Old-Fashioned Garden Flowers:
THE MOST DESIRABLE PLANTS FOR BORDERS, ROCKERIES, AND SHRUBBERIES,
FOLIAGE AS WELL AS FLOWERING PLANTS.
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BY JOHN WOOD.
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LONDON: L. UPCOTT GILL, 170, STRAND, W. C.
LONDON: PRINTED BY A. BRADLEY, 170, STRAND, W. C.
At the present time there is a growing desire to patronise perennial plants, more especially the many and beautiful varieties known as "old-fashioned flowers." Not only do they deserve to be cultivated on their individual merits, but for other very important reasons; they afford great variety of form, foliage, and flower, and compared with annual and tender plants, they are found to give much less trouble. If a right selection is made and properly planted, the plants may be relied upon to appear with perennial vigour and produce flowers more or less throughout the year. I would not say bouquets may be gathered in the depth of winter, but what will be equally cheering may be had in blow, such as the Bluet, Violet, Primrose, Christmas Rose, Crocus, Hepatica, Squills, Snowdrops, and other less known winter bloomers. It does not seem to be generally understood that warm nooks and corners, under trees or walls, serve to produce in winter flowers which usually appear in spring when otherwise placed.
There are many subjects which, from fine habit and foliage, even when flowerless, claim notice, and they, too, are described.
Many gardens are very small, but these, if properly managed, have their advantages. The smaller the garden the more choice should be the collection, and the more highly should it be cultivated. I shall be glad if anything I say tends in this direction. From my notes of plants useful memoranda may be made, with the object of adding a few of the freest bloomers in each month, thus avoiding the error often committed of growing such subjects as mostly flower at one time, after which the garden has a forlorn appearance. The plants should not be blamed for this; the selection is at fault. No amount of time and care can make a garden what it should be if untidy and weedy plants prevail. On the other hand, the most beautiful species, both as regards foliage and flowers, can be just as easily cultivated.
The object of this small work is to furnish the names and descriptions of really useful and reliable Hardy and Perennial Plants, suitable for all kinds of flower gardens, together with definite cultural hints on each plant.
Perhaps flowers were never cultivated of more diversified kinds than at the present time; and it is a legitimate and not uncommon question to ask, "What do you grow?" Not only have we now the lovers of the distinct and showy, but numerous admirers of such species as need to be closely examined, that their beautiful and interesting features may gladden and stir the mind. The latter class of plants, without doubt, is capable of giving most pleasure; and to meet the growing taste for these, books on flowers must necessarily treat upon the species or varieties in a more detailed manner, in order to get at their peculiarities and requirements. The more we learn about our flowers the more we enjoy them; to simply see bright colours and pretty forms is far from all the pleasure we may reap in our gardens.
If I have not been able to give scientific information, possibly that of a practical kind may be of some use, as for many years, and never more than now, I have enjoyed the cultivation of flowers with my own hands. To be able to grow a plant well is of the highest importance, and the first step towards a full enjoyment of it.
I have had more especially in view the wants of the less experienced Amateur; and as all descriptions and modes of culture are given from specimens successfully grown in my own garden, I hope I may have at least a claim to being practical.
I have largely to thank several correspondents of many years' standing for hints and information incorporated in these pages.
For the placing of capital letters uniformly throughout this Volume to the specific names at the cross-headings, and for the omission of many capitals in the body of the type, the printer is alone responsible.
Numerous oversights fall to my lot, but in many of the descriptions other than strictly proper botanical terms have been employed, where it seemed desirable to use more intelligible ones; as, for instance, the flowers of the Composites have not always been termed "heads," perianths have sometimes been called corollas, and their divisions at times petals, and so on; this is hardly worthy of the times, perhaps, but it was thought that the terms would be more generally understood.
Page 7, line 8. For "lupin" read "Lupine." Page 39, line 31. For "calyx" read "involucre." Page 40, line 27. For "calyx" read "involucre." Page 46, line 1. For "corolla" read "perianth." Page 47, lines 3 and 6. For "corolla" read "perianth." Page 48, last line. For "lupin" read "Lupine." Page 60, line 16. For "pompon" read "pompone." Page 64, line 36. For "corolla" read "perianth." Page 102, line 27. For "Fritillaries" read "Fritillarias." Page 114, cross-heading. For "Ice-cold Gentian" read "Ice-cold Loving Gentian." Page 213. For "Tirolensis" read "Tyrolensis." Page 214, cross-heading. For "Cashmerianum" read "Cashmeriana." Page 215, cross-heading. For "Cashmerianum" read "Cashmeriana." Page 275, line 26. For "corolla" read "perianth." Page 284, line 25. For "calyx" read "involucre." Page 285, line 1. For "calyx" read "involucre."
November 14th, 1883.
OLD-FASHIONED GARDEN FLOWERS.
Acaena Novae Zealandiae.
Otherwise A. MICROPHYLLA; Nat. Ord. SANGUISORBEAE, or ROSE FAMILY.
The plant, as may be seen by the illustration (Fig. 1), is small, and its flowers are microscopic, hardly having the appearance of flowers, even when minutely examined, but when the bloom has faded there is a rapid growth, the calyces forming a stout set of long spines; these, springing from the globular head in considerable numbers, soon become pleasingly conspicuous, and this is by far the more ornamental stage of the plant. It is hardy, evergreen, and creeping. It seldom rises more than one or two inches from the ground, and only when it approaches a wall, stones, or some such fixed body, does it show an inclination to climb; it is, therefore, a capital rock plant. As implied by its specific name, it comes from New Zealand, and has not long been acclimatised in this country.
The flowers are produced on fine wiry stems an inch or more long, being nearly erect; they are arranged in round heads, at first about the size of a small pea; these, when bruised, have an ammoniacal smell. Each minute flower has four green petals and brownish seed organs, which cause the knob of flowers to have a rather grimy look, and a calyx which is very hard and stout, having two scales and four sepals. These sepals are the parts which, after the seed organs have performed their functions, become elongated and of a fine rosy-crimson colour; they form stiff and rather stout spines, often 3/4in. long; they bristle evenly from every part of the little globe of seed vessels, and are very pretty. The spines are produced in great abundance, and they may be cut freely; their effect is unique when used for table decoration, stuck in tufts of dark green selaginella. On the plant they keep in good form for two months. The leaves are 1in. to 2in. long, pinnate; the leaflets are of a dark bronzy colour on the upper side and a pale green underneath, like maidenhair, which they also resemble in form, being nearly round and toothed. They are in pairs, with a terminal odd one; they are largest at the extremity, and gradually lessen to rudimentary leaflets; the foliage is but sparingly produced on the creeping stems, which root as they creep on the surface.
The habit of the plant is compact and cushion-like, and the brilliant spiny balls are well set off on the bed of fern-like but sombre foliage. During August it is one of the most effective plants in the rock garden, where I find it to do well in either moist or dry situations; it grows fast, and, being evergreen, it is one of the more useful creepers for all-the-year-round effect; for covering dormant bulbs or bare places it is at once efficient and beautiful. It requires light soil, and seems to enjoy grit; nowhere does it appear in better health or more at home than when carpeting the walk or track of the rock garden.
It is self-propagating, but when it is desirable to move a tuft of it, it should be done during the growing season, so that it may begin to root at once and get established, otherwise the wind and frosts will displace it.
It blooms from June to September, more or less, but only the earliest flowers produce well-coloured spines.
EGYPTIAN YARROW; Nat. Ord. COMPOSITAE.
This is an evergreen (though herb-like) species. It has been grown for more than 200 years in English gardens, and originally came, as its name implies, from Egypt. Notwithstanding the much warmer climate of its native country, it proves to be one of the hardiest plants in our gardens. I dare say many will think the Yarrows are not worthy of a place in the garden; but it should not be forgotten that not only are fine and useful flowers included in this work, but also the good "old-fashioned" kinds, and that a few such are to be found amongst the Yarrows is without doubt. Could the reader see the collection now before me, cut with a good piece of stem and some foliage, and pushed into a deep vase, he would not only own that they were a pleasing contrast, but quaintly grand for indoor decoration.
A. AEgyptica not only produces a rich yellow flower, but the whole plant is ornamental, having an abundance of finely-cut foliage, which, from a downy or nappy covering, has a pleasing grey or silvery appearance. The flowers are produced on long stems nearly 2ft. high, furnished at the nodes with clean grey tufts of smaller-sized leaves; near the top the stems are all but naked, and are terminated by the flat heads or corymbs of closely-packed flowers. They are individually small, but the corymbs will be from 2in. to 3in. across. Their form is that of the common Yarrow, but the colour is a bright light yellow. The leaves are 6in. to 8in. long, narrow and pinnate, the leaflets of irregular form, variously toothed and lobed; the whole foliage is soft to the touch, from the nappy covering, as already mentioned. Its flowers, from their extra fine colour, are very telling in a cut state. The plant is suitable for the borders, more especially amongst other old kinds. Ordinary garden loam suits it, and its propagation may be carried out at any time by root division.
Flowering period, June to September.
Nat. Ord. COMPOSITAE.
This grows 4ft. high, and the foliage, though fern-like, has an untidy appearance, from the irregular way in which it is disposed. It is herbaceous, and comes from the Caucasus. The flowers are somewhat singular, arranged in corymbs of a multiplex character; they are very large, often 5in. across. The smaller corymbs are arched or convex, causing the cluster or compound corymb to present an uneven surface; the small flowers are of rich old gold colour, and have the appearance of knotted gold cord; they are very rigid, almost hard. The leaves are linear, pinnate, lobed and serrated, hairy, rough, and numerously produced. From the untidy and tall habit of this subject, it should be planted in the background; its flowers, however, will claim a prominent position in a cut state; they are truly rich, the undulating corymbs have the appearance of embossed gold plate, and their antique colour and form are compared to gold braid by a lady who admires "old-fashioned" flowers. It will last for several weeks after being cut, and even out of water for many days. A few heads placed in an old vase, without any other flowers, are rich and characteristic, whilst on bronze figures and ewers in a dry state, and more especially on ebony or other black decorations, it may be placed with a more than floral effect. In short, rough as the plant is, it is worth growing for its quaint and rich flowers alone; it is seldom met with. Soil and propagation, the same as for A. AEgyptica.
