Editorial Notes 5
By Lora S. La Mance
History of the Aster 6
The Modern Aster 6
General Culture of the Aster 7-11
About Seed, 7—Time to Start Asters, 8—Preparing an Aster Bed, 8—Mulching and Watering, 8—Insect Foes of Asters, 9—Other Cultural Rules, 11
The Aster as a Cut Flower 11
Leading Varieties of Asters 12, 13
The Winter Woods (Poem) 13
The Live Oak (Poem) 13
Information Box 14, 15
Communications 16, 30
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VOL. XXI. FLORAL PARK, N. Y., JANUARY, 1905. No. 1
PUBLISHED MONTHLY AT FLORAL PARK, N. Y.,
The Mayflower Publishing Co.
JOHN LEWIS CHILDS, President.
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Copyrighted 1904 by the Mayflower Publishing Company
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The principal subject of this issue is The Aster, by Lora S. La Mance. Read it and preserve the copy. It is worth keeping and you are quite likely to need it for future reference.
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If you are in the least interested in the scientific study of birds and bird protection, you surely need THE WARBLER magazine, which we publish at $1.00 per year, and which is advertised elsewhere in our columns.
The gardenia flowers now so much favored for wearing are expensive. All the dames beautiful enough to deserve them in profusion, do not receive them, perhaps. Clever imitations of the sprays are sometimes made up of the large shining leaves of the Japan Euonymus and the flowers of the Double Poet's Narcissus, N. alba plena odorata. Unfortunately, the difference in odor does not lend itself to the illusion.
Two Favorite Bedding Pansies
These are Emperor William and Lord Beaconsfield. One is light blue and the other yellow, so that, en masse, they are effective at a distance. The rich, dark, velvety Pansies are really more beautiful to look at, but we must stand close by them or hold them in the hand in order to enjoy them. In photographs the flowers of dark varieties hardly show at all. A good example of the handling of Pansies for effectiveness is shown in the planting of the six solid beds usually devoted to them in the grounds of Girard College, Philadelphia. The beds chosen for them are those that have been planted with Tulips the autumn beforehand. From seed sown in August grow thrifty young plants that are wintered in a cold-frame. As soon as the Tulips show leaves above ground young Pansy plants are set between them. When the Tulip flowers begin to fade the Pansies are opening their buds, and when the faded bulb-stems are cut away, lo! Pansy beds in full bloom!
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BY LORA S. LA MANCE, MO.
History of the Aster—The Modern Aster—General Culture of the Aster—About Seed—Time to Start Asters—Preparing an Aster Bed—Mulching and Watering—Insect Foes of Asters—Other Cultural Rules—The Aster as a Cut Flower—Leading Varieties of Asters.
HISTORY OF THE ASTER
Starworts or Aster-like flowers of the Compositae family are found in many parts of the world. In far-off China a flower-loving Catholic missionary noted a showy flower of late summer and early autumn. That was nearly two hundred years ago. The flower was what is botanically known as Callistephus, a Greek term meaning beautiful crown. From a scientific standpoint it was not an Aster at all, though closely related to that family. This wild Daisy-like Callistephus bore many graceful single flowers about the size of our largest wild Asters. The flowers consisted of a single row of light bluish-purple ray petals surrounding a golden disk-like center. In 1731 the Jesuit missionary sent seeds of it to France. It was liked from the first, and its early French cultivators politely named it Reine Marguerite—Queen Daisy.
In due time the plant reached England. Here it was re-named. In allusion to its origin and to the star-like spread of its bluish petals, they called it China Aster, i.e. China Star. Even in our mother's day it was still called the China Aster. It became popular, especially as it soon sported into different colors. Otherwise there was little change in it until a little after 1840, when the first double flowers were produced.
From that time its development was something marvelous. French, English, German and American hybridizers have vied with each other in bringing out new forms. It must be considered now as one of the few flowers that has all but reached perfection. There are three or four marked types of flowers, and it would seem impossible in any of these types to add to their beauty of form or to improve their colors, unless it would be to add a really deep yellow to the list of shades. Nor is anything lacking in size or doubleness of bloom.
THE MODERN ASTER
Our Asters of to-day range in size from the dwarfs, 6 to 12 inches high, to half dwarfs, 15 to 18 inches tall, and tall sorts, 20 inches to 2 feet in height. There are three leading types of flowers. (1) Rose-flowered, shaped and imbricated like a blooded rose, the outer petals reflexed or rolled back, and the inner ones slightly recurved. This type of flower is much prized by those who like regularity of petals. They are as perfect as though moulded and shaped out of wax. (2) Peony-flowered, large blossoms with incurved petals, making a globe-shaped flower. (3) Chrysanthemum-flowered, with closely arranged, informal petals, sometimes curled and feathered to a high degree. Beside there are quilled, ball, and tassel Asters, etc., modifications or sports of the types mentioned.
The Aster is a showy flower, and grows well for those who treat it well, in any climate or country. They come into bloom in late midsummer and last until frost, one of the scarcest times in the year for really good flowers. It is fine for exhibition at flower shows, and is useful as a cut flower. For all of these reasons the Aster would be a standard flower. Their great popularity is based, however, on two qualifications not mentioned above, and both of which they possess in a superlative degree. These qualities are great beauty of flower and a wonderful diversity and perfection of coloring.
A well grown Aster is simply magnificent. The Chrysanthemum is acknowledged to be the queen of autumn. Nevertheless more than one unscrupulous florist has palmed off great fluffy white blooms of Asters as those of Queen Chrysanthemum herself. Size, form, color and substance go to make up a superbly beautiful flower without a trace of coarseness or gaudiness about it. In poetical language their flowers symbolize both bounty and cheerfulness in old age.
No one but an artist should attempt to describe an Aster's colors. There are nearly thirty shades in Truffaut's Peony-flowered Asters. Victoria Asters can be purchased under twenty-four separate colors. Other sections show still other shades, to say nothing of those with white crowns and colored borders, and those with striped and silver-tipped flowers.
Only the drifted snow can compare with the purity of a white Aster. It has those spotless flowers that bring thoughts of heaven. Asters have many blue and lavender tints. None of them are muddy, or metallic, or dingy, as are too many blues and lavenders. They show the blue of a June sky, or the blue of the amethyst, or the color of the lilac of spring, together with soft lavenders, pale blues and deep indigo. Sulphur and primrose tints are the nearest yellow, but in reds they run the gamut from rosy flesh and palest apple-blossom through shell pink, peach, rose, carmine, scarlet and blood red to deepest crimson. Many of the pink shades are exquisitely beautiful. Only the pure whites can surpass them.
GENERAL CULTURE OF THE ASTER
I would like to say that a six-year old child can raise good Asters, and that they will grow in any kind of ground from a clay bank to a sand pit, or stand any kind of treatment. I can't truthfully say those things, however, for my Lady Aster is a fastidious dame. She wants plenty to eat and plenty to drink, and requires her insect foes kept at bay. Those who are not willing to do this had better let her alone. James Vick, that good old seedsman now gone to his reward, was an Aster enthusiast. His experience concisely summed up amounts to this:
Never let them flag from seed-leaf to time of full bloom. Give deep, rich ground, plenty of sunshine, and mulch with coarse manure. Stake the tall varieties so as to prevent their blowing over.
