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-- GEORGE H. ELLWANGER
PERENNIALS FOR A THOUGHT-OUT GARDEN
FLOWERING plants that live or perpetuate themselves from year to year, giving one a high rate of compound interest as their numbers and beauty naturally increase, commend themselves to us more and more until, happily, they are coming to be regarded again, as they were in our grandmothers' day, as the very basis of a good garden. We may be sure that pioneer gentlewomen, who were their own gardeners chiefly, and who had to cook, churn, spin, weave and sew by hand all the clothing for large families, nurse them and dose them with home-made medicines, make quilts, candles, wine, and a thousand other things which would stagger the pampered modern woman, learned which plants rewarded a minimum amount of care with a maximum amount of flowers. A few moments snatched from multitudinous household cares from time to time sufficed to keep our grandmothers' gardens gay from earliest spring to frost, and it is little wonder that their favourites have stood the test of time. We still love their peonies, hollyhocks, and phloxes. Some fraxinella in an old New England garden has outlived great-grandmother, grandmother, mother and daughter. One plants perennials for beauty that is permanent. They are for the affections, too.
Compared with tender annuals, whose seeds must be sown every spring, many of them indoors or under glass, their seedlings transplanted to the open ground at the busiest time of the garden year, how refreshingly easy of culture the perennials are!
After all one's care bestowed on annuals, it gives positive pain to witness their death, root and branch, with the first frost; whereas the hardy herbaceous plants merely go to sleep in autumn preparing for a more glorious resurrection in the spring. Several weeks before the earliest annual is ready to open a bud out of doors, the hardy garden is lovely with snowdrops and crocuses, creeping phlox, myrtle, English daisies, pink and white saxifrages, daffodils, sweet rocket, bleeding heart, lily-of-the-valley, columbines, clove pinks, narcissus, peonies and iris, some of which began to bloom before the last snowdrift melted. We welcome them joyfully, like old friends returned. It is an eventful day when some pet plant pushes its way back to sight through the lately frozen earth. If old flowers are kept cut, and no seed is permitted to form, the well-regulated hardy garden will afford a constant succession of bloom from the earliest snowdrop until the Japanese anemone, chrysanthemum and Christmas rose finally succumb to inexorable winter.
Annuals are seemingly cheap because the seeds come in five-cent packages, and few consider that they have to be annually renewed or calculate the value of the time consumed in transplanting the seedlings from boxes or hotbeds to the open ground. They leave the ground in autumn as bare as it was in spring, the entire investment of money and labour having disappeared. But long after the first frost some perennials bloom and others continue growing, even in winter, whenever the temperature rises; and either by virtue of their own hardy constitutions, or of creeping roots that will send forth new crowns in spring, or of self-sown seeds, they all insure perpetuation and increase.
Perennials are usually offered in the catalogues as well-grown plants at a cost of from one dollar to three dollars or more a dozen: and one who has taken the pains to count the surprising number of plants in even a modest little garden might well be appalled at the price of a new one composed entirely of nursery stock. But when it is remembered that the first cost of a perennial is its only cost, that a large stock can be speedily worked up from small beginnings, that the gaps in the new beds or borders may be filled in with annuals for a few years until the hardy plants have sufficiently increased to overspread the bare places, that many perennials grow from seed as readily as annuals, and that patience, rather than money, is required to establish home-grown vigorous stock, the argument for economy must be decided finally in favor of permanent plants. Otherwise, how could every cottager in Europe contrive to have his little dooryard bright with them? They are secured at practically no cost, the castaways from large estates supplying the workmen on them with gleanings from which their neighbours profit in time. When the old-fashioned garden gave place to geometric patterns of tender bedding plants on the fair lawns of England in the Victorian era of ugliness, many choice perennials would have perished from the land had they not been treasured by the humble, who were able to propagate plants from their old stock and restore them to the gentry of the parish when the hardy garden happily came into vogue again later in the nineteenth century.
Winter is the best time to make a garden which, in any case, should be prepared on paper, to be pored over and dreamed about months before a spade is struck into the earth. What visions of beauty flash upon the inner eye! What bliss of solitude comes to the garden lover planning his plots before a wood fire after the winter crop of catalogues has been gathered into his library!
His imagination compasses all joys, but no difficulties. There will be flowers for tender association's sake in his dream garden, flowers to give away by the armful, larkspurs for the Sunday evening tea-table when the old Nankin china is used, gaillardias to fill the Indian baskets on his bookshelves, bee balm and columbine to attract humming birds next his porch, phloxes to help him add to his butterfly collection, Madonna lilies for the church altar, roses for the June brides, white flowers in abundance that his garden may be lovely after dark when all other colours are absorbed into the night, clove pinks for fragrance, irises for stately form, hollyhocks for bold effects, candytuft whose snow is not melted by sunshine, love-in-a-mist and honesty because they have pretty names, Iceland poppies for their wealth of exquisite orange, yellow and white tissue flowers from May to October, London pride that grew in his mother's garden on the old farm, and a miscellaneous assortment of other flowers because they are beguilingly described or temptingly cheap -- no Chinaman's opium dream in the Flowery Kingdom was ever more kaleidoscopic.
After an orgie among the catalogues which, needless to say, is the worst possible way to begin a garden, albeit the most popular method, the dreamer must realise that the section of the home grounds where perennials are to be grown needs to be drawn to scale and planned even more carefully than other parts of the place, for there colour, the most subtle and perplexing of problems, becomes the principal factor of success. The border, the old-fashioned or the formal garden, or wherever the problematical plants are to be set out, will be charted and divided into twenty-foot units of space, and the position of every plant indicated by a number corresponding to the number assigned each flower on the dreamer's list. This planting list should indicate not only the colour of the flowers, but their season of bloom, the height of the plant and its preferences for soil and situation. Three charts are necessary to show the effect of the planting in spring, summer and autumn. If a section that is glorious in May should be barren of bloom a month later, another group of plants must be introduced. If the colours of eighteen and nineteen conflict, it is far easier for the gardener and better for the plants to move one of them on paper than if it were rooted in the earth. Eighteen may be the very plant needed to reconcile seven to six. Five may be most lovely next nineteen. If all the permanent plants needed for a border cannot be afforded at the outset, or if no desired perennial will supply a crying need for a certain colour at a certain season, recourse may be had to annuals for quick results.
COREOPSIS AND LARKSPUR ALONG A GRASSY PATH. THE ARRANGING OF COMPANION CROPS
OF PERENNIALS IS A FASCINATING HOBBY.
Restraint in a garden, as at a feast, is preferable to excess. It is a safe rule to limit one's list to the indispensables at first, and never to buy a plant whose need is not realised in one's saner moments after the spring garden fever subsides. Fitting flowers to suit one another, the climate, the soil and exposure, it may be inferred, is an intricate scientific and artistic feat. The foreign firm who make a speciality of hardy herbaceous borders arranged for continuous bloom and harmonious colour effects for English gardens, fill a want deeply felt by the inexperienced on our side of the sea. All the plants needed to fill a border one hundred and twenty-five feet long by eighteen feet wide, as indicated on a spaced and carefully marked chart, are supplied for about four hundred and sixty dollars. Few Americans take their perennials so seriously. Nor are many of us willing to miss the fun of blundering along through many mistakes, if need be, toward an ideal which ever eludes attainment as it rises higher and higher, year by year, with the growth of the critical faculty. Every zealous amateur has a dark past to look back upon, and realises that his task is in active evolution. A ready-made garden, no matter how correct, could no more be tolerated by a true lover of the gentle art than the ready-made library which Silas Lapham bought to match his upholstery.
If ready-grown stock is to be ordered, be sure it comes from a reliable nurseryman who is not colour blind. The best plants are cheapest in the end; indeed, they are the only ones that it pays to buy. Strange to say, few dealers in the world guarantee seeds and plants to be as represented in their catalogues, and the purchaser who, having ordered one variety receives another, has, in most cases, no redress. Perhaps the most reliable firm in the United States give "no warranty, express or implied, as to description, quality, productiveness, or any other matter of any seeds, bulbs or plants" they send out, and they will not be "in any way responsible for the crop." What other class of merchants could hope to sell goods on such terms?
