In the preceding chapter advice is given that applies to groups or classes of plants, and many lists are inserted to guide the grower in his choice or at least to suggest to him the kinds of things that may be grown for certain purposes or conditions. It now remains to give instructions on the growing of particular kinds or species of plants.
It is impossible to include instructions on any great number of plants in a book like this. It is assumed that the user of this book already knows how to grow the familiar or easily handled plants; if he does not, a book is not likely to help him very much. In this chapter all such things as the common annuals and perennials and shrubs and trees are omitted. If the reader is in doubt about any of these, or desires information concerning them, he will have to consult the catalogues of responsible seedsmen and nurserymen or cyclopedic works, or go to some competent person for advice.
In this chapter are brought together instructions on the growing of such plants commonly found about home grounds and in window-gardens as seem to demand somewhat special or particular treatment or about which the novice is likely to ask; and of course these instructions must be brief.
[Illustration: XVII. The peony. One of the most steadfast of garden flowers.]
It may be repeated here that a person cannot expect to grow a plant satisfactorily until he learns the natural time of the plant to grow and to bloom. Many persons handle their begonias, cacti, and azaleas as if they should be active the whole year round. The key to the situation is water: at what part of the year to withhold and at what part to apply is one of the very first things to learn.
ABUTILONS, or flowering maples as they are often called, make good house plants and bedding plants. Nearly all house gardeners have at least one plant.
Common abutilons may be grown from seed or from cuttings of young wood. If the former, the seed should be sown in February or March in a temperature of not less than 60. The seedlings should be potted when about four to six leaves have grown, in a rich sandy soil. Frequent pottings should be made to insure a rapid growth, making plants large enough to flower by fall. Or the seedlings may be planted out in the border when danger of frost is over, and taken up in the fall before frost; these plants will bloom all winter. About one half of the newer growth should be cut off when they are taken up, as they are very liable to spindle up when grown in the house. When grown from cuttings, young wood should be used, which, after being well rooted, may be treated in the same way as the seedlings.
The varieties with variegated leaves have been improved until the foliage effects are equal to the flowers of some varieties; and these are a great addition to the conservatory or window garden. The staple spotted-leaved type is _A. Thompsoni._ A compact form, now much used for bedding and other outdoor work, is _Savitzii,_ which is a horticultural variety, not a distinct species. The old-fashioned green-leaved _A. striatum,_ from which _A. Thompsoni_ has probably sprung, is one of the best. _A. megapotamicum_ or _vexillarium_ is a trailing or drooping red-and-yellow-flowered species that is excellent for baskets, although not now much seen. It propagates readily from seed. There is a form with spotted leaves.
Abutilons are most satisfactory for house plants when they are not much more than a year old. They need no special treatment.
AGAPANTHUS, or African lily _(Agapanthus umbellatus_ and several varieties).--A tuberous-rooted, well-known conservatory or window plant, blooming in summer. Excellent for porch and yard decoration. It lends itself to many conditions and proves satisfactory a large part of the year, the leaves forming a green arch over the pot, covering it entirely in a well-grown specimen. The flowers are borne in a large cluster on stems growing 2-3 ft. high, as many as two or three hundred bright blue flowers often forming on a single plant. A large, well-grown plant throws up a number of flower-stalks through the early season.
The one essential to free growth is an abundance of water and an occasional application of manure water. Propagation is effected by division of the offsets, which may be broken from the main plant in early spring. After flowering, gradually lessen the quantity of water until they are placed in winter quarters, which should be a position free from frost and moderately dry. The agapanthus, being a heavy feeder, should be grown in strong loam to which is added well-rotted manure and a little sand. When dormant, the roots will withstand a little frost.
Alstremeria.--The alstremerias (of several species) belong to the amaryllis family, being tuberous-rooted plants, having leafy stems terminating in a cluster of ten to fifty small lily-shaped flowers of rich colors in summer.
Most of the alstremerias should be given pot culture, as they are easily grown and are not hardy in the open in the North. The culture is nearly that of the amaryllis,--a good, fibrous loam with a little sand, potting the tubers in early spring or late fall. Start the plants slowly, giving only enough water to cause root growth; but after growth has become established, a quantity of water may be given. After flowering they may be treated as are amaryllis or agapanthus. The roots may be divided, and the old and weak parts shaken out. The plants grow 1-3 ft. high. The flowers often have odd colors.
Amaryllis.--The popular name of a variety of house or conservatory tender bulbs, but properly applied only to the Belladonna lily. Most of them are hippeastrums, but the culture of all is similar. They are satisfactory house plants for spring and summer bloom. One difficulty with their culture is the habit of the flower-stalk starting into growth before the leaves grow. This is caused in most cases by stimulating root growth before the bulb has had sufficient rest.
The bulbs should be dormant four or five months in a dry place with a temperature of about 50. When wanted to be brought into flower, the bulbs, if to be repotted, should have all the dirt shaken off and potted in soil composed of fibrous loam and leafmold, to which should be added a little sand. If the loam is heavy, place the pot in a warm situation; a spent hotbed is a good place. Water as needed, and as the flowers develop liquid manure may be given. If large clumps are well established in 8-or 10-inch pots, they may be top-dressed with new soil containing rotted manure, and as growth increases liquid manure may be given twice a week until the flowers open. After flowering, gradually withhold water until the leaves die, or plunge the pots in the open, in a sunny place. The most popular species for window-gardens is _A. Johnsoni_ (properly a hippeastrum), with red flowers. Figs. 257, 261.
Bulbs received from dealers should be placed in pots not much broader than the bulb, and the neck of the bulb should not be covered. Keep rather dry until active growth begins. The ripened bulbs, in fall, may be stored as potatoes, and then brought out in spring as rapidly as any of them show signs of growth.
Anemone.--The wind-flowers are hardy perennials, of easy culture, one group (the _Anemone coronaria, fulgens,_ and _hortensis_ forms) being treated as bulbs. These tuberous-rooted plants should be planted late in September or early in October, in a well-enriched sheltered border, setting the tubers 3 in. deep and 4-6 in. apart. The surface of the border should be mulched with leaves or strawy manure through the severe winter weather, uncovering the soil in March. The flowers will appear in April or May, and in June or July the tubers should be taken up and placed in dry sand until the following fall. These plants are not as well known as they should be. The range of color is very wide. The flowers are often 2 in. across, and are lasting. The tubers may be planted in pots, bringing them into the conservatory or house at intervals through the winter, where they make an excellent showing when in bloom.
The Japanese anemone is a wholly different plant from the above. There are white-flowered and red-flowered varieties. The best known is _A. Japonica_ var. _alba,_ or Honorine Jobert. This species blooms from August to November, and is at that season the finest of border plants. The pure white flowers, with lemon-colored stamens, are held well up on stalks 2-3 ft. high. The flower-stems are long and excellent for cutting. This species may be propagated by division of the plants or by seed. The former method should be employed in the spring; the latter, as soon as the seeds are ripe in the fall. Sow the seed in boxes in a warm, sheltered situation in the border or under glass. The seed should be covered lightly with soil containing a quantity of sand and not allowed to become dry. A well-enriched, sheltered position in a border should be given.
The little wild wind-flowers are easily colonized in a hardy border.
ARALIA, _A. Sieboldii_ (properly _Fatsia Japonica_ and _F. papyrifera),_ as it is sometimes called, and the variety _variegata,_ with large, palmlike leaves, are grown for their tropical appearance.
Sow in February, in shallow trays and light soil, in a temperature of 65. Continue the temperature. When two or three leaves have formed, transplant into other trays 1 in. apart. Sprinkle them with a fine rose or spray; and do not allow them to suffer for water. Later transfer them to small pots and repot them as they grow. Plant out in beds after the weather has become warm and settled. Half-hardy perennials in the North, becoming 3 ft. or more high; a shrub in the South and in California. Used often in subtropical work.
ARAUCARIA, or Norfolk Island pine, is now sold in pots by florists as a window plant. There are several species. The greenhouse specimens are the juvenile state of plants that become large trees in their native regions; therefore, it is not to be expected that they will keep shapely and within bounds indefinitely.
The common species _(A. excelsa_) makes a symmetrical evergreen subject. It keeps well in a cool window, or on the veranda in the summer. Protect it from direct sunlight, and give plenty of room. If the plant begins to fail, return it to the florist for recuperation, or procure a new plant.
AURICULA.--A half-hardy perennial of the primrose tribe _(Primula Auricula),_ very popular in Europe, but little grown in America on account of the hot, dry summers.
In this country auriculas are usually propagated by seed, as for cineraria; but special varieties are perpetuated by offsets. Seeds sown in February or March should give blooming plants for the next February or March. Keep the plants cool and moist, and away from the direct sun during the summer. Gardeners usually grow them in frames. In the fall, they are potted into 3-in. or 4-in. pots, and made to bloom either in frames as for violets or in a cool conservatory or greenhouse. In April, after blooming has ceased, repot the plants and treat as the previous year. As with most annual-blooming perennials, best results are to be expected with year-old or two-year-old plants. Auriculas grow 6-8 in. high. Colors white and many shades of red and blue.
AZALEAS are excellent outdoor and greenhouse shrubs, and are sometimes seen in windows. They are less grown in this country than in Europe, largely because of our hot, dry summers and severe winters.
There are two common types or classes of azaleas: the hardy or Ghent azaleas, and the Indian azaleas. The latter are the familiar large-flowered azaleas of conservatories and window-gardens.
Ghent azaleas thrive in the open along the seacoast as far north as southern New England. They require a sandy peaty soil, but are treated as other shrubs are. The large flower-buds are liable to injury from the warm suns of late winter and early spring, and to avoid this injury the plants are often protected by covers or shades of brush. In the interior country, little attempt is made to flower azaleas permanently in the open, although they may be grown if carefully tended and well protected.
Both Ghent and Indian azaleas are excellent pot-plants for bloom in late winter and spring. The plants are imported in great numbers from Europe in fall, and it is better to buy these plants than to attempt to propagate them. Pot them up in large-sized pots, keep them cool and backward for a time until they are established, then take them into a conservatory temperature in which carnations and roses thrive. They should be potted in a soil of half peat or well-decayed mold and half rich loam; add a little sand. Pot firmly, and be sure to provide sufficient drainage. Keep off red spider by syringing.
After blooming, the plants may be thinned by pruning out the straggling growths, and repotted. Set them in a frame or in a semi-shaded place during summer, and see that they make a good growth. The wood should be well ripened in the fall. After cold weather sets in, keep the Indian or evergreen kinds half dormant by setting them in a cool, dull-lighted cellar or pit, bringing them in when wanted for bloom. The Ghent or deciduous kinds may be touched with frost without injury; and they may be kept in a cellar until wanted.
BEGONIAS are familiar tender bedding and house plants. Next to the geranium, begonias are probably the most popular for house culture of the entire plant list. The ease of culture, great variety of kinds, profusion of bloom or richness of foliage, together with their adaptability to shade, make them very desirable.
Begonias may be divided into three sections: the fibrous-rooted class, which contains the winter-flowering, branching kinds; the rex forms, or beefsteak geraniums, having large ornamental leaves; the tuberous-rooted, those that bloom through the summer, the tuber resting in the winter.
_The fibrous-rooted kinds_ may be propagated by seed or cuttings, the latter being the usual method. Cuttings of half-ripened wood root easily, making a rapid growth, the plants flowering in a few months.
_The rex type,_ having no branches, is propagated from the leaves. The large mature leaves are used. The leaf may be cut into sections, having at the base a union of two ribs. These pieces of leaves may be inserted in the sand as any other cutting. Or a whole leaf may be used, cutting through the ribs at intervals and laying the leaf flat on the propagating bench or other warm, moist place. In a short time young plants having roots of their own will form. These may be potted when large enough to handle, and will soon make good plants (Fig 125).
Rex begonias usually grow little during winter, and they should therefore be kept fairly dry and no effort made to push them. Be sure that the pots are well drained, so that the soil does not become sour. New plants--those a year or so old--are usually most satisfactory. Keep them away from direct sunlight. An insidious disease of rex begonia leaves has recently made its appearance. The best treatment yet known is to propagate fresh plants, throwing away the old stock and the dirt in which it is grown.
_The tuberous-rooted begonias_ make excellent bedding plants for those who learn their simple but imperative requirements. They are also good pot subjects for summer.
The amateur would better not attempt to grow the tuberous begonias from seed. He should purchase good two-year tubers. These should be able to run for two or three years before they are so old or so much spent that they give unsatisfactory results.
In the North, the tubers are started indoors, for bedding, in February or early March in a rather warm temperature. They will fill a five-inch pot before they are ready to be turned out into the ground. They should not be planted out till the weather is thoroughly settled, for they will not stand frost or unfavorable climatic conditions.
The plants should be given a soil that holds moisture, but is yet well drained. They will not do well in water-logged ground. They should have partial shade; near the north side of a building is a good place for them. Too much watering makes them soft and they tend to break down. Keep the foliage dry, particularly in sunny weather; the watering should be done from underneath.
