H. Perennial & Old Fashioned Garden Plants & Flowers by John Wood
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Linum Flavum - Hardy Perennial
Author: John Wood
Linum Flavum Described.
Linum Flavum - Yellow Flax; Nat. Ord. Linaceæ.
This handsome shrub-like Flax comes from Austria, and is a comparatively new species in English gardens. It is not only a distinct form, but from the large quantities and more durable quality of its flowers, it proves itself a very useful subject for flower-beds and borders, where it should have the most select companions. It is classed as a hardy, herbaceous perennial; its woody character, and a few green leaves which it carries throughout the winter would, however, show that it is not strictly herbaceous. Its hardiness, too, will be questioned by many who have tried to winter it outside, more especially in the northern parts of Great Britain. It is only hardy under certain conditions, which, in effect, is saying that it is not perfectly hardy. It requires a light warm soil and a dry situation, besides which, if the winter is severe, it should be protected with a thick covering of ashes or cocoa fibre. This special treatment has been found needful in Yorkshire, but more south it has been proved hardy without such precautions. The neat habit and clusters of rich yellow flowers of this plant render it deserving of the little extra care above indicated; this, together with the fact that it is hardy in many parts, is a sufficient reason for naming it amongst hardy plants.
Its flowers are produced in branched heads, dense and numerous, on stems a foot or more high; each flower is 1in. or 1½in. across, the five petals being of a transparent golden yellow, distinctly veined with orange; they are broad, and overlap each other; calyx small, and of a dark olive-green colour; segments finely pointed. The leaves are 2in. or more in length, lanced, but inclining to spoon shape; sessile, stout, smooth, entire, and glaucous. Through the summer new stems are quickly grown, which, in their turn, become topped with clusters of bloom, and so a succession of flowers is kept up until autumn. On rockwork it is effective, the situation, to some extent, meeting the requirements of its somewhat tender constitution; it may also be grown well in beds or borders, but they should be of a sandy character, and raised, unless it is intended to take up the plants for the winter; in such positions four or five specimens form a charming group, and nothing can be finer than the effect of other Flaxes, of a tall and spray-like character, grown near and amongst this golden yellow, such, for instance, as L. Narbonnense and L. perenne.
It is easily propagated by seeds, which should be sown in the autumn as soon as ripe; it may also be divided, but I have found the quickest and best results from cuttings taken in a half-ripened state. They should be put round the side of a rather large pot in sandy peat; the warmth, shade, and moisture of a cucumber-frame will cause them to root quickly, when they should be potted off singly, so as to make sturdy plants before the winter sets in, and such young stock ought to be wintered in a cold frame.
Flowering period, August and September.
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