If the plants themselves are a disappointment, how much more exasperating is it to sow seeds of perennials that will not flower for two years and then to find that few, perhaps not any, have come true to name! The hollyhocks that should have borne single flowers of crepe-like texture and pastel tints produce stalks heavily freighted with tight wads of crude-coloured shaving paper, apparently. The old-fashioned single hollyhock, beloved by artists but rarely listed now, has suffered much at the hands of the modern hybridiser with a passion for multiplying petals until the natural form of this most decorative old flower is almost lost through alleged improvements. Out of the fifty Japanese irises of "crystalline whiteness like moonlight on snow" that you order from a specialist with a genius for poetic description, forty-three, perhaps, will be purple or mauve. Peonies that should be "exquisite silvery pink" blush to reveal themselves a vivid magenta. Larkspurs described in the catalogue as of that celestial light blue known by the Chinese as "the sky washed by rain," prove to be double, club-shaped flowers of such deep, dark indigo as only a Chinese laundryman knows the value. Plants not hardy north of Philadelphia are frequently listed without reference to that fact in catalogues sent by the thousand into the New England States and Canada.
But a polite note dispassionately stating one's grievance to the head of the firm will usually bring forth in him fruits meet for repentance -- there will be an offer to exchange the plants you did not order for those you did, express charges paid. The time lost cannot be refunded, it is true, but you are mollified until the next blooming season comes around, when it is quite likely that the second attempt to fill your order correctly proves to be no more successful than the first. After three fruitless efforts to get my favourite larkspur from a perfectly honest but careless or colour-blind nurseryman who makes a specialty of hardy flowers, after seeing a twice-planted hedge of altheas, supposed to bear single white flowers, produce double magenta and lilac ones, after suffering eye strain from deep purple, Hoboken pink, indigo, puce and other herbaceous horrors that have to be dug up and consigned to the compost heap to save the garden from a nightmare of ugliness, thereby losing over a third of all the stock purchased and a year of time, I would warn the reader that his only safety lies in visiting the nursery when the plants desired are in bloom and labelling them then and there. Apparently there is the grossest carelessness, even among leading nurserymen, about segregating stock to fit the descriptions given in the catalogues, and there is no generally accepted colour scale as a guide. The standardising of colours is the most crying need in the trade. What is a "lovely rosy purple" to the Dutchman may be an excruciating magenta to you or me. French dealers, apparently, have a truer eye for colour, and their enlightened republic publishes a chart of standardised colours. The lamentable truth is that, as yet, an insignificant number of cultivated Americans take a sufficiently keen interest in their gardens to insist that they reflect their own taste, not the nurseryman's nor the gardener's. Very few complaints are received when orders are not filled accurately; a phlox is a phlox to the vast majority of people who have not learned to discriminate between the washy pink-purples of old stock that is trying to revert to the type and the brilliant orange scarlet of the Coquelicot, the finest red yet known, the great white snowballs of the Queen that blows later than the lovely Miss Lingard, and the soft chamois rose and salmon tints of new hybrids. Indeed, many catalogues merely offer hardy phloxes of assorted colours at so much a dozen, with no attempt at a description. Yet an indiscriminate collection of perennial phloxes is, perhaps, the most excruciating of all eye shockers.
The cheapest way to grow many of the perennials and biennials, and usually the surest method of getting only those you want, is to grow them from seed collected from friends. One of the most beautiful hardy gardens I ever saw was in England, and the hundreds of vigorous plants had actually cost the owner, the rector of a village church, less than ten shillings. Specialising at the outset on a strain of superb larkspurs grown from seed given him by a parishioner, he had worked up a stock for exchange with specialists in other perennials until, after eight Years, he owned a remarkable collection of the choicest flowers in a little garden of his own tending that people drove miles to see. Two hours a day were all he permitted himself to spend upon it, yet it was in faultless order, and there were always flowers for every visitor to carry away and flowers for every room in his charming little house. When Wordsworth lived in Dove Cottage with his sister Dorothy, on an income of eighty pounds a year, she contrived to have a hardy garden, some of her precious daffodils and perennials persisting there to this day. Charles Kingsley's favourite plants which he raised in the garden at Eversley are still cherished there by his daughter.
Seed that is kept long out of the ground loses much of its vitality, which is why it is well to plant it as soon as possible after it ripens. It is a safe precaution against slow germination to soak it over night. In any case some seeds take weeks to sprout. Long after you have counted them dead they may rise to glory. Every place requires a seed bed, large or small, according to the demands made upon it. Perhaps no gardener ever thought he had land enough for his vegetables, intense cultivation and scientific rotation of crops being meaningless phrases to the average man with the hoe. But, in spite of his protests and possible grudge, it is well to sacrifice a few carrots and cabbages, if need be, to a plant nursery. Is not "the beautiful as useful as the useful"? Few perennials or biennials bloom the first year, and their unadorned infancy should be passed in the seclusion of a nursery near the water supply in the kitchen garden.
In July, or as soon as some early crop like peas, radishes, or lettuce has been gathered, deeply fork the ground that was well enriched in the spring, and thoroughly rake it again and again to pulverise the soil. If the ground be heavy, lighten it with sand and rotted sod fibre or leaf-mould, and sift soil enough to spread over the top of the bed to the depth of one inch. Tender young rootlets cannot push their way through clay or heavy soil or stones as they are so often expected to do. The seeds, previously soaked, should be shaken up lightly in a little earth to separate them, and then sown in the sifted soil at a depth proportionate to their size -- the tiny seeds of hardy poppies, for example, on the surface of the bed, larger ones relatively deeper. Then all must be pressed down firmly with a board or the palm of the hand to bring the earth in contact with the first hair-like roots that will reach out in search of food. Probably more seeds fail to grow through having air spaces around them than from any other cause. The danger is lest seeds, however carefully planted, may dry out, which is why some people go to the extra trouble of sowing them in shallow boxes placed on their piazza floors where they can sprinkle them with a whisk broom frequently rather than put them in a seed bed away from the house where they may be forgotten. Seedlings started in boxes will need to be transplanted to the open ground within a few weeks.
Every evening, when there has been no rain, the bed should be watered through a fine nozzle; a heavy downpour from a hose or the sprayless spout of a watering can would wash away the soil from the seedlings' roots. As the plants increase in size the nightly watering may be gradually discontinued, except during drought, if the surface of the ground be kept well stirred with a hoe between waterings.
Many weeds that the hoe dare not touch will necessarily be pulled by hand, and seedlings, too, if you have made the usual mistake of sowing too many seeds to the foot. Don't crowd the bed. It is no work to give each seedling all the room it needs at the outset, and it is some work to transplant it. After frost, cover the bed with coarse stable litter, well shaken out, or autumn leaves kept from blowing off by criss-crossed pea brush laid over them. The thickness of the blanket will depend upon the severity of the climate. If manure that has lost its heat be used for protection -- and none other should be spread -- see that it does not cover the crowns of foxgloves, hollyhocks, Sweet Williams or other plants that hold their leaves all winter, for it will cause them to decay. Crown rot is the frequent cause of failure with these plants of the easiest culture. Established plants that have successfully weathered their second summer need no covering south of Washington.
If one has a cold-frame to start seedlings in at midsummer, so much the better; for the protection of the sashes in winter insures a longer period of growth and a larger crop of flowers the next season in consequence. Young plants, started in late summer and compelled to endure a long winter in the open, are not likely to bloom well the first season, which is why people who live in Canada and the northern tier of states, and who have neither cold-frames nor hotbeds, do well to plant their biennials and perennials in the open ground as soon as the earth dries out and becomes warm in the spring, when, however, there is apt to be so great a rush of other work that the seedlings' simple but insistent wants of weeding and watering cannot always be met. If they are, the gardener is rewarded by a crop of well-established, vigorous plants when the long, cold northern winter must be endured. Some growers prefer to start their perennials in a hotbed with the tomato plants and tender annuals in February or March, but little is gained by the two months of extra labour, as very few will bloom the first summer in any case.
Thinning out and transplanting seedlings should be done in the late afternoon or on a cloudy day. Always water them before and after moving. Baby Plants become the objects of one's keenest concern. They are the pets of a place. Their sturdy growth is a matter to boast about. When a new garden is to be filled most economically, when bare spots in the border need beautifying, when you want to give a friend some of your favourite plants, when there is a chance to secure from a neighbour some coveted new perennial in exchange for a few seedlings, how joyfully you seize a trowel and lift the big, healthy youngsters into a basket with something akin to parental pride! Miss Mitford was not the only one to delight in having "a flower in a friend's garden." A young amateur grew over two hundred lusty plants of exquisite tall white columbine from seed stalks that had been cut to be thrown away in a neighbour's border. The same quantity of less sturdy and fresh plants, if bought from a commercial dealer who had not only to grow, but to catalogue, advertise and pack them, would be cheap at fifteen dollars. For the best effects in perennial planting one needs a quantity of each kind of choice plant, rather than a sample of many inferior kinds.
