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Title: The Culture of Vegetables and Flowers From Seeds and Roots - 16th Edition
Author: Sutton and Sons
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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THE CULTURE OF VEGETABLES AND FLOWERS FROM SEEDS AND ROOTS

BY

SUTTON AND SONS READING

SIXTEENTH EDITION

LONDON

SIMPKIN, MARSHALL, HAMILTON, KENT & CO; LTD.

1921

All rights reserved

PRINTED BY SPOTTISWOODE, BALLANTYNE AND CO. LTD. LONDON, COLCHESTER AND
ETON



Contents


THE CULTURE OF VEGETABLES                                        1

A YEAR'S WORK IN THE VEGETABLE GARDEN                          151

THE ROTATION OF CROPS IN THE VEGETABLE GARDEN                  198

THE CHEMISTRY OF GARDEN CROPS                                  202

ARTIFICIAL MANURES AND THEIR APPLICATION TO GARDEN CROPS       210

THE CULTURE OF FLOWERS FROM SEEDS                              216

THE CULTURE OF FLOWERING BULBS                                 317

FLOWERS ALL THE YEAR ROUND                                     355

THE PESTS OF GARDEN PLANTS (=illustrated=)                414

THE FUNGUS PESTS OF CERTAIN GARDEN PLANTS (=illustrated=)      434

THE FUNGUS PESTS OF CERTAIN FLOWERS (=illustrated=)       447

INDEX                                                          453



THE CULTURE OF VEGETABLES


Horticulture has a full share in the progressive character of the age.
Changes have been effected in the Kitchen Garden which are quite as
remarkable as the altered methods of locomotion, lighting and
sanitation. Vegetables are grown in greater variety, of higher quality,
and are sent to table both earlier and later in the season than was
considered possible by gardeners of former generations.

When Parkinson directed his readers to prepare Melons for eating by
mixing with the pulp 'salt and pepper and good store of wine,' he must
have been familiar with fruit differing widely from the superb varieties
which are now in favour. A kindred plant, the Cucumber, is more prolific
than ever, and the fruits win admiration for their symmetrical form.

The Tomato has ceased to be a summer luxury for the few, and is now
prized as a delicacy throughout the year by all classes of the
community.

As a result of the hybridiser's skill modern Potatoes produce heavier
crops, less liable to succumb to the attacks of disease, than the old
varieties, and the finest table quality has been maintained.

Peas are not what they were because they are so immensely better. While
the powers of the plant have been concentrated, with the result that it
occupies less room and occasions less trouble, its productiveness has
been augmented and the quality improved. All the pulse tribe have shared
in the advance, and a comparison of any dozen or score of the favourite
sorts of Peas or Beans grown to-day with the same number of favourites
of half or even a quarter of a century since will at once prove that
progress in horticulture is no dream of the enthusiast.

Among the Brassicas, such as Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage and
Cauliflower, a series of remarkable examples might be mentioned; and
roots such as Beet, Carrot, Onion, Radish and Turnip afford other
striking instances of improvement. Salads also, including Celery,
Chicory, Endive and Lettuce, have participated in the beneficial change
and offer a large choice of dainties, adapted to various periods of the
year. Indeed it may be truly said that none of the occupants of the
vegetable garden have refused to be improved by scientific crossing and
selection.

The vegetables which are available for daily use offer a wide and most
interesting field to the expert in selecting and hybridising. For past
achievements we are indebted to the untiring labours of specialists, and
to their continued efforts we look for further results. Whether the
future may have in store greater changes than have already been
witnessed none can tell. One thing only is certain, that finality is
unattainable, and the knowledge of this fact adds to the charm of a
fascinating pursuit. Happily, innovations are no longer received with
the suspicion or hostility they formerly encountered. In gardens
conducted with a spirit of enterprise novelties are welcome and have an
impartial trial. The prudent gardener will regard these sowings as
purely experimental, made for the express purpose of ascertaining
whether better crops can be secured in future years. For his principal
supplies he will rely on those varieties which experience has proved to
be suitable for the soil and adapted to the requirements of the
household he has to serve. By growing the best of everything, and
growing everything well, not only is the finest produce insured in
abundance, but every year the garden presents new features of interest.

