The New Zealand Evangelist
Notes On Gardening
Notes On Gardening.
The flower garden still continues, if properly managed, to exhibit a profusion of varied and richly coloured flowers, almost equal to last month. For although the lovely white lilies, nearly all the Cape bulbs, the Iris's, and the roses finished flowering the last week or ten days of the old year, the new is ushered in with all the many coloured Dahlias, and three or four spotted species (or varieties) of Gladiolus natalensis. The Tiger lilies are also now in full perfection, as well as three other magnificent species at this place, hitherto not seen in this colony. All these require to be regularly watered during the hot dry weather, usually experienced in all this month. Most of the summer aunuais have passed, but a succession of very many of them may be seeured by sowing the seeds immediately they become ripe, and thus, the young plants, having full time to grow, will come into flower early in the spring. This plan of immediate sowing of flower seeds, saves much time, particularly in rearing the perennisl sorts, and they invariably attain greater luxurance than those sown in the spring. There have been two exhibitions this summer of the Horticultural Society of Wellington, which we regret not having seen; we have been told, however, that there were no novelties in the flower department. This fact we can easily credit, for,the possessors of gardens in the colonies seem more ambitious of rearing things they alone can eat, than those which only administer to taste. With two or three exceptions, the gardens of the better order of Settlers more resemble those of market gardeners in England than of gentlemen's residences. We hope this will not continue much longer.
The different varieties of Chrysanthimum Indicum, succeed the Dahlias, and these with one or two Coriopsis, are the only late autumnal flowers we yet possess in the colony. It is really surprising that not one of about eighty species of Aster, coltivated in the gardens of Britain, should yet have been introduced here.
Fruits.— All the small fruits in the Hutt valley, are in perfection from the end of December to the early part of January. But in Wellington they ripen much earlier. The grape blossoms early in the year, and figs ripen the end of this month. The Cape page 252 gooseberry, if not injured during the winter, will now be covered with ripe fruit, the produce of last, years’ flowers, but of those that are produced this year, only a few of the earliest ripen towards the end of autumn. Hence it is that such small crops of this delicious fruit are grown in Wellington, or in any similarly exposed situation, for one cold S.E. wind is sufficient to kill all the unripened fruit, and even the branches, which then only spring up again the following summer. This fruit is cultivated in various parts of Mexico, Carolins, &c., and is known everywhere, save here, by the name of winter cherry; why it should be called Cape gooseberry, we know not, for it is not found wild in any part of Africs, but only in America and its Islands.
Vegetables.— The sowing of peas, beans, and turnips is no longer of use, but rhubarb plants will be sufficiently strong to transplant before autumn; and this should be done with all the cabbage tribe not yet removed from their original beds.
The different species of Agrostis, or the bent grasses, now come into flower and seed. They are admirably adapted for low, swampy situations, where they will furnish a thick swarth or bottom, at a season when all the other grasses are either withered or past growing. The most valuable of all these is the Fiorin grass, the seeds of which are so minute that one pound will go as far as six of the ordinary pasture grasses.
The exhibition of bulbous plants, at the last Horticultural show, was poor in the extreme. So poor, indeed, that the prise was actually awarded for a white lily, (L. candidum) a common variety of Gladiolus Natalensis, and one other, which is in all our gardens! This insignificant show, however, was partly accidental, and partly the force of circumstances: no less than eight conspicuous bulbous and tuberous rooted plants, hitherto not seen in the colony, were sent from this garden, but they unluckily arrived too late, and consequently the prize was awarded to the only person who had sent any others. We have now in blossom, besides the eight above alluded to, five new Gladiolii and two magnificient lilies, (Lilium Broussartii and eximium,) and there are two others equally rare and new, which have not yet opened their blossoms. All these, with nearly forty other species of the same order (Eusatæ) were presented to me last year by Conrad Loddiges, Esq., one of the munificent owners of the well-known Botanical Garden at Hackney. This garden is the most extensive and valuable in Kurope: the land upon which it stands is thought to be worth, for building purposes, more than £80,000, while the plants it contains are beyond all estimation. so extensive, indeed, are the transactions of this establishment, that in some years, Messrs, Loddiges have sent three thousand pounds worth of plants to the covered gardens of Russia alone, for the Emperor and his Nobles.