After blooming, lift the bulbs, dry them off, and keep over winter in a cool place. They may be packed in shallow boxes in dry earth or sand.
Florists sometimes divide the tubers just after growth starts in the spring, so that a good eye may be got with each plant; but the amateur would better use the entire tuber, unless he desires to increase or multiply some particular plant.
If the house gardener desires to raise tuberous begonias from seed, he must be prepared to exercise much patience. The seeds, like those of all begonias, are very small, and should be sown with great care. Start the seeds in late winter. Simply sprinkle them on the surface of the soil, which should be a mixture of leafmold and sand, with the addition of a small quantity of fibrous loam. Watering should be done by setting the pot or box in which the seeds are sown in water, allowing the moisture to ascend through the soil. When the soil has become completely saturated, set the box in a shady situation, covering it with glass or some other object until the tiny seedlings appear. Never allow the soil to become dry. The seedlings should be transplanted, as soon as they can be handled, into boxes or pots containing the same mixture of soil, setting each plant down to the seed-leaf. They will need three or four transplantings before they reach the blooming stage, and at each one after the first, the proportion of fibrous loam may be increased until the soil is composed of one-third each of loam, sand, and leafmold. The addition of a little well-rotted manure may be made at the last transplanting.
CACTUS.--Various kinds of cactus are often seen in small collections of house plants, to which they add interest and oddity, being different from other plants.
Most cacti are easy to grow, requiring little care and enduring the heat and dryness of a living room much better than most other plants. Their requirements are ample drainage and open soil. Cactus growers usually make a soil by mixing pulverized plaster or lime refuse with garden loam, using about two-thirds of the loam. The very fine parts, or dust, of the plaster, are blown out, else the soil is likely to cement. They may be rested at any season by simply setting them away in a dry place for two or three months, and bringing them into heat and light when they are wanted. As new growth advances they should have water occasionally, and when in bloom, they should be watered freely. Withhold water gradually after blooming until they are to be rested.
Some of the most common species in cultivation are the phyllocactus species, often called the night-blooming cereus. These are not the true night-blooming cereuses, which have angular or cylindrical stems, covered with bristles, while these have flat, leaf-like branches; the flowers of these, however, are very much like the cereus, opening at evening and closing before morning, and as the phyllocacti may be grown with greater ease, blooming on smaller and younger plants, they are to be recommended.
The true night-blooming cereuses are species of the genus Cereus. The commonest one is _C. nycticalus,_ but _C. grandiflorus, C. triangularis_ and others are occasionally seen. These plants all have long rod-like stems which are cylindrical or angular. These stems often reach a height of 10 to 30 ft., and they need support. They should be trained along a pillar or tied to a stake. They are uninteresting leafless things during a large part of the year; but in midsummer, after they are three or more years old, they throw out their great tubular flowers, which open at nightfall and wither and die when the light strikes them next morning. They are very easily grown, either in pots or planted in the natural soil in the conservatory. The only special care they need is good drainage at the roots, so that the soil will not become soggy.
The epiphyllum, or lobster cactus, or crab cactus, is one of the best of the family, easy of culture. It bears bright-colored blossoms at the end of each joint. When in flower, which will be in the winter months, it requires a richer soil than the other cacti. A suitable soil is made of two-thirds fibrous loam and one third leafmold; usually it is best to add sand or pulverized brick. In fall and early winter, keep rather dry, giving more water as the plant comes into bloom.
Opuntias, or prickly pears, are often grown as border plants through the summer. In fact, all the family may be planted out, and if a number of kinds are set in a bed together, they make a striking addition to the garden. Be very careful not to bruise the plants. It is better to plunge them in the pots than to turn them out of the pots.
CALADIUM.--Tuberous-rooted, tender perennial plants used for conservatory decoration, and also for subtropical and bold effects in the lawn (Plate IV). The plants commonly known under this name are really colocasias.
The roots should be dormant in the winter, being kept in a warm cellar or under a greenhouse bench, where they are not liable to frost or dampness. The roots are usually covered with earth, but they are kept dry. Early in spring the roots are put into boxes or pots and are started into growth, so that by the time settled weather comes they will be 1 or 2 feet high and ready to set directly into soil.
When set out of doors, they should be protected from strong winds, and from the full glare of direct sunlight. The soil should be rich and deep, and the plants should have an abundance of water. They do well about ponds (see Plate X).
Caladiums are most excellent plants for striking effects, especially against a house, high shrubbery, or other background. If they are planted by themselves, they should be in clumps rather than scattered as single specimens, as the effect is better. See that they get a good start before they are planted in the open ground. As soon as killed down by frost, dig them, dry the roots of superfluous moisture, and store till wanted in late winter or spring.
CALCEOLARIA.--The calceolarias are small greenhouse herbs sometimes used in the window-garden. They are not very satisfactory plants for window treatment, however, since they suffer from dry atmosphere and from sudden changes of temperature.
The calceolarias are grown from seeds. If the seeds are sown in early summer and the young plants are transplanted as they need, flowering specimens may be had for the late fall and early winter. In the growing of the young plants, always avoid exposing them to direct sunlight; but they should be given a place that has an abundance of screened or tempered light. A new crop of plants should be raised each year.
There is a race of shrubby calceolarias, but it is little known in this country. One or two species are annuals adaptable to cultivation in the open garden, and their little ladyslipper-like flowers are attractive. However, they are of secondary importance as annual garden flowers.
CALLA (properly _Richardia_), Egyptian lily.--The calla is one of the most satisfactory of winter house-plants, lending itself to various conditions.
The requirements of the calla are rich soil and an abundance of water, with the roots confined in as small a space as possible. If a too large pot is used, the growth of foliage will be very rank, at the expense of the flowers; but by using a smaller-sized pot and applying liquid manure, the flowers will be produced freely. A 6-inch pot will be large enough for all but an exceptionally large bulb or tuber. If desired, a number of tubers may be grown together in a larger pot. The soil should be very rich but fibrous--at least one third well-rotted manure will be none too much, mixed with equal parts of fibrous loam and sharp sand. The tubers should be planted firmly and the pots set in a cool place to make roots. After the roots have partially filled the pot, the plant may be brought into heat and given a sunny position and an abundance of water. An occasional sponging or washing of the leaves will free them from dust. No other treatment will be required until the flowers appear, when liquid manure may be given.
The plant will thrive all the better at this time if the pot is placed in a saucer of water. In fact, the calla will grow well in an aquarium.
The calla may be grown through the entire year, but it will prove more satisfactory, both in leaf and flower, if rested through part of the summer. This may be done by laying the pots on their sides in a dry shady place under shrubbery, or if in the open slightly covered with straw or other litter to keep the roots from becoming extremely dry. In September or October they may be shaken out, cleaning off all the old soil, and repotted, as already mentioned. The offsets may be taken off and set in small pots and given a year's growth, resting them the second year and having them in flower that winter.
The spotted calla has variegated foliage and is a good plant for mixed collections. This blooms in the spring, which will lengthen the season of calla bloom. The treatment of this is similar to that of the common calla.
CAMELLIAS are half-hardy woody plants, blooming in late winter and spring. Years ago camellias were very popular, but they have been crowded out by the informal flowers of recent times. Their time will come again.
During the blooming season keep them cool--say not over 50 at night and a little higher by day. When blooming is done they begin to grow; then give them more heat and plenty of water. See that they are well ripened by winter with large plump flower-buds. If they are neglected or kept too dry during their growing season (in summer) they will drop their buds in fall. The soil for camellias should be fibrous and fertile, compounded of rotted sod, leafmold, old cow manure, and sufficient sand for good drainage. Always screen them from direct sunlight. Do not try to force them in early winter, after the growth has ceased. Their summer quarters may be in a protected place in the open air.
Camellias are propagated by cuttings in winter, which should give blooming plants in two years.
CANNAS are among the most ornamental and important plants used in decorative gardening. They make fine herbaceous hedges, groups, masses, and--when desirable--good center plants for beds. They are much used for subtropical effects (see Plate V).
Cannas grow 3 to 10 feet or more high. Formerly they were valued chiefly for their foliage, but since the introduction, in 1884, of the Crozy Dwarf French type with its showy flowers, cannas are grown as much for their bloom as for their foliage effects. The flowers of these new kinds are as large as those of gladioli, and are of various shades of yellow and red, with banded and spotted forms. These flowering kinds grow about 3 feet high. The older forms are taller. In both sections there are green-leaved and dark coppery-red-leaved varieties.
The canna may be grown from seed and had in bloom the first year by sowing in February or March, in boxes or pots placed in hotbeds or a warm house, first soaking the seeds in warm water for a short time or filing a small notch through the coat of each seed (avoiding the round germinating point). It requires two years to raise strong plants of the old-fashioned tall cannas from seed. Sow in light, sandy soil, where the earth may be kept at 70 till after germination. After the plants have got well up, transplant them to about 3 or 4 inches apart, or place in pots 3 inches wide, in good rich soil. They may now be kept at 60.
The majority of cannas, however, are grown from pieces of the roots (rhizomes), each piece having a bud. The roots may be divided at any time in the winter, and if early flowers and foliage are wanted, the pieces may be planted in a hotbed or warmhouse in early April, started into growth, and planted out where wanted as soon as the ground has warmed and all danger of frost is over. A hardening of the plants, by leaving the sash off the hotbeds, or setting the plants in shallow boxes and placing the boxes in a sheltered position through May, not forgetting a liberal supply of water, will fit the plants to take kindly to the final planting out.
Plant out roots or started plants when there is no longer danger of frost. For mass effects, the plants may stand twelve to eighteen inches apart; for individual bloom twenty to twenty-four inches or more. Some gardeners plant them not closer than twenty to twenty-four inches for mass beds, if the soil is good and the plants strong. Give them a warm sunny place.
The old (foliage) sorts may be left out late to ripen up the fleshy root-stocks. Cut the tops off immediately after frost. The roots are safe in the ground as long as it does not freeze. Dig, and dry or "cure" for a few days, then winter them like potatoes in the cellar. It is a common mistake to dig canna roots too early.
The French sorts are commonly thought to keep best if kept growing somewhat during the winter; but if managed right, they may be carried over like the others. Immediately after frost, cut off the tops next the ground. Cover the stumps with a little soil and leave the roots in the ground till well ripened. Clean them after digging, and cure or dry them for a week or more in the open air and sun, taking them indoors at night. Then place them away from frost in a cool, dry place.
CARNATIONS are now among the most popular florists' flowers; but it is not generally known that they be easily grown in the outdoor garden. They are of two types, the outdoor or garden varieties, and the indoor or forcing kinds. Normally, the carnation is a hardy perennial, but the garden kinds, or marguerites, are usually treated as annuals. The forcing kinds are flowered but once, new plants being grown each year from cuttings.
Marguerite carnations bloom the year the seed is sown, and with a slight protection will bloom freely the second year. They make attractive house plants if potted in the fall. The seeds of these carnations should be sown in boxes in March and the young plants set out as early as possible, pinching out the center of the plant to make them branch freely. Give the same space as for garden pinks.
The winter-flowering carnations have become prime favorites with all flower lovers, and a collection of winter house-plants seems incomplete without them.
Carnations grow readily from cuttings made of the suckers that form around the base of the stem, the side shoots of the flowering stem, or the main shoots before they show flower-buds. The cuttings from the base make the best plants in most cases. These cuttings may be taken from a plant at any time through the fall or winter, rooted in sand and potted up, to be held in pots until the planting out time in the spring, usually in April, or any time when the ground is ready to handle. Care should be taken to pinch out the tops of the young plants while growing in the pot, and later while in the ground, causing them to grow stocky and send out new growths along the stem. The young plants should be grown cool, a temperature of 45 suiting them well. Attention should be given to spraying the cuttings each day while in the house to keep down the red spider, which is very partial to the carnation.
In the summer, the plants are grown in the field, and not in pots, being transplanted from the cutting-box. The soil in which they are to be planted should be moderately rich and loose. Clean cultivation should be given throughout the summer. Frequently pinch out the tops.
The plants are taken up in September and potted firmly, and well watered; then set in a cool, partially shaded situation until root growth has started, and watering the plant as it shows need of water.
The usual living-room conditions as to moisture and heat are not such as the carnation demands, and care must be taken to overcome the dryness by spraying the foliage and setting the plant in a position not exposed to the direct heat of a stove or the sun. In commercial houses, it is not often necessary to spray established plants. Pick off most or all of the side buds, in order to add to the size of the leading flowers. After all is said, it is probably advisable in most cases to purchase the plants when in bloom from a florist, and after blooming either throw them away or store them for planting out in the spring, when they will bloom throughout the summer.
If conditions are right, the rust should not be very troublesome, if the start was made with clean stock. Keep all rusted leaves picked off.
