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for the rockwork only, but those enumerated are the best of the family for general ornamental purposes.
Thalictrum (Meadow-Rue). -- This genus comprises many forms characterised by rather slight distinctions in a large majority of cases. The 'stamens are the most conspicuous organs in the flowers in all except a very few species, and the prevailing colour is greenish white, but the flowers are produced in dense panicled masses, and continue in effect for a considerable time. Meadow-rues are not, however, plants of a select character as regards their flowers, but some few of the smallergrowing species are marked by foliage of a most graceful kind, rivalling in delicacy of form and colour some of the charming maiden-hair ferns. They are valuable, therefore, for many ornamental purposes, both in association with flowering plants and with plants of fine or characteristic foliage. They all succeed well in any ordinary good garden soil, and are propagated by division of the roots in winter or spring, and also by seeds sown out of doors in March in well-dug soil broadcast. The seed of T. minus, in order to have well-established plants by the end of May, if it is contemplated to use it in bedding-out, should be sown in gentle heat early in March, and the plants pricked out in shallow boxes filled with light rich earth, growing them on under generous treatment, and gradually hardening them off before planting-time.
T. aquilegifolium (Columbine-leaved Meadow-Rue).-In this species the stems rise to the height of about 4 feet, clothed with abundant foliage, and branching into many lateral and terminal panicles of greenish or creamy-white flowers. The leafstalks are several times divided, and the leaflets are large, dark green, with a slightly glaucous hue, and oval in shape, and toothed. This is one of the best and most distinct of the taller forms. There are two or three varieties; the best is atropurpureum, in which the stems and leaves are dark purple, with a sub-glaucous tint. Flowers in May, June, and July.
T. anemonoides (Anemone-like Meadow-Rue, syn. Anemone thalictroides). — This is a very interesting species. It grows about 9 inches high, with graceful glaucous leaves, and little panicles of pretty white flowers, in which the sepals are more conspicuous than the stamens, and are petal-like. Best adapted for cultivating on rockwork in deep moist soil and partial shade. A double-flowered variety is in cultivation, and may be preferred to the single one. Flowers in April and May. Native of North America.
T. flavum (Yellow Meadow-Rue). - This species grows about
3 feet high; the leaves are very deep green, divided two or three times, and the leaflets are wedge-shaped. The panicles of flower are compact and numerous, and the flowers are bright orange-yellow. One of the most showy species, suitable for mixed borders and planting among shrubs, and for naturalising by the banks of lakes and streams, luxuriating most in moist situations. Flowers in May and onwards till August. Native of Europe and Russian Asia, and also of Britain, but rather thinly distributed.
T. minus (Lesser Meadow-Rue). -As regards foliage, this is the most elegant of Meadow-Rues, and might happily be named Maiden-hair Meadow-Rue. The leaves are divided in the same manner, and have a striking resemblance to the fronds of Adiantum cuneatum; and the plant may, with equally beautiful effect, be used for similar purposes in the open air to those for which the Adiantum is employed indoors—that of furnishing grace in association with colour, and producing contrasts of form and colour in foliage and habit. It grows about a foot high, producing dense masses of the leaves already alluded to, in rounded graceful tufts. The panicles of flowers are loose, and rise considerably above the mass of the leaves, and are greenish white, tinged with pink ; but they should not be allowed to develop themselves when the object in view is the foliage effect. The flowering-stems in that case must be pinched out as soon as they appear, and attention to this will afterwards be necessary, as the plant will make subsequent efforts to flower. Flowers in June and July. Native of Europe and Russian Asia, and, though not common, is also indigenous to Britain.
Trollius (Globe-Flower).—A small genus of plants, but all having some considerable pretensions to beauty and usefulness as hardy border-plants. They are dwarf compact plants, and look very trim and pleasing in the mixed border. In their native habitats they affect moist woods and upland pastures, and in cultivation luxuriate most freely in good rich loamy soil in moderately moist somewhat shady places. They would doubtless prove excellent subjects for naturalising in open woods, where no more rampant plants than themselves existed in the natural vegetation. They are all slightly odorous, especially in the process of drying, and on this account it is said the people of Sweden gather quantities of the flowers of T. europæus and strew the floors and doors of their houses with them in holiday times. They are propagated by division in autumn, winter, and spring.
T. americanus (American Globe-Flower).—This is one of the dwarfest species, growing about 9 inches or 1 foot high, with pretty palmately-divided leaves and yellow flowers, the sepals
or coloured calyx-leaves spreading. Native of N. America. Flowers in May, June, and July.
T. asiaticus (Siberian Globe - Flower).—This species grows about a foot high, with leaves similar to those of the last, which are characteristic of all the Globe-Flowers; and the sepals, about ten in number, are dark orange and spreading. Flowers in May, June, and July. Native of Siberia.
T. caucasicus (Caucasian Globe-Flower).—This species grows about 18 inches high, with large bright-yellow flowers, the sepals in which assume a more globular form than in the two preceding species. Flowers in May and June. Native of the Cau
T. europæus (European Globe-Flower).—A handsome species, growing about 2 feet high, with large lemon-coloured very globular flowers. Native of central and southern Europe, and found also sparingly in Britain. Flowers in May, June, and July.
T. napellifolius (Napellus-leaved Globe-Flower).—This species is nearly allied to the last, but easily distinguished from it by the deep yellow and less compactly globular flowers. Flowers in May, June, and July. Native of Europe.
This natural order of plants comprises only a very limited number of herbaceous genera, and none of these may be considered plants of showy character; for, unlike the majority of the shrubby species, they are more remarkable for their curious structure than for striking beauty. The most important herbaceous genus is Epimedium, for the purposes of ornamentation : in it there is a very happy union of grace in habit and foliage and beauty, as well as high interest in the flowers. Jeffersonia is perhaps the only other genus that may be admitted into collections other than botanical, and it should be in every collection of choice beautiful plants, being at once both curious and handsome. The culture of these two genera must be the same. They succeed best in sandy loam and peat of considerable depth, and all the better if moist, though perfect freedom from stagnation must be secured, and they prefer a little shade; but that is of less consequence than a properly-constituted soil. In the mixed border they form elegant objects for the front lines, and they are very fit also for rockwork, especially where the natural soil is unfit for them—that is, heavy loam or clay.
Some of the Epimediums, being evergreen, are well adapted for furnishing the margins of beds of shrubs, their dwarf elegant mode of growth bringing about a very pleasing gradation from the shrubs to the ground edge, be it grass or box and gravel
. Once established in stock, and while doing well, these plants should not be disturbed by annual deep diggings and transplantings; they dislike being much moved once they are established in a place; and only when they begin to decline, or when it may be necessary to increase stock, should they be moved. Division is the best mode of increasing these, and it is best done, especially in counties north of the Tweed, in early spring, just as activity begins to show itself returning. Of other herbaceous genera of this curious and interesting order—Caulophyllum thalictroides, with yellow and very fugaceous flowers, from N. America, and Diphylleja cymosa, with white flowers, also from N. America, and in both which the leaves are produced twin-fashion—there is little seen even in botanical gardens in this country, and they are decidedly more curious than beautiful; fit subjects for botanical collections, in fact. They require the same conditions in culture as Jeffersonia, to which they are closely allied.
Epimedium.—This family contains three or four distinct and pretty species, some or all of which should be cultivated in every collection of hardy border-plants. They are hardy, elegant plants, adapted to any purpose to which herbaceous plants may be turned.
E. alpinum (Alpine E.)— This is one of the most elegant and interesting, though not the showiest, of the group. It grows in graceful rounded masses, a foot or more high, with elegant compound leaves on slender hard smooth stalks, with lively green heart-shaped leaflets, bronzed and rigidly ciliated on the margin. The flowers in long loose racemes spring from the leaf-stalks an inch or two below the primary divisions of the leaves, are small, reddish brown, with curious spurred yellow and rather inconspicuous corollas.
E. macranthum (Large-flowered E.)- This is the finest of Epimediums, and a very handsome and interesting plant. It is less vigorous in growth than the last species, growing from 6 inches to 1 foot high, with leaves of the same structure and general form, but smaller, and usually bronzed and shining in the early stages of growth; the margins ciliated and the stalks slightly hairy. The flowers are white, tinted with purple; and the petals, about an inch long and four in number, are pure white, transparent, and are the most conspicuous feature in the flower. The power-stalks carry the flowers slightly above the
bronzy foliage, and the effect produced is charming. Flowers in April and May. Native of Japan, but quite hardy.
E. pinnatum (Pinnate E.) — This species grows about the same height as the large-flowered E., with smaller leaflets supported on more slender stalks. The flowers, borne in rather dense racemes, are yellowish, and appear in April and May. The variety named elegans is the best, and is a very desirable plant for partially-shaded borders. Native of Persia.
E. violaceum (Purplish E.)-The leaflets in this species are narrower in proportion to the breadth than in the last two species. The flowers are white, tinted with pale purple, and appear in April and May. By some this is regarded, and not without reason, as a variety of the large-flowered E. ; the stature and habit in both forms are nearly the same, and in other respects they are not markedly distinct for the purposes of decoration. Native of Japan.
Jeffersonia diphylla (Twin-leaved Jeffersonia).—This, so far as I am aware, is the only species. It is not deficient in beauty, the flowers being large, abundantly produced when well cultivated, though individually somewhat fugaceous. The flowers, as has been said, are large, about an inch across, white, with conspicuous yellow stamens; and the leaves are curiously produced in single pairs at the extremity of the stalks. It is a native of moist shady woods in N. America, and is best adapted for culture in semi-shady places in deep rich peat and loam freely mixed with sand. Under such circumstances it attains its greatest perfection; but I have seen it very beautiful and interesting, but short-lived in its display, in the light sandy soil of the gardens at Kew, and in a southern aspect. It is a plant rarely seen in private gardens, and not always to be met with in botanical gardens in this country; but it is worthy a place in every garden, if the conditions necessary to its wellbeing can only be secured.
The members of this order are all aquatic or marsh plants. It is an order of the grandest interest and beauty. All the world has rung with the praise and fame of the regal Victoria, the noblest of Water-Lilies; and the sparkingly beautiful species and varieties of the tender Nymphæas are plants of the loveliest type. Although an attempt or two has been made, and