That's a good rule for those who want everything in a nutshell. It may be summed up in another way. The way to have fine Asters is to do these six things: (1) Get the best seed; (2) start in a seasonable time; (3) give rich, mellow ground; (4) never allow them to parch; (5) keep insects down; and (6) stake when necessary.
[Sidenote: About Seed]
There are many kinds of seed that may be home grown year after year and the strain suffer no deterioration. Aster seed is not one of these kinds. If they were given high culture so as to bloom their best, and only a few of the very choicest individual flowers allowed to seed, they would of course come true from seed year after year. The trouble is that home saving is generally from all the flowers as they run, culls, off-colored specimens and all. Our best Asters represent very high breeding indeed. It is well known that highly bred plants quickly run out unless kept at the same high standard. Therefore never trust to haphazard seed if you desire first class Asters. Do not depend either upon cheap seed. Choose a reliable seed house, one that takes a pride in keeping the choicest strains of all the leading flowers and has too much regard for its reputation to send out inferior seeds under some high-sounding title.
[Sidenote: Time to Start Asters]
A great many people start Aster seed in the house or greenhouse as early as February. There is not only nothing gained by this—for the Aster is a late flower and does not come to its best estate before August, start it when you will—but an actual disadvantage. Like James Vick, I would emphasize the importance of never letting the plants get a check if the finest flowers are wanted. Now the Aster is not naturally a hothouse plant. It needs in its young stage plenty of fresh air. Without it, or without sufficient light, or in too warm an atmosphere, the young Aster plants become tall and spindling, or, as florists express it, are drawn. A drawn Aster invariably makes a weak, sickly plant, and never bears large or handsome flowers. Sow the seed thinly and cover lightly. They should germinate in from 5 to 7 days.
In the middle states the best growers make a practice of sowing the seeds in boxes about the last of April or first of May. Some make a couple of later sowings between that date and the first of June, sowing these in carefully prepared seed-beds in the open ground. This is to keep up a succession of flowers. So many sowings are scarcely necessary now that there are both early and late varieties to be chosen in the first place. The period of first sowing will allow for all, if kinds that flower at various times are chosen. In the Southern states a June sowing is recommended. A lath frame will keep the plants from parching.
Late Asters may be lifted for the house. It is a good plan if one wishes several of them for pot plants to sow seed of them in July, under a lath frame where they will be shaded somewhat and protected from drying winds until up and of some little size. These will come into bloom before the first Holland bulbs are ready for the window, and will remain in full beauty for several weeks. An August sowing will give late winter and early spring flowers.
Asters are easily transplanted and should never be allowed to become cramped for room, or to be grown in the shade of other plants. If carefully done, an Aster in almost full bloom can be taken up and replanted without injuring it in the least. So there is no excuse for letting them be crowded in either seed-box or seed-bed.
[Sidenote: Preparing an Aster Bed]
There is no use trying to get good Asters from plants in poor ground. They are gross feeders. They dislike sandy soil the most of all. Clay ground is better for them than sand, and loamy soil the best of all. If the soil is sandy, plant Asters so as to leave a little depression around each plant. The water will thus sink about them and more moisture be retained. Sour, undrained soils where the water stands should be raised a little above the level of the lawn, if for Asters, so that excess of water may drain off. They like moisture but not stagnant water. Whatever the character of the ground, spade it deep so that it may be mellow, and make it very rich. If the ground is to be spaded a foot deep, a 3-inch layer of rotted manure is about right to dig in. Rotted manure does not mean fresh or lumpy manure. It means that the fertilizing element shall have been rotted until ready to drop to pieces. Stable manure is too fiery. Cow manure over a year old is best. Many expert Aster growers scatter an inch of unleached hardwood ashes over the bed before it is broken up and spade it in with the manure. They claim it both suits the Aster and helps to keep off root-lice.
It is usual to plant tall or half dwarf varieties in the center of the beds, and use some of the dwarf Asters for an outside row or border. The tall kinds should stand 10 to 12 inches apart in the row. The dwarf ones about 8 inches apart. Asters make a sightly bed because of the uniform height of each class and because of their blooming at the same time.
[Sidenote: Mulching and Watering]
Hot dry soil quickly spoils Asters. About July mulch them well.
Two inches of coarse manure spread out well over their roots is the best mulch of all, as every rain washes nutrition from it down to the roots below. Chip dirt, pine needles, or grass clippings will do, or anything else that is light, yet will let the rains or waterings leach through. No one who has not actually tried it can know of the help a mulch really is to Asters. I doubt whether first-class flowers can be obtained in dry, windy countries, or in hot, sun-scorched valleys without its aid. Asters love the sun, nevertheless unless their feet are kept cool and moist they inevitably burn and wilt. A mulch keeps the ground cool, and it keeps it moist also.
I know of Asters that gained the prizes at county fairs that were regularly soaked once a week with the suds from the weekly washing. In most climates a thorough drenching of the ground once a week will promote a luxuriant growth of the plants. There is nothing gained by watering in dry weather unless the ground is mulched. Without this protection the ground will bake as hard as a brick and the plants suffer more than if no water had been given. In some sections hot dry winds prevail through August and September. This is most trying to Asters. If there is a tank, or system of water works, a good sprinkling, not only to the roots but of the foliage as well, will revive them wonderfully. Use the hose about sunset. By morning the plants will be entirely revived.
[Sidenote: Insect Foes of Asters]
The red spider and aphis have no special fondness for the Aster. They get after it when it comes in their way, as they do anything else. But the Aster has two implacable enemies that by their ravages have done more to discourage people from growing these plants than all other causes combined. These two foes are blister beetles and root lice.
RED SPIDER bothers in hot dry weather. Water is their foe. When the familiar thin, half-dying foliage appears, grey on the under-side and showing a few fine webs underneath, there is no mistaking the signs. It is the red spider. If a hose is used in the garden, turn the water on under a full head, directing it to the under-side of the leaves where the invisible pests have their colonies. Never mind if it does bend the plants by the force of the stream. They can be straightened afterwards. Play up and down, under and all around. If well done, and the deed repeated a couple of days after, they will have been killed. If no hose is available, use a sprinkler, dashing the water on with all the force possible.
APHIS is the common plant louse. Some use tobacco stems as a mulch about Asters instead of manure. Tobacco factories and dealers in florist's supplies sell these at low prices, as it is the refuse material left after manufacturing tobacco for smoking and chewing. Where these can be obtained it is a sure preventative not only against aphis but almost any other insect.
Other remedies for aphis are spraying with a hard stream of water. Two or three thorough applications will finish them. Kerosene emulsion will kill them. So will insect powder if it has not become stale, and if used on a still, calm day when there is no air stirring to revive its suffocated victims.
THE BLISTER BEETLE or aster beetle comes along when the plants are in bloom or in bud. They are half to three-quarters of an inch long, black with grey stripes down their back. Oh! how they devour all before them! Out of the unknown they come, hordes of them. They tarry but two or three days, and leave but bare stalks behind them, every bed, every flower, and every leaf eaten off.
The remedy is to fight them.