CENTURY PLANTS or agaves are popular plants for the window-garden or conservatory, requiring little care and growing slowly, thus needing repotting only at long intervals. When the plants have outgrown their usefulness as house-plants, they are still valuable as porch decorations, for plunging in rock-work, or about rustic nooks. The striped-leaved variety is the most desirable, but the normal type, with its blue-gray leaves, is highly ornamental.
There are a number of dwarf species of agave that are not so common, although they may be grown with ease. Such plants add novelty to a collection, and may be used through the summer as noted above or plunged with cactus in a bed of tropical plants. All succeed well in loam and sand in equal parts, with a little leafmold in the case of the small varieties.
The more common species are propagated by suckers from around the base of the established plants. A few kinds having no suckers must be grown from seed.
As to watering, they demand no special care. Agaves will not stand frost to any extent.
When the head throws up its great stem and blooms, it may exhaust itself and die; but this may be far short of a century. Some species bloom more than once.
CHRYSANTHEMUMS are of many kinds, some being annual flower-garden plants, some perennial border subjects, and one form is the universal florists' plant. In chrysanthemums are now included the pyrethrums.
The annual chrysanthemums must not be confounded with the well-known fall-flowering kinds, as they will prove a disappointment if one expects large flowers of all colors and shapes. The annuals are mostly coarse-growing plants, with an abundance of bloom and a rank smell. The flowers are single in most cases, and not very lasting. They are useful for massing and also for cut-flowers. They are among the easiest of hardy annuals to grow. The stoniest part of the garden will usually suit them. Colors white and shades of yellow, the flowers daisy-like; 1-3 ft.
Amongst perennial kinds, _Chrysanthemum frutescens_ is the well-known Paris daisy or marguerite, one of the most popular of the genus. This makes a good pot-plant for the window-garden, blooming throughout the winter and spring months. It is usually propagated by cuttings, which, if taken in spring, will give large blooming plants for the next winter. Gradually transfer to larger pots or boxes, until the plants finally stand in 6-inch or 8-inch pots or in small soap boxes. There is a fine yellow-flowered variety. The marguerite daisy is much grown out-of-doors in California.
The hardy perennial kinds are small-flowered, late-blooming plants, known to many old people as "artemisias." They have been improved of late years, and they are very satisfactory plants of easy culture. The plants should be renewed from seed every year or two.
In variety of form and color, and in size of bloom, the florists' chrysanthemum is one of the most wonderful of plants. It is a late autumn flower, and it needs little artificial heat to bring it to perfection. The great blooms of the exhibitions are produced by growing only one flower to a plant and by feeding the plant heavily. It is hardly possible for the amateur to grow such specimen flowers as the professional florist or gardener does; neither is it necessary. A well-grown plant with fourteen to twenty flowers is far more satisfactory as a window-plant than a long, stiff stem with only one immense flower at the apex. The culture is simple, much more so than that of many of the plants commonly grown for house decoration. Although the season of bloom is short, the satisfaction of having a fall display of flowers before the geraniums, begonias, and other house-plants have recovered from their removal from out of doors, repays all efforts. Very good plants can be grown under a temporary shed cover, as shown in Fig. 268. The roof need not necessarily be of glass. Under such a cover, also, potted plants, in bloom, may be set for protection when the weather becomes too cold.
Cuttings taken in March or April, planted out in the border in May, well tended through the summer and lifted before frost in September, will bloom in October or November. The ground in which the plants are to bloom should be moderately rich and moist. The plants may be tied to stakes. When the buds show, all but the center one of each cluster on the leading shoots should be picked off, as also the small lateral branches. A thrifty bushy plant thus treated will usually have flowers large enough to show the character of the variety, also numbers enough to make a fine display.
After blooming, the plants are lifted from the border. As to the receptacle into which to put them, it need not be a flower-pot. A pail or soap-box, with holes bored for drainage, will suit the plant just as well, and by covering the box with cloth or paper the difference will not be noticed.
If cuttings are not to be had, young plants may be bought of the florists and treated in the manner described. Buy them in midsummer or earlier.
It is best not to attempt to flower the same plant two seasons. After the plant has bloomed, the top may be cut down, and the box set in a cellar and kept moderately dry. In February or March, bring the plant to the sitting-room window and let the shoots start from the root. These shoots are taken for cuttings to grow plants for the fall bloom.
CINERARIA is a tender greenhouse subject, but it may be grown as a house-plant, although the conditions necessary to the best results are difficult to secure outside a glasshouse.
The conditions for cinerarias are a cool temperature, frequent repotting, and guarding against the attacks of the greenfly. Perhaps the last is the most difficult, and with one having no facilities for fumigating, it will be almost impossible to prevent the difficulty. A living room usually has too dry air for cinerarias.
The seed, which is very minute, should be sown in August or September to have plants in bloom in January or February. Sow the seed on the surface of fine soil and water very lightly to settle the seeds into the soil. A piece of glass or a damp cloth may be spread over the pot or box in which the seeds are sown, to remain until the seeds are up. Always keep the soil damp, but not wet. When the seedlings are large enough to repot, they should be potted singly in 2-or 3-inch pots. Before the plants have become pot-bound, they should again be repotted into larger pots, until they are in at least 6-inch pots in which to bloom.
In all this time, they should be grown cool and, if not possible to fumigate them with tobacco, the pots should stand on tobacco stems, which should be moist at all times. The general practice, in order to have bushy plants, is to pinch out the center when the flower-buds show, causing the lateral branches to start, which they are slow to do if the central stem is allowed to grow. Plants bloom but once.
CLEMATIS.--One of the best of woody climbing vines, the common _C. Flammula, Virginiana, paniculata_ and others being used frequently to cover division walls or fences, growing year after year without any care and producing quantities of flowers. _C. paniculata_ is now planted very extensively. The panicles of star-shaped flowers entirely cover the vine and have a pleasant fragrance. It is one of the best of all fall-flowering vines, and hardy north; clings well to a chicken-wire trellis.
The large-flowered section, of which Jackmani is perhaps the best known, is very popular for pillar or porch climbers. The flowers of this section are large and showy, running from pure white, through blue, to scarlet. Of this class, a serviceable purple is Jackmani; white, Henryi (Fig. 266); blue, Ramona; crimson, Madame E. Andr.
A deep, mellow, fertile soil, naturally moist, will suit the requirements of clematis. In dry times apply water freely, particularly for the large-flowered kinds. Also provide trellis or other support as soon as they begin to run. Clematis usually blooms on the wood of the season: therefore prune in winter or early spring, in order to secure strong new flowering shoots. The large-flowered kinds should be cut back to the ground each year; some other kinds may be similarly treated unless they are wanted for permanent bowers.
The clematis root disease is the depredation of a nematode or eel-worm. It is seldom troublesome in ground that thoroughly freezes, and this may be the reason why it so often fails when planted against buildings.
COLEUS.--The commonest "foliage plant" in window-gardens. It was used very extensively at one time in ornamental bedding and ribbon borders, but owing to its being tender has lost in favor, and its place is largely taken by other plants.
Coleus is grown with the greatest ease from cuttings or slips. Take cuttings only from vigorous and healthy plants. It may also be grown from seed, although the types have not become fixed, and a large number of differently marked plants may be had from the same packet. This would not be a drawback in the window-garden, unless a uniform effect is desired; in fact, the best results are often secured from seeds. Sow the seed in gentle heat in March.
Grow new plants each year, and throw the old ones away.
CROCUS (see _Bulbs_).--Crocus is one of the best of spring bulbs, easily grown and giving good satisfaction either in the border or scattered through the lawn. They are also forced for winter. They are so cheap and lasting that they may be used in quantity. A border of crocuses along the edges of walks, little clumps of them in the lawn, or masses in a bed, give the first touch of color as the spring opens.
A sandy soil suits the crocus admirably. Plant in the fall, in the open, 3 to 4 inches deep. When they show signs of failing, take up the bulbs and reset them. They tend to rise out of the ground, because the new bulb or corm forms on the top of the old one. They run out on lawns in two or three years. If best results are desired, it is well to renew the bed occasionally by buying new bulbs. Crocus beds may be filled later in the season with quick-growing annuals. It is important that only the best flowering bulbs be secured.
They may be forced with ease, planted in pots or shallow boxes, put away in a cool place and brought into the house at any time through the winter. A low temperature will bring them into bloom in perfection in about four weeks from the time they are brought in. They can be had in the window-garden in this way, opening in the sunshine.
CROTON.--Under this name many varieties and so-called species of Codium are grown for conservatory decoration, and latterly for foliage bedding in the open. The colors and shapes of the leaves are very various and attractive. The crotons make good window-garden subjects, although they are very liable to the attack of the mealy bug.
The plants should be given an abundance of light in order to bring out their fine colors; but it is usually advisable to screen them from the direct rays of the sun when they are grown under glass. If the red spider or the mealy bug attack them, they may be syringed with tobacco water. Plants that are propagated indoors in winter may be massed in beds out of doors in summer, where they make very striking effects. Give them strong deep soil, and be sure that they are syringed frequently enough on the underside of the leaves to keep down the red spider. If the plants have been gradually subjected to strong light before they are taken out of doors, they will stand the full sunlight and will develop their rich colors to perfection. In the fall they may be taken up, cut back, and used for window-garden or conservatory subjects.
Crotons are shrubs or small trees, and they may be transferred into large pots or tubs and grown into large tree-like specimens. Old and scraggly specimens should be thrown away.
Crotons are propagated readily by cuttings of half-ripened wood any time in winter or spring.
CYCLAMEN.--A tender greenhouse tuberous plant, sometimes seen in the window-garden. The Persian cyclamen is best for the house-gardener to grow.
Cyclamens may be grown from seed sown in April or September in soil containing a large proportion of sand and leafmold. If sown in September, they should be wintered in a coolhouse. In May they should be potted into larger pots and placed in a shaded frame, and by July will have become large enough for their flowering pot, which should be either 5-inch or 6-inch. They should be brought into the house before danger of frost, and grown cool until through flowering. A temperature of 55 suits them while in flower. After flowering, they will need a rest for a short time, but should not become very dry, or the bulb will be injured. When they start into growth, they should have the old soil shaken off and be potted into smaller pots. At no time should more than half the tuber be under the soil.
April-sown plants should be similarly treated. Cyclamens should bloom in about fifteen months from seed. The seed germinates very slowly.
Tubers large enough to flower the first year may be purchased from the seedsmen at moderate prices; and unless one has facilities for growing the seedlings for a year, purchase of the tubers will give the best satisfaction. Secure new tubers, for old ones are not so good.
The soil best suited to the cyclamen is one containing two parts leafmold, one part each of sand and loam.
DAHLIA is an old favorite which, on account of its formal flowers, has been in disfavor for a few years, although it has always held a place in the rural districts. Now, however, with the advent of the cactus and semi-cactus types (or loose-flowered forms), and the improvement of the singles, it again has taken a front rank among late summer flowers, coming in just in advance of the chrysanthemum.
[Illustration: XVIII. Cornflower or bachelor's button. _Centaurea Cyanus._]
The single varieties may be grown from seed, but the double sorts should be grown from cuttings of young stems or from division of the roots. If cuttings are to be made, it will be necessary to start the roots early, either in a hotbed or house. When the growths have reached 4 or 5 inches, they may be cut from the plant and rooted in sand. Care should be taken to cut just below a joint, as a cutting made between two joints will not form tubers. The most rapid method of propagation of named varieties is to grow from cuttings in this way.
In growing the plants from roots, the best plan is to place the whole root in gentle heat, covering slightly. When the young growth has started, the roots may be taken up, divided, and planted out 3 to 4 feet apart. This plan will insure a plant from each piece of root, whereas if the roots are divided while dormant, there is danger of not having a bud at the end of each piece, in which case no growth will start; the roots are sometimes cut into pieces while dormant, however, but one should be sure that a piece of old stem with bud is on each piece.
One objection to the old dahlia was its lateness of bloom. But by starting the roots early in a frame, or in boxes that are covered at night, the plants may be had in flower several weeks earlier than usual. They may be started in April, or at least three weeks in advance of planting time. Little water will be required till they start. When they begin shooting up, the plants should have the full sun, and air, on all mild days. They will then make a slow, sturdy growth. All forcing should be avoided. These plants, set out when there is no longer danger of frost, and well watered before completely covering the roots, will grow right on, and often begin blooming in July.
Dormant roots may be set out in May. The roots, unless small, should be divided before planting, as a single strong root is usually better than a whole clump. The roots of all but the Dwarf should be set about 3 feet apart, in rows. In poor soils none but the first class will need stakes.
The dahlia flourishes best in a deep, loose, moist soil; very good results can be had on sandy soil, provided plant-food and moisture are furnished. Clay should be avoided. If the ground is too strong, they will probably bloom too late for the northern latitudes.
If the plants are to be grown without stakes, the center of each plant should be pinched out after making two or three joints. By doing this the lateral branches will start near the ground and be stiff enough to withstand the winds. In most home gardens the plants are allowed to reach their full height, and are tied to stakes if necessary. The tall kinds reach a height of 5 to 8 ft.
