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Annuals of Less Garden Value - Hardy and Half Hardy Annuals
Author: Charles Henry Curtis
Annuals of Less Garden Value Described.
Annuals of Less Garden Value -
CHAPTER IV ANNUALS OF LESS GARDEN VALUE
" Everlasting Sandflozver "
Ammobium alatum is a Half-hardy Annual from Australia; it belongs to the Order Composites, and is one of the " Everlasting " flowers. The yellow blooms are borne on stems from1 foot to 2 feet high, and are of papery texture; A. a.
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grajtdiflorum is a finer form than the type, the flowers being larger and of a purer white; A. plantagineuni is not so tall as the foregoing species, but its flowers are also white. Seeds should be sown in sandy soil in a temperature of from 60° to 65° during March, and after the seedlings have been pricked off into boxes and duly hardened, a sunny position should be found for them out-of-doors.
Several of the Pimpernels have brightly coloured flowers, and the plants are of the easiest culture. They may be raised in a warm spot out-of-doors if sown in March or April, or under glass, as though Half-hardy, from a sowing made in March in a temperature of 60°.
Of the native A. ai-vensis there are several varieties; the type has small, red flowers, while A. a. coerulea has blue flowers; A. latifolia (syn. A. indica) is larger than A. arvensis, of trailing habit, and bearing very attractive bright blue flowers. The Pimpernel so frequently listed as A. grandiflora, and represented by several showy, low-growing varieties, is really a form of A. linifolia, a perennial Portuguese member of this little genus of the Order PrimidacecB,
"Mexican Poppy" — '^ DeviFs Fig"
Exceedingly ornamental are the handsome Hardy Annual species of Argemone (Papaveracece)^ as they rise to a height of 2 feet or more, and have fairly large leaves which are usually bristly or spiny, and are often blotched with white. The large Poppy-like flowers are very effective, and therefore the plants are especially suitable for large borders or for use in sub-tropical gardening. It is usual to treat the Argemones as Half-hardy, and sow the seeds in gentle heat in March or April, but there is no need to take this amount of trouble if a
warm spot is chosen, and well-drained soil is finely worked down ready to receive the seeds at the end of March. As all the species are strong growers, the seedlings must be thinned out or transplanted whilst still very small.
The best are A. albiflora, 1.5 foot, a species that produces white flowers at the end of the Summer; A. hispida, 2\ feet, a fine Californian plant that blooms in the early Autumn, and has pure white flowers, often as much as 5 inches across; A. mexicanay 2 feet, a yellow-flowered species from Mexico; and A. ochroleuca, 2 feet, another Mexican plant with pale yellow flowers. All these Argemones are lovers of sunshine, consequently they must be planted in a bright, sunny position or their full beauty will not be realised.
All the members of the Woodruff family (Rubiacecs) are hardy, and one of them is an Annual that has achieved some measure of popularity. This is A. azurea (syn. A. azureasetosa and A. orientalis), a plant prized for its profusion of small, light blue flowers which are very suitable for use in making up bouquets and other floral designs. It grows about1 foot high, and the little green leaves are placed eight together in whorls. The flowers are fragrant and last well when cut. Any good garden soil will suit A. azurea, and if seeds are sown in March or April a good supply of plants can be raised; avoid thick sowing, remembering that when seeds are small and cheap there is a great temptation to sow thickly.
" Orache "
The Orache, Atriplex hortensis, is best known in the Kitchen garden because it is a fair substitute for Spinach;
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but there is a variety named A. h. atrosanpiinea — the Giant Crimson Orache — which has some claim to notice here. This is a striking plant, rising to a height of 6 feet, and when its leaves, stems, and seed vessels have all turned a deep crimsonred colour the effect is rich indeed. For sub-tropical effects, for the Wild garden and the Bog garden this is a useful subject. The Orache is quite hardy, and seeds may be sown either in the Spring or late Summer, but if the redleaved form is grown for decorative purposes the plants must be given ample ro(jm to develop.
At least one species of Bhimenbacliia (Loasacece) claims attention as a Hardy Annual, and it is B. insignis, a trailing plant with whitish flowers, each an inch across. The elegant leaves are deeply lobed. Loasa palmata is another name for this Chilian plant, which was introduced as long ago as 1826. Sown under glass in March, B. insignis will germinate readily, and after being properly hardened the plants will be ready for planting out in early June. B. multifida, with green, red, and yellow flowers; and B. contorta, with orangered flowers, are Half-hardy Annuals, but of less merit. All are interesting, but they are not at all common in gardens.
