Friday, May 5, 2017

A Few 20th Century Seed Packets of Stocks

I am posting these Stocks seed packets as a follow up to 1828 - A Happy Man and His Matthiola incana.   I'm not too fond of this sort of crowded, many petaled sort of bloom.  However, I want to give it a try for the clove scent.  And bees like the single flower stock! They may give this a try but I don't know.

I find some people call it Stock and others refer to it as Stocks.  

1828 - A Happy Man and His Matthiola incana

William Wilson's glee in developing a new variety of Matthiola incana, the garden flower Stock is catching.  An old fashioned favorite, I think I'll have to try it for the "clove-like scent"!  Seedsman Michael Floy's name in this article led me to this article as he features in a funny anecdote.

Johnny's Selected Seeds writes,
"Stock are a favorite among growers due to their fast maturity time. When day length is at least 13 hours, a harvestable crop can be achieved within 10–12 weeks; one of the earliest cut flowers for cooler times of the year. The ability to withstand cooler temperatures — down to 10–20°F/-12– -7°C — allows for season extension and holiday sales. Florists also appreciate Stock for their broad range of colors and easily recognized clove-like fragrance."

I have edited this article a bit, for, as charming as the writer is, his five mile long sentences, lack of commas, and purple prose were even too much for me!

From the N. Y. Farmer and Horticultural Repository.

ART. 89.—An improved variety of Ten-week stock.
It is generally very interesting to the lovers of fine flowers to be informed of the origin and progress of the improvements introduced among the finer sorts of them. The Stock's July flower when in bloom exhibits a most beautiful appearance, and emits such a delightful fragrance as entitles it to a rank in the heraldry of Flora, almost on level with the inimitable rose. 

It would perhaps not be saying too much should we aver that the variety about to be described exceeds every other of the species ...  

... we have taken no inconsiderable length of time, and employed no small care and trouble, in endeavoring to find out whether this individual variety, or any other equal to it, had ever been known to exist previous to or independent of its origin under our own cultivation at New-York, without being able to discover a single instance of either. 

We, therefore, have concluded that it has been our gratifying lot to have been the first cultivators of a variety of the Stock superior to every other that has ever come under the observation of any gardener or botanist to whom we have exhibited it or conversed with on the subject. 

In the year 1807, more than twenty years ago, I raised several hundred plants of the ten-week stock, from one paper of seed that I obtained of Mr. Michael Floy, Nursery and Seedsman.     The plants were the most single straggling looking rascals I ever grew. 

CAUTION: Long Sentence Ahead
But as seeds obtained at the shops are generally suspected, I had raised another batch of them, in hopes of raising enough of good double ones, for I calculated upon two thirds of them being single, and not worth the saving, and in this I was not disappointed, yet after having made Mr. Floy a severe and, I hope, seasonable lecture, on the abominable trash of stock seed he had sold me, I observed among them four double ones different, and I thought better than I had ever seen before. 

Botanische wandplaten 1899
But, alas, they would produce no seed, and the whole multitude of the wide placed long pedicled narrow sharp pointed flower buds were watched for and examined with an anxiety at the recollection of which, I have often since laughed heartily.  (No commas, but all the descriptive words were right on! :-)

At last, two stubborn dwarf stinted looking dogs began to open their close plane short pediciled bloom. Their seed had certainly been produced in the same pericarpium, as that of the four doubles. I forgave Mr. Floy for my disappointment in all the rest, and even sold him one of the single and one of the double new sorts for two dollars, upon the express condition that he was to raise none of the seed of that sort for sale, nor to part with any of the single flowering plants upon the pain of losing his lugg, alias, his right ear. Which condition I believe he faithfully fulfilled, for a period of more than seven years, during which time very few of the double plants that either he or I raised were sold for less than a dollar, and some good plants at pinching times after brought us nearly two. 

At last about the year 1815 some of the single plants found their way in a manner not necessary to be described from my garden to several of my neighbours who afterwards informed me of the circumstances, on which we sometimes to this day pass some hearty jokes when we meet together. 

1620, Bessler - Hortus Eystettensis
About fifteen or sixteen years ago, I sent some of the seed of this sort to London by a gentleman of Middletown, an experienced gardener, who afterwards informed me it was much admired there, and had not, so far as he could learn, ever been known there before.
Mr. Thomas Hogg, now a nurseryman in this city, who is well acquainted with the horticultural productions about London, considers this to be a superior and distinct variety from those formerly raised in England. 
I have also sent seed of it to Mr. Stewart Murray, of the Royal Botanic Garden of Glasgow, who has acknowledged in letters I have received from him since, that it is the finest sort he ever saw. But in a letter I received from him lately, he says he thinks it either degenerates there, or he had lost the breed. 
(Hogg came to NY  from Scotland, via London, in 1822.)

That certain plants succeed Better in particular situations than others, is well known to horticulturists; and New York may well be proud of this daughter of Flora, for its cultivation here has succeeded to such a degree that many instances are to be found of single flowering plants producing numbers of double flowers, as the specimens I exhibited at the meeting of the New York Horticultural Society, about a week ago, clearly proves. And this is a circumstance which I have never heard of taking place in any of other variety of the stock but this, nor in any other part of the world but New York. 

Seed from these plants which have the double flowers intervened, generally produce four double plants to one single, and sometimes they come almost nit double together. All these plants regain a strong short stocky form; the flowers are almost sessile on the peduncles, and are of such a large size and so close together, that the whole plant when in full bloom has the appearance of one universal expansion of flower petals. And in this state, they continue for months together; nor are the plants like the ten week stocks, lost when their bloom is over, but for successive years do they continue to produce their rose coloured blossoms. 

It has long been known in this place by the title of Wilson's Stock, and until some other plan can be, upon better authority, suggested for its origin, I see no impropriety of styling it the New-York Stock. It will be likely long to continue to decorate the gardens and green houses in this place, and it has already well repaid all the pains bestowed upon it by


Murray Hill Nursery,
May 27, 1828.

William Wilson, Nurseryman, beside a large greenhouse, at the corner of 4th and Macdougal St. (now corner of Washington Square), had an extensive nursery at Murray Hill, covering about 10 acres.

ANOTHER nice info and seed source:

Sunday, April 30, 2017

1923 - Mr. Cook's Roots Disappoint Mrs. Graves

A delightful letter.  I wonder how A. T. Cook responded! 

A. T. Cook links - (1) (2) (3) (4 This one is on cinnamon vines, too.) (6) (7) (8)