No flower has become more popular in recent years than the fragrant, for from a long uphill fight for recognition it has now blossomed forth in all its hidden charm which has met with a ready response. It appears that the bulbs were first brought to Britain from the Cape of Good Hope about the year 1850 as the species Refracta, which has sweetly perfumed , white with a deep orange throat.
Armstrongii was crossed with refracta first by F. H. Chapman, then in turn by the Rev. Jacob and G. H. Dalrymple and soon we had a wide range of colours and named hybrids, but even then the flower was not accepted by the ‘authorities’.
Small consignments of cut refiacta alba, the pure white fteesia, arrived from the Channel Islands throughout winter and spring but home growers were not interested. As late as 1950 Dr. Bewley’s huge volume, Commercial Glasshouse Crops (Country Life) makes no mention of the freesia, yet Dutch-born Mr. J. C. Eauwens, a nurseryman of Offenham in Worcestershire, had taken up the crop in the mid- 1930s and twenty years later was sending almost a million blooms annually to the markets of Britain, producing an all-year-round supply.