Carnation Manual | Pushing the Wave

The Carnation Manual

Edited and Issued by The National Carnation and Picotee Society (Southern Section)

Cassell and Company, Limited. Second edition, 1897

Vintage Books #9
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“The Carnation as a Town Flower.

By Martin Rowan.

THAT the Carnation is second in beauty and interest only to the Rose is admitted on all hands and a “close second” to the Queen of Flowers its votaries may not unjustly claim for it. If nature has denied to the Carnation all the sumptuous beauty of the Rose, she has bestowed on her to very lavishness the not less precious gift of variety; for in the diverse qualities characteristic of the many classes of the flower—in the brilliance and force of the scarlet and crimson bizarres, the tenderness and grace of the rose and purple flakes, the delicacy and refinement of the edged Picotees, the rich colouring of the Selfs, the picturesque and almost infinite contrasts of the fancy and yellowed-ground flowers—we have a range of varied beauty hardly to be found in any other flower; while with the Cloves we have, in addition to their rich hues, a fragrance of their own not inferior to that of the Rose itself.

With the townsman, indeed, the Carnation must hold not the second, but the very first place in his regard, for while the Rose—like many another old favourite—refuses to dwell within the smoke circle, the Carnation will put on its best for us even in the smallest of town gardens. The greatest manufacturing towns of the Midlands and of Lancashire and Yorkshire have all their knots of enthusiastic and successful cultivators of the flower. At Sheffield, in one of the worst of climates, Mr. Simonite has raised some of the finest varieties of Carnations and Picotees that we possess; and all Mr. Dodwell’s finest seedlings, up to the time of his removal to Oxford a few years ago, were raised within ten minutes’ ride of Victoria Station. My own flowers are grown in the same locality, and, indeed, the bulk of the exhibitors at the great metropolitan and provincial shows are amateurs, with town gardens, cultivating their plants under all the citizen’s wonted disabilities of bad climate, cramped space, and scant leisure snatched from busy avocations of every sort.

The fact that, in spite of all, the town grower is at practically no disadvantage when competing with country-grown flowers, best shows the plant’s patient endurance of a smoke-laden atmosphere, and well entitles it to be regarded as in every sense a true townsman’s flower.”
© L.A. Davenport 2017-2024.

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Carnation Manual | Pushing the Wave