on the Cultivation and Acclimatization of
Trees and Plants..
In contributing the following paper on the cultivation and acclimatization of trees and plants in New Zealand from different parts of the world, I wish to guard myself from its being supposed that I do so otherwise than as an amateur, with the object of imparting to my fellow settlers, who are interested in gardening, such information as I have gained from several years spent in the introduction and cultivation of trees and plants of the more rare and beautiful kinds, and with the hope that many who now look upon the culture of plants of this character as difficult, if not impossible, in this climate, may be induced, after reading this paper, and learning what plants are actually growing in one garden, to make an effort in the same direction. It will be a great point gained in a new country like this, where so many of its inhabitants have a taste for gardening, if they can be induced to substitute for the present growth of Blue Gums, Poplars and Willows, plants of a more ornamental, and, I may say, durable character, such as are to be found among the Coniferous family; it must not be supposed that I despise for one moment the usefulness of such trees as I have mentioned. For forming outside plantations, as a shelter to young trees they are easily and quickly grown, which is a matter of some moment, particularly in an open country, where, perhaps without such a shelter for a time, it would be difficult to get the more ornamental, and, in some instances, tender varieties to thrive. Such shelters may be made to serve two purposes: 1st, to protect the young trees until they are grown sufficiently strong to bear exposure to the wind; 2nd, when done with they would be found very useful for firewood, but care must be exercised in cutting away such shelter by degrees, so that the plants that have been sheltered by them, are only exposed to the wind from time to time—too great an exposure at one time would likely be very detrimental to their future growth. In forming my garden, I planted the places I intended for groups of trees and shrubberies thickly with native shrubs, which, in two years, afforded ample shelter for the protection of young plants. As I obtained different varieties of plants,
I cut away the insides of these plantations, and planted them in the place of the native shrubs, but not removing more than was sufficient to allow of sun and air to the young plants. Every year I cut away more as the plants grew, until at last, in many places, none of the original shrubs are left. The great point to be attended to in this mode of forming a garden is, that the young trees have sufficient room to grow without being drawn up. The result of this plan has been, that I have succeeded in growing many really tender plants, which, without such shelter, would have perished when young. In planting outside shelter, I would much prefer native shrubs to the Gum, Willow or Poplar, and for this reason, the former do not throw out straggling roots, and certainly tend to enrich the land, so that in planting tender growing plants near them, they are not robbed by the roots of the native shrubs impoverishing the soil; the latter which are rank growers, take out of the land a great amount of its strength, in consequence of their roots running to a great distance, much to the detriment of other plants near them. I am aware that it would in many places by very difficult, if not impossible, to procure a sufficient number of native shrubs to form shelters, and that recourse must be had to Gums, &c., in such cases, I should say, lay out a garden in such a way, that the necessary shelters are planted by themselves, and may be entirely removed when they are no longer required, the planting of Coniferous trees, among such a growth as this, would, in most cases fail, they would struggle on for a time and then die, much to the disappointment of the planter.
I propose dividing my remarks into three headings, 1st, Coniferous Plants; 2nd, Trees and Shrubs; 3rd, Ornamental Plants. I will name those I have in my garden which are worthy of cultivation, the country to which they are indigenous, their degree of hardiness, and any information as to their cultivation. Before doing so, I will refer to what is most necessary to be done in the formation of a garden, to ensure success to its future well doing. Preparatory to planting, the piece of ground should be well drained to the depth if possible, of four feet six inches, and the drain covered in with timber, so as to secure its lasting for many years. This first step is a most important one, by which you will secure ample drainage of the overplus water from the roots of your trees, and plants. For the want of such drainage, many have been disappointed in the sickly growth of their plants; the stagnation of water about the roots, causes the bark of the roots to rot, hence the sickly growth. The next season, having drained the land, it will re-
quire, if the soil is light and friable in its character, to be well dug over a foot deep; but retentive soil should be trenched. These two preliminary steps which are so necessary, will involve some expense, but in the end it will be found the cheapest plan, for if the cheaper mode of planting is adopted, and holes dug in a piece of ground in which trees are planted, they often perish, and generally grow very sickly, in consequence of the water from the land around them draining into these holes, so that in the end, the expense must be incurred to ensure their growth. I have found even in this alluvial soil, where the natural drainage is very good, that I have lost plants from the want of drainage. To those interested in the planting of Coniferous trees, I would recommend a little book called “Practical Hints on Planting Ornamental Trees” by Standish and Noble; price, five shillings; published by Bradbury and Evans, London. It contains much valuable information to an amateur gardener.
