London: L. Upcott Gill, 1889.
Hardcover. This bright and bloom-bedecked 1889 edition of Cactus Culture for Amateurs is the work of British botanist and horticulturist William Watson (1858–1925), a gardener at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew from 1879 who ascended to the title of Curator shortly after this book was published, in 1901, until 1922. Among this book's many charms are its abundant illustrations of cacti, from the stunning fold-out frontispiece through the 90 beautiful black-and-white vignettes of cacti throughout. Like the resilient plant its dedicated to, this 1889 edition of Cactus Culture for Amateurs has weathered over 130 years and remains vibrant and ready for the appreciation of an admiring eye. As Watson writes in his introduction: "Cactuses are children of the dry barren plains and mountain sides, living where scarcely any other form of vegetation could find nourishment, and thriving with the scorching heat of the sun over their heads, and their roots buried in the dry, hungry soil, or rocks which afford them anchorage and food. In beauty and variety of flowers, in the remarkable forms of their stems, in the simple nature of their requirements, and in the other points of special interest which characterise this family, and which supply the cultivator and student with an unfailing source of pleasure and instruction, the Cactus family is peculiarly rich." Chapters include: Introduction, Botanical Characters, Cultivation, Propagation, Epiphyllum, The Genus, Phyllocactus, Cereus, Echinocactus, Echinopsis, Melocactus, Pilocereus, Mamillaria, Leuchtenbergia, Pelecyphora, Opuntia, Pereskia, Rhipsalis, Temperatures, Dealers in Cactuses, and Index.
7 7/8" X 5 1/4". [iv], 246pp., plus errata, 13pp, [iii] pages of ads bound in at rear, trimmed slightly shorter than text block. Ex libris Cornell University Library, with associated bookplates, stamps, and labels. Bound in full turqoise cloth, with flowering cacti stamped in vibrant greens, pinks, oranges, and reds to upper board and spine and upper board decoratively lettered in gilt. Mild wear to binding, with some rubbing and hard bumping to extremities, Cornell library labels to spine, and several small and faint droplet stains to spine. Hinges tender; binding remains sound. Cornell University Library, Henry W. Sage Endowment Fund bookplate to front pastedown and small remnants of some past label to front free endpaper. Pages are unmarked. Striklingly patterned endpapers. Pencilled notes to verso and flyleaf. Abundantly illustrated in fold-out frontispiece and 90 beautiful black-and-white vignettes of cacti throughout. Very good. Item #6650