When the lytta, alias blister beetle, arrives, prepare to give a warm welcome to him and all of his kind. There are several methods of doing this. Any of them must be repeated two or three times a day, for there seem to be successive waves of the beetles. In a few days the danger is past.
My own method is to get a helper, and, taking one plant at a time, knock the beetles off and kill them with a stick. It is a joy to look upon the heaps of slain when all is done. Whenever the plant upon which it is is jarred in the slightest, this beetle falls to the ground exactly as though it were dead. Only for a second, however, then it runs for dear life. That is why it takes more than one person, for it's no child's play to kill a score of scampering bugs in a quarter of a minute.
My other half's way is to get a fresh supply of insect powder (Dalmation, Persian, Bubach, etc., whatever name it may be sold under) and squirt it thickly over the bugs by the use of one of those 10-cent powder guns that all druggists keep. It is effective if the insect powder is fresh.
Other remedies are to put netting over the bed; to spray the plants with poisoned water, made by stirring 1 teaspoonful of Paris green into 2 gallons of water; and to use kerosene emulsion. The last is made after this formula: 1 tablespoonful of kerosene beaten up with half a cupful of milk. Dilute with 2 gallons of water.
Do not forget that any remedy must be used two or three times a day while the raid is on.
ROOT-LICE, BLUE APHIS, etc., is one of the most common enemies of the Aster. When the plants are almost at their best the tops turn a peculiar sickly green, or they wilt, or become brown. They die quickly unless something is at once done. Pull one up and the roots are found alive with a little insect that looks like a plant louse. Insecticides poured on the soil rarely kill the pests. A bed that has been ashed, or had a mulching of tobacco stems, as has already been advised, will have escaped.
Where the root lice have already commenced, Rexford recommends drawing the dirt away until the roots are exposed, then sifting tobacco dust thickly over them replacing the soil afterwards. Others recommend flooding the bed with kerosene emulsion in the same way. While some have success, others claim failure by either of these methods. Here is a way of dealing with root lice, however, that is always sure.
Heat a lot of water. Then pull up every affected plant, shake the dirt off their roots, and dip them quickly into scalding water. Leave them in but a second, but dip their roots two or three times to make sure every bug gets its dose. Pour boiling water into the ground where the Asters had been. That settles the fate of every root-louse in the ground. As soon as the ground has cooled a little, plant the Asters back, stake them so as to hold them up, and shade lightly for a day or two.
Will it not kill the plants? No, it will not injure them. Of course the plants should have been taken up very carefully so as not to break off the roots. The Aster will stand more in the way of lifting than any other plant I know. Mature plants may be washed out by the roots in a severe storm, but if promptly planted again will be all right in a day or two after. I know a lady who had to move some distance in August. She had a fine bed of Asters. She made the ground soaking wet, then took them every one up, putting them as close as they would stand in ordinary soap boxes. They never minded the transfer in the least, and bloomed so handsomely in their boxes as to call forth many compliments. I give these instances to convince doubting Thomases that pulling up Asters and scalding the root-lice on them is not so desperate a remedy as it sounds. And it is a sure remedy.
[Sidenote: Other Cultural Rules]
Until it is time to mulch Asters, stir the ground, or hoe the bed once a week. In some climates, particularly in warm ones, tall Asters sometimes take on a tall, thin growth. These leggy plants are not beautiful, nor do they bear many flowers. Whenever plants show a disposition to run up this way, pinch out the tops. Repeat the pinching two or three times if necessary, until a disposition to branch shows itself.
The tall sorts are the better for a support. Otherwise hard winds uproot them. Stakes should be used that when driven will be about two-thirds the height of the plants. Tie with soft string, with a sort of a slip-knot so that a half dozen of the main branches have a band supporting them, yet are not drawn up so hard and tight as to cut into the branch.
If a display of Asters are wanted for a flower show make the ground as wet as mud. Then lift each plant with a spade or mattock slowly and skillfully. The roots, dirt and all, will come up in a solid mass. Pot at once, before any of the earth is shaken off. They will not wither in the least if kept out of direct sunshine for a few days. If enormous blooms are wanted, disbud, leaving but one bud to each tip. Trim off the small side branches also, to throw the strength of the plant into these chosen blooms. Most people prefer more flowers and less size.
There are generally a few promising late Asters that are not yet in bloom when frosts come. Lift these in the same careful manner for the house. They do not do well in hot rooms. In cool rooms, not above 60 to 65 degrees by day, they thrive. They like some sunshine, but will get along with little of it if they have good light beside. They do finely in halls and bedrooms where the temperature is almost to the frost line at night, and no fire heat at all during the day. An Aster will not bloom all winter. Its period of bloom is quite long enough, however, to make it a welcome guest in the plant window, and when through blooming it can be thrown away.
THE ASTER AS A CUT FLOWER
An Aster is at its very best as a cut flower, and remains in good condition for two weeks. It comes in the late summer season before Chrysanthemums are ready and after Lilies are gone. It is a time of dearth of really fine flowers. Florists are growing it more and more for their sales, and to use in decorations for August and September weddings and parties. White Asters are much used for funeral wreaths also.
Amateurs cannot make up elaborate floral pieces like florists, and it is not wise to attempt it. But it is well enough for us all to remember that a simple spray of white Asters in a setting of green Ferns, or of lace-like Asparagus plumosus, is a gift of remembrance that no loving hand need be ashamed of placing on the coffin of a friend. A loose, careless nosegay of Asters, bright with its pretty pinks and blues, and a deep crimson one or two to bear its white companions company, will cheer up a sick friend. Always remember the touch of color in flowers for the sick. They need cheer and brightness, and sunny flowers give them both.
The taller Asters are fine to cut for vases and for pulpit bouquets, if the longest stems are chosen. Use plenty of pretty greenery, and arrange the flowers so that each stands out airily by itself, not wedged between its neighbors. Asters can be over-crowded in a bouquet until heavy and clumsy looking. It is the one fault to avoid. The remedy is to use more foliage with them, and to put fewer flowers in the bouquet. Enough is better than a surplus in arranging cut-flowers.
LEADING VARIETIES OF ASTERS
NEW ROSE. This has been a standard sort for many years. Nearly or quite 2 feet in height. Handsome flowers of regular form, imbricated like a rose. Many shades.
TRUFFAUT'S PAEONY-FLOWERED. For more than a generation this has been a standard. It is sometimes shown at exhibitions in a fourth of a hundred distinct shades. It is tall, with a profusion of very large globular flowers. An old but showy variety.
VICTORIA. Esteemed by many the very best Asters in existence. Fine for pots, bedding or flower shows. Flowers are three or four inches across, or even larger, and these are perfection as to form. There are over a score of shades, among them colors as rare and as lovely as the cloud tints of sunrise.
COCARDEAU OR CROWN is another old but not superseded sort. The center of the flower is of small quilled petals, pure white in color. This center is surrounded by a wide ring of flat ray petals of bright color. 18 inches tall. Pretty, odd and showy, but by no means as superb a flower as some of the others.
QUILLED GERMAN. Another oddity, of about equal value with the Crown Asters. 2 feet high and branching. The flowers are quilled like those of some Dahlias.
DWARF BOUQUET. One of the smallest of all. Only 6 to 8 inches tall, very uniform, each a pyramid of pretty flowers. About a dozen colors are in this strain. Used for edging.
