copyright, Kellscraft Studio
(Return to Web Text-ures)                                             
Click Here to return to
The American Flower Garden
Content Page

Click Here To Return
To the Previous Chapter


"To succeed in modifying the appearance of a flower is insignificant in itself, if you will; but reflect upon it for however short a while, and it becomes gigantic. Do we not violate, or deviate, profound, perhaps essential and, in any case, time-honoured laws? Do we not exceed too easily accepted limits? Do we not directly intrude our ephemeral will on that of the eternal forces? . , . And the most modest victory gained in the matter of a flower may one day disclose to us an infinity of the untold." 


"As Paradise (though of God's own planting) was no longer Paradise than the man was put into it, to dress and keep it; so nor will our Gardens . . . remain long in their perfection unless they are also continually cultivated."




FOR several reasons, every one who has a garden, large or small, will wish to grow at least a few annuals. Others may require an entire garden of them. Not every lover of flowers owns the land he lives on; and where it is rented for a short season only, and quick returns are required rather than future gain, a wealth of bloom, a pyrotechnic effect of colour, may be had with annuals for a small outlay. The best results with perennials come only after the second year, or when the plants are thoroughly established; but annuals, hardy or tender, put forth the supreme efforts of their exuberant lives in two or three months after their seeds are sown, and most of them have bloomed themselves to death in as many more. True, the garden of annuals only is bare until early summer unless seedlings have been started indoors or under glass and transplanted to the open when spring nights can be trusted not to pinch them; and the first frost of autumn obliterates all trace of the tenderest of them, of all except a few hardy ones like marigolds, nasturtiums and Drummond's phlox that eke out our meagre autumn bouquets. Light hoar frost can be endured by not a few, but black frost finishes them forever: they perish root and branch. Only the seeds of a few among the host can survive a northern winter in the open.

A plant that lives only one brief summer would be a poor investment of time and money, if one have a permanent home, unless the flower have some transcendent merit of fragrance, or exquisite form or lovely colour, like the sweet pea, for instance, which offers three good reasons why every one grows it. Nevertheless, for one who rents a country place for only one season, or whose home is not occupied in early spring or late autumn, and a great show of flowers is wanted at midsummer only, when, it must be admitted, comparatively few perennials are at their best; when only a small initial outlay can be spared for a garden, or when there are gaps in the herbaceous border to be filled in with some special colour and timely flowers, annuals will be one's source of garden joy.

"Cut and come again" might be applicable to many annuals besides the old-fashioned plant that bore the name. If wilted blossoms are kept cut, and seed is not permitted to form, there would seem to be no limit to the bloom these most floriferous of plants can produce. One must grow some of them, if only in the vegetable garden, for cutting alone. The garden and house, too, may be kept gay with them. None, perhaps, displays so decorative a flower as the hollyhock's spire which, however, is useless for vases; none has the perfectly satisfying outline possessed by the iris, most beloved by the artistic Japanese; none can match the peony for superb size and style, the creeping phlox and the chrysanthemum for earliness and lateness of bloom; but for profusion of flowers and duration of them, for fragrance that very many of them possess, and for lavish display of colour, annuals certainly eclipse their long-lived rivals.

It is their very prodigality, however, that makes them difficult to manage in a garden which they too readily make gaudy. Modern hybridisers have been very busy upon them, multiplying new forms and tints. More flowers than foliage are seen on many of the plants. Especially do they need a background, and very rarely do they get one. Unless used with restraint and thoughtfulness they are apt to look like so many patches of colour in a paint-box, or so many bright daubs on the artist's palette, rather than a picture complete in itself. Many gardeners, alas, mistake the pigments for the painting, and lay on crude, plain colours with a broad brush. However beautiful in themselves, a multitude of them, unrelated, can actually spoil the garden composition as a whole; and the same plants, thoughtfully arranged, can bring perfect content in a garden. Annuals, even if short-lived and cheap, should be chosen and placed with care. A garden is not worth having unless it represents loving thought and affords pleasure to the eye. One need not be deeply versed in art, or be able to talk a lot of nonsense about it, to distinguish the difference between discord and harmony of tint. Some people are gifted with a subtle colour sense; some who are born without it may acquire taste by patient striving; but until it is attained the most satisfying garden effects may not be had. "The first study in flower gardening should be Colour -- not System, not Design, but Colour," says the author of 'The Perfect Flower Garden.' "System and Design separate gardeners, Colour unites them. The study of colour is equally the privilege of the owners of large and small gardens. In it they meet on common ground. The same effects can be secured in gardens of varied area. By grouping plants, either on a large or small scale, in such a way that their hues blend, we get beautiful effects, whether the plants be represented by half dozens or by hundreds. Flower gardening for colour is almost a new study in gardens, and it is fraught with great possibilities." This quotation should be pasted in the crown of every gardener's hat. Masses of flowers thoughtlessly planted -- a hodge-podge of warring colours -- give scarcely more pleasure than a crazy patchwork quilt.

