H. Perennial & Old Fashioned Garden Plants & Flowers by John Wood
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The Most Useful Annuals - Hardy and Half Hardy Annuals
Author: Charles Henry Curtis
The Most Useful Annuals Described.
The Most Useful Annuals - CHAPTER III
ADONIS - "Adonis Flower" or "Pheasant's Eye" - So popular are the beautiful Spring-flowering perennials, Adorns vernalis and the newer A. amurensis, that the annual species of this little family of the Buttercup tribe (Ranunculaceæ) are apt to be overlooked. But they are very pretty, perfectly hardy, and quite easily raised from a March sowing in the open ground.
AGERATUM - "Floss-Flower" - While for practical purposes it is possible to treat not a few perennial plants as Annuals, it is also possible to so treat some Annuals that to all intents they become Perennials. Such is the "art that doth mend Nature, change it rather." The Ageratums are mostly Half-hardy Annuals, natives of Central and South America, but if they are not allowed to ripen seeds (and this they rarely do in our climate), they may be propagated from cuttings year after year, the stock plants being lifted and potted in the Autumn and kept in a Greenhouse during the Winter.
ALONSOA - "Mask Flower" - Alonsoa (Mask flower) is a genus of 12 species of flowering plants in the family Scrophulariaceae, the figwort family. The genus includes both herbaceous and shrubby species.
ALYSSUM - "Sweet Alyssum" - There must be few flower lovers who are unacquainted with the Sweet Alyssum, the white-flowered honey-scented plant that has been a favourite for long years past.
AMARANTHUS - "Amaranth" - Although one or two species of Amaranthus (Amarantacea;) are sometimes described as Hardy Annuals, it is a much better plan to consider them all as Half-hardy. Most of the species are found in India, but others come from the Bahamas, Japan, the Philippines, and the East Indies. Individually the flowers are quite small, but they are produced in enormous quantities in velvety, tassel-like spikes or clusters, these often being much branched and semipendulous or even quite so. They are striking and interesting plants, though not showy, and their vigorous growth makes them serviceable for large beds and borders. The flowers are purple, red, or crimson. But it is as foliage plants that Amaranthuses are most valuable, the colour of the leafage being very effective in many of the varieties.
ANDROSACE - "Rock Jasmine" - Some difference of opinion exists as to whether Androsace coronopifolia (Priviulacece) is an Annual or a Biennial, but it is usually listed as an Annual, and it lends itself to " Annual " treatment. The correct name of this plant, by the way, is A. lactiflora. It is an Alpine gem, about 6 inches high, producing beautiful, elegant little heads of small, pure white flowers early in Summer.
ARNEBIA - "Prophet Flower" - The Hardy Annual Arnebias (Boraginacece) are by no means well known, but here, as in the case of so many beautiful Annuals, it only needs some enterprising seedsman to grow and show them well to ensure their popularity.
BRACHYCOME (Brachyscome) - "Swan River Daisy" - The Swan River Daisies are elegant. Half-hardy Annuals from 6 inches to 12 inches high. They are very useful for edging beds occupied with larger subjects, and they make a good show if grown in a patch filling a space of a square yard. The best-known species is B. iberidifolia (Compositce), introduced from the Swan River in 1843.
CALANDRINIA - "Rock Purslane" - The showy Calandrinia grandifiora (Portulacece) is a useful hardy subject and also a handsome one, flowering finely in the Rock garden or in a sunny border where the soil is fairly dry. On dry walls it is quite at home, and if it does not here attain its full height it blooms with prodigal freedom and is a gem for such a position.
CALENDULA - ''Pot Marigold" - Old-fashioned flowers though they be, the Pot Marigolds occupy a very important position among Hardy Annuals because there are few flowers so easily managed, so cheaply purchased, or so brilliantly effective when grown in large groups, in beds or borders. In the garden of the cottager or the artisan they bloom as freely as in the garden of the merchant and the prince, and no matter what kind of a season it may be, the Marigolds do their full share in the adornment of the garden.
CALLISTEPHUS - "China Aster" - Botanists will tell us that the true Asters are perennial plants familiarly known as Michaelmas Daisies, and the Annuals popularly known by the general title of Asters (Composiia) are really garden-raised varieties of the Chinese species Callistephus hortensis (syn. C. chifiensis, C. sinensis, and Callistemma hortensis). Because the wild plant is a native of China, the whole family of garden varieties comes under the general title of China Asters, and so, because the French and German florists have developed the flower and produced a considerable number of races, alternative titles are German Asters and French Asters.
CAMPANULA - "Bell Flower" - Very few of the Bell-Flowers (Campanulaceae) are Annuals; indeed most members of the genus are perennial, although the splendid Canterbury Bells are biennial. The Annual species, however, deserve more attention than they receive, especially at the hands of those who have large Rock gardens under their care. Three species are worthy of consideration : these are Campanula drabifolia (syn. C. attica), C. Loreyi, and C. macrostyla.
CENTAUREA - "Corn Flower" and "Sweet Sultan" - The somewhat large family of Centaureas (Compositæ) contains a number of good garden subjects, and a few of these are popular Hardy Annuals. I suppose every one knows the Cornflower of the grain-fields, and most people with an interest in gardening know the elegant Sweet Sultans. For their value as cut flowers these two kinds of Annuals are worthy of wide popularity.
CHRYSANTHEMUM - "Crown Daisy" and "Corn Marigold" - It is hardly possible to over appreciate the group of hardy Annual Chrysanthemums (Compositæ), as they possess stateliness, beauty, usefulness, and a brilliant effectiveness not easily surpassed.
Clarkias (OnagracecE) have been much improved in recent years, and now the double sorts are extremely beautiful, and valuable alike for beds, borders, and for pot culture. Visitors to the Spring and early Summer exhibitions cannot fail to have seen the delightful plants of these improved double varieties exhibited in pots by the nurserymen. Such plants are easily produced if seeds are sown in August and the plants are treated hardily, frame shelter being given them during the Winter and greenhouse protection in the very early Spring. For the decoration of the Conservatory in May and June they never fail to give pleasure.
Clarkias are Hardy Annuals, and may be sown out-ofdoors in September, to flower early the following season; or on light soil in March or April for flowering later; or in gentle heat in March to provide large plants to flower in the fulness of Summer time. Strong plants put out in May, not less than a foot apart, will graw 2\ feet high, and produce an abundance of dainty blooms on spike-like branches.
Two species give us the majority of the varieties so
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largely grown. These are C. elegans and C. pulchella. The former species comes from California and the latter from Oregon. In C. elegans the lobes of the flower are entire, while in C. pulchella these are more or less lobed. The varieties of C. elegans are the most beautiful, and the leading sorts are Double Pink, Double Salmon, Snowball, double white; Firefly, double scarlet-crimson; Scarlet Beauty, scarlet; and Purple King, purplish-carmine. Of C. pulchella there are white, rose, and carmine shades, bdth double and single.
It must not be forgotten that Clarkias are particularly valuable for cutting, their elegance and Ix-auty when arranged on a dining or sitting-room table being always appreciated.
COLLINSIA " Collins Flower "
These Hardy Annuals (Scrophulariacecg) have the merit of being good town plants. They grow about a foot high, and produce their double-lipped flowers in whorls along the greater part of their growth. The most popular species is C. bicolor, white and lilac-purple; and C. b. candidissimay wholly white, and a little dwarfer than the type. Other species worthy of trial are C. bartsiaefolia, of which there is a white and a purple variety; C. corymbosa, white and blue; C. grandifiora, purplish-blue; C. parvifiora, a trailer, with purple and blue flowers; C. sparsiflora, violet; C. iinctoria, pink; C. verna, purple and blue, very pretty; and C. violacea violet and white.
It is a good plan to make both an Autumn and a Spring sowing of Collinsias, so as to prolong the flowering season. C. verna flowers in Spring and should be sown in Autumn.
Although the varieties of Convolvulus tricolor (syn. C. mifzor) are useful and popular Hardy Annuals (ConvolvtilacecB) they are not so extensively grown in large gardens as formerly, but in town and suburban gardens and in the gardens of the children they are as popular as ever. Rarely exceeding a foot in height, they make rounded mounds of neat foliage and bright flowers, and if the latter are not long lived, there is a quick succession of them right through the Summer. Sunshine they delight in, and poor soil suits them better than rich mould. The varieties are numerous; they may be white, blue and white with yellow bands, white and violet with yellow stripes, dark blue, sky blue, or pink.
Sow in Autumn and again in the Spring out-of-doors, and thin to 6 or 8 inches apart; or sow the seeds in boxes, in Spring, in gentle heat, placing them 2 inches apart. Harden off the seedlings and plant out in April or May. The climbing Annual we generally call Convolvulus major is an Ipomaea.
" Tick Seed"
The Coreopsis are first-rate border plants, and their flowers possess great value for filling the vases indoors. They mostly come from the Northern or Central part of America, and they possess grace and brilliance scarcely surpassed by any other subjects dealt with in this work, whilst their freedom of flowering is unexcelled.
Two species, with their numerous colour variations, give us most of the Annual Coreopsis (Composites) used in gardens, and these are C. Drummondii and C. tinctoria. C. Drummondii
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is about i| foot high, and its flowers are yellow, with a ring of crimson round the disk. C. tinctoria (syn. C. bicolor) grows from 2 feet to 3 feet high, and its bright brown and yellow colouring makes it very attractive. In the hands of the seedsmen this has given both rounded and stellate flowers, and a range of colour from pale yellow to deep chestnut-red or maroon. A fine dwarf strain has also been secured and is first rate for bedding, as the plants grow only from 7 to I2 inches high and form compact, bushy specimens; Golden Ray, gold and brown; Beauty, yellow and crimson; and Crimson King, dark crimson, are all good varieties in this dwarf or " Tom Thumb " section. Some of the newer dwarf Coreopsis have the margins of their ray florets recurved, and so they have gained the descriptive title of "Cactus-flowered."
Other species of some note are C. aristosa, 3 feet, orangeyellow; C. Atkinsofiiana, 3 feet, deep yellow with brown centre; C. carJaininafolia, 2 feet, yellow and brown-purple; C. Burridgci, 3 feet, crimson and yellow; and C. coronata, 1.5 foot, orange and crimson.
Coreopsis is easily managed by sowing seeds thinly in shallow drills in March, and transferring the plants to their flowering positions when about 3 inches high. They also do well when sown in September, in light soil, and transplanted to rich soil in the early Spring; so treated they come into flower earlier than those sown in Spring. They also lend themselves to treatment as Half-hardy Annuals, and do very well raised in gentle heat in March and pricked off as early as they become fit to be handled.
