The recent moderation in the weather makes it more believable that gardening will be possible this year, and the next page in the 1898 catalog again underscores the shifting preferences in what gets planted in different eras.
Page 7 of the catalog, following directly after the number of pages primarily devoted to roses (pages 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6) and therefore likely to reflect a certain degree of popularity, is given over to Rex Begonias. If one looks at current nursery catalogs for begonias, offerings are limited almost exclusively to those grown for showy blooms. The Rex Begonia as offered in the Carr catalog was grown for its large and unusual foliage, and the blossoms were negligible. For some reason this entire line of begonia varieties has fallen out of favor, so one has to imagine how beds of Rex Begonias would appear.
Latest Novelties in Rex Begonias
Begonia Rex, or King of the Begonias
The finest of the Rex varieties. One of the most effective of its class, though the oldest variety. Of a most beautiful metallic luster, center and edge a soft, velvety-green, with a broad silver zone terminating at the point. The foliage of this Begonia on well-grown specimens is so massive and the growth so majestic as to awe the beholder. Indeed, we doubt if we have a handsomer plant than this. It is of the very easiest culture. Any one can succeed with it. Price, 25 cents each.
Bertha McGregor.—Leaf nine by six inches, long-pointed, and with deep notches. A free, strong grower, producing foliage in abundance. The center of the leaf is small,d ark and plam-shaped, the body of the leaf being solid silver, outlined with bronze. Extremely elegant. Price, 20 cents each.
Countess Louise Erdody.—This is a lovely whorl-leaved Rex. The only variety showing this peculiarity, making it very distinct. Price, 25 cents each.
Louis Closson.—Louis Chretien made a decided sensation among Begonia growers a few years ago. Then came Lucy Closson, an improvement in the same line, and now we have Louis Closson, the brightest colored Rex yet introduced. The zone of rosy heliotrope and bright red is broad and very highly colored, the habit and freedom of growth exceptionally good, while the metallic luster is very enchanting. Begonia lovers looking for a first-class novelty to add to their collections will find this variety extra fine in every particular. Price, 25 cents each.
Lesoudsii.— This is the finest and largest-leaved of any of the Rex family. It is impossible to describe in words the beautiful markings of the magnificent Begonia. It is a cross between Begonia Diadema and a Rex variety, but retains in a marked degree the Rex character. Price, 20 cents each.
Mrs. Shepherd.—This Begonia has taken a front rank from its introduction four years ago. Very large leaf of lovely luster, bordered and marked with the brightest colors. An elegant beauty. Price, 25 cents each.
Perle Humfield.—This is a lovely sort, with bronzy leaves and large, filmy white spots. Admired by all. Price, 25 cents each.
Speculata.—Quite a novelty in the Rex type. Leaves in the form of a grape leaf. Color a bright green, with a background of chocolate, veining a light pea-green, the whole leaf spotted with silver. Price, 20 cents each.
Rex Begonias. Older Varieties
Price, 20 cents each; three for 50 cents.
Andalusia.—Pale green leaf, with silver tone, strong grower.
Clementina.—Five-point leaf, silver splotches, upright growers.
Rex Magnifica.—A lovely and distinct variety.
Ed. Andre.— Dark background, spotted thickly with silver.
Ed. Peynert.—Upright variety, light green color, with distinct silver tone.
Melville.—This is a beautiful variety. Chocolate ground, large white spots.
Nickel Plate.—Has a a beautiful light leaf, overlaid with metallic luster.
Perle de Paris.—A solid color, leaf of frosted silver.
Robert George.—A strong-growing, vigorous variety, with reddish-bronze and silver marking of the showiest kind.
Roi Ferd Major. —Extra large leaf of fine silver, small, dark, starry center and edge embroidered in the same dark shade. Extra fine.
The Queen.—Solid color, leaf of intense velvet-green.