Well-stocked gardens need thinning out every year if the plants are not to choke one another to death. Degeneracy and death ensue in a miser's garden. Perennials conduce to friendliness. There is often a chance to almost stock a new border from the overflow from an old one in the neighbourhood; and, usually, the owner is only too glad to find an appreciative recipient. No matter how rampant one's sweet Williams or coreopsis become, who can bear to consign their multitudinous offspring to the compost heap? By dividing with a sharp spade the roots of peonies, irises, violets, lilies-of-the-valley and other plants that are resting in August, and the roots of phlox, rudbeckia, golden glow, the pearl, day primroses, pentstemons, boltonia, day-lilies, bee balm, chrysanthemums, Japanese anemones, and other plants that grow in clumps as soon as they show above ground in the spring, there is little danger of checking their bloom; and by lifting some of the self-sown seedlings of foxgloves, Canterbury bells -- two indispensable biennials that give a charm to any garden -- of gaillardia, hollyhocks, anemones, Oriental poppies, coreopsis, and columbines, one may benefit immeasurably a well-established garden while giving away plants enough to stock another. Fill in all cavities from which roots have been lifted with fresh soil made extra rich with well-rotted black manure. The pit back of the cow barn is the best one to rob for the flower garden. Plants given away are never missed, for what are left show their relief from crowding by greatly increased vigour. Some gardeners advocate lifting all perennials every four years, carting away the exhausted soil in which they grew, and replacing it with fresh earth heavily enriched in which to reset them. So great a labour is quite unnecessary if the bed has been deeply and thoroughly prepared in the first place, and if one will be generous annually, or even every two years.
A HAPPY COLONY OF THE CHRISTMAS ROSE (Helleborus niger) NATURALIZED IN PARTIAL SHADE.
Perennials, as a rule, are such gross feeders that they soon extract the available food within their area. Phloxes and peonies, especially, must be either lifted into replenished earth every four or five years or be liberally fed annually. The practice of spading or forking in the manure that has covered a garden all winter as soon as growth starts in early spring is responsible for a deplorable loss of or injury to cherished plants. Never be guilty of it. Some forgotten treasures not yet started are sure to be buried; others, with brittle new shoots like ferns, bleeding-heart and peonies, to be broken, and countless insignificant seedlings to be sacrificed. Lightly lift off the coarser cover from the plants on a dull, flat potato fork, leaving on only the fine, short part of the manure. Most of the substance washes away into the soil. Plants will quickly push their way through what is not dissolved by rain and overspread it until it is quite concealed. The light mulch is found to be beneficial when hot, dry weather comes. In June, after all the plants are well above ground, some voracious ones may require a trowelful of coarse, slowly soluble bone meal mixed through the soil about them, or a few draughts of weak liquid manure just before blooming time. When perennials are covered in winter with litter or leaves which supply no food, it is well to lightly fork in some very old short manure about the roots, where they will not come immediately in contact with it, after all the plants are up in late spring.
During prolonged drought, when it would be impracticable to soak the whole garden at one time, divide it into sections and thoroughly water one of them each evening at sundown. It is better to give every plant a deep, satisfying drink once a week than to sprinkle them all every night. Sprinkling encourages roots to form near the surface where they are likely to bake. A plant should be induced to root deeply and so become drought resistant. Plants like Japanese irises, larkspurs, chrysanthemums, Canterbury bells, meadow rue, mallows, ferns, and superbum lilies probably never get all the water they really need for their best development in our sun-baked, torrid gardens. Feeding and watering are the essentials of success with perennials.
Where shall they be planted? Everywhere! Imitate nature and "paint the meadows with delight" if you have no garden. Parkinson societies are greatly needed in our new land to beautify the raw roadsides and waste places. The old-fashioned garden, now happily in vogue again, is composed almost exclusively of hardy perennials. Its box-edged parterres overflow with them.
Even the modern formal garden fittingly employs such plants as hollyhocks, foxgloves, larkspurs, Canterbury bells and lilies, whose tall, straight spires of bloom repeat the lines of pillared porch and pergola. It needs a more riotous profusion of growth and bloom in it to soften the architectural severity that is usually too apparent. But, generally speaking, perennials are informal in character, and many kinds are better adapted to naturalistic than to formal treatment.
Plants of especially coarse or vigorous habit like the hardy sunflowers, golden glow, boltonia, day primroses, orange day lilies and hollyhocks, are often set out in bold masses among the shrubbery where, for a time, they are strikingly effective. Their flowers, which appear after the shrubs have finished blooming, keep the shrubbery gay until frost. But shrubs and perennials, both voracious, soon deplete the soil, and unless an extra amount of food be supplied, both deteriorate. Nevertheless it would be a thousand pities never to use them together. Shrubs are so dark and rich a foil for flowers blooming earlier or later than they, that they make a most effective background, especially when used to take off the curse from an enclosing fence on a suburban plot or to partially border a lawn. Do not place the shrubs in a straight line at the back of the border only, but in dense and light groups, some of the lower kinds running out to the front of the irregular edge of the border and flush with it, some receding almost to the fence, and so giving variety of setting and exposure to the perennial flowers in the graceful, sinuous outlines of the tall and low shrubbery. The green wall of a sheared privet or evergreen hedge also admirably displays gay flowers sharply contrasted against it; formal gardens are frequently enclosed by such a border. But from the cultural view-point the planting of perennials next shrubs and hedges is not desirable unless the roots of the stronger can be prevented from trespassing upon the weaker's preserves. English gardeners, to whom the mixed border is indispensable, sink planks in the earth as a partition; yet, in a land where lumber is costly, a narrow trench filled in with coal ashes is quite as discouraging a barrier to pilfering roots. If no obstruction be put in the way of them, only the most vigorous perennials should be left to struggle fiercely for survival with the shrubs. Properly partitioned, almost any perennials you please may be grown in a mixed border, but pray not a large assortment dotted about in a meaningless way! The border is usually viewed from a distance and bold masses of one kind of flower in a given area are most effective. Indeed, no plant appears at its best unless given adequate space to display its charms either between or in front of the shrubs. Scattered about with no relation to the height, foliage and colour of their surroundings, perennials can be more distracting than delightful in mixed borders.
Whoever thinks it a simple matter to plan an artistic, hardy border that will contain masses of harmonious bloom from early spring until late frost with no clash of colour in it at any time, no bare spaces, no untidy tangled effects, no confusion of dissimilar foliage, no spotty groups not blended with their surroundings, can never have tried to make one. Because it is one of the most difficult garden feats attempted, albeit the first one the novice is apt to try his 'prentice hand upon, we rarely see thoroughly satisfying perennial planting. The border is too often regarded as a catch-all for hardy plants. Favourites are set out side by side with little reference to their effect in the composition as a whole. Miscellaneous mixtures suggesting a crazy-quilt are the models that everywhere greet the eye. A woman with such dazzling daubs of colour in her parlour would go distracted. Proportion, form and colour need to be as carefully considered as in painting a picture on canvas when one plants for permanence.
LUPINS ARE FLOWERS OF THE SWEET-PEA TYPE, ARRANGED IN VERY TALL VERTICAL CLUSTERS; THEIR
FINGER-SHAPED LEAVES HAVE INTERESTING HABITS OF SLEEPING AND WAKING. THE SHOWY FLOWERS ARE
ESPECIALLY EFFECTIVE WHEN MASSED APART IN A SETTING OF RICH, DARK-GREEN FOLIAGE. THE PLANT IS
RATHER COARSE FOR THE FLOWER GARDEN.
The intricacies of planting perennials so as to get the most lovely effects from them require exhaustive study for each place; but there are certain self-evident propositions which perhaps may be helpful to the inexperienced amateur.