" Borage "
Although the common Borage, Borago officinalis (BoragijiacecB), is best known as an inhabitant of the Kitchen garden, it is frequently found in the Herb garden, and sometimes also in the Flower garden. Its bright blue flowers are effective, and bees are very fond of them. This is an annual species rising to a height of 2 feet, and it is easily raised from a Spring sowing in well-worked soil, the seedlings
being subsequently thinned out to i| foot apart. There is a white flowering variety of this native herb, and it needs similar care. Formerly the Borage was in great demand for its flavouring, and even now it is sometimes requisitioned for the preparation of Claret Cup.
There is a wonderful diversity of opinion as to the duration of Browallias (Scrophularinece), and at least two gardening dictionaries give the greenhouse Perennial B.Jamesonii (correctly Streptosolen Jamesonii) as a Half-hardy Annual. The species are variously catalogued as Annuals, Biennials, and Perennials. B. demissa (syn. B. elata) is a Half-hardy Annual that is good out-of-doors in favoured districts and in warm, sunny seasons, but it is most successfully managed as a greenhouse plant. However, where suitable conditions prevail, seeds may be sown in a temperature of 60° in March, the seedlings being potted singly into small pots as soon as possible, and kept growing steadily in a greenhouse until they can be safely placed in a frame and hardened off preparatory to planting them in groups of a dozen or so in June. The usual height of the plants is 9 inches or1 foot, sometimes it is 18 inches, and the rich violet-blue flowers are carried in Verbena-like clusters.
Amellus annuus and Kaulfiissia amelloides are names by which Charieis heterophylla (Compositcz) has been known. It is a dwarf plant about 6 inches high, and bears azure-blue, Daisy-like flowers on slender stems. Grown in a mass or forming a carpeting for a bed of taller subjects, it is very effective. Besides the type there are now white, violet, and crimson varieties, hence it is possible to produce some
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charming combinations. Sow in March in gentle heat and plant out 8 inches apart in May, or sow out-of-doors in April and thin the seedlings to the required distance.
The Collomias (Poiemoniaiece) are not very popular, but they are interesting; about 1.5 foot high, they carry large heads of bright flowers, and are easily managed either from a Spring or an Autumn sowing. Like the Colhnsias, they flower best in rather poor soil and they like a sunny position. The best species are C. cocci?tea (svn. C. lateritia), rich red; C. gravdiflora, reddish-yellow; C. heterophylla, purple; and C. linearis, yellowish-brown.
"Hound s Tongtte "
At least one species of Cynoglossum (Boraginacecs) is of Annual duration, and it is one of the prettiest members of the Hound's Tongue family. This is C. Wallichii, a Himalayan plant that is valuable for the Rock garden and useful for edging or carpeting. It is not much grown, but it only needs to be taken in hand by some prominent grower to become popular. Of lowly habit, rising 9 inches high, and perfectly hardy, it produces rich, deep-blue flowers of Forget-me-Not type in profusion. The seeds should be sown in poor soil in September, or at the end of March where the plants are to flower, it is an altogether charming little plant.
" Hyacinth Bean "
Dolichos Lablab (Leguminosce) is a Half-hardy Annual, but not a popular or very important one, as it is rarely a success unless given a specially warm, sunny place and the
protection of a wall. It grows much after the style of a Runner Bean, and bears clusters of rosy-violet flowers which are followed by rich ruby-coloured pods that are very interesting and attractive. If each seed is sown in a 3-inch pot and placed in a temperature of about 65° in March, and the seedlings are subsequently potted and duly hardened so as to be ready for planting out early in June, good results may be expected, especially if the season is a warm one, like that of 1911.
Two charming little Hardy Annuals that have not yet received the attention they merit are Downingia elegans and D. pulchella (CatnpanulacecB). They are Californian subjects and love the sunshine; they grow about 6 inches high, and give bright blue flowers, with white or yellow centre. There is much to commend them for bedding purposes, and they have the merit of being easily raised from seeds sown either in gentle heat or on a warm border in the early Spring. They should be planted about 6 inches apart. D. pulchella makes a good plant for small, hanging baskets. Other names for the Downingias are Clintonia elegans and C. pulchella.
California is the home of a large number of Annuals, and no doubt many more Californian plants would be popular here if long bright summers were usual. The Eucharidiums (Onagracea) do not come prominently before the public, but they are none the less beautiful and useful. Two species are Hardy Annuals, and these are E. Bretveri, 6 inches, pale rose, fragrant; and E. concinnum, 8 inches, from blush to lilacpurple. There is a grandiflorum variety of the latter species which is sometimes given the dignity of specific rank, but it is merely a variety with larger flowers than the type.