" Mexican Aster" — ''Feathery Cosmea"
Each year the graceful Mexican Aster, Cosmos bipinnatus (Co)nposit(e), becomes increasingly popular. The newer strains
have elegant foliage as well as fine Dahlia-like flowers to recommend them (see Plate III). They must be raised in March, in a temperature of about 65°, potted singly as soon as large enough, and planted out at the end of May or early in June, after being properly hardened off. Unless so treated they do not flower sufficiently early to be effective. For borders or for large beds they are capital subjects, and they are charming as cut flowers.
The older forms grow 3I feet high, but the newer varieties are 3 feet to 6 feet high. Crimson King, Rose Queen, and White Queen are descriptive names; Early Dawn is white and pink. C. sulphureus, \\ foot to 2 feet, light yellow; and C. tenuifoliusy 2 feet, purple, are other species.
"Mexican Cigar Flower "
Chiefly natives of Mexico, there are a few species of Cuphea (Lythracece) useful in beds and borders, but they all need a sunny position and rather poor soil. They should be treated as Half-hardy Annuals, though a few are doubtfully hardy. They make pleasing, bushy plants with pendulous flowers. The best annual kinds are C. cequipetala (syn. C. ocimoides), 2 feet, purple; C. lanceolata (syn. C. silenoides), 1.5 foot, purplish-blue; and C. Zimapatiii, 2 feet, dark purple.
'< Thorn Apple "
Of bold, strong growth, and carrying large trumpet-shaped flowers, the annual Daturas (Solanacece) are fine for subtropical gardening, for border groups, or for pot culture.
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They are half-hardy, and the seeds should be sown in moderate heat in March, and the seedlings potted off singly as soon as large enough, gradually hardening them ready for planting in a sunny place in early June. They vary a little in height, but are generally about 3 feet.
Annual species, or species that may be treated as Annuals, are D. ceratocaula, 3 feet, white, shaded with purple, sweetly scented; D.chlorantha fl. pL, yellow, double, fragrant (Golden Queen is probably a selected form of this species); D.fastuosa, 2h feet, white interior, violet exterior; D. Metel, i\ feet, white, fragrant, a fine plant; D. niuricata, 2\ feet, white; D. quercifolia, 2 feet, violet shaded; D. Stramoniuvi, 2 feet, white, a native plant, but of little garden value; D. Tatula, 2\ feet, violet; and D. T. gigantea, a giant form of the latter. A strain offered under the name of D. Ihtberiana produces beautiful duplex flowers in several shades of colour.
The Larkspurs (Ranuncu/acecB) are old time favourites, and the annual species or their garden varieties are among the most popular of flowers. They are hardy, free flowering, stately and elegant, and the flowers exhibit a considerable range of colours. Practically every colour produced is represented by double and single forms, and by tall and dwarf strains, these latter being respectively about 3 feet and 1 foot high. The florists have altered the form of the flower somewhat, as well as of the spike, so that we have now what are called Stock -flowered. Hyacinth -flowered, and Emperor strains : the Emperor strain is of sturdy growth and erect bushy habit, and flowers a little later than the Stockflowered sorts. Emperor Larkspurs probably come from
D. consolida and not from D. Ajacis. All are fine for beds or borders and look splendid in large groups, the several strains being associated so as to secure a long flowering season. The colour range is from white to intense purple, some of the rosy and carmine shades being especially attractive.
The species of most value are D. Ajacis^ \\ foot, blue, a native plant, and the progenitor of most of our garden Larkspurs; D. cardiopetalum, 1 foot, violet -blue; and D. consolida, i| foot, flowers blue, produced in a lax spike.
Autumn sowing is in most cases the best means of raising a fine stock of plants that will flower vigorously the following Summer, but all the Larkspurs are easily raised from a March or April sowing, made either in the open, or in boxes in gentle heat. Blue Butterfly is not, strictly, an Annual, but it is a very useful plant, and will flower well the same season if raised in heat in March. This Larkspur was brought into prominence a few years ago by Messrs. J. Carter and Co., of Raynes Park; it is about i^ foot high, and has spikes of large, light-blue flowers.
" Chinese,'' "Japanese " and " Indian " Pinks
Although Dianthus chinensis (Caryophyllacem) is a Biennial, the varietal or hybrid form so well known as D. Heddewigii (see Plate IV) is to all intents and purposes an Annual, and is so listed in some seed catalogues. This species is illustrated in this work because of the rich beauty of its flowers, and also because it serves to indicate the difficulty that exists in some cases in determining what is an Annual and what a Biennial. For many years the seedsmen have selected and re-selected D. Heddewigii for the purpose of
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inducing it to flower early from seeds, and also for the purpose of increasing its floriferousness, the size of its flowers, and the colour variation. The result is that we have a race of plants which produce beautiful flowers and more nearly of Annual than Biennial duration. An effort has been made in this work to keep pure Annuals together and not confuse them with Biennials that readily submit to cuitiv.ition as Annuals, but the effort fails in the case of Dinnthus chinensis var. Heddewigii.
In Dianthuscs we have a charming group of garden flowers, which rarely exceed 1 foot in height, and range in colour from white to blood-red crimson. They arc variously known as Japanese or Indian Pinks, and the taller sorts as Koyal Pinks. Of the single varieties, with shapely, broad-petalled flowers. Crimson Bell, blood-red; Empress, crimson and rose; and Eastern Queen, red, rose, and pink, are good. Among single, fringed varieties, a few of outstanding merit are Salmon Queen, salmon-rose; Vesuvius, orange-salmon; Scarlet Queen, scarlet; and The Bride, white. Double or Diadem varieties include such delightful sorts as The Mikado, finely fringed, colours various; Aurora, salmon-scarlet; Mourning Cloak, dark crimson; Purity, white; and Snowdrift, fringed white.
By far the best way to manage Indian Pinks is to raise them in gentle heat in March, prick the seedlings into boxes early, and transplant them to beds or borders, or the Rock garden, at the end of May or early in June. Thus treated they will flower splendidly in Summer and Autumn. They may be sown in Autumn, wintered in a cold frame, and planted out in May, while under favourable conditions a sowing out-of-doors in April produces plants that will flower tlie same year. Spring-sown plants will sometimes survive the Winter and flower the following year, but I have never had one do so. The Indian or Japanese Pinks love a
sunny position and lime or chalk in the soil, and the lack of lime is sometimes the cause of poor growth and few flowers.
The Grenadin, Margarita, Riviera Market, and other strains of early and quick flowering carnations are often referred to as annual Carnations, but they are perennial, though they usually fail after a couple of years. These flower well the same year, from seeds sown in heat in February or March, the resulting plants being hardened and finally planted out, or potted, in May. It is generally agreed that these strains are the result of crossing D, chinensis with D. Caryophyllus — the parent of present-day Carnations.
Dianthus Armeria, the Deptford Pink, is a native, redflowered Annual, rarely grown, but very pretty.
A South African, Half-hardy Annual that enjoys a fair share of popularity is Diascia Barberce (ScrophulariacecB), a pretty plant growing 1 foot high and producing spurred, large-lipped flowers of a pleasing and effective shade of chamois-pink. This is said to have survived a Winter and flowered the second year in some places, and one authority states that " in warm localities it is a perennial." The late George Nicholson classed it as an Annual, and most people will be satisfied with that classification, a few exceptions notwithstanding. Diascia Barberce should be raised in heat in March or April, or be sown out-of-doors in the latter month in warm, rich soil. A warm, sunny position suits it well; it is also adapted for culture in pots.
" Cape Daisy "
Among the newer Annuals, the Dimorphothecas (Composite) take a very prominent position; they are of easy culture, and
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suitable either for borders of rich soil or the Rock garden. We are indebted to Messrs. Barr & Sons for introducing the handsome D. aurantiaca to public notice. It is the Namaqualand Daisy, grows about 9 inches high, and produces its bright, orange-coloured flowers freely, these opening fully in bright sunshine and showing the black ring around the disc. It is a Half-hardy Annual, and never looks better than when placed in a sunny spot in the Rock garden. Raised in a little heat in March or April, it is easily managed if the seedlings are put singly into small pots at an early date. Some Continental raisers have endeavoured to raise a hybrid race of Dimorphothecas, and the Messrs. Barr have now offered hybrids raised by crossing D. aurantiaca with the older, white-flowered D. pluvialis. In these hybrids the good qualities of the first-named parent have been preserved, and possibly improved upon slightly, but what is of chief importance is that the new race gives a range of colouring from white to deepest orange, the apricot, pink, and yellowish shades being very pretty. These varieties cannot fail to further increase the popularity of Dimorphothecas.
D. pluvialis is a useful plant, nearly 2 feet high, and though it is usually best managed as a Half-hardy Annual, it is hardy, and proves very effective when well cared for and planted in groups in the border. Early thinning and transplanting are of importance with this plant. The flowers are over 2 inches across, white, with golden centre, and with purplish-maroon colouring on the back of the ray florets.
" Tassel Flower "
Emilia flammea is better known by the name of Cacalia coccinea, and as such it is generally catalogued by seedsmen. It is a Composite, growing i^ foot high, and flowering freely
PLATE IV DIANTHUS CHINENSIS, Var. HEDDEWIGII
in the Summer and Autumn. The flowers are not very effective individually, but they are bright orange-scarlet and borne in clusters like a bunch of tassels, this style of inflorescence giving rise to the popular name of Tassel Flower. Emilia flammea is quite hardy, and may be sown out-of-doors in early September to stand through the Winter and flower early in the following Summer. It is usual, however, to sow seeds in April and transplant the seedlings to their flowering quarters as soon as they are large enough to be easily handled. Another method is to sow in gentle heat in April, harden off the seedlings in the usual way, and plant them out in May or early June. It must be remembered that this useful plant — useful especially for association with other flowers in various kinds of floral decorations — does not take kindly to root disturbance, consequently leaf soil should be freely used in the seed bed.
Very useful little plants are the Hardy Annual Erysimums (CrucifercE). There are two species that interest us in this connexion, and they are E. arkansanum and E. Perofskianum. The former is 1 foot high and has yellow flowers, while the second has orange-coloured flowers and is from 1 foot to \\ foot high. Both plants are suitable for bedding, and E. Perofskianum is particularly good for Spring displays or for the Rock garden. Seeds may be sown in Autumn and again in Spring to secure a long flowering season, but in most gardens they seed freely, and self-sown plants are abundant. It would appear, however, that in the colder northern districts E. arkansanum is practically a biennial. The Erysimums, or Hedge Mustards, are very like the Wallflowers in leafage, habit, and flowers, but the latter are smaller and produced in shorter spikes.