Dahlias are very susceptible to frost. After the first frost, lift the roots, let them dry in the sun, shake off the dirt, trim off tops and broken parts, and store them in a cellar, as for potatoes. They may be placed in barrels of sand, if the open cellar is not usable. Cannas may be stored in the same place.
The tree dahlia (_D. excelsa,_ but cultivated as _D. arborea_) is grown more or less far South and in California. It has not been much improved.
FERNS.--The native ferns transplant easily to the garden, and they make an attractive addition to the side of a house, or as an admixture in a hardy border. The ostrich, cinnamon, and royal ferns are the best subjects. Give all outdoor ferns a place that is protected from winds, otherwise they will shrivel and perhaps die. Screen them from the hot sun, or give them the shady side of the building. See that the soil is uniformly moist, and that it does not get too hot. Mulch with leafmold in the fall. It is not difficult to colonize many of the native ferns in shady and protected places where trees do not sap all the strength from the ground.
Probably the one fern grown most extensively as a house-plant is the small-leaved maidenhair fern (or _Adiantum gracillimum_). This and other species are among the finest of house plants, when sufficient moisture can be given. They make fine specimens as well as serving the purpose of greenery for cut flowers. Other species often grown for house plants are _A. cuneatum_ and _A. Capillus-Veneris._ All these do well in a mixture of fibrous sod, loam, and sand, with ample drainage material. They may be divided if an increase is wanted.
Another fern for house culture is _Nephrolepsis exaltata._ This is no doubt the most easily grown of the list, flourishing in a sitting-room. A variety of _N. exaltata,_ called the Boston fern, is a decided addition to this group, having a drooping habit, covering the pot and making a fine stand or bracket plant; and there are now several other forms of it suitable for the best window-gardens.
Several species of pteris, especially _P. serrulata,_ are valuable house ferns but require a warmer place than those mentioned above. They will also thrive better in a shady or ill-lighted corner.
Perfect drainage and care in watering have more to do with the successful growing of ferns than any special mixture of soils. If the drainage material in the bottom of the pot or box is sufficient, there is little danger of overwatering; but water-logged soil is always to be avoided. Do not use clay soils. Ferns need protection from the direct sunshine, and also a moist atmosphere. They thrive well in a close glass box, or window-garden, if the conditions can be kept equable.
FREESIA.--One of the best and most easily handled tender winter-flowering bulbs; height 12 or 15 inches. The white form _(Freesia refracta alba_) is the best.
The white or yellowish bell-shaped flowers of freesia are produced on slender stalks just above the foliage, to the number of six to eight in a cluster. They are very fragrant, and last for a considerable time when picked. The bulbs are small, and look as though they could not produce a growth of foliage and flowers, but even the smallest mature bulb will prove satisfactory. Several bulbs should be planted together in a pot, box, or pan, in October, if wanted for the holidays, or later if wanted at Easter. The plants bloom from ten to twelve weeks from planting, under ordinary care.
No special treatment is required; keep the plants cool and moist through the growing season. The soil should contain a little sand mixed with fibrous loam, and the pot should be well drained. After flowering, gradually withhold water and the tops will die down, after which the roots may be shaken out and rested until time to plant in fall. Care should be taken to keep them perfectly dry.
The bulbs increase rapidly from offsets. Plants may also be grown from seed, which should be sown as soon as ripe, giving blooming plants the second or third year.
FUCHSIA.--Well-known window or greenhouse shrub, treated as an herbaceous subject; many interesting forms; late winter, spring and summer.
Fuchsia is readily grown from cuttings. Soft green wood should be used for cuttings, and it will root in about three weeks, when the cuttings should be potted. Take care not to have them pot-bound while in growth, but do not overpot when bloom is wanted. Given warmth and good soil, they will make fine plants in three months or less. In well-protected, partially shady places they may be planted out, growing into miniature bushes by fall.
Plants may be kept on from year to year; and if the branches are well cut back after blooming, abundant new bloom will come. But it is usually best to make new plants each year from cuttings, since young plants commonly bloom most profusely and demand less care. Fuchsias are amongst the best of window subjects.
GERANIUM.--What are commonly known as geraniums are, strictly speaking, pelargoniums. (See _Pelargonium._)
The true geraniums are mostly hardy perennials, and therefore should not be confounded with the tender pelargoniums. Geraniums are worthy a place in a border. They may be transplanted early in the spring, setting them 2 ft. apart. Height 10 to 12 in. The common wild cranesbill _(Geranium maculatum_) improves under cultivation, and is an attractive plant when it stands in front of taller foliage.
GLADIOLUS.--Of summer and fall-blooming bulbous plants, gladiolus is probably the most widely popular. The colors range from scarlet and purple, to white, rose, and pure yellow. The plants are of slender, erect habit, growing from 2 to 3 feet high.
Gladioli dislike a heavy clay soil. A light loam or sandy soil suits them best. No fresh manure should be added to the soil the year in which they are grown. They should have a new place every year, if possible, and always an open sunny situation.
The corms may be covered 2 inches deep in heavy soils, and 4 to 6 in light soils. They may stand 8 to 10 inches apart, or half this distance for mass effects. For a succession, they may be planted at short intervals, the earliest planting being of smaller corms in the early spring as soon as the soil is dry enough to work; later the larger are to be planted--the last setting being not later than the Fourth of July. This last planting will afford fine late flowers. The plants should be supported by inconspicuous stakes.
The successive plantings may be in the same bed among those set earlier, or they may be grouped in unoccupied nooks, or portions of the border. The plants may stand as close as 6 inches from each other. The earlier planting may be a foot apart to admit of later settings between.
Late in the fall, after frosts and before freezing, the corms are to be dug, cleaned, and dried in the sun and air for a few hours and then stored away in boxes about 2-1/2 inches deep in a cool, dark, and dry place. The tops should be left on, at least till completely shriveled. The varieties are perpetuated and multiplied by the little corms that appear about the base of the large new corm which is formed each year. These small corms may be taken off in the spring and sown thickly in drills. Many of them will make flowering plants by the second season. They are treated like the large corms, in the fall.
Gladioli are easily grown from seed also, but this method cannot be depended on to perpetuate desirable varieties, which can be reproduced only by the cormels. Some of the best flowers may be cross-pollinated, or allowed to form seed in the usual manner; the seed sown thickly in drills, and shaded till the plantlets appear, then carefully cultivated, will afford a crop of small corms in the fall. These may be stored for the winter, like the other young corms, and, like them, many will flower the second season, affording a great variety and quite likely some new and striking kinds. Those that do not flower should be reserved for further trial. They often prove finer than those first to flower.
Early-flowering varieties of gladioli may be forced for late winter or spring bloom.
For bouquets, cut the spike when the lower flowers open; keep in fresh water, cut off the end of the stem frequently, and the other flowers will expand.
GLOXINIA.--Choice greenhouse tuberous-rooted, spring and summer-blooming perennials, sometimes seen in window-gardens, but really not adapted to them, although some skillful house-gardeners grow them successfully.
Gloxinias must have a uniform moist and warm atmosphere and protection from the sun. They will not stand abuse or varying conditions. Propagated often by leaf-cuttings, which should give flowering plants in one year. From the leaf, inserted half its length in the soil (or sometimes only the petiole inserted) a tuber arises. This tuber, after resting until midwinter or later, is planted, and flowering plants soon arise.
Gloxinias also grow readily from seeds, which may be germinated in a temperature of about 70. Flowering plants may be had in August if seeds are sown in late winter, say in early February. This is the usual method. After the bloom is past, the tuber is partially dried off and kept dormant till the following season. It will usually show signs of activity in February or March, when it may be shaken out of the old earth and a little water may then be applied and the amount increased till the plant is in bloom. The same tubers may be bloomed several times.
Success in the growing of gloxinias is largely a matter of proper watering. Keep the dormant tuber just dry enough to prevent shriveling, never trying to force it ahead of its time. Avoid wetting the leaves. Protect from direct sunlight. Protect from draughts on the plants.
GREVILLEA.--The "she oak," very graceful greenhouse plant, suitable also for house culture. The plants grow freely from seed, and until they become too large are as decorative as ferns. Grevilleas are really trees, and are valuable in greenhouses and rooms only in their young state. They withstand much abuse. They are now very popular as jardinire subjects. Seeds sown in spring will give handsome plants by the next winter. Discard the plants as soon as they become ragged.
HOLLYHOCKS.--These old garden favorites have been neglected of late years, primarily because the hollyhock rust has been so prevalent, destroying the plants or making them unsightly.
Their culture is very simple. The seed is usually sown in July or August, and the plants set where wanted the following spring. They will bloom the same year in which they are transplanted--the year following the seed-sowing. New plants should be set every two years, as the old crowns are likely to rot or die after the first flowering, or at least to become weak.
HYACINTHS (see _Bulbs_) are popular spring-flowering bulbs. Hyacinths are hardy, but they are often used as window or greenhouse plants. They are easy to grow and very satisfactory (Fig. 262).
For winter flowering, the bulbs should be procured early in the fall, potted in October in soil composed of loam, leafmold, and sand. If ordinary flower-pots are used, put in the bottom a few pieces of broken pots, charcoal, or small stones for drainage; then fill the pot with dirt, so that when the bulb is planted, the top will be on a level with the rim of the pot. Fill in around the bulb with soil, leaving just the tip showing. These pots of bulbs should be placed in a cold pit, cellar or on the shady side of a building. In all cases, plunge the pot in some cool material (as cinders). Before the weather becomes cold enough to freeze a crust on the ground, the pots should have a protection of straw or leaves to keep the bulbs from severe freezing. In about six to eight weeks the bulbs should have made roots enough to grow the plant, and the pots may be placed in a cool room for a short time. When the plants have started into growth, they may be placed in a warmer situation. Watering should be carefully attended to from this time, and when the plant is in bloom, the pot may be set in a saucer or other shallow dish containing water. After flowering, the bulbs may be ripened by gradually withholding water until the leaves die. They may then be planted out in the border, where they will bloom each spring for a number of years, but will never prove satisfactory for forcing again.
The open-ground culture of hyacinths is the same as for tulips and other Holland bulbs.
The hyacinth is the most popular of the Dutch bulbs for growing in vases of water. The narcissus may be grown in water, and do just as well, but it is not as attractive in glasses as the hyacinth. Glasses for hyacinths may be had of florists who deal in supplies, and in various shapes and colors. The usual form is tall and narrow, with a cup-like mouth to receive the bulb. They are filled with water, so that it will just reach the base of the bulb when placed in position in the cup or shoulder above. The vessels of dark-colored glass are preferable to those of clear glass, as roots prefer darkness. When the glasses have been filled, they are set away in a cool, dark place, where roots will form, as in potted bulbs. Results are usually secured earlier in water than in soil. To keep the water sweet, a few lumps of charcoal may be put in the glass. As the water evaporates, add fresh; add enough so that it runs over, and thereby renews that in the glass. Do not disturb the roots by taking out the bulb.
IRIS includes many handsome perennials, of which the blue flag is familiar to every old-fashioned garden. They are favorites everywhere, for their brilliant spring and summer bloom; and they are easy to grow.
Most irises thrive best in a rather moist soil, and some of them may be colonized in the water in margins of ponds.
Gardeners usually divide them into two sections--the tuberous-rooted or rhizomatous, and the bulbous. A third division--the fibrous-rooted--is sometimes made.
The common and most serviceable species belong to the tuberous-rooted section. Here is the beautiful and varied Japanese iris, _Iris loevigata_ (or _I. Koempferi_), which is among the most deserving of all hardy perennials. Most of these irises need no special care. They are propagated by division of the rootstocks. Plant the pieces one foot apart if a mass effect is desired. When the plants begin to fail, dig them up, divide the roots, discard the old parts, and grow a new stock, as before. The Japanese iris needs much water and a very rich soil. Readily grown from seeds, giving bloom the second year. _I Susiana,_ of this section, is one of the oddest of irises, but it is not quite hardy in the North.
Of the bulbous section, most species are not hardy far North. The bulbs should be taken up and replanted every two or three years. The Persian and Spanish irises belong here. The bulbs give rise to but a single stem.
LILY.--Under this name are included bulbous plants of many kinds, not all of them being true lilies. It has been said of this family of plants that it has no "poor relations," each of them being perfect in itself. Many of the choicest kinds are comparatively unknown, although easy to cultivate. In fact, all of the lilies may be grown with comparative ease in regions where the given species are hardy.
A light, fertile, well-drained soil, mellow to the depth of at least one foot, a handful of sand under each bulb if the soil is inclined to be stiff, and planting so that the crown of the bulb will be at least 4 inches below the surface, are the general requirements. One exception to the depth of planting is _Lilium auratum,_ or golden-banded lily. This should be planted deeper--from 8 to 12 inches below the surface--as the new bulbs form over the old one and soon bring the bulbs to the surface if they are not planted deep. Deep working of the ground is always desirable; 18 inches, or even 2 feet, will be none too deep. _L. candidum_ and _L. testaceum_ should be planted in August or September, if possible; but usually lilies are planted in October and November.