|Araucaria Excelsa.||Norfolk Island.||Tender.|
|" Cunninghamii.||Moreton Bay.||Tender.|
|" Bidwillii.||Wide Bay.||Tender.|
|" Cookii.||New Caledonia.||Tender.|
The above are all very handsome trees, and well adapted for specimen plants, I have marked the first four as tender, which they are when young, being liable to have their leaders nipped by frost, but with care they may be grown out of doors in may places, particularly if they are covered during winter and spring, with a slight covering over head, until such time as the plants get established. I have tried many plans for protecting plants from frost without rendering them too delicate; at last I hit on a plan, which I will describe hereafter. To have these trees in great beauty when they get large, they must have plenty of growing room.
Handsome when young, but liable to become dingy as it grows up.
|Cedrus Deodara.||Himalaya Mountains.||Hardy.|
This well known handsome Cedar, is well suited to this climate; to have it in its beauty it requires plenty of room; as a specimen plant on a lawn it is very beautiful; seedlings appear to form a better tree, than those grown from cuttings or layers.
Both very handsome as specimen plants by themselves when young, grow very quickly, but unfortunately become very straggling and dingy as they attain any size. They produce plenty of seed, so that young plants are easily procured.
|Cunninghamia Sinensis.||South China.||Hardy.|
This plant is closely allied to the Araucarias, but hardier and well worth growing; when young, its foliage turns brown in winter, and the plant appears sickly, but as it grows, this is not perceptible. It is very graceful in its growth.
|Cephalotaxus Fortuni, Male.||North China.||Hardy.|
This variety of Taxus grows very well here; the male plant however is too straggling in its growth; the female promises to form a compact handsome tree.
|" Lusitanica.||East Indies.||"|
|" Funebrisor Pendula.||China.||"|
|" Thyoides variegata.||North America.||"|
|" Horizontalis.||South Europe.||"|
These are some of the best varieties of the Cypress family, and grow remarkably fast and well, so much so, that they will, sooner than any Coniferous plant I know, form shelter. They are very handsome in their growth, where they are allowed plenty of room to grow, as specimen plants; to crowd them up in shrubberies is to lose their graceful growth. The fastest growing of those named, are Macrocarpa and Torulosa, both of which form large trees; the foliage of the former is a very beautiful green. Thurifera, M'Nabiana, and Udheana, are dwarfer in their growth; Pendula is a beautiful variety, but does not assume its pendulous character until obtaining a good size. Altogether few plants are more deserving of culturé than the Cypress tribe.
|Dammara Australia.||New Zealand.||Hardy.|
|" Bidwillii.||Wide Bay.||Tender.|
|" Moori.||New Caledonia.||Tender.|
|" Browni.||Swan River.||Hardy.|
This class of plants are more curious than beautiful, and therefore hardly worthy of general culture.
|" " pendula.||"||"|
|" Oxycedrus.||South of Europe.||"|
The Junipers have many beautiful varieties among them, and are well adapted for planting in front of shrubberies, care being taken that they are not too much crowded. The best, so far as I can judge from mine, are Sabina, Cracovia and Hibernica, being close growing shrubs; Bermudiana and Virginiana, if they flourish, may be useful as timber trees.
This is a very beautiful plant, in growth very much like a Cypress, but closer, with slightly variegated foliage.
|" Smithiana.||Himalaya Mountains.||"|
|" Webbiana.||Himalaya Mountains.||"|
|" Larix. (Larch)||Tyrol.||"|
This section of the Pine tribe containing the Firs, among which are some of the Silver Firs, appear to thrive well in this country, judging from the growth of those I have, they are well worth the trouble of growing, and in spite of their slowness of growth for the first few years, they will, if proper room is allowed them, amply repay the trouble. In spring, their young luxuriant growth, is very striking; particularly the Himalaya Mountain varieties, which at home are liable to be cut back by spring frosts; here they have proved quite hardy. The Larch, perhaps the most interesting and useful of the class, does not appear to me to thrive so well as one hoped for. I have a few doing pretty
well, but I observe as they increase in size, they lose their leaders and die back. I much fear the warm autumns of this country will be against them, inducing as it does a second growth, thus robbing the tree of its rest. I think the alluvial soil is perhaps too rich; maybe it will thrive better in more exposed positions.
