Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

stems, each supporting a solitary, large, bright-yellow flower. Flowers in June, July, and August. Height about 1 foot. Native of the mountains of Austria. A variety named P. a. miniatum is very beautiful ; the flowers are pale yellow in the centre, shading into deep orange-red on the margin.

P. bracteatum (Great Scarlet Poppy, syn. P. pulcherrimum). This is a splendid tall-growing species, producing dense rounded masses of long pinnately-divided leaves, roughish to the touch above and below. The flower-stems are almost leafless, very rough to the touch, and rise to the height of 3 or 4 feet, supporting each an enormously large bright orange-scarlet flower, the petals and sepals marked at the base with a large intense darkcrimson spot. Flowers in June and July. Native of Siberia.

P. pilosum (Hairy Poppy, syn. P.olympicum).—A very handsome species, producing large orange or brick-red flowers, the sepals and petals being marked at the base with a dull white spot. Flowers in May, June, and July. Height about 18 inches. Native of Greece. Best adapted for culture on rockwork.

P. pyrenaicum (Pyrenean Poppy).—A most interesting and beautiful diminutive species. It forms dense prostrate masses of foliage, above which it throws its beautiful

, large, orangeyellow flowers an inch or two. It is a choice ornament for rockwork, and should have a moist but well-drained position. Flowers in June, July, and August Height 6 to 9 inches. Native of the Pyrenees. Sanguinaria (Puccoon).

This is a pretty genus, comprising only one species. It is not uncommon in many gardens in the country, and should be more generally cultivated than even it is. It grows freely in almost any good garden soil, but prefers light, rich, sandy loam. Propagates readily and successfully by division in autumn or spring.

S. canadensis (Canadian Bloodwort or Puccoon).—This is an interesting and pretty spring-flowering plant. The leaves grow rather erect, are dark green and sub-glaucous above, and almost hoary beneath. The flowers on short stalks are white with a tint of pink, and are very profusely produced in March and April, or later, according to season and locality. Height from 6 to 9 inches. Native of North America. The variety named S. c. major or grandiflora is the best, being a more robust plant, with larger flowers. Succeeds in any position, open border, bed, or rockwork, but lasts longer in a somewhat shady place than in one more exposed.

FUMARIACEÆ.

This order, though comparatively limited both as regards genera and species, contains some very brilliant and elegant ornaments of our flower-gardens. We need only to remind ourselves that the peerless Dielytra spectabilis is a member of the family, in order to invest it with the highest character for grace and beauty. And it is not alone in its glory: lesser lights they may be that shine around it, but there are plants among its kindred only less charming than itself, that may fitly be associated with it and other spring and early summer flowering beauties in our gardens. Only the two genera, Corydalis and Dielytra, present hardy perennial species worthy of cultivation in select collections. The Dielytra spectabilis is the best known of all the cultivated perennial plants in the order; certain other handsome species of Dielytra, and the various forms of Corydalis, are not so commonly found in private collections of hardy plants as might be expected, both on account of their beauty and the early-flowering habit of most of them. They are all admirably adapted for the gardens of amateurs, where limited space and large desires have to be considered in the selection of subjects for cultivation. They grow freely in any good garden soil if not too wet and heavy; but even in clayey soils, if thoroughly well drained, Dielytra at least succeeds very fairly. They may be used also for naturalising in open woods.

Corydalis.—This genus comprises about a score of species, which are easily divided into two sections by peculiarities of the root and stem. In one section the roots are fibrous, or consisting of a fleshy root-stock, dividing itself ultimately into fibres, and the stems are branching more or less, and these are mainly annuals or biennials, and such perennials as are so distinguished are not so valuable for ornament as the larger portion of the other section. In the other division the peculiarities are tuberous roots, the leaves mostly radical or proceeding direct from the roots, and the stems unbranched. These peculiarities require different treatment in the matter of propagation. The fibrous-rooted are best produced from seed: they may be propagated by division, too, in spring; but if left alone they usually reproduce themselves, as they seed freely, and germinate equally freely, without any special conditions. The tuberous-rooted are not quite so free in seeding, but provide ample means for increase in the annual formation of tubers. The genus is more partial to light gritty soils than to those of

closer texture, and they generally prefer a position slightly shady. They are beautiful ornaments of rockwork.

C. bulbosa, syns. C. solida and Fumaria solida (Bulbous C.) -The roots are tuberous, as indicated in the specific name; the stems are unbranched, and the leaves much divided in the ternate manner. Flowers pale purple or pink, in terminal compact racemes, appearing in February or later, according as the season is mild or severe, and lasting a couple of months. Height 9 inches. Native of Europe generally, and has been naturalised in a few places in Britain. May be cultivated in the open border or on rockwork, and is valuable for introducing into shady dry banks, and with a handful or two of soil will luxuriate among the debris of old ruins.

C. lutea ( Yellow C.)-It is doubtful whether this is a true perennial, but as it reproduces itself abundantly by seed, the question is of less importance to the purposes for which it is best adapted-those of adorning ruins and old walls, and dry open woods and banks; and it certainly is more durable than most biennial plants. It belongs to the fibrous-rooted section, and produces branching angular stems clothed with ternatelydivided leaves, the stems and branches terminating in short loose racemes of yellow flowers. Height about 11/2 or 2 feet in rich light soil, but much more dwarf when growing in dry gravelly or stony places. Flowers in spring and throughout the summer. Native of Europe generally, and of several parts of England.