For all lilies it is safer to provide good winter protection in the form of a mulch of leaves or manure, and extending beyond the borders of the planting. This should be 5 inches to a foot deep, according to the latitude or locality.
While most lilies profit by partial shade (except _L. candidum_), they should never be planted near or under trees. The shade or protection of tall-growing herbaceous plants is sufficient. In fact, the best results, both as to growth and effect, may be secured by planting amongst low shrubbery or border plants.
Most kinds are the better for remaining undisturbed for a number of years; but if they are to be taken up and divided, or moved to other quarters, they should not be allowed to become dry. The small bulbs, or offsets, may be planted in the border, and if protected, will grow to flowering size in two or three years. In taking up bulbs for division it is best to do so soon after the tops die after blooming. At least this should be done early in the fall, not later than October, giving the plants a chance to become established before freezing weather.
As pot-plants some kinds of lilies are very satisfactory, especially those that may be forced into bloom through the winter. The best kinds for this purpose are _L. Harrisii_ (Easter lily), _L. longiflorum,_ and _L. candidum._ Others may be forced with success, but these are the ones most generally used. The winter culture for forcing is practically the same as for hyacinths in pots.
Some of the best kinds of lilies are mentioned below:--
_L. candidum_ (Annunciation lily). White; 3 to 4 feet high; it makes an autumn growth, and should, therefore, be planted in August; set the bulbs from 4 to 6 inches deep.
_L. speciosum_ (_L. lancifolium_), var. _proecox._ White, tinged with pink; bears several flowers on a stem about 3 feet high.
_L. speciosum,_ var. _rubrum._ Rose color, spotted with red.
_L. Brownii._ Flowers white inside, chocolate-colored outside; the stems grow about 3 feet high, bearing from 2 to 4 tubular flowers; not difficult to manage with good protection and drainage; the bulbs are impatient of being kept long out of the ground; after planting, they should not be disturbed as long as they flower well.
_L. maculatum (L. Hansoni)_. Dark yellow; stems 3-4 feet high, each producing 6 to 12 flowers.
_L. testaceum (L. excelsum, L. Isabellinum)_. Rich buff color, with delicate spots; plants about 3 to 5 feet high, with 3 to a dozen flowers on a stem; plant the bulbs in September.
_L. longiflorum._ White; large tubular flowers, 2 to 8 on a stem; height, about 2-1/2 feet.
_L. Batemanniae_ (a form of _L. elegans_). Apricot yellow; 6 to 12 flowers on stems 3 to 4 feet high.
_L. auratum_ (Japanese gold-banded lily). Immense white flowers banded with yellow and dotted with red or purple, from 3 to 12 on a stem; height, 3 to 4 feet; the bulbs need thorough protection, good drainage, and should be planted 10 or 12 inches deep (Fig. 258).
_L. tigrinum_ (Tiger lily). An old favorite, with many drooping bright red spotted flowers; var. _splendens_ is specially good; 3 to 5 ft.
_L. tenuifolium._ Rich scarlet flowers nodding in a raceme or panicle; 1-1/2 to 2 ft.
_L. Maximowiczii (L. Leichtlinii)_. Flowers clear yellow, with small, dark spots, 10 to 12 on a stem; height, 4 feet.
_L. monadelphum._ Yellow tubular-shaped flowers in clusters of 6 to a dozen or more; stems 2-1/2 feet tall.
_L. elegans (L. Thunbergianum_), var. _Alice Wilson._ Lemon-yellow; stems 2 feet high, bearing 2 to 8 flowers.
_L. elegans,_ var. _fulgens atrosanguineum._ Dark crimson; height, 1 foot.
LILY-OF-THE-VALLEY.--A perfectly hardy little perennial, bearing racemes of small, white, bell-shaped flowers in early spring; and also much forced by florists.
For ordinary cultivation, sods or mats of roots may be dug from any place in which the plant is colonized. Usually it thrives best in partial shade; and the leaves make an attractive mat on the north side of a building, or other shady place, in which grass will not grow. The plants will take care of themselves year after year. Better results may be expected from good commercial roots. The "pips" may be planted any time from November on, from 3 to 6 inches apart.
For forcing indoors, imported roots or "pips" are used, as the plants are grown for this particular purpose in parts of Europe. These roots may be planted in pots, and treated as recommended for winter-flowering bulbs. Florists force them in greater heat, however, often giving them a bottom heat of 80 or 90; but skill and experience are required in order to attain uniformly good results in this case.
MIGNONETTE.--Probably no flower is more generally grown for its fragrance than the mignonette. It is a half-hardy annual, thriving either in the open or under glass.
The mignonette needs a cool soil, only moderately rich, shade part of the day, and careful attention to cutting the flower-stalks before the seeds are ripe. If a sowing be made in late April, followed by a second sowing in early July, the season may be extended until severe frosts. There are few flowers that will prove as disappointing if the simple treatment it needs is omitted. Height, 1 to 2 feet.
It may be sown in pots late in summer and be had in the house in winter.
MOON-FLOWERS are species of the morning-glory family that open their flowers at night. A well-grown plant trained over a porch trellis, or allowed to grow at random over a low tree or shrub, is a striking object when in full flower at dusk or through a moonlit evening. In the Southern states (where it is much grown) the moon-flower is a perennial, but even when well protected does not survive the winters in the North.
Cuttings usually give best results in the Northern states, as the seasons are not long enough for seed plants to give good bloom. Cuttings may be made before danger of frost and wintered in the house, or the plants may be grown from seed sown in January or February. Seeds should be scalded or filed just before sowing.
The true moon-flower is _Ipomoea Bona-Nox_ white-flowered; but there are other kinds that go under this name. This grows 20 to 30 feet where the seasons are long enough.
NARCISSUS (see _Bulbs_).--Daffodils, jonquils, and the poet's narcissus all belong to this group, and many of them are perfectly hardy. The polyanthus section, which includes the Paper-white narcissus and sacred lily or Chinese joss-flower, are not hardy except with unusually good protection, and are, therefore, most suitable for growing indoors.
It is common to allow the hardy sorts to take care of themselves when once planted. This they will do, but much more satisfactory results will be had by lifting and dividing the clumps every three or four years. A single bulb in a few years forms a large clump. In this condition the bulbs are not properly nourished, and consequently do not flower well. Lifting is preferably done in August or September, when the foliage has died down and the bulbs are ripe.
The narcissi are well suited to partially shaded places, and will grow and please wherever good taste may place them. They should be freely used, as they are fragrant, bright of color, and easily managed--growing among shrubbery, trees, and in places where other flowers would refuse to grow. They should be planted in clumps or masses, in September or October, setting the bulbs 5 to 8 inches apart, according to size, and 3 or 4 inches deep.
Several species and numberless varieties, both double and single, are grown. A few good types only can be mentioned (Fig. 260):--
_Daffodils, or Trumpet narcissus (Narcissus Pseudo-Narcissus_ and derivatives).
_Single-flowered, Yellow._--Golden Spur, Trumpet Major, Van Sion.
_White and Yellow._--Empress, Horsefieldi.
_Double-flowering, Yellow._--Incomparable fl. pl., Van Sion.
_White._--Alba plena odorata.
_Poet's narcissus (N. poeticus_). Flowers white, with yellow cups edged crimson. Very fragrant.
_Jonquils (N. Jonquilla_). These have very fragrant yellow flowers, both double and single, and are old garden favorites.
_Polyanthus narcissus (N. Tazetta_). These include paper-white, Chinese sacred lily (var. _orientalis_), and others.
_Primrose Peerless (N. biflorus_).
Narcissi may be forced into flower through the winter, as described on p. 345. A popular kind for winter bloom is the so-called Chinese sacred lily. This grows in water without any soil whatever. Secure a bowl or glass dish, about three times the size of the bulb; put some pretty stones in the bottom; set in the bulb and build up around it with stones so as to hold it stiff when the leaves have grown; tuck two or three small pieces of charcoal among the stones to keep the water sweet, then fill up the dish with water and add a little every few days, as it evaporates. Set the dish in a warm, light place. In about six weeks the fragrant, fine white flowers will fill the room with perfume. The Paper-white, closely allied to this, is also forced, and is one of the few good bulbs that may be bloomed before Christmas. The Van Sions, single and double (a form of daffodil), are also much forced.
OLEANDER.--An old favorite shrub for the window-garden, and much planted in the open far South.
While there are many named varieties of the oleander, but two are often seen in general cultivation. These are the common red and white varieties. Both these, as well as the named varieties, are of easy management and well adapted to home culture, growing in pots or tubs for several years without special care. Well-grown specimens are very effective as porch or lawn plants, or may be used to good advantage in mixed beds of tall-growing plants, plunging the pot or tub to the rim in the soil. The plants should be cut back after flowering. They should be rested in any out-of-the-way place through the winter. When brought out in the spring, they should be given sun and air in order to make a sturdy growth.
Propagation is effected by using well-ripened wood for cuttings, placed in a close frame; or the slips may be rooted in a bottle or can of water, care being taken to supply water as evaporation takes place. After being rooted, they may be potted, using soil with a large proportion of sand. Well-established plants may be repotted in good loam and well-rotted manure. They should bloom the second year.
OXALIS.--A number of hardy species of oxalis are excellent plants for rock-work and edging. The greenhouse species are very showy, growing without extra care, and blooming freely through the late winter and spring months and some of them make excellent window-gardening subjects.
The house species are mostly increased by bulbs, a few by division of the root. _O. violacea_ is, one of the commonest of house-plants. Give a sunny window, for the flowers open only in sun or very bright light. The bulbous (tuberous) kinds are treated much as recommended for _Bulbs,_ except that the bulbs must not freeze. The tubers are started in August or September for winter bloom. It is best to use deep pots, or the tubers will throw themselves out. The crown should be near the surface. After flowering, the bulbs are dried off and kept until new bloom is wanted.
The "Bermuda buttercup" is _O. lutea_ and _O. flava_ of gardens (properly _O. cernua_); it is a Cape of Good Hope species. Its culture is not peculiar.
PALMS.--No more graceful plants for room decoration can be found than well-grown specimens of some species of palms. Most florists' palms are well adapted for this purpose when small, and as the growth is usually very slow, a plant may be used for many years.
Palm plants thrive best in partial shade. One of the frequent causes of failure in the culture of the palm is the overpotting and subsequent overwatering. A palm should not be repotted until the mass of roots fills the soil and preferably when it is active; then a pot only a size larger should be used. Use ample drainage in the bottom to carry off excess of water. Although the plants need a moist soil, water standing at the roots proves injurious. Withhold free use of water when the plants are partially dormant.
A soil composed of well-rotted sod, leafmold, and a little sand will meet the requirements.
Under ordinary living-room conditions, palms are subject to much abuse. Water is allowed to stand in the jardinire, the plant is kept in dark corners and hallways, the air is dry, and scale is allowed to infest the leaves. If the plant begins to fail, the housewife is likely to repot it or to give it more water, both of which may be wrong. The addition of bone-meal or other fertilizer may be better than repotting. Keep the plant in good light (but not in direct sunlight) as much as possible. Sponge the leaves to remove dust and scale, using soapsuds. When a new leaf begins to appear, add bone-meal to make it grow vigorously.
Among the best palms for house culture are arecas, _Cocos Weddelliana,_ latania, kentia, howea, caryota, chamrops, and phoenix. Cycas may also be regarded as a palm.
The date palm may be grown from seed of the common commercial date. Seed of the other varieties may be purchased from leading seedsmen; but, as the seed germinates only under favorable conditions, and the palm is a very slow-growing plant while young, the best plan is to purchase the plants from a dealer when wanted. When the plants become weak or diseased, take them to a florist for treatment and recuperation, or purchase new ones. Sometimes the florist places two or three small palms in one pot, making a very satisfactory table piece for two or three years.
It is well to set the palms out of doors in the summer, plunging the pots nearly or quite to the rim. Turn or lift the pots occasionally so that the roots will not strike through into the earth. Choose a partially shaded place, where the hot sun will not strike them directly and where the wind will not injure them.
PANDANUS, or screw pine.--The screw pines are stiff-leaved saw-edged plants often grown in window-gardens and used for porch decoration.
The _Pandanus utilis_ and _P. Veitchii_ (the latter striped-leaved or white-leaved) are exceedingly ornamental, and are well adapted to house culture. The singular habit of growth, bright glossy leaves, and the ability to withstand the dust and shade of a dwelling room, make them a desirable addition to the house collection.
They are propagated by the offsets or young plants that grow around the base of the trunk; or they may be increased by seed. If by the former method, the offsets should be cut off and set in sand, at a temperature of 65 or 70. The cuttings root slowly and the plants for a time make very slow growth. The general cultural treatment is that of palms. Give abundance of water in summer.