Flowering period, June to September.
COMMON MILFOIL; Nat. Ord. COMPOSITAE.
This is the well-known wild Yarrow; it is, however, the typical form of a fine variety, called A. m. roseum, having very bright rose-coloured flowers, which in all other respects resembles the wild form. Both as a border subject and for cutting purposes, I have found it useful; it flowers for several months, but the individual blooms fade in four or six days; these should be regularly removed. The freshly-opened corymbs are much admired. Soil and mode of propagation, the same as for previous kinds.
Flowering period, June to November.
Syns. A. SYLVESTRIS and PTARMICA VULGARIS; Common Names, WILD YARROW, SNEEZEWORT, GOOSE-TONGUE, and WILD PELLITORY; Nat. Ord. COMPOSITAE.
A very common British plant, or, I may say, weed, which can live in the most reeky towns, only mentioned here to introduce A. P. fl.-pl., which is one of the most useful of border flowers. I am bound to add, however, that only when in flower is it more presentable than the weedy and typical form; but the grand masses of pure white bachelors'-button-like flowers, which are produced for many weeks in succession, render this plant deserving of a place in every garden. It is a very old flower in English gardens. Some 250 years ago Parkinson referred to the double flowering kind, in his "Paradise of Pleasant Flowers," as a then common plant; and I may as well produce Gerarde's description of the typical form, which answers, in all respects, for the double one, with the exception of the flowers themselves: "The small Sneesewoort hath many rounde and brittle braunches, beset with long and narrowe leaues, hackt about the edges like a sawe; at the top of the stalkes do grow smal single flowers like the fielde Daisie. The roote is tender and full of strings, creeping farre abroade in the earth, and in short time occupieth very much grounde." The flowers of this plant are often, but wrongly, called "bachelors' buttons," which they much resemble.
For cutting purposes, this plant is one of the most useful; not only are the blooms a good white, but they have the quality of keeping clean, and are produced in greater numbers than ever I saw them on the single form. Those requiring large quantities of white flowers could not do better than give the plant a few square yards in some unfrequented part of the garden; any kind of soil will suit it, but if enriched the bloom will be all the better for it. The roots run freely just under the surface, so that a large stock may soon be had; yet, fine as are its flowers, hardy and spreading as the plant proves, it is but seldom met with. Even in small gardens this fine old flower should be allowed a little space. Transplant any time.
Flowering period, June to August.
AUTUMN MONK'S-HOOD; Nat. Ord. RANUNCULACEAE.
Hardy, perennial, and herbaceous. This is one of the finest subjects for autumn flowering. The whole plant, which stands nearly 3ft. high, is stately and distinct (Fig. 2); the leaves are dark green, large, deeply cut and veined, of good substance, and slightly drooping. The flowers are a fine blue (a colour somewhat scarce in our gardens at that season), irregularly arranged on very stout stems; in form they exactly resemble a monk's hood, and the manner in which they are held from the stems further accords with that likeness. These rich flowers are numerously produced; a three-year-old plant will have as many as six stout stems all well furnished, rendering the specimen very conspicuous.
This is one form of the Monk's-hood long grown in English gardens, and is called "old-fashioned." A. japonicum, according to some, is identical with it, but whether that is so or not, there is but a slight difference, and both, of course, are good.
I find it likes a rich deep soil. It is propagated by division of the roots after the tops have turned yellow in autumn or winter.
It flowers from August until cut down by frosts.
LARGE YELLOW GARLIC; Nat. Ord. LILIACEAE.
A hardy bulbous perennial, of neat habit, with bright golden flowers, produced in large heads; they endure a long time and are very effective; it is by far the best yellow species. Where bold clumps of yellow are desirable, especially if somewhat in the background, there can be few subjects more suitable for the purpose than this plant; both leaves and flowers, however, have a disagreeable odour, if in the least bruised. It is a very old plant in English gardens, and is a native of the South of Europe. Its chief merits are fine colour, large head, neat habit, and easy culture. The flowers are 1in. across, borne in close heads, having stalks over an inch long springing from stout scapes; the six long oval petals are of a shining yellow colour; the seed organs also are all yellow and half the length of petals; the scape is about a foot high, naked, round, and very stout; the leaves are nearly as broad as tulip leaves, and otherwise much resemble them.
Flowering period, June to August.
NEAPOLITAN ALLIUM; Nat. Ord. LILIACEAE.
This has pure white flowers arranged in neat and effective umbels, and though not so useful in colour as the flowers of A. Moly, they are much superior to those of many of the genus.
Flowering period, June to August.
Both of the above Alliums may be grown in any odd parts which need decorating with subjects requiring little care; any kind of soil will do for them, but if planted too near the walks the flowers are liable to be cut by persons who may not be aware of their evil odour. The bulbs may be divided every three years with advantage, and may be usefully planted in lines in front of shrubs, or mixed with other strong-growing flowers, such as alkanets, lupins, and foxgloves.
ROCK MADWORT, or GOLDEN TUFT; Nat. Ord. CRUCIFERAE.
This pleasing and well-known hardy, evergreen, half-woody shrub is always a welcome flower. From its quantity of bloom all its other parts are literally smothered (see Fig. 3). When passing large pieces of it in full blow, its fragrant honey smell reminds one of summer clover fields.
Its golden yellow flowers are densely produced in panicles on procumbent stems, 12in. to 18in. long. The little flowers, from distinct notches in the petals, have a different appearance from many of the order Cruciferae, as, unless they are well expanded, there seem to be eight instead of four petals. The leaves are inversely ovate, lanceolate, villose, and slightly toothed. A specimen will continue in good form during average weather for about three weeks. It is not only seen to most advantage on rockwork, where its prostrate stems can fall over the stones, but the dry situation is in accordance with its requirements; still, it is not at all particular, but does well in any sunny situation, in any soil that is not over moist or ill drained. It is easily and quickly propagated by cuttings in early summer.
Flowering period, April and May.
ITALIAN ALKANET; Nat. Ord. BORAGINACEAE.
A hardy herbaceous perennial of first-class merit for gardens where there is plenty of room; amongst shrubs it will not only prove worthy of the situation, but, being a ceaseless bloomer, its tall and leafy stems decked with brilliant flowers may always be relied upon for cutting purposes; and let me add, as, perhaps, many have never tried this fine but common flower in a large vase, the stems, if cut to the length of 18in., and loosely placed in an old-fashioned vase, without any other flowers, are more than ornamental—they are fine.
Its main features are seen in its bold leafy stems, furnished with large, dark blue, forget-me-not-like flowers, nearly all their length. The little white eyes of the blossoms are very telling (see Fig. 4). The flowers are held well out from the large leaves of the main stem by smaller ones (from 1in. to 8in. long), at the ends of which the buds and flowers are clustered, backed by a pair of small leaflets, like wings. Just before the buds open they are of a bright rose colour, and when the flowers fade the leafy calyx completely hides the withered parts, and other blooms take their places between the wing-like pair of leaflets; so the succession of bloom is kept up through the whole summer. The leaves of the root are very large when fully grown during summer—over a foot long—those of the stems are much less; all are lance-shaped and pointed, plain at the edges, very hairy, and of a dark green colour. The stems are numerous, upright, and, as before hinted, branched; also, like the leaves, they are covered with stiff hairs, a characteristic common to the order. Well-established plants will grow to the height of 3ft. to 5ft.
Flowering period, May to September.
Nat. Ord. BORAGINACEAE.
This is a British species, and, as its name denotes, is evergreen; not, let me add, as a tall plant, for the stems wither or at least become very sere, only the large leaves of the root remaining fresh; and though it has many points of difference from A. Italica, such as shorter growth, darker flowers and foliage, and more oval leaves—these form the distinctions most observable. By its evergreen quality it is easily identified in winter. There is also an important difference from the axillary character of the flower stems. With these exceptions the description of A. Italica will fairly hold good for this native species.
This Alkanet has various other names, as Borago sempervirens, Buglossum s., and with old writers it, together with allied species, was much esteemed, not only for the flowers, but for its reputed medicinal properties. To those who care to grow these good old plants I would say, well enrich the soil; when so treated, the results are very different from those where the plants have been put in hungry and otherwise neglected situations; this favourable condition may be easily afforded, and will be more than repaid. Strong roots may be transplanted at any time, and propagation is more quickly carried out by division of the woody roots, which should be cut or split so that each piece has a share of bark and a crown. Just before new growth has begun, as in January, is the best time for this operation, so that there is no chance of rot from dormancy.
Flowering period, May to September.
Syn. CASSIOPE TETRAGONA; Nat. Ord. ERICACEAE.
A dwarf hardy evergreen shrub, which comes to us from Lapland and North America; though a very beautiful subject for either rockwork or border, it is rarely seen. It is not one of the easiest plants to grow, which may, to some extent, account for its rarity. Still, when it can have its requirements, it not only thrives well, but its handsome form and flowers repay any extra trouble it may have given. In the culture of this, as of most plants of the order Ericaceae, there is decidedly a right way and a wrong one, and if the species now under consideration has one or two special requirements it deserves them.