SHAKESPEARE. A fine sort for borders. About 6 inches tall, a solid mass of large globular flowers from top to bottom. There are several colors.
SNOWBALL. 10 to 12 inches high, of a symmetrical habit and bearing exquisitely beautiful flowers of the large Chrysanthemum type. The color is a pure white.
VICK'S BRANCHING ASTERS. The Vicks have always been famous for their Asters, and this is the triumph of their skill. These grow the tallest of all Asters, and require more than ordinary space because of their wide branching habit. Largely grown by florists. It is a late variety, and its magnificent, large and informal flowers are often mistaken for the finest Japanese Chrysanthemums. The flowers are of extraordinary size and are long-stemmed. It comes in snowy-white, pink, lavender, crimson, and purple shades. Pure White is esteemed the finest of the lot, with Daybreak, a lovely sea-shell pink, as a close second. Daybreak is earlier than the type.
JAPANESE. Known also as the Ostrich Plume Asters, a name which exactly describes them. About 15 inches tall. The curled flowers are of enormous size, 5 to 6 inches across. About 10 colors, some of them most unusual ones.
GIANT SILVER-TIPPED. These are of dwarf habit, but have blossoms of the largest size. These beautiful flowers, whatever their color, are tipped silvery white. An exceptional good pot variety.
SEMPLE'S MARVEL. This is another favorite with professional growers. They are 20 inches to 2 feet tall, and of branching habit. This is rather a late Aster. The flowers are of much substance, and are perfect in form and rich in color.
COMET. The best known of the curly Chrysanthemum-flowered type. There are two or three strains of this, varying a little as to habit. They range from 14 inches to 2 feet in height, and bear those large, loose, feathered flowers that find so many admirers. The broad outer petals are reflexed. The inner petals are shorter and curve and curl toward the center. These grand flowers come in several beautiful shades.
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THE WINTER WOODS
How patiently they wait—the bare brown trees Through winter's sullen gloom, With arms outspread as if in suppliance Of vanished leaf and bloom!
Till Nature's voice shall sound its clarion call Waking the earth from sleep, These monarchs shorn of all their treasure stand In silence long and deep.
O learn a lesson from the winter woods! Hope on O troubled heart! In patience wait! The blessing thou dost need God will at last impart!
Alice Jean Cleator, Ohio.
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THE LIVE OAK
(In the South)
On the gray outside of the year Fluttered its leaves of cheer; They reached to my winter window And I thought that spring was here. They reached out mistily When dawn was on the tree, But through the rainy mornings How bright they gleamed and clear.
When other trees are bare Oak banners glad the air, And through the Southern summer Its branches great and fair. In all their splendid strength, To all their living length, Emparadise in shadow The meadows everywhere.
Ethelwyn Witherald, Canada.
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THE INFORMATION BOX
What Our Readers Want to Know
In this department Mrs. Lora S. La Mance will answer the inquiries of those asking information about plants, their culture, etc. The subject of inquiry will be touched upon in a general way, instead of being made a personal matter, in order that the information conveyed may be useful and interesting to the greatest number. We will forward to Mrs. La Mance for answering such inquiries as our readers may send in.—Editor
NOTICE. Correspondents will please observe these rules: Give with every letter your name, town and state. They will not be published. If you wish an immediate or personal answer, enclose stamp for reply. Do not ask for greenhouse plans. The space cannot be given. In reporting a failure with anything, tell what treatment you have given it.
AGAPANTHUS. In early housekeeping days, when as yet I was ignorant of the A B C's of floriculture. I bought an Agapanthus. No pains were taken with it, but it grew right along and blossomed freely. I was much astonished afterwards to learn that the Agapanthus is considered an obstinate plant that can neither be coaxed nor driven to bloom. Poor Agapanthus! It has been unjustly censured. Be liberal with it in the way of providing a rich potting soil, and giving plenty of water while it is growing. With autumn, let it have a taste of adversity. Put the pot on a back shelf. Keep the earth in the pot decidedly on the dry side, giving plenty of water when you do water, but making the intervals between long enough for the soil to dry out well. The plant can even be placed in the cellar to winter, provided this absolute rest is not unduly prolonged. After three months of inaction give light, warmth and moisture. Agapanthus will at once respond, and flowers usually follow.
TRAINING A RUBBER PLANT. A tall, straight stemmed Rubber tree finds more admirers than branched specimens, which are more squat in shape. Those who like the bush form best can make their Rubber Plants branch at any desired height by cutting off the end of the stem. The part cut away may he rooted in heat in damp sand. The best time to cut them is in late winter, just before the time for spring growth. Branches will soon be sent out after the top of the main stem has been cut away.
MOLES. A lady piquantly relates her trials with an army of moles that she cannot "catch, kill, or drive away," although she has tried everything she has ever heard of. It is a bad case when mole traps will not catch, or corn soaked in Fowler's solution of arsenic and dropped along their runways will not finish them. In this case I can only refer her to other said-to-be cures that other people have tried and have faith in. A dozen witnesses testify that the seeds of Ricinus (Castor Bean,) dropped here and there in their tunnels will make them leave. A Connecticut lady says a sure remedy is to drop handfuls of salt here and there in their runways. Others put ball potash or concentrated lye in their runs but that is cruel, for it burns wherever it touches. Some use sawdust soaked in tar, or with a stick punch holes here and there along their tunnels and drop in each hole a small quantity of kerosene (coal oil). These two last substances will kill choice plants if used close to their roots, so use caution. An ingenious soul, rightly conceiving that the mole is highly sensitive to smells made a number of stiff pasteboard tubes and put in the center of each a stinking moth-ball. Buried in the runways there was a dearth of moles directly. I heartily approve of the mole's judgment in leaving moth-ball-scented premises. I have felt like it myself.
TROUBLE WITH LILIUM CANDIDUM. Some of our friends have had trouble with Lilium Candidum. They purchased fine, large bulbs, potted them, and had only leaves for their pains. That was because they were procured too late. They are not nearly so tractable as Lilium Harrisii. It is their natural disposition to start to growing early in autumn. If kept dormant beyond this period their flower-buds blast. Get them if possible in August or the first half of September. There is no difficulty in getting them to blossom then.
BADLY SHAPED PLANTS. Every little while someone asks what to do with a one-sided or badly shaped pot plant. Plants, and particularly pot shrubs, ought never to be allowed to get in bad shape. It is an easy enough matter to correct a bad or awkward tendency at the first. It is a difficult matter to remedy it later. When a plant begins to grows coxcomby, or develops a long, switchy growth, or twists about in an ugly crook, begin at once to overcome it. One-sidedness is usually arrested by turning that side away from the light. A crooked, knotted limb can be straightened by tying to a stout support or trellis, tying it every two or three inches to take the kinks out. Long, leggy, or whip-like shoots need the ends pinched off. If done at an early stage no sap will waste. It is old wood that bleeds when the knife is put into it. I always hesitate to advise re-shaping an old specimen if it is so contorted that over half of the old wood must be cut away. It is a great shock to a growing plant to lose half or more of its wood. It sometimes kills it, particularly if injudiciously watered. If severe cutting is required do it while the pot shrubbery is nearest at rest, and a little before renewed growth may be expected again. Usually this is about the close of mid-winter. Such shrubs as Rubber Plants, that bleed profusely, should have grafting wax or paint daubed on the end of cut branches. If nothing better is at hand paste a jacket of clay over the cut end until the wound can heal. Water with much moderation until new growth appears.
