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The "Geranium Records"

  • Subject: The "Geranium Records"
  • From: Sandy Connerley sandyc@SURFARI.NET
  • Date: Fri, 20 Sep 2002 20:15:25 -0700

    While reading these back issues of GATW, I have found an interesting
short article on cactus flowered hortorums by Charles Piper Smith in
Saratoga, California, in Volume III, Number 1.  No date and I should go
upstairs and see where it is in the stream of time.
    Anyhow, quoting:
:What we knew about the Cactus-Flowered Geraniums in 1941 is recorded on
page 5 of our Geranium Records, namely:  "Only the common
slender-petaled red variety has yet been seen by us."  To sum up briefly
what we know about these odd plants may be done by recording what
varieties are now allocated to Table No. 1 in our lath-house, to wit:
Commercial varieties now on sale in Santa Clara County.
Red Spider - Miller (Holmes C.), Los Altos, California. Petals 5, narrow
dark red.
Silver Star - Miller - Petals broader, 5, pure white, very nice.
Poinsettia - (Origin unknown to us). Petals bright red, very narrow.
Double Poinsettia - (Origin - ?).  Petals darker red, apt to be broad,
sometimes too broad.  Less robust than the last.
Pink Poinsettia - (Origin not known to us).  Petals light pink (petals
light orchid-pink with a little white in the center:  Miller - p. 29,
1954 catalog).
Noel - Large-flowered, pure white, petals crowded (Introduced by William
E. Schmidt, Palo Alto:  produced by Mrs. Harvey Smith, Los Altos).
Morning Star - Petals "salmon apricot" (Miller, 1951 catalog).
Southern Cross - Petals "salmon-coral" (Miller, 1954 catalog)
Puff - White, flowers and stems smaller than in Noel. (Miller)

In 1950, we began neglecting our miscellaneous assortment of hortorums
and concentrated on crossing certain of them with our "poinsettias" then
on hand, with the object of getting new colors of petals and new
variations of foliage - especially five-petaled "stars."  We were
fascinated by Miller's Silver Star and followed his work in obtaining
same by crossing Mertes White with Pink Poinsettia pollen.  From that
cross Miller got his Silver Star which he named, propagated, and put on
the market.  But he also obtained another nice single from that cross
which he neither named nor added to his catalog.  We have urged him to
do just that, but his judgment has not yet checked with ours. However,
he did give us a rooted cutting and we now have three well-developed
specimens - a bright pink 5-petaled single (as we say, a "star").  We
have this under his original number, S 818. This year we generously
pollinated this entity and some 12 specimens of Silver Star, and already
have planted 103 seed-pots with seeds from numerous crosses.
    Incidentally, we also have some 45 very handsome seedlings from 1953
crosses with Silver Star.  Our No. 5303 (apparently insect pollinated in
the blossom) has developed its first umbel and is a nice new single pink
    Also in 1950, we secured a specimen of Mertes White and used Pink
Poinsettia pollen, and we now have three nice plants:  One a single
5-petaled star: the second, a double "poin"' and third, a single
5-petaled hortorum, with the usual wide petals of most of the hortorums
of our windows and gardens.  All three have pink petals.  Thus, the
third plant inherited the large broad petals of the seed plant, but the
petal-color from the pollen parent.  The second is a duplicate of its
pollen-parent, but has larger, nicer flowers and better foliage.  This
first has 5 petals of the seed-parent, but the narrow and pink petals of
the pollen-parent."

    Questions are these:  Does anyone have copies of "Geranium Records"
which I think preceded IGS?  Does anyone know if Mrs. Harvey Smith
mentioned might be the mother of Charles Piper Smith?  That is the only
way I can figure it?

PS  I have "Morning Star" and it is exquisite.

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