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" Califoniian Poppy "
Most of us have tripped sometime or other over the spelling of Eschscholzia, but the mistake has served to keep the plant in mind. The garden forms of E. californica (Papaveracece) have the most brilliant orange-coloured flowers the mind can picture, and in full sunshine abed of Eschscholzias is a ravishing sight indeed. The plants grow about 1 foot high and are perfectly hardy. It is an excellent plan to make a sowing in the Autumn and thin the seedlings to 9 inches apart, and then the plants will come into bloom early the following Summer. In addition to large and bright flowers the Eschscholzias have finely divided and very elegant foliage.
E. californica and its varieties have produced some beautiful shades of colour in garden varieties. A few of the best are Alba, creamy-white; Diana, primrose and rose; Golden West, yellow, with orange blotch; Frilled Pink, pink; Orange Queen, orange and yellow; Mandarin, orange-scarlet and gold, a grand variety; Mikado, orangecrimson; Rose Cardinal, deep rose; and Ruby King, deep ruby-red. E. californica itself has yellow, orangecentred flowers.
While Autumn sowing is desirable whenever it can be managed, Eschscholzias can be sown successfully in the open in March or April, to flower the same year; but a warm sunny position should always be selected, as only in the sunshine do they do themselves full justice.
It may be added that the genus is often listed as Eschschol/zia, but there is no authority for the addition of the letter " t " in the title.
" Blanket Flower "
In localities where some difficulty is experienced in keeping the perennial Gaillardias (Compositce) safely through our damp winters the annual species have the greater value, for their large and brilliant flowers are peculiarly useful for cutting, and the plants are first-rate subjects either for beds or borders. The flowering season is a long one, the longstemmed flowers following each other in rapid succession. Although the Annual Gaillardias may be raised outof-doors from a sowing made in July, there is a great risk of losing the plants during Winter, even though they are planted out in September. The protection afforded by the tops of dead stems of Michaelmas Daisies will assist the plants to withstand wet and cold, but even then there are sure to be losses. The better plan is to sow seeds in a warm greenhouse in February or early March, prick off the seedlings into boxes of rich soil as soon as possible, duly harden them in a cold frame, and plant out at the end of May or early in June, according to climate and season.
The annual species of Gaillardia are G. amblyodon, 2 feet, vivid crimson; and G. pulchella (syn. G. bicolor), 2 feet to 3 feet, crimson and yellow. Of the latter there are several natural and many garden varieties. G. p. picta is crimson with gold tips, and is often catalogued as G. Drummondii; G. p. coccinea is dark crimson and gold; and Lorenziana is a form with quilled florets and rounded, double heads, in various shades of deep red and yellow.
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The prominence given at recent exhibitions to the biennial Gilia cononopifolia (Polcmoniacece) will probably have the effect of bringing the annual species into notice. These latter are hardy, but sometimes the Autumn-raised seedlings are severely thinned by our damp and cold winters unless protected, though on light warm soils the losses are few. Where the Gilias are appreciated, and especially where bees are kept, a sowing should be made under glass in March, and another one in the open in April; by this means a succession is secured. The plants resulting from a September sowing will, of course, be the earliest to flower.
The best are G. achi/lecefolia, 1.5 foot, purple-blue; G. androsacea (syn. Leptosiphon androsaceus), 9 inches, lilac or pink with yellowish throat (there arc several garden forms); G. capitata, 1 foot, blue; G. densiflora (syn. Leptosiphon detisiflorus) and G. d. albus, 1 foot, respectively rosy-lilac and white, possess an exquisite beauty, and are generally known as Leptosiphons; G. dianthoidcs, 6 inches, lilac; G. ladniata, 9 inches, purple; G. micraniha, 9 inches, rose; and G. tricolor, 1 foot, in various colours, but chiefly blue, violet, or white, with yellowish centre. Snow Queen appears to be a white, yellow-centred variety, and Nivalis is probably also a white form, while minima is a dwarfer and later flowering form with blue flowers, and a capital subject for the Rock garden or for an edging. Those who have not grown the Gilias should certainly give them a trial.
Gyynnolomia multiflora (Compositce) may be aptly described as a miniature Sunflower. It is hardy, though probably best
treated as a Half-hardy Annual in all but favoured places. It grows about i^ foot to 2 feet high, and in late Summer and Autumn it keeps up a good supply of golden-yellow, dark-centred flowers that are first rate for cutting. For the border, too, the plant is an effective one, and should be made a note of by all who wish to have their gardens as bright as possible in Autumn. A few years ago I saw this Annual grown in some quantity in a garden near Bristol, where it proved a very valuable subject.
" Chalk Plant " or " Gypsy Flower '^
The popular Gypsy Flower so largely used by the florists in floral designs is the perennial Gypsophila panicidata i^Caryophyllacecz), but the hardy annual species, G. elegans, is equally as popular and extensively grown for the great flower markets. For this latter purpose it is sown somewhat thickly in drills, two or three sowings being made in the Spring and one in the Autumn. This method allows of easy bunching. In the garden some amount of thinning is advisable, and a few twiggy sticks from an old birch broom should be placed among the plants to support their slender growth against wind and rain.
G. elegans is about 1.5 foot high, and its pinkish variety, G. e. rosea, is of similar stature, while a grandiflora strain, also known as White Pearl, is of about the same height, but has larger flowers, and is the better plant if effectiveness in the border is the first consideration. G. muralis grows 6 inches high, and has pink flowers; it is a suitable plant for the Rock garden, but is not of high merit, I have never seen G. elegans prove to be a perennial, though it is described as a perennial in several well-known gardening dictionaries.
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Superior people affect to despise Sunflowers, because they are so commonly found in gardens, and though they grow the perennial species they will not have the Annual. One does not wish to quarrel with personal likes and dislikes; but it does seem strange that the smaller-growing Sunflowers of the Stella or H. cucumerifolius group are not far more widely cultivated.
Helianthus anniius (Compositce) is the parent of our garden varieties of annual Sunflowers, and though it is usually 6 feet to 8 feet high, it sometimes ascends to lo feet or even 12 feet, as the daily papers do not forget to tell us. Every one knows the great golden-rayed flower heads, with the huge disk that presently becomes studded with seeds arranged in a wonderfully regular pattern. The monster double sorts with the disk florets developed so as to form a rounded head are also fairly common, and they are fine for planting in big borders, or near the margin of shrub and tree plantations, or near water. Both the giant single and double forms are offered in several shades of yellow. For the garden proper the varieties of H. annuus cucumerifolius are best, as they grow from 2\ feet to 4 feet high, and have a branching habit. Their flowers are from 4 to 6 inches across, golden yellow, with dark brown centre; Apollo is golden, with maroon centre, and is very dwarf; Orion has revolute margins to its golden florets, and thus it has the form of a Cactus Dahlia; Primrose Stella has soft primrose-yellow flowers; Mars is golden yellow with purplish centre; Princess Ida is soft white, with pale yellow band round the dark centre; and Venus is cream-coloured with yellow shading round the purplish centre. Perkeo is a
distinct new form, only about a foot high, but making a neat bush that carries plenty of golden flowers. I have grown many of these dwarf or miniature Sunflowers for a number of years, and am thoroughly satisfied that as yet their beauty and usefulness are not generally recognised. Seeds may be sown singly in small pots under glass, in April, for planting out in May; or sown in March where the plants are to flower.
Helianthus argophyllus, 6 feet, yellow, is a Texan plant very like H. annuus, but not so good. By some authorities H. cucumerifolius is regarded as a species, and others consider it a form of H. 'debzlis, but here it is regarded as a form of H. annuus.
HELICHRYSUM " Everlasting Flower "
Some of the very best of the " Everlasting " flowers are to be found in the genus Helichrysum (Coinpositce). Although the family is a large one, very few species merit cultivation, but those grown have numerous garden varieties and make good border plants, besides being useful when the flowers are cut and hung downwards to dry, ready for Winter decorations. They are Half-hardy Annuals. The species most in cultivation is H. bracteatum, 3 feet, variously coloured; H. b. aureum and H. b. chrysanthum are yellow; H. b. compositum is double; H. b. macranthum is large, white and rose; and H. b. niveum, white. With these to work with the seedsmen have raised Golden Globe, Silver Queen, Pink Beauty, Fireball, and other good varieties of fine colour.
This is a family of South African or Australian plants (Cojnpositce) that also belongs to the "Everlastings." The
50 PRESENT-DAY GARDENING
plants resemble the Helichrysums and need exactly the same kind of treatment, with the exception of H. Manglesii, which, under the name of Rhodanthe Manglesii, is a very popular pot plant with the market growers, and is a graceful and pretty subject for conservatory decoration. This species, raised in heat in March, is grown five plants in a 48-sizdd pot, in light, rich soil. If grown out-of-doors it is best sown where it is to flower, about April, and thinned to two or three inches apart. H. roseum is better known as Acroclinium roseum. H. Cotiila, 1.5 foot, yellow and white; and H. Huuiboldtianum (syn. H. Sand/ordianum), 1.5 foot, yellow, are other species in cultivation.
"Japanese Hop "
A very pretty climbing Annual, and one that will attain a height of 18 feet in a favourable season, is Huinulus japonicus (Urticacece). For screens, pergolas, porches, and verandahs, or for covering an outhouse with graceful greenery, it is a fine subject. There is a variegated variety of great merit. From seeds sown out-of-doors in April or May good results will follow, but to give the plants the best possible chance the seeds ought to be sown in gentle heat in March or April, and the seedlings potted as necessary, until by the end of May they will be large and fit to grow away speedily when planted out.
The Hardy Annual Candytufts (Ct-nciferct) are rarely seen at their best, because it is difficult to persuade folks to sow thinly and thin severelv. The seedsmen have done their
best and given us the Spiral, Hyacinth-flowered, and Rocket strains, as well as distinct colours, such as purest white, lilac, rose, carmine, and crimson. Then there is a particular dwarf form named Little Prince, only 6 inches high, and a mass of whiteness for a long period; it is a charming plant for edging or for the Rock garden. The other sorts grow about a foot high and will be as much across if given room. These fragrant and useful flowers should be largely grown, and sowings made in late August or September will provide early flowers that will be followed by plants raised from a Spring sowing. Almost any soil and situation will suit Candytufts, and there is no need to raise plants under glass, though they may be so raised in March or April, and planted out early, but they do not love transplantation, and always succeed best in a sunny, open position. In the not very kind year of 19 10 I had a fine display of the carmine Candytuft on a narrow border that is well filled with Daffodils, and which would never look beautiful in Summer but for the help of Annuals.