C. nobilis (Noble C.)-This is perhaps the finest of the group, and is certainly a very choice and beautiful plant. It requires rather more generous treatment than most others of its relatives, luxuriating best in partial shade on rockwork, with a tolerable depth of soil of a rich but porous gritty nature. It belongs to the tuberous-rooted division, and produces erect unbranched stems, much-divided pale-green leaves, and dense racemes of bright yellow flowers. Flowers in May and June. Height about 9 inches or 1 foot. Native of Siberia.

C. tuberosa (Tuberous C.) is near in character to bulbosa, but has darker purple flowers. It is valuable for similar purposes, and the white-flowered variety, C. t. albiflora, is an indispensable companion to it in any position : it is synonymous with Fumaria cava albiflora. Flowers same time as bulbosa, and about the same in height. Native of Europe.

Dielytra is not so numerous in species as the preceding, but all are perennial plants adapted to a variety of purposes of embellishment. They grace any position in which they may be placed; and while they are at home in sunny exposures,

they are equally happy in and brighten up shady places with their handsome foliage and beautiful flowers. D. spectabilis even is not unwilling to flourish in groves and glades where some preparation as to soil is made for it, and encroaching neighbours may be kept in proper check. All the species luxuriate in such places. They do not flower so freely as when placed in sunnier positions, but their graceful foliage, with the beautiful flowers, if not profuse, are welcome because unlooked for and rare. Preparation for planting in these places consists in trenching the spot to be occupied by the plants to the depth of 172 or 2 feet, adding gritty sand, if the soil is of close consistency, and well - decomposed leaf - mould ; and worthless native plants, if of a rampant nature, should be curtailed in the vicinity of the prepared ground. All are easily propagated by division in early spring on the first symptoms of growth appearing, or indeed at any time in open weather after the plants are at rest; but the largest possible increase may more safely be attempted when returning activity is first excited. It is pretty well known that D. spectabilis makes a beautiful pot-plant, and may be forced in gentle heat into flower for the decoration of conservatories and rooms some months before its natural period of flowering in the open air. D. eximia is very handsome done in the same way, but requires less excitement than spectabilis.

D. eximia (Choice D.)—This species grows about 18 inches high, producing rounded masses of bright green handsome leaves, the lobes of which are sharply cut. The flowers, fleshcoloured, are borne on long, graceful, leafless stalks, in loose drooping racemes, which in luxuriant plants branch at the base. Flowers in May, June, and July. Native of N. America.

D. formosa (Handsome D.)—This species is more dwarf than the last; the lobes of the leaves are more bluntly cut; the flower-stalks are naked, but the racemes are very short and crowded, and show less tendency to branch even when most luxuriant. Colour purplish pink. _Height about 9 inches or I foot.

Native of N. America. Flowers in June and July. D. spectabilis (Showy D.) is so familiar to all lovers of flowers that a description of it would be superfluous. It will be enough to be reminded that it is the handsomest of its tribe, that it is not surpassed in brilliancy and grace by any known hardy perennial plant, and it is withal most easy to cultivate. Flowers in June and July. Native of Siberia.

[ocr errors][merged small]

CRUCIFERÆ.

This is a very interesting and extensive order of plants, more remarkable, perhaps, for the great importance and value of the food products it yields to man and beast, than for high ornamental qualities, though it comprises a large number of plants by no means deficient in that respect. The greater number of the ornamental species are comprised in comparatively few genera, and are mostly alpine or sub-alpine plants. Some very interesting and beautiful species, from peculiar habitats, are difficult to grow and keep under ordinary, or even extraordinary, conditions; but these have been avoided in making selections, and only such as will succeed with ordinary facilities adopted. Many of those selected are adapted to a variety of purposes; they will be found beautiful objects on rockwork, and for edgings and masses in the spring flower-garden ; and the majority are available in a variety of soils for culture in the mixed border, while there are a few that will be found very useful for naturalising in woods and semi-wild places. The uses to which they may be applied, and the culture, will be noticed more particularly under the genera and species as they are severally considered. Alyssum (Madwort).

This is rather a numerous group, composed of a few annual and biennial, and a majority of perennial species. The perennials are half-shrubby plants of humble growth, and evergreen to a greater or less degree; the flowers are small individually, but produced in dense masses and in long succession. They are plants of the easiest culture, succeeding best in light gritty loam of a rich quality, but doing very well in a great variety of soils and situations. The rockwork, mixed border, and borders of shrubberies, are all fit places for these plants, and some are qualified for naturalising, and will be noticed in their place. They are propagated by division in autumn and throughout winter and spring, but if done in early autumn there is no sacrifice of bloom, which is inevitable to some extent in the later periods; by cuttings also in spring and throughout the summer

, inserted in sandy loam and leafmould under a hand or bell glass in a shady place, as behind a low wall or hedge. Cuttings, if early struck, make the most vigorous plants, and flower the strongest the following year; and a few should be struck annually in order to keep up a healthy and ample stock. This is especially necessary where they are to be largely used in filling up the beds of the summer flower-garden in the spring months; and stock of neat uniform

« AnteriorContinuar »