Needless to say, perhaps, seeds should be bought only from a reliable firm; but, even so, one must be prepared for some disappointments. Never buy them of a second-rate house merely because they seem cheap. Quality, size and cleanliness count for more than a penny or two per packet. A small quantity of inferior seeds, not half of which will germinate, ought to be sold for considerably less than a larger number of carefully grown ones from which a high percentage of vigorous stock may be raised. Beguiled by the descriptions and glowing pictures of cleverly advertised novelties, entranced by the possibility of growing quantities of "plants of the easiest culture," you indulge in many little packages of seed to sow in the garden of your dreams. The more expensive sorts, it is observed, are said to bear the largest, handsomest flowers, so you do not hesitate to try them. Although the "extra large white trumpets of a new petunia of surpassing beauty, exquisitely pencilled and elegantly fringed," for a few seeds of which you give a high price, shows on blooming that it has reverted to the vulgar type in spite of the hand labour of the hybridiser; although the "Persian pink" zinnias may prove to be an even grosser magenta; although half your Shirely poppy seed may be far too old to sprout, and the fat packets of nasturtiums prove to be mostly husks scorned by maggots, still, the proportion of disappointments is not so great as to totally discourage. Some of your dreams materialise; some results even exceed your brightest visions. Gardening is only a refined form of gambling, after all. Sometimes the odds are fearfully against us; sometimes we win; but once the passion seizes us we are the victims of its fascination for life.

Dream-gardening and plan-drawing are occupations for the winter, but as the days begin to lengthen we must come to earth from the rosy clouds, hurry off our list to the seedsman, buy fertiliser and attend to other practical preliminaries. All annuals may be sown in the open ground, even the tenderest of them, if one wait till settled weather to plant them, but in that case one must not expect flowers much before midsummer. If a hotbed, in which to start the tender annuals and such hardy ones as one wishes to begin to bloom earlier than they would if sown in the open ground, cannot be had, shallow wooden boxes, two or three inches deep, and of any convenient size, may be filled with very fine, rich, sandy loam and placed in the sunny windows of the house in February or March north of Philadelphia. The first of April is not too late to start seeds in the vicinity of Chicago. Sods that have been piled up to rot for several years, and then sifted until thoroughly mixed with old black manure and sand, make the ideal food for infants in the box nurseries. Soil from a spent hotbed is the next best, or any good garden loam may be substituted if need be. An intermixture of sand helps fine young roots to feel their way about in search of food more readily. A bath of boiling water poured over the boxes a day or two before the flower seeds are sown kills whatever insect life and weed seeds are in them. Boxes set in windows can furnish a limited supply of seedlings only. More flats may be placed in a greenhouse if you are the fortunate possessor of one. Flower-pots and even tin cans are pressed into service by the enthusiastic. In any case, sow every species more than once, indoors and out, to lessen the chances of failure, if not to prolong the blooming season.


Sooner or later every gardener feels the need of a hotbed, and proceeds to make one. If it can be placed with full southern exposure in a well-drained, sheltered spot, where the wall of a building, a board fence or even an evergreen hedge at its back will shield it from northern blasts, so much the better. Concrete, in the ratio of one to seven parts of sharp sand, has come to be regarded as the cheapest and cleanest permanent wall for the bed. Any day-labourer can fill the moulds under intelligent direction. Brick makes a good retaining wall, too; but many people use planks to line the excavation, which should be two and a half feet deep. Dig out the pit at that uniform depth and make it as long as required. Hotbed sashes, as generally sold in the trade, are three by six feet, so the bed's length will be a number of feet divisible by three, inside measurement. Sashes glazed and painted cost less than three dollars each. It is desirable to partition off spaces three feet wide, not only to support the sashes, but to separate plants that require much heat from those that require a little. On top of the concrete, brick, or plank walls -- and some people leave merely the earthen walls without any reinforcement -- place a wooden frame eighteen inches high at the back and a foot high in front, which will give sufficient slope to the sashes placed upon it to shed the rain and to catch the sunlight. Cross-pieces for the sashes to slide on when one wants to open and close the frames are laid on top of the partitions. Fresh horse-manure from the stables, added to one-third its bulk of litter or leaves for fuel, needs to be well mixed and packed down in a compact mass by tramping in order that fermentation may begin. In a few days the escape of steam from the hot heap will indicate that it is time to turn it over for a second fermentation, which will require two or three days more. The manure is now ready to be laid in layers well tramped down in the bottom of the pit to the required depth -- about two feet. On top of it place two inches of fine, old black manure and six or eight inches of well-rotted and sifted sod prepared with sand and fertiliser as directed for the seed boxes. Now put a thermometer in the hotbed and close the sashes. Not until the first heat has subsided, and the temperature falls to seventy degrees, is it safe to sow seeds. One sometimes sees hotbed plants, that have started thriftily, suddenly turn yellow just as they become well grown and ready to transplant. This indicates that their roots, having pushed through the too-shallow soil in search of food, have come suddenly in contact with the hot manure when the precaution of placing a two-inch layer of old, thoroughly decomposed fertiliser between it and the soil has been omitted.