Iberis amara is the native Candytuft, white-flowered, and probably from its variety spiralis the Spiral Candytufts have been developed. The Common or garden Candytuft has been derived from /. umbellata, a native of Southern Europe, while a form of the species, known as /. coronaria, has given rise to the handsome Rocket Candytufts.
The old florists had a great love for Balsams, and the flowers were very popular many years ago. Much time and care were spent on their cultivation, and unless a flower was as perfectly double as a finely-formed Camellia it did not
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come up to the highest standard of excellence. Though Balsams (^Gerajiiacece) are still grown largely for Greenhouse and Conservatory decoration, the culture of these handsome but tender plants is by no means so extensive as a quarter of a century ago. The Balsams are Half-hardy Annuals, and they have a distinct value for beds and borders as well as for pot culture; indeed their use might be greatly extended with advantage in connexion with Summer gardening, especially where there are conveniences for raising a batch of seedlings, growing them into good-sized plants, and protecting them until all fear of frost is over.
Seeds of the very best strains of Balsams are expensive as compared with the price paid for many Annuals, and this is so because the finer the strain, and the more double the flowers, the more difficult it is to obtain seeds. Where Balsams are grown for Conservatory decoration it is a good plan to make two or three sowings, these ranging from early in February to the end of March, but where an outdoor effect is the end in view, then a mid-March sowing will be suitable in most cases, as the plants grow freely when once past their seedling stage and would require a great deal of house room over a long period if raised earlier; the early raised batch would also necessitate a good deal of extra labour in the matter of potting and watering.
A gentle heat of about 60°, with a slightly higher bottom heat, will ensure quick and fairly regular germination. Loam, leaf-soil, and sand make a good seed-bed, and if the surface is pressed level and firm the seeds can easily be sown thinly and regularly upon it; they should be pressed into the soil and just covered with a little fine, sandy compost, and carefully watered through the medium of a fine rose. As soon as the seedlings have formed the second leaf, t.e. the first leaf after the cotyledons have developed, each one should be potted into a 3-inch pot, in a mixture of loam,
GROWTH OF BALSAMS 53
old and dried cow-manure, and leaf-soil, using these materials in the proportions of three, two, and one respectively, adding sand according to the texture of the loam, and sufficient to render the compost porous. Balsams are free feeders, and as they are of a succulent nature they need a great deal of moisture, hence the need of a porous compost and perfect drainage.
At the first potting the little plants must be placed low in the soil, so that the cotyledons, or seed-leaves, rest on the surface when potting is finished. This serves a double purpose; the plants are kept from becoming "leggy" at the start and roots speedily form on the part of the stem that is covered. A genial temperature and a position near the glass are necessary until the plants are well established. After a time a further potting will be needed, and as the weather improves less artificial heat will suffice. In May a frame will provide sufficient protection in most seasons, every care being taken to guard against frost and low temperatures. Ventilation must be given in steadily increasing measure, so that by the second week in June the plants will be hardy enough for transplanting in the Flower garden. July is the usual time of flowering, but this depends upon the time of sowing and the method of cultivation adopted.
The further consideration of Balsams for pot culture is hardly in accord with the scope of the present work.
In the foregoing remarks the recommendations are for varieties of Impatiens Balsamina (Geraniacece), a species introduced from Tropical Asia as long ago as 1596. The hardy annual species may be sown where they are to flower, or be raised in a seed-bed in a warm position and transplanted in due course; but in most seasons the trouble lies not in raising a stock, but in keeping the self-sown seedlings from becoming a nuisance and over-running neighbouring
54 PRESENT-DAY GARDENING
plants. The generic title, Impatiens, was given because the seed pods are impatient of the slightest touch when the seeds are nearly ripe, the valves discharging the seeds at the least provocation and to a little distance.
Of Ivipatiens Balsaminn, there are several florists' strains : the chief of these are those known as Camellia-flowered and Rose-flowered. A dwarf strain grows only about 6 inches high. The Rose Balsam may be obtained in a number of colours, and these come true. The Camellia -flowered Balsams are the finest for general purposes, and are sold in distinct colours, notably salmon-pink, white, rose, violet, scarlet, and cream. Both these strains reach a height of 1.5 foot to 2 feet.
/. amphorata, 4 feet to 6 feet, is a Hardy Annual that produces pale purple flowers at the end of the Summer, and is fine for large borders or for the semi-wild garden; /. bijiora, 3 feet, orange, is of less merit, but quite hardy, and looks well by the water side; /. discolor, l1 foot, yellowish, is also hardy. /. Roylei, 4 feet to 6 feet, is a noble plant, and has purplish or white flowers; this is a variable species, the variety macrochila growing a couple of feet higher than the type, and bearing light purple flowers, while the variety pallidiflora is of similar character but has paler blooms. /. Roylei and its varieties are of considerable value in the larger gardens, but in many places the plant is so rampant that it is regarded as a coarse weed rather than a flower to encourage.
" Violet Cress"
One of the gems among Hardy Annuals is the dainty lonopsidium acaule (Cruci/era), which grows about 2 inches high.
and is especially adapted for a semi-shady place in the Rock garden. Its little four-petalled flowers are lilac-blue, and very bright and cheerful looking. Once it is sown in the Spring where it is to flower it is little trouble, as it usually sheds seeds freely, and little colonies follow each other, and only need thinning or occasional transplanting to a new site. Both /. acaule and the white variety album require fairly moist soil. The Violet Cress, to give it its popular name, is also known as Cochlearia acaulis.
" Morning Glory "
The Annual climber so well-known as Convolvulus major is correctly Ipomoea purpurea (Convolvulacece), and has also been named Pharbitis hispida. Though not perfectly hardy, seeds may be sown out-of-doors early in May with every prospect of success, but stronger plants can be obtained for planting at the end of May or in early June if seeds are sown in gentle heat in March or April. For window boxes, balconies and arches this Ipomoea is specially fitted, and there are enough colour variations to please every one. The seedsmen offer pale and dark blue, crimson, purple, rose, red-striped, blue-striped, and white varieties, and these come wonderfully true. There are double-flowered, as well as the more popular single varieties.
" Belvedere " or "Summer Cypress "
The rapidity with which Kochia trichophila (Chenopodiacece) gained popular appreciation after Messrs. H. Cannell and
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Sons first brought it into general notice was wonderful. The species is not valuable for its flowers, but for the shapeliness of the plants and the elegance of the abundant foliage, which turns a rich blood-red colour in autumn. It is used to good effect for furnishing "dot " plants for the Flower garden and for grouping in borders. Quite hardy plants may be raised from an early Spring sowing, but the finest results are obtained when seeds are sown in pans in a warm greenhouse in March, each seedling being potted in its own pot and gradually hardened off ready to plant out at beddingout time. The popular names of Belvedere and Summer Cypress have been given to Kochia trichopliila. K. scoparia is an inferior species, but it was the name under which K. trichopliila first became popular.
The Sweet Pea — Lathyrus odoratus (Legiiminosip) — in many varieties is prominently before the public nowadays; but this is not the place to discuss such a popular subject, because a special book in the " Present-Day Gardening " series is devoted to Sweet Peas and their cultivation. There are, however, several Hardy Annual species besides L. odoratus (Leg7aninoscB)y and though they are not of great garden value they may be mentioned. These are L. cirr/iosus, rosepink; L. Nissolia, crimson; and L. tingitanus, purple-red, and about 3 feet high. All are raised from seeds sown either in Spring or Autumn.
AFRICAN MARIGOLD (Tagetes erecta) AND FRENCH MARIGOLD (Tagetes patuld)
" Mallow "
Where there is room for a free-branching Hardy Annual, 3 feet high, the Lavateras (Malvacece) should be a first selection, because they last long in perfection and produce their large, beautiful flowers with great freedom. L. trimestris is the species, and it will do well sown in the Autumn and thinned to 2 feet apart. It may be raised in gentle heat in Spring, but it has a very bad habit of damping off when transferred from the seed-bed to pots or boxes. Failing an Autumn sowing, sow where the plants are to flower, in March or April. The type has pale, silvery-rose flowers, and there is a lovely white variety, but each of these has been improved upon, and the best are those catalogued as L. splendens alba and L. splendens rosea. In these the flowers are larger and the habit of growth more compact than in the true species.
Closely alhed to the Coreopsis, and very like Coreopsis in general appearance, the Leptosynes (CompositcE) bear their flower heads on long stems and are fine for cutting. L. Douglasizy 1 foot, yellow, must be raised in gentle heat in Spring and planted out in May; E. callwpsidea, i| foot, yellow, flowers in Autumn. L. Stillmannii is of recent introduction; it grows \\ foot high, and has golden-yellow flower heads, \\ inch across, and comes into bloom five or six weeks from the time of sowing in April in a sunny position, in good garden soil.
6o PRESENT-DAY GARDENING
For very many years Limnauthes Douglasii (Gemniacae) has been a favourite Hardy Annual and one grown largely for edging, for beds, and borders, and considered quite the thing to grow in cjuantity where bees are kept. It is only 6 inches high, but its yellow, white-edged, fragrant flowers are charming : so much so that when the plant is once grown in a garden it holds its position. Sowings should be made both in Spring and Autumn.
" Toadflax "
In some parts of the country the Hardy Annual Linarias (Scroplitilariacece) are immensely popular, while in other parts they are seldom seen. They have the popular title of Toadflax, and the two-lipped flowers have a close resemblance to those of the Antirrhinum. Where they are appreciated an Autumn and a Spring sowing should always be made. Suitable alike for beds and borders, the Linarias supply elegant flowers for cutting. The best species are L. bipartita, 1 foot, purple, and its variety splendens and L. maroccana, \\ foot, purple — of this last there are numerous garden forms, such as Excelsior, a strain with colours ranging from pink and yellow to blue and violet; Queen of Roses, rosycarmine; White Pearl and Snow White, white; and Golden Gem, 9 inches, yellow. Other species are L. reticulata^ 2 feet, purple and yellow; L. spartea, 1 foot, yellow; and L. tristis, 6 inches, yellow and purple or crimson, a pretty plant for edging or for the Rock garden.
An extremely popular garden plant is Liniivi gi-andifiorum (Linece)y 6 to 12 inches high, rose-coloured, but its varieties are even better for general use. These are L. g. coccineum, deep rosy-crimson; and L. g. kerniesinum, blue. Linuvi usitatissiimim, the Common Flax of commerce, and the plant from which we get Linseed, is also beautiful, its round bright blue flowers on slender graceful stems being altogether charming. All the foregoing are hardy, and should be sown out-of-doors in April where they are to flower, but as they make pretty pot plants it may be desirable to make a small sowing under glass during the Spring.