SPOTTED CALLA FROM SEED. Spotted Callas are easily grown from seed if it is sown as soon as ripe. Plant out in garden rows like dwarf peas, and hoe them and keep weeds down. After frost dig the little tubers up and keep in dry sand in the cellar. Plant out in the garden the next year. Some will bloom the second season, the rest will require another year.
SOIL FOR VARIEGATED SHRUBS. Do not manure the ground for golden or variegated leaved shrubs. The color is not as clear where fertilizers are used. Very rich ground means a quick, lush growth. Green is the normal color of leaf vegetation. Any departure from this rule is an abnormal one. Whatever imparts vigor to a plant tends to make it throw off its acquired markings and revert to its original stage. Abundant plant food supplies more chlorophyll or green coloring matter to the sap also.
ABOUT BROAD-LEAVED EVERGREENS IN WINTER. A lady asks, "Is it the summer sun that is harmful to Rhododendrons, Andromedas and Mahonias, or is it the winter sun they should be protected from?" It is the winter sun. The reason broad-leaved evergreens are such a hard class to bring through the winter in good condition is because the sun shines upon their foliage while it is frozen, blistering, and searing it. It is not the winter's cold but the winter's sun that does the mischief. Plant all such evergreens on a north slope, or at the north side of a building where they are protected from a glare of sunshine on their frozen wood and leaves.
SNAILS AND SLUGS. Where they are numerous enough to do injury, get after them. I believe a hand to hand killing is the best remedy for all such pests. They are sluggish and cannot run away from one. They usually take a siesta during the heat of the day under Pansies or similar low matted plants. Some trap them by placing slices of cabbage or raw potato about. Others kill all the slugs in a bed, then make a ring of salt all about it to keep them out. Lime dust powdered over the plants helps to keep them away.
WORMS BORING INTO PLANTS. A couple of cases are reported of worms boring into the stalks of Asters, Dianthus and Carnations. Of course the tops die, and the damage is great. There is no insecticide that can be used against these canny worms which snugly hide themselves in the plant stalks where not a drop of liquor can reach them. The only remedy is to keep a sharp outlook for affected plants, cutting away each worm-infested top and burning it. This kills the worm and cuts off future crops of worms. It seems a hard method of ridding the plants of their enemies. However, the plants branch out again and develop a later crop of flowers.
HOW ANNUALS RUN OUT. "Last year I purchased the very best grade of seeds, and my flowers were lovely. I saved from these flowers, expecting a similar treat this year. But my Pansies, Carnations and Petunias are nothing near as large or as finely marked as they were last year, and the last two flowers are all single, not a double one in the lot. What is the cause of this?"
Deterioration in the quality of bloom is what our mothers used to call the "running out" of plants. There is no mystery about it. It is confined to those favorite flowers that have been highly bred and hybridized. Everyone knows highly bred stock, be it animal or vegetable, will not stand roughing it. If the flower grower would use the nerve of the seed-grower and pull up every inferior plant or poor flowered one; if she would keep the ground as clean as a market garden; if she would allow only the finest flowers to go to seed, cutting the others off as they fade, she would have good seed for next year's flowers. Petunias are artificially hybridized to get a double strain of seed, and this the amateur cannot well do. It pays most of us better to buy Pansy, Petunia, Carnation and Ten Weeks Stocks seed than to try to save it ourselves.
FAILURE OF PEONIES TO BLOOM. Everyone says the Peony will endure anything, heat, cold, rain or dry weather or any kind of soil. It is true the plant is tenacious of life. It is just as true that it knows when it is not well treated. It evens up matters many times by refusing to bloom. Any one of the following reasons may cause it to be barren of bloom. (1) Poor, hard ground. (2) Deep shade, as when grown under evergreens or behind thick shrubbery. (3) Spring planting in hot climates, or (4) clumps allowed to get too dry in droughty summers.
BRUGMANSIA. I admire this plant when in bloom. Its magnificent ivory trumpets are a grand sight. It is a fine thing for piazza decoration during summer, and may be grown in a greenhouse or warm plant room in winter. It is not, however, suitable for ordinary window culture. It needs good care and freedom from dust, and moreover chills easily. If placed in the cellar in November it will winter there safely. Bring up as early as possible in the spring, water with moderation until new shoots start from the root, then give abundance of water.
EUCHARIS. This is a beautiful flower worth taking a little pains to grow. It is more often seen in greenhouse than in a window, as it is easier in the former to secure a warm, moist, even temperature. Shortly after New Year Eucharis grow very fast. Keep them warm and moist until through flowering when they can be kept ten to fifteen degrees cooler and watered less freely. This gives them the needed semi-rest to enable them to get ready for bloom again. In summer they need plenty of water again. When fall comes keep them pretty dry for the next three months, supplying only enough water to keep them from losing their leaves. Pot them in loam and sand, with a small quantity of old crumbled manure and leaf loam.
A PLAGUE OF ANTS. A correspondent has suffered for years from annual raids of ants that literally swarm over everything and everywhere. "Last year," says this lady, "they killed ever so many plants, from Pansies to trees. All of our outdoor flowers were almost ruined by them. I have tried molasses and Paris green, but they only increase in numbers. They are everywhere, but I cannot find their holes or nest."
There is no use trying to depend on killing all these ants after they have taken possession. A bushel of pyrethrum powder would not pepper them all or a hogshead of kerosene emulsion last long enough to get them all. They must be killed at the fountain head, in their nesting places. A few years ago a certain set of our pear trees had their blossoms ruined year after year by hordes of ants. We could not kill them off, for there were always new ones to take their places. One day we found their nest, a very large one, but entirely underground. A speedy and therefore merciful death was decreed for them. Big pot, little pot, kettle and boiler were filled with water which was brought to the boiling point. We used it, every day, on that ant nest. That was 15 years ago, and there has been no recurrence of the trouble.
HOLY THISTLE. Some one asks about a curious plant of which no one knows the name. It blooms quickly from seed, making a plant several feet tall. It has long and wide leaves, waved along the margins, and very spiny. Along each vein is a wide milk-white band or mottling. The flowers are like a purple thistle. Strange how the wheels of time go round. This new (?) plant is so very old that hundreds of years ago it was a common garden ornament. It is Carduus Maritima, a near relative of the common thistle. Everyone notices it because of its odd milky splashes, and it every now and then enjoys a brief popularity again. Our superstitious forefathers believed that a drop of the Virgin Mary's milk fell on its leaves, which ever after bore milk-white markings because of it. The old names for it were Milk Thistle and Holy Thistle. The peasantry used to eat its tops as greens, and cook the roots in stews. Like all thistles this will become a weed if not kept down with a firm hand.
AN IMPOSSIBILITY. A lady asks us to give a list of the six best Roses. "I acknowledged to stand at the head of the Rose kind." It can't be done as long as the old adage holds true of
"Many men of many kinds, Many men of many minds."