Autumn-raised seedlings give by far the best results, there
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fore sowing should take place in August, the seedlings being thinned to 4 inches apart. From a March sowing a hatch may be raised to bloom at the end of the Summer. The Eucharidiums are not over particular as to soil and position, but, as in the case of other Annuals from California, they do best in a sunny position.
The Common Centaury, Erythraea Centaurium (Gentianacece), is a lowly Hardy Annual suitable for the Rock garden; it is from 8 inches to 12 inches high, and bears its neat, rosy flowers in June and July. E. spicata and E. venusta have pink flowers; the former is Half-hardy.
The Gnaphaliums (Compositce) are of little garden value, and deserve mention only because of the "Everlasting" character of their small flowers. The latter are carried in closely-packed clusters produced terminally and laterally. The best Hardy Annuals are G. foetidum, 1.5 foot, yellow; and G. obtusifolmm,1 foot, yellow.
The value of the ornamental grasses (Graminece) lies more in the usefulness of their spikes for association with cut flowers than in their effectiveness in the garden. If carefully picked just before the spikelets open, these grasses may be dried, and will then be found to serve for Winter decorations indoors. A good selection is as follows : Agrostis ?iebulosa, 1.5 foot; A. pulchella, 6 inches; Briza maxima,1 foot; B. minor,1 foot; Chry sums aureus, 1.5 foot; Coix lachryma, 1.5 foot; Eragrostis
elegans, 1.5 foot; Hordiumjubatum, i| foot; Lagurus ovatus, i| foot; Panicunt capillare, 1.5 foot; P. oryzinum^ 2 feet; Paspaluni elegans, 3 feet; Pennisetum longistylum, 2 feet; Stipa pejinata, 2 feet; and Tricholaena rosea, 2 feet. These are Hardy Annuals, and in most cases do well either sown in Spring or Autumn, but they are often treated as Half-hardy and raised under glass or in a frame in the early Spring, the seedlings being planted out in a warm situation in May.
A little plant growing not more than 3 or 4 inches high, and with succulent leafage and inch-broad, yellow flowers that turn reddish when fully opened, is Gramnianthes gentianoides (CrassulacecB). For a warm place in the Rock garden it is charming, and as it is easily raised in gentle heat in Spring it deserves attention. It is a South African Half-hardy plant of considerable merit.
Although Hebenstreitia coinosa (Selaginacece) was brought into prominent notice by Messrs. Sutton & Sons about 1902, the species was fairly well known in botanic gardens many years previously. It is an interesting plant with erect, Mignonette-like spikes of whitish, red-marked flowers, the chief merit of which lies in the fragrance they emit in the evenings. H. comosa is a Half-hardy Annual from the Cape; it grows i| foot high, and is best raised in gentle heat in Spring and planted out in May or June.
" Cape Stock"
The Heliophilas (Cruciferce) form a fairly large family of South African plants, several of which are Half-hardy Annuals that can be raised under glass in Spring, or out-of-doors in
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March or April. They are distinct and pretty plants, but' rather short lived, and therefore not of first-class garden value. The chief species are : H. crithnifolia, 6 inches, violet; and H. pilosa, 6 inches to 12 inches, blue, and its variety H. p. incisa, with trifid leaves. //. pilosa is also known as H. stricia, and its variety as H. araboides.
" Rose Mallow
The Hibiscus family (Malvacece) has a very wide range, and includes plants from tropical, sub-tropical, and temperate regions, but most of the species are Perennial, some of them growing to considerable size, and becoming small trees. There is one Hardy Annual species, H. Trionium (syn. H. africanum), 2 feet high, with yellow flowers that have a purple centre. A variety of H. Trionium known as " Black Eyed Susan " has deep cream-coloured flowers with red-brown centre. Sow the seeds where the plants are to flower in April, and thin out to 8 to 12 inches apart. Light and somewhat dry soil and a sunny position are desirable, as the flowers do not properly open except in sunshine.
" Sheep" s-lnt Scabious "
Jasione montafia (Campanulacea), a native plant of undoubted hardiness, makes a pretty plant for the Rock garden. From 6 to 8 inches high, it carries its pale blue flowers in roundish heads. Sow seeds in March where the plants are to flower, and thin to 6 inches apart.
