Carnations—Two-Way Cash Crop
SEVEN YEARS ago I suffered a severe heart attack. My doctor assured me that if I stayed in bed for three months, there was a possibility that I might be on deck for some time. For one always active his order seemed an impossibility. But my fear of becoming a burden on the world in general and my family in particular, forced me to follow his advice. Then carnations came to my rescue.
At the time I happened to have a dozen registered prize carnations on hand. In 1891 the American Carnation Society was formed, and from that date, all new varieties had to be registered with it which explains the meaning of the term "registered." Up to that date, any grower could name a variety and place it on the market, whether it duplicated another variety or not. As to the word "prize," it is used by growers to indicate that the varieties are carefully selected.
The American Carnation Society maintains headquarters, at Denver, Colorado. In this city and its environs there are acres and acres of greenhouses used solely for the growing of carnation blooms and plants. Denver may well be termed the capital of the carnation world.
WHEN ONE is helplessly confined to a bed, various thoughts run through the mind. But those twelve carnations, upon which I'd lavished time and attention, were constantly before me, so much so that I decided to probe into their cultivation.
That was six years ago and since then, the total of my mother plants has increased every year. My sales have also grown proportionately.
A word about the books, pamphlets and bulletins which I absorbed during those prescribed ninety days in bed. So far, I have never found a book devoted entirely to carnations, but there is much to learn from books on floriculture, where usually at least a chapter is devoted to them. Perhaps the most detailed of these is L. H. Bailey's "Cyclopedia of Horticulture," Volume I.
The bulletins issued by the various state agricultural experimental stations are excellent sources of information. These stations operate in conjunction with the various state colleges.
After my recovery, increasing my stock of carnations was easy, even if growth was slow and methodical. I was constantly on the lookout for new varieties. When I obtained one I never added it to my list until after it had bloomed, when the description was authenticated. My list now numbers 130, all carefully selected for growth, length of stem, novelty of color, and color combinations.
REGISTERED PRIZE carnations can only be propagated by rooted cuttings taken from mother plants. At present, my mother stock is around 2,500, and that is plenty on which to lavish attention. Last year I rooted, with help, about 40,000 plants and in June, when the selling season ended, the storage benches were empty.
There are two distinct methods of starting a carnation garden—the right and the wrong way. The latter is prompted by an urge to start in a big way by buying a few hundred plants. That's plunging. The right way is to start from scratch, with any number from twenty-four to fifty.
Starting with a conservative number of plants doesn't mean that there's any law against the addition of new varieties. And there surely is none against enlarging your field with rooted cuttings from your own stock.
Here it would not be amiss to explain the outlets for blooms and plants. The first can be a worthwhile profit, maker, with the other income producer the sale of rooted cuttings.
Recently I visited a bloom garden which boasted fields containing 120,000 plants, of only three varieties, reds, pinks and whites. This requires acres of ground, the services of twelve people to maintain them, as well as extra hands when shipping, to strip the bloom stems and pack and ship the crop. No plant rooting is done, except when wanted for renewals. All cuttings are destined for the rubbish pile.
Now consider the grower who roots. Naturally, there are blooms to sell, but this is merely extra money. An average mother plant, throughout a season and cut down in early spring, should easily yield fifty cuttings. On this basis, an average cutting yield per annum, for a 2,500-plant field, should be well over 100,000 rooted cuttings. As to the sale of these, wholesalers, nurseries, florists and private customers make the outlets. Another which is just coming into being is the chain stores, many of which are adding nursery stock.
A friend of mine, Mrs. Estella Meyers of Sun Valley, California, started with ninety plants on a tract 160 by 350 feet. In three years she increased her stock to 9,000 plants. Her only helper was her 12-year-old grandchild. She nets $50 to $75 a week from her plants.
IN GROWING carnations the first step is to know your soil. Carnations will not be at their best in ground which is definitely alkaline. A small test kit is a valuable aid to any gardener, and the cost is trivial. No chemical knowledge is necessary to operate one of the colormatic type. In addition, a test kit not only tells you about your soil, but also tells you what to do to alter it to best fit your plant needs.
Don't dig your garden deeply. I well remember a new carnation enthusiast who dug his bed so deeply that I asked him if he had already unearthed any ancient Chinese temples. What he had done was to bury his valuable top soil and bring to the surface that lower dead soil which is of little value. Carnations planted in it would have loudly protested his action, shown by lack of healthy growth.