A correspondent wants a companion Rose to a Crimson Rambler, which she enthusiastically declares is the grandest Rose in the world. Side by side with her letter is one from an artist. "I don't like Ramblers," writes he. "An artistic Rose to my mind is like a jewel in a right setting. Too many jewels denote vulgarity." Every class of Rose has its enthusiastic devotees. The best Hybrid Teas come nearer combining all merits of a Rose, and nearer pleasing all standards of taste than any other; yet any florist will tell you that they are by no means the Roses most freely purchased. In other words, no one Rose suits all.
Lora S. La Mance, Mo.
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QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
This department is open to any of our subscribers who may have anything to say that will be of general interest and usefulness. Questions may be asked or answered
I must tell you of an experience I had in transplanting a Dahlia, which was in bloom, the last day of July. Driving out one warm morning I saw a family moving out of a house. Seeing a clump of beautiful Dahlias I asked for one. The lady said she did not think I could do anything with it, but I knew I could try. She took it up with an old tuber attached and two young ones. I put it in a well protected place where it was cool and kept it well watered. It grew and continued to bloom. When taken up in the fall there were three tubers. That was two years ago. I still have some of it now.—Mrs. Philetus Wakefield.
CAROLINA, NORTH AND SOUTH
When the world looks as if it were at the mercy of the wind and cold in winter. Sad indeed would be these hopeless days only we know that always, and always, it will be spring again. While the flowers are asleep under their blanket of snow we have a period for rest and reflection, and by thinking over the mistakes in the past we may improve. Of all times of the year spring is the season when everything seems to require attention at the same time. House-cleaning, sewing and gardening crowd upon us, when the bright days come, and one of the three is sure to be neglected by the busy women if plans are not made for each work beforehand. Let me beg all our flower-loving women not to deny themselves the comfort, rest and happiness that flowers alone will bring them throughout the long summer days because they feel the time cannot be spared to attend to the planting in early spring. What if the house is left a little disordered while one works in the garden? It can be put to rights after the precious roots and seeds have been placed under ground to begin their work of beauty. We must all sew I suppose, but let us wear the last year shirt waists awhile, and take the time to plant flowers in the garden or window boxes, to cheer us when we are compelled to run the machine. By leaving off some of the trimmings, or doing
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"HE THAT WORKS EASILY, WORKS SUCCESSFULLY." CLEAN HOUSE WITH
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JOHN LEWIS CHILDS, EDITOR
With 1905 The Warbler begins a new series which will contain many superb Colored Plates of rare eggs such as Kirtland and Olive Warbler, Carolina Paroquot, Clark's Crow, Ipswich and Rufous Crowned Sparrow, Yellow and Black Rail, Calaveras Warbler, etc. Also splendid illustrations of Birds and Nests, and leading articles by well known authorities.
Published Quarterly, 32 Pages & Cover
SUBSCRIPTION PRICE $1.00 PER YEAR. SINGLE COPIES 30c
Eggs of Kirtland Warbler will be figured in first issue (Jan. or Feb.) of the new series.
ADDRESS THE WARBLER FLORAL PARK, N. Y.
without some things altogether, the money will be forthcoming to purchase the plants we long for. Are they not worth the sacrifice?—Prudence Plain, So. Car.
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A friend of mine has a Winter Gem Rose, received as a premium with THE MAYFLOWER three or four years ago. This is put in the garden in summer, where it grows and blooms all summer. It is potted, cut back and taken in the house through the winter. It soon grows new branches and blooms nicely here. It is a favorite with the whole family. This same friend has the Bouquet Petunias, also a premium with THE MAYFLOWER. She has kept the old plant summer and winter, until this last summer it did not seem to do as well so she took slips. I planted mine in a flower-bed. They come up each year, some are mixed with some other kinds, but last summer there were some the same as the original.—L. N. F.
The Blue Palm is one of the very pretty varieties planted upon the choicest lawns. Its correct name is Erythea Armata, and it is a native of Lower California, that part of the country so little known. In the young plants, the blue "bloom" is very striking, and if the Palm is grown in the sun in sandy soil the "bloom" will always remain, but a shaded position and heavy soil destroys that beautiful color. It grows to about forty feet in its wild state, but does nothing like that in Southern California. It makes however a beautiful growth and adds to the beauty of a lawn, whether alone or arranged with other varieties.—Georgina S. Townsend, So. Cal.
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A Reliable Heart Cure.
Alice A. Wetmore, Box 67, Norwich, Conn., says if any sufferer from Heart Disease will write her she will without charge direct them to the perfect home cure she used.
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A Household Necessity
The Kitchen Cabinet advertised on page 19 of this paper should be called the Woman's Friend. It is only 46 inches in length, 27 inches in width and 61 inches in height, but in this compact space may be stored 50 lbs. of flour, 50 lbs. of meal, 50 lbs. of sugar, with drawers and shelves for spices, knives, forks, spoons, pans, etc., etc., in fact a woman may do all her baking and scarcely move out of her tracks.
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This Boy won a $25.00 Prize selling THE SATURDAY EVENING POST YOU can do the same
This is the "Champion Boy" of the State of Washington. His name is Harry Ireland. The smile on his face is due to the fact that he had in his pocket a check for $25 from THE SATURDAY EVENING POST.
This $25 is in addition to the regular commission he receives week after week for selling THE POST.
Harry is a hustler. The long strip of paper he holds in his hand is covered with closely written signatures of people who have instructed him to deliver THE POST for four consecutive weeks.
He persuaded several prominent business men to sign at the top of the sheet and their names influenced others to sign until the list became longer than he is tall.
This is one of the many ways we have suggested to help boys to sell THE POST. It makes the work so easy that thousands of boys have taken it up. Some are making $10 to $15 a week after school hours.
You can start in this business, at once, without capital. Send us your name and we will forward 10 free copies, which you can sell at five cents each. This will supply capital for the next week's order.
$300 IN CASH TO BOYS Who Do Good Work EACH MONTH
The Curtis Publishing Company, 215 Arch Street, Philadelphia
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DAKOTA, NORTH AND SOUTH
I believe the main trouble in growing Verbenas is in not getting them started early enough. They grow very slowly at first and if they are not good strong plants when set out are almost sure to die. If you get them started late do not think to hurry them by putting them out with the others that grow faster. Wait patiently until they are at least an inch and a half high and their quick growth will surprise you. And I will say to comfort some one who can not have flowers because the pigs sometimes get out, that I have never seen a pig touch a Verbena though I have lost Pinks and other flowers growing beside them. There is another flower that grows wild here that covered a quarter of our pasture last fail yet was not touched. The leaves resemble a Verbena some but are wider and not so thick; the main stalk is about two feet high when full grown and the branches run like a Verbena. The flowers are red and yellow mixed and about the size and shape of Rose Moss. They last one day and a hollow sphere-shaped seedpod takes their place. Can anyone tell me what the name is?—Mrs. Nellie Fitzgerald, So. Dak.
