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Gardening :

THE GARDEN MAGAZINE - May 1917 page 234


May 1917
Front Cover / Inside Front
Inside Back / Back Cover


211 Spring Time is Lilac Time AD
More Crops from Your Garden ADs
215 Manure, Catalog ADs
216 Nursery, Bulb ADs
217 Irrigation, Greenhouse ADs
218 Nurseries, Portable Houses ADs
219 Table of Contents
220 The President to the People (Wilson's plea for gardens)
221 Among our Garden Neighbors
222 Papaya, Opal Anchusa, Cotton, Japanese Knotweed
223 Gordonia, Building a Better Home, Letters
224 The Month's Reminder
225 Summer Flower-Roots for Present Planting - Gladiolus
New Deutzias Better than Old
230 The Rockery Idea in Edgings
231 Home Vegetable Gardens A Patriotic Duty
How the Modern Lilac Came to Be
234 Victor Lemoine, Plant Hybridist
The Evolution of My Garden
237 The New Race of Hardy Astilbes
Prepare in May for Winter Flowers
Novelties in Summer Flower-roots and Bulbs
243 Flower Ads
244 The Fruit Garden -
Crown Grafting
245 Nursery ADs
How to Pot A Plant
247 Gladiolus, Evergreens, Trellis ADs
249 Lawn Mower, Nurseries ADs
250 Insurance by Protection
251 Flower ADs
252 Watermelon Stem End Rot
253 Lawn Mower, Flowers ADs
254 The Indigoferas for Late Flower
255 Shrubs, Rudyard Kipling, Humas ADs
Coming Events Club & Society News
257 Book ADs
259 Greenhouse, Birdhouse, Portable Houses, Flag Poles ADs
261 Pottery, Greenhouse, Stoves, Wire Cloth ADs
262 Companions for Larkspurs
263 War Air Generator, Listerine, Stanley, Birdhouses ADs
264 Chicken Chowder, Fence, Portable Poultry Runways, Oregon & California Railroad Co. Land Grants for Sale (2,300,000 acres)ADs




MEASURED not alone by the number of novelties, but also by their intrinsic value to the gardens of the world, Victor Lemoine, the great French nurseryman, deserves credit as the greatest plant breeder, "creator" if you will, that the world has ever seen. Not a person who grows plants in a garden but what at one time or another, if not always indeed, has handled something that was the product of this master craftsman. His modest, retiring nature found a large share of its reward in the mere achievement of the results, yet for many years horticulturists looked forward eagerly to the announcements of novelties in the annual catalogue of this redoubtable nurseryman.
  Very often other hybridist plant breeders, who have made for themselves reputations along special lines, devoted their time and energies to the development of one particular group of plants; but Victor Lemoine accomplished in fully a score of different lines, results that in each would have sufficed to build the reputation of any one man. How many people to-day even have a ghost of an idea of the debt of reverence due to the memory of this transcendent genius?
  Elsewhere in this number of THE GARDEN MAGAZINE reference is casually made to the man's achievements in Lilacs, and Deutzias, and Astilbes, and these are but typical instances of what he did in his little nursery at Nancy.
  Victor Lemoine came from a long line of descent of practical horticulturists. For generations back his ancestors have been gardeners and nurserymen. He was born at Belme, Lorrain, October 21, 1823. He died December 11, 1911, being then in his 89th year.
  After completing his studies at college and before establishing himself in the place which his name has largely helped to make famous, he devoted several years to traveling and working in the leading horticultural establishments of his time, according to the custom of the profession in the old world. At that time Mr. Louis Van Houtte had a famous establishment in Ghent, Belgium, and part of the time Lemoine spent there. It was in 1850 that he established himself in a very small way as a florist and gardener at Nancy where he earned the admiration and veneration of the craft the world over. And in his later years he was much honored by horticultural and scientific organizations of France and Europe, and he was the first foreigner to receive the Victorian Medal of Horticulture of the Royal Horticultural Society, and only a few weeks before his death the Massachusetts Horticultural Society honored itself by granting Lemoine the George R. White Medal of Honor.

Victor Lemoine, Plant Hybridist 1823-1911 photo
Born October 21, 1823; died December 11, 1911. In his world famous nurseries at Nancy, France, he worked incessantly in the hybridizing of garden and greenhouse plants and to such purpose that there is not a garden to-day in which the products of the master genius are not familiar friends

  In a short note such as this, it is quite impossible to even catalog the multitude of valuable productions and introductions of Victor Lemoine. It would require a space of several pages in small type! Has any other plant breeder, living or dead, produced a tithe of the permanent worth of this master craftsman? Casual reference has already been made to one or two lines of his activity, and we should remember that he was concerned very largely in the modern Gladiolus, and to show still further diversity, reference need only be made to the Begonia Gloire de Loraine which alone is such a popular plant in its particular class that its absence would now be greatly missed. Sixty years of continuous plant production is in itself a wonderful record, and the work is still continued in the succeeding generation under his son, Emile.
  It was in 1852 that the first mention of Lemoine's work was found in the Revue Horticole—a double flowered Portulaca. Two years later, under the name of Gloire de Nancy, came the first double Potentilla, and at the same time the first Streptocarpus hybrids which later on were developed by another establishment into some of the most pleasing of greenhouse plants. It was about the same period that Lemoine turned his hand to Fuchsias and introduced many varieties, including the double flowered hybrid Solferino.

  Work thus begun was continued without cessation, but the creation of hybrids and crossings was occasionally varied by the introduction into commerce of new species or varieties for which he was always on the lookout. Thus a white form of Spiraea callosa came in 1862; in 1866, Hydrangea paniculata grandiflora, and in the same year he produced and sent out the first genuine double-flowered Zonal Geranium, Gloire de Nancy. In 1868 he began the introduction of his hybrid Weigelas, which have not been superceded to this day. It was in 1874 that the horticultural world was surprised by the first double tuberous Begonia, and this great genus in all its other branches has from time to time been greatly benefited by this one man's work. Indeed without Lemoine the Begonia would probably never have " arrived." He introduced new perennial Phlox and the hybrid large-flowered Clematis in great number, including, more recently, the reddish-flowered Andre Leroy and others.
  Space forbids anything like even a partial catalogue of achievements of which, however, a fairly complete list will be found in "Horticulture" December 23, 1911. Our purpose has been to show in a broad way how much we owe to Victor Lemoine. No mention has been made of the greenhouse plants and of the improvements of previous crosses which continued to pour out in such profusion from his nurseries. During the last fifteen years of his life he devoted his energies to the improvement on Deutzias, Peonies, Hydrangeas, Weigelas, Gladiolus, Astilbes, Lilacs, Delphiniums, Pyre-thrums, Heucheras and Pentstemons; but in passing, mention must in justice be made to the fact that he worked also with Montbretias, Dahlias, Saxifrages, Chrysanthemums, Bush Honeysuckles, Spiraeas and Phloxes the results of which we all enjoy the year round.
  Truly as we look back we are positively appalled at the immense volume of results, and again we ask: Has any other plant creator given us as much? L. B.


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