|" Ponderosa.||North America.||"|
|" Jeffreyi.||North America||"|
|" Strobus. (Weymouth)||"||"|
The Pine is perhaps the most valuable section of the Coniferous family for planting in New Zealand; and judging from the growth of them here, I should say, the climate was peculiarly adapted for them, taking into consideration all the varieties. The first five I have named are well known, and require no comment, except to point them out as invaluable for shelter, and well adapted for firewood; some of them for timber. The next eight varieties are long-leaved Pines, quite hardy here; they however, are more ornamental, and require to be grown either singly as specimen plants, or in groups where they have plenty of room for their branches to sweep to the ground, in any other position they are lost. The Pinus Insignis, called the Remarkable Pine, is a most beautiful and desirable tree; its foliage of vivid green, is very striking to the eye; it grows very quickly. This section requires more care in growing when young, for until well rooted, their long leaves offer greater resistance to the wind. The last five are not so difficult to grow, but require room. There are many other varieties both of the Firs and Pines, which would be a great addition to a collection, both for ornament and timber. I have made a great many attempts to import them, but have failed. My experience leads me to believe, that Coniferous plants are very difficult of carriage in closed cases on a long voyage. I have also tried importing seeds, but with little, or no
better success, particularly in the seeds of the varieties of Picea or Silver Fir; I fear the turpentine contained in the seed, destroys germination on a voyage,
These are lately introduced plants, and as yet small; they promise to be handsome.
The former is a shrubby growing tree, requiring plenty of room; when young it has a ragged appearance, but grows into a bold tree, though at all times very straggling. The latter is very inferior, and not worth growing, never seeming to throw up a leader.
Very much in character like the varieties of Cephalotaxus.
These are well worth growing, and, like the Cypress, form beautiful trees; Thuja Craigiana has very bold foliage; Thuja Aurea is a close growing plant, and assumes a very pretty appearance in spring, when the plant is tipped with the young growth, of a golden colour.
|Thuiopsis Borealis.||Behring's Straits.||Hardy.|
The former is a very graceful growing plant, and well suited to stand singly; the latter, a new introduction, with peculiar foliage, like scale armour; it has stood out two winters, and promises well.
This tree, well-known to every one by name, will no doubt prove a valuable addition to our gardens from its hardiness and rapidity of growth. Mine are only small seedling plants, but, judging from larger plants I have seen, it it struck me that it was not so graceful in its growth as many of the Cypress, Thuja and other Coniferous plants.
|Widdringtonia Cupressoides.||Cape of Good Hope.||Hardy.|
A dwarf growing plant, somewhat like the Wellingtonia in its foliage, but no particular acquisition to a collection of Conifers.
Having enumerated the different varieties of Conifers growing here, I would make a few remarks as to their cultivation. In selecting
plants I would recommend the purchaser to obtain those which have been transplanted from the seed bed the first year, in preference to those that have gained considerable height without being transplanted, for, I think, it will be found that the latter, from having their tap roots destroyed in removing, are very liable to die off after a time; while those which have been transplanted, although smaller in size, have made fresh roots, and are pretty sure to succeed. In planting, care should be taken to spread each root separately, putting some in all directions, and, when so spread, they should be fixed in their places with pulverized earth before the hole is filled in. Many persons use stakes to tie the young plants to prevent their being blown aside. This plan I do not think a good one, but prefer going round, and, if I find any blown on one side, I put some fresh earth on, and tread the plant upright. I found that planting on hillocks, as adopted at home, does not answer well in this country; the soil becomes dried through, and the roots of the plants suffer. I prefer raising them only a little above the surrounding ground. Manure should not be used in planting any of the Coniferous tribe. I have done so in ignorance; it appears very poisonous to the roots. As to the future management of the plants little requires to be said, for if the land has been properly prepared, they will soon take care of themselves. The only suggestion I can make is, that the ground should be hoed to keep it clear of weeds, in preference to digging, by which means no interruption will be offered to the free growth of the roots, whereas digging must destroy those anywhere near the surface. I have found it a good plan to put the mowings of the lawn over the surface of the ground in summer, which serves to keep in the moisture, and acts as a slight dressing of vegetable manure. Pines should not be pruned, unless it is necessary to get rid of a limb.
Trees and Shrubs.
|" Procera.||North America.||"|
These are very desirable for planting, either singly, or in the shrubbery, and when in flower, are very showy.
This shrubby plant, although slow in its growth, is an addition to the garden from its variegated leaves.