I thought that I would write an account of the curious freaks of Weigelia Eva Rathke received from Floral Park and transplanted to my grounds two years ago this winter. On the near approach of spring it began to grow rapidly, and soon bore its first crop of flowers. And such flowers as they were it was a rare treat to behold. Their five-petaled corollas, faultless in form, and each perhaps an inch and a half in diameter, were of the darkest and most intense red; a color that is almost unrivaled by any other, and which it retains till the last, is one of its attractions. About a month later it bloomed again, and kept up a continuous growth, which did not end till frozen down to the ground in the following December, after it had attained a height of over two feet. So I came to the conclusion that being a Northern shrub, and full of sap, it was undoubtedly killed out, root and branch. The next spring, when the ground had become well warmed up, I beheld two delicate, tiny looking sprouts from the root, which I immediately took charge of, giving them shade and an occasional watering. After awhile their growth became more vigorous; and after having attained a height of about eighteen inches they formed their terminal buds in early autumn, and ceased growing. At present both of them are alive along their entire length and all their buds are plump and dormant. I shall make a strong effort to push this shrub when warm weather comes again, as it looks as though under favorable circumstances it ought to thrive in the South. I also believe that Weigelia Rosea would likewise be at home here, as it is a thrifty large growing shrub in the North, and has every appearance of being an iron-clad.—Joshua Morris.
A well-grown Carnation cannot, in my opinion, be surpassed in elegance, beauty, or odor, by any other flower, yet we scarcely ever see it in perfection. Our summers here are too dry and hot for the full development of its beauties, but the young plants sent me from THE MAYFLOWER headquarters early this spring have so successfully overcome all difficulties that I cannot refrain from telling your readers that I think my success was due, first, to healthy young plants, and secondly, to ordering them early in the season. Many years, for the want of this knowledge, I waited until the time for setting out tender plants in May before putting out Carnations, and thus deprived them of a season of six weeks well adapted to their growth. As Carnation plants are almost hardy, they may, with safety, be put out in the open ground in any section of the country as soon as lettuce, cabbage, etc., are planted. Of the dozen plants I received from THE MAYFLOWER only one has succumbed to our hot Southern summer, and the greater number are at this writing (Aug. 7,) growing beautifully. They are planted around the edge of a bed of Tea Roses, and have received no special attention except an occasional pinching out of the terminal shoots to produce a stocky growth. When the roses were mulched with grass clippings at the beginning of summer a layer was placed around the Carnations, and when the Roses are sprinkled with the hose every evening the Carnations come in for their share of the moisture. A single blossom of Gen. Maceo would amply repay me for all the trouble I have taken, as one flower of this variety remained fresh and bright for over a week.—A. M. Stuart.
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Deafness Can Be Cured
I Have Made the Most Marvelous Discovery for the Positive Cure of Deafness and Head Noises and I Give the Secret Free.
With This Wonderful, Mysterious Power I Have Made People Deaf for Years Hear the Tick of a Watch in a Few Minutes.
Send Me No Money—Simply Write Me About Your Case and I Send You the Secret by Return Mail Absolutely Free.
After years of research along the lines of the deeper scientific mysteries of the occult and invisible of Nature-forces I have found the cause and cure of deafness and head noises, and I have been enabled by this same mysterious knowledge and power to give to many unfortunate and suffering persons perfect hearing again; and I say to those who have thrown away their money on cheap apparatus, salves, air-pumps, washes, douches and the list of innumerable trash that is offered the public through flaming advertisements, I can and will cure you to stay cured. I ask no money. My treatment method is one that is so simple it can be used in your own home. You can investigate fully, absolutely free and you pay for it only after you are thoroughly convinced that it will cure you, as it has others. It seems to make no difference with this marvelous new method how long you have been deaf nor what caused your deafness, this new treatment will restore your hearing quickly and permanently. No matter how many remedies have failed you—no matter how many doctors have pronounced your case hopeless, this new magic method of treatment will cure you. I prove this to your entire satisfaction before you pay a cent for it. Write to-day and I will send you full information absolutely free by return mail. Address Dr. Guy Clifford Powell, 1592 Auditorium Building, Peoria, Ill. Remember, send no money—simply your name and address. You will receive an immediate answer and full information by return mail.
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My Cineraria did no good except to keep alive until I removed the top soil and put in a mixture of garden soil, one-fourth well rotted manure, and one-fourth sand. It is now doing extremely well. I put my Tuberose in water and it remained there for six or eight hours, then I planted it in earth mixed like that for the Cineraria. I planted my Cyclamen in the same kind of soil. Both are doing nicely. I lost a number of Begonia slips by keeping the earth too wet. I now keep the earth moist and I have the plants in a cool place, which seems to be better for them. It takes a long time for a new growth to appeal. My neighbor asked me to care for five of her large Begonias. The flies and the dust had almost destroyed them. She told me not to give them a shower bath as that would 'cook' the leaves. I did it, however, and the Begonias were doing nicely when she took them home again. I was invited to visit an old fashioned flower garden a few days ago. I did so and found it old, old fashioned indeed. The flower beds were arranged here and there in the vegetable garden. Phlox seemingly four feet high, Hibiscus that would certainly measure ten feet around the largest part of the bush, and a few other plants of the same order. All the bloom was very scattering and very small and quite inferior to what up-to-date flower beds should be.—Ursula.
So many advise if but one Begonia is kept to let it be a Rubra. Well, a well grown Rubra in full bloom is a gorgeous sight, but the President Carnot is more beautiful, is a more robust and more rapid grower. The foliage is beautiful, showing a sheen like changeable silk. Ours is now in a three-gallon pail, has four stems, one 27 inches high from top of bucket, has five large panicles of bloom, as large as man's hand, and has not been without bloom since the 20th of June. One bunch of bloom will hang on in fine condition for six weeks, if the plant is not disturbed. It is the admiration of all who see it. This specimen was 12 inches high when we placed it in the Begonia bed the 22nd, of May. There it grew and grew, until the first of September when it was placed in a pail, and since then it has grown and blossomed almost like the famous gourd. The soil is old swamp dirt, with one-fourth wood soot. No insects have ever bothered it. We spray the leaves with warm water to cleanse the lovely foliage and water the plant with very warm water. Try this Begonia, it is a fine one.—E. Clearwaters.
Seldom you see anything written about the good old fashioned Zinnias. How our grandmothers prided themselves on their summer flowers as they called them. Then why should we push them off for something new because they have been cultivated so many years. They should be held up as the old songs of long ago are being sung to-day. Zinnias are easily grown. Make a bed of good rich soil and the last of April or the first of May plant your seed, then keep the weeds out, water in the dry season, and you will have a nice bed of flowers until frost. They are among the hardiest annual plants raised and any flower lover can raise them with but little care.—Sunflower.
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Warnock, O., April 28, 1904.
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There are few who think to take up plants for winter garnishing, yet if one has a pit, conservatory or greenhouse enough can be raised for any amount of entertaining, without missing either the time or space. There are two plants suitable for this purpose, the Parsley and Lettuce, but the Parsley will be found most valuable and will be much more easily grown than the Lettuce. The Parsley is as pretty as it is useful, and a few sprays of this dropped on a meat platter or on salad dishes adds much to the attractiveness of the table. There are florists who grow this profitably as a greenery for cut flowers, and when grown in partial shade is quite dainty and pretty enough for this purpose. The Curled Lettuce is best for this purpose, but if kept damp is almost sure to rot.—Laura Jones.