Carnations have very small root systems, with only a few inches penetration. So why break your back, and what is even more important, your spading fork? Six inches is the acknowledged depth, thus keeping the richer top soil within reach of the plant roots. Makes sense, doesn't it?
WITH THE bed ready for the plants, the next move is the proper spacing of them. Some growers, particularly those who grow under glass, must conserve space. Inches are valuable. Consequently, plants are often spaced at six inches. This is permissible, particularly when new plantings are made every year or two.
By the same token, some carnation varieties have a heavier plant and root growth than others. A Carlotta or a Unique requires more space than the average allotment, while a California or an Autumn Glow will thrive in less. Certainly, it is not expected that a new carnation grower would be versed on such technical points, but the grower from whom he obtained his first plants should freely give advice on such details. The new enthusiast, unless using a most limited area, should play safe and plant ten to twelve inches in the row. Double rows, a foot apart, and a twenty-four-inch space between each two double rows, permits reaching all plants at all times.
A new grower whom I knew planted all his varieties at six-inch intervals. Two years later I saw his beds. The plants were all intergrown, the blooms small. Any color of health and vitality was totally lacking. I suggested taking up and replanting—the bed was two years old, anyway. Replacement should be made at ten inches.
In my beds, I follow the eight-, and ten-inch rule. In other words, give the heavy growers the larger space, the others the smaller. But I know my varieties. Further, each bed is replanted every two years.
GROWERS SHIP plants in plant-bands, parcel post, or dry root, air mail. The latter is preferable for distances, particularly during hot weather, the other for the shorter hauls. Dry root shipments are packed in damp sphagnum and on receipt, should either be planted directly in the garden, or potted if to be held for any length of time.
Should you receive a shipment in plant-bands, which are small containers made of heavy tar-paper, in which the plants are growing, they should be given a rest for a week, to recover from their trip. They need heavy watering and should be kept in a spot where only the morning sun will hit them. When ready to set out, tear off the band, being careful not to disturb the cube of earth. Thus, there will be no root damage and the plants will continue their growth without interruption.
With the double row marked, trowel a hole a trifle larger than the plant band. Make certain that the top of the cube of earth is level with the soil in which it is put. Press firmly, and as soon as a row is finished, overhead water every plant thoroughly, to make certain there are no air pockets below.
Mark your rows before planting. Should your start consist of only twelve plants, set them in a double row. As your planting should include at least two of each variety, arrange them opposite each other. In the meantime, your anchor, as well as your marker posts, should be ready and labelled. Never trust to memory as to varieties. Mixing them is an unpardonable sin.
Recently a woman came to me, carrying a very good crimson bloom. As she explained, the plant of it she had bought from an eastern grower. Plainly, it was a Crimson King. Her order had not included anything of a crimson shade, as she detested any color which even bordered on it. What she had ordered was a Sims' White. And was she sour! Such occurrences can happen, even when a grower uses every precaution to guard against it. I couldn't blame the woman. For about six months she had cared for and nurtured her plants, awaiting her reward.
AS TO the posts, those used as markers should be one inch square, twenty-six inches long, and pointed. The anchor posts at the ends of each row, should be two inches square, forty inches long and also pointed. On each size post, four holes should be drilled—the first, one inch from the top, the second, third and fourth, three inches apart. This spacing brings the lower hole three inches from the soil level.
Both sizes should be driven into the ground so that the exposed measurement is thirteen inches. In setting the posts, the holes of the anchor posts should be against the row, the marker holes with it.
As for markers, there are many forms, but the best to use are made of aluminum. There is no end to the life of these, and the variety name is written on them. Where one variety ends and another begins is the central spot for post markers.
When working down a row, insert the separation post with the label attached, as each variety is planted. Reaching the end of a row calls for that row to be mulched. This tends to keep the roots cool in summer and warm in winter, conserves moisture and keeps weeds down. Mulches can consist of many substances. Peat moss, well-rotted cow or steer manure, humus, green or dry lawn cuttings, chopped grain or bean straw. As each works slowly into the soil, the latter is lightened, as well as fertilized. But as the mulch becomes an integral part of the earth, added mulch is necessary.
EVERYONE NEEDS support, whether from a legacy, savings, investments, salary, self-employment, or old age pension. Plants, too, must be supported in some way or other. This promotes upright growth and the resultant long, straight bloom stems. The simplest is often the best. That applies to the posts and wire form of support, whether you have twelve or 12,000. And its elasticity takes care of new plants and new varieties as added.