To hasten germination, soak seed in tepid water over night. Fine seed, like the tobacco plant's or petunia's, need be only loosely sprinkled over the surface of a small square area and pressed into the soil with a smooth, flat piece of board about ten inches long and half as wide, having a handle like a stove brush on its upper surface. It is the work of only a few minutes to make this little tool, which will be found very useful in the garden, too, when one comes to plant poppies and other small seeds, which will not bear transplanting, in the open ground. A pointed stick for making straight little furrows to drop all but very small seeds in is another helpful trifle. Repeated sowings, either in the hotbed or out of doors, at ten-day intervals, will insure a prolonged succession of bloom. Most novices make five mistakes in planting seeds: first, in not working over the surface soil long enough to pulverise it and remove every lump and pebble; second, in burying seeds too deep; third, in not firming the soil about them so that the first feeble roots may come in immediate contact with their food; fourth, in sowing too thick; and fifth, in allowing the seeds, or seedlings, to dry out. The finest seeds should be scattered over the surface and merely pressed into the earth, as has been said; larger ones, as a rule, need to be planted at a depth equal to their diameter; medium-sized seeds like the zinnia's and balsam's find an inch of soil over them sufficient, while sweet peas, which should be sown in the open ground as early in the spring as it can be worked, need to be dropped an inch apart in a trench six or eight inches deep, and have soil from the sides drawn over the young plants gradually as growth increases, if the vines are not to burn out during hot, dry weather. Leave no air spaces around any seeds. Newspapers laid over the earth in the hotbed where the seeds have been planted prevent them from drying out for the first week and encourage them to sprout.

When a number of varieties of one kind of plant -- different shades of asters, for example -- are sown in the hotbed, strips of moulding about the width of a lead pencil make good divisions. Without them and plainly marked labels at the top of each line, confusion is sure to arise. Tall plants like cosmos or castor bean will be put at the deep back part of the hotbed, so as not to screen the lower ones in front from the sun and burn their own heads off next the glass. Not until seedlings are well rooted is it safe to use a watering-pot to sprinkle them. Baby plants are apt to be washed out of the soil by a too-violent downpour from a can or hose. At first, partly submerge the flats that contain very tiny seeds, and use a rubber bulb with a fine rose spray, or a whisk broom dipped in tepid water and shaken over those in the hotbed at evening or when there is no sun on the glass. So long as the nights are cold, straw matting, strips of old carpet, or discarded bed quilts should be laid over the sashes after sundown, to keep the cosiness in. Young plants, like human babies, require plenty of fresh air every mild day. Raise the sashes at the back if the temperature in the hotbed rises above seventy-five in the middle of the day, or if beads of excessive moisture form on them. When the sun is bright, but a cold wind blows, lay a strip of carpet along the open sash on the windward side. Vigorous growth depends upon each plant having room enough to develop and plenty of air and light. Weeding and thinning out are vitally important if the young plants are not to choke one another to death, and with the usual wasteful method of too thick sowing this should be done early. Many of the crowded seedlings may be transplanted and saved, but this is laborious, and labour is what makes gardening costly. As the plants rise high in the frames, there is some danger of their being scorched. Now remove the glass sashes when the sun is bright, and replace them during the day with screens made of laths which are nailed an inch and a half apart across strips of wood cut the length of each partition of the hotbed. If the nails are clinched and each screen is well braced it will last many seasons. Or a coat of whitewash on the glass may serve as a sun screen. Before the plants are removed to the open ground they need to be gradually hardened; and finally, even the lath screens will be left off. It will be observed that it is something of a nuisance to start annuals under glass. More and more we depend upon the hardier ones and perennials that may be grown in the open air.

But an old hotbed that has lost its heat has not lost its usefulness by any means. Perennial and biennial seed may be sown in it at midsummer for next year's blooming; foxgloves and Canterbury bells especially appreciate its shelter; the best pansy plants, although really perennials, are usually treated as annuals, and are started in September to make the spring garden gay; violets may be picked from the frames all winter; cuttings of roses, heliotrope, carnations, geraniums and begonias, among others, root most surely if stuck into sand within the bed's protection; tea-roses and other tender plants may be stored in it all winter; tulips, narcissus, hyacinths and freesias will bloom before Easter if the bulbs are planted in the bed before Christmas.

A cold-frame differs from an old, spent "hotbed" in that it never has had manure below the soil to supply heat. Frost is kept out by a frame of boards to which sashes are fitted. This is placed directly on the ground -- no foundation walls being necessary -- over a bed of prepared earth. Night covers of carpet, matting or quilts laid over the glass are kept on during severely cold days, also; and manure or earth is banked around the outside of the frame where it rises above the surface of the ground. Nothing that cannot survive a touch of frost should ever be trusted to a cold-frame.