This plant appears hardy enough to grow anywhere in New Zea-
land, in sheltered positions, it keeps its lemon scented leaves nearly all the year.
|" Buxifolia.||Straits of Magellan.||"|
The whole of these, with the exception of Fortuni, are very handsome shrubs, both in foliage and bloom, particularly Darwinii. The two latter are new introductions from Japan, having much larger foliage than the others; the leaves become variegated as the plants grow up; few dwarf shrubs are more worthy of cultivation.
|Banksia, varieties.||New South Wales.||Hardy.|
Several varieties of this tree do well here, and afford good shelter; they grow slower than in their own country, but, in consequence, more compact.
|Acacia Dealbata.||New South Wales.||Hardy.|
Of these, Dealbata is the most beautiful and useful for shelter, also for planting along the banks of rivers to protect them. Its roots become so matted together that they will offer greater resistance to water than the roots of the Willow. They have an inclination to grow bare, if left to themselves; this can be obviated by heading the trees well back so soon as they have done blooming. As yet, this variety has seeded very little, but throws up a large number of suckers from the roots. In transplanting them, they should not be headed back. Alata is a stronger growing tree, and flowers about the same time as Dealbata. Cultriformis and Armata are shrubs, both very beautiful when in bloom.
|" Nigra.||Himalaya Mountains.||"|
The Bamboo, if it can be grown in this country, would prove very useful for many purposes. The large one, I much fear, would be too tender. I have tried plants at different times, and now have one, which has been twelve months in the ground, without making any growth; it is still alive, and I have some hopes it may shoot up this
season. In New South Wales, in a district visited by harder frosts than any I have seen here, it grows to a fair height, with strong canes. The Black Bamboo, from the Himalaya Mountains, is a much hardier variety, but much smaller. I have had it growing for several years very well; the canes grow to the height of about fourteen feet in a season. It will prove very valuable for ornamental shelter, if planted in a suited to it. With me, it grows in the ordinary soil, and will no doubt thrive anywhere, except on very dry ground. It is increased by taking the canes off with a portion of the roots of the main plant. The Japan variety has white canes: I have only lately obtained it. In summer the Bamboos, when in full growth, have a singular and pretty appearance, and are well worth a trial.
|" Lauro Cerasus.||Levant.|
The former of these, the Portugal Laurel, grows particularly well in this country, being covered in spring with bloom. As a plant for shelter in a group of Laurels and Viburnums, I know of no better; it must, however, have plenty of room to form a handsome plant. The common Laurel does not appear to me to thrive as well as one would have expected–it, however, blooms very freely.
Both very pretty flowering shrubs; the latter dwarf in its growth, and a very free bloomer.
|" " Variegata.||"||"|
These are very pretty, and highly scented flowering plants, and very desirable for a garden; they are, unfortunately, very uncertain in their growth, and, I fear, a little too tender for our climate.
This is a species of Accacia; its flower is pea shaped, and very handsome. The growth of the plant is very straggling.
|Eugenia or Myrtus Ugni.||South America.||Hardy.|
This is a variety of Myrtle, bearing a small fruit used in South America for dessert. It forms a pretty shrub.
|" Organensis.||Oregon Mountains.||"|
|" Montevidensis.||Monte Video.||"|
|" Densa.||South Chili.||"|
Handsome flowering shrubs, particularly the last, which was introduced into the colony by Mr. W.B.D. Mantell. Its close habit of growth, dark glossy green leaves, and bright crimson flowers, render it a great addition to our gardens. It grows very quickly.
|Ficus Elastica.||East Indies.||Tender.|
|" Macrophylla.||Moreton Bay.||hardy.|
Both large trees, with very large and handsome leaves; the former appears too tender to stand the frost, for, even when covered, the young shoots are cut back. The latter is likely to do well, if it is covered over during the winter for two or three years; when growing well, it is a noble tree.
Are worthy of cultivation from their blooming early in spring; they grow very straggling, and require to be staked.
|" Thumbergiana.||Cape of Good Hope.||"|
These, like the Daphnes, have highly scented flowers, and are equally difficult to grow in the open air.
Very showy flowering shrubs, and early bloomers; grow very freely, and require to be pruned back a good deal, otherwise they become shabby.
|" Variegated varieties.||"|
This climate is well suited to the growth of the Hollies, judging from the profusion of berries produced on the trees of Aquifolium.
The Aniseed tree. I have only a young plant, which grows well and stood this last winter.
A very beautiful flowering shrub, but rather tender, the frost cutting
it back every winter. It grows very freely during the summer, and in autumn is covered with bunches of deep blue tubular flowers. A very showy plant.
|Laurus Nobilis.||South Europe.||Hardy.|
The first, the sweet Bay is well known; the last, the Camphor Laurel is slow of growth, and is hardly hardy enough for our winters. When growing well, it is a graceful shrubby tree.
|Lagerstæmia Indica.||East Indies.||Hardy.|
Being deciduous they are hardy; their foliage is small, but pretty. Mine have not bloomed yet.
|" Glauca.||North America.||"|
The whole of these are very beautiful flowering plants, some growing into trees, but mostly shrubs. Grandiflora thrives well here, after it once becomes established in the ground, and when of any size, is covered with its beautiful fragrant blooms. The Chinese varieties are very free growers, with fragrant but smaller flowers than Grandiflora. Glauca, called in America the Swamp Laurel, has numerous cupped flowers very fragrant; any labour bestowed on the cultivation of them will be amply repaid by their beauty when in bloom; they like to grow in rich soil.
|" Coccineas, and others.|
The three first are evergreen Oaks, and grow well here; they are valuable for planting in windy situations, forming handsome trees. The timber Oaks do not thrive well on this alluvial soil; it appears to me they prefer more clayey ground.
A very pretty free flowering dwarf shrub.
|Liriodendion Tulipefora.||North America.||Hardy.|
The Tulip tree thrives well in this soil, but has not produced any bloom yet.
Grows very freely, but from some cause the flowers do not open well.
|Olea Americana.||N. America.||Hardy.|
The two last varieties are very ornamental.
A very handsome deciduous shrubby tree, growing very quickly; in spring it produces on the terminals of the last seasons growth, bunches of light blue flowers, in shape much resembling a Gloxinia. The leaves of this tree when growing well, are very large, of a bright green colour; judging from one I have, I should say it was a very free bloomer. This season it is covered with buds; owing to the leaves being thin, it requires to be planted in a very sheltered situation, otherwise the wind would destroy the leaves, causing the tree to look unsightly.
Two very beautiful varieties of the Tree Pæony, and well worthy of cultivation. Moutan produces in spring a large number of immense sized flowers, very double, the other is semi double and more marked, they require to be grown in rich soil, care should be taken to plant them in a sheltered position.
A tall shrub having a flower somewhat like the Laurestina, but larger, in spring its young growth is very attractive.
|Protea Mellifera.||Cape Good Hope.||Hardy.|
Very pretty flowering shrubs in winter, they are however, rather difficult to cultivate, why I can hardly say, but at times, young thriving plants will die off without any apparent cause.
The true Plane Tree, and one which, I think, will prove of great value in New Zealand for planting as shelter, both from wind and the heat of the sun in summer; it grows very rapidly and if attended to when
young will form a very handsome tree; it may not be generally known that it will grow freely from cuttings planted in the spring.
|" Rugosum.||Canary Islands.||"|
|" Tinus.||South Europe.||"|
|" Cassinioides.||North America.||"|
The above are all good varieties for planting in shrubberies, having very distinct foliage from each other, so that they group well together, another advantage they posses is, that nearly all of them bloom in winter and early spring; no class of plants are better adapted for ornamental shelter, they can be cut back without any injury to their future growth.
Very ornamental, free flowering shrubs; in spring, so soon as the leaves show, the carmine and pink flowers appear, giving the plant a very gay appearance.
I have not referred to Forest Trees as they are well-known by all interested in planting, nor have I mentioned the names of many Trees and Shrubs I have growing, because they have not proved desirable additions to a garden.
I have tried, for the sake of experiment, whether some of the Palm tribe would not thrive in this country. I have several varieties of the more hardy kinds, and if I find they will grow, I propose trying some of the more tropical species. What I have, have stood out for two winters, with a slight protection over head, and seem to be doing pretty well; they are, however, very slow of growth.
|Areca Sapida.||New Zealand.|
|Bactris Minor.||South America.||Hardy.|
|Corypha Australis.||New South Wales.||"|
|Chamærops Humilis.||South Europe.||"|
|Phœnix Dactylifera, Date Palm.||Levant.||"|
|Seaforthea Elegans.||New South Wales.||"|
|Bignonia Capensis.||Cape of Good Hope.||Hardy.|
|" Picta.||South America.||"|
All very beautiful flowering plants, and thrive well, except the two latter, which only exist in the open air.
|Mandevillea Snareolens.||Buenos Ayres.||Hardy.|
A Creeper with large pure white scented flowers; in good positions a very free grower. A beautiful creeper.
|" Edulis.||West Indies||"|
All very beautiful when in bloom. Edulis will produce fruit in the open air, in a very sheltered situation. There are several other varieties far exceeding in beauty those I have named, but are too tender to stand out.