With me it never exceeds a height of 6in. or 7in., is much branched, and of a fine apple green colour; the flowers are small but very beautiful, bell-shaped, pendent, and springing from the leafy stems of the previous year's growth. The leaves are small as well as curious, both in form and arrangement, completely hiding their stems; their roundish grain-shaped forms are evenly arranged in four rows extending throughout the whole length of the branches (whence the name tetragona), giving them a square appearance resembling an ear of wheat, but much less stout (see Fig. 5); the little leaves, too, are frosted somewhat in the way of many of the saxifrages. It is next to impossible to describe this pretty shrub; fortunately, the cut will convey a proper idea at a glance. All who possess more select collections of hardy plants and shrubs should not fail to include this; it is fit for any collection of fifty choice species.
I struggled long before finding out the right treatment, as presumably I now have, yet it is very simple, in fact, only such as many other plants should have; but, unlike them, A. tetragona will take no alternative; it must have partial shade, sandy peat or leaf soil, and be planted in a moist or semi-bog situation. On the raised parts of rockwork it became burnt up; planted in loam, though light, it was dormant as a stone; in pots, it withered at the tips; but, with the above treatment, I have flowers and numerous branchlets. Many little schemes may be improvised for the accommodation of this and similar subjects. Something of the bog character would appear to be the difficulty here; a miniature one may be made in less than half an hour. Next the walk dig a hole 18in. all ways, fill in with sandy peat, make it firm; so form the surface of the walk that the water from it will eddy or turn in. In a week it will have settled; do not fill it up, but leave it dished and put in the plant. Gentians, pyrolas, calthas, and even the bog pimpernel I have long grown so.
A. tetragona can be propagated by division of the roots, but such division should not be attempted with other than a perfectly healthy plant. It should be done in spring, just as it begins to push, which may be readily seen by the bright green tips of the branchlets; and it is desirable, when replanting, to put the parts a little deeper, so as to cover the dead but persistent leaves about the bottoms of the stems which occur on the parts four or more years old. After a year, when so planted, I have found good roots emitted from these parts, and, doubtless, such deeper planting will, in some way, meet its requirements, as in this respect they are provided for in its habitats by the annual and heavy fall of leaves from other trees which shade it.
Flowering period, April and May.
ALPINE WINDFLOWER; Nat. Ord. RANUNCULACEAE.
From Austria, the foliage closely resembling that of A. sulphurea, but the flowers are larger and of various colours. It is said to be the parent of A. sulphurea.
It flowers in June. See A. sulphurea.
MOUNTAIN WINDFLOWER; Nat. Ord. RANUNCULACEAE.
This is one of the "old-fashioned" flowers of our gardens—in fact, a native species, having a black tuberous root, which forms a distinct, though invisible characteristic of the species. As the old names are somewhat descriptive, I give them—viz., Geranium-leaved Anemone, and Stork's-bill Windflower.
The appearance of a bold piece of this plant when in flower is exceedingly cheerful; the soft-looking feathery foliage forms a rich groundwork for the lavish number of flowers, which vary much in colour, from sky-blue to nearly white, according to the number of days they may have been in blow, blue being the opening colour. The flowers are produced singly on stems, 6in. high, and ornamented with a whorl of finely-cut leaflets, stalked, lobed, and toothed; above this whorl the ruddy flower stem is much more slender. During sunshine the flowers are 11/2in. across the tips of sepals, becoming reflexed. The foliage, as before hinted, is in the form of a whorl, there being no root leaf, and the soft appearance of the whole plant is due to its downiness, which extends to and includes the calyx. The lobes of the leaves are cupped, but the leaves themselves reflex until their tips touch the ground, whence their distinct and pleasing form.
This plant is most at home in the half shade of trees, where its flowers retain their blue colour longer. It should be grown in bold patches, and in free or sandy soil. The tubers may be transplanted soon after the tops have died off in late summer.
Flowering period, April and May.
FAIR WINDFLOWER, or BLUE GRECIAN ANEMONE; Nat. Ord. RANUNCULACEAE.
This is a lovely winter flower, of great value in our gardens, from its showiness. It is a recent introduction from the warmer climes of the South of Europe and Asia Minor; and though it is not so vigorous under cultivation in our climate as most Windflowers, it proves perfectly hardy. A little extra care should be taken in planting it as regards soil and position, in order to grow it well. It belongs to that section of its numerous genus having an involucrum of stalked leaflets.
The flowers are produced on stalks, 4in. to 6in. high; they are nearly 2in. across, of a fine deep blue colour; the sepals are numerous and narrow, in the way of A. stellata, or star anemone. The leaves are triternate, divisions deeply cut and acute; the leaves of the involucrum are stalked, trifid, and deeply cut. The whole plant much resembles A. Apennina. Where it can be established, it must prove one of the most useful flowers, and to possess such charming winter blossom is worth much effort in affording it suitable conditions. The soil should be rich, light, and well drained, as sandy loam, and if mixed with plenty of leaf soil all the better. The position should be sheltered, otherwise this native of warm countries will have its early leaves and flowers damaged by the wintry blast, and the evil does not stop there, for the check at such a period interferes with the root development, and repetitions of such damage drive the plants into a state of "dwindling," and I may add, this is the condition in which this plant may frequently be seen. Many of the Anemones may be planted without much care, other than that of giving them a little shade from sunshine. The present subject, however, being so early, is not likely to obtain too much bright weather, but rather the reverse. If, then, it is planted in warm quarters, it may be expected to yield its desirable flowers in average quantity compared with other Windflowers, and in such proportion will its roots increase. The latter may be divided (providing they are of good size and healthy) when the leaves have died off.
Flowering period, February and March.
POPPY-LIKE WINDFLOWER; Nat. Ord. RANUNCULACEAE.
Hardy and tuberous. The illustration (Fig. 6) is of the double form, in which it may frequently be seen; also in many colours, as blue, purple, white, scarlet, and striped; the same colours may be found in the single and semi-double forms. There are many shades or half colours, which are anything but pleasing, and where such have established themselves, either as seedlings or otherwise, they should be weeded out, as there are numerous distinct hues, which may just as easily be cultivated. The great variety in colour and form of this Anemone is perhaps its most peculiar characteristic; for nearly 300 years it has had a place in English gardens, and came originally from the Levant. Its habit is neat; seldom does it reach a foot in height, the flowers being produced terminally; they are poppy-like, and 2in. to 3in. across, having six sepals. The leaves are ternate, segments numerous; each leaf springs from the tuber, with the exception of those of the involucre.
In planting this species, it should be kept in mind that it neither likes too much sunshine nor a light soil; under such conditions it may exist, but it will not thrive and scarcely ever flower. When the tuberous roots have become devoid of foliage they may be lifted, and if they have grown to a size exceeding 3in. long and 1in. in diameter, they may be broken in halves with advantage; the sooner they are put back into the ground the better; slight shade from the mid-day sun and good loam will be found to suit them best. When the various colours are kept separate, bold clumps of a score or so of each are very effective; mixed beds are gay, almost gaudy; but the grouping plan is so much better, that, during the blooming period, it is worth the trouble to mark the different colours, with a view to sorting them at the proper time.
The nutty roots are often eaten by earth vermin, especially wireworm. Whenever there is occasion to lift the roots it is a good plan to dress them, by repeated dips in a mixture of clay and soot, until they are well coated; they should be allowed to dry for a short time between each dip; this will not only be found useful in keeping off wireworm and similar pests, but will otherwise benefit the plants as a manure.
Flowering period, May and June.
Nat. Ord. RANUNCULACEAE.
New, from North America; has a deteriorated resemblance to A. alpina and A. sulphurea (which see). The foliage is much less; the flower stems are numerous, close together, stout, and 9in. to 12in. high; they are also branched, but not spreading. The flowers have seven to ten sepals, are an inch across, and of a creamy white colour. The heads of seed are more interesting than their flowers; they form cotton-like globes, 11/2in. diameter, and endure in that state for a fortnight. I was inclined to discard this species when I first saw its dumpy and badly-coloured flowers, but the specimen was left in the ground, and time, which has allowed the plant to become more naturally established, has also caused it to produce finer bloom, and it is now a pleasing and distinct species of an interesting character.
The same treatment will answer for this species as for A. sulphurea. All the Anemones may be propagated by seeds or division of the roots. The latter method should only be adopted in the case of strong roots, and their division will be more safely effected in early spring, when they can start into growth at once.
Flowering period, May to June.
SHINING WINDFLOWER; Nat. Ord. RANUNCULACEAE.
This is a variety of A. hortensis or A. pavonina, all of which much resemble each other. This very showy flower is much and deservedly admired. In sheltered quarters or during mild seasons it will flower at Christmas and continue to bloom for several months. It will be seen by the illustration (Fig. 7) to be a plant of neat habit, and for effect and usefulness it is one of the very best flowers that can be introduced into the garden, especially the spring garden, as there is scarcely another of its colour, and certainly not one so floriferous and durable. Though it has been in English gardens over fifty years, it seems as if only recently its real worth has been discovered. It is now fast becoming a universal favourite. The flowers are 2in. across, and of a most brilliant scarlet colour, produced singly on tall naked stems, nearly a foot high. They vary in number of sepals, some being semi-double. The foliage is bright and compact, more freely produced than that of most Windflowers; it is also richly cut.
It may be grown in pots for conservatory or indoor decoration. It needs no forcing for such purposes; a cold frame will prove sufficient to bring out the flowers in winter. Borders or the moist parts of rockwork are suitable for it; but perhaps it is seen to greatest advantage in irregular masses in the half shade of trees in front of a shrubbery, and, after all, it is impossible to plant this flower wrong, as regards effect. To grow it well, however, it must have a moist situation, and good loam to grow in. It is easily propagated by division of strong healthy roots in autumn.
