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early; but in order to secure this, they should be encouraged as much as possible under frames or hand-glasses while in the seedling state. The following selection includes the best and most distinct of the species at present known, and they are fine, in some cases splendid, ornaments for the mixed border, and for rockwork.
A. alpina (Alpine C.)—This is one of the best. It grows about 1 foot high, with a considerable tuft of finely-cut leaves at the roots, and rather erect leafy stems, producing numerous large purplish-blue white-centred flowers. Prefers a rather moist shady position on rockwork, with considerable depth of soil. Flowers in May and June. Native of the Swiss Alps.
A. canadensis (Canadian C.)—This is a tall and rather graceful species, growing about 2 feet high, with loose panicles of flowers. The flowers are large, but not so spreading as in some, with straight spurs of moderate length, beautiful bright red, shaded with orange in the centres. Flowers in April, May, and June. Native of North America.
A. cærulea (Sky-blue C.)—This is a remarkable and splendid species of recent introduction. It grows about 1 foot high, and produces numerous very large flowers with long slender spurs, light violet-blue, shaded with pure white. Flowers in May and June. Native of the Rocky Mountains. Succeeds best treated in the way recommended for A. alpina.
A. fragrans (Fragrant C. This is not one of the most showy, but is very distinct. It grows about i foot high, with downy, somewhat clammy leaves, is very profuse-flowering. The flowers are pale yellow or straw, furnished with short hooked spurs, and appear in May and June. Native of the Himalaya.
A. glandulosa (Clammy C.)-This is a very showy and freeflowering species, growing about 18 inches or 2 feet high, with abundant foliage. The flowers are very large, blue and white, and have short spurs. Flowers in May, June, and July. Native of Siberia. There are two or three excellent varieties of this species in cultivation.
A. glauca (Grey-leaved C.)—This is a distinct and interesting plant, though not so strikingly showy as some of the preceding. It grows about 18 inches or 2 feet high, with ample glaucous foliage and large numerous flowers, the spurs of which are shortish and red, and shading into the pale yellow of the other parts of the flowers. Flowers in May and June. Native of the Himalaya.
A. Skinneri (Skinner's C.)—This is one of the best. It grows 9 inches or 1 foot high, producing numerous scarlet and
orange flowers with long spurs. Flowers in April and May. Native of Guatemala.
A. vulgaris (Common C.)—This species is a native of Britain, and is rather a time-honoured plant in gardens. It is variable in its character under cultivation, and many beautiful and some extremely curious varieties have sprung from it. Some of the double varieties are splendid and interesting border-plants, and are very useful for cut-flowers, as they stand long fresh, and may be sent a great distance in the cut state. There are white, pink, lilac, blue, purple, dark-crimson, red, yellow, and variegated colours in double flowers, and they are well worth some space and attention in every garden. There are later and earlier flowering varieties also, and a close succession may be kept up from the end of May till the end of July. There is also a variety with prettily variegated foliage named in catalogues A. v. Vervæneana.
Caltha.— This is the common Marsh-Marigold so abundant in our marshy places and by brook-sides all over Britain. It is a genus of few species, and were it not for the double-flowered variety of C. palustris, our native one, it would be devoid of floricultural interest. This is a good old-fashioned plant not now often seen in gardens, but deserving of a place in any select collection of ornamental hardy herbaceous plants. It is a neat-growing plant about 9 inches in height, with handsome, glossy, dark-green, kidney-shaped leaves, and a profusion of large, double, bright-golden flowers—more golden than the most auriferous Calceolaria—and which become brighter and more profuse when showers are plentiful. It is most suitable for the front lines of mixed borders of hardy herbaceous plants, and may be used with good effect on shady damp rockwork, as well as in the way suggested by the natural habits of the single form, and be made to light up otherwise dreary spots in the spring and early summer months. It naturally prefers a very moist soil, and does not object to considerable shade ; but it does not refuse to grow in any ordinary garden soil, even if somewhat dry. Flowers from April till well into July. Propagate by division any time from November till March in open weather.
Cimicifuga (Bugwort).—This genus resembles and is nearly related to Actæa, and, like it, comprises very few species. They are tall strong-growing plants, and may be used for the embellishment of mixed borders and shrubberies, and for naturalisation in woods and partially shady places. They are rarely if at all met with in private gardens, and are little known beyond the precincts of botanical gardens, but are well worth
a place for their distinctive character, if not for actual display. The same soil and treatment as for Actæa.
O. cordifolia (Heart-leaved Bugwort). —This species grows to the height of about 4 feet, with large ternately-divided leaves, the segments large and heart-shaped, obscurely lobed and sharply toothed; and produces long, rather dense, branched spikes or racemes of white and yellow flowers in June and July. Native of North America.
Č. foetida (Stinking Bugwort).—This species grows about the same height as the last, if anything taller. The leaves are divided in a similar manner, but the segments are smaller and are not lobed, but acutely toothed and lance-shaped in outline. The racemes of flowers are more numerous and more freely branched. The flowers are small, pale yellow, appearing in June and July, often also continued into August. Native of Siberia.
C. palmata (Palmate-leaved Bugwort.) — This species is about the same in stature as the preceding, but differs markedly from both in all other features. The leaves are palmate in shape, and acutely but rather roughly toothed. The flowers are produced in panicles, not racemes or spikes, and the forks of the panicles are developed in equal pairs. Flowers yellow and white, appearing in July and August. Native of North America. Delphinium (Larkspur).