Tender annuals like the warmth-loving portulaca may not be transplanted from the hotbed, nor their seeds sown in the open garden until the ground is thoroughly warmed. Half-hardy annuals, such as the deliciously fragrant tobacco, the asters and petunias, may go out as soon as all danger from frost is over -- about the middle of May in the vicinity of New York --when their seed, also, may be sown in the open ground; whereas the hardier annuals, among which are included feverfew, stock, marigolds, calendula, bachelor's buttons, calliopsis, poppies and zinnias, need not wait for fully settled weather. Indeed, many seeds of hardy annuals you will find have lived out through the winter where they were scattered in the garden by the parent plants the year before, and these self-sown seedlings will need rearranging early in the spring if the garden is not to look unkempt. Wet the plants before and after moving them at evening or on a cloudy day, and protect them from the sun with inverted flowerpots, newspapers, umbrellas, or any improvised canopy before they begin to wilt. Calliopsis, sweet alyssum, cornflowers and poppies, to name a few lusty monopolists, will so quickly overrun their allotted plots and come up where they are not wanted that sometimes, alas! they must be treated with the discourtesy shown weeds. The usual trouble with some plants once started in a garden is not how to grow, but how to get rid of the charming things.

If the amateur gardener can think of no better way to grow annuals than to cut up a lawn into geometric beds, planting circles within circles, or row after row of ageratum, lobelia, coleus, cigar plant, geraniums, dusty miller, asters, and salvia, it would be better for the appearance of his place that he never grew a flower at all. A lawn may be framed by flowers, but cutting it up into beds not only contracts its apparent size, but spots it over with patches of unrelated colour that mean nothing but bad taste and hard work. Annuals may be most artistically displayed when disposed in much the same way that perennials are -- planted in front of shrubbery or hedges that serve as a foil to their rich, high colours. Indeed, all that was said in the previous chapter about the arrangement of perennials applies to annuals as well. The two classes of plants admirably supplement each other when used together. Oftentimes annuals will supply just the tints needed to bring harmony into a perennial border. Or, they may be set out with punctilious nicety in formal parterres where a continuous performance, a vaudeville show of flowers, is required, one lot of plants being hustled into the ground after another as its beauty departs. But arranging annuals for rapid succession in the same beds throughout a season is work that the novice need not attempt. It implies a staff of skilled gardeners, and to all except the superfluously rich would be scarcely worth while. From the box-edged plots of old-fashioned gardens certain of the hardy annuals were rarely absent. Our busy grandmothers naturally delighted in plants that sowed themselves. Some such old favourites may be started in the naturalistic garden where brilliant shimmering sheets of poppies are especially charming. Cornflowers may be naturalised in a pasture if sown in early spring with rye and timothy. Sprinkle poppy seed there, too. Seeds of a few annuals will be scattered among the rocks in the Alpine garden or in the damp rich soil beside a pond or brook. Now that the lovely wild-fringed gentian has been tamed, and the secret of growing it from seed has been disclosed, it may adorn the banks of our water gardens where it loves to see its vivid beauty reflected in a mirror. Like the cardinal flower, it looks out of place in a dressed garden.

Some annuals will be grown because they furnish a wealth of flowers for cutting -- cornflowers not only because they match the Nankin china on the dining-table, but because they attract flocks of dainty goldfinches to feast upon their seed; marigolds and calendula for the glitter of their sunshine, not in the garden only, but in the house, where they take their turn with the indispensable nasturtiums in brightening dark rooms; the marvellously improved zinnias, some of whose lambent, glowing flowers look especially well in burnished copper bowls -- every one has his or her favourites. If there is no better place to grow sweet peas, which are not lovely until myriads of butterflies seem to be fluttering over the pea brush or wire netting that supports the vines, let them scramble over it in the kitchen garden where their succulent, plebeian relatives would feel at home. When a regiment of tall Russian sunflowers is drawn up as if in battle array along the fence, it makes a decorative screen, and after the seed is ripe enough to drop, the chickens are quite happy and presently wax fat. Even the new asters, with petals almost as long as a chrysanthemum's, are not too aristocratic to live in a vegetable garden, if necessary, with the ten weeks' stock, Chinese pinks, nasturtiums, marigolds and other flowers that one wants to cut from daily.


Those who have little time to devote to their flowers will grow the annuals that re-sow themselves in out-of-the-way corners that  may be safely neglected a while, but not close to the house where no one cares to display untidiness. Certain annuals, calliopsis and gaillardia, for example, will be chosen for sunny places; others, like musk, godetia, pansies and nemophila for shady ones, where so few really fine flowers feel at home; some drought resisters, such as nasturtiums and zinnias, for dry places; others than the annual chrysanthemum and calendula because you have only heavy soil to offer them; still others because they like a cool northern climate which suits perfectly the wallflower, annual phlox, pansy, stock, marigold, cornflower, snapdragon, sweet alyssum and candytuft. These will bloom after frost. Many tender perennials and biennials are treated as annuals in this country. Every one wants mignonette for its fragrance, and sows it as near to the living-room windows as may be. The tobacco plant, that looks rather bedraggled by day, opens its white trumpets at dusk and makes the garden starry at night -- but, like the evening primrose, which also resembles a faded ball-room beauty in broad daylight, it is best relegated to the background of the border where the datura may have been placed. Their fragrance will fill the air. Bartonia, sweet William, stock and alyssum, too perfume the garden, which should be as fragrant as it is beautiful and, if it is to be enjoyed at evening by tired commuters from town, let white and yellow flowers abound. These shine forth after all others have been engulfed by darkness. Really, the commuter should be far more considered than his wife, who has the whole day at home in which to enjoy the garden.

Probably the bedding-out system, once so popular, albeit a ridiculously expensive and troublesome treatment for annuals, marked the lowest point that our national taste in gardening will ever reach. It flourished when flowers for stiff pyramidal bouquets were mounted on wire and toothpicks, and it had much in common with this method. Here and there we still see geranium beds edged with dusty miller in the exact centre of little lawns, the name of a railroad station laboriously spelled out in particoloured coleus plants, or the initials of a newly rich owner of a country place displayed near its entrance where all who run may read. But public taste is rapidly improving: clam-shells and coleus are rapidly disappearing from American gardens.



Plants marked thus (*) are vines, and useful for screens, etc. While the flowering date given is that of New York, it is also practically true for most sections. 

AGERATUM (Ageratum conyzoides). Purplish blue; 8 inches. Best blue hardy annual for edging; blooms 3 months. Start in heat in March for early flowers, or in the open in May.

ALYSSUM, SWEET (Alyssum maritimum). White. 8 inches. Average soils in sun. Fragrant. July till frost by cutting back or by successional sowings. Grows in cold regions and in heavy soils also. Sow in heat in March; outdoors April to September.

AMARANTHUS, LOVE-LIES-BLEEDING (Amaranthus caudatus). Scarlet to yellow. Warm, sunny places. June; 3 to 5 feet. The best of the family, but too gaudy for dainty gardens. ---, PRINCE OF WALES'S FEATHER (A. hypochondriacus). Coarser, with purplish heads and foliage. Coarse, unlovely plants.

AMETHYST (Browallia demissa or elata). Blue, violet, white. All summer; 1 ½ feet. Treat as half-hardy annual, although it may be sown in open border. Grows in poorer soil than most others of a tender nature. Best planted out May 15 from heat. Will bloom till frost.

ASTER, CHINA (Callistephus hortensis). White to purple and red, not yellow. August; 1 to 2 feet. Best large flowered plant of the daisy type, with most colours and types. Sow in open for strongest plants; but for early bloom in frames and transplant. Subject to a subtle disease. Use rich soil and wood ashes.

BABY'S BREATH (Gypsophila elegans). White, sometimes rosy. May; 1 ½ feet. Loose, much-branched panicles. Open, rather dry places. Sow in succession.

*BALLOON VINE (Cardiospermum Halicacabum). Flowers inconspicuous. Inflated fruits an inch across, freely produced. Tender. 10 feet.

BALSAM (Impatiens balsamina). Red, white, yellow. July to October; 1 to 2 feet. Flowers borne in the axils of the leaves all along the stalk. Give rich, sandy loam in full sun, with abundant moisture. Sow outdoors in May. Indoors March, April. The summer-sot of old gardens.

BARTONIA (Mentzelia Lindleyi). Yellow. July to September; 1 to 3 feet. Flowers 2 ½ inches across. Fragrant in evening. Sow outdoors in May.

BELLFLOWER, LARGE-STYLED (Campanula macrostyla). Pale purple, solitary flowers, 2 ½ inches across, hairy within. Long, protruding pistil, which is brown and spindle shaped before opening. Plant I to 2 feet. Self-sown seeds sometimes take a year to germinate.

BLANKET FLOWER (Gaillardia pulchella). Yellow and rose purple; Summer; 1 to 2 feet. Flower on globose head. Give light, open, well-drained soil. The form known as Lorenziana has disc flowers, all tubular.

BUTTERFLY FLOWER (Schizanthus pinnatus). Violet, lilac and yellow in combination. July; 2 feet. Very striking, and though hardy, usually grown in pots indoors. Good garden soil. Many named garden forms. One of the best variegated flowers.

CALIFORNIA POPPY (Eschscholzia Californica). Yellow. June; 1 foot spreading. Glaucous, finely cut foliage. Really a perennial; can be sown very early but does not transplant well. Sow in succession in the open ground, and in fall for early spring. Most soils, including sandy.


CANDYTUFT (Iberis amara). Red, white. June to September; 6 inches. Sow outdoors April to July every two weeks for succession, and in fall for early spring. Blooms after frost, Resists drought.