When perennials only are used to border a path or to frame a little lawn, set the tallest ones at the back in an undulating line, and let the height of the plants gradually diminish toward the front until the fringed pinks, creeping phlox, candytuft, arabis, saxifrage, Russian violets and other low growers form the irregular flowing edge. Occasionally let a phalanx of irises or other taller plants run out to the edge of the border to relieve its flatness.
Use billowy masses of one kind of plant or colour to give dignity to the planting, but be careful not to have them so large as to be wearisome. However, the tendency is just the reverse, and the effect of many small groups is scarcely as reposeful as a garden should be. When a long border along a path or drive is most often seen from end to end, the foreshortening of the masses requires that they be given an extra breadth. In any case, longish drifts of planting are preferable to roundish spots. Happily, perennials soon spread into irregular, flowing groups preferable to any that the hand of man can form. Groups with harmonious flowers may have foliage that necessitates their separation. For example, Japanese eulalia and similar tall grasses look well with hardy bamboos and poker plants, but out of place next low-growing, broad-leaved day lilies.
Try to have no more than two or, at the most, three, harmonious colours flowering in the perennial border at one time. shades of the same colour may be introduced for variety. Many is always more desirable than sharp contrasts. It Harmony saves trouble and clashing to group together in the same section of the bed plants whose flowers are of approximately the same colour, and so chosen as to follow each other in an overlapping succession throughout the season. For instance, a yellow and white section might begin its display with snowdrops, crocuses, tulips, daffodils and narcissus, arabis, yellow alyssum and white creeping phlox in the low foreground; continue with the gray-white Florentine and yellow irises, columbines, candytuft, peonies, yellow brier and white rugosa roses, foxgloves, garden heliotrope, hollyhocks, coreopsis, day primroses, the pearl, white, lemon and orange day-lilies, Shasta daisies, phlox, meadow rue, and so on through the rudbeckias, sunflowers, boltonia and golden glow of late summer to the chrysanthemums and Japanese anemones of autumn. The yellow might be intensified to orange and flame with Oriental poppies, lychnis, butterfly weed and poker plant if one desires to pass by gradual transition to a scarlet, red and crimson section. Or, all the stronger tones may be omitted, and paler yellows only retained with the cold whites that lead by easy transition to blue, lilac and purple flowers if there are no pink or red ones blooming in any part of the border at the same time.
From the early pink creeping phlox and tulips of April to the tree and herbaceous peonies of May, the damask roses, pink poppies and pyrethrums of June, the mallows, hollyhocks, and phloxes of July, and so on to the late pink chrysanthemums, is a lovely progression, too, when one may run up the scale through crimsons to the dark, velvety carnation, sweet Williams and herbaceous peonies of richer hue than Jacqueminot roses, or down to the pinkish gray-white of garden heliotrope (Valerian) and the warm white of the fleecy meadow sweet, fraxinella and immortelle.
Or, the border may have a complete change of color every month or six weeks, as when a pink phase succeeds a blue one; but this is difficult to manage because of the perversity of plants. The larkspurs unexpectedly prolong their bloom because of cool weather and frequent rains, perhaps, whereas they should have given place in early July to rosy hollyhocks that marshal in the pink group which, in turn, may linger long enough to swear at its successor. However, cutting off the larkspur spires merely insures a second crop of flowers in the fall; nipping the heads off phloxes that may rush inopportunely into bloom insures flowers from the lateral shoots when they are wanted. Companion crops have undeniable fascinations. Each gardener has some pet combination. One will plant blue spirea to conceal the rusty peonies that dry off in the fall; another will hide the long shanks of his crown imperials behind Shasta daisies. Canterbury bells swing where columbines lately were in another garden. Chrysanthemums conceal the downfall of pentstemons and monkshood. Another way to secure harmony in a garden is to devote certain spaces in it to certain seasons -- one part of the home grounds for spring bulbs and plants, one for early summer effects, one that shall be bright during the drought and dog-days of mid-summer, and another section for autumn. Indeed, one authority declares it to be the only way to secure the finest effects, arguing that if a given area be expected to produce flowers from early spring to late frost there are sure to be flowerless spaces in it much of the time, and that such plants as are in bloom will look like isolated patches of colour among the foliage. The plan has advantages for people who live in the country for only a few months, when a garden might be planned to put forth concentrated loveliness then. It certainly is unreasonable to expect a plant to bloom longer than three months; some reward our pains for not more than as many weeks; but masses of clean, healthy foliage are not objectionable, surely, and the flowers need not look spotty if secondary tints are grouped around stronger colours and the whole toned down with synchronous plants. For example, a long mass of flowers that run the gamut from deep purples to pale blues had around its flowing outlines the common catmint, whose cool, grayish foliage made an easy transition to the greens in the herbaceous border. Green often divides groups, it is true, but isolation is precisely what is needed in many cases. Even screamingly opposed colours are rendered inoffensive by broad green stretches between them, although it is sometimes better art to tone them down with the weaker secondary tints of the same colour until they gradually merge into the neutral ground of green or white.
White is the great peacemaker among warring flowers. Blue lengthens distance and adds depth to shadows, just as yellow, on the contrary, foreshortens the garden picture. Bright red is always an exclamation point; it punctuates space and defines its own position so insistently that the usual devices of grouping secondary tints about it to bring it down to the colour scale of its neighbours is not often successful. Usually it needs isolation to reveal its splendour. The brilliant scarlet of Oriental poppies, for instance, is sure to clash with the contemporary June roses and pink peonies, or to totally eclipse other flowers. War rages where all should be peace. But planted in the foreground of a copse, a mass of dwarf evergreens or a border of shrubbery not in bloom, how glorious the great poppies are! Another special-purpose plant is the cardinal flower, now tamed by the commercial dealer who sells its easily grown seed. Pitifully out of place among the host of garden flowers, its vivid beauty is best displayed in nature's garden, where it rises beside a stream that reflects it like a mirror. Here it gives one a keener prick of pleasure than in any other setting. Association counts for much. Foxgloves are charming garden flowers, yet the best effect produced with them that I ever saw was where a great group of their white spires ascended in the foreground of a vista through deep woods. Some stumps had been grubbed out, and the owner of the place had sprinkled foxglove seeds from the garden, which he promptly forgot. Two years later he happened upon them unexpectedly and was overjoyed at the sight. What he called "a happy accident" was, of course, no accident at all, for unconsciously, perhaps, the picture had flashed on his inner eye before he dropped a seed into the earth. Lupines are especially effective when massed apart in large groups in a setting of rich, dark green foliage. Indeed, many lovely perennials that would not bear neglect through naturalising, may be cultivated in a naturalistic way where their effect is apt to be far more artistic than in a garden.
WHITE PHLOX, SHELL-PINK SINGLE HOLLYHOCKS AND BEE LARKSPUR BLOOMING SIMULTANEOUSLY IN A HARDY GARDEN.
Everywhere perennials are the artist's flowers and are used by him as colours are on a palette to make a picture. We have been wont to mistake the daubs on the palette -- a lot of unassorted colours set out in a meaningless way -for the picture itself. Flowers may be left to jar the nerves of the sensitive or so arranged as to produce constantly changing visions of beauty. "It seems to me," says Miss Jekyll, "that the duty we owe to our gardens and to our own bettering in our gardens is so to use the plants that they shall form beautiful pictures; and that, while delighting our eyes, they should be always training those eyes to a more exalted criticism; to a state of mind and artistic conscience that will not tolerate bad or careless combination or any sort of misuse of plants, but in which it becomes a point of honour to be always striving for the best. It is just in the way it is done that lies the whole difference between common-place gardening and gardening that may rightly claim to rank as a fine art."
PERENNIALS FOR THE HERBACEOUS BORDER
Plants marked (*) thus are suitable for situations surrounding the water garden.
NOTE. -- The date of flowering given is that for the neighbourhood of New York, and will of course vary, earlier to the South, later to the North, in most cases.
ACONITE, AUTUMN (Aconitum autumnale). Blue, lilac, whitish. September to November; 3 to 5 feet. Valuable as a successor to the aconite or monkshood, which flowers earlier. Flowers not so open. Of easiest cultivation, thriving under same conditions as monkshood.
ADONIS (Adonis Amurensis, A. Davurica). Yellow. March; 1 foot. Earliest flowering, long-lived spring-blooming perennial, easily grown in full sunshine. Plant early (March 15th), or early September, or get pot-grown plants.
ALUM ROOT. See CORAL BELLS.
