Imagens das páginas

of bright gentian blue. A very fine sort, flowering with great profusion from June to September. It is one of the best for pegging, its medium, strong, and rather flexible stems being more favourable to the mode than those of more rigid habit.

D. grandiflorum (Large-flowered D.)—This is another of the old species. It grows 3 or 4 feet high, with erect branching stems. The racemes are rather open, the flowers large and intense dark blue. Flowers from June throughout the summer and autumn. Native of Siberia.

D. grandiflorum flore - pleno differs from the preceding mainly in the flowers being double; but the growth is scarcely so tall and rather more rigid, and the racemes are more dense and cylindrical.

D. grandiflorum album differs from the species only in the colour of the flowers, which are white instead of blue, but not a good white.

D. Hendersoni (Henderson's D.)— This sort is of garden origin. It grows about 27/2 or 3 feet high, producing fine racemes of bright-blue flowers. Like Formosum, it is one of the most useful for pegging down.

D. Hermann Stenger.—This is a very handsome sort, also of garden origin. It is rather a robust grower, reaching the height of about 4 feet, producing fine racemes of blue and rose double flowers. It is distinct in colour, and flowers in July and August

D. hybridum (Hybrid D.) is a tall hairy species, with erect stems, and much and finely cut leaves. The racemes are long, compact, and cylindrical, and the flowers light blue. Flowers from June to September. Height about 4 feet. Native of Siberia.

D. hybridum flore-pleno differs from the species in no other respect than in having double flowers.

D. magnificum.-In habit, style of inflorescence, and form of flowers, this sort resembles Bella donna, but the flowers are deep brilliant gentian or purplish blue. Height about 4 feet. Garden hybrid.

D. pulchrum.—This is a single-flowered pale-blue sort of great beauty. It grows about 2 or 3 feet high, and produces its flowers in June, July, and August. Of hybrid origin.

D. ranunculifolium flore-pleno.—This sort grows about 4 feet high, with long striking racemes of azure-blue flowers, very double. Flowers in June, July, August, and September.

D. sinense.—This species is of very rigid growth. The leaves are deeply and finely cut. The flowers are very dark blue or purple, in rather loose erect racemes. Flowers from July till

3 feet.

September or October. Native of Tartary. Height from 2 to

D. sinense flore - pleno is like the species in all respects save the double flowers.

D. Wheeleri.—This is one of the most striking and effective in the group. It grows about 4 feet high, producing immense racemes of bright-blue flowers. Flowers in June, July, and August.

Eranthis hyemalis, syn. Helleborus hyemalis.—This, the well-known and admired Winter Aconite, needs no description. It is one of the earliest and hardiest of spring flowers, throwing up its pretty yellow blossoms often under the melting snow, and continuing five or six weeks in flower, appearing first usually in February, but earlier or later accordingly as the weather is mild or rigorous. It is indispensable in the spring flowergarden as an edging, or in masses associated with other colours, and may be introduced anywhere it is thought proper. It flourishes almost as well in dense shade as in open exposure, and in any kind of soil. Few plants may be naturalised with less trouble and expense. It is invaluable for town and suburban gardens, caring less for dust and smoke than most plants. Its tuberous roots multiply rapidly, and furnish ample means for annual increase. It is the only species known in cultivation. Native of Italy.

Helleborus.—The well-known Christmas Rose is a familiar type of this group. It is not numerous in species, and few have any striking pretensions to floral effect; but most of them bloom at a season when flowers are so rare that even commonplace things become valuable. The structure of the flowers, too, is peculiar and interesting ; and this, to those who look deeper than the surface characteristics of colour and form, is no slight recommendation. They grow freely in any ordinary soil, provided the situation be moderately moist and shady. Their natural preference for shady places renders them very fit subjects for the purpose of naturalisation in open woods, in glades, and among shrubs. In such positions they usually come earlier into flower than when planted in more exposed places; but by planting in different aspects a more prolonged succession of flower may be kept up. Propagate by division in autumn, or immediately after the flowering season is over. They should not be often disturbed.

H. atrorubens (Dark-purple Hellebore).--This species grows from 1 foot to 18 inches high, with strong, somewhat angular stems, clothed with tough, leathery, pale-green, lobed and stalked leaves, the lower ones on long stalks, and much larger

than the upper ones. The flowers are large, dark purple changing to green. Flowers in March, April, and May. Native of Hungary

H. colchicus (Eastern H.)—This fine and distinct species grows about a foot or 15 inches high, producing dense panicles of large red flowers in March and April. A very scarce species, and the best of the red or purplish-red sorts. Native of Asia Minor.

H. cupreus (Coppery H.) grows about 9 inches or i foot high, producing numerous large coppery-red flowers in January and February; one of the earliest to appear, and very distinct. Native of Hungary.

H. niger (Christmas Rose). This fine old plant is so universally known that any description would be superfluous. Its beautiful white or pinkish-white flowers are ever welcome at the dreary flowerless season in which they appear. There are three distinct and permanent varieties of it in cultivation. The ordinary form, or that most commonly met with, divides and connects the other two. H. niger, var. angustifolia, is a starveling plant, and not worth growing beside the other two except for curiosity's sake. H. niger, var. major, uamed also atrovirens and grandiflorus, is the reverse of this, and exceeds the typical form in beauty and vigour as much as the other falls below it. It is distinguished by larger flowers of a purer white, and larger intense dark-green leaves. Native of Austria.

