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Iberis Correĉfolia - Hardy Perennial

Author: John Wood

Iberis Correĉfolia - Hardy Perennials and Old Fashioned Flowers

Iberis Correĉfolia Described.

Iberis Correaefolia - Iberis Correæfolia - Nat. Ord. Cruciferæ.

This is a hybrid and much improved variety of the well-known evergreen and shrubby Candytuft, often called "Everlasting Candytuft." A more pronounced remove from its parents could hardly be found in any plant or shrub than is this. There are evident improvements in colour, size, and habit, both in foliage and flowers. It is also a robust grower and perfectly hardy, in these respects being very different from I. Gibraltarica. None of the shrubby Candytufts can compare with this for usefulness and beauty; it comes into flower in May, and is in its greatest beauty in early June. It remains in fine form for fully four weeks. At first the flowers seem small, but later they form broad masses of dazzling whiteness, the corymbs being the size of a crown piece. Not only is this wholly distinct from its relatives, but it is one of the most useful flowers and evergreen shrubs which can be introduced to a garden. It cannot be planted wrong as regards either soil or situation. It forms a rich surfacing subject, all the year round, to other tall plants, as lilies, &c. It looks well as a front specimen in the shrubbery, makes an effective and neat appearance at the angles of walks, or as an edging it may be cut and trimmed as a substitute for a grass verge; it thrives on sunny or almost sunless outhouse tops, and on rockwork it is superb; moreover, it grows fairly well in reeky towns, and though its white flowers may be soiled the day they open, its bright green leaves and dense habit render it a pleasing object.

The flowers are arranged in flat heads at first, but as the stems become elongated and the succession of buds open, a long round cluster is formed by the old flowers remaining (as they do for weeks), such heads or spikes sometimes being 3in. long. There is much substance in the petals, which causes them to glisten in strong light; the flower stems are produced 5in. or 6in. above the foliage, their total height rarely exceeding a foot. The leaves are numerous, of a dark shining green colour; in length 1½in., and over ¼in. broad near the ends; their shape is spathulate, obtuse, entire, and smooth; the new set of foliage contrasts pleasingly with the old, and its growth is completed during the flowering period; the woody and slender branches are numerous and procumbent.

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Iberis Correĉfolia

Besides the positions already mentioned, in which this shrub may usefully be planted, there is none more so, perhaps, than that of rough or unsightly corners, where, if it is provided with a little loam, it will soon adapt its form to the surroundings. The flowers in a cut state are not only sweet-smelling, but very useful where white bloom is needed in quantity, as for church decorations. I. correæfolia can scarcely be said to need cultural treatment, but it is useful to bear in mind that it may be much more finely bloomed if generously treated, which simply consists in nothing more than giving it a sunny place and sandy loam, well enriched with old manure. Specimens so treated, which were cuttings only two years ago, are now 2ft. in diameter, and covered densely with large flowers; and how lovely some of the pretty weeds which have sprung up amongst the bushes, and mingle their flowers among the masses of white, appear—such as Spring Beauty (Claytonia), pink flowers; the Maiden Pink (Dianthus deltoides), rose; Self-heal (Prunella pyrenaica), purple; and the forget-me-nots! This comparatively new Candytuft is as easily increased as grown, by either layers or cuttings; the latter may be put in almost any time, early spring being the best; if put in in June, no better quarters can be given than under the shade of shrubs, where the soil is sandy loam.

Flowering period, middle of May to middle of June.

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