By Eloise Butler, Curator of Botanical Gardens of Glenwood Park
One feature of the Minneapolis exhibit at the annual meeting of the American Florists and Ornamental Horticulturists will be a collection in vases of the native flora now in bloom and photographs of notable species. Such an exhibit may suffer by comparison with the more sturdy and gorgeous cultivated denizens from all parts of the globe, which have been protected under glues and retarded or forced to appear at the appointed time, and the new creations - marvels of size, color or multiplicity of bloom - brought to the extreme of perfection under the florist’s hand.
Nevertheless, the fragility, delicacy and artless grace of the wildings appeal us strongly and cannot be dislodged from a warm corner in the heart. All cultivated plants are or were once, wildings somewhere, and it will be interesting to compare them with their humble relatives and prototypes. For example, the wild golden glow is now at its height of bloom and can easily be recognized as the original of the double flower so common in gardens.
Examples of the fruits and flowers of native trees and shrubs will be shown. They are now largely coming into favor for ornamental plantings, for they are sure to endure the vicissitudes of this climate and always harmonize with the landscape.
A few plants that usually elude the art of the horticulturist will also be exhibited - the fringed gentian, [photo] considered the most beautiful blue flower of the world, and the strange little Indian Pipe, a member of the heath family, ghostly white, with a single flower forming the bowl of the “pipe.” it lives like a mushroom and springs up where it listeth from a substratum of decaying vegetation. Then there are some “weeds” well worth cultivation that have a yet escaped the notice of florists, like the mint, Monarda punctata, with spotted two-lipped flowers and decorated all up and down the stem with whorls of delicately tinted pink and yellow bracts.
Prairie and meadow plants are chiefly in evidence - graceful grasses, early asters, the cardinal flower of deep unparalleled shade of red, the lovely pink physostegia, [photo above] the dark red purple ironweed, various yellow flowers - cone flowers: Helenium, cup-plant, Golden rods and sunflowers galore - and a tall coreopsis growing like a small tree, branched profusely and covered with hundreds of blossoms.
In short, depending on conditions of moisture and temperature, whatever wild flowers fickle Nature may choose to bestow at the time in the neighborhood of the city will modestly droop their heads to the stately exotics in the great exhibit held this week at Armory hall.