Flowering period, January to June, according to position and time of planting.
JAPAN WINDFLOWER; Nat. Ord. RANUNCULACEAE.
This and its varieties are hardy perennials of the most reliable kinds; the typical form has flowers of a clear rose colour. A. j. vitifolia has larger flowers of a fine bluish tint, and seems to be the hybrid between the type and the most popular variety, viz., A. j. alba—Honorine Jobert—(see Fig. 8). So much has this grown in favour that it has nearly monopolised the name of the species, of which it is but a variety; hence the necessity of pointing out the distinctions. Frequently the beautiful white kind is sought for by the typical name only, so that if a plant were supplied accordingly there would be disappointment at seeing a somewhat coarse specimen, with small rosy flowers, instead of a bold and beautiful plant with a base of large vine-shaped foliage and strong stems, numerously furnished with large white flowers, quite 2in. across, and centered by a dense arrangement of lemon-coloured stamens, somewhat like a large single white rose. This more desirable white variety sometimes grows 3ft. high, and is eminently a plant for the border in front of shrubs, though it is very effective in any position. I grow it in the border, on rockwork, and in a half shady place, and it seems at home in all. It will continue in bloom until stopped by frosts. The flowers are among the most useful in a cut state, especially when mingled with the now fashionable and handsome leaves of heucheras and tiarellas; they form a chaste embellishment for the table or fruit dishes.
The plant is sometimes much eaten by caterpillars; for this the remedy is soapy water syringed on the under side of the leaves. Earwigs also attack the flowers; they should be trapped by a similar plan to that usually adopted for dahlias.
To those wishing to grow this choice Anemone, let me say, begin with the young underground runners; plant them in the autumn anywhere you like, but see that the soil is deep, and if it is not rich, make it so with well-decayed leaves or manure, and you will have your reward.
Flowering period, August to November.
Anemone Nemorosa Flore-pleno.
DOUBLE WOOD ANEMONE, or WINDFLOWER; Nat. Ord. RANUNCULACEAE.
This is the double form of the common British species; in every part but the flower it resembles the type. The flower, from being double, and perhaps from being grown in more exposed situations than the common form in the shaded woods, is much more durable; an established clump has kept in good form for three weeks.
The petals (if they may be so called), which render this flower so pleasingly distinct, are arranged in an even tuft, being much shorter than the outer or normal sepals, the size and form of which remain true to the type. The pure white flower—more than an inch across—is somewhat distant from the handsome three-leaved involucrum, and is supported by a wiry flower stalk, 3in. to 5in. long; it is about the same length from the root, otherwise the plant is stemless. The flowers are produced singly, and have six to eight petal-like sepals; the leaves are ternately cut; leaflets or segments three-cut, lanceolate, and deeply toothed; petioles channelled; the roots are long and round, of about the thickness of a pen-holder. This plant grown in bold clumps is indispensable for the choice spring garden; its quiet beauty is much admired.
It enjoys a strongish loam, and a slightly shaded situation will conduce to its lengthened flowering, and also tend to luxuriance. Soon after the flowers fade the foliage begins to dry up; care should, therefore, be taken to have some other suitable flower growing near it, so as to avoid dead or blank spaces. Pentstemons, rooted cuttings of which are very handy at this season for transplanting, are well adapted for such use and situations, and as their flowers cannot endure hot sunshine without suffering more or less, such half-shady quarters will be just the places for them.
The double white Wood Anemone may be propagated by divisions of the tubers, after the foliage has completely withered.
Flowering period, May.
PASQUE FLOWER; Nat. Ord. RANUNCULACEAE.
A British species. This beautiful flower has long been cultivated in our gardens, and is deservedly a great favourite. It may not be uninteresting to give the other common and ancient names of the Easter Flower, as in every way this is not only an old plant, but an old-fashioned flower. "Passe Flower" and "Flaw Flower" come from the above common names, being only derivations, but in Cambridgeshire, where it grows wild, it is called "Coventry Bells" and "Hill Tulip." Three hundred years ago Gerarde gave the following description of it, which, together with the illustration (Fig. 9), will, I trust, be found ample: "These Passe flowers hath many small leaues, finely cut or iagged, like those of carrots, among which rise up naked stalks, rough and hairie; whereupon do growe beautiful flowers bell fashion, of a bright delaied purple colour; in the bottome whereof groweth a tuft of yellow thrums, and in the middle of the thrums thrusteth foorth a small purple pointell; when the whole flower is past, there succeedeth an head or knoppe, compact of many graie hairie lockes, and in the solide parts of the knops lieth the seede flat and hoarie, euery seed having his own small haire hanging at it. The roote is thick and knobbie of a finger long, and like vnto those of the anemones (as it doth in all other parts verie notablie resemble) whereof no doubt this is a kinde."
This flower in olden times was used for making garlands, and even now there are few flowers more suitable for such purpose; it varies much in colour, being also sometimes double. It may be grown in pots for window decoration or in the open garden; it likes a dry situation and well-drained soil of a calcareous nature. In these respects it differs widely from many of the other species of Windflower, yet I find it to do well in a collection bed where nearly twenty other species are grown, and where there are both shade and more moisture than in the open parts of the garden. It may be propagated by division of the strong root-limbs, each of which should have a portion of the smaller roots on them. Soon after flowering is a good time to divide it.
Flowering period, March to May.
STAR WINDFLOWER; Nat. Ord. RANUNCULACEAE.
This gay spring flower (Fig. 10) comes to us from Italy, but that it loves our dull climate is beyond doubt, as it not only flowers early, but continues for a long time in beauty. A. hortensis is another name for it, and there are several varieties of the species, which mostly vary only in the colours of the flowers, as striped, white and purple. The typical form, as illustrated, is seen to be a quaint little plant; its flowers are large, of a shining light purple colour, and star-shaped; the dwarf foliage is of the well-known crowfoot kind. When grown in bold clumps it is richly effective, and, like most other Anemones, is sure to be admired.
It thrives well in a light loam and in slight shade; I have tried it in pots kept in cold frames, where it flowers in mid-winter. It would doubtless make a showy appearance in a cool greenhouse. To propagate it, the roots should be divided after the tops have died down in summer.
Flowering period, February to June, according to position and time of planting.
SULPHUR-COLOURED WINDFLOWER; Syn. A. APIIFOLIA; Nat. Ord. RANUNCULACEAE.
This is a grandly beautiful Windflower from Central Europe. The names, combined with the illustration (Fig. 11), must fail to give the reader a proper idea of its beauty; the specific name in reference to the colour falls far short, and cannot give a hint of its handsome form and numerous finely-coloured stamens; and the drawing can in no way illustrate the hues and shell-like substance of the sepals; there is also a softness and graceful habit about the foliage, that the name, apiifolia (parsley-leaved), does not much help the reader to realise. It may be parsley-like foliage in the comparative sense and in relation to that of other Anemones, but otherwise it can hardly be said to be like parsley. It is said by some to be only a variety of A. alpina; if so, it is not only a distinct but an unvarying form, so much so that by others it is held to be a species; the line of difference in many respects seems so far removed, even granting it to be a variety (as in hundreds of similar cases), as to warrant a specific title. It may be more interesting to state that it is a lovely and showy flower, and that the shortest cut to an enjoyment of its beauties is to grow it.
The flowers are 2in. to 21/2in. across when expanded, but usually they are cup-shaped. The six sepals are egg-shaped but pointed, of much substance, and covered with a silky down on the outside, causing them to have changeable hues according to the play of wind and light. The stamens are very numerous, the anthers being closely arranged and of a rich golden colour; the flower stems grow from 9in. to 18in. high, being terminated by one flower; it carries a large and handsome involucre of three leaves, a little higher than the middle of the stem, and just overtopping the radical leaves, umbrella fashion; the leaves of the involucre are like those of the root, but stalkless. The radical leaves are stalked, well thrown out, drooping, and over 1ft. long, ternate and villous; the leaflets are pinnatifid and deeply toothed.
This desirable plant is of the easiest culture, thriving in common garden soil, but it prefers that of a rich vegetable character and a situation not over dry. The flowers are persistent under any conditions, and they are further preserved when grown under a little shade, but it should only be a little.
For propagation see A. decapetala.
Flowering period, May and June.
There are two other allied kinds which not only much resemble this, but which flower at or near the same time—viz., A. alpina and A. decapetala, which see.
SNOWDROP A.; Nat. Ord. RANUNCULACEAE.
This hardy herbaceous species comes from Germany, but it has been grown nearly 300 years in this country, It is distinct, showy, and beautiful; it ranks with "old-fashioned" flowers. Of late this Windflower has come into great favour, as if for a time it had been forgotten; still, it is hard to make out how such a fine border plant could be overlooked. However, it is well and deservedly esteemed at the present time; and, although many have proved the plant and flowers to be contrary to their expectations in reference to its common name, "Snowdrop Anemone," the disappointment has been, otherwise, an agreeable one. It only resembles the snowdrop as regards the purity and drooping habit of its flowers.
Well-grown specimens have an exceedingly neat habit—the foliage spreads and touches the ground, rounding up to the flower stems (which are about a foot high) in a pleasing manner. The earliest flowers are very large—when fully open quite 11/2in. across—but they are more often seen in the unopen state, when they resemble a nutmeg in shape. Whether open or shut, they are a pure white, and their pendent habit adds not a little to their beauty, as also does the leafy involucre. The leaves are three-parted, the two lower lobes being deeply divided, so that at a first glance the leaves appear to be five-parted; each of the five lobes are three-cleft, and also dentate, downy, and veined; the leaf stalks are radical, red, long, slightly channelled, and wiry; in all respects the leaves of the involucre resemble those of the root, excepting the size, which is smaller, and the stalks are green, like the flower stems.
