My dear Henry
It is so odd you have not written since you returned that I must ask you if you have received a packet of seeds from me also one of dried plants, & a letter in which among other things I gave you a commission to or at the Travellers Club. I am glad to hear the C. montanum came in time, Tenore <1> has several new species or varieties of
it Colch: which you shall have in the spring – The gen. Crocus occupies me now – the season is so mild that the spring & autumn bulbs flower nearly together we are now disputing whether Croc. suavolens of Mauri’s <2> valle d’inferno is the same as C. Imperati of Castelamare, which flowers there in March, but is already out in orto Boto <3> as also C. albiflorus a very pretty one – whose right place is not quite ascertained If this reaches you in time & you could send a small packet of the new garden crocus bulbs (i.e. susianus, sulphureus, & the dwarf white & yellow) to F.O. for me it would be forwarded by some of Mr [Slannings?] couriers who is coming here.
Iris scorpioides of Sicily is in blow & a beautiful plant it is, what I took home last time I was here, is evidently too small & has grown less at Abbotsbury. <4> It is rather a large species. If you could get a true bulb of Iris fugax from the Cape & send it Tenore to compare with his it would be a very good thing he persists it is neither juncea nor sisyrinchium. I told you of Scilla intermedia alias autumnalis latifolia.
Pray make out the case between Jasminum fruticans & humiles – here our fruticans is called humiles – I saw in a garden lately a large Eugenia australis in fruit – it is a very pretty shrub – I once planted it out at Ab. but have not heard of it since. Tenore is very much interested about your Corfiote plants – I wish you would send me a simple list of what you found there, for him – Gussone’s Flora Sicula <5> is printed by Govt & hundreds of copies are in the office of the Secretary of State, & cannot be sold because Govt has not had time to fix the price! One or two copies that have been subtracted are become valuable.
What are you doing at Lacock? Ha[ve]<6> you planted anything this autumn? I sent by John <7> seed of Acer Napoletanum which is a favorite of mine – I have often sent it & Alnus cordifolia, but they never grow The new Linum serrulatum I recommend to your special favour & protection – Is my expedition of Cyclamens &c arrived Pray try the new hybrid passionflower on some of your walls – I daresay it will do. Tenore has shewn me so many varieties of O. <8> exscapum, that I think O. nanum is only its variety – but I still retain the belief that both are specifically distinct from O. umbellatum. I am now watching O. garganicum which is to be midway between exscapum, pyrenaicum & narbonense. Pray cultivate all hardy bulbs Did you get my tulips?
When at Florence I got some very good indian ink drawings made of some frescos which have never been engraved – I wish to have them lithographd [sic], do you recommend Paris, London, or Munich, & have you an idea what it costs? the size large quarto.
W F S
Henry Talbot Esqr
31 Sackville Street
Lacock Abbey <9>
1. Michel Tenore (1780–1861), Italian botanist & traveller.
2. Ernesto Mauri (1791–1836), Italian botanist.
3. In the botanic garden.
4. Abbotsbury, Dorset: home of William Thomas Horner Fox Strangways.
5. Giovanni Gussone (1787–1866), Flora Sicula… (Naples: 1829).
6. Text torn away under seal.
7. John George Charles Fox Strangways (1803–1859), MP.
9. Readdressed in another hand.