Last winter a lady gave me some cuttings, among them a piece of green and white striped "Wandering Jew." I put this cutting in a pot with some hardy plant, and when the freeze came it was forgotten, and of course it froze. I dug it up and found one joint green, so planted it. It soon put out two shoots and it was transplanted to a two-gallon pan of well rotted manure and leaf mold, given an abundance of water, and how it did grow! It has covered the pan and hangs down, many of the vines being over a yard long,—one is 57 inches long. But when it first began to grow some of the shoots were perfectly green, and all branches from those shoots are green. Many other shoots were beautifully striped, and some nearly white. I also have a fine box full of purple striped Wandering Jew, but I prefer the green and white, for it hangs so much more gracefully. These common plants, if grown at their best, are lovely for small stands, hanging baskets, or any place where a trailing plant is desirable, I have grown delicate vines in pots very little, but a Kenilworth Ivy I have has encouraged me to add others to my gallery garden, and I expect to take great pleasure in training them.—Mrs. L. B. R.
If any of your readers want something odd and interesting in the way of plants let them try one of your Little Monarch Fern Balls. I have had rather hard luck with mine. I received the Fern Ball about a year ago, and every member of the family except myself condemned it at once as being "no good," but I kept it watered and in a few weeks it began to show signs of life and had several little fronds on it in April when we decided to move, and the Fern Ball was left with my other plants for a friend to care for. She kept them all well watered except that, and when I next saw it in May it looked a few degrees deader than it did in the first place (if possible), but it came to life again and then it got chilled in the fall so it died again apparently; but now it is starting to grow all over and if nothing new happens to it it will soon be very pretty. I think it has more lives than a cat.—Mrs. F. M. Young.
While visiting the florist's near home this spring I watched him at his work repotting Boston Ferns and learned something new. They say there's a trick for every trade and I now believe it, for I found him putting three and four Ferns of the same variety into the same pot, making them all appear as one plant. If professional florists can do so why isn't it good enough to pass along to ambitious amateurs? I have always wanted some Ferns, but as we can't always regulate the heat at night and I find it necessary to be away from home sometimes in winter, I have decided to wait until I have a home in a more congenial clime than this,—not that Montana is not all right, but our home, at present, is high up in the mountains and winter is both long and severe. However, when I do buy Ferns I shall try and purchase at least three of every kind I decide on and pot them together, and then if in after years they are too crowded I can easily repot and divide them at the same time.—Laurel.
Outside all is snow and ice, the wind howls and rattles at doors and windows and I feel very sure Jack Frost is trying to get in to nip my few pretty, thrifty window plants, but I do not think he will succeed, for when I shut them up at night in tight boxes, and cover the tops, I do not believe he could reach them though a blizzard raged. I have been looking out at a bed where there are two dozen glass jars showing, or rather their tops are just sticking out, for they are well banked with old well rotted cowpen manure and coarse litter thrown over that—and all now covered over with snow, making little white mounds all over the bed. But I know that underneath these mounds are two dozen little Rose slips—some very choice varieties—and every chance I get to peep at them, which is every chance I get to go outside, they look fresh and green and bid fair promise of much pleasure in the spring and summer when, if they grow as those I raised a year ago under glass jars did, it will be a marvel to watch them. I think it a far more satisfactory way to raise Roses than to buy small rooted plants from a florist; at least, such has been my experience.—Sister Belle.
Anyone who has never seen the Giant Browallia in bloom can never realize how very pretty and bright it is. Last summer I saw a lovely stand of Geraniums of various shades and among them was a pot of Browallia in full bloom. The contrast was fine. I think the shade is very much like that of the hardy Plumbago Lady Lapente, though I've never seen the two together. It is a lovely shade of deep blue. With me it has only one rival among blue flowers and that is Plumbago Capense. The latter is a lovely delicate blue while the former is a deep dark blue. I am unbounded in my admiration of both plants. The plants are cheap. I have never seen it only as a pot plant yet I believe it would make a most excellent bedding plant.—Mrs. P. L. Young.
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In my order to Floral Park, two years ago, for seeds and plants, I included an order for one of the unique Acalyphas Sanderi. I had read somewhere that these plants would prove a disappointment to the amateur, and must have hot-house culture to develop their beauty, so of course I wanted to try one in my south window. The plant as received was about 5 inches high and beginning to blossom. I placed it in good rich soil, gave it plenty of warmed (not hot) water, and the very warmest, sunniest corner of the south window, so screened that the sun's rays were caught and held in the little nook where it stood. I persisted in the warmed water treatment and never let the soil get dry. The lustrous green leaves soon began to appear and at the stem of each leaf a bloom-tassel grew in crimson contrast. I am well pleased with my experience with this plant.—Lillian McIntosh.
I wonder who first advanced that miserable theory that Begonias should be watered sparingly, be kept always in the shade and not a drop of water allowed to touch the leaves. No wonder that Begonias treated in that way drop their leaves and refuse to grow. I have grown a great many varieties—I have forgotten how many—and I find that they all like heat and moisture, and showering or spraying the leaves is a benefit to them if the sun is not allowed to shine on them while they are wet. While the rough or hairy leaved varieties will not stand hot sunshine they will do much better and be more sure to bloom if they stand where the early morning or late afternoon sun can shine upon them. B. Vernon and two or three other varieties will stand as much hot sunshine as Portulaca if given plenty of water at the roots and an overhead showering every day after the sun is gone, in dry weather. No Begonia will do well here on the prairie if bedded out, and plunging in pot is worse. I don't like earthen pots for them any way—the plants do better in wood or tin. I have a number of pots (?) made from gallon paint kegs; one keg makes two, which I use for my Tuberous Begonias. I use broken bones for drainage, a mixture of leaf mold and sand for soil, plant one bulb in a keg, and after the weather becomes warm I place the kegs on a bench which stands in an angle of the house, said angle being open to the north and east and gets the sun till 11 o'clock. I keep the soil moist and shower the leaves when I think they need it. And those plants do grow and bloom, the foliage is immense, some of the leaves measuring 8 by 12 or 14 inches, and the blossoms measure from 2 to 4 inches across. I have counted fifteen such blossoms on one plant at one time. Do they do much better than that anywhere? Mine are the finest I have ever seen.—H. J. W.
I "assisted" a few days ago at a tree-moving, if assisting means standing shivering in the snow watching eight men and four horses try to remove a White Thorn tree (Crataegus coccinea) from the frozen ground. The earth had been dug away about three feet each way from the trunk in order to preserve the root-ball intact, though truth to tell, one root went too deep and was ruthlessly cut. By means of skids, a stone-sled, a jack-chain and much audible exertion, the tree was finally started on its journey. Owing to bad management, a beautiful Tulip-tree was sacrificed to open up a road for the royal procession, but the men thought nothing of that—it was only a tree in the woods. In the yard a great hole was waiting, with a deep layer of manure in the bottom; and here, with more exertion, the tree was set, due regard being paid to the points of the compass. It was a low spreading tree and certainly worth the moving, and held in its branches a trim little nest. But "there are no birds in last year's nest"—no little bird to say whether or no this small tree will take kindly to its transplanting. So it will be watched with mingled hope and misgiving.—Mrs. M. H. L.
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