With the anchor and the variety stakes set, number twenty galvanized wire should be on hand. Naturally, there is a gap between planting and wiring time, but the latter becomes a necessity when the plants have attained a height of five or six inches. They need early training.
Facing a row, fasten the wire to the anchor post on your left and starting with the lowest hole, bring it over to the right-hand anchor. From there follow down the line of variety posts to the anchor post at the end of the row, passing it through each hole. Then come up on the opposite side of the row and fasten the wire to the anchor post from which you started.
It is well to follow with the second wire from the bottom. The remaining two need not be placed for a few weeks, based on the necessity for support which the growing plants will be needing. The fact that only two wires are in place allows easier caring for the young plants as they grow, such as removing centers, straightening and training, as well as the removal of weeds.
That particular row, as well as the others to follow, is completed by four center wires from each end, putting the wires from anchor post to anchor post. These center wires are also useful from the viewpoint that when pulled tightly, they tend to take up any slack in the side wires.
But the support program is not complete, even when the fourth wires, as well as the center one are in place. Cross strings are needed. These are strung across the rows, from each wire to the opposite one. To handle this chore easiest, obtain a ball of sixteen-ply cord and cut it into twenty-inch lengths. This is based on a twelve-inch width of row, with the extra for knotting. Put a single knot in one end, loop this knot to the side wires, midway between each plant, then once around the center wire. A double knot on the opposite one completes the job.
Thus, each plant has what might be termed a private room. Starting with the lowest wire, the other three can be done as plant growth increases. The completed job makes for perfect plant support.
IF YOU desire strongly rooted plants, pulling out the center growth is a necessity. As the plants grow, a center will shoot up. This growth is easily recognized, being round, not flat, as with all other leaf growth, and pulls out readily. Don't nip it off. The complete removal is necessary. This action throws the plant strength downward and makes for better rooting systems. This center-pulling operation should be done at intervals of two or three weeks. Before the final one, three or four removals have taken place.
Of all the questions put to me, two out of three are inquiring regarding this operation. "Can this center shoot be used as a cutting and will it root?" Definitely, no! A perfect cutting must have at least one good node, or joint, from which a root will come, when properly handled in a rooting compound. The more nodes at the stripped end of a cutting, the surer the rooting.
Should your garden be located in an area where little or no rainfall occurs during the growing season, irrigation is necessary. But keep the water off the plants as much as possible and do the chore before midday. If done later and the plants get wet, they will not be dry when the evening coolness sets in. Chilled plants may mean retarded growth.
Plants are like people, in that they require feeding. After a prolonged fast, debilitation may result in a weakness so deep that the faster cannot stand erect. That's exactly what can happen when feeding of plants is neglected. Regular plant feeding will be reflected in the growth and color of your plants.
Also, just like human beings, carnations have their favorite foods. Nitrogen being one of these, any fertilizer high in this necessity is good. But for rapid and regular feeding, nothing excels calcium nitrate and blood-meal, mixed in equal proportions. This is a potent mixture and should be used accordingly. The equivalent of half a flat teaspoonful, when scattered about the main stems, is sufficient, at least for a month. Watering it in will dissolve it and carry it to the root areas.
Another chore is pest control. Carnations are the motels for aphids and mites. Both being sucking insects, if an infestation occurs, plants will suffer. Aphids can be readily seen, but mites are synonymous with their name, it usually requiring a glass to detect them. But if there are aphids, their tiny pals are usually close at hand.
Many insecticides, according to the label, are certain death to all insects from mites to grasshoppers. Stay away from all such general clean-uppers. What you really need is good riddance to aphids and mites, so use only a recognized product which contains Malathon, usually a fifty per cent solution. Spraying every two weeks during the growing season will keep your plants free of pests.
WHEN THE bloom stems shoot up, there will be the tip bud, as well as others along the stalk. These latter are of no account, as they develop long after the tip bud has been and gone. But if not removed, that tip bud will not develop to the proper size. So strip off these laterals.
This isn't such a huge job. On that carnation garden which grew blooms from 120,000 plants, it took three girls constantly going over the plants, stripping off these useless appendices. In Mrs. Meyers' garden of 9,000 plants, as explained before, her 12-year-old granddaughter did this work.
Often when handing out disbudding advice, it doesn't jell. On several occasions my advice has been disregarded. "What do I care for big blooms?" could have started an argument. "What I'm after is blooms and if quantity makes up for smaller ones, I should worry and get wrinkles." So take your choice—that's one of the many privileges we Americans have.
