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damaged in the bud late in spring. They are very easily
till a late period in spring, the position selected for them
P. albiflora (White-flowered P.)—This species is the parent of a few useful showy varieties. They are mostly about 2 feet high, and are distinguishable also by the rather bold, smooth, three-parted leaves, the segments of which are deeply cut into oval lance-shaped lobes. Native of Siberia. A few of the best varieties are :-fragrans, with rose-scented flowers; Humei, double crimson; Pottsii, crímson, and rather taller than the standard; Reevesii, double pink; and Whitleji, double white.
P. decora (Comely P.)—In this species the leaves are threeparted, with oblong bluntish lobes, which are downy on the under side. The varieties are few, and all are purple-flowered. Native of the Levant.
P. Moutan (“Tree Peony").-Of this species there are many striking and beautiful varieties in cultivation. All are easily distinguished from the herbaceous species and varieties by their shrubby stems. The flowers are of immense size and generally splendid colour. Where the climate is favourable for the development of their flowers out of doors, they produce a magnificent effect. They are very ornamental, also, in the cool conservatory in spring, either planted out or in pots, and are easily forced for the purpose of decorating rooms and planthouses. The following are a few of the best :-albida-pleno, double-white; Anneslei, pink; carnea-pleno, double pink; pieta, variously striped in different shades of pink; rosea-pleno, double rose; and salmonea, pale salmon.
P. officinalis (Officinal P.)— This species is near in character to P. albiflora, but is distinguishable in most of its varieties by rather taller growth and less equally-lobed leaves. It has been productive of many very showy varieties of greater or less distinctness. Native of many parts of the south of Europe, and widely spread over central Asia, and also a naturalised subject of our own flora, having been found, in the variety named corallina, in the Steep Holme Island, in the Severn. The following are a few of the best varieties :-anemoniflora, double red; aureo-limbata, a novel sort, of recent introduction, the flowers large, deep crimson, fashioned like a gigantic anemone in the centre, and the outer petals margined with yellow; carnescens, large pinkish white; rubra, deep red; Sabini, deep crimson.
P. paradoxa (Purple P.)— The leaves in this species are three-parted, and much cut into many bluntish lobes with wavy
margins, and hoary and downy beneath. Height about 2 feet. Flowers purple. Native of the Levant. It has not been prolific in varieties, and all are purple-flowered. The most marked is fimbriata, which is conspicuously fringed.
P. tenuifolia (Finc-leaved P.)—This is one of the most distinct of herbaceous Pæonies. It is rather dwarf, rarely more than 1/2 foot high. The leaves are much parted, and the segments are divided in numerous thread-like lobes. The flowers are deep crimson, and not of the largest size, but the double form is very compact and handsome. It is one of the best of Pæonies, and worthy of a place in any select mixed border, and is quite congruous and elegant in small gardens. P. tenuifolia, var. pleno, is the only variety it has produced worthy of note. Native of Siberia.
All herbaceous sorts enumerated above bloom about June; the Moutan varieties in April and May.
Ranunculus. — This is a well-known and very numerous genus. It is popularly regarded as a weedy family, and if estimated on the merits of the few species of buttercups so abundant in most parts of the country, there is no doubt but that it is very weedy indeed. But the splendid varieties of R. asiaticus, and other perhaps less splendid but not less useful species, establish its claims to be considered one of the most ornamental
of this very ornamental order of herbaceous plants. But the species yielding ornamental varieties are few in number when compared with the large gathering of weedy ones that are grouped along with them. Notably the varieties of asiaticus eclipse all others in splendour of colouring and symmetry of form; but they are troublesome to cultivate—a fact which will more than anything else prevent their occupying the undesirably exclusive position in the affections of florists they once did, in times when affairs of all kinds were more leisurely and easy-going than they are now. They can, however, be cultivated at less cost and trouble in attention and labour than it was thought possible in their petted days. If we are to believe the books and florists' directories, no less dainty food than turf off the best yellow loam, which must lie in store and be turned monthly for twelve months, could be presented to the luxurious Ranunculus. Excellent food this for almost any plant, if it could be obtained; but in most cases that is difficult, and in very many quite impossible. It is not necessary, however, for the ordinary purposes of embellishment and display, to attempt so expensive a method of treatment as that recommended in most treatises on the cultivation of the Ranunculus.. Any strong
but friable loam is suitable for them, but it must be well manured in order to have strong growth, on which depend the excellence and abundance of the bloom. They may be planted in beds of one colour or of various colours, or in clumps of a few roots, as taste and circumstances may direct. The beds and clumps may be prepared for planting by deep trenching, turning in, in the operation, a liberal supply of old well-decomposed dung, at the depth of 6 or 7 inches from the surface. This should be done, in favourable weather, some time before planting-time. The roots may be planted in October, November,
December, January, and February; but for most localities Feb:: ruary will be found the best month, as the after-culture from
that time is, on account of the gradually-improving weather, more simple and easy as regards both attention and labour-a consideration of much importance to amateurs, and all who must, from necessity or choice, cultivate their own gardens. When the ground is tolerably dry, a fine day should be chosen for planting. The beds should be 4 feet wide, and the surface raked fine and level before proceeding to plant the roots. A line should then be stretched lengthwise on the bed, 6 inches from the edge, and a neat trench cut along it about 2 inches deep. A little clean river or pit sand should then be strewed into the bottom of the trench, and the roots pressed firmly on the top of it, claws downwards, and about 4 or 5 inches apart. Finish the line by drawing the earth removed from the trench back on the top of the roots, making all firm and smooth again with the rake. Stretch the line again 6 inches from that finished, and proceed in the same manner till the bed is filled. In the case of clumps the operation of planting is the same essentially, but it is more convenient to remove the surface to the depth of 2 inches and the breadth to be planted, and place the roots in circles 5 inches apart each way, marking the spot by means of a tally or stake fixed in the centre before the roots are planted. A cool moist situation should be chosen in which to cultivate them; and after the leaves begin to appear, the ground should be kept very firm about them—treading may even be necessary in cases where the soil is of a light, soft texture; and a mulching of old manure, put through a coarse sieve, should be equally laid between the plants, in order to prevent cracking of the surface from drought. Water when drought is severe, if necessary, but do it thoroughly and carefully, taking care to prevent it falling heavily on the plants. If frost should occur after the foliage has appeared, some protection will be needful; a few hoops may be stretched across the bed for this purpose, on which to fasten a mat or other
handy covering. The roots must be lifted as soon as they are ripe, which is ascertained by the dying off of the leaves after flowering is over, and dried and cleaned carefully and slowly in a moderately airy place, and then stored away in a cool room till planting-time again comes round. They are propagated by increase of the tubers annually, and by seed. Seedlings are not difficult to raise, but on economical grounds the purchase of flowering roots is preferable. The seedlings bloom the following year from seed, and cost some trouble during the earlier stages of their progress; but it is only by means of seed that new varieties can be produced. The seed should be sown about the end of February in good rich soil, but without manure, in shallow pans or boxes, kept in a cold frame. Cover the seeds lightly, and sow thinly, and water gently before closing the frame, and keep close till the plants appear, and protect from frost till all danger of it is past. Give plenty of air after the plants have made some progress, when the weather is favourable, and in the end of May turn them out of doors in a sheltered warm situation. The only attention they will require till they begin to mature is watering and keeping clean, after which water should be gradually withheld till they are quite dry, when they may be taken up and treated in the same manner as the older roots. All tuberousrooted species are propagated by annual increase of tubers and by seed, and the fibrous-rooted by division in autumn, winter, or early spring.
R. aconitifolius flore-pleno (Fair Maids of France, or Bachelor's Buttons).—This is one of the best known of hardy herbaceous plants, and enjoys a very liberal share of the patronage of cottagers and amateurs throughout the country, but is not often seen in gardens of larger extent. It grows about 18 inches high, with graceful free habit; dark-green, handsomely lobed and toothed leaves, and a profusion of beautiful pure white flowers, very suggestive of buttons, but only remotely so of bachelors; very ornamental in the mixed border, about the margins of beds of shrubs, and on rockwork, and may be introduced successfully into open woods where the natural vegetation is not of a rank character. Flowers in May and June. Native of the Alps of Europe.
R. acris flore-pleno (Yellow Bachelor's Buttons).— This sort is better known in the single state than in the double, being plentifully distributed in pastures throughout the country. It grows about 18 inches high, with pale-green hairy lobed leaves and upright stems, branching into numerous panicles of brightyellow flowers, very double, in the form of those of the preced
ing, but rather smaller. It is a very free and continuous blooming plant, and worthy of a place among the most select mixed border-plants. Flowers from the end of June till the end of August.
Ř. asiaticus (Common Garden Ranunculus).—The varieties of this species have already been somewhat remarked upon. They are very numerous; ancient florists used to boast that R. asiaticus was more numerous in varieties than all other flowers. They are not so now, and the trade in named sorts is very trifling; the demand is more for colours separately and in mixture than for fine named sorts. The colours are exceedingly various, and the modes of arrangement of the colours nearly as varied as the colours.
R. bulbosus flore-pleno (Bulbus Buttercup).-—The original of this form is also a native of Britain, though not so plentiful, especially in Scotland. It grows about a foot high, having the stems thickened at the base into a bulb-like process. The leaves are small, divided into three lobes, which are much cut. The flowers are produced in less profuse panicles than those of R. acris, but are rather larger, and bright yellow.
R. gramineus flore-pleno (Grass-leaved Buttercup).—This is a very distinct and pretty plant, well worth a place in the mixed border or on rockwork. It grows from 9 inches to 1 foot high; the leaves mostly proceed from the roots, and are grass-like in form, and pale glaucous green. The stems are slender but erect, and almost leafless, and produce a few beautiful goldenyellow double flowers. Flowers in April and May. Native of Europe.
R. aquaticus (Water-Ranunculus). There are many forms of this species found in ditches, streams, ponds, and marshy places in Britain. It is the large-flowered floating variety, not so commonly found in nature as some of the others, that I would recommend here. In it the flowers are white, borne on large stalks, and the leaves are all submerged, and very delicately cut into long parallel segments. The manner in which the leaves are cut distinguishes it from another variety with the leaves finely divided, but in which the segments spread irregularly in all directions; both are very ornamental in water. The first noticed affects running streains in nature, and would be most at home in such in cultivation; the other is more generally found in deep still waters, and would be most useful for introducing into ponds and lakes; but both are alike useful for the latter purpose.
They flower from very early summer till very late. There are many very interesting alpine species suitable