An easily grown plant is the Californian Lasthenia glabrata (syn. L. calif ornica and Hologyne glabrata). It is a pretty
Composite, about 2\ feet high, with yellow Inula-like flowers. Sown in April in any good garden soil and duly thinned it is satisfactory, but earlier and larger plants are produced if seeds are sown in gentle heat in March, or in a frame in October and the plants given frame protection during Winter. In some favoured situations it may be sown out-ofdoors in September, and where it thus succeeds it makes a rare display of golden blossoms in the early Spring.
Three species of Layia (Compositce) are in cultivation, and these are lowly Hardy Annuals of some beauty and worth. They are seldom seen in private gardens, but they merit and pay for attention. L. calliglossa grows1 foot high, and bears a profusion of yellow, white-bordered, golden-centred flowers over a goodly period; L. elegans rarely exceeds 8 inches, it spreads or sprawls somewhat, and carries its yellow flowers above grey-green foliage; L. glandulosa,1 foot, has snowy-white flowers and is a good plant. Sow out-of-doors in April and again in September to secure a succession of flowers. Any good garden soil will suit the Layias.
''Birds-foot Trefoil" or " Winged Pea"
Several species of Lotus are Hardy, but only one need be mentioned here, and that is L. Tetragonolobus (Leguminoscs), the Winged Pea. This is 6 inches to 12 inches high, and produces its purple flowers through the Summer. For the Rock garden or for a sunny place in light soil it would be suitable. Another name for this plant is Tetragonolobus purpureus.
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Lonas inodora is a North African and Sicilian Composite that has some claim to notice because of the "Everlasting" character of its yellow flowers, which are produced in terminal clusters in Summer and Autumn. Sow in gentle heat in March, or out-of-doors in April, thinning or planting the seedlings 6 inches apart. The height is usually1 foot. Another name for this plant is Athanasia annua.
" Madia-Oil Plant "
This little genus of Co mposita; includes two Haidy Annuals, and one of them, M. elegans, 2 feet, yellow and red, might improve under a system of selection. It has Daisy-like flowers, the central or terminal one always opening first on both the leading or lateral stems. M. sativus, 1 foot, yellow, the Madia-Oil plant, is of less garden value. Sow in April and thin to 6 inches or 8 inches apart. Madaria is another title for this genus.
MEDICAGO " Calvary Clover" — " Medick "
The Medicagos (Leguviinosce) constitute a large family, and form a very useful one considered as fodder plants, but few of them are of much garden value. They are hardy and easily raised from seeds sown in Spring or Autumn where the plants are to fiowtr. The best of the Annuals are M. Echinus, the Calvary Clover, 8 inches, yellow; and M. scutulata, 6 inches, yellow.
" Fig Marigold" — " Ice Plant "
For warm and moderately dry places, and especially for sunny spots in the Rock garden, several of the Mesembryun
themums (FicoidecB) are deserving of attention, as they are very bright and beautiful when their flowers open in the sunshine. If sown under glass in gentle heat in March it is an easy matter to obtain good plants ready to put out where they are to flower, at the end of May or early in June, according to the locality. The seeds need be only just covered with fine sandy soil.
The best of these Half-hardy Annuals are M. crystallinum, commonly known as the Ice Plant, a trailer, with white or pink flowers; M. pomeridianum,1 foot, yellow; and M. pyropeum (syn. M. tricolor), 6 inches, rose, white, and crimson, or white and purple. The latter is the Fig Mangold, and is an attractive plant, flowering with great freedom in bright weather. Some lime rubble in the soil suits all the Mesembryanthemums.
''Molucca Balm"— '' Shell Flower"
More curious than beautiful, at least one species of Moluccella, namely, M. Laevis (Labiates), merits culture because of its striking appearance, the growths being furnished for the greater part of their length with whorls of small, whitish, labiate flowers, and each flower has a large membranaceous and finely veined calyx, that lasts some time after the flowers have faded. The stems are i| to 2 feet high. This is a Hardy Annual, but is best managed if sown in gentle heat in the early Spring, and planted out in May. A few plants are worth growing for their novel and interesting appearance.
A small and neglected family are the Nolanas (ConvolvulacecB). Perhaps they will become more popular in
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connexion with Rock-gardening, as they are of lowly traihng habit and have large, bright, bell-shaped flowers. Sow in March, out-of-doors, in light gritty soil containing leafmould, and thin out to 6 inches apart. The best are N. atriplicifolia, 4 inches, blue, with white and yellow throat; N. lanceolata, blue, white, and green; N. paradoxa,1 foot, blue; and N. prostrata, 3 inches, blue. The latter is an old garden plant and a charming one.