When taking blooms, don't cut them off. Healthy plants have brittle stems, so follow down the stem to three or four inches from the ground, find a well defined node and snap it off. On the part left of the stem there will later appear several shoots which will soon be excellent cuttings.
Whether you grow for blooms to fill the fancy jar Aunt Ellen gave you on your third wedding anniversary, or whether you're selling them to a local florist, all the lateral stem growth must be removed. A large percentage of those removed will make excellent cuttings to root. Some plant authorities claim they make the best rootings. So don't throw them into the humus bin.
NOW WE'VE come to where the rooting of cuttings is a prime factor. Those taken from bloom stems, as well as any others, should be stripped of all leaf growth for about an inch and a half from the butt, then just below the lowest node, cut it off at it slant. Some years ago, when I was far greener about carnations than my name, I wanted to get some rooting medium, so I went to a well-known nursery.
The salesman suggested two materials, but loudly praised one as being the last word. "Why, this one's so perfect that you don't have to strip your cuttings." That made an instant hit with me, as stripping is a tedious chore. So that was the one I took, which incidentally is the one I still use.
Pondering over the claim which tossed the stripping job into the ash can, the more I thought of it, the less I thought of it. Leaf joints are nodes, and it is from the nodes that the roots come. If a leaf was still on the node, wouldn't it block the roots! That caused a knitted brow, so to unravel the knitting, I hied myself to our Department of Agriculture for the answer.
It was just as I had reasoned it. The stripping is merely an invitation for the roots to "Come out and see me." Naturally, I have never ceased to strip cuttings,
To facilitate this work, a long row of squat one-pound coffee cans filled with cold water are strung along the bench. As each variety is stripped and trimmed, it goes into one of the cans, with a label marking the variety and the date put into the rooting medium. Leaving them in water overnight hardens the cuttings, ready for the medium on the following morning.
The rooting medium I use, and have used for five years, certainly does its work as nothing else will. On the sack, the directions state that sand may be mixed with it, but this merely reduces the cost without decreasing efficiency. Not so long ago I shipped some cuttings to a customer in Hawaii and he mixed sand with the vermiculite. The next report was that every cutting had died. I later learned that he had used sea sand, just as I'd suspected. Salt, even in the minutist quantity, is certain death to cuttings, as well as the majority of plants. If you must use sand, a coarse, washed building sand is the only product to use.
A word about markers, or labels. Use a waterproof pencil for all markings, if you are using a wooden label. Ordinary pencil marks wash off quickly, while waterproof marks will last for some time.
WHEN THE cuttings are prepared, get busy on the rooting medium. Whether flats or benches are used, ready them the night before, by filling them to a three-inch depth, then water thoroughly. The next morning they will be ready for the cuttings, but before using them, the flats—or benches—must be thoroughly packed down.
A wooden marker, showing the variety and the date, is put at the beginning of the row. The rows should be about 2½ inches apart, the cuttings in the row about ¾ inch apart. A standard flat is eighteen by eighteen inches and three inches deep. Therefore, a flat should hold about 100 cuttings.
With the marker set at the head of the row, take a handful of cuttings of that variety, swish the butts in the hormone and then stick the cuttings in place. Do not make holes for them, as they should be stiff enough to push the smaller ones about an inch deep, slightly deeper for the larger ones. This is the procedure to follow with each variety until all the cans are emptied.
There is no general rooting period. In summer, whether in the lath-house or under cheesecloth, three weeks is the normal time. In cooler weather, double that time may be necessary. Naturally, I am speaking only of outdoor rooting. With greenhouse rooting, or with bottom heat, in the form of an electric cable buried beneath the rooting compound, a slight degree of heat is generated which assures faster rooting.
Even so, unless time is the essence, whatever that means, full outdoor exposure, in my opinion, makes for better and stronger plants. Of course, if unprotected—and this goes for all seasons—no strong sun's rays should hit the cuttings, but all possible light is a necessity.
In all frost-free areas, I maintain that open rooting is exactly like the country boy brought up in an atmosphere which tends to harden him physically. The city lad who knows only heated rooms, is frowned down when he suggests going out to play in the snow. I ask you as a friend, which of these two types has the constitution which will throw off disease, at least the primary ones?