PANSY (Fig. 244) is without doubt the most popular hardy spring flower in cultivation. The strains of seed are many, each containing great possibilities.
The culture is simple and the results are sure. Seed sown in August or September, in boxes or a frame, will make plants large enough to reset in November (three or four inches apart) and bloom the following March; or they may be left until March in open seed-beds before setting out. Also, if they are sown very thinly in the frames, they may remain undisturbed through the winter, blooming very early the following spring. The frames should be protected by mats, boards, or other covering through the severe cold, and as the sun gains strength, care should be taken to keep them from heaving by alternate thawing and freezing. Seed sown in boxes in January or February will make fine blooming plants by April, taking the place of those blooming earlier.
The pansy is generally mentioned with plants suitable for partial shade, but it also thrives in other localities, especially where the sun is not very hot nor the weather very dry. The requisites for satisfactory pansy culture are fertile, moist, cool soil, protection from the noonday sun, and attention to keeping plants from going to seed. As the ground becomes warm, a mulch of leafmold or other light material should be spread over the bed to retain moisture and exclude heat. Spring and fall give the best bloom. In hot summer weather the flowers become small.
PELARGONIUM.--To this genus belong the plants known as geraniums--the most satisfactory of house-plants, and extensively used as bedding plants. No plants will give better returns in leaf and flower; and these features, added to the ease of propagation, make them general favorites. The common geranium is one of the few plants that can be bloomed at any time of the year.
There are several main groups of pelargoniums, as the common "fish geraniums" (from the odor of the foliage), the "show" or Lady Washington pelargoniums, the ivy geraniums, the thin-leaved bedders (as Madame Salleroi), and the "rose" geraniums.
Cuttings of partially ripened wood of all pelargoniums root very easily, grow to blooming size in a short time, and, either planted out or grown in a pot, make fine decorations. The common or fish geraniums are much more satisfactory when not more than a year old. Take cuttings from the old plants at least once a year. In four or five months the young plants begin to bloom. Plants may be taken up from the garden and potted, but they rarely give as much satisfaction as young, vigorous subjects; new plants should be grown every year. Repot frequently until they are in 4-to 5-inch pots; then let them bloom.
The show pelargoniums have but one period of bloom, usually in April, but they make up in size and coloring. This section is more difficult to manage as house-plants than the common geranium, needing more direct light to keep it stocky, and being troubled by insects. Still, all the trouble taken to grow the plants will be well repaid by the handsome blossoms. Take cuttings in late spring, after flowering, and blooming plants may be had the following year. Good results are sometimes secured by keeping these plants two or three years. Cut back after each blooming season.
For house culture the geraniums need a fertile, fibrous loam, with the addition of a little sand; good drainage is also an essential.
PEONY.--The herbaceous peony has long had a place in the garden; it has now been much improved and constitutes one of the very best plants known to cultivation. It is perfectly hardy, and free from the many diseases and insects that attack so many plants. It continues to bloom year after year without renewal, if the soil is well prepared and fertile. Fig. 250.
Inasmuch as the peony is such a strong grower and produces so many enormous flowers, it must have a soil that can supply abundant plant-food and moisture. The old-fashioned single and semi-double comparatively small-flowered kinds will give good results in any ordinary ground, but the newer highly improved sorts must be given better treatment. This is one of the plants that profit by a very rich soil. The place should be very deeply plowed or else trenched; and if the land is in sod or is not in good heart, the preparation should begin the season before the peonies are planted. A deep moist loam suits them best; and as the plants grow and bloom, add bone meal and top-dress with manure. When making their growth and when in bloom, they should not be allowed to want for water.
In purchasing peony roots, be careful to secure only well-grown and selected stock. Cheap stock, job lots, and odds and ends are likely to be very disappointing.
The plants may be set in fall or spring, the latter being preferable in the North. Cover the crown bud 2 or 3 inches, being careful not to injure it. If the best blooms are desired, give plenty of room, as much as 3 x 4 feet. Peonies grow 2 to 3 feet or even more in height. Strong roots of some varieties will give bloom the first year; considerable bloom will come the second year; but the full bloom on most varieties should not be expected before the third year. The flowers may be brightened and their duration prolonged by partial shade while in bloom.
If old plants become weak, or if they drop their buds, dig them up and see whether the roots are not more or less dead and decayed; divide to fresh parts and replant in well-enriched ground; or purchase new plants.
Peonies are propagated by division of the roots in early fall, one good strong eye being left to each piece.
The peony has merit for its foliage as well as for its bloom, particularly when the soil is rich and the growth luxuriant. This value of the plant is commonly overlooked. The peony deserves its popularity.
PHLOX.--Garden phloxes are of two kinds, the annual and perennial. Both are most valuable.
Excepting the petunia, no plant will give the profusion of bloom with as little care as the annual phlox _(Phlox Drummondii_). For clear and brilliant colors, the many varieties of this are certainly unrivaled. The dwarf kinds are the more desirable for ribbon-beds, as they are not so "leggy." There are whites, pinks, reds, and variegated of the most dazzling brilliancy. The dwarfs grow ten inches high, and bloom continuously. Set them 8 inches apart in good soil. Seed may be sown in the open ground in May, or for early plants, in the hotbed in March. They may be sown close in the fall if sown very late, so that the seeds will not start till spring.
The perennial phlox of the gardens has been developed from the native species, _Phlox paniculata_ and P. _maculata._ The garden forms are often collectively known under the name of _P. decussata._ In recent years the perennial phlox has been much improved, and it now constitutes one of the best of all flower-garden subjects. It grows three feet tall, and bears a profusion of fine flowers in heavy trusses in mid-summer to fall. Figs. 246, 248.
Perennial phlox is of easy culture. The important point is that the plants begin to fail of best bloom about the third year, and they are likely to become diseased; and new plantings should be made if the strongest flowers are desired. The plants may be taken up in fall, the roots divided and cleaned of dead and weak parts, and the pieces replanted. Usually, however, the beginner will secure more satisfaction in purchasing new cutting-grown plants. This phlox propagates readily by seed, and if one does not care to perpetuate the particular variety, he will find much satisfaction in raising seedlings. Some varieties "come true" from seed with fair regularity. Seedlings should bloom the second year.
Fertile garden soil of any kind should raise good perennial phlox. See that the plants do not want for water or plant-food at blooming time. Liquid manure will often help to keep them going. If they are likely to suffer for water when in bloom, wet the ground well every evening.
If the leading shoots are pinched off early in the season, and again in midsummer, the bloom will be later, perhaps in September rather than in July.
PRIMULAS, or primroses, are of various kinds, some being border plants, but mostly known in this country as greenhouse and window-garden subjects. One of them is the auricula. The true or English cowslip is one of the hardy border plants; also the plants commonly known as polyanthus.
Common hardy primulas (or polyanthus and related forms) grow 6 to 10 inches high, sending up trusses of yellow and red flowers in early spring. Propagated by division, or by seed sown a year before the plants are wanted. Give them rather moist soil.
The primula of the winter-garden is mostly the _P. Sinensis_ (Chinese Primrose), grown very extensively by florists as a Christmas plant. With the exception of the full double varieties, it is usually grown from seed. There is a popular single form known as _P. stellata._ The seed of Chinese primulas sown in March or April will make large flowering plants by November or December, if the young plants are shifted to larger pots as needed. The seed should be sown on the flat surface of the soil, composed of equal parts loam, leafmold, and sand. The seed should be pressed down lightly and the soil watered carefully to prevent the seed from being washed into the soil. Very fine sphagnum moss may be sifted over the seed, or the box set in a moist place, where the soil will remain wet until the seeds germinate. When the plants are large enough, they should be potted separately or pricked out into shallow boxes. Frequent pottings or transplantings should be given until September, when they should be in the pots in which they are to bloom. The two essentials to successful growth through the hot summer are shade and moisture. Height, 6 to 8 inches. Bloom in winter and spring.
At present the "baby Primrose" (_Primula Forbesi_) is popular. It is treated in essentially the same way as the Sinensis. The obconica (_P. obconica_) in several forms is a popular florist's plant, but is not much used in window-gardens. The hairs poison the hands of some persons. Culture practically as for _P. Sinensis._
All primulas are impatient of a dry atmosphere and fluctuating conditions.
RHODODENDRONS are broad-leaved evergreen shrubs that are admirably adapted to producing strong planting effects. Some of them are hardy in the Northern states.
Rhododendrons require a fibrous or peaty soil and protection from bleak winds and bright suns in summer and winter. A northern or somewhat shady exposure, to break the force of the midday sun, is advisable; but they should not be planted where large trees will sap the fertility and moisture from the ground. They protect each other if grown in masses, and also produce better planting effects.
[Illustration: XIX. Pyracantha in fruit. One of the best ornamental-fruited plants for the middle and milder latitudes.]
They require a deep, fibrous earth, and it is supposed that they do not thrive in limestone soils or where wood ashes are freely used. While rhododendrons will sometimes succeed without any special preparation of the ground, it is advisable to take particular pains in this regard. It is well to dig a hole 2 or 3 feet deep, and fill it with earth compounded of leafmold, well-rotted sod, and peat. The moisture supply should be never failing, for they suffer from drought. They should be mulched summer and winter. Plant in spring.
The hardy garden forms are derivatives of _Rhododendron Catawbiense,_ of the southern Appalachian Mountains. The Pontica and other forms are not hardy in the North.
The "great laurel" of the northern United States is _Rhododendron maximum._ This has been extensively colonized in large grounds by being removed from the wild in carload lots. When the native conditions are imitated, it makes unusually good mass planting. Like all rhododendrons it is impatient of drought, hard soil, and full exposure to midday sun. This species is valued for its foliage and habit more than for its bloom. The wild form of _R. Catawbiense_ is also transferred to grounds in large quantities.
ROSE.--No home property is complete without roses. There are so many kinds and classes that varieties may be found for almost any purpose, from climbing or pillar subjects to highly fragrant teas, great hybrid perpetuals, free-blooming bedders, and good foliage subjects for the shrubbery. There is no flower in the growing of which one so quickly develops the temper and taste of the connoisseur.
Roses are essentially flower-garden subjects rather than lawn subjects, since flowers are their chief beauty. Yet the foliage of many of the highly developed roses is good and attractive when the plants are well grown. To secure the best results with roses, they should be placed in a bed by themselves, where they can be tilled and pruned and well taken care of, as other flower-garden plants are. The ordinary garden roses should rarely be grown in mixed borders of shrubbery. It is usually most satisfactory also to make beds of one variety rather than to mix them with several varieties.
If it is desired to have roses in mixed shrubbery borders, then the single and informal types should be chosen. The best of all these is _Rosa rugosa._ This has not only attractive flowers through the greater part of the season, but it also has very interesting foliage and a striking habit. The great profusion of bristles and spines gives it an individual and strong character. Even without the flowers, it is valuable to add character and cast to a foliage mass. The foliage is not attacked by insects or fungi, but remains green and glossy throughout the year. The fruit is also very large and showy, and persists on bushes well through the winter. Some of the wild roses are also very excellent for mixing into foliage masses, but, as a rule, their foliage characteristics are rather weak, and they are liable to be attacked by thrips.
There are so many classes of roses that the intending planter is likely to be confused unless he knows what they are. Different classes require different treatment. Some of them, as the teas and hybrid perpetuals (the latter also known as remontants), bloom from new canes; while the rugosa, the Austrian, Harrison's yellow, sweet briers, and some others are bushes and do not renew themselves each year from the crown or bases of the canes.
The outdoor roses may be divided into two great groups so far as their blooming habit is involved:
(1) The continuous or intermittent bloomers, as the hybrid perpetuals (blooming chiefly in June), bourbons, tea, rugosa, the teas and hybrid teas being the most continuous in bloom;
(2)those that bloom once only, in summer, as Austrian, Ayrshire, sweet briers, prairie, Cherokee, Banksian, provence, most moss roses, damask, multiflora, polyantha, and memorial _(Wichuraiana)._ "Perpetual" or recurrent-blooming races have been developed in the Ayrshire, moss, polyantha, and others.
While roses delight in a sunny exposure, nevertheless our dry atmosphere and hot summers are sometimes trying on the flowers, as are severe wintry winds on the plants. While, therefore, it is never advisable to plant roses near large trees, or where they will be overshadowed by buildings or surrounding shrubbery, some shade during the heat of the day will be a benefit. The best position is an eastern or northern slope, and where fences or other objects will break the force of strong winds, in those sections where such prevail.
Roses should be carefully taken up every four or five years, tops and roots cut in, and then reset, either in a new place or in the old, after enriching the soil with a fresh supply of manure, and deeply spading it over. In Holland, roses are allowed to stand about eight years. They are then taken out and their places filled with young plants.
