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The Pr oj ect Gut enberg EBook of About Or chi ds, by Fr eder i ck Boyl e
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Ti t l e: About Or chi dsA Chat
Aut hor : Freder i ck Boyl e
Rel ease Dat e: November 26, 2005 [EBook #17155]
Language: Engl i sh
Charact er set encodi ng: I SO- 8859- 1
*** START OF THI S PROJ ECT GUTENBERG EBOOK ABOUT ORCHI DS ***
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Reduced to One Sixth
WITH COLOURED ILLUSTRATIONS
London: CHAPMAN and HALL, Ltd.1893
[All rights reserved]
LONDON:PRINTED BY GILBERT AND RIVINGTON, LIMITED,
ST. JOHN'S HOUSE, CLERKENWELL, E.C.
THIS BOOK TO MY GUIDE, COMFORTER
My Gardening 1
An Orchid Sale 24
Orchids 42Cool Orchids 60
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Warm Orchids 103
Hot Orchids 138
The Lost Orchid 173
An Orchid Farm 183
Orchids and Hybridizing 210
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
Vanda Sanderiana Frontis
Odontoglossum crispum Alexandr 67
Oncidium macranthum 88
Dendrobium Brymerianum 127
Clogene pandurata 160
Cattleya labiata 173
Llia anceps Schroederiana 197
Cypripedium (hybridum) Pollettianum 210
The purport of this book is shown in the letter following which I addressed tothe editor of theDaily News some months ago:
"I thank you for reminding your readers, by reference to my humble work, thatthe delight of growing orchids can be enjoyed by persons of very modestfortune. To spread that knowledge is my contribution to philanthropy, and I
make bold to say that it ranks as high as some which are commended frompulpits and platforms. For your leader-writer is inexact, though complimentary,in assuming that any 'special genius' enables me to cultivate orchids withoutmore expense than other greenhouse plants entail, or even without a gardener. Iam happy to know that scores of worthy gentlemenladies toonot moregifted than their neighbours in any sense, find no greater difficulty. If the
pleasure of one of these be due to any writings of mine, I have wrought somegood in my generation."
With the same hope I have collected those writings, dispersed and buried moreor less in periodicals. The articles in this volume are collectedwith permission
which I gratefully acknowledgefrom The Standard, Saturday Review, St.James's Gazette,National Review, andLongman's Magazine. With some pride Idiscover, on reading them again, that hardly a statement needs correction, forthey contain many statements, and some were published years ago. But in this,
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as in other lore, a student still gathers facts. The essays have been brought up todate by additionsin especial that upon "Hybridizing," a theme which has notinterested the great public hitherto, simply because the great public knowsnothing about it. There is not, in fact, so far as I am aware, any general record ofthe amazing and delightful achievements which have been made therein of lateyears. It does not fall within my province to frame such a record. But at least any
person who reads this unscientific account, not daunted by the title, willunderstand the fascination of the study.
These essays profess to be no more than chat of a literary man about orchids.They contain a multitude of facts, told in some detail where such attention seemsnecessary, which can only be found elsewhere in baldest outline if found at all.Everything that relates to orchids has a charm for me, and I have learned to holdit as an article of faith that pursuits which interest one member of the cultured
public will interest all, if displayed clearly and pleasantly, in a form to catchattention at the outset. Savants and professionals have kept the delights oforchidology to themselves as yet. They smother them in scientific treatises, orcommit them to dry earth burial in gardening books. Very few outsiders suspect
that any amusement could be found therein. Orchids are environed by mystery,pierced now and again by a brief announcement that something with anincredible name has been sold for a fabulous number of guineas; which passingglimpse into an unknown world makes it more legendary than before. It is hightime such noxious superstitions were dispersed. Surely, I think, this volume willdo the good workif the public will read it.
The illustrations are reduced from those delightful drawings by Mr. Moonadmired throughout the world in the pages of "Reichenbachia." The licence touse them is one of many favours for which I am indebted to the proprietors ofthat stately work.
I do not give detailed instructions for culture. No one could be more firmlyconvinced that a treatise on that subject is needed, for no one assuredly haslearned, by more varied and disastrous experience, to see the omissions of thetext-books. They are written for the initiated, though designed for the amateur.
Naturally it is so. A man who has been brought up to business can hardly resumethe utter ignorance of the neophyte. Unconsciously he will take a certain degreeof knowledge for granted, and he will neglect to enforce those elementary
principles which are most important of all. Nor is the writer of a gardening bookaccustomed, as a rule, to marshal his facts in due order, to keep proportion, toassure himself that his directions will be exactly understood by those who knownothing.
The brief hints in "Reichenbachia" are admirable, but one does not cheerfullyrefer to an authority in folio. Messrs. Veitch's "Manual of Orchidaceous Plants"is a model of lucidity and a mine of information. Repeated editions of Messrs.B.S. Williams' "Orchid Growers' Manual" have proved its merit, and, upon thewhole, I have no hesitation in declaring that this is the most useful work whichhas come under my notice. But they are all adapted for those who have passedthe elementary stage.
Thus, if I have introduced few remarks on culture, it is not because I think themneedless. The reason may be frankly confessed. I am not sure that my timewould be duly paid. If this little book should reach a second edition, I will
resume once more the ignorance that was mine eight years ago, and as a fellow-novice tell the unskilled amateur how to grow orchids.
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North Lodge, Addiscombe, 1893.
The contents of my Bungalow gave material for some "Legends" which perhapsare not yet universally forgotten. I have added few curiosities to the list sincethat work was published. My days of travel seem to be over; but in quitting thathappiest way of lifenot willinglyI have had the luck to find anotheroccupation not less interesting, and better suited to grey hairs and stiffenedlimbs. This volume deals with the appurtenances of my Bungalow, as one maysaythe orchid-houses. But a man who has almost forgotten what littleknowledge he gathered in youth about English plants does not readily turn to
that higher branch of horticulture. More ignorant even than others, he willcherish all the superstitions and illusions which environ the orchid family.Enlightenment is a slow process, and he will make many experiences before
perceiving his true bent. How I came to grow orchids will be told in this firstarticle.
The ground at my disposal is a quarter of an acre. From that tiny area deduct thespace occupied by my house, and it will be seen that myriads of good peopledwelling in the suburbs, whose garden, to put it courteously, is not sung by
poets, have as much land as I. The aspect is due northa grave disadvantage.Upon that side, from the house-wall to the fence, I have forty-five feet, on theeast fifty feet, on the south sixty feet, on the west a mere ruelle. Almost every
one who works out these figures will laugh, and the remainder sneer. Here's agarden to write about! That area might do for a tennis-court or for a generalmeeting of Mr. Frederic Harrison's persuasion. You might kennel a pack ofhounds there, or beat a carpet, or assemble those members of the cultured classwho admire Mr. Gladstone. But grow flowersrosesto cut by the basketful,fruit to make jam for a jam-eating household the year round, mushrooms,tomatoes, water-lilies, orchids; those Indian jugglers who bring a mango-tree to
perfection on your verandah in twent