While there is a very great deal to be said in favour of the handsome, perennial Lupines (LegtiminoscE), there is also much to recommend the annual species. These latter are useful for furnishing an immediate effect, and they are particularly serviceable for filling vacancies in herbaceous borders and shrubberies and in the Flower garden proper. When grown in groups of one colour in association with other Hardy Annuals of less height, they are at once stately, graceful and effective. Quite hardy, varying from 1 foot to 3 feet high, they have many claims to consideration, not the least of which is that the long spikes are useful for filling large vases. In the semi-wild garden, and for positions on the outskirts of tree and shrubbery plantations the annual Lupines are of great value.
They are as useful in a small garden as in a large one, and the only failing — if failing it is — is that the seedlings do
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not transplant well. Therefore the seeds should be sown where the plants are to flower, in the early Autumn or in March. If seedlings are raised in a frame or greenhouse in the Spring, then the pricking off process must take place at the earliest possible date and each plant be placed in a small pot from which it can be planted out in due course without suffering serious harm; under this method it may be desirable to shift each plant into a larger pot some time before planting, otherwise the best possible results may not be obtained.
The meritorious species are L. Cruickshanksii, 4 feet, blue, purple and yellow, not entirely hardy everywhere; L. densifloriis (syn. L. Menziesii), \\ foot, yellow; L. luteus, 2 feet, yellow, fragrant; L. mutabilis, 3 to 5 feet, white and blue; L. VI. versicolor, purple, blue and rose, and L. nanus, 1 foot, lilac and blue : of this latter species there is a fine white variety; and L. subcarnosus, 1 foot, blue and yellow. Besides these there is L. hybridus atrococcineus, a garden-raised plant with tall spikes of scarlet flowers, the blossoms tipped with white. L. Hartwegit'xs not really an Annual, but the blue and white forms of it offered by seedsmen are seldom of more than annual duration, and so are almost always listed as Hardy Annual.
It should be remembered that Lupines love the sunshine, and seem to do best in soils containing a good deal of lime. They are first-class plants in every respect. From 1 foot to i| foot apart is not too far to thin them; it is a good plan to sow the seeds 6 inches apart, an inch or so deep, and thin the seedlings to the desired distance.
"Rose of Heaven "
Although not much grown at present, a good deal might be written on behalf of the varieties of Lychnis Caii-rosea
(CaryophyllacecE\ a Hardy Annual formerly somewhat popular as Agrostemma Ccela-rosea, and also known as Viscaria oculata. It is usually best managed if sown in March or April where it is to flower, the seedlings being thinned to 6 or 8 inches apart as soon as large enough to be easily handled. A native of the Levant, with the popular title of Rose of Heaven, this Annual has no special likes or dislikes in the matter of soil, but prefers a sunny site to a shaded one. The magenta flowers are not beloved by all.
u Virginian Stock"
There are at least half-a-dozen Hardy Annual species of Malcomia in cultivation, but the species best known in gardens is M. maritima (Cruciferce), the Virginian Stock. This plant grows from 6 to 9 inches high, and is obtainable in several colours; it is a very elegant little plant, particularly showy for its size and suitable for beds or for breadths in the flower border. Several sowings must be made from March to June if a succession of bright flowers is to be maintained, and a September sowing will give an early spring display. The seeds are small and need only be just covered with soil, but sow thinly and thin out to 3 or 4 inches apart. Any good garden soil will suffice, but one of light medium character appears to suit the plant best. Good selections are Crimson King, crimson and purple; and Fairy Queen, rich crimson; there are also crimson, mauve and white mixtures. M. bicolor is pink and yellow; while M. Chia is purple, and M. littorea pink and purple. The generic title is sometimes erroneously spelt Malcolmia.
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" Ma/low-wort "
Closely allied to the Lavateras and Mallows, Malope trifida (Malvacea) is a. capital garden plant, making bushy specimens 2 feet high, and bearing glossy or satiny flowers of good size and great beauty. The type is now rarely seen, as an improved or grandiflora strain is always offered by the seedsmen. Red, white, and rose coloured varieties come very true. For massing in considerable groups the Malopes are useful plants, and they look well against a background of shrubs or tall herbaceous plants. Sow in a greenhouse in March or in the open in April, planting or thinning the plants to i^ foot apart. The Malopes are good plants for town gardens.
The annual species of Mallow are not of much value in the garden, but M. crispa, 5 feet, white, has some merit as a foliage plant for subtropical effects, because of its large, crimped leafage. Seeds should be raised under glass in March, potted singly, and planted out in May or June.
" Elephant's rnink "
Martj'tiia fragrans ^Pedalinece) is a striking Half-hardy Annual, 2 feet high, with woolly foliage and large Gloxinialike flowers of mauve or purple colour and sweetly scented, The flowers are followed by double-horned seeds that are sometimes picked while young and pickled. M. proboscidea (syn. M. annua) is of shorter growth, and has blue and white flowers that are also sweetly scented. Both are worthy
of culture, but M. fragrans is the better plant. Sow in heat in March, placing each seed in a small pot, harden off and plant out in June about 1 foot apart; a moist yet sunny position gives the best results.
'^ May Weed"
Matricaria inodora (Composites) is a native weed, but cultivation has so altered it that its double forms are of considerable usefulness in the garden. Two fine varieties are in cultivation, and both deserve wide culture, as they are excellent subjects for bedding or for grouping in herbaceous or shrubbery borders. These are Bridal Robe and Snowball, Both have pure white, double blooms; the former variety is about i;^ foot high and the latter 2 feet to 2^ feet high. Bridal Robe I have seen growing in quantity in not a few large gardens, but the most remarkable display that has come under my notice was at Messrs. Watkins & Simpson's trial grounds at Feltham a year or two ago, where a large breadth in full bloom could be likened to nothing better than a mass of freshly fallen snow, the whole being wonderfully even and of dazzling whiteness. In my own garden I have to be content with a few small groups, raised from seeds sown in gentle heat in April. Six or eight inches apart is a good distance to plant the seedlings in May after they have been fully hardened.
" Stock "
A garden of any pretension without its summer-flowering Stocks is almost unthinkable. Stocks are splendid plants, and a vast amount of time and care have been expended upon their selection and improvement. Many continental firms
66 PRESENT-DAY GARDENING
have done jfood work in this direction, and at home Messrs. Webb & Sons, J, Carter & Co., and Sutton & Sons have raised some first-rate varieties. Few plants equal Stocks for bedding purposes, and no Annuals excel them for the production of bold effects in a border. To the purity and brilliance of their colouring must be added the attributes of stateliness, good habit, double and lasting flowers, and sweet fragrance.
Two species have provided us with the wide range of Stocks now available for garden decoration, and these are Matthiola incana (Crucifera), with its variety annua, and M. sinuata. It is specially interesting to notice that from M. incana have come such different groups as the quick-flowering Tenweek and the Brompton Stocks. These latter, as well as the East Lothian or Intermediate Stocks obtained from JM. sinuata, are Half-hardy Annuals; sometimes they are classed as biennials and are grown as such, but they can be grown to flower the same year from seeds, even though they may prove finer when given the longer season of growth.
Taking the popular Ten-week section first, the best method of raising plants is to sow seeds thinly in well-drained sandy soil in March in a temperature of about Oo°; a declining hotbed is often a capital place for raising the plants. Only just cover the seeds, and as soon after germination as the seedlings can be successfully handled prick them off into boxes or pans of soil which contain a fair amount of leaf-mould, sand, and a little decayed, dried cow manure. Another method is to place the seedlings in a frame very soon after they have formed rough leaves, and as soon as they have become used to the frame, plant them 4 inches apart in a bed of soil made up in the frame. Here they can receive ventilation according to the w^eather, and the lights can be entirely removed when the plants are established and the temperature
REARING OF STOCKS 67
permits. The process of hardening off is easily managed under these conditions, the plants grow sturdily and are excellent material for planting out at the end of May or in early June. When Annuals are grown in this fashion it is a good plan to cut through the soil in the beds between the rows of plants, with an edging iron or a large knife, a week or so before planting time, as this reduces the check of removal to a minimum.
In the small seedling stage Stocks are very liable to damp off with surprising suddenness. To prevent this trouble thin sowing must be practised, and the seed bed must be composed of light and well drained soil. Further, when the seedlings are pricked off they must not be placed too low in the new soil or there will be trouble. Seedlings crowded in the seed bed become attenuated and weakly, and so there is a tendency to place them low in the soil when first transferring them so as to counteract this spindliness; the result is failure. The thinly sown, sturdy seedlings should be transplanted so that after being watered the ground line of the settled soil is just below the seed-leaves. If the seed-leaves are wholly or partly buried damping is sure to be troublesome.
In general terms this advice applies also to the other kinds of Stocks. The Intermediate and East Lothian Stocks may receive similar treatment and they will flower well in the Autumn, but if they are required to flower in the spring time then they must be sown in June or July, in a frame, given open-air treatment until September, when the plants must be potted into 60-sized pots and wintered in a cold frame. Frost must be excluded, but every advantage taken of fine weather to ventilate freely. Plunging the pots in ashes is good practice. Plant out immediately all danger from frost is over in the Spring. The Brompton Stocks need similar management to that here detailed for the East Lothians when the latter are needed for early flowering the succeeding year.
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Ten-week Stock'? may be obtained ranging in height from 8 inches to 2 feet, and in such colours as white, buff, blush, rose, pink, salmon, carmine, mauve, blue, purple, and deep red. What are listed as Bedding Stocks grow from 10 to 12 inches high; they are sturdy, vigorous, and free-ffowering. The Miniature varieties are about 8 inches high and the Bouquet varieties about 1 foot high. Dwarf German and Wallflower-leaved sorts are 1 foot high, and the latter have distinct foliage. There are some named sorts that come into this group, and some of the best of these fine selections are Snowdrift, Princess Alice, Bismarck, Snowdon, and Mont Blanc, white; Princess May, primrose; Celestial, blue; F'ireball, scarlet; Salmon Beauty, salmon. Beauty of Nice is the name of a fine strain that may be sown in late Spring for winter flowering under glass, but it is also good for summer flowering. Stocks for flowering under glass during the Winter and early Spring hardly come under our purview in this work.
Intermediate varieties and also the East Lothians are offered in various colours, but specially good among the former are Covent Garden Scarlet, very bright; May Queen, various; Crystal White, white; and Queen Alexandra, lilac.
