaving the tubers, which multiply very rapidly. They
can be dug at any time of the year, which is an advantage.
The plant is perfectly hardy here and would no doubt be so in
the United States, as it remains underground in winter. [A
figure of this plant with the tubers appeared in the Gardener’s
Chronicle, January 7th, 1888.—Ed.]
Phalænopsis F. L. Ames, a hybrid moth orchid, the result of
intercrossing P. grandiflora of Lindley with P. intermedia Portei
(itself a natural hybrid between the little P. rosea and P.
was shown at a later exhibition. The new hybrid is very
beautiful. It has the same purplish green leaves as P. amabalis,
but much narrower. The flower spikes are produced in the
same way as those of P. grandiflora, and the flowers in form
and size resemble those of that species, but the coloring of the
labellum is more like that of its other parent. The sepals
and petals are pure white, the latter being broadest at the lips.
The labellum resembles that of P. intermedia, being three-lobed,
the lateral lobes are erect, magenta purple in color and
freckled. The middle or triangular lobe is of the same color
as the lateral lobes, but pencilled with longitudinal lines of
crimson, flushed with orange, and with the terminal cirrhi of
a clear magenta. The column is pink, and the crest is adorned
with rosy speckles. The Floral Committee unanimously
awarded a first-class certificate of merit to the plant.
A New Lælia named L. Gouldiana has had an eventful history.
The representative of Messrs. Sander, of St. Albans,
the great orchid importers, while traveling in America saw it
blooming in New York, in the collection of Messrs. Siebrecht &
Wadley, and noting its distinctness and beauty bought the stock
of it. The same week another new Lælia flowered in England
and was sent up to one of the London auction rooms for sale.
As it so answered the description of the American novelty
which Messrs. Sander had just secured it was bought for the
St. Albans collection, and now it turns out that the English
novelty and the American novelty are one and the same thing,
and a comparison of dates shows that they flowered on the
same day, although in different hemispheres. As, however, it
was first discovered in the United States, it is intended to call it
an American orchid, and that is why Mr. Jay Gould has his name
attached to it, In bulb and leaf the novelty closely resembles L.
albida, and in flower both L. anceps and L. autumnalis. The
flowers are as large as those of an average form of L. anceps,
the sepals are rather narrow, the petals as broad as those of L.
anceps Dawsoni, and both petals and sepals are of a deep rose
pink, intensified at the tips as if the color had collected there
and was dripping out. The tip is in form between that of L.
anceps and L. autumnalis and has the prominent ridges of
the latter, while the color is a rich purple crimson. The black
viscid pubescence, always seen on the ovary of L. autumnalis,
is present on that of L. Gouldiana. The plants I saw in the orchid
nursery at St. Albans lately, bore several spikes, some
having three or four flowers. Those who have seen it are
puzzled about its origin, some considering it a hybrid between
L. anceps and L. autumnalis, others consider it a distinct
species and to the latter opinion I am inclined. Whatever its
origin may be, it is certain we have a charming addition to
midwinter flowering orchids.
London, February 1st.