PLATYSTEMON " Califomian Poppy "
Platystemon californicum (Papaveracea) has considerable merit as a Hardy Annual because of its spreading habit, light glaucous green leaves, and pale, creamy-yellow flowers. Being only about 9 inches high it is suitable for the Rock garden, but it is also useful for massing in a border, especially in light soil and a sunny position. Sow where it is to flower, and thin out to 4 or 5 inches apart. In many gardens this Poppywort sows itself regularly from seeds; it used to do so in the old Chiswick gardens of the Royal Horticultural Society.
Possibilities of improvement seem latent in the small genus of Australian Composites named Podolepis. Two species are Hardy Annuals, about1 foot high, with yellow flower heads, borne on graceful stems. P. acuminata is slightly taller than P. aristata, but the latter species is very graceful and is worth growing in pots. Sow under glass in April, or out-of-doors in May, and thin out to1 foot apart.
Sanvitalia procumbens (Composites) is a very pretty, trailing, Hardy Annual from Mexico. The small, yellow, dark-centred flowers are like those of a Rudbeckia in miniature, and as
they are produced with freedom the plant is worthy of a place for edging, bedding, or for the Rock garden. There is a double as well as a single variety, each about 6 inches high, and a dwarf strain called Little Gem is of very compact habit and rarely reaches 6 inches.
This is a small genus of Composites, and the one Hardy Annual species is F. filifolia, 1.5 foot, yellow, with purple disk. This needs the same treatment as Coreopsis, to which it is allied. A hybrid between this species and Coreopsis Victoria is sometimes known as C. Burridgei, or Cosmidium Burridgeanum.
Trachymene coerulea (UmbellifercB), known also as Didiscus coeruleus, is a rather rough Half-hardy Annual from Australia. It is about 1 foot high, and has blue flowers. Sow in heat in Spring, and plant out after hardening the plants.
Most of the Thunbergias (Acanthacece) are stove or greenhouse climbers, but one species, T. alata, is a Half-hardy Annual suitable alike for greenhouse or conservatory, or for a warm place in a sheltered garden. This has yellow, tubular flowers with purplish throat. In the variety aurantiaca the flowers are orange-yellow with maroon centre, while in alba they are white. The seeds must be sown in heat in March, and each plant be given a pot to itself at an early stage, with a stick to twine round. After due hardening, planting out should take place in June. Thunbergia alata makes a good basket plant if the points of growth are occasionally pinched out to induce a free branching habit.
URSINIA Under the name of Sphenog)'ne anthemot'des, or Arctotis ant/iemotdes, the little yellow Composite named Ursinia anthemoides is occasionally grown in gardens. It grows about 8 inches high, and has purplish colouring on the underside of the white ray florets. U. pulchra is also known as Spkenogj'ne speciosa, and seeds of it are so offered in catalogues; it is 8 inches high, and has orange-yellow flowers. These plants resemble the Coreopsis, and they should be raised in gentle heat in March, or sown in the open in April. Plant 6 inches apart.
VERONICA - "Speedwell" - One or two species of Speedwell (Scrophulariaceae) are Hardy Annuals of merit, and those of most importance are V. glauca, 6 inches, blue; and V. syriaca, 6 inches, bright blue. Both are best sown in Autumn, where they are to flower, and thinned to 4 inches apart.
The Waitzia (Compositie) form a small genus of Australian plants, all Half-hardy Annuals, with flowers of "Everlasting" character. They grow about 18 inches high, and flower at the end of the Summer. The best species is W. aurea, bright golden-yellow. It must be sown in heat in March and planted in a sunny spot in June.
Xanthisma texana is a yellow-flowered Composite of some merit for grouping in the borders; it is Summer flowering, and grows about 2 feet high. Sow in April where the plants are to flower.
Every one knows the Immortelles so largely used for funeral wreaths, especially in France, because of their lasting properties. These are Xeranthemums (Compositce), the species grown being X. an?iuum and X. mapertum, the former with purple flower heads and the latter with white heads. These plants belong to the group of "Everlastings," and need similar treatment to those of this nature already described.
Under this tiresome name the identity of a little plant better known as Nycterinia capensis is almost lost. Z. capensis (Scrophulariaceae) comes to us from South Africa, as its name suggests; it grows 8 inches high, and forms compact little bushes bearing white flowers. Z. selagmoides, 4 inches, white, with orange-coloured centre, is like Z. capensis, sweetly scented at night, and therefore both deserve to be grown. They are Half-hardy, and may be raised under glass in March or in the open at the end of April. The seeds are small and must be merely covered with soil. Thin out or plant 6 inches apart.
Annuals of Less Garden Value
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