Matthiola tristis, the Night-scented Stock, should be treated much in the same way as Mignonette, several sowings being made in Spring in various parts of the garden.
Several of the Meconopsis (P apaveracece) are biennials, but at least one is of annual duration, namely, M. heterophylla. This is a Californian species which grows about 1 foot high, and has coppery, orange-red flowers of great beauty. It is
MENTZELIA LINDLEYI 69
half-hardy, free flowering, and takes fairly well to cultivation in pots, as well as to culture in light moist soil in the Rock garden. Sow the seeds in pans in a warm greenhouse in March, prick out the plants, and harden them off for planting in May or June. When better known, this species should become one of the most popular of the Poppy-worts.
"Barton^ s Golden Flower"
The golden-flowered Californian Annual so commonly listed as Bartonia aurea is, correctly, Mentzelia Lindleyi [LoasacecE). Whatever name it is grown under it is a capital plant, and makes an especially good display in a sunny season like that of 191 1. It loves the sun, and whether grown in a border or in a Rock garden this point should not be forgotten. Though hardy, it is best raised in a frame or in gentle heat in April and planted out as soon as the plants are strong and hardy enough. An outdoor sowing in April will usually prove successful, but if the season should be a late one the plants so raised have but a short flowering period. Mentzelia Lindleyi grows i^ foot high, and freely produces its fivepetalled flowers, which, individually, are about \\ inch across, and of a rich golden-yellow shade.
The Nemesias have jumped into popularity chiefly because Messrs. Sutton & Sons saw the possibilities of N. strumosa and set out to select the most attractive shades of colour and improve the size of the flowers and the habit of growth. They succeeded beyond expectations, and now the colour range is a large one, and seeds are offered that give a very high percentage true to the special colour named. The colours have been separated into white, pink, yellow, orange,
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scarlet, crimson, and blue. There are dwarf strains about 8 inches hi<»h, the large flowered sorts being about 1 foot high. Nemesias flower with great freedom and form elegant little bushes. For bedding, or for edging large beds, the Nemesias are splendid, and a mass of one colour or of similar colours in the border is a delight.
The garden forms of Neniesia stnimosa (ScropJiiilariacecB) are not always the easiest plants to raise from seeds, that is, they germinate freely on one occasion and almost fail on another. An early sowing under glass may not give good results, while a sowing in a shaded border at the end of April may result in a big crop of seedlings. A temperature of about 60" seems to be a most suitable one for germination, provided the seeds are gently pressed into the soil and only just covered with the tine sandy compost. A very important point is to sow thinly and to transplant the tiny seedlings into pans or boxes as early as possible. Harden off and plant out in May. The end of March is usually quite early enough for the first sowing; this may be followed by a sowing in a frame and anotiier out-of-doors. When planting out set the plants 6 or 8 inches apart, as at this distance the taller strain will meet and form a mass of bright blossom.
N. bicontis, 2 feet, purple; N. floribiinda, 1 foot, white; and N. versicolor, 1 foot, lilac and white, are other Half-hardy Annual species.
" Californian Bluebell"
A very old and popular favourite is Neviophila insignis (Hydrophyllaceic), a plant w^hich was rarely absent from any garden, large or small, in olden days. It is now mostly seen in the gardens of the artisan and the cottager and in the smaller villa gardens, where it gives a bright and plentiful
return for the little expense and time given it. Though of Calif or nian origin Nemophila insignis is a Hardy Annual, and the earliest flowers are produced from an Autumn sowing, though this should always be followed by at least one Spring sowing. Seeds are nearly always sown far too thickly, with the result that the plants are rarely allowed to do themselves full justice. I suppose few people ever thin Nemophilas to 1 foot apart; but if they so treated them a pleasant surprise would follow and the display be finer and more lasting than that obtained from overcrowded plants.
The grandiflora strain of N. insignis has larger flowers than the type; blue, with white centre, is the commonest colour, but there are white, rosy, and white margined varieties. N. maculata, 6 inches, white and purple, is good; and N. Menziesii, 6 inches (the N. Atomaria of catalogues), may be white with black spots, or blue with black spots and a white centre, while the variety discoidahs is dark purple with a white edge to each petal.
In the genus Nicotiana (Solanacece) there are several plants of rather doubtful Annual duration, notwithstanding that they are catalogued as Half-hardy Annuals and grown as such. All those mentioned below must be raised in heat in February or March to prove successful, and a temperature of 65° is a good one in which to secure germination. The seeds are small, and there is consequently a need for care in sowing; sow thinly on the level surface of fine, sandy soil, just pressing the seeds in and dusting them over with a little sand. Prick off early, harden in due course, and plant out at the end of May. Tobacco plants appreciate good soil, and they are of little use if grown in the shade.
One of the best known is Nicotiana alaia (syn. N. affinis),
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I to 2 feet, white, long-tubed flowers, sweetly scented in the evening and early morning. This is a beautiful and highly desirable plant for bedding or massing. N. colossea and N. colossea variegata are fine as foliage plants for sub-tropical effect, as they have big leaves and grow 6 feet high. A^. noctiflora, 3 feet, white and purple, fragrant at night, and its white variety, arc worth attention. N. SandercB is a hybrid, 3 feet, with rosy flowers, but the shade varies considerably; it is a free flowering and useful garden or greenhouse plant, and was raised by crossing A'', rubra with N. alata. N. sylvestris is a bold plant, rising to 5 feet high, and bearing large, deep green leaves and tall spikes of pendent white flowers. N. Tabacum, 4 feet, has rosy flowers and large leaves; it is the plant from which commercial Tobacco is obtained, and it has some value in the garden as a foliage plant.
" Love-in-a-Mist "
The old Nigella damascena (Ranunculacece), with its finely divided, F'ennel-Iike foliage veiling the blue flowers, has been in cultivation for over three hundred years, and the double form has long been a favourite plant. The way in which the involucre leaves lightly veil the flowers has given rise to such curious and popular names as Devil-in-the-Bush, Love-in-a-Mist, and Jack-in-Prison. The greatly improved and comparatively new variety named Miss Jekyll is of better habit than the old form, and its double flowers are of a deep blue shade. There is also a white form of N. damascena.
The Nigellas are hardy, and the finest plants are usually produced from an Autumn sowing, these often reaching 2 feet high, and forming perfect bushes. Good results follow a Spring sowing under glass, or in the open in April. None of the species likes transplanting, therefore from a sowing
under glass the seedlings should be transferred to pots at an early stage.
Besides N. daniascena, there are N. hispanica, \\ foot, purplish-blue; N. h. alba, with white flowers and brown anthers; N. orientalis, \\ foot, yellow and red, but of little worth; and N. sativus, i| foot, blue, also of little value in the garden.
" Godetia "
Not many garden plants are so well known as the Hardy Annual OEnotheras, which, under their better-known name of Godetias (Onagi-acece), are to be found in most gardens, whether of the rich or the poor. The many beautiful varieties are delightful subjects for giving fine colour effects, and their value for massing in beds or borders can hardly be overestimated. Not only are the Godetias beautiful, but they are raised with the greatest of ease either from a September sowing out-of-doors, a Spring sowing out-of-doors, or a sowing under glass in March. Two or three sowings should be made wherever space permits, so as to secure a lengthened flower season. Those who have not seen Autumn-raised seedlings duly thinned and planted 9 inches or 1 foot apart in rich, light soil do not fully appreciate the capabilities of Godetias, for, alas, all too often the Spring-sown plants are allowed to choke each other, and short-lived beauty is the result. It is a rare sight to see large breadths of Godetias grown for seed purposes in July or August, and a long border filled with them in blocks of one colour or in lines of a colour is a revelation, provided ample room is given for each plant to develop properly, and the seed vessels are removed regularly.
CEnothera amcena is the species from which the garden varieties have been raised; it is 1 foot to 2 feet high, and
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the flowers are rose-coloured with crimson spots; CE. a. rubicunda is purpHsh with red blotch. The best named forms are Bridesmaid, 15 inches, blue and rose; Crimson Gem or Crimson King, 18 inches, crimson; Crimson Glow, 15 inches, rosy-crimson; Duchess of Albany, 1 foot, glistening white; Duke of York, 1 foot, blood red with white centre; General Gordon, 1 foot, rich carmine; Marchioness of Salisbury, 1 foot, crimson with white margin; Ladybird, 1 foot, white with crimson spots; Lady Satin Rose, 1 foot, rosepink; Scarlet Queen, 1 foot, bright crimson-scarlet. There are dwarf forms of many of the foregoing varieties, and these are from 6 to 9 inches high, useful both for edging or for association with the taller sorts. The double flowered Schaminii is a grand Godetia of sturdy growth, and makes a compact and yet elegant bush, 18 inches high, smothered with shining, delicate rose-pink flowers. It should not be omitted fnmi any collection, as it lasts so well and is first rate for cutting, for beds, for borders, and also for pot culture. There are now double or semi -double forms with mauve and crimson flowers. CE. Whitneyi is a hardy Californian Annual, i^ foot high, rose-red and crimson; of this there are white, crimson, and crimson-scarlet varieties, and one named Lord Roberts is carmine, shading to deep crimson.
" Venus s Navel-wort"
Omphalodes linifolia (Boraginacece) is a charming little Hardy Annual, and one that lends itself to cultivation in a shady and rather moist spot. In most Rock gardens a place can be found for it, and here it will reproduce itself readily from self-sown seeds. From 6 to 12 inches high, with narrow grey-green foliage and white flowers, it is a pretty subject, and one that merits wider consideration.
Notwithstanding the wonderful range of form and colour found in annual Poppies i^PapaveracecE), there are really very few annual species. The two from which the garden varieties have descended are P. somniferum, the bold, glaucous-leaved Opium Poppy, with whitish flowers; and P. Rheas, our wild red Poppy. Other annual species, all hardy, are P. glaucum, 2 feet, vivid scarlet — The Tulip Poppy; P. pavonium, i| foot, scarlet and black; P. Icevigatum, 2 feet, scarlet, white, and black; and P. umbrosum, 2 feet, deep red and black.
The Poppies are among the easiest plants to grow, but in most cases the fine seeds are sown 90 per cent, too thickly, the thinning is done half-heartedly, and the results are poor as compared with what they ought to be. The Shirley Poppies, raised originally by the Rev. W. Wilks from a wild form of P. Rheas, are too often spoiled because the plants are crowded, and so flower poorly and last only a short time when the weather is bright. The seeds need but the_ merest covering of soil, and as Poppies do not transplant satisfactorily, the sowing must be made where the plants are to flower. The seedlings should be thinned as early as possible to not less than 1 foot apart for the Shirley and similar varieties, allowing a greater space for the big double and single varieties of P. somniferum.