ANEMONE, JAPANESE (Anemone Japonica). Rose, white. September to October; 2 to 4 feet. More and larger flowers in late September than any other perennial. Blooms until hard freeze. Flowers 2 to 3 inches across. Best in partial shade, in cool, loose, moist and rich soil. Cover in winter. Generally dies if transplanted in fall. Single, double and semi-double named varieties.
BABY'S BREATH (Gypsophila paniculata). White. June, July; 2 to 3 feet. Very numerous minute flowers borne on a gracefully branched feathery stalk. Excellent for cutting and for giving lightness to other cut flowers, and for giving mist-like effects in borders. Fairly dry, open places, also good for rockeries. Cut stalks may be dried and used all winter.
BALLOON FLOWER (Platycodon grandiflorum). Blue, purple, white. July to October; 1 to 3 feet. Largest bell-flower that can be easily grown. Flowers 3 inches across. Stake early, and don't cut stems in fall. Give good drainage. Divide early in spring when growth starts.
*BALM, BEE (Monarda didyma). Oswego tea, Indian plumes. Scarlet. August; 2 ½ feet. More red flowers than any other herb. As easy to multiply as mint. Grand for massing in woods, or on sunny streams' sides. Attracts humming-birds. Fragrant foliage.
*BALM, MOLDAVIAN (Dracocephalum Moldavicum). Blue. August, September; 2 feet. Labiate flowers in whorls at intervals in long racemes. Do not plant in dry soils fully exposed to sunshine; does best in moderately rich, sandy loam, moist and shaded. Flowers small and soon fade. Increase by seeds or division.
*BEARD TONGUE (Pentstemon barbatus). Light pink to carmine. June to August; 3 feet. Flowers I inch long, borne in a loose, slender, foxglove-like inflorescence. Very beautiful in mass effect, but trivial otherwise. One of the best native perennials, growing in any garden soil. ---, BLUE (P. diffusus). June, July; 2 feet. Similar, but with bluish purple flowers. Several other species also in cultivation. --- (P. deustus). Has pale yellow flowers. ---, (P. Coboea.) Purple to white. Parent of numerous garden forms in many colours.
BEGONIA, HARDY (Begonia Evansiana). Rose pink. June to August; 2 feet. Showy red stems and under side of leaf, which is green above. Flowers very freely, and multiplies by bulblets or tubers. Hardy on Long Island, in light, well-drained soil with humus, and easily grown anywhere with light winter protection. Worth more general cultivation.
BELLFLOWER, CARPATHIAN (Campanula Carpatica). Blue. June, July, and scattering later on; 1 to 1 ½ feet. Easiest to grow, and most permanent low-growing member of the Bellflower family. Only bellflower that gives bloom all the autumn. Sow in spring in good, rich soil and give protection in winter. ---, HAIRY (C. trachelium). Purple or blue flowers less than one inch long. Lingers about deserted homesteads. Rough of leaf and unrefined in colour. Blue form is the best. ---, PEACH LEAVED (C. persicoefolia). Blue or white. Flowers 2 inches wide, 1 ½ inches long, and very characteristic leaves. Mid-June; 2 to 3 feet. The most beautiful of the old perennial bellflowers, and the next to the biennial Canterbury Bells (see OLD-FASHIONED FLOWERS.) in size of flower. ---, WIDE-LEAVED (C. latifolia). Purple or dark-blue loose raceme about 8 inches long, containing 8 to 15 very large (2 ½ inches long) flowers. Largest and coarsest leaves. See also BALLOON FLOWER.
BLANKET FLOWER (Gaillardia aristata). Red, yellow. July to October; 3 to 5 feet. The very gay, daisy-like flowers last throughout summer if no seed forms. The only double-flowered variety is splendidisstma plena. Best yellow is Kelway's King, even the disc being yellow. More flowers for cutting than any other hardy perennial. Drought and frost resister. Cut flowers as fast as they fade. Cover plants with litter after ground is frozen. Often grown as an annual.
*BLEEDING HEART (Dicentra spectabilis). Pink; 1 ½ feet. Early May. Heart-shaped flowers on long, gracefully arching sprays; long-lived. Often catalogued as Dielytra or Diclytra. Rich, moist soil preferred. Fragile looking, but quite hardy.
BOLTONIA. See FALSE CHAMOMILE, NATIVE PLANTS.
BUGLE (Ajuga reptans). Creeper, with blue flowers in May. One of the best carpeting plants. Mint family. Dark-leaved forms best. ---, GENEVA (A. Genetiensis). May. Cheapest and showiest spring-blooming, blue-flowered plant for carpeting. Fine for dry places, and for shady situations, where grass will not grow.
CAMPANULA. See BELLFLOWER.
CANDYTUFT. See OLD-FASHIONED FLOWERS.
CARDINAL FLOWER. See NATIVE PLANTS.
CATCHFLY, GERMAN (Lychnis Viscaria). Red, white. May, June; 6 to 20 inches. One of the best hardy perennials, growing in all soils. Profuse bloomer in sunny places. The small flowers are massed into a sort of head. Name comes from the sticky patches below the flower clusters, which often catch ants and crawling insects. Many varieties in various shades. See also LONDON PRIDE.
CHAMOMILE (Anthemis tinctoria). Yellow. June to frost; 2 feet. Finely cut, dark-green foliage and immense quantities of golden-yellow, daisy-like flowers, 1 inch across. Good for cutting, but has strong, pungent odour of wormwood. Grows well in poorest soil. ---, DOUBLE SCENTLESS (Matricaria indora, var. plenissima). White. June to September; 1 ½ feet. White buttons in loosely branched panicles. Very pretty growing or cut. Best free-flowering white flower of summer. ---, FALSE (Boltonia latisquama). See NATIVE PLANTS.
CHRISTMAS ROSE (Helleborus niger). White, fading pinkish. December, January; 1 foot. The only permanent border plant with evergreen foliage that flowers in winter-blooming even under the snow. Plant near the house where it can be seen. Get old, established stock in September. Often takes some time to become settled, not flowering well till the second or third year. Moist well-drained, rather open soil, in partial shade. Cut flowers make excellent table decorations if taken young; they become speckled with age. Individual flowers 2 inches across. Foliage very dark. Var. altifolius is the earliest flowering.
CHRYSANTHEMUM, HARDY (C. Indicum and morifolium). Practically all colours except blue and scarlet. September to November; 2 to 3 feet. Unquestionably the most important late-blooming plants of the garden, flowering profusely till frost. Always plant in spring; cuttings can be made from growing shoots all the year. (See OLD FASHIONED FLOWERS.) Great diversity of form, but ranging into several well-defined types: (a) Single, resembling a daisy, with rays surrounding a conspicuous disc. Excellent for cutting. Mary Anderson is a popular kind. (b) Double quilled, with rosette of involute petals. Example, Little Bob. (c) Double, with expanded rays. Example, Soeur Melaine. (d) Anemone-flowered. Like the single, but with tubular disc florets, much enlarged, forming a distinct cushion. Not offered by name in the American trade. (e) Reflexed. Double, with flat rays distinctly arched back toward the stalk. Example, Jules Lagravere. The large-flowered chrysanthemums, usually grown in greenhouses, are similarly classified, most popular types being: (a) Incurved. Long petals regularly curved toward the centre. Example, Colonel D. Appleton. (b) Japanese. Long petals, variously formed. Loosely and irregularly twisted more or less. The most popular decorative kinds. Examples, Golden Wedding, Glory of the Pacific, Madam Carnot. (c) Reflexed. Very rarely grown. Example, Cullingfordi. (d) Large anemone. Well-developed tubular disc florets, surrounded by expanded ray florets. Example, Garza.
CLEMATIS, AROMATIC (Clematis aromatica). Deep violet-blue. July to September. Solitary, fragrant flowers, 1 ½ to 2 inches across. Grows 4 feet high, or 6 feet if supported. ---, BLUE BUSH (C. integrifolia). Blue, purple, or white. June to August; 2 feet. Solitary blue flowers 1 inch long, covering bush 2 feet high. Var. Durandi taller, and has longer flowers with recurved sepals. ---, DAVID'S (C. heracleaefolia, var. Davidiana). Pale blue. August, September; 4 feet, but needs support. Flowers in clustered heads 6 to 15, and also singly. Larger leaves than any other cultivated clematis. ---, WHITE BUSH (C. recta). White. June to August. Fragrant flowers 1 inch across in dense corymbs. Plant 2 to 3 feet long, not climbing. The common bush clematis of Southern Europe. There is also a double form. Give deep, loamy soil, fairly rich. They are susceptible to injury by drought, and need water in summer. A little lime in the soil is an advantage. On dry, hot soils use cow manure, but on heavy soils use leaf-mould. Spray overhead in early summer.