In a cut state, the pure satin-white blossoms are fit for the most delicate wreath or bouquet; they have, morever, a delicious clover-scent. It enjoys a light vegetable soil in a slightly shaded and moist situation; if it could be allowed to ramble in the small openings of a front shrubbery, such positions would answer admirably.
The roots are underground-creeping, which renders this species somewhat awkward to manage when grown with others in a collection of less rampant habit. On the other hand, the disposition it has to spread might very well be taken advantage of by providing it with a good broad space, than which nothing could be more lovely for two months of the year.
It is needless to give directions for its propagation, as the runners spring up all round the parent plant. Slugs are very fond of it, and in early spring, especially when the new growths are appearing, they should be kept in check, otherwise they will eat down into the heart of the strongest plant; a dose of clear lime water will be found effective and will not hurt the new leaves; if this is followed up with a few sprinklings of sand, the slugs will not care to occupy such unpleasant quarters.
Flowering period, May and June.
SHAGGY WINDFLOWER; Nat. Ord. RANUNCULACEAE.
A curious but pretty alpine species, from the Swiss Alps, consequently very hardy. It is not a showy subject, but its distinctions are really beautiful, and commend it to those who love to grow plants of a recherche character.
The illustration (Fig. 12) will give some idea of it, but no description can convey even an approximate notion of its flowers, which are produced singly, on short, stout, hairy stems, about 5in. high. For so small a plant the flower is large, more than an inch across when expanded, but usually it keeps of a roundish, bell-shaped form. Its colour is a bluish-white inside, the outside being much darker. It would be violet, were not the hairs so long and numerous that they form a brownish coat which is, perhaps, the most remarkable trait of this species. The leaves, too, are very hairy—twice, and sometimes thrice, divided, rather small, and also few.
This little plant is most enjoyed when grown in pots. It may be plunged in sand or ashes in an open space, but it should never be allowed to suffer for moisture. When so grown, and just before the flowers open, it should be removed to a cool, airy frame, where it should also be plunged to keep its roots cool and moist; it will require to be very near the glass, so as to get perfect flowers. Such a method of growing this flower affords the best opportunity for its close examination; besides, it is so preserved in finer and more enduring form. It thrives well in lumpy peat and loam, but I have found charcoal, in very small lumps, to improve it, as it does most plants grown in pots, especially such as require frequent supplies of water. The slugs are very fond of it; a look-out for them should be kept when the plants are growing, and frequent sprinklings of sharp ashes will be found useful.
Flowering period, April and May.
ST. BERNARD'S LILY; Nat. Ord. LILIACEAE.
This may be grown as a companion to St. Bruno's Lily, though not so neat in habit or rich in bloom. In all respects it is very different. It is taller, the flowers not half the size, and more star-shaped, foliage more grassy, and the roots creeping and jointed.
All the Anthericums named by me will do in ordinary soil, but prefer a fat loam of considerable depth. If, therefore, such conditions do not exist, there should be a good dressing of well-rotted stable manure turned in, and a mulching given in early spring.
Anthericums are propagated by division of the roots, which should be carefully performed during the autumn. After such mutilation they should not be disturbed again for three years, or they will deteriorate in vigour and beauty.
Flowering period, June and July.
ST. BRUNO'S LILY; Nat. Ord. LILIACEAE.
This charming plant is a native of Alpine meadows, and is known by other names, as Paradisia and Cyackia, but is more commonly called St. Bruno's Lily. It is emphatically one of the most useful and handsome flowers that can be grown in English gardens, where, as yet, it is anything but as plentiful as it ought to be. Not only is it perfectly hardy in our climate, but it seems to thrive and flower abundantly. It is fast becoming a favourite, and it is probable that before long it will be very common, from the facts, firstly, of its own value and beauty, and, secondly, because the Dutch bulb-growers have taken it in hand. Not long ago they were said to be buying stock wherever they could find it. The illustration (Fig. 13) shows it in a small-sized clump. Three or four such specimens are very effective when grown near together; the satin-like or shining pure white flowers show to greater advantage when there is plenty of foliage. A number planted in strong single roots, but near together, forming a clump several feet in diameter, represent also a good style; but a single massive specimen, with at least fifty crowns, and nearly as many spikes of bloom just beginning to unfold, is one of the most lovely objects in my own garden.
The chaste flowers are 2in. long, six sepalled, lily-shaped, of a transparent whiteness, and sweetly perfumed; filaments white, and long as the sepals; anthers large, and thickly furnished with bright orange-yellow pollen; the stems are round, stout, 18in. high, and produce from six to twelve flowers, two or three of which are open at one and the same time. The leaves are long, thick, with membranous sheaths, alternate and stem-clasping, or semi-cylindrical; the upper parts are lanceolate, dilated, subulate, and of a pale green colour. The roots are long, fleshy, brittle, and fasciculate.
This plant for three or four weeks is one of the most decorative; no matter whether in partial shade or full sunshine, it not only flowers well, but adorns its situation most richly; the flowers, in a cut state, are amongst the most useful and effective of hardy kinds—indeed, they vie with the tender exotics.
Flowering period, June and July.
A. l. major is a new variety in all its parts like the type, with the exception of size, the flowers being larger by nearly an inch. The variety is said to grow to the height of 8ft.
MOUNTAIN KIDNEY VETCH; Nat. Ord. LEGUMINOSAE.
For rockwork this is one of the most lovely subjects. It is seldom seen, though easy to grow, perfectly hardy, and perennial. It is classed as an herbaceous plant, but it is shrubby, and on old specimens there is more wood than on many dwarf shrubs. It is of a procumbent habit, and only 4in. to 6in. high in this climate. It comes from the South of Europe, where it probably grows larger.
In early spring the woody tips begin to send out the hoary leaves; they are 3in. to 6in. long, and from their dense habit, and the way in which they intersect each other, they present a pleasing and distinct mass of woolly foliage.
The leaves are pinnatifid, leaflets numerous, oval, oblong, and very grey, nearly white, with long silky hairs.
The flowers are of a purple-pink colour, very small, and in close drumstick-like heads. The long and numerous hairs of the involucre and calyx almost cover over the flowers and render them inconspicuous; still, they are a pretty feature of the plant; the bloom stands well above the foliage on very downy, but otherwise naked stalks.
When planted in such a position that it can rest on the edge of or droop over a stone, strong specimens are very effective. It seems to enjoy soil of a vegetable character, with its roots near large stones. I have heard that it has been found difficult to grow, but that I cannot understand. I fear the fault has been in having badly-rooted plants to start with, as cuttings are very slow in making an ample set of roots for safe transplanting. Its increase by division is no easy matter, as the woody stems are all joined in one, and the roots are of a tap character. Seed seldom ripens; by cuttings appears to be the readier mode of propagation; if these are taken off in early spring, put in a shady position, and in leaf soil, they will probably root as the seasons get warmer.
Flowering period, June and July.
Syn. GLYCINE APIOS; Nat. Ord. LEGUMINOSAE.
This is a pretty climber, or, more strictly speaking, a twiner; it is hardy, tuberous, and perennial. The tubers resemble potatoes, but incline to pear-shape, as implied by the generic name. 240 years ago it was introduced from North America; still, it is seldom met with, notwithstanding its good habit and colour. It is one of those happy subjects which most conduce to the freshness and wild beauty of our gardens; the dark and glossy verdure is charmingly disposed in embowerments by means of the delicate twining stems; and though it grows apace, there is never an unsightly dense or dark mass, so commonly seen in many climbers, but, instead, it elegantly adorns its station, and the outlines of its pretty pinnate leaves may easily be traced against the light.
As may be seen by the illustration (Fig. 14), it is in the way of a climbing bean. The flowers are purple and borne in small clusters from the axils of the leaves, and, of course, as indicated by the order to which it belongs, they are like pea flowers; they are produced a long time in succession, providing the frosts do not occur; they have the scent of violets. The leaves are distantly produced on fine wiry stems, which grow to the length of 12ft.; they are pinnate, the leaflets being of various sizes, oval, smooth, and of a dark shining green colour.
The roots are not only peculiar in the way already mentioned, but the tubers have the appearance of being strung together by their ends. They are edible, and where they grow wild they are called "ground nuts." From the description given it will be easy to decide how and where it should be planted.
There should be provision made for its twining habit, and it may have the liberty of mixing its foliage with that of less beautiful things during autumn, such, for instance, as the bare Jasmine nudiflora; its spare but effective leaves and flowers will do little or no harm to such trees, and after the frosts come the jasmine will be clear again. It may also be grown with happy results as shown in the illustration, needing only a well-secured twiggy bush. Cut as sprays it is very serviceable for hanging or twining purposes.
It most enjoys a light soil, also a sunny situation. Sometimes it has been found slow at starting into growth when newly planted; this, however, can hardly be the case with newly lifted tubers. I may add that it is no uncommon thing for these to be out of the ground for weeks and months together, when they not only become hard and woody, but when suddenly brought in contact with the damp earth rot overtakes them. There is no difficulty whatever with fresh tubers, which may be lifted after the tops have died off. Beyond securing fresh roots, there is nothing special about the culture of this desirable climber.
Flowering period, August to October.
SHINING ROCK CRESS; Nat. Ord. CRUCIFERAE.
