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state of things. A little curtailment in extent need not mean curtailment of species, for in most collections there are too many duplicates of sorts that it would be no great hardship to part with, and it would conduce to a greater concentration of the disposable time and attention; and in these days of cheap wire and invention, almost invisible supports may be had, so contrived as to make no greater demand on the labour in the case of a large number of plants than that required in the setting of them up in a proper position, and there would thus be a considerable saving of time in tying, over and above the improvement in point of taste and orderliness, and other considerations bearing on these. Cleanliness -that is, freedom from weeds, and the timely remova of decaying foliage and flowers and the seedy parts of plants—should have constant attention throughout the season. A constant eye should be kept on the weakly and rare subjects in the collection during spring, summer, and autumn, in order to anticipate disaster and loss, and as far as possible provide against it.
The winter management of mixed borders is even more simple than that of summer. If the border has a groundwork of carpeting plants all over it, digging is happily impossible ; and if not, it is objectionable. Supposing that the operation of digging could always be engaged in with safety to minute plants and bulbs, by the hands to which that work is usually committed, it is otherwise undesirable and unnecessary. Labels may serve as a protection to all plants that are unseen on the surface, if they are in the right place, but there is not always a warrant for that assumption; and even if they were always in the proper position, indiscriminate digging of
the surface is not a very commendable practice. In a well-filled border there should not be much room to use the spade between the plants, except among the grosser and more vigorous subjects of the back line or two in wide borders; and the practice of digging among the closer planted and less vigorous ones of the front lines can be of no possible use but that of cutting up their roots, which, if desirable at all, should certainly be conducted with some judgment and selection, not wholesale and indiscriminately. If there is any necessity for curtailing the vigour and rampant encroachments of individual species or varieties, by all means let it be done by direct assault on their own persons, but spare their weaker neighbours. There are many vigorous encroaching species, which it will be a benefit to the border generally to lift and replant annually; the operator, however, always using his judgment as to when and to what extent the necessary crippling should be administered. In spaces left for the filling in of temporary occupants in summer, the spade may be used during winter in the interests of these occupants; but for no other purpose than this, and that of reducing the vigour of overgrown plants, should it be employed in the mixed border annually. A dressing of any light well-made compost, such as garden refuse, if it is not teeming with the legacies of seeding weeds, or leaf-mould and maiden loam in about equal proportions, may be annually applied to the surface during early winter, any time before that in which the earliest spring flowers begin to throw up. Winter being the period most suitable for effecting any changes that may be desirable in the position of the components, no favourable opportunity should be allowed to pass by
without being taken advantage of, except the changes contemplated affect any of the classes exempted from operations of the kind, before spring with a little growth and warmth sets in.
It is a very common thing to leave a herbaceous border to itself—that is, undisturbed—for many years after it is planted. That is not cultivation, but letting well alone till it is no longer well. It is not a desirable thing to have to overhaul a collection of miscellaneous plants out of doors, with all its attendant discomforts at an inclement season ; and it is equally undesirable to anticipate and bear the vexation consequent on the losses that often inevitably follow such a step. But it must be done occasionally, fortunately not very often in a lifetime if the soil is naturally good and the annual culture liberal. The necessity for renewing a border occupied by mixed herbaceous plants must be judged of by the circumstances of the case. It is impossible to set down any rule for such a matter ; but when the usual unmistakable signs of debility-a falling off in luxuriance, and general effectiveness both in the profusion and duration of the flowers, with an apparently unaccountable death of one or more favourites—it is time to set about renewing the border. The necessity should be foreseen sufficiently long to be prepared for, by securing all diminutive and delicate subjects before winter sets in, either in pots in a cold frame, or merely laid into it in a little soil, where they will be safe for the winter. When the operation is begun, the stock left in the border should be lifted, and laid carefully in in some spot convenient to the border, taking care of the labels, if the collection is an extensive one ; for the memory will fail one occasionally, and is
the better of the assistance of these helps. The border should then be trenched, and enriched moderately with some well-decomposed manure; and any mechanical improvements necessary besides that of trenching should be attended to in the process. The soil should be allowed to consolidate a little before the replanting takes place, but should not be delayed longer than is necessary-only the delicate and small things may be left under protection till spring. It may not be too unimportant for those who have the means for availing themselves of it, to say that a comfortable snuggery in the shape of a little rockwork or small reserve corner, with duplicates of the more valuable kinds always kept in stock in it, would save much annoyance and some expense at all times, and especially when a general renovation becomes necessary.
General Culture of Alpine Plants.—The culture of the plants of the higher alpine and northern regions of the earth has always been attended with some difficulty in this country, and will no doubt continue to be so as long as our climate is insular, and so favourably influenced by the Gulf Stream. Thanks to coal and glass, we can provide suitable homes for the vegetable inhabitants of every country that is distinguished by a higher temperature than our own ; and thanks chiefly to the influence of the Gulf Stream, we enjoy in the open air in perfection the valuable fruits and flowers of sunnier lands, and to a certain extent also we may cultivate the rare and simple flowers of those that are more frigid; but in this direction, the peculiar conditions of climate that give us such an extensive range of benefits, raise up obstacles over which any means in our power exerts but slight and imperfect
control. We are told by some authorities on alpine plants, that the failures so commonly experienced in their culture are due to the use of improper soils, mistaken methods of management, and faultily-constructed rockwork. There is some truth in this conclusion in some cases, perhaps, but they are few that can be satisfactorily explained on these grounds. The more important and less controllable influences of a peculiar climate, to which such mere terrestrial conditions are quite subordinate, are either overlooked or ignored in that view of the case. It has been generally admitted by the cultivators of alpine plants, that the difficulties they have had to contend with in the case of the more unmanageable species were atmospheric, not terrestrial, and that their requirements in the latter respect are the most simple and least liable to be misunderstood of all classes of cultivated plants; and this view has the merit of harmony with the natural laws which govern the distribution of plants on the earth, as well as with the teachings of experience gathered from the failures and successes which attend the cultivation of plants from all climates. The terrestrial conditions under which they exist in their own wild homes are not uncommon in other regions, and occur pretty frequently in our own land. The beetling crags, moist rocky chasms and fissures, and stony wastes of the Alps, are repeated again and again, in every latitude and at every elevation ; but the gems of the alpine flora do not bedeck them everywhere. And the soil of the alpine regions is the simplest of all soils: it is the ground and battered fragments of the rocks which form the base of all alluvial earth, and is not peculiar to the Alps, but may be found at the lowest elevations, in as simple a