This is a numerous group, clearly marked and not easily confounded with either of its nearest relatives the Columbines or Monkshoods. A very large number of rather variable forms are comprised in it; many species are founded on trivial and inconstant distinctions, and there is altogether much confusion of opinion among botanists as to what should be regarded as the proper limits of species; but there is, no doubt, much difficulty in the way of a harmonious understanding in all cases of this kind where the forms are numerous and run into each other on all sides. The high merits of Delphiniums for decoration are well known and universally admitted. Not many groups of plants indeed, of the same extent, contain so few weedy subjects; and yet it does not present the same distinct variety of colour and habit as many genera that comprise not one-tenth the number of its reputed species. But their style of growth is bold and striking; and though only blues, purples, purplish reds and whites, in various shades and combinations, are the sum of the colours at present known in the group, yet these are so bright in most species and varieties, that when considered along with the noble plume-like mode of flowering and imposing habit of
many, some astonishment may fairly be expressed that plants with so many excellent qualities should be so thinly cultivated in gardens generally, and in the gardens of the wealthy particularly. They are splendid objects in every position, and may be used in many ways—in the mixed border, in masses of themselves either in one or several colours, and associated with other flowering plants or with evergreens. I have seen them made to produce a novel and striking effect by pegging them down around the margins of groups of shrubs; and in beds by themselves on grass, pegged in the same manner, but graduating from 1 foot or so high at the edge, to 4 or 5 feet in the centre. They were not models of smoothness, these beds, on near inspection; but at some distance off they were grandand distant effect was the object aimed at in the case. There is much trouble and labour attending this method, however, as the pegging must be scrupulously attended to during the growing season, and has to be done with much care to prevent breaking and kneeing of the stems; and if it cannot be well done, it had better not be attempted at all. But there is a compensating advantage to be set against the extra trouble and labour—there is a very prolonged succession of flowers consequent on the extra branching that naturally results from the horizontal position of the stems. They luxuriate most in deeply-worked rich loam, rather moist than dry, and make but a poor figure in very dry light soils, unless liberally manured and copiously supplied with water during all stages of growth. To enjoy their beauty as long as possible, it is of much importance to stake and secure their stems at an early stage, to thin out all weak stems so as to admit light and air freely to those that remain, and to remove all seed-pods and decayed flowers as soon as they show themselves. The plants are kept in a vigorous and healthy state for a longer period if attention is paid to lifting and replanting annually, or at most every two years, and giving them some fresh soil or well-decomposed manure to refresh them. Propagate by seed for the production of varieties. Sow in the open air in March or April in a well-dug rich piece of ground in a warm position, and prick the plants out when fit to handle. Choice species and varieties are increased by division in winter in open weather and in spring, and a succession of bloom may be kept up by dividing at successive periods. Cuttings also may be resorted to in the case of rare or scarce sorts, and when large increase is an object. They should be taken when the shoots have grown 5 or 6 inches long, and planted in light rich sandy soil
, in pots singly or in masses, according to convenience and the object
in view, and placed in a cold frame, handlight or bell-glass. They may also be propagated in autumn by cuttings when extraordinary increase is necessary. A plant in full growth should be cut down in the middle or latter end of July, and stimulated immediately into growth with liquid manure; and in three weeks or a month the cuttings will be fit to take, and may be treated in the same way under hand-glasses as pipings of Pinks and other hardy herbaceous subjects. In the case of some hybrids of recent production, division or cuttings must be resorted to for increase, as they are sterile and do not produce seeds. The following short selection embraces some of the best and most distinct of the species, hybrids, and varieties of the group:
D. alopecuroides is a splendid sort, with dense racemes of pale-blue double flowers.
from 3 to 4 feet high, and flowers in June, July, August, and September. One of the best.
D. Barlowi (Barlow's D.)—This sort grows about 4 feet high, with noble racemes of bright-blue single or double flowers. It is a garden hybrid; and the double is the best, being most lasting in bloom. Flowers in July, August, and September. Of garden origin.
D. bella donna.—This is one of the sterile hybrids alluded to above. It is an erect, very handsome sort, growing 2 or 3 feet high, producing fine racemes of lovely azure-blue flowers. Perhaps in its own peculiar colour this hybrid is unsurpassed for soft lovely effect. Flowers in July, August, and September. The flowers are single.
D. cheilanthum (Lip-flowered D.)- This is one of the older species. It is of erect branching habit, about 4 to 5 feet high. The flowers are not of the largest size individually, but are numerous, in long racemes, and intense dark blue. Flowers in July, August, and September. D. cheilanthum var. multiplex is a beautiful double-flowered sort, one of the finest of the dark-blues.
D. elatum (Tall D.) grows 5 or 6 feet high, with strong erect stems and five-lobed leaves. The racemes are loose, but long; the flowers are blue, and appear in July, August, and September. This is one of the older species, a native of Siberia, and is very striking and handsome, though deficient in floral brilliancy when compared with some of the recently-introduced hybrids and varieties. There is a double-flowered sort which cannot be considered much of an improvement on the normal form.
D. formosum (Beautiful D.)—This well-known sort is of hybrid origin. It grows 3 or 4 feet high, with stems of medium strength and somewhat straggling, producing graceful racemes