This member of a well-known family of early spring flowers is desirable, for its neat habit and verdancy. There is not a particle of sere foliage to be seen, and it has, moreover, a glossy appearance, whence the specific name. The flowers are not of much effect, though, from their earliness, not without value; they are in the way of the flowers of the more common species, A. alpina, but less in size; they are also more straggling in the raceme; these two features render it inferior as a flower; the stalks are 3in. to 6in. high. The leaves are arranged in lax flattened rosettes, are 1in. to 3in. long, somewhat spathulate, notched, fleshy, of a very dark green colour, and shining. The habit is dense and spreading, established tufts having a fresh effect. Though an Hungarian species, it can hardly have a more happy home in its habitat than in our climate. Where verdant dwarf subjects are in request, either for edgings, borders, or rockwork, this is to be commended as one of the most reliable, both for effect and vigour. In the last-named situation it proves useful all the year round, but care should be taken that it does not overgrow less rampant rock plants.
A. l. variegata is a variety with finely-marked leaves. The bloom resembles that of the type, but is rather weaker. It is better to remove the flowers of this kind, as then the rather slow habit of growth is much improved, as also is the colour of the foliage. The leaves being more serviceable and effective than the bloom, the uses should be made of it accordingly. They are broadly edged with yellow, the green being lighter than that of the type, but equally bright; the ends of the leaves are curled backwards, but, with the exception of being a little smaller, they are similar in shape to the parent form. This is a gem for rockwork, and, if it did not belong to a rather ordinary race of plants, it would, perhaps, be more often seen in choice collections. This, however, does not alter its worth. Seen in crevices of dark stone on rockwork, or in bold tufts near the walks, or planted with judgment near other dwarf foliaged subjects, it ever proves attractive. It is much less rampant, and, perhaps, less hardy than the type. It has only been during the recent very severe winters, however, that it has been killed. The Arabis is easily propagated by slips or rootlets, which should be taken after flowering. The variegated form is better for being so propagated every year. If bold patches are desired, they should be formed by planting a number together, 3in. or 4in. apart.
Flowering period, February to June.
SIEBOLD'S ARALIA; Nat. Ord. ARALIACEAE.
The present subject (see Fig. 15)—beautiful, hardy, and evergreen—is a species of recent introduction; still, it has already become well known and distributed, so much so that it scarcely needs description; but there are facts in reference to it which would seem to be less known. It is seldom seen in the open garden, and many amateurs, who otherwise are well acquainted with it, when they see it fresh and glossy in the open garden in the earliest months of the year, ask, "Is it really hardy?" Not only is such the case, but the foliage, and especially the deep green colour, are rarely so fine when the specimens have indoor treatment, and, on this account, the shrub is eminently suitable for notice here.
The order Araliaceae is nearly related to Umbelliferae, from which fact an idea may be had of the kind and arrangement of the flowers. Many of the genera of the order Araliaceae are little known; perhaps the genus Hedera (ivy) is the only one that is popular, and it so happens to immediately follow the genus Aralia. To remember this will further assist in gleaning an idea of the form of blossom, as that of ivy is well known. Aralia Sieboldi, however, seldom flowers in this climate, either in or out of doors. When it does, the white flowers are not of much value; they are small, like ivy blossom in form, but more spread in the arrangement. There are five sepals, five petals, five styles, and five cells in the berries. The flowers are produced on specimens 2ft. to 5ft. high during winter, when favourable. The leaves, when well grown, are the main feature of the shrub, and are 12in. or more across. This size is not usual, but a leaf now before me, and taken from an outside specimen, measures over a foot, with a stout round stalk, 13in. long; the form of leaf is fan-shaped, having generally seven lobes, each supported by a strong mid-rib; the lobes are formed by divisions rather more than half the diameter of the leaf; they are slightly distant, broadly lance-shaped, waved at the edges, toothed near the ends, the teeth being somewhat spiny; the substance is very stout and leather-like to the touch; the upper surface is a dark shining bronzy-green, beautifully netted or veined; the under surface is a pale green, and richly ornamented by the risen mid-ribs and nerves of the whole leaf; the leaf-stalks are thick, round, bending downwards, and 6in. to 18in. long, springing from the half woody stem.
The habit of the shrub is bushy, somewhat spreading, causing the specimens to have a fine effect from their roundness, the leaf arrangement also being perfect. Without doubt this is one of the most distinct and charming evergreens for the ornamental garden, sub-tropical in appearance, and only inferior to palms as regards size; it is effective anywhere. It need not be stated that as a vase or table decoration it ranks with the best for effect and service, as it is already well-known as such. In planting this subject outside, young but well-rooted examples should be selected and gradually hardened off. At the latter end of May they should be turned out of the pots into a rich but sandy loam. The position should be sunny, and sheltered from the north. Some have advised that it should be grown under trees, but I have proved that when so treated the less ripened foliage has suffered with frost, whilst the specimens fully exposed to the sun have not suffered in the least; they would droop and shrivel as long as the frost remained, but as soon as the temperature rose they became normal, without a trace of injury. When planted as above, young specimens will soon become so established and inured to open-air conditions, that little concern need be felt as regards winter; even such as were under trees, where they continued to grow too long, and whose tender tops were cut away by frost, have, the following summer, made a number of fresh growths lower down the stems. I should like to say that on rockwork this shrub has a superb effect, and I imagine the better drained condition of such a structure is greatly in favour of its health and hardiness. The propagation is by means of cuttings; slips of half-ripened wood, taken during the warmest months, if put in sandy loam in a cucumber frame, will root like willow. As soon as roots have formed, pot them separately and plunge the pots in the same frame for a week or two, then harden off. For the first winter the young stock ought to be kept either in a greenhouse or a cold frame, and by the end of the following May they will be ready to plant out. A well-drained position is important.
Flowering period, November to March, in favourable or mild seasons.
Syns. A. ZEBRINUM and ARUM TRIPHYLLUM; Common Names, THREE-LEAVED ARUM and JACK-IN-THE-PULPIT; Nat. Ord. ARACEAE.
A hardy tuberous-rooted perennial from North America. I will at once explain that the above leading name is not the one generally used here, but in America, where the species is common, botanists have adopted it; besides, it is, as will be seen from the following description, very distinct from other Arums. The Syn. Arisaema zebrinum, as given, belongs really to a variety of A. triphyllum, but the type is marked in its flowers zebra-like, and there are many shades and colours of it, therefore both or either of the names may be used for the different forms, with a fair degree of propriety, as in fact they are.
There is a doubt with some as to the hardiness of this plant; in my mind there is none whatever. It is no stranger to frosts in its habitats, but I do not found my conviction on anything but my experience of it. It has been grown fully exposed for two winters, and sometimes the frosts must have gone as far down as the roots.
There is nothing showy about this plant, but there is something which stamps it as a fitting subject for a garden of choice plants; its bold, dark green foliage and quaint-looking flowers render it desirable on the score of distinctness. It has, moreover, a freshness upon which the eye can always linger. The flowers are in general form like the calla-lily; the upper part of the spathe, or sheathing leaf, which is really the calyx, is, however, more elongated, pointed, and hooked; otherwise the spathe is erect, slightly reflexed just above the folded part, giving the appearance of a pair of small lobes; this—the calyx—is really the most conspicuous part of the flower; in the belly it is beautifully striped with broad lines of a purplish-brown colour, which shade off to an inch of green in the middle, when they form again, and continue to the tip of the spathe, which will be 4in. to 6in. long, and nearly 2in. broad at the widest part; these lines run between the ribs, and, as before hinted, they are of various colours, such as brown, purple, pink, and green. The ribs are nearly white, and the green parts are very pale. The spadix is over 3in. long, club-shaped, spotted with brown, very much so near the end. The anthers at the base of the spadix are curious, and should be examined. They are invisible until the folded part of the spathe is opened; they are numerous, arranged in a dense broad ring, sessile, and nearly black. This curious flower is produced on a stout, round scape, a foot or more in height. The leaves are radical, having a stalk a foot long. They are, as the specific name implies, divided into three parts, each being of equal length, entire, wavy, and pointed. The whole plant has a somewhat top-heavy appearance (see Fig. 16), but I never saw it broken down by the weather. It makes quick growth in spring, the scape appearing with the leaves; in late summer it dies down. It looks well in quiet nooks, but it also forms a good companion to showy flowers in more open situations; in a cut state, for dressing "old-fashioned" vases, nothing could be in better character, a few leaves of yarrow, day lily, flag, or similar foliage being all it will require.
It may be transplanted, any time from September to the end of January, into good light loam or leaf soil, 4in. or 6in. deep; if there should be a dry season during the period of growth, the plant should be well watered. To increase it, the tubers may be divided every third year, providing the growth has been of a vigorous tone. I may add, that, from its tall and not over-dense habit, there may with advantage, both to it and the plants used, be a carpet grown underneath—ivy, vincas, or sweet woodruff for some situations, and brighter subjects for more conspicuous parts of the garden, such as the finer kinds of mimulus, ourisia, alpine aster, and dwarf iris.
Flowering period, June and July.
HAIRY ARUM, or DRAGON'S MOUTH; Nat. Ord. ARACEAE.
As may be seen by the illustration (Fig. 17), this is a most singular plant. It proves hardy in this climate if its position is selected; in other words, it is not hardy in all kinds of soils and situations, but if planted four or five inches deep, in sandy or half decayed vegetable mould, facing the south, there is little to fear either as regards hardiness or its thriving. I think, therefore, it may be called hardy. It is far more interesting than handsome, but there is at the present time an evident desire amongst amateurs to grow the various Arums, and more especially has this one been sought after; I have, therefore, introduced it amongst more beautiful flowers, and given an enlarged drawing of the entire plant, together with the spathe in its unopened state.