Shirley Poppies range from pure white to deepest crimson, and they are extremely graceful and beautiful. If the flowers are cut just as the buds begin to open they are very valuable for home decoration, as they speedily expand in water, but if they are not so treated they fall to pieces quickly.
Danebrog or Victoria Cross, White Swan, Mikado, Mephisto, Cardinal, and Mauve Queen are names given to remarkably fine varieties of P. somniferum; these grow 2 feet
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high, and range from white to intense crimson, and some are double and exquisitely fringed.
One member of this family is fairly well known in gardens because it has for a long time been a favourite with those seeking striking effects by means of foliage. Perilla ocimoides crispa (Labiatece) is best known as P. nankinensis. The flowers are of no service, but the dark blackish-purple leaves serve to throw into sharp relief the lighter and brighter flowers in the formal F^lower garden. Raised in heat in February or March it rapidly reaches a good size, and when hardened off in the usual way it is ready for planting in early June.
The most popular Phacelia (HydropJiyilacea) is P. campanulaiia, a neat little Annual from California, about 8 inches high, bearing a profusion of broadly bell-shaped flowers of the richest shade of blue. This is an effective plant, and suitable for edging beds or borders. There is an early flowering form with rosy flowers known as P. c. ccesta. P. divaricata, 1 foot, violet; P. Menziesii, 1 foot, purple; P. Parry i, 8 inches, violet; P. tanacetifolia, 2 feet, rose; P. Whitlavia (syn. Whitlavia grandijlora), 1 foot, violet, very free blooming; and P. viscida (syn. Eutoca viscida), 6 to 15 inches, violet and blue, are other species, and the last two are of considerable merit.
Sow seeds in April where the plants are to flower, and thin the seedlings to 6 inches apart.
The large genus Phlox (Polemoniacecr) contains but one annual species of note, and this is/*. Drummofidii (sg.q Plate I), a general favourite and an easily-grown plant. Drummond's
Phlox was introduced from Texas in 1835, and, being a Half-hardy Annual, it lent itself readily to the process of selection. The red-flowered type was soon made to yield other colours, until now there are white, salmon, crimson, scarlet, purple, rose, and buff strains that come wonderfully true. In some strains the flowers are extra large, in others the plants are dwarf, and in others the flowers are stellate. It will thus be seen that P. Drummondii is now a host in itself, providing a wide range of form and colour.
Sown in gentle heat in March or April, the seeds soon germinate, and the seedlings must be placed in boxes as soon as possible and given sufficient room to make sturdy plants. Hardening off is an easy matter, and should be carried out so that the plants are ready for planting in early June. It is a good plan to pinch out the central point when the plants are quite young to ensure a bushier growth, and it is also desirable that the growths be pegged down at intervals after the plants are growing freely out-of-doors. Phlox Drummondii to a large extent takes the place once occupied by Verbenas, though the latter are again coming into favour. As pot plants, and for window boxes, these Phloxes are well adapted, while for bedding and edging they have few rivals.
" Knot Grass "
One member only of this large family is an Annual, and a hardy one at that. This is Polygonum orientale (Polygonacecs), of branching, bushy habit, about 4 feet high, but capable of reaching much higher if planted in rich soil and given a sunny position. It does very well when sown in the open in April, but if large plants are needed for sub-tropical effects then the seeds are best sown in heat in March and the plants potted, hardened off and planted out in early June. If plenty of room is afforded for development and
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water is given freely in dry weather, the plants grow very large and produce quantities of their semi-pendulous spikelets of rosy-purple or white flowers.
Needing and loving the sunshine, the Portulacas are not a success in a wet or dull season, and, as we cannot expect all our summers to be hot and bright, it is necessary to grow this family of brilliant Annuals on the hottest site in the garden, and in sandy soil. Such a position will suit them at all times, though it is only in the warmest and driest seasons that the Portulacas (Portulacacece) do themselves full justice; at their best hardly any plants are more gay than they. P. grandiflora, 6 inches, purple and yellow, is the species which seedsmen have worked upon, and now yellow, white, and scarlet strains are offered; but mixed colours are so good and offer no offensive combinations, that it is hardly worth while to keep the colours distinct unless there is a special end in view. Sow in the open in April and thin to 6 inches apart, or sow in heat in March and plant 6 inches apart in May or June.
" MigJionette "
Fragrant and popular as is the Mignonette it is not sufficiently well known that there are a considerable number of distinct varieties of Reseda odorata (Resedacea) differing in colour, in habit, and in height. In most gardens Mignonette will grow fairly well, in a few it grows remarkably well, while in others it is with difficulty persuaded to grow at all. Where it is more or less a failure a good application of lime, or finely crushed mortar rubble, should be
mixed with the soil before sowing, and more than likely this sweetly scented Hardy Annual will show its appreciation of the addition by thriving.
There are few places in a garden where Mignonette would be out of place, and it ought to be sown freely in patches in flower and shrubbery borders, on banks or old walls, as well as in beds and in the small amount of soil that finds a place at the foot of a wall between it and the flagstones. The several varieties should be sown separately, otherwise the stronger growers will crowd out the smaller sorts. As a pot plant Mignonette is deservedly popular, the Machet variety being largely used in this way for Winter or early Spring flowering, but all the varieties make capital specimens if one plant is grown in a 48 or 32-sized pot and the growths are pinched at an early stage to induce a bushy habit.
Machet, deep red; Bismarck, large, and deep red; Cloth of Gold, yellow; Pearl, creamy-white; Mile's Spiral, buff; Tom Thumb, reddish-buff; Red King or Red Giant, dark red; Nineteen Hundred, small, free, bright yellow; and Perfection, deep red, are all excellent varieties.
Reseda alba, 2 feet, white; and R. luteola, 1 foot, yellow, are other species, but they do not compare favourably with the garden varieties of R. odorata for garden decoration.
A rare Orchid bloom can scarcely exceed the wonderful beauty of colouring and the exquisite veining of a Salpiglossis [SolanacecB), though the latter loses points when lasting properties are considered. For my own part I love brilliant colouring in the garden, and so the many golden Composite flowers, the Salpiglossis and the Zinnias, appeal strongly to me. Salpiglossis sinuata is an elegant plant, the flowers are large and varied in colour, and they never fail to excite admiration. Unquestionably the Salpiglossis, as now im
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proved l)y our seedsmen, must stand in the front rank of choice Annuals. I have tried repeatedly, but without success, to cross the Salpi^lossis with the garden strains of Petunias, these latter bein^ closely allied and of little more than annual duration.
The colours found in Salpiglossis are pale yellow, deep gold, red, crimson, scarlet, rose, carmine, blue, purple, and violet. In some catalogues certain colours are offered separately, and in others named varieties are listed, but a firstrate mixed strain is quite good for bedding purposes, though the separate colours are perhaps the best for pot culture. Sow the seeds thinly in moderate heat, about 65°, and cover them lightly. Early transference of the seedlings to pots or boxes is essential to the best results. Use rich, light soil, harden off the plants, and plant out early in June, selecting an open and sunny site, A good bed of Salpiglossis is a thing of beauty and a joy for a long time in a fairly good summer.
A few light, twiggy sticks set among the plants will serve to prevent damage from winds and heavy rains, and if they are not more than 15 or 18 inches high they will not be noticeable at flowering time.
Two species of Saponaria (CaryophyllacecB) are Hardy Annuals, and the closely-tufted habit of 6". calabrica renders it a useful subject for the Rock garden or for edging. Sown in Autumn, the white and rosy-carmine varieties are fine for Spring flowering, while Spring sowings flower later. S. Vaccaria is 2 feet high, and has rose-pink flowers, but there is also a white variety. Varieties of S. Vaccaria have a graceful habit and are useful for cutting, hence a September and an April sowing should be made. Thin S. calabrica to 4 inches apart, and S. Vaccaria to 1 foot apart.
" Sweet Scabious "
The double-flowered Scabious (see Plate VI) are among the most useful of plants for borders or for cutting. They are not so double as to be heavy, the colours are good and the stems wiry, consequently the blooms are highly serviceable for indoor decoration. Messrs. Dobbie and Co. have developed a particularly fine-flowered and robust strain that is far in advance of the older forms, and it lacks nothing in variety of colour. The latter ranges from white through yellow shades, pink, salmon, lilac, blue, and rose, to scarlet, purple, and the darkest crimson. These Sweet Scabious have been evolved from the South European Scabiosa atropurpurea (Dipsacece). Other annual species are : 5. brachiata, 2 feet, various (syn. 5. palcEstmd); 5. stellata, 1 foot, pink or white.
An outdoor sowing in April will produce plants for late flowering, but the best method is to raise a stock in gentle heat in early March and plant out in May, The Scabious like a deep rich soil, and if placed a foot or more apart they will branch freely and continue to flower all the season. One slender stake to each plant will provide ample support against winds and heavy rains.
Although the Schizanthuses (Solanacece) are either Hardy or Half-hardy Annuals they are not often a great success in the open garden. As conservatory or greenhouse plants they occupy a high position, and the fine selections brought forward in recent years have done much to make the plants popular. This is not the place to consider their merits as
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indoor phmts, and so attention must be confined to those which may be of service in the Flower garden. In the Southern counties the garden-raised strains of both 5. pinnatus and S. rctusus do very well in a warm position, and when they carry an abundance of dainty, butterfiy-like blossoms, bright with white, purple, blue, red and yellow colouring, they are very attractive. S. Grahamii is a sturdy grower, with carmine and orange flowers, and S. Wisetonensis is a shapely grower that is immensely popular as a pot plant, and is said to be useful for the garden if raised from seeds sown in a temperature of about 60° in February or Marcli. The other kinds mentioned must all be raised in moderate heat in March if they are to be a success in the garden during the Sununer.
A plant that vies with the Mignonette for sweet fragrance is Schizopctalon Walkeri (Cruci/erce). This little Chilian plant is about 1 foot high, and has white, four-petalled flowers that give forth their fragrance mostly in the evening, in the morning, or after a shower of rain. As with Mignonette, this Annual should be sown wherever there is a spare space, and several sowings during the Spring and early Summer will keep up a supply of flowers and fragrance.