Naturally, the entire total of carnation enthusiasts cannot and certainly does not, live in frost-free zones. For these growers, there are hotbeds and cold frames in which to root cuttings and pot them for spring planting. Of course and naturally, a greenhouse ranks tops, but usually this entails a cost which is prohibitive.
RIGHT HERE I'll switch to construction, mainly greenhouse, lath-houses and plant storage benches. Like everything these days, costs can—and do—run into big figures. But ingenuity can often get you what is needed at a figure anyone can afford.
My friend Bain Prather of Los Angeles had for some time wanted a greenhouse, but he had no idea of paying the price asked by a contractor. One day he went to his bank, and learned that the rear portion of the bank, which was elevated above the main floor, was to be dropped down to the level of the business department.
Prather got busy. He interviewed the proper official and was offered all the beams and flooring, if he would cart them away. He then learned that the entire skylight, which was to be replaced by a standard roof, was his if he wanted it. Also, he, obtained secondhand window sashes and his greenhouse was on its way. When it was finished—he had a carpenter erect the frame and roof rafters—he completed the building himself, utilizing an old gas stove for heating. The only lumber he had to buy was the redwood boards for the lower sidings, as well as for the benches. The completed cost, including the carpenter's wages, was exactly $57 and his greenhouse measures six by twenty-one feet. Also, he has two benches, each the full length and each twenty-six inches wide, with a twenty-two-inch center walk.
I needed a lath-house. The butts, which are two-inch wide laths, cost $4.20, delivered. A friend put up the frame, all of donated second-hand lumber, with material for the benches coming from the same source. Paint and a couple of pounds of nails cost about $4 and a second-hand door $4.75, and I had a twenty-two-by-ten-foot lathhouse, with a twenty-inch center walk. The benches on each side were the full length, and each is four feet, two inches wide. The total cost was slightly less than a $10 bill.
Storage benches are also a necessity. These measure six feet long and thirty-six inches wide and are thirty-two inches high. Second-hand lumber again. Now I'm one of the few who can't even drive a nail straight, nor can I persuade a saw to keep in a straight line, yet I built several storage benches for a lumber and nail cost of about $2.50 per bench, including paint.
What one person can do, so can another. Take my tip and watch for old window frames, preferably with the glass intact, as well as old lumber which can usually be had for the asking. One never knows what the future may have in store.
IT WAS a long jump from carnation culture to construction, so it's just as long a jump back. Watch your rooting flats and if the cuttings are taking over the normal rooting period, which usually is from three to four weeks, use an old teaspoon and go down alongside a cutting, then under it so that it can be lifted out. If the roots are not well developed, put it back in place. No harm will result.
Then comes the potting. Plant bands should be used. These are made of heavy tar-paper and are delivered flat. When folded and squared, each holds a cube of earth 1¾ by 1¾ by 3 inches. Setting them in flats beforehand makes for easier potting.
The potting mixture, previously prepared, should consist of 1/3 cow or steer manure, 1/3 good top soil and 1/3 fine building sand. Each component should be sifted through a quarter-inch mesh sieve, then the whole thoroughly mixed. And speaking of sand, I want to repeat: Shun sea sand as you would a dose of smallpox. Even washed sea sand will have sufficient salt in it to kill plants.
As for potting, set the plant in the center of the band and pour the potting mixture about it, then firm well. But do not bring the mixture more than ¼ inch from the top, which means that you have provided a well for water. Put markers in each variety as potted. When the flat is full, overhead spray plentifully.
Here is where the storage benches or the lath-house comes in. As each flat is completed, put the contents in one or the other and keep the plants damp, but not wet. In ten days to two weeks the plants will have been established sufficiently to be ready to market.
WITH PLANTS on hand, the next point is—what to do with them. I well remember my first sale, or perhaps I should say, trade. I had been purchasing necessary materials from a small garden supply house, and with plants on hand, I suggested to the operator that he take some at the usual wholesale price and I would take the amount in whatever stock he carried that I needed. He was agreeable to this. As for selling them to him, the idea never entered my head.
Up to that time, I had never sold any plants. I was Carnation Charlie to everyone I knew, and also occasionally to some I didn't, know. But I gave as freely to one class as the other. Yes, I agree about the fools born every second, yet it gave me real pleasure to pass out, for free, my plants.
One day a woman caller stated that she had come for some of my carnation plants. As I didn't know her from Eve, she explained that a mutual friend had told her that, on mention of his name, he knew I'd be glad to hand over the works to her. He missed out on that guess.
