By Edward Augustus Bowles
E. A. Bowles's trilogy displays his figuring out of the vegetation in his mythical backyard at Myddelton condo. all the volumes includes a new preface by means of Charles Elliott.
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I soon found that the varietal forms in Page 22 commerce had very well-marked idiosyncrasies, not only as to outward appearance but in period and freedom of flowering. The paler flowered forms are those that flower earliest and most surely in autumn. That known as marginata is generally the first, and the white one and the variety lilacina often come in a dead heat for second place. Pale colouring is correlated with early flowering, it seems, and the varietal name lilacina is fully justified, both it and marginata bearing flowers of a softer and bluer shade than any others; marginata has a narrow but regular white edge to the falls, not wide or distinct enough to add to the beauty of the blossom, but sufficient to warrant the use of the name, and both forms have wider leaves than the type, and, what is better, larger flowers.
The central bud of these three is always first to lengthen and flower, and generally is ready for picking before the other two show above the tough outer spathes. Therefore to avoid picking all three buds at once, and so wasting the two undeveloped ones, it is necessary to pull away the two outermost tough spathes Page 26 a little, until you are sure you are holding only the two belonging to the bud ready to be gathered. Then a sharp pull will generally bring it away, leaving the other two buds to push up a week or ten days later.
I often think of his plaint when I too have been dragging it up in fat, lumpy water-cans, and wish I had standpipes and hose and sprinklers and the many luxuries of people lucky enough to have water high up, on the top of their own hill, like good old Tom Smith's ideal nursery at Newry, or in the water-tower of the neighbouring town. I must enumerate my difficulties, or my readers will not appreciate the skill and energy necessary here to grow the things they have to tear up as weeds in their own gardens, and one of my troubles is the well-known hardness of New River water.