A very pretty Creeper, with delicate white blossoms.
|Tecoma Jasminoides.||Moreton Bay.||Hardy.|
|" Alba.||Moreton Bay.||"|
Very handsome flowering Creepers, particularly the first named. At first they are a little tender and require protection for the winter; I have had it in beautiful bloom the last two seasons.
|Tropæolum Pentaphyllum.||Monte Video.||Hardy.|
A very delicate Creeper, well adapted for covering an old stump; when in bloom it is very pretty.
|Wisteria or Glycine Sinensis.||China.||Hardy.|
|" or Bidwillii.||Wide Bay.||"|
The Chinese variety is a beautiful plant, and, in early spring, when covered with bunches of Lilac colored, pea-shaped flowers is very showy. A sheltered sunny situation is necessary to its thriving, for some time the growth of young plants is slow, but once established it grows with great vigour. Is fond of a supply of old manure.
|About twenty-five varieties.|
|Azalea Calendulacea.||North America.||Hardy.|
A very beautiful and showy class of plants, particularly the Indian varieties. When planted in masses, judging from the profusion of bloom with which they are covered in spring, sometimes quite dazzling to the eye to look at. There can be no doubt this climate is well suited to their growth, there being frost enough to stop their too vigorous growth and throw them into bloom; they are easy of culture if planted in soil suited to them, reference to which, I will make in noticing the growth of the Rhododendron. The deciduous varieties are pretty, but very inferior to the others. I will give the names of some of the best I have growing. A. Indica Phœnicea, Indica Alba, Triumphans, Refulgens, Coronata, Optima, Georgeana, Purpurea Superba, Splendens, Verchaffelli.
Two very pretty flowering free growing plants, particularly the last.
|About Fifty varieties.|
This plant so highly esteemed for its beautiful flowers and foliage, is one about which there seems a great difference of opinion, as to whether it is possible to grow it generally in the open air in this country to any state of perfection. For some time I was of opinion, after trying a plant for two years, that our climate was too cold either to grow it or mature their flower buds, even supposing it remained alive; but, while on a visit to New South Wales, I saw it growing as large shrubs in a district visited by severe frosts in winter, which determined me on making annother trial, the result of which has been, I have now two beds containing about fifty varieties growing and blooming luxuriantly every season, they commence blooming in April and last till November, making the garden during the winter months quite gay. I will describe the mode in which I formed the beds and cultivate them, should any reader of this like to try the experiment. In the first place, I dug a drain under the beds four feet deep, and slabbed it in, I then raised my beds with soil about ten inches above the ordinary level with sandy loam, the ground was dug over very deep and allowed to remain until it settled; second, I made holes in which I put prepared soil, formed by mixing half alluvial loam, quarter old peat earth, quarter old cow dung, which had been mixed for some time and left in a heap, being turned over from time to time; the pre-
pared soil should be trodden well in, and the Camellias planted, taking care that the roots of the plant are extended in all directions. For the first season they made very little progress; the third year they grew very rapidly and commenced blooming, and have continued to do so ever since, in fact this last season to prevent their being injured from over blooming, I picked off between two and three thousand buds. The success of this experiment I attribute to the fact of the plants having free drainage, and from being in beds by themselves having plenty of root room. I find some old manure laid on the surface of the bed every season after the bloom is over, of great service to them. Below I give the names of some of the best I have.
|Camellia Alba Plena.|
|" Leila.||" Coccines.|
|" Imbricata Alba.||" Clio.|
|" Fimbriata Alba.||" Marina.|
|" Calliope.||" Splendens.|
|" Rosa Mundi.||" Wellbankii.|
|" Variegata Plena.||" Picta.|
I have had all these in bloom.
|Erythrina Crista Calli.||Brazil.||Hardy.|
Are two varieties of the Coral plant well worthy of a place in the garden; they die back every season after blooming, and should not be pruned until they show their young growth in the spring. For a time they grow slowly; they are free bloomers, and in autumn, when covered with spikes of deep crimson flowers, are very beautiful. They require rich soil, and some stable manure put round the plants in winter will be found of advantage. I have tried the Tree varieties, but found them too tender for this climate.
|Plumbago Capensis.||Cape Good Hope.||Hardy.|
The first if a pretty shrubby plant with lavender flowers. The plants when young, should be protected in winter. The latter an herbaceous plant, well adapted for massing in beds; it has a very dark blue flower and from its richness and profusion contrasts well with the leaves.