*COLUMBINE (Aquilegia vulgaris). Violet, blue, white, red. May; 2 feet. Heavier, less graceful, but more permanent than the long-spurred kinds; less particular about shade and drainage; excellent for rocky ledges. ---, WILD (J. Canadensis). Red and yellow; 2 feet. Attracts humming birds. ---, ROCKY MOUNTAIN (A. caerulea). Blue and white. 1 ½ feet. Two last best for naturalising. Light, sandy soil, moist, with good drainage. Keep seed-bed moist. ---, YELLOW (A. chrysantha). 3 to 4 feet. May to August.
*COLUMN FLOWER (Lepachys columnaris). Yellow. June to September; 1 to 3 feet. A composite, 2 to 3 inches across, the dark disc formed into an elongated thimble-like cone, 2 inches or more long, and borne on long, wiry stalks. Excellent for massing, and good for cut flowers. Sow early indoors and transplant outside for succession the first season. Sometimes treated as an annual. Similar to cone flower.
CORAL BELLS, ALUM ROOT (Heuchera sanguinea). Coral red. July, August; 1 to 2 ½ feet. Long lily-of-the-valley-like spikes of dainty, coral-red flowers appearing intermittently all summer. Wiry stems. Likes sandy, well-drained, but not necessarily dry soil. Propagate by dividing roots after flowering.
COREOPSIS. See TICKSEED.
BOLTONIA -- ONE OF THE BEST OF THE ASTER-LIKE PLANTS, ESPECIALLY
THE TALL, WHITE VARIETY. THE FRINGY FLOWERS LAST A WEEK IN WATER.
CUPID'S DART (Catananche caeraelea). Blue. June to August; 2 to 3 feet. Like a blue daisy, 2 inches across. Excellent in light soils, but easily grown anywhere. Named varieties: alba, white; bicolor, blue centre with white margin. Used as everlastings when cut. Increase by seed or division.
*EVENING PRIMROSE (OEnothera biennis, var. grandiflora). Clear yellow. June to September; 5 feet. The flowers 4 to 5 inches across open suddenly at nightfall. Best yellow-flowered biennial for bold effects. Easily naturalised. Almost any soil. OE. fruticosa, the Day Primrose, is described under SUN DROPS in Native Plants for the Wild Garden.
FLAX (Linum Lewisii). Sky blue. July, August; 1 to 2 feet. Expanded flowers 1 ½ inches across, lasting a short time, but borne in rapid succession. Will flower first year from seeds sown in the open. Increase by seeds or division. Full sun, in open place. L. perenne is much like this, but has smaller flowers.
*FORGET-ME-NOT (Myosotis palustris). Bright blue. May, June; 6 inches to 1 ½ feet. The best all-purpose hardy plant of its colour for feathery and foreground effects. Best in moist, half shady places, but will do in open sun if soil be not dry. ---, EARLY (M. dissitiflora). Deep sky-blue. April to July; 1 foot. A biennial, but self-sows, and is generally the more useful.
*FOXGLOVE (Digitalis purpurea). Purplish pink to white. Early June. Foxgloves and larkspurs and hollyhocks are the best flowers with spire-like clusters. Common old magenta form strongest for naturalising. Most refined form is Var. gloxinioides. Likes partial shade, and coolness at roots. Biennial.
FRENCH HONEYSUCKLE (Hedysarum coronarium). Red. August, September; 2 to 4 feet. Pea-like flowers in crowded axillary clusters, fragrant. Light, open, well-drained soil in sunny place. Easily grown. Var. album has white flowers.
GAILLARDIA. See BLANKET FLOWER.
GAS PLANT (Dictamnus albus.) See OLD-FASHIONED FLOWERS.
GLOBE FLOWER (Trollius Europeus). Yellow. May, June; 1 to 1 ½ feet. Globular flowers borne singly or in twos, like gigantic buttercups, 2 inches across on foot-long stems. Moist, heavy loam. Var. Loddigesii is deep yellow. ---, (T. Asiaticus). Orange yellow; 1 ½ to 2 feet. April to October. Good for cutting. Give partial exposure to sun. Increase by division in September, or seeds. Seedlings grow slowly.
GOAT'S BEARD, TRUE (Aruncus sylvester).---, FALSE (Astilbe decandra). White. July, August; 4 feet. These two so closely resemble each other that they are commonly confused. Either one is worth growing for bold, massive, half-wild effects, especially for connecting the flower border with shrubbery. The plume-like clusters of flowers are 6 inches or more long. Foliage boldly three-lobed, and having quite a shrubby appearance. Either one may be planted. Very easily grown in any soil or situation. Propagate by division any time.
GOLDEN GLOW (Rudbeckia laciniata, var. Golden Glow). Clear yellow. August; 6 to 8 feet. Multiplies faster than any other desirable hardy plant. To kill red plant lice, dissolve any common soap in water, and spray on the insects. Cut back after flowering, to induce second crop. Divide roots any time.
GOUT WEED, BISHOP'S WEED (AEgopodium podograria, var. variegata). Yellow and green foliage. All season, 1 ½ feet. One of the most persistent of old-time variegated plants. Keeps its colour under all conditions, and thrives on all kinds of soil, also under shade or in the open sun.
HIBISCUS, SUNSET (H. Manihot). Pale yellow. July, August; 3 to 9 feet. One of the largest yellow flowers, 4 to 9 inches across, sometimes white, with large purple eye. Not hardy in the North, and roots must be lifted to warm, dry cellar. Raise from seeds; and started indoors early will bloom first year. See also MALLOWS.
HOLLYHOCK. See OLD-FASHIONED FLOWERS.
HONESTY, PERENNIAL (Lunaria rediviva). Purple to grayish purple. May, June; 1 ½ to 7 ½ feet. Flowers smaller and lighter coloured than is the annual species (L. annua), otherwise quite like it, but with elliptical pod. Grown for the persistent septum of the seed pod, which is silvery, and makes a pretty winter decoration. Easily grown in any soil. Increase by seeds or division.
HORNED POPPY (Glaucium luteum). Orange, yellow. July to September; 6 inches. Flowers poppy-like, 2 to 3 inches across, and in profusion, but do not last long. Blooms till frost if seed pods are constantly removed. Foliage glaucous blue, and striking. Give open, sunny situation. Short-lived, and best treated as biennial, but may be increased by division. Hardy.
INCARVILLEA (Incarvillea Delavayi). Rosy purple. June, July; 1 to 2 feet. Very showy, bignonia-like flowers, 2 to 3 inches long and wide. Tube yellow. Finest hardy, herbaceous perennial in the family. Large, bold foliage, 1 foot long, pinnate. Protect in winter. Deep, light, sandy loam, in sheltered, warm place. Propagate by division or seed
*IRIS, FLAG (FLEUR-DE-LUCE), DWARF (Iris biflora). Violet-purple. April; 10 inches. Also white and yellow varieties. (I. Chamaeiris). Yellow. Late April; 6 inches. Also white and violet varieties. (I. pumila). Lilac-blue. April; 6 inches. Best for permanent edgings. Told from the two preceding by the flower tube being two inches or more long. There is a brown and yellow form. Earliest large-flowered iris for general use. Flowers 3 to 4 inches across. Increases quickly. The best blue variety is caerulea. The best yellow, luteomaculata. ---, CRESTED DWARF (I. cristata). Pale blue. April, May; less than 1 foot. Earliest hardy iris for general use. Exquisite for edging. Flowers about 2 inches across. Plant when growth starts. ---, FLORENTINE (I. Florentina). The orris root of commerce. Flowers with the German Iris. Quite hardy. 2 to 2 ½ feet. Flowers, white tinged lavender, veined purple at the base. Early Var. albicans, pure white. Most common and easily grown. ---, GERMAN (I. Germanica). The great, purple-bearded iris. Perhaps the most generally cultivated. I. Germanica alba, so-called, is a companion to the white Florentine, both flowering in May. The so-called "German" irises of gardens are not varieties of I. Germanica, but a mixture of many species, and, consequently, show great range of habit. Among the best of these are Madam Chereau, white feathered and bordered blue; Aurea, golden yellow; Eugene Sue, creamy white with purple spots and stripes; Liabaud, yellow and maroon; Sappho, clear blue and indigo; Celeste, light lavender-blue. ---, ENGLISH.. --, JAPAN (I. laevgiata, or Kaempferi). Many varieties from silvery white through lavender and magenta to purple, pure and in combination. July; 3 to 4 feet. Grows perfectly in an ordinary garden, if well supplied with water during blooming season. Most decorative. Flowers 9 inches across. Too short-lived for a perfect cut flower, and will not stand shipment. It is useless to recommend named varieties here, as hardly any two lists offer the same. The names are Japanese, and merely generally descriptive. ---, SIBERIAN (I. Sibirica). May, June; 2 to 3 feet. Makes large, compact clumps of linear leaves from the centre of which rise tall stems of lilac-blue, beardless flowers.