H. olympicus (Olympic H.)—This species is nearly related to the first mentioned, that form being accounted by some only a variety of the present subject, and appearing in many trade catalogues as H. olympicus, var. ruber. They differ, however, very essentially in the colour of the flowers, which in the present species are greenish white, and appear about a month earlier than those of atrorubens; but they have the same habit, and the same delicate pale-green, lobed, leathery leaves. Native of Bithynia.

Hepatica.-This small genus is nearly related to Anemone, and the few species it contains are by some authors included in that family. They are, however, practically distinct from any anemone with which we are familiar in cultivation, especially in the evergreen peculiarly-lobed leaves, and in the floral leaves, which are so close under the flowers as to assume the appearance of the calyx. Though few in species, it is one of the most important and valuable of spring-flowering genera. The species are all spring-flowering; all are beautiful and bright, and most profuse and continuous in the production of their flowers. They are invaluable for the embellishment of


beds, borders, and rockwork in spring; few spring-flowering plants, indeed, can compare with them when well managed as to culture and grouping. A rich rather gritty loam is most congenial to them, and they delight in slight shade, both foliage and flowers appearing freshest and to the greatest advantage so placed. They are propagated by division of the root-stock, and the operation is best performed in autumn, after growth has been made and the leaves are fully matured. When doing well they should be left alone, as they are very averse to frequent removals; but the crowns are apt from annual increase to rise too high above ground, and when such is the case they are benefited by being lifted and replanted, introducing a little fresh loam or leaf-mould about the roots in the operation, and taking care to bring the crowns nearly level with the surface of the ground. They should be annually refreshed by means of a little old thoroughly-rotted dung pricked into the surface of the ground around them with a fork; but digging, or deep stirring as with a spade, is objectionable. The best time to do this manuring is in spring, just as growth commences. In cases where the summer flower-garden must be filled with spring-flowering plants after removing the summer occupants, the Hepaticas are best managed by being kept in pots in the reserve ground.

H. angulosa (Five-lobed H. This is the finest of the species. It forms luxuriant tufts about 9 inches high of pretty, five-lobed, hairy leaves, from among which the large sky-blue flowers come forth in great profusion in March and April. It is not nearly so well known in gardens as its great beauty and spring-flowering quality entitle it to be; but it is yet comparatively rare even in the trade, and consequently rather high-priced. Native of North America.

H. triloba (Thrce-lobed H.)—This is the most common species, and there are few places in the country where spring flowers are in request in which a greater or less number of its beautiful varieties do not appear. They are all distinguished by the three-lobed leaves, and the flowers, single or double, being smaller than those of the preceding species. All the varieties are worth cultivating, and all except the double blue are cheap and plentiful. The following list enumerates all the varieties at present known :-cærulea, single blue; cærulea pleno, double blue; alba, single white, with red anthers; nivea, single white of snowy tint, and white stamens; rubra, single red; rubra pleno, double red; carnea, single pink; Barlowi, single mauve or light-red purple. Flowers in February, March, and April. Native of Europe.

The species acutiloba and Americana, as offered in some lists, do not present anything superior or very distinct from those above named for the purposes of decoration. Their flowers are blue, and the habit and time of flowering the same as the others. They are probably only one species, differing somewhat in the form of the lobes of the leaves.

Pæonia.—In this genus there are many plants of bold and striking character; their immense flowers, conspicuous at a long distance, giving many glowing intense shades of colour, and their distinct and generally excellent habit, mark them out as very valuable among herbaceous plants. There are depreciators of Pæonies who take exception to their large and not over-well-dressed flowers, and call them vulgar; but they are only vulgar when they occupy an unfit position, as when flaunting in a narrow cramped border, or in a villa garden or cottager's plot. Their beauties are fit only for producing distant effects, and they should be planted only where the sense of space is large, and always in association with masses of foliage, as of trees and shrubs. They prefer a somewhat shady position, as on the margins of woods and in glades; their flowers last longer thus : and when planted in masses in such places, so as to be seen from a distance, their characteristic glare is subdued, and the effect beautiful. They may be used with excellent effect, also, to embellish the banks of lakes and running streams at infrequent intervals. Only a few of the species have been productive of useful varieties, and the greater part of such are merely accidental, not the result of direct endeavour to improve their qualities; and considering how excellent many of these are, there is strong encouragement to florists to make many of the species the subject of direct experiment. Any good deep loam is agreeable to them; they are not fastidious as to quality, provided it be not too wet. Propagate the herbaceous species by division of the roots, and the Moutan sorts by cuttings in slight heat in spring, when the young shoots have hardened a little at the base, and by layering and division also, and by grafting on the roots of the herbaceous species. New varieties are raised by seed, which should be sown as soon as ripe, as they lie long. A proportion of the plants may appear the following spring, but the majority will lie dormant twelve months or more, and they lie the longer if the seeds are not sown immediately they are ripe. The Moutan varieties are not so hardy as the herbaceous ones, and should not be selected for cold wet localities. They are capable of resisting cold in any degree likely to be experienced in our climate; but in unfavourable situations the flowers are often

« AnteriorContinuar »