In considering the general order of work in the Kitchen Garden, the
first principle is that its productive powers shall be taxed to the
utmost. There need be no fallowing--no resting of the ground; and if it
should so happen that by hard cropping perplexity arises about the
disposal of produce, the proverbial three courses are open--to sell, to
give, or to dig the stuff in as manure. The last-named course will pay
well, especially in the disposal of the remains of Cabbage, Kale,
Turnips, and other vegetables that have stood through the winter and
occupy ground required for spring seeds. Bury them in trenches, and sow
Peas, Beans, &c., over them, and in due time full value will be obtained
for the buried crops and the labour bestowed upon them. But hard
cropping implies abundant manuring and incessant stirring of the soil.
To take much off and put little on is like burning the candle at both
ends, or expecting the whip to be an efficient substitute for corn when
the horse has extra work to do. Dig deep always: if the soil be shallow
it is advisable to turn the top spit in the usual manner, and break up
the subsoil thoroughly for another twelve or fifteen inches. Where the
soil is deep and the staple good, trench a piece every year two spits
deep, the autumn being the best time for this work, because of the
immense benefit which results from the exposure of newly turned soil to
rain, snow, frost, and the rest of Nature's great army of fertilising
agencies.

In practical work there is nothing like method. Crop the ground
systematically, as if an account of the procedure had to be laid before
a committee of severe critics. Constantly forecast future work and the
disposition of the ground for various crops, keeping in mind the
proportions they should bear to each other. Be particular to have a
sufficiency of the flavouring and garnishing herbs always ready and near
at hand. These are sometimes wanted suddenly, and in a well-ordered
garden it should not be difficult to gather a tuft of Parsley in the
dark. Change crops from place to place, so as to avoid growing the same
things on the same plots in two successive seasons. This rule, though of
great importance, cannot be strictly followed, and may be disregarded to
a certain extent where the land is constantly and heavily manured. It
is, however, of more consequence in connection with the Potato than with
aught else, and this valuable root should, if possible, be grown on a
different plot every year, so that it shall be three or four years in
travelling round the garden. Lastly, sow everything in drills at the
proper distances apart. Broadcasting is a slovenly mode of sowing, and
necessitates slovenly cultivation afterwards. When crops are in drills
they can be efficiently thinned, weeded and hoed--in other words, they
can be cultivated. But broadcasting pretty well excludes the cultivator
from the land, and can only be commended to the idle man, who will be
content with half a crop of poor quality, while the land may be capable
of producing a crop at once the heaviest and the best.

==GLOBE ARTICHOKE==

==Cynara Scolymus==

The Globe Artichoke is grown mainly for the sake of its flower-heads
which make a delightful dish when cooked while immature. The plant is
easily raised from seed, although not quite hardy in some districts. It
will grow on almost any soil, but for the production of large fleshy
heads, deep rich ground is requisite. The preparation of the soil should
be liberal, and apart from the use of animal manure the plant may be
greatly aided by wood-ashes and seaweed, for it is partial to saline
manures, its home being the sandy seashores of Northern Africa.

The simplest routine of cultivation consists in sowing annually, and
allowing each plantation to stand to the close of the second season.
Seed may be sown in February in boxes of light soil, or in the open
ground in March or April. In the former case, put in the seeds one inch
deep and four inches apart, and start them in gentle heat. Grow on the
seedlings steadily, and thoroughly harden off preparatory to planting
out at the end of April, giving each a space of three to four feet apart
each way. Under favourable conditions the plants from the February
sowing will produce heads in the following August, September, and
October. In the second year, the heads will be formed during June and
July. This arrangement not only insures a supply of heads from June to
October, but admits of a more effective rotation of crops in the garden.

Sowings in the open ground should be made in March or April, in drills
one foot apart. Thin out the plants to six inches apart in the rows and
allow them to stand until the following spring, when they may be
transplanted to permanent beds.

Globe Artichokes may also be grown from suckers planted out in April
when about nine inches high. Put them in rather deep, tread in firmly,
and lay on any rough mulch that may be handy. Should the weather be dry
they will require watering, