Monday, December 17, 2012


Garden Hydrangea

It appears to be a point not yet fully determined, whether the
present plant exhibits the appearances belonging to it in a (late
of nature, or those which are in a certain degree the effect of
accident, or of art in its fructifications it certainly is not as
completely barren as the Guilder Rose, Viburnum Opulus, cultivated in our gardens, since it has most of its parts perfect;
yet as none of the authors who have seen it in China or Japan
(where it is said not only to be much cultivated but indigenous*) describe its fruit, we are inclined on that account to regard it, in a certain degree, as monstrous.

It will appear by the synonyms, that authors have entertained very different opinions as to what this plant really is; Jussieu following commission makes it an HortevJia Thunberg a Viburnum, Loureiro, ridiculously enough, a Primula, and Dr, Smith an Hydrangea,

In the original description of the characters of the genus
Hydrangea by LinNaus, there is no mention made of two
different kinds of florets, as in the
Viburnum, nor has any author that I am acquainted with described the Hydrangea arbor,
as producing such ; yet, to my great surprise, in a plant of
this fort which flowered in toy garden at Brompton in July, and three only, threw out each of them from their circumference a very different flower from
those in the center, (mailer indeed, but very similar to the
flowers of the
Hydrang. bort.fce PI. 437. In 1788, Mr. Walter
published his
Fl. Cardin, in which he describes a second species of Hydrangea, which he calls radiata* having very distantly, as in the Viburnum* two different kinds of florets in the fame Cyma, this variation in the florets is added by him to
the generic character : the similarity which exists between the
flowers of Mr.
Walter's Hydrangea  radiata and those of the
present plant sufficiently justify Dr, Smith in making it an
Hydrangea  the appearances observed by Loureiro on disc
feeling the germen, and our discovery of the existence of two
different kinds of flowers in the
Hydrangea arborefcens tend
dill more to confirm its propriety; we may add, that in the very habit of theft several plants there exists
a considerable similarity; still, however, it is only by ripe seed vessels of the present plant, that this doubtful matter can be satisfactorily cleared up ; but it will not follow, that if it be not an Hydrangea it mud be a Viburnum,
This magnificent and highly ornamental plant, according
to Dr.
Smith, was introduced from China to the royttf
garden at Kew, by Sir
Joseph Banks, Bart, in 1790; it
was imported by Mr.
Slater about the same time, with whom it is said to have first flowered in this country.
If room were allowed us, it would be superfluous to describe minutely a plant now very common; suffice it to
say, that from a strong perennial root, rife a number of half-
shrubby, irregular, somewhat spongy stalks, strongly spotted
when young with purple, from one to three feet high, terminated by large bunches of flowers, at first green, then rose-colored, and finally green a second time; these are the most common changes to which they are liable but it will sometimes happen that a plant which has produced red flowers one year, shall produce blue another, though growing in the fame pot ; this we saw happen in the year 1796 to a plant in the postilion of the Countess of
Upper Ossory, whose refined taste and superior judgment have in several instances contributed to render our works more acceptable to the public the colored changeable part of the flower is regarded as the calyx, in the center of which is the corolla,
containing the stamina all varying greatly in point of
number; besides this, there are other flowers without any
calyx, but the parts which they contain do not seem to be
more perfect than those of the others, nor more productive
of ripe fruit.
Since the introduction of this plant, trials have been made
in regard to its hardiness, and it is found to survive mild winters if planted in very warm sheltered situations ; but in others, both talks and leaves are liable to be killed by slight frosts, though the roots are not; if persons are anxious to have it in the open border, the bed mode will be to cut down the
items at the approach of winter, and cover over the root
with rotten tan, or some light substance; in the spring fresh
stalks will shoot forth, but it is more common to keep this
plant during winter in a green-house or well secured frame ;
by artificial heat it may be brought to flower in April or
May without such, it begins to blossom about June, and continues in bloom till October; when successfully treated, it
will acquire the height of three feet, and produce bunches
of flowers supremely magnificent: such plants in pots are admirably adapted for decorating court-yards, balconies,
tines carefully cut in, it is apt to grow too large for the
green-house, therefore it is proper to have a succession of
young plants from cuttings, which strike very freely ; this
plant loves water, is indeed almost an aquatic, a rich foil, and
plenty of pot room.

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