A very pretty dwarf plant, quite deciduous; in summer it has bunches of scented tubular flowers.
|" Catawbiense.||North America.||"|
|" Nigrum Maculatum.||"||"|
|" Ponticum Album.||"||"|
And many other varieties.
These, like the Azalea Indica, seem quite at home in the climate of New Zealand, and in spring, when covered with their beautiful and gay blooms, have a very striking appearance in the garden. The three varieties of the Arboreum, are growing well but have not yet bloomed. There is very little trouble in their culture after they have obtained sufficient size to be planted out, the raising them from seed, is however, a tedious and difficult matter, when so very young they are easily lost from damping off. Care must be taken with these, and the Azaleas, in preparing the ground properly for them before planting, they, like the Camellia, require free drainage to their roots and a prepared soil, which should be composed of one half alluvial loam, quarter peat earth, and quarter white sand, (no manure) well mixed together. I am now trying to grow these plants in alluvial soil, only in a position well drained, they grow very luxuriantly, and will, I think, flower well. I mention this because I am of opinion that a good sandy loam may answer as well for them, in which case it will save a good deal of trouble. It must not be supposed from my saying that good drainage is required, that the plants would grow on soil liable at any time to become very dry; there is just a fair medium required to ensure success in their growth; care must be taken in digging the bed not to disturb the roots of the plants. Every season I put some fresh earth round mine, and tread it in; a dressing of ashes from burnt weeds is a first rate manure for them.
This general favourite, so well known, and so universally cultivated, I should not say anything about, but that I tried a plan of growing them which I have found to succeed well, and I hope to induce others
to try it. My great objection to the ordinary culture is to the digging about their roots every season. I prepared my beds, which are of deep alluvial soil (well suited to the rose), by first putting on an ample allowance of old manure, and digging it well down for some time before I want to plant the roses. Having planted, I merely keep the beds hoed to destroy the weeds, and every winter I give a top dressing of old manure. By this means the plants are fed sufficiently to support a strong growth, and bloom without their roots being hacked about. The varieties I treat in this manner are the Perpetuals, Mosses, Chinas, &c. I have about ninety distinct varieties, which, for months in the summer, are one mass of flowers, many of them of a very large size. I prune them well back in winter, so soon as they are quite dormant. To have plants like Camellias, Azaleas, Rhododendrons and Roses in perfection, I should say make beds for each variety; for many reasons—1st, they appear to greater advantage in masses, particularly if attention is paid to have a proper distribution of colours; 2nd, they thrive much better than when planted in the borders with other plants and trees, where they have to contend with ranker growing shrubs, &c.; 3rd, they are much easier attended to if a large collection is wished for.
One of the greatest troubles I find in the cultivation of the Rose arises from the ravages of the aphis or green fly; unless attention is paid to destroy them, there is little chance of obtaining a good bloom. I have tried many plans, such as smoking them with tobacco, washing them with the same and wood ashes, but have found the effects only temporary. I now watch the plants very closely as they begin to grow in spring, and, with a tooth brush, destroy the insects so soon as they appear. Looking at them every other day will be enough to keep them down. It appears, at first, as though it involved great trouble, but such is not the case, as an hour, if constantly attended to, will be time enough to go over a good number of plants, but the great point is to begin destroying so soon as they make their appearance.
A grass in growth, and bloom very much like the New Zealand toe-toe. It blooms in winter, and the flower has a bright silver hue, very graceful in appearance.
|Hodychium Gardenianum.||East Indies.||Hardy.|
|" Coronarium.||East Indies.||"|
Varieties of the Garland flower. Though coming from a tropical climate, they have grown and bloomed here for several years. The lat-
ter has a most powerfully scented flower, and blooms very freely. They are nearly herbaceous in winter; the stem that blooms in thrown up fresh every year.
|Phlox Herbacea.||Varieties.||All hardy.|
These are very beautiful flowering plants, and well worthy of cultivation about which there is a little difficulty. They are fond of rich soil,
|Yucca Gloriosa.||North America.||Hardy.|
Adam's needle—very ornamental in gardens when grown as single plants. Yucca Gloriosa is the only one that has as yet bloomed with me. I have now another variety—Aloifolia—just going to bloom.
|" Vittata.||Cape of Good Hope.||"|
|" Formossima.||North America.||"|
|" Vallota Purpurea||Cape of Good Hope.||"|
|" Nerine Sinensis.||Japan.||"|
and other varies.