JACOB'S LADDER (Polemonium caeruleum). Grayish blue. May to July; 1 to 3 feet. Expanded bell-shaped flowers, 1 inch across. Should be in every border because of its rare colour in midsummer. Easily adapted to any deep, rich loam, partly shaded, not very dry places. Raised from seed in the fall, also increased by division. Foliage has numerous finely cut leaflets, hence the popular name.
LARKSPUR (Delphinium formosum). Blue in all shades, to white. June; 4 to 6 feet. The best of all the tall-growing blue perennials. Should be in every border. (See OLD-FASHIONED FLOWERS). Deeply prepared, cool, rich soil.
LEADWORT (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides). Cobalt blue. September, October. Showiest low-growing, hardy, blue-flowered perennial for mass effects in autumn. Blooms naturally then. Somewhat resembles phlox. Stems red. Any garden soil. Needs winter protection in the North. One of our most valuable plants. Propagated by cuttings. Frequently catalogued as Plumbago Larpentae.
*MALLOW, MUSK (Malva moschata). Rose, white. July to September; 1 ½ feet. Flowers 1 ½ inches across, well expanded, and borne singly. Very showy, and one of the most easily grown of all plants in any situation or soil. Good for border or specimen. In places has escaped from gardens and naturalised. ---, SWAMP ROSE. See NATIVE PLANTS. HYBRIDS. A new race arising from the native mallows of the North combined with some of the tropical species. These promise to be valuable for more or less wild effects. Not suitable for formal beds or borders. Slender, arching stems several feet long. Flowers in various colours, chiefly shades of pink and madder; 6 inches across; produced all summer.
MAN-OF-THE-EARTH, WILD POTATO (Ipomoea pandurata). White. May to September; 2 to 12 feet. Flowers like a morning-glory, with deep purple throat. One of the very hardiest tuberous vine's. Useful for covering unsightly objects, tree stumps, etc. Root weighs 10 to 12 lbs. Sometimes known as hardy perennial moonflower. Any soil.
A PERENNIAL BORDER IN THE FOREGROUND OF AN ENCIRCLING BELT OF SHRUBS AND TREES WHOSE DARK
FOLIAGE AND SHADOWS ADMIRABLY SET OFF THE FLOWERS. GERMAN IRIS
*MEADOW RUE. See NATIVE PLANTS.
MEADOW SWEET. See NATIVE PLANTS.
*MONKEY FLOWER (Mimulus luteus). Yellow. All summer; 1 to 3 feet. Flowers two-lipped, but expanded, with open throat, mottled brown. Usually treated as an annual because it is not hardy North. Self-sows, and grows anywhere; but especially with plenty of water. ---, RED (M. cardinalis). Red and yellow; 1 to 2 feet. Is hardy in Massachusetts with slight protection. Useful for moist soils and shaded places, or northern exposure. (M. ringens.) Blue. A native plant.
MONKSHOOD (Aconitum Napellus). Deep blue to white. July to August; 3 feet. One of the most beautiful of all blue flowers, having the general habit of the larkspur, but not commonly planted because of its poisonous character. Dangerous to children and pets. Grows in either sun or shade, and any sort of soil. The flower is curiously hooded, hence the name.
MOUSE-EARED CHICKWEED (Cerastium tomentosum). White. All summer; 6 inches. Invaluable for edging and foreground, and as foil to other colours in the mixed border. Individual flowers very small. Foliage woolly and quite decorative. Hardy.
NETTLE, VARIEGATED (Lamium maculatum, var. variegatum). Purple red to white. May to July; 6 to 8 inches. A valuable, low carpeting plant, with pretty ornamental foliage, green blotched with white on the midrib. Grows everywhere. Flowers 1 inch long in clusters and tiers. Increases by division. This is the dead nettle of the Old World. Several varieties, varying in colour of flower. The type has plain green foliage. Runs wild in places.
PANSY (Viola tricolor). Blue, yellow, white, reddish brown, and intermediate shades. All summer; 6 inches. Probably the most popular of all dwarf hardy herbaceous plants, but usually treated as a tender annual for bedding. Does best in cool, deep loam, with partial shade. ---, TUFTED OR BEDDING (V. cornuta and varieties). Blue, yellow, white, etc., in variety. June, July. Flowers smaller than pansies, but plant is better habited and more hardy blooming over a longer season. After July, cut back, manure heavily, water often, and they will make a fine show in September. All pansies like a cool, moist atmosphere. For early bloom sow seeds in August in frames or outdoors, giving light protection over winter. Spring sowings give late bloom. Usually treated as annuals.
PEA, PERENNIAL (Lathyrus latifolius). Rosy magenta. August; 4 to 8 feet. A sprawling, rampant growing vine, with many flowers in a cluster. Thrives anywhere, even in poorest soils, and improves from year to year. Root a tuber, and dislikes removal. White, dark purple, and striped varieties offered. (L. grandiflorus.) Similar, but with larger flowers, two together; less vigorous; 4 to 6 feet. PEARL ACHILLEA. See SNEEZEWORT.
*PENTSTEMON. See BEARD TONGUE.
PEONY (Paeonia offlcinalis and albi flora). White, rose to deep crimson. May, June; 2 ½ feet. Probably the most useful hardy, herbaceous plant. Immense flowers like glorified roses, single and double, and handsome foliage. Old-time favourite. The real old kinds have been lost to cultivation under name, as modern introductions show continuous and great improvements.
PERIWINKLE (Vinca minor). Deep blue, pink, white. May, June. Creeping. Best carpeting plant for shady places. Grows where nothing else will. Leaves oval, 1 inch long, very deep, lustrous green. Flowers hidden under the leaves, 1 inch or more across. Often found escaped near old gardens.
PHLOX, PERENNIAL (Phlox paniculata). All colours but blue and real yellow. August, September. Largest flower clusters of any hardy perennial. Wide range of colours. Attracts more butterflies than any other garden flowers. White phlox, fragrant in evening. To prevent mildew divide every third year. Spray under sides of leaves with ammoniacal copper carbonate. Miss Lingard, white; Coquelicot, flame; Belvedere, salmon-pink; Richard Wallace, white with violet centre; Mahdi, deep violet-blue; La Vague, silvery rose, large; Crepuscule, gray-blue, flat head, are very distinct varieties at this writing, but with new introductions the standards are likely to change every year. ---, WILD BLUE (P. divaricata). Lilac-blue; best for naturalising in moist, rocky soil. ---, CREEPING. See MOSS PINK.
PINK, MISS SIMKINS (Dianthus hyb. Miss Simkins). white. May, June; 4 to 6 inches. This is by far the best and most popular of all the hardy pinks. Large, double flowers, and grows in any soil. Good for cutting; fragrant. Excellent for edging, the glaucous foliage persisting all the season. There are numerous other pinks referred to different species. (See OLD-FASHIONED FLOWERS). ---, SCOTCH, GARDEN, GRASSY (D. plumarius). Purple, magenta, white, pink, rose. May, June; 1 foot. Most fragrant of all hardy pinks, and has most double varieties. Clove odour. Needs perfect drainage. Best grown as edging for raised beds or borders. ---, FRINGED (D. superbus). Lilac. July; 1 foot. Natural complement of garden pink, blooming until autumn if not allowed to seed. Mix plenty of sand and grit in soil for drainage.
