About Orchids: A Chat
By Frederick Boyle 4 Dec, 2018
PREFACE. The purport of this book is shown in the letter following which I addressed to the editor of the Daily News some months ago:— "I thank you for reminding your readers, by reference to my humble work, that the delight of growing orchids ... Read more
PREFACE. The purport of this book is shown in the letter following which I addressed to the editor of the Daily News some months ago:— "I thank you for reminding your readers, by reference to my humble work, that the delight of growing orchids can be enjoyed by persons of very modest fortune. 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 from pulpits and platforms. For your leader-writer is inexact, though complimentary, in assuming that any 'special genius' enables me to cultivate orchids without more expense than other greenhouse plants entail, or even without a gardener. I am happy to know that scores of worthy gentlemen—ladies too—not more gifted 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 some good in my generation." With the same hope I have collected those writings, dispersed and buried more or less in periodicals. The articles in this volume are collected—with permission which I gratefully acknowledge—from The Standard, Saturday Review, St. James's Gazette, National Review, and Longman's Magazine. With some pride I discover, on reading them again, that hardly a statement needs correction, for they contain many statements, and some were published years ago. But in this, as in other lore, a student still gathers facts. The essays have been brought up to date by additions—in especial that upon "Hybridizing," a theme which has not interested the great public hitherto, simply because the great public knows nothing about it. There is not, in fact, so far as I am aware, any general record of the amazing and delightful achievements which have been made therein of late years. 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, will understand 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 seems necessary, 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 hold it 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 catch attention at the outset. Savants and professionals have kept the delights of orchidology to themselves as yet. They smother them in scientific treatises, or commit 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 an incredible name has been sold for a fabulous number of guineas; which passing glimpse into an unknown world makes it more legendary than before. It is high time such noxious superstitions were dispersed. Surely, I think, this volume will do the good work—if the public will read it. The illustrations are reduced from those delightful drawings by Mr. Moon admired throughout the world in the pages of "Reichenbachia." The licence to use them is one of many favours for which I am indebted to the proprietors of that stately work. I do not give detailed instructions for culture. No one could be more firmly convinced that a treatise on that subject is needed, for no one assuredly has learned, by more varied and disastrous experience, to see the omissions of the text-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 resume the utter ignorance of the neophyte. Unconsciously he will take a certain degree of 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 book accustomed, as a rule, to marshal his facts in due order, to keep proportion, to assure himself that his directions will be exactly understood by those who know nothing. The brief hints in "Reichenbachia" are admirable, but one does not cheerfully refer 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 the whole, I have no hesitation in declaring that this is the most useful work which has come under my notice. But they are all adapted for those who have passed the elementary stage. Thus, if I have introduced few remarks on culture, it is not because I think them needless. The reason may be frankly confessed. I am not sure that my time would 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. Frederick Boyle. Less
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  • Public Domain Books
  • 2019-03-15
  • English
  • 9781728682617
Frederick Boyle (1841–1914) was an English author, journalist, barrister, and orchid fancier.Born in Stoke-on-Trent, Boyle was a nephew of Joseph Meyer. He matriculated in 1859 as an undergraduate a...
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