These are all very handsome flowering bulbs, and thrive well in this country, not requiring to be taken up every year for protection against frost. I find the best mode of cultivating them to be, planting them in front of Camellia beds, and only move them once in four years, to divide them; a little old manure put over them when they have died down in winter, will keep the soil rich enough; their brilliant flowers will amply repay any trouble bestowed on them.
|" Pedunculatum||New South Wales.||"|
|" Capense.||Cape of Good Hope.||"|
These are nearly allied to the Amaryllis, and require the same culti-
vation; the flowers are mostly white with a delicate tinge of pink, some of them highly scented.
The beautiful Lily of the Valley; it thrives well here, once it becomes well established, it is a free bloomer. I give the bed, every season, a light dressing of old manure, and judging from the luxuriance of their growth an bloom, they appear grateful for it. I do not think they will thrive so well if planted under the shelter of trees.
A very beautiful flowering tuberous rooted plant, requires good soil, and to be kept propagated at intervals of about three years, this is easily done by dividing the tubers in the same way as the Dahlia,
Lilies about forty varieties, including the handsome varieties from Nepal and Japan, which are quite hardy, and will stand the winter if left in the ground. The whole of them are very ornamental when in bloom, they should be grouped together in a bed, very easy of cultivation. I grow them in deep soil well manured, and do not take them up more than once every four years, when they should be divided and replanted. I find that by removing the earth from their crowns every winter, taking out the flower stems so as to leave the crowns quite exposed, and putting on a dressing of old manure or ashes, obtained from burnt weeds they succeed very well.
|Polyanthus Tuberosa.||East Indies.||Hardy.|
The Tuberosa has thriven with me for some years in the open air, producing its most fragrant blooms every season. I plant it in the ordinary soil; care must be taken not to remove it too often, for so long as it is constantly divided it does not bloom.
Pœnia, sixteen herbaceous varieties.
Thrive very well in rich ground, they require a top dressing of manure every season, to ensure a good bloom.
I have a great many other varieties of very beautiful flowering bulbs, but those I have mentioned are the best for general culture, and most suited for growing in beds by themselves. I recommend this mode of growing, because in my own garden I have found it to answer so much better than planting them in the borders, where they have to contend against the roots of stronger plants, consequently they become starved and produce miserable flowers, and very often get destroyed when the
borders are dug. Where only a few bulbs of each variety are desired, it is very easy to have one general bulb bed
I have selected from the plants I have growing, the names of such as are deserving a place in the garden; I have many other varieties that would hardly repay the trouble of growing. I have also omitted any mention of plants such as the Fuchsias, Geraniums and herbaceous plants, because they are well known, and a description of them would take too much room.
I send a sketch of the shelter I have adopted for protecting tender plants in winter from frost, in form it is like the top of a basket, and is supported at a height to allow of sufficient air and light to the plant, by three or four stakes driven into the ground; a little frost will find its way through the wicker work to the plant, which, I think an advantage, as tending to harden the plants by degrees. I have mine made of split supplejacks, but willows will do as well, care being taken that it is not too open; I have never found plants damp off with this covering.
I have a few words to say as to the destruction of that pest of all pests, “Sorrel,” one which appears to flourish all the better for the attention it receives, in digging it up and carefully collecting its roots. During the last few years, I have tried many of the receipts to get rid of this enemy to the garden, but to no purpose; at last I thought I would try constant hoeing during the summer, which I have done for two seasons, and found it answer well; I simply hoe the ground very shallow on a dry day so soon as the weed makes its appearance, a few hours hot sun dries it up. This plan I have found the most effective one I have tried, for many beds are quite free from it, and in every place it was so treated, it is fast disappearing.
In concluding this paper, I may be allowed to hope that the information contained in it will lead to a more general cultivation of the Coniferous Trees in this country. I am quite aware that many of the rarer varieties are not so easily obtained in this colony. To those wishing to procure them, I would say, you can procure most of them from the nurseries in Australia. It has always been a matter of deep regret to me that the Government of the Colony, in former years, did not establish a Botanical Garden for the collection and propagation of trees and plants from different countries. Had such been done, New Zealand might now possess one of the finest public gardens, which would be a credit and pleasure to its inhabitants, and a source of utility in providing them with plants of a beautiful character. Perhaps, when peace is once
more restored to the Northern Island, we may hope to see some advance made in that direction.
In conclusion, I will say to those who may peruse this paper, “be merciful” for any faults that are in it. It has no pretension to be written by a botanist, but simply by a lover of plants. Many, no doubt, are in the same position as myself, and, if they will give the result of their experience as amateure gardeners to the public, they will be doing good service.
Newry, R. Hutt, Wellington.