_Soil and planting for roses._
The best soil for roses is a deep and rich clay loam. If it is more or less of a fibrous character from the presence of grass roots, as is the case with newly plowed sod ground, so much the better. While such is desirable, any ordinary soil will answer, provided it is well manured. Cow manure is strong and lasting, and has no heating effect. It will cause no damage, even if not rotted. Horse manure, however, should be well rotted before mixing it with the soil. The manure may be mixed in the soil at the rate of one part in four. If well rotted, however, more will not do any damage, as the soil can scarcely be made too rich, especially for the everblooming (hybrid tea) roses. Care should be taken to mix the manure thoroughly with the earth, and not to plant the roses against the manure.
In planting, care must be taken to avoid exposing the roots to the drying of sun and air. If dormant field-grown plants have been purchased, all broken and bruised roots will need to be cut off smoothly and squarely. The tops also will need cutting back. The cut should always be made just above a bud, preferably on the outer side of the cane. Strong-growing sorts may be cut back one-fourth or one-half, according as they have good or bad roots. Weaker-growing kinds, as most of the everblooming roses, should be cut back-most severely. In both cases it is well to remove the weak growth first. Plants set out from pots will usually not need cutting back.
Hardy roses, especially the strong field-grown plants, should be set in the early fall if practicable. It is desirable to get them out just as soon as they have shed their foliage. If not then, they may be planted in the early spring. At that season it is advisable to plant them as early as the ground is dry enough, and before the buds have started to grow. Dormant pot-plants may also be set out early, but they should be perfectly inactive. Setting them out early in this condition is preferable to waiting till they are in foliage and full bloom, as is so often required by buyers. Growing pot-plants may be planted any time in spring after danger of frost is past, or even during the summer, if they are watered and shaded for a few days.
Open-ground plants should be set about as deep as they stood previously, excepting budded or grafted plants, which should be set so that the union of the stock and graft will be 2 to 4 inches below the surface of the ground. Plants from pots may also be set an inch deeper than they stood in the pots. The soil should be in a friable condition. Roses should have the soil compact immediately about their roots; but we should distinguish between planting roses and setting fence posts. The dryer the soil the more firmly it may be pressed.
As a general statement, it may be said that roses on their own roots will prove more satisfactory for the general run of planters than budded stock. On own-rooted stock, the suckers or shoots from below the surface of the soil will be of the same kind, whereas with budded roses there is danger of the stock (usually Manetti or dog rose) starting into growth and, not being discovered, outgrowing the bud, taking possession, and finally killing out the weaker growth. Still, if the plants are set deep enough to prevent adventitious buds of the stock from starting and the grower is alert, this difficulty is reduced to a minimum. There is no question but that finer roses may be grown than from plants on their own roots, withstanding the heat of the American summer, if the grower takes the proper precautions.
In pruning roses, determine whether they bloom on canes arising each year from the ground or near the ground, or whether they make perennial tops; also form a clear idea whether an abundance of flowers is wanted for garden effects, or whether large specimen blooms are desired.
If one is pruning the hybrid perpetual or remontant roses (which are now the common garden roses), he cuts back all very vigorous canes perhaps one-half their length immediately after the June bloom is past in order to produce new, strong shoots for fall flowering, and also to make good bottoms for the next year's bloom. Very severe summer pruning, however, is likely to produce too much leafy growth. In the fall, all canes may be shortened to 3 feet, four or five of the best canes being left to each plant. In spring, these canes are again cut back to fresh wood, leaving perhaps four or five good buds on each cane; from these buds the flowering canes of the year are to come. If it is desired to secure fewer blooms, but of the best size and quality, fewer canes may be left and only two or three new shoots be allowed to spring from each one the next spring.
The rule in trimming all cane-bearing roses is, _cut back weak growing kinds severely; strong growers moderately._
Climbing and pillar roses need only the weak branches and the tips shortened in. Other hardy kinds will usually need cutting back about one-fourth or one-third, according to the vigor of the branches, either in the spring or fall.
The everblooming or hybrid tea roses will need to have all dead wood removed at the time of uncovering them in spring. Some pruning during the summer is also useful in encouraging growth and flowers. The stronger branches that have flowered may be cut back one-half or more.
The sweet briers, Austrian and rugosas may be kept in bush form; but the trunks may be cut out at the ground every two or three years, new shoots having been allowed to come up in the meantime. All rampant growths should be cut back or taken out.
_Insects and diseases of roses._
Most of the summer insects that trouble the rose are best treated by a forceful spray of clear water. This should be done early in the day and again at evening. Those having city water or good spray pumps will find this an easy method of keeping rose pests in check. Those without these facilities may use whale-oil soap, fir-tree oil, good soap suds, the tobacco preparations, or Persian insect powder.
The rose-bug or chafer should be hand-picked or knocked off early in the morning into a pan of coal oil. The leaf-roller must be crushed.
The mildews are controlled by the various sulfur sprays.
_Winter protection of roses._
All garden roses should be well mulched with leaves or coarse manure in the fall. Mounding earth about the root also affords excellent protection. Bending over the tops and covering with grass or evergreen boughs is also to be recommended for such kinds as are suspected to be injured by winter; the boughs are preferable because they do not attract mice.
North of the Ohio River all the everblooming roses, even if they will endure the winter unprotected, will be better for protection. This may be slight southward, but should be thorough northward. The soil, location, and surroundings often determine the extent of protection. If the situation is not so favorable, more protection will be necessary. Along the Ohio, a heap of stable manure, or light soil that does not become packed and water-logged, placed about the base of the plants, will carry over many of the tea roses. The tops are killed back; but the plants sprout from the base of the old branches in the spring. Bon Silene, Etoile de Lyon, Perle des Jardins, Mme. Camille, and others are readily wintered there in this way.
About Chicago (_American Florist,_ x., No. 358, p. 929, 1895) beds have been successfully protected by bending down the tops, fastening them, and then placing over and among the plants a layer of dead leaves to the depth of a foot. The leaves must be dry, and the soil also, before applying them; this is very essential. After the leaves, a layer of lawn-clippings, highest at the middle, and 4 or 5 inches thick, placed over the leaves, holds them in place and sheds water. This protection carries over the hardiest sorts of everblooming roses, including the teas. The tops are killed back when not bent down, but this protection saves the roots and crowns; when bent down, the tops went through without damage. Even the climbing rose Gloire de Dijon was carried through the winter of 1894-1895 at Chicago without the slightest injury to the branches.
Strong plants of the everblooming or hybrid tea roses can now be had at very reasonable rates, and rather than go to the trouble of protecting them in the fall, many persons buy such as they need for bedding purposes each spring. If the soil of the beds is well enriched, the plants make a rapid and luxuriant growth, blooming freely throughout the summer.
If one desires to go to the trouble, he may protect these and also the tea roses even in the northern states by mounding earth about the plants and then building a little shed or house about them (or inverting a large box over them) and packing about the plants with leaves or straw. Some persons make boxes that can be knocked down in the spring and stored. The roof should shed water. This method is better than tying the plants up in straw and burlaps. Some of the hybrid teas do not need so much protection as this, even in central New York.
_Varieties of roses._
The selection of kinds should be made in reference to the locality and purpose for which the roses are wanted. For bedding roses, those that are of free-blooming habit, even though the individual flowers are not large, are the ones that should be chosen. For permanent beds, the so-called hybrid perpetual or remontant roses, blooming principally in June, will be found to be hardy at the North.--But if one can give them proper protection during the winter, then the Bengal, tea, bourbon, and hybrid teas or everblooming roses, may be selected.
In sections where the temperature does not fall below 20 above zero, any of the monthly roses will live without protection. At the South the remontants and other deciduous roses do not do as well as farther North. The tender climbers--Noisettes, climbing teas, bengals, and others--are excellent for pillars, arbors, and verandas at the South, but are fit only for the conservatory in those parts of the country where there is severe freezing. For the open air at the North we have to depend for climbing roses mainly on the prairie climbers, and the ramblers (polyanthas), with their recent pink and white varieties. The trailing _Rosa Wichuraiana_ is also a useful addition as an excellent hardy rose for banks.
For the northern states a choice small list is as follows: hybrid perpetuals, Mrs. John Laing, Wilder, Ulrich Brunner, Frau Karl Druschki, Paul Neyron; dwarf polyanthas, Clothilde Soupert, Madame Norbert Levavasseur (Baby Rambler), Mlle. Cecile Brunner; hybrid teas, Grus an Teplitz, La France, Caroline Testout, Kaiserin Victoria, Killarney; teas, Pink Maman Cochet, White Maman Cochet.
The following classified lists embrace some of the varieties of recognized merit for various purposes. There are many others, but it is desirable to limit the list to a few good kinds. The intending planter should consult recent catalogues.
_Free-blooming monthly roses for bedding._--These are recommended not for the individual beauty of the flower--although some are very fine--but because of their suitability for the purpose indicated. If to be carried over winter in the open ground, they need to be protected north of Washington. In beds, pegging down the branches will be found desirable. Those marked (A) have proved hardy in southern Indiana without protection, although they are more satisfactory with it. (The name of the class to which the variety belongs is indicated by the initial letter or letters of the class name: C., China; T., Tea; H.T., Hybrid Tea; B., Bourbon; Pol., Polyantha; N., Noisette; H.P., Hybrid Perpetual; Pr., Prairie Climber):--
_Red_--Sanguinea, C. Agrippina, C. Marion Dingee, T. (A)Meteor, H.T.
_Pink_--(A)Hermosa, B. Souvenir d'un Ami, T. Pink Soupert, Pol. (A)Gen. Tartas, T.
_Blush_--(A)Cels, C. Mme. Joseph Schwartz, T. (A)Souvenir de la Malmaison, B. Mignonette, Pol.
_White_--(A)Clothilde Soupert, Pol. (A)Sombreuil, B. Snowflake, T. Pacquerette, Pol.
_Yellow_--(A)Isabella Sprunt, T. Mosella (Yellow Soupert), Pol. La Pactole, T. Marie van Houtte, T.
_Free-blooming monthly roses for summer cutting and beds._--These are somewhat less desirable for purely bedding purposes than the preceding; but they afford finer flowers and are useful for their fine buds. Those marked (A) are hardy in southern Indiana without protection:--
_Red_--(A)Meteor. (A)Dinsmore, H.P. (A)Pierre Guillot, H.T. Papa Gontier, T.
_Light Pink_--(A)La France, H.T. Countess de Labarthe, T. (A)Appoline, B.
_White_--The Bride, T. Senator McNaughton, T. (A)Marie Guillot, T. (A)Mme. Bavay, T. Kaiserin Augusta Victoria, H.T.
_Dark Pink_--(A)American Beauty, H.T. (A)Duchess of Albany, H.T. Mme. C. Testout, H.T. Adam, T. (A)Marie Ducher, T.
_Yellow_--Perle des Jardins, T. Mme. Welch, T. Sunset, T. Marie van Houtte, T.
_Hybrid perpetual, or remontant, roses,_--These do not flower as freely as the groups previously mentioned; but the individual flowers are very large and unequaled by any other roses. They flower chiefly in June. Those named are among the finest sorts, and some of them flower more or less continuously:--
_Red_--Alfred Colomb. Earl of Dufferin. Glorie de Margottin. Anna de Diesbach. Ulrich Brunner.
_Pink_--Mrs. John Laing. Paul Neyron. Queen of Queens. Magna Charta. Baroness Rothschild.
_White_--Margaret Dickson. Merveille de Lyon.
_Hardy climbing, or pillar roses._--These bloom but once during the season. They come after the June roses, however,--a good season--and at that time are masses of flowers. They require only slight pruning.
_White_--Baltimore Belle, Pr. Washington, N. Rosa Wichuraiana (trailing).
_Pink_--Queen of the Prairies, Pr. Tennessee Belle, Pr. Climbing Jules Margotten, H.P.
_Crimson_--Crimson Rambler, Pol.
_Yellow_--Yellow Rambler, Pol.
_Tender climbing, or pillar roses. For conservatories, and the South as far north as Tennessee._--Those marked with (A)are half-hardy north of the Ohio River, or about as hardy as the hybrid teas. These need no pruning except a slight shortening-in of the shoots and a thinning out of the weak growth.
_Yellow_--Marchal Niel, N. Solfaterre, N. (A)Gloire de Dijon, T. Yellow Banksia (Banksiana).
_White_--(A)Aime Vibert, N. Bennett's Seedling (Ayrshire). White Banksia (Banksiana).
_Red_--(A)Reine Marie Henriette, T. James Sprunt, C.
_Roses in winter_ (by C.E. Hunn).
Although the growing of roses under glass must be left chiefly to florists, advice may be useful to those who have conservatories:--
When growing forcing roses for winter flowers, florists usually provide raised beds, in the best-lighted houses they have. The bottom of the bed or bench is left with cracks between the boards for drainage; the cracks are covered with inverted strips of sod, and the bench is then covered with 4 or 5 inches of fresh, fibrous loam. This is made from rotted sods, with decayed manure incorporated at the rate of about one part in four. Sod from any drained pasture-land makes good soil. The plants are set on the bed in the spring or early summer, from 12 to 18 inches apart, and are grown there all summer.