The plant is a native of Minorca, and was imported in 1777. In this climate it grows to the height of 18in., developing the flower with the foliage. It is produced on a stout scape nearly 1ft. high, of a pale green colour, marked with dark short lines and spotted with delicate pink dots. The folded spathe is of leather-like substance, rough, almost corky in texture; also variously marked and tinted. At the base there are a number of green lines arranged evenly and longitudinally on a nearly white ground. A little higher—the belly part—the lines are less frequent, irregular, and mixed with pink dots. Still higher, the ground colour becomes pale green, the lines dark green, and the pink spots are changed to clouded tints; the remainder of the folded spathe—to the tip—is a mixture of brown and green dots, the total length being fully 9in. When the spathe opens, it does so quickly, bending more than half its length outwards, the division looking upwards. To those who have not before seen the plant at this stage, it will prove an interesting surprise; the odour, however, is repulsive. The spathe at its widest part is 6in. broad, and tapers off to a blunt point. It is of a dark purple colour and covered with long bent dark hairs, whence the specific name. They are curiously disposed, and remind one of some hairy animal that has been lifted out of the water the wrong way as regards the direction of the hair. The spadix is comparatively small, black, and also covered with hairs. The flower should be closely watched if its peculiarities are to be fully noted, as it not only opens quickly but soon begins to wither. During the short period that the flower is open the lower part of the spathe or belly becomes filled with all kinds of flies, being held by the spear-like hairs.
The leaves have long stalks, marked and tinted in a similar manner to that of the scape. They are curiously formed and twisted, pedate or bird-foot shaped, the outer segments twice cut, lance-shaped, and turned inwards or over the main part of the leaf; the leaves are of a deep green colour, and of good substance; they seldom exceed four in number to each plant or tuber.
This curious species should, as above indicated, have a warm situation, where it will also be comparatively dry in winter. Its propagation may be effected by division of the roots of strong specimens.
Flowering period, June and July.
MICHAELMAS DAISIES, or STARWORTS; Nat. Ord. COMPOSITAE.
Hardy, perennial, and herbaceous. These are a numerous family, and many of them have an ungainly habit and insignificant flowers—in fact, are not worth growing, save as wild flowers in unfrequented places. I will mention a few of the finer sorts, which are mostly species: A. diversifolius, A. ericoides, A. grandiflorus, A. pendulus, and A. Dumosus, these are all good, both in habit and flowers; ericoides and pendulus make really handsome bushes, but the very beautiful A. amellus, and its more dwarf variety (A. Mdme. Soyance), have tempted me to write of these old-fashioned plants, which may be said to be wholly distinct, as their flowers are so very much brighter (dark purple, with a clear yellow centre), and the rays so much more evenly and compactly furnished. Their stems are 2ft. to 3ft. high, and flowered half their length with clusters of bloom about the size and form of full-grown field daisies. These wand-like spikes in a cut state are bright and appropriate decorations. In vases they are very effective, even when used alone. The flowers are very lasting, either cut or otherwise; the plants will bloom six or eight weeks.
These subjects will thrive in almost any kind of soil or position, opening their flowers during the dullest weather, and though they like sunshine, they will not wait for it. It is scarcely needful to further describe these well-known flowers, but, as well as the species, there are some bright and beautiful varieties which merit further notice. All the Starworts are easily increased by root division any time.
Flowering period, August to November.
ALPINE STARWORT, or BLUE DAISY; Nat. Ord. COMPOSITAE.
An exceedingly beautiful and very much admired alpine plant, which does not die down like most of the Starworts, but has woody stems; it is seldom seen more than a foot high, and its large bright purple flowers seem disproportionate. This is one of the plants which should have a place in every garden, and more especially in rock gardens. There cannot well be a more neat and telling subject; the form and size of its flowers are not often seen on such dwarf plants, and it also has the merit of being a "tidy" subject when not in bloom. The illustration (Fig. 18) will give a fair idea of its main features. Its purple flowers, which are fully 2in. across, have for many days an even and well-expanded ray, when the florets curl or reflex; the disk is large, and numerously set with lemon-yellow florets; the flowers are well lifted up on stout round stems, covered with short stiff hairs, and furnished with five or six small leaves; the main foliage is of compact growth, lance-shaped, entire, spathulate and covered with short hairs.
Considering that this plant has been in English gardens for 220 years, and that its merits must be seen by anyone at a glance, it is hard to say why it is not better known; even in choice and large collections it always proves attractive when in flower. The blooms in a cut state are very durable; they not only hold together, but also keep a good colour. Under cultivation it is in no way particular; it will endure anything but being deprived of light; from its dwarf, stout, and shrubby character, it would form a useful and a handsome edging to the larger walks; and by growing it so extensively an enviable supply of flowers for cutting would be at hand.
A stock of young plants may soon be got up by division of strong roots after the flowering season; such pieces as have roots may be planted at once in their permanent quarters; the rootless parts should be dibbled into light sandy loam and shaded with branches for a week or two.
Flowering period, June and July.
A. a. albus is a white-flowered variety, blooming about the same time. There does not appear to be that vigour about it which characterises the type; this, however, is not the only shortcoming; when compared with the rich purple flower, the white one, with its large yellow disk, appears, to say the least, a questionable improvement.
BOUQUET STARWORT; Nat. Ord. COMPOSITAE.
This Starwort is a very recently-imported species from North America. Like many other things which have proved worthless as decorative flowers, this was highly praised, but for a while its weedy-looking foliage caused suspicion; after becoming well established, it flowered, and, I am glad to say, proves a most distinct and useful Starwort. Its small white flowers much resemble the field daisy, but they are borne on densely-branched stems in hundreds; in fact, the plant, which grows nearly 2ft. high, seems to be nearly all flowers. Each one has a single ray of shining white florets, narrow and separate. Those of the disk are of a canary-yellow colour; the imbricated calyx is pear-shaped; pedicels slender, bent, wiry, and furnished with very small leaves; main stems hispid, woody, and brittle. The leaves of the root are 2in. to 4in. long, smooth, entire, linear, almost grass-like; those of the stems much less, becoming smaller as they near the flowers; they are somewhat rough, partaking of the quality of the stems. The habit of the plant is much branched, the spreading clusters of flowers being six or ten times the size of the plant, so that it becomes top-heavy; it blooms for many weeks, and is not damaged by coarse weather. Amongst other Asters it shows to advantage, flowering earlier than most of them, but lasting well into their period of bloom. It is sure to prove a useful white autumnal flower; small sprays when cut look better than on the plant, as they are then seen to be well spread and rigidly held by means of their wiry stalks; they have the scent of Southernwood. It grows well with me in ordinary garden loam, the situation being well exposed to the sun. It may be readily propagated by root division.
Flowering period, August to October.
COMMON PERENNIAL DAISY; Nat. Ord. COMPOSITAE.
This native plant, the commonest flower of the field and wayside, and the weed of our grass-plots, is the parent form of the handsome and popular double kinds seen in almost every garden. Well known as these flowers are, it may prove interesting to learn a little more about the fine large double crimson and white kinds—their treatment, for instance—in order to have abundance of flowers during the earliest months of the year; and the uses to which they may be most advantageously put; for, common as are the Daisies, they are, without doubt, amongst the most useful flowers we possess. First, I will briefly give the names and descriptions of the more distinct varieties.
B. p. aucubifolia is the Double Daisy, having a beautifully variegated foliage, mottled with golden-yellow in the way of the aucuba.
B. p. fistulosa.—This is the double crimson or pink Daisy, having its florets piped or quilled (see Fig. 19).
B. p. hortensis embraces all the double forms raised and cultivated in gardens, no matter what colour, and so distinguished from the typical form of the fields.
B. p. prolifera is that curious and favourite kind called "Hen and Chickens." The flowers are double, and from the imbricate calyx of the normal flower there issue a number of smaller Daisies having straggling florets; the whole on one main stalk presenting a bouquet-like effect.
These kinds, the specific names of which are not only descriptive, but amply embrace the group, are much added to by flowers having other names and minor distinctions, the latter, for the most part, being only shades or mixtures of colour—as crimson, pink, white, and bicolours. The florets in many kinds are exceedingly pretty, from the way in which they are tipped and shaded; notably, a new variety that was sent me under the name of Dresden China. These sorts having different tints are usefully named with "florists'" names—as Pearl, Snowball, Rob Roy, Sweep, Bride, &c. I may say that I have long grown the Daisy largely, Bride and Sweep being the favourite kinds; both are robust growers, very hardy and early. Bride is the purest white, with florets full, shining, and well reflexed; rather larger than a florin, and when fully developed has a half globular appearance; another good point is its flower stalks being 4in. to 5in. long, which renders it serviceable as cut bloom. Sweep is not quite so large, though a good-sized Daisy, it also opens more flat; its colour, however, is first rate, it is the darkest crimson Daisy I ever saw, is of a quilled form and very full. Its chief point is its constant colour; if the florets are examined, they are the same deep crimson underneath as on the face of the flower; this, together with its long stalks, renders it useful, too, in a cut state.
To grow this useful flower well and render it doubly valuable by having it in bloom in mid-winter, requires three things: First, timely transplanting; secondly, rich soil; thirdly, partial shade; these conditions will be more briefly and, perhaps, clearly explained, if I state my method. At the end of May or fore part of June, plenty of good rotten stable manure is wheeled into the bush-fruit quarters; it is worked in with a fork, so as to do as little damage as possible to the bush roots. A line is drawn, and the old Daisy roots which have just been taken up are trimmed by shortening both tops and roots. They are severely divided, and the pieces planted 6in. apart in rows 8in. asunder. In such a cool, moist situation they soon form good tufts, and I need scarcely say that the dressing of manure has also a marked effect on the fruit crop. A planting so made is not only a cheerful carpet of greenery during winter, but is well dotted over with bloom. The plants being well established in rich soil, and having the shelter of the bushes during summer and winter, are the conditions which have conduced to such early flowers. This is the method I have adopted for years, and both Daisies and fruit have been invariably good crops. I ought, however, to say that beds more exposed, together with the fact that the Daisy roots have to be transplanted in October or November, never flower so early, from which it will be seen that the treatment explained hardly applies to such bedding; but where a breadth of bloom is required, say, for cutting purposes, I know no better plan. As cut bloom the daisy is charming in glass trays on a bed of moss, or even in small bouquets, mixed with the foliage of pinks, carnations, and rosemary. Such an arrangement has at least the merit of sweet simplicity, and somehow has also the effect of carrying our thoughts with a bound to spring-time.
The ancient names for this "old-fashioned" flower were "Little Daisies" and "Bruisewoorte." The latter name, according to Gerarde, was applied for the following reasons: "The leaues stamped, taketh away bruses and swellings proceeding of some stroke, if they be stamped and laide thereon, whereupon it was called in olde time Bruisewoorte. The iuice put into the eies cleereth them, and taketh away the watering;" and here is a dog note: "The same given to little dogs with milke, keepeth them from growing great."
Flowering period, February to July.
Syn. MACLEAYA CORDATA; Nat. Ord. PAPAVERACEAE.
A hardy herbaceous perennial from China. It is a tall and handsome plant; its fine features are its stately habit, finely-cut foliage, and noble panicles of buds and flowers; during the whole progress of its growth it is a pleasing object, but in the autumn, when at the height of 7ft. it has become topped with lax clusters of flowers, over 2ft. long, it is simply grand. There are other names in trade lists, as B. japonica and B. alba, but they are identical with B. cordata; possibly there may be a little difference in the shades of the flowers, but nothing to warrant another name. Having grown the so-called species or varieties, I have hitherto found no difference whatever; and of the hardy species of this genus, I believe B. cordata is the only one at present grown in English gardens. During spring and early summer this subject makes rapid growth, pushing forth its thick leafy stems, which are attractive, not only by reason of their somewhat unusual form, but also because of their tender and unseasonable appearance, especially during spring; it is rare, however, that the late frosts do any damage to its foliage. It continues to grow with remarkable vigour until, at the height of 5ft. or more, the flower panicles begin to develop; these usually add 2ft. or more to its tallness.
The flowers are very small but numerous, of an ivory-white colour; they are more beautiful in the unopened state, when the two-sepalled calyx for many days compresses the tassel-like cluster of stamens. Each half of the calyx is boat-shaped, and before they burst they have the form and colour of clean plump groats; as already hinted, the stamens are numerous, and the anthers large for so small a flower, being spathulate. As soon as the stamens become exposed, the calyx falls, and in a short time—a few hours—the fugacious anthers disappear, to be followed only a little later by the fall of the filaments; there is then left a naked but headed capsule, half the size of the buds, and of the same colour; they may be traced on the panicle in the illustration (Fig. 20). From the fading quality of the above-named parts, the buds and capsules chiefly form the ornamental portion of the compound racemes.
The leaves are from 8in. to 10in. in diameter, the largest being at the base of the tall stems; their outline, as the specific name implies, is heart-shaped, but they are deeply lobed and dentate, in the way of the fig leaf, but more profusely so; they are stalked, of good substance, glaucous, nearly white underneath, which part is also furnished with short stiff hairs. The glaucous hue or farina which covers the leaf-stalks and main stems has a metallic appearance, and is one of its pleasing features as a decorative plant. For many weeks the flowers continue to be developed, and from the deciduous quality of the fading parts, the panicles have a neat appearance to the last. In a cut state the long side branches of flowers, more than a foot long, are very effective, either alone or when mixed with other kinds, the little clusters of white drop-like buds being suitable for combination with the choicest flowers.
As a decorative specimen for the more ornamental parts of the garden, and where bold subjects are desired, there are few herbaceous things that can be named as more suitable; from the day it appears above the ground, to and throughout its fading days in the autumn, when it has pleasing tints, it is not only a handsome but distinct form of plant; as an isolated specimen on the lawn, or by frequented walks, it may be grown with marked effect; if too nearly surrounded with other tall things, its beauty is somewhat marred; but wherever it is planted it should have a good fat loam of considerable depth. I ought not to omit saying that it forms a capital subject for pot culture; plants so treated, when 12in. or 18in. high, no matter if not then in flower, are very useful as window or table plants; but of course, being herbaceous, they are serviceable only during their growing season; they need not, however, be a source of care during winter, for they may with safety be plunged outside in a bed of ashes or sand, where they will take care of themselves during the severest weather.
It may be propagated by cuttings taken from the axils of the larger leaves during early summer; if this method is followed, the cuttings should be pushed on, so that there are plenty of roots before the winter sets in. I have found it by far the better plan to take young suckers from established plants; in good rich soil these are freely produced from the slightly running roots; they may be separated and transplanted any time, but if it is done during summer they will flower the following season. Tall as this subject grows, it needs no supports; neither have I noticed it to be troubled by any of the garden pests.
Flowering period, September to August.
Syns. COLCHICUM CAUCASICUM and MERENDERA CAUCASICUM; Nat. Ord. MELANTHACEAE.
This pretty miniature bulbous plant is very hardy, flowering in winter. It is a scarce flower, and has recently been represented as a new plant. As a matter of fact, it is not new, but has been known under the above synonymous names since 1823, when it was brought from the Caucasus. In general appearance it is very different from the Colchicum (Sprengle), as may be seen by the drawing (Fig. 21), and Merendera (Bieberstein) is only another Spanish name for Colchicum. The new name, authorised by Adams, may have been the cause, all or in part, of its being taken for a new species. The specific name may be presumed to be in reference to either its deeply-channelled, almost keeled leaves, which have the appearance of three corners, or in allusion to the triangular way in which they are disposed. It is a desirable flower for several reasons—its earliness, durability, rich perfume, and intrinsic beauty.
The little plant, at the height of 2in., produces its rather large flowers in ones and twos in February, and they last for many days in perfect form. The scent reminds one of the sweet honey smell of a white clover field during summer. The colour is very pale lilac, nearly white; the tube takes on a little greenness; it is also divided, though the slits are invisible until the bloom begins to fade. The corolla, of irregular segments, is 11/2in. across when expanded; the stamens are half the length of the petal-like segments, and carry anthers of exquisite beauty, especially when young, then they are orange colour, divided like a pair of half-opened shells, and edged with chocolate; the styles are a delicate pale green, and rather longer than the stamens. The leaves, as already stated, are channelled, broadest at the base, tapering to a point, which is rather twisted; they are 2in. long during the blooming period, of a deep green colour, stiff, but spreading, forming a pretty accurate triangle. This description, together with the cut, will suggest both the uses and positions in which it should be planted; if a single blossom, when brought indoors, proves strongly fragrant, it is easy to imagine what a clump must be in the garden. Like those of the colchicum, its flowers are quickly developed; the leaves grow longer afterwards, and die off in summer.
It thrives in a sandy loam or leaf soil, in a sunny part, and increases itself at the roots like the saffrons.
Flowering period, February and March.
SPRING BULBOCODIUM, or SPRING SAFFRON; Nat. Ord. MELANTHACEAE.
In mild winters, sheltered positions, and light vegetable soil, this bulbous plant may be seen in blossom from January to March. The flowers appear before the leaves, and may, at the first glance, be taken for lilac-coloured croci. Up to a certain stage, however, the colour gradually improves in the direction of purple, and where there are established patches it is no inconsiderable part of the effect caused by this desirable winter flower to see it a mass of bloom in many shades, ranging from white (as in the bud state) to a lively purple. It is an old plant in English gardens, and is largely found wild in mid-Europe. It came from Spain as early as 1629. Still, it is not generally known or grown; but within the last few years it has come to the fore, with a host of other hardy and early-flowering subjects. The natural order in which it is classed includes many beautiful genera, both as regards their floral effect and anatomical structures. Veratrum, Uvularia, and Colchicum are, perhaps, the more familiar, and the last-mentioned genus is a very nearly allied one. A feature of the genus Bulbocodium is implied by the name itself, which means "a wool-covered bulb." This quality, however, will be more observable when the bulb is in a dormant state; it exists under the envelope. The crocus or saffron-like flowers are aptly named "Spring Saffron," though there is a great botanical difference to be seen between this genus and that of Colchicum when the flower is dissected. The bloom is produced from the midst of an ample sheath, and overlapping leaves, which are only just visible in the early season of this year; the corolla of six petal-like divisions is 2in. to 3in. across when expanded, and of various shades and colours, as already stated; the segments are completely divided, being continued from the throat of the corolla to the ovary by long tapering bases, called nails, claws, or ungues. The leaves are stout, broadly strap-shaped, channelled, and of a deep green colour. The bulb is rather small; its form resembles that of the autumn crocus, as also does its mode of growth and reproduction.
The early blossoms of this bulb soon disappear, and though the roots are all the better for being well ripened, a thin patch of some of the finer annuals sown in spring amongst their withering leaves will not do much harm, and will prove useful as gap-stoppers. Another good way is to grow these dwarf bulbous flowers with a carpet of creepers, of which there are scores in every way suitable; and where nothing else is available or to be grown with success, the small-leaved ivy will answer well. The dwarf phloxes, however, are more useful; their browned spreading branches form a neutral but warm-looking ground to the purple blossoms; besides, by the time all trace of the Bulbocodium has shrivelled up, they begin to produce their sheets of bloom. All such prostrate forms not only preserve dwarf winter flowers from the mud, but otherwise give effect to the borders. This bulb thrives best in light soil, well drained; in sheltered nooks it may be had in flower a month earlier than in exposed parts. Under such conditions it increases very fast, and the bulbs may be transplanted with advantage every other year after the tops have died off. In stiff or clay-like soil it dwindles and dies.