PLATYCODON. See BALLOON FLOWER. PLUMBAGO. See LEADWORT.
*PLUME Poppy (Bocconia cordata). Pinkish white. July. Flowers in fluffy masses. Leaves shaped like a fig's, but glaucous. Spreads rapidly by suckers, and makes glorious masses. Sometimes becomes a weed in rich, moist soil.
POPPY, ICELAND (P. nudicaule). Yellow to orange red and white. April to June, and August, September; 15 inches. Better than the Alpine poppy for borders, growing well in moderately rich and light loam. Give full sun. One of the prettiest, low-growing perennials with the characteristic crinkled petals of the poppies. Sow seeds in fall where plants are to remain. Often treated as an annual. ---, ORIENTAL (P. orientale). Scarlet, orange-red to deep pink and white. June, July; 3 feet. The most gorgeous red-flowered hardy perennial, and should be planted sparingly against green surroundings. Flowers 6 to more inches across, with black centre. The thistle-like foliage disappears in late summer. Altogether one of the most effective and boldest of plants. Transplant in August. Small pieces of root an inch long can be handled like seeds, and will produce new plants. Usually slow to establish, and should not be disturbed. Several named varieties, but the type is the most gorgeous.
PRICKLY PEAR (Opuntia vulgaris). Yellow. June to September; 10 inches. The only cactus that can be grown in the border. Curiously jointed, flat, leaf-like stems, covered with spines in groups. Has a sprawling, crab-like effect. Flowers at intervals during the season. Good for shallow soils, cool, and under-drained.
ROCKET (Hesperis matronalis). White to purple and magenta. June to August; 2 to 3 feet or more in rich soils. Flowers borne in dense spikes, like stock. One of the old favourites, and very effective in the border. Easily grown in any soil. Forms large clumps.
ST. JOHN'S WORT (Hypericum Moserianum). Yellow. July, August; 2 feet. Very showy, largest of all the St. John's worts. Great mass of long, thread-like stamens. Flowers 2 inches in diameter. Any garden soil, with preference for sandy. Propagate by seeds, suckers, cuttings.
SUN DROPS. See NATIVE PLANTS.
SAGE, SILVER (Salvia argentea). White. May, June; 2 to 4 feet. The real value of this plant lies in its pretty white woolly foliage. The tallest hardy biennial or perennial of that character. The inflorescence is 2 feet long, and usually three-branched.
SEA HOLLY (Eryngium amethystinum). Blue. July to September; 2 to 5 feet. Thistle-like plant with large flower heads in cones, with finely cut bracts. Whole plant takes on a metallic blue sheen, especially in sandy soils, as the season advances.
*SEDUM, SHOWY (Sedum spectabile). Rose to crimson. August to October; 2 feet. Best hardy succulent for the border. Bold, fleshy foliage and flower heads, 3 or 4. inches across. Attracts butterflies. Any soil, but likes water. Propagate by division.
SHASTA DAISY (Chrysanthemum Leucanthemum hybrid). Very closely resembling the common ox-eye daisy, its parent, but larger and more floriferous. Flowers all season, but does not succeed everywhere in the East.
SIDALCEA (Sidalcea malvaeflora). Purple. August, September; 1 to 6 feet. Flowers up to 2 inches across when expanded, and pink with satiny texture in Var. Listeri, "Pink Beauty." One of the most easily grown plants from seed. Quite hardy. Propagate by seeds or division.
SNAPDRAGON (Antirrhinum majus). Red arid purple to white and yellow. July, August; 1 to 3 feet. Flowers 1 inch long, borne in spikes blooming from the bottom over several weeks; curiously formed like a rabbit's mouth, opening when pinched. Excellent for cutting. One of the very best almost hardy plants. Give light protection in winter. Sow Outdoors in May, or for spring bloom in frames in February. Can be forced and propagated from cuttings at all seasons.
HOLLYHOCKS ARE ESPECIALLY EFFECTIVE IN THE FORMAL GARDEN BECAUSE THEY
REPEAT THE VERTICAL LINES OF PERGOLA PILLARS, STANDARD BAY TREES, AND
OTHER ACCESSORIES. LARKSPURS, LILIES AND FOXGLOVES ARE LIKEWISE EFFECTIVE.
*SNEEZEWEED. See NATIVE PLANTS.
SNEEZEWORT (Achillea Ptarmica, fl. pl.). White, button-like flowers in loose corymbs all summer; 1 to 2 feet. One of the most useful white flowers for cutting. Much like the yarrow, with finely cut leaves. Perfectly hardy.
SPANISH BAYONET, ADAM'S NEEDLE (Yucca filamentosa). Creamy white. June, July; ultimate height, 6 feet. Best desert plant for garden use. Bold, rigid foliage, 2 to 2 ½ feet, in dense rosettes.
Flowers borne in towering spike, after which the old plant makes offsets. Good for massing and sub-tropical effects.
*SPIDERWORT (Tradescantia Virginiana). Blue, violet. All summer; 2 feet. Carpeting plant with rich green foliage that endures all the season. Invaluable for shaded and poor, wet soils, and for foreground to shrubbery. Also grows in dry soils. Various colour varieties in cultivation.
SPIREA (Astilbe Japonica). White. June, July; 1 ½ feet. Feathery plumes borne above finely cut foliage. The florist's spirea, forced for winter. See also SHRUBS.
STOKE'S ASTER (Stokesia cyanea). Blue, white. August to October; 1 ½ feet. Large, flat, thistle-like flowers, 2 inches across. Well-drained, deep soil. The white variety quite new. Propagate by seeds in frames.
SUNFLOWER, MAXIMILIAN'S (Helianthus Maximiliani). Deep yellow. October, November; 8 feet. Leaves deeply grooved. Flowers 1 ½ inches. Latest of all the tall perennials, and will endure severe frosts; any soil. ---, SLENDER (H. orgyalis). September; 4 feet long. Pale yellow flowers above drooping leaves, 10 to 12 feet. ---, DOUBLE PERENNIAL (H. multiflorus, var. plenus). August; 4 feet. Flowers 4 inches across, symmetrical. Best large, double flower of any perennial. Rich soil. Divide every four years.
SWEET WILLIAM (Dianthus barbatus). Maroon, red, pink, white. Self-coloured, variegated. Trusses 4 inches across; fragrant, showy; five weeks. One of the best variegated flowers. Best crop always second year from seed. Self-sows; transplant seedlings in late summer.
TANSY. See NATIVE PLANTS.
*TICKSEED (Coreopsis lanceolata). Yellow. August till frost; 1 to 2 feet. Daisy-like flower, 2 inches across; brown centre. One of the very best of its colour, and easily grown. For border and for cutting. Perfectly hardy. Best to stake the plants, and when setting out from seed bed allow one foot distance. All soils, but repays good waterings in summer. Rich, damp soil in open places and near streams. Best long season yellow flower.
VERONICA (Veronica longifolia, var. subsessilis). Purple. August, September. Longest spikes of any autumn flower; long season of bloom. Spikes about a foot long. Responds to deep, rich soil and sunny position. Very striking for distant mass effects.
*VIRGINIA COWSLIP (Mertensia Virginica, or M. pulmonarioides). Blue. April to June; 1 ½ to 2 feet. The bell-like blossoms turn reddish with age. Sheltered position, but full sun and rich loam. Resents disturbance at the roots. Leaves die down after the flowering time. Best increased by seeds.
WALLFLOWER (Chieranthus Chieri). Red-brown to deep yellow and purplish brown. Quite distinct. May; 1 to 2 ½ feet. Very fragrant. Easily grown in cool, rich soil, with partial shade. Best sown in August for wintering in frames; biennial. Not quite hardy. Some early flowering forms like C. annusus are grown as annuals.
WINDFLOWER, SNOWDROP (Anemone sylvestris). Cream white, tinged with pink. April to July; 1 to 1 ½ feet. The spring counterpart of the Japanese anemone, and the largest flower of its kind in spring. The bright yellow centre is very striking. Grow in masses against shrubbery. Well-drained soil. There is a double variety.
WINTER CHERRY, STRAWBERRY TOMATO (Physalis Alkekengi). Showy red, bladdery calyx, 1 inch across, enclosing an edible fruit. Creeps under ground, and becomes troublesome. The modern P. Francheti is twice as big and brighter. The cut stalks furnish a welcome red for Christmas decorations.