Grou ?idsel — Jacobaea
A South African member of the Groundsel family, and one that is used freely for the decoration of some parks and gardens in Summer, is Senecio degaiis (Composite^). This is a capital bedding plant about 1 foot high, and is specially useful because it produces its heads of double flowers continuously
all through the season. In a moist season the plants may reach i| foot high, but the dwarf strain offered will rarely exceed 8 inches. The colours available are white, pink, salmon, purple, carmine, and crimson, and these are sometimes offered separately, though a popular method is to obtain a packet of mixed colours, and bed out the seedlings in May, putting them 6 inches apart. Seeds sown in the open in April or May flower rather late, therefore it is better to make a sowing in a warm greenhouse in March. These double Senecios are first rate for cutting, as they are pretty and long lasting.
" Catchfly " — " Campion "
Some eighteen species of Silene (Caryophyllace(B) are Hardy Annuals, but only S. pendula and its many varieties need be seriously considered for garden decoration. All are splendid for Spring displays, and their usefulness is fully understood by lovers of Rock gardens and by those who desire a carpeting plant for bulbs. Most of the varieties have double flowers, and the colour may be white, rose, pink, or red. The compacta strain is the best for bedding arrangements, and such named sorts as Empress of India, rosy-crimson; Peach Blossom, pink; and Snow Queen, white, are all of the greatest beauty. Another excellent form is Bonnetti, deep rose, with dark stems and foliage, while Bijou is a lovely shade of pink, with glaucous leafage. Outdoor sowings are by far the best, and for Spring flowering August or September is the time to sow, while an April sowing will give a late Summer display. As the Silenes continue to blossom for a considerable period and provide much variety of colour, they form an exceedingly useful and beautiful group of flowers. About 6 inches apart is a good distance to plant. Autumn-raised seedlings should not be put into rich soil, or
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they may suffer harm during the Winter, or make growth at the expense of flowers.
5. gallica, \\ foot, pink, is another annual species of some merit.
SPECULARIA " Corn Violet"
Closely allied to the Campanulas are the low-growing Specularias (Cavipanulacecs). They are of spreading habit, rarely exceeding a foot in height, and yield bell-shaped flowers. All are hardy, and best raised by sowing in September where the plants are to flower. The Rock garden provides a pleasant home for them, and they are then seen to advantage. The chief species are S./aicata, 1 foot, blue; 5. hybrida, 6 to i2 inches, lilac or blue; S. pentagonia, 1 foot, deep blue; S. per/oliata, 1 foot, purplish-blue; and the pretty S. Speculum, 1 foot, of which there are white and rich purple varieties.
STATICE " Sea Lavender "
Not only are the Half-hardy Sea Lavenders (PluvibagifiecB) good for garden decoration when planted in masses, but the flower spikes are elegant for filling vases, and if cut and suspended head downwards until dry they are available for Winter use when flowers are none too plentiful. In some districts these annual Statices are grown in large quantities for the cut flower markets. They all delight in a fairly light soil containing plenty of grit, and leaf-mould or peat. The best way to manage them is to sow the seeds in fine, sandy soil, merely covering them, in February or March, placing them in a temperature of about 6o° to germinate. Prick off into other boxes, harden gradually, and plant them in the flowering quarters in May. The distinct appearance of the Statices always attracts attention.
The best species are S. Bonduellii, 15 inches, yellow; S. Suworowii, 15 inches, pink or lilac; and 6". sinuata, 2 feet, lavender; this latter species has a white variety named candidissima, and mixed colours are listed as mixed hybrids.
"African Marigold" — "French Marigold"
The African and French Marigolds (Composites) are glorious plants, though they are not agreeable to handle owing to the unpleasant odour of the leaves and stems when rubbed; they are so showy and easily grown that they are absent from few gardens. In the North of England and in most parts of Scotland they are especial favourites, and almost every exhibition in the North makes provision for both kinds, and keen competitions follow. In the Tyneside district extraordinary pains are taken to bring the flowers to perfection for exhibition purposes, the operations of shading, protection, and thinning being as carefully considered as they are in the case of exhibition Dahlias.
For garden decoration the brilliance of the flowers compels admiration. The French strains derived from the Mexican species Tagetes patula are first rate for edging large beds or borders, or for a groundwork under a thin planting of taller plants. Legion of Honour is one of the very best varieties; it is about 1 foot high, bushy and compact, the florets broad and regular, and the colour golden-yellow with a large mark of velvety maroon on each. The other single varieties have some merit, but are a long way behind Legion of Honour for effect and lasting beauty. The double varieties are now very popular, and the self-coloured flowers, or those with a maroon stripe down each golden floret, or with golden margins to maroon florets, are attractive.
African Marigolds have descended from Tagetes erecta. They are bold plants with big, massive, double flowers.
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Some strains are about ih foot high, but the majority of the finer forms grow 3 feet high, and a good specimen will be 2 feet through; these figures will serve as a guide for planting. The best of the African varieties are Prince of Orange, deep orange-yellow; and Lemon Queen, lemonyellow; both brought to great perfection by Messrs. Dobbie and Co.
Both African and P'rench Marigolds must be sown in a temperature of 6o°-65°in March or early April to be a success. The young plants need a fair amount of heat until making good progress, when the work of gradually hardening them off should begin, so that by the beginning of June they are sturdy examples, ready to plant out. While the African Marigolds delight in a rich soil, the French sorts are best placed in rather poor soil, but both are garden forms of Mexican plants, and therefore are of small value unless planted in a warm and sunny position.
Other Tagetes of some value for garden decoration are T. lucida, 1 foot, yellow, known as the Mexican Marigold, and T. signata, 1.5 foot, yellow. A dwarf variety of T. signata is known as pumila.
" Nasturtium "
Common as the Tropaeolums undoubtedly are, in the sense that they are known to every one and found in the child's garden in a backyard as well as in the largest public and private gardens in the land, they are not to be despised. Whether the tall or the dwarf sorts are considered there is great variety in the colouring and markings of the flowers, as well as in the colour of the foliage, this latter variation being most marked in the dwarf varieties. Nothing is more easily grown, and few plants give such a bright display for such a small outlay of time, care, and expense. In 1910 I distributed
(Stella variety of Helianthus annuus)
seeds of a dozen or fifteen varieties along a rather dry border containing bulbs; the seeds were placed about 10 inches apart, and each variety occupied a run of about three yards. My son, aetat. ten, amused himself by pushing each seed from one to two inches deep in the soil, and this method of sowing was followed by a rough raking over. The result was excellent, and the display was a brilliant one right up to the first frost, for the outlay of a few pence. Germination is so certain that there is no need to sow thickly, indeed such a proceeding is a waste of time and money.
Tropaeolum minus (Geraniacece) is the parent of the dwarf Nasturtiums — and it is as Nasturtiums that the plants are best known. Listed as Tom Thumb varieties, the following are all meritorious : Aurora, buff, pink, and carmine; Crystal Palace Gem, yellow and maroon; Cloth of Gold, yellow, with golden-green foliage; Coeruleum Roseum, rose with bluish shade; Empress of India, crimson-scarlet, dark foliage; Chameleon, yellow, to soft crimson; King Theodore, dark crimson; Ladybird, scarlet and yellow; Pearl, creamywhite; Scarlet King, vivid scarlet; Fire King, orange-scarlet; Ruby King, ruby-red; and Vesuvius, orange and crimson. The Lilliput race forms dainty little bushes, and gives flowers of various colours. Messrs. Stark & Son, Great Ryburgh, have brought a variegated-leaved race of dwarfs to perfection, and these have flowers of several bright shades; the variegation is distinct and attractive.
The tall or cHmbing varieties have descended from Tropaeolum maj'us, and they are valuable for quickly covering fences, screens, arches and similar structures, and look well when several are planted together to form a clump, pea sticks being used for their support. Some of the leading varieties are : Black Prince, deep crimson, dark foliage; Crimson and Gold, pale yellow and gold, with spots of crimson; Fairy Queen, pink and yellow; Salmon Queen, salmon-pink; Pearl, cream-white; Ruby King, ruby-red; and Sunlight, yellow.
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T. Lobbianum has also given a number of attractive climbing varieties, of more refined appearance than the T. majus varieties, and most of these have Ivy-like leafage. Some of the best are : Brilliant, deep scarlet; Crown Prince of Prussia, blood-red and maroon; Defiance, scarlet; Lucifer, scarlet; Regina, salmon and crimson; Golden Gem, yellow; Rosy Queen, rose; and Spitfire, vermilion.
The ever popular Canary Creeper, with its elegant leafage and hosts of little Canary-like blooms, is a beautiful climber, and it is doubtful whether any annual climber can compare with it for usefulness and beauty. It is Tropaeolum aduncum (syn. T. peregrttium), or the T. canariense of gardens.
Tropaeolums grow rampantly in rich, moist soil, but in such conditions leaf and stem are produced at the expense of flowers, or the leaf stems are so long and the leaf blades so br(nid that they quite overshadow the blooms. It therefore becomes necessary to grow Tropaeolums in rather poorer soil and to give them a bright position and a fairly dry one if the most brilliant results are desired. All the foregoing are Half-hardy in the sense that they cannot stand frost, but in another sense they are Hardy, for every one knows that self-sown seeds will survive the Winter and produce plants the following Spring, rarely appearing until danger from frost is over.
ZINNIA '' Youth and Age"
At the end of this list of Annuals come the Zinnias; but though last they are by no means least in order of merit, for they possess a brilliance and beauty that places them in the front rank for garden ornamentation. Either for beds or for groups in the mixed border the Zinnias (Cojnpositce) are first class. The flower heads of the fine strains of double Zinnias (see Plate VIII) are a trifle formal, it must be confessed, but they are none the less handsome. Well-grown
LESS VALUABLE ANNUALS 93
Zinnias are a credit to any one, and if the season is a fairly bright one they will succeed under reasonable care, if a sunny position is assigned them, and they are raised in February or March in a temperature of 60° and quickly transplanted into boxes or a bed in a frame, there to grow and harden ready for planting out in early June.
The species from which the garden race of Zinnias has come is Z. elegans. The colours available are white, cream, yellow, salmon, rose, scarlet, vermilion, purplish-red, and crimson. All the shades associate so well in a bed that it is not necessary to keep the colours separate unless there is a colour scheme in view. In the " grandiflora " strain the flowers measure 3 inches across, and the plants bearing them grow about 2 feet to i\ feet high. Z. Haageana, 1.5 foot, -orangeyellow; and Z. tenuifolia, 2 feet, red, are also worthy of cultivation.
Zinnias love rich soil and a bright, warm position. It frequently happens that they fail because they are starved as seedlings, and planted out too early. Eight inches to a foot apart is a good distance at which to plant. Planted in rich soil, on a slightly sloping bank facing to the south, Zinnias can be grown with gratifying success.
The Most Useful Annuals
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