During the winter they are kept at a temperature of 58 to 60 at night, and from 5 to 10 warmer during the day. The heating pipes are often run under the benches, not because the rose likes bottom heat, but to economize space and to assist in drying out the beds in case of their becoming too wet. The greatest care is required in watering, in guarding the temperature, and in ventilation. Draughts result in checks to the growth and in mildewed foliage.
Dryness of the air, especially from fire heat, is followed by the appearance of the minute red spider on the leaves. The aphis, or green plant louse, appears under all conditions, and must be kept down by the use of some of the tobacco preparations (several of which are on the market).
For the red spider, the chief means of control is syringing with either clear or soapy water. If the plants are intelligently ventilated and given, at all times, as much fresh air as possible, the red spider is less likely to appear. For mildew, which is easily recognized by its white, powdery appearance on the foliage, accompanied with more or less distortion of the leaves, the remedy is sulfur in some form or other. The flowers of sulfur may be dusted thinly over the foliage; enough merely slightly to whiten the foliage is sufficient. It may be dusted on from the hand in a broadcast way, or applied with a powder-bellows, which is a better and less wasteful method. Again, a paint composed of sulfur and linseed oil may be applied to a part of one of the steam or hot-water heating pipes. The fumes arising from this are not agreeable to breathe, but fatal to mildew. Again, a little sulfur may be sprinkled here and there on the cooler parts of the greenhouse flue. Under no circumstances, however, ignite any sulfur in a greenhouse. The vapor of burning sulfur is death to plants.
_Propagation of house roses._--The writer has known women who could root roses with the greatest ease. They would simply break off a branch of the rose, insert it in the flower-bed, cover it with a bell-jar, and in a few weeks they would have a strong plant. Again they would resort to layering; in which case a branch, notched halfway through on the lower side, was bent to the ground and pegged down so that the notched part was covered with a few inches of soil. The layered spot was watered from time to time. After three or four weeks roots were sent forth from the notch and the branch or buds began to grow, when it was known that the layer had formed roots.
Several years ago a friend took a cheese-box, filled it with sharp sand to the brim, supported it in a tub of water so that the lower half-inch of the box was immersed. The sand was packed down, sprinkled, and single-joint rose cuttings, with a bud and a leaf near the top, were inserted almost their whole length in the sand. This was in July, a hot month, when it is usually difficult to root any kind of cutting; moreover, the box stood on a southern slope, facing the hot sun, without a particle of shade. The only attention given the box was to keep the water high enough in the tub to touch the bottom of the cheese-box. In about three weeks he took out three or four dozen of as nicely rooted cuttings as could have been grown in a greenhouse.
The "saucer system," in which cuttings are inserted in wet sand contained in a saucer an inch or two deep, to be exposed at all times to the full sunshine, is of a similar nature. The essentials are, to give the cuttings the "full sun" and to keep the sand saturated with water.
Whatever method is used, if cuttings are to be transplanted after rooting, it is important to pot them off in small pots as soon as they have a cluster of roots one-half inch or an inch long. Leaving them too long in the sand weakens the cutting.
SMILAX of the florists is closely allied to asparagus (it is _Asparagus medeoloides_ of the botanists). While it cannot be recommended for house culture, the ease with which it may be grown and the uses to which the festoons of leaves may be put entitle it to a place in the conservatory or greenhouse.
Seed sown in pots or boxes in January or February, the plants shifted as needed until planted on the bench in August, will grow fine strings of green by the holidays. The temperature should be rather high. The plants should be set on low benches, giving as much room as possible overhead. Green-colored strings should be used for the vines to climb on, the vines frequently syringed to keep down the red spider, which is very destructive to this plant, and liquid manure given as the vines grow. The soil should contain a good proportion of sand and be enriched with well-rotted manure.
After the first strings are cut, a second growth fully as good as the first may be had by cleaning up the plants and top-dressing the soil with rotted manure. Sometimes the old roots are kept three or four years. Slightly shading the house through August will add to the color of the leaves. The odor from a vine of smilax thickly covered with the small flowers is very agreeable.
STOCKS.--The Ten-weeks and the biennial or Brompton stocks (species of _Matthiola_) are found in nearly all old-fashioned gardens. Most gardens are thought to be incomplete without them, and the use of the biennial flowering species as house-plants is increasing.
The Ten-weeks stock is usually grown from seed sown in hotbeds or boxes in March. The seedlings are transplanted several times previous to being planted out in early May. At each transplanting the soil should be made a little richer. The double flowers will be more numerous when the soil is rich.
The biennial species (or Brompton stocks) should be sown the season previous to that in which flowers are wanted, the plants wintered over in a cool house, and grown in the following spring. They may be planted out through the summer and lifted into pots in August or September for winter flowering. These may be increased by cuttings taken from the side shoots; but the sowing of seed is a surer method, and unless an extra fine variety is to be saved, it would be the best one to pursue. Height, 10 to 15 inches.
SWEET PEA.--A hardy, tendril-climbing annual, universally prized as an outdoor garden plant; also forced to some extent by florists. On any occasion the sweet pea is in place. A bouquet of shaded colors, with a few sprays of galium or the perennial gypsophila, makes one of the choicest of table decorations.
Deep, mellow soil, early planting, and heavy mulching suit them admirably. It is easy to make soils too rich in nitrogen for sweet peas; in such case, they will run to vine at the expense of flowers.
Sow the seeds as soon as the ground is fit to work in the spring, making a drill 5 inches deep. Sow thickly and cover with 2 inches of earth. When the plants have made 2 or 3 inches' growth above the earth, fill the drill nearly full, leaving a slight depression in which water may be caught. After the soil is thoroughly soaked with water, a good mulch will hold the moisture. To have the ground ready in early spring, it is a good plan to trench the ground in the fall. The top of the soil then dries out very quickly in spring and is left in good physical condition.
In the middle and southern states the seed may be planted in fall, particularly in lighter soils.
Frequent syringing with clear water will keep off the red spider that often destroys the foliage, and attention to picking the seed pods will lengthen the season of bloom. If the finest flowers are wanted, do not let the plants stand less than 8 to 12 inches apart.
A succession of sowings may be made at intervals through May and June, and a fair fall crop secured if care is taken to water and mulch; but the best results will be secured with the very early planting. When the plants are watered, apply enough to soak the soil, and do not water frequently.
SWAINSONA.--This plant has been called the winter sweet pea, but the flowers are not fragrant. It makes a very desirable house plant, blooming through the late winter and early spring months. The blossoms, which resemble those of the pea, are borne in long racemes. The foliage is finely cut, resembling small locust leaves, and adds to the beauty of the plant, the whole effect being exceedingly graceful. Swainsona may be grown from seed or cuttings. Cuttings taken in late winter should make blooming plants in summer; these plants may be used for winter bloom, but it is better to raise new plants. Some gardeners cut back old plants to secure new blooming wood; this is desirable if the plants grow more or less permanently in the greenhouse border, but for pots new plants should be grown.
The common swainsona is white-flowered; but there is a good rose-colored variety.
TUBEROSE (properly _tuber-ose,_ not _tube-rose,_ from its specific name, _Polianthes tuberosa_).--This plant, with its tall spikes of waxen and fragrant white flowers, is well known in the middle latitudes, but usually requires more heat and a longer season than are commonly present in the most northern states.
The tuberose is a strong feeder, and loves warmth, plenty of water while growing, and a deep, rich, and well-drained soil. The bulbs may be set in the garden or border the last of May or in June, covering them about 1 inch deep. Preparatory to planting, the old dead roots at the base of the bulb should be cut away and the pips or young bulbs about the sides removed. After keeping them till their scars are dried over, these pips may be planted 5 or 6 inches apart in drills, and with good soil and cultivation they will make blooming bulbs for the following year.
Before planting the large bulbs, it may be well to examine the points, to determine whether they are likely to bloom. The tuberose blooms but once. If there is a hard, woody piece of old stem in the midst of the dry scales at the apex of the bulb, it has bloomed, and is of no value except for producing pips. Likewise if, instead of a solid core, there is a brownish, dry cavity extending from the tip down into the middle of the bulb, the heart has rotted or dried up, and the bulb is worthless as far as blooming is concerned.
Bulbs of blooming size set in the border in June flower toward the close of September. They may be made to flower three or four weeks sooner by starting them early in some warm place, where they may be given a temperature of about 60 to 70. Prepare the bulbs as above, and place them with their tips just above the surface in about 3-or 4-inch pots, in light sandy soil. Water them thoroughly, afterwards sparingly, till the leaves have made considerable growth. These plants may be turned out into the open ground the last of May or in June, and will probably flower in early September.
[Illustration: XX. A simple but effective window-box, containing geraniums, petunias, verbenas, heliotrope, and vines.]
In the northern states, if planted in the border they will not start into growth until the ground has become thoroughly warm,--usually after the middle of June,--making the season before frost too short for their perfect growth and flower. If any danger of fall frost is feared, they may be lifted into pots or boxes and taken into the house, when they will bloom without a check. As with other bulbs, a sandy soil will suit.
Just before frost dig up the bulbs, cut off the tops to within 2 inches of the apex of the bulb. They may then be placed in shallow boxes and left out in the sun and air for a week or more, to cure. Each evening, if the nights are cold, they should be removed to some room where the temperature will not fall below 40. When the outer scales have become dry, the remaining soil may be shaken off and the bulbs stored away in shallow boxes for the winter. They keep best in a temperature of 45 to 50. It should never fall below 40.
The Dwarf Pearl, originating in 1870, has long been popular, and is still so with many. But others have come to prefer the old, tall kind, the flowers of which, even if not so large, are perfect in form and seem to open better.
TULIPS are undoubtedly the most prized of all early spring bulbs. They are hardy and easy to grow. They also bloom well in winter in a sunny climate. The garden bed will last several years if well cared for, but most satisfactory bloom is secured if the old bulbs are taken up every two or three years and replanted, all the inferior ones being cast aside. When the stock begins to run out, buy anew. The old stock, if not entirely spent, may be planted in the shrubbery or perennial borders.
September is the best time for planting tulips, but as the beds are usually occupied at this time, planting is commonly postponed till October of November. For garden culture the single early tulips are the best. There are excellent early double-flowered varieties. Some prefer the double, as their flowers last longer. Late tulips are gorgeous, but occupy the beds too long in the spring. While tulips are hardy, they are benefited by a winter mulch.
In working out design patterns, the utmost care should be used to have the lines and curves uniform, which is only to be secured by marking out the design, and careful planting. Formal planting is, however, by no means necessary for pleasing effects. Borders, lines, and masses of single colors, or groups of mixed colors which harmonize, are always in order and pleasing. Clear colors are preferable to neutral tints. As varieties vary in height and season of blooming, only named varieties should be ordered if uniform bedding effects are desired. See pp. 286 and 345; Fig. 255.
VIOLET.--While the culture of violets as house-plants rarely proves successful, there is no reason why a good supply may not be had elsewhere through the greater part of the winter and the spring months.
A sheltered location being selected, young plants from runners may be set in August or September. Have the ground fertile and well drained. These plants will make fine crowns by December, and often will bloom before weather sufficiently cold to freeze them.
To have flowers through the winter, it will be necessary to afford some protection. This may best be accomplished by building a frame of boards large enough to cover the plants, making the frame in the same way as for a hotbed, 4 to 6 inches higher at the back than the front. Cover the frame with sash or boards, and as the weather becomes severe, mats or straw should be placed over and around the frame to protect the plants from freezing. Whenever the weather will permit, the covering should be removed and air admitted, but no harm will come if the frames are not disturbed for several weeks. Much sunlight and a high temperature through the middle of winter are to be avoided, for if the plants are stimulated, a shorter period of bloom will result. In April the frame may be removed, the plants yielding the later part of the crop without protection.
Violets belong with the "cool" plants of florists. When well hardened off, considerable frost does not harm them. They should always be kept stocky. Start a new lot from runner-plants each year. They thrive in a temperature of 55 to 65. Pages 190, 206.
WAX-PLANT.--The wax-plant, or hoya, is one of the commonest of window-garden plants, and yet it is one that house-gardeners usually have difficulty in flowering. However, it is one of the easiest plants to manage if a person understands its nature.
It is naturally a summer-blooming plant, and should rest in winter. In the winter, keep it just alive in a cool and rather dry place. If the temperature does not go above 50 Fahr., so much the better; neither should it go much lower. In late winter or spring, the plant is brought out to warm temperature, given water, and started into growth. The old flower-stems should not be cut off, since new flowers come from them as well as from the new wood. When it is brought out to be started into growth, it may be repotted, sometimes into a size larger pot, but always with more or less fresh earth. The plant should increase in value each year. In conservatories, it is sometimes planted out in the ground and allowed to run over a wall, in which case it will reach a height of many feet.