In the first place, I barely knew him and certainly not as a bosom friend. I must have bristled like a hedgehog when I told her I sold my plants. When she asked the price, she put me on foreign soil. Such a proceeding was new to me and I was unprepared for such a query. "Twenty-five cents!" I stammered.
"I'd like two dozen!" she replied. I was flabbergasted. But when she paid me in honest-to-goodness cash, I began to do some thinking. It dawned upon me what a sap I'd been, giving away a product which had a genuine value. Then and there, I decided to root at least 1,500 plants the next year.
In the meantime, I got in touch with nurseries within a radius of ten miles and at none did I get a real turn-down. The usual suggestion was that when I brought a flat of plants, they would be glad to look it over. A "flat" holds seventy-two plants, which is the usual standard.
Studying plant displays, I saw that tar-paper plant bands were another standard. So I stocked them. Also, I obtained a few flats. Also, I bought a supply of pot labels, the four-inch painted ones, upon which to write the plant variety. When the season opened, I was ready for business and in no time at all I had no plants, but did have a small handful of money.
I WAS now it full fledged carnation grower. As such, I decided that the next season I would root at least 5,000. Of course, in the meantime I had materially increased my stock of mother plants. And that year, five years ago, 5,000 plants were rooted. And what's far more to the point, everyone was sold.
During the intervening years, my number of mother plants increased annually. Four years ago a wholesaler contacted me and was ready to do business. And we did. It was nice business, in that no soliciting or delivery was involved. Each year my sales grew, with the wholesaler taking more each season. Last year I rooted about 40,000. This year I expect to make it 50,000.
Last summer I decided that a new plan would give me more net profit. Here in Southern California one of the largest national department store operators (Sears, Roebuck) have about twenty stores. With only one exception, each also houses a very up-to-date nursery. To go back for a moment, I have never sold my blooms, as it occupied all my time to care for my plants. Blooms I gave by the armful to neighbors and close friends. With an absolutely new idea, I presented myself to the head buyer for all the nurseries operated by this company.
I explained to him that I had a new idea in carnation plant selling. I would furnish blooms with every flat sold. In other words, a bunch of blooms would attract attention. But the main idea was that anyone would be more apt to buy, if she—or he, could get an eyeful of the blooms a certain plant would produce.
He made no attempt to conceal the fact that the plan interested him, and proved it by asking my price. My wholesale price had always been 12½ cents per plant, but I felt that under my plan, I was entitled to 17½ cents. That was my quotation. He agreed by stating that he would send a bulletin to every nursery manager, giving each the authority to stock my plants.
And each did. I obtained the services of an old friend, who was a born saleswoman. The orders were telephoned to me and she delivered and followed up each one. Believe me, we were kept busy with a most unexpected demand, all of which proves that new ideas are profitable, whether you're selling gopher traps or registered prize Carnations. I expect to sell 20,000 plants this spring through this chain of stores.
SPEAKING GENERALLY, registered prize carnations are little known in the average area. Further, florists usually carry only reds, whites and pinks. In this way, the general public does not know that there are scores of shades of all colors, also contrasting edges, as well as pencilling and overlays. To prove this point, a highly educated college graduate once questioned my statement that there are yellow carnations. Later, I showed her a Miller Yellow and she wanted to know how I dyed it. Her carnation education was completed when I held before her astonished eyes a Mercury, a Mrs. Bibby and a Betsy.
So that you may share in this woman's astonishment of these three outstanding varieties, descriptions are necessary. The first mentioned is a large white bloom, in which the pencilling is soft rose in color. Pencilling consists of lines, varying in width from faint to wide and heavy, extending from the center of the bloom to the tips of the petals. Mercury is surely a genuine beauty!
Mrs. Bibby is also pencilled, but much more heavily. The bloom base is medium saffron, the heavy, wide pencilling deep red. Eye arresting, to say the least!
Betsy is a real prize. The basic color is white, but the wide, close pencilling is deep claret, the lines of which are so close together that it often requires a second look to learn that behind the pencilling there is a white background. Yes, each of these three is a genuine prize variety.
To most people, the unusual registered carnations occasionally seen in high class florists' shops, lead them to think that the growing of them is a hidden art, attained only after years of experience. And it may be that the florist is of the same opinion. In reality, the growing is simple, when practiced with a general idea of the necessary culture, combined with a generous supply of common sense and an inborn desire for accomplishment.
Note: To account for inflation, multiply prices by 8 to 10.