CASTOR BEAN (Ricinus communis). For subtropical foliage effect; 3 to 8 feet, enduring till frost comes. The large palmate leaves are the boldest among all the annuals. Plant seed where to grow, and give very rich soil for large development.

CATCHFLY (Silene Armeria, S. pendula). Red, white. July to October; 1 foot. Prefers sandy loam in full sun. The inflated calyx is quite a showy part of the flower. Good for edging and for rocky places. Sow in May.

CHRYSANTHEMUM (Chrysanthemum coronarium and C. carinatum). July to August; 2 to 3 feet. Former is white and yellow, purple disc; latter all pale yellow and dwarfer. Heavy soil. Good for cutting. Double forms. Good also for pot culture and bedding.

CLARKIA (Clarkia elegans). Purple and rose to white. June to October; 1 to 2 feet. Light soil in sun or half shade. Good for edging and massing. Blooms 8 weeks. Late sowings give flowers after frost. Sow in fall for early spring. One of the commonest plants.

*COBOEA (Coboea scandens). Vine, 10 to 20 feet. Flowers greenish purple. A tender perennial, but usually treated as an annual. Sow seeds in heat or outdoors in moist, rich earth and edgewise.

CORN, JAPANESE VARIEGATED (Zea Mays, var. Japonicus). 3 t0 4 feet. Grown for its strikingly variegated foliage, white and green in longitudinal stripes. Sow like ordinary corn.

CORNFLOWER (Centaurea cyanus). Blue. July to September, 1 to 2 feet. Thistle-like heads of richest blue. The best annual of its colour. Grows with the poppy and makes an excellent combination. Seed relished by goldfinches.

COSMOS (C. bipinnatus). White, pink, red, crimson. August to October; 7 to 10 feet. The best tall late annual, with daisy-like flowers. Sow as early as possible after frost, in not too rich, sandy soil. ---, YELLOW (C. sulphureus). Less tall, and smaller flowers. These are particularly valuable for late flowers. Stake early.

COTTON (Gossypium herbaceum). Pale yellow with dark eye. July; 3 feet. Large, bold leaves. Warm situations. Will not grow North. Rich soil.

*CYPRESS VINE (Ipomoea quamoclit). Flowers scarlet, white. June, July; Ville 10 to 20 feet. A dark green, very feathery foliage, making dense mass. Scald seeds before sowing. Outdoors May; indoors March and April. Water freely.

EVERLASTING (Helichrysum bracteatum). Yellow to dull crimson and white. August; 2 to 3 feet. The semi-double daisy-like flowers endure indefinitely when cut and dried. This is the largest flowered everlasting. Others are Helipterum roseum, bright pink, flat; H. Rhodanthe or Manglesi, bright pink, long; Xeranthemum annum, purple. All of easiest culture in any soil.

FLAX (Linum grandiflorum). Red. July; 1 to 2 feet. Colour varies, but the glossy appearance is very attractive. Flowers 1 to 1 ½ inches across. Only good in the border, fading as soon as cut, and killed by first frost. ---, (L. usitatissimum). Blue. 1 inch across. Sow in open border in May.

GLOBE AMARANTH (Gomphrena globosa). Pink. July; 1 ½ feet. Numerous colour varieties in the trade, also dwarf and compact forms. Button-like heads an inch in diameter. Everlasting.

GODETIA (OEnothera amoena, OE. Whitneyi). Red, white. July to October; 1 to 2 feet. Most showy large flowered annuals for shaded places. Flowers 1 to 1 ½ inches across and peculiar satiny lustre, larger in the latter species. Does also in sun. Any soil. Sow in May, or in heat in March for June flowers.

HARE'S TAIL (Lagurus ovatus). Tuft of leaves 8 inches high, covered with soft whitish down, and bending downward. Ideal edging plant. Flower head borne several inches above the foliage, in silvery white egg-like tufts an inch and a half long.

HEMP (Cannabis sativa, var. gigantea). Greenish flowers. August; 10 feet. A rough-looking plant for bold foliage effects or screen. Best to sow where wanted, but may be started in heat and transplanted. Rich moderately moist soil.

*HOR, JAPANESE (Humulus Japonicus, var. variegatus). August, a vine 10 to 20 feet. Foliage variously streaked and splashed with white and deeply cut. Sow seeds outdoors in May. One of the quickest growing annual vines. Self-sows freely.

*HYACINTH BEAN (Dolichos lab-lab). Purple or magenta and white. July; vine twining 10 to 20 feet. Resists drought. Flower spikes borne well out from the foliage and followed by similarly coloured fruits. Killed by first frost.

ICE PLANT (Mesembryanthemum crystallinum). White. August to September. Trailing. Grown for its succulent thick foliage, covered with glistening glands. Thrives in dryest situations.

JOB'S TEARS (Coix Lachryma-Jobi). 3 to 4 feet. "Seeds" make necklaces for children to cut their teeth on. The plant looks like a poor corn-plant when growing. Only curious.

COCKSCOMB (Celosia cristata). Crimson. 1 foot. The flower heads are grown into a monstrosity something like a rooster's crest 8 inches to 1 foot across. Used in floral beds as borders. Sow indoors and plant out in May. Give abundant water. Coarse, common plant.

LARKSPUR, ANNUAL (Delphinium Ajacis). Eight colours from white through pink and turquoise to purest blue. August to September; 1 ½ feet. Sow indoors in September for flowers in July. Any good light soil in sun.

LAVATERA (Lavatera trimestris). Rose. July; 3 to 6 feet. Most refined annual of the mallow family. Flowers 4 inches across. Its tender rose colour as fine as that of best pink hollyhocks.

LOBELIA (Lobelia Erinus). Blue. All summer; 6 to 12 inches. One of the most popular plants for edging. ---, "CRYSTAL PALACE" (L. Erinus, var. compacta). Best of the species for edging. Good garden soil.

LOVE-IN-A-MIST (Nigella Damascena). White, blue. All summer; 2 feet. Flowers 1 inch across nestling in finely cut fennel-like foliage. Fruit a long capsule. Do not transplant. Sow for succession from early March and in early fall for spring bloom.

MARIGOLD, AFRICAN (Tagetes erecta). Rich orange to pale lemon. August to frost; 2 feet. Solid globes up to 2 ½ inches in diameter, on a freely branching shrub-like bush. Very pungent odour. ---, FRENCH (T. patula). Yellowish to red-brown. 1 foot. Darker foliage. Good bedder; useful for edging. Raise in open, or in pots to induce earlier bloom. Give rich soil.

MARIGOLD, POT (Calendula officinalis). Orange, yellow. July to October; 1 to 2 feet. The old-fashioned herb. Flowers in succession for a long period. Used for flavouring soups. Grows anywhere, but delights in warm, rich soil. Sow in May. Self-sows usually.

MIGNONETTE (Reseda odorata). Greenish. July to October; 1 foot. Grown for its fragrance. Flowers in spikes. Does not transplant well. Should be sown in permanent place. Sow in succession from April to August, outdoors. Last sowing will give plants for winter flower.

MOCK CYPRESS (Kochia scoparia). Grown for foliage. A dense, much-branched, neat bush 2 to 2 ½ feet high, with linear branches, turning scarlet in late summer. Sow in open in May or indoors in April. Plant two feet apart in any good soil. Good for temporary hedges.

*MOON FLOWER (Ipomoea Bona-nox). White. August to September; 15 to 30 feet. Most rapid growing annual vine. Flowers open at night; 6 inches across. Sow outdoors May; indoors January to March. 2 inches deep.

*MORNING GLORY (Ipomoea purpurea). Purple, pink and blue to white. July to August; vine, 10 to 20 feet. Rapid growing, profuse flowering. Do not sow till ground is warm. Soak seeds in water first. Resows; sometimes becomes a weed.

MUSK (Mimulus moschatus). Yellow, mottled and dotted, splashed brown. July, August; ½ to 1 foot. A perennial creeper, but treated as an annual. Give cool, moist situation and shade, when it is one of the very best plants. Sow in May, on the surface and cover lightly.

NASTURTIUM, TALL (Tropaeolum majus). ---, DWARF (T. minus). Scarlet, yellow, maroon; July to October; 1 to 5 feet. Will not stand frost. Leaves used as salad. Good for screens, for rough places, and for cut flowers.

NEMOPHILA (Nemophila insignis). Pure blue; July, August; 1 to 1 ½ feet. The best blue-flowered annual, blooming over a long season, and having bell-shaped flowers an inch across. Moist loam in partial shade. Said not to succeed around Boston.

PANSY (Viola tricolor). Purple, blue, white, yellow. May to October; ½ to 1 foot. For early flowers sow in August and winter with protection. Sow outdoors from June onward; indoors January and February. Best spring bedder.

PETUNIA (Petunia hybrida). Magenta, claret, white. July to September; 1 to 2 feet. The most profuse bloomer and sweet scented, but the type is a frightful colour and must be used alone. Resists drought. Rather weedy habit. Flowers saucer-like, 2 inches across. Sow on surface in May.

PHLOX, ANNUAL (Phlox Drummondi). Red, crimson, white, and primrose. July to October; 1 foot. Makes a spreading bushy tuft with a profusion of flowers 4 inch across. Sow thinly in May and cut back after first flowers if in dry soil and water freely. Self-sows for succession.

PINK, CHINESE (Dianthus Chinensis, var. Heddewigi). White, rose, maroon. August; 1 foot. Flowers 1 inch across, fringed and variously variegated. Warm, well-drained soil. Sow outdoors March, April; indoors February for May bloom.

POPPY, CORN (Papaver Rhoeas). Pink, scarlet, white. August, September; ½ to 2 feet. More refined varieties are the "Shirley Poppies." Sow thinly on cool soil; often self-sows, and then blooms early. ---, OPIUM (P. somniferum). 3 feet. Large flowers double or single in great variety of colours, not yellow. Bold glaucous foliage.


ROSE, MOSS (Portulaca grandiflora). White, red, magenta. July to October; 6 to 9 inches. Very brilliant flowers 1 inch across, flourishing on dry soils. Leaves succulent, rounded. Single varieties bloom earlier than doubles. Scatter seeds on the surface when weather is warm. Most gaudy plants for very dry places.

SALPIGLOSSIS (S. sinuata). Shades of purple and blue through reds and yellows to creamy white, and variously veined and mottled. Summer; 1 to 2 feet. Tubular flowers, with large, flat expansion. Very effective and most singular. Treat as half hardy, sowing in heat. Any good soil.

SAGE, SCARLET (Salvia splendens). Scarlet. August; 2 feet. A tender perennial, but very commonly grown as a hardy annual. The spikes of scarlet, a foot long, are the hottest flowers of the hot season.

SENSITIVE PLANT (Mimosa pudica). 1 foot. Grown as a curiosity. Leaflets fold up and stalks drop when touched or shaken. Introduced from tropical America in 1638, but is easily grown from seed sown outdoors in May. Flowers a small ball of pink filaments.

SHELL FLOWER (Molluccella laevis). White, pink tipped. Fragrant. June, July; 2 to 3 feet. Shell-like calyx in which four white seeds nestle like eggs. Gaping flowers. Self-sows. Any soil.


STOCK, TEN WEEKS (Matthiola incana, var. annua). Purple. July; 1 foot. Has strong clove fragrance. Flowers last well. Single and double forms; latter particularly useful. Sow outdoors in May, or in heat in March for June flowers.

SUNFLOWER (Helianthus annuus). Yellow. August; 3 to 12 feet. Individual flowers from 6 to 14 inches across, like huge daisies. A valuable quick-growing screen plant, good on any soil. Plant seeds two inches deep.

SWAN RIVER DAISY (Brachycome iberidifolia). Pale blue or white, 1 inch across. 6 inches to 1 foot. Like an aster, but flowering earlier. Good for cutting. Start in heat for very early bloom.

SWEET SCABIOUS (Scabiosa atropurpurea). Dark purple, rose, white. July to October; 2 feet. Like large double daisies. Good for cutting. Any soil.

SWEET SULTAN (Centaurea moschata). Yellow, white, or purple; July, August; 2 feet. Musk-scented. Large heads like giant cornflowers. C. Margaritae, pure white, is a famous modern strain. Does not transplant easily. Lasts 10 days. Sow outdoors in May.

*SWEET PEA (Lathyrus odoratus). Various colours; July to October; 3 to 6 feet. Most popular fragrant annuals for cutting. Modern improved forms greatly superior. Deeply trenched, heavy soil. Excellent in cooler climates. Make three sowings for succession, the last between the other two for shade. Sow in September for early flowers.

TARWEED (Madia elegans). Yellow. July to October; 1 to 2 feet. Best yellow annual for shaded places. Flowers open morning and evening. Plant has graceful open habit. Sow in May.

TICKSEED, CALLIOPSIS (Coreopsis tinctoria). Yellow rays with dark maroon base. June, July, and later; 1 to 3 feet. One of the best showy, easily grown annuals for cutting. Any soil.

TOBACCO (Nicotiana Tabacum). Red, white. July, August; 3 to 5 feet. Most effective as a bold screen for its large leaves. Flowers 4 to 6 inches long, but not otherwise showy. (N. alata). Showy white flowers, fragrant, opening at night. (N. Sanderae). Is similar, but in various colours, effective against dark background. Sow on surface in May.

WALLFLOWER (Chieranthus Chieri). Early blooming forms of this perennial are grown as annuals. May be grown easily in a moist soil with moderate shade.

WISHBONE FLOWER (Torenia Fournieri). Yellow, blue, purple. July to October; 6 inches. A low, bushy, floriferous plant for bedding and a good substitute for the pansy. Tender; sow indoors in March or April.

ZINNIA (Zinnia elegans). Red, scarlet, yellow, magenta and intermediate tints. July to November; 2 feet. Individual flowers 2 to 3 inches across. The best showy annual for very late bloom. Thrives in any deep, rich soil. Very effective for distant masses. Endures drought and some frost. Get well-selected strains for pure colours, avoiding magenta and greenish tinges. Sow outside in May; or indoors in March. Transplants easily. 

NOTE. The following true perennials may be treated as annuals blooming the first year from seed sown annually in March: Snapdragon, Cupid's Dart, Mouse-eared Chickweed, Perennial Tickseed, Larkspur, Sweet William, Scotch Pink, Moldavian Balm, Blanket Flower, Horned Poppy, French Honeysuckle, Rocket, Sunset Hibiscus, Man-of-the Earth, Column Flower, Flax, Honesty, Musk Mallow, Monkey Flower, Forget-me-not, Iceland Poppy, Polyanthus, Sidalcea.

Click the book image to continue to the next chapter