Imagens das páginas

nity from heavy rains. A few hoops arched over the beds, on which to stretch any handy light shading material when required, will secure this sufficiently well. The screen should only be used when necessary. Watering should be done in the morning, and the water will be better if the chill is taken off it before being used. When the seedlings are large enough to handle, a bed, big or little, according to requirements, should be in readiness for them against the occurrence of a showery day or two, into which they should be pricked, on the plan already suggested for pricking out in frames, be sprinkled with water to settle the soil about them immediately after being pricked out, and attended to with respect to watering and shading till they are fairly established. Those seedlings which come away late will not be sufficiently advanced to be safely trusted out in the open borders by the time winter comes on; and as a measure of safety it is advisable to prick them into pots, so that they may be stored away during winter handily and compactly, in such a way as that they may get a little protection if necessary in the shape of a few branches, straw, or mats.

Perennial seeds may be sown at any time from March or April to August. It is not advisable, however, to sow weakly or diminutive kinds so late as August, except they can be provided with frame accommodation in winter. Those sorts, however, which we are aware will not germinate the season they are sown, may be sown at any time if under cover, or as long as the state of the soil will admit of sowing in good condition out of doors; and some saving of time will thereby be made, as they will most likely start away pretty early the following summer.

[blocks in formation]

In this natural order there are many plants of the most showy and elegant description. It is essentially an order of herbaceous plants, for if Clematis with climbing shrubby stems, and Xanthoriza, a low-growing uninteresting shrub, be excepted, the remaining mass are either perennial, herbaceous, biennial, or annual plants. The largest number also are hardy, being natives of the temperate and colder parts of the earth; or if found in the tropical regions, it is generally at such high elevations as to surround them with climatal conditions similar to those of more northern latitudes. One of the shrubby genera, and most of the herbaceous, are plentifully represented in the flora of our own country; and in bygone days, before the modern fashion of bedding-out was thought of, the style and beauty of the flower-gardens of this country greatly depended on the merits of various members of this large family.

Adonis is a small genus, comprising a few hardy perennials, with some annual and biennial plants. Its general character is well illustrated in the well-known hardy annual Flos-Adonis, an improved variety of A. autumnalis; but in some of the perennial species the flowers are larger and more showy than in it. There is scarcely any variety of colour in the perennial section of the genus, all being yellow in one shade or another; nor is


there much diversity of habit or stature; but there is some difference in the time of flowering, which renders them available for different seasons and purposes. The selection need not, however, embrace more than what secures this variety of usefulness along with the best of the species. They delight in rather a moist soil—that is, one tolerably retentive but well drained and they should not be often removed, and are impatient of the disturbance caused by digging or forking deeply; but annual pricking of the surface of the soil with a fork, and turning in a little peat or well-decomposed leaf mould, or very old manure, is of much benefit to them. They may be increased by seeds sown in March, in small pots or shallow pans, in a compost of sandy loam and leaf-mould, or by division of the roots just as growth commences.

A. apennina (Apennine A.) does not appear very distinct from A. vernalis in character, but as it begins to flower as that species ceases, it is valuable as a means of

continuing a succession of bloom. It grows from 9 inches to 1 foot high, with large bright yellow flowers which appear in April and May, suitable alike for the rockwork or the mixed border, and very beautiful in its season. Native of the Alps of Europe.

A. pyrenaica (Pyrenean A.) is rather taller than the last, growing i foot or 15 inches high. The root-leaves are on long stalks, and rather finely divided. The flowers are large, but contain fewer petals than the last, and appear in the end of June and throughout July. A very good plant for the mixed border, and may also be used on the rockwork with good effect. Native of the Pyrenees.

A. vernalis (Spring A.)-This is the best of the group, and is a very old inhabitant of our gardens, though now rarely seen. It grows about 9 inches or i foot high, is destitute of rootleaves, but the stems and branches are clothed at the joints with finely-cut stalkless foliage, and terminate in very large bright yellow flowers in March and April. Native of the Alps of Europe. Where spring flower-gardening is done on the plan of filling the summer flower-garden with bulbs and other earlyblooming plants for spring display, this, along with A. apennina, will be found invaluable, on account of the bright contrasts they will afford grouped along with Hepaticas, Primroses, &c. For such a purpose as this, their constitutional antipathy to frequent removals makes it necessary to cultivate them in pots plunged to the rims in the reserve ground. They will require frequent refreshings on the surface with compost of a rich but well-decomposed quality, occasional repotting when the mass of the soil becomes bad through age or defective drainage, and for the

purpose of increase of bulk or quantity of plants. They will require, also, careful attention to the state of the drainage, and a plentiful supply of water in the growing season. These plants are all easily propagated by division in spring when growth commences, or by seeds sown in small pots or pans in a cold frame in March.

Anemone comprises rather an extensive group of highly-ornamental plants. In the various species there is much variety of colour and some diversity of habit

, and the uses in ornamental gardening to which they may be applied are almost as various as their natural characteristics. All the species are hardy ; but some are natives of regions so lofty that in our comparatively favoured climate they seem to live too fast, and consequently never appear in good condition, and soon lose constitution and die. A. vernalis may be taken as an example of this class, and it is rarely seen in good dress in cultivation, yet is unquestionably one of the finest of the group; but such peculiar species have been omitted in making the following selection. Any peculiarity of soil or treatment required by any species will be duly noted in its proper place, but here it may be remarked generally, that Anemones prefer a rich and rather heavy loam. They succeed well, however, in many light soils; but in the more tenacious clays many of the smaller species refuse to grow, and a very liberal incorporation of gritty matter and leaf-mould is the only sure means of reconciling them to such. They may be propagated by seeds or by division of the roots. The seeds should be sown in February or March in a cold frame, or, if convenient, in a mild hotbed, using small pots or pans, and loam and well-decomposed leafmould, with a liberal allowance of sand. Division of the roots may be done either in early autumn or early spring. All the very early-flowering species are better divided about the end of September or throughout October, or indeed any time soon after growth is matured and the leaves decayed, but the later bloomers may be left over till March.

A. alpina (Alpine A.)—This is a tall-growing species of very distinct appearance. It grows about 18 inches high. The leaves are large, much and deeply cut, and of a fresh green colour. The flowers are large, cup-shaped, creamy-white inside and pale livid purple outside. A beautiful plant either in bed, border, or rockwork, and should be in every collection of hardy garden plants, being free in growth in any soil of fair quality. Flowers in April and May. Native of most of the great mountainranges of Europe. A. sulphurea of some catalogues is but a well-marked variety of this species with lemon-coloured flowers.

A. apennina (Apennine A.) is rather a diminutive plant, but one of the loveliest of spring flowers. It grows about 6 inches high, with small, dark-green, much-divided leaves, and large bright blue flowers on slender erect stalks an inch or two above the foliage. It has become naturalised in a few localities in England and in one place in Scotland, and in some of our floras is accounted indigenous; but it is no true native, though by naturalising itself in these few cases it has shown that our climate is not unsuited to it. I remember some years ago seeing a spot of some square yards in extent, in an open wood in one of the midland counties of Ireland, entirely carpeted with this lovely plant and A. nemorosa in pretty equal mixture, and in flower. It was no design ; they had probably been exiled years before to this spot from the kitchen-garden only a little way off; but it was a happy accident, and the effect was very beautiful. The natural soil was a very heavy clay on a damp cold bottom, and it was consequently very moist; but on the surface of the clay was a thin stratum of vegetable mould, the accumulations of many years from the trees overhead, and in this the Anemones luxuriated vigorously. How desirable it is that our shrubberies, woods, pleasure-grounds, and semi-wild places should be embellished with such loveliness as this plant and hụndreds of others yield at so little cost and trouble! It is one of the earliest-flowering species, flowering in March and April along with Hepaticas, Primroses, and many other spring flowers, and is therefore available for spring bedding, and for this purpose should be kept in pots in the reserve ground. It is charming on rockwork, or in bed or border, should be planted everywhere, and is one of those bright things that should have a place in every amateur's garden. Divide in autumn. Native of the mountains of Italy.

A. coronaria.-This is the parent of the showy-coloured Poppy Anemones, once so engrossingly popular, and which still worthily hold a distinguished place among gay border-plants. The fine double varieties are cultivated at great cost and trouble, requiring very special and expensive preparation of soil, and much care and attention throughout the whole period from planting to lifting time, to insure success. The single varieties require less of this inconvenient expense and labour, and are as useful for all purposes, except for exhibition; and they may be kept in supply by annual or biennial sowing as easily as any hardy annual or biennial plant. Sow in April or May in a well-dug, lightly-manured piece of ground, in a warm situation out of doors, and transplant in autumn to the blooming quarters, planting the roots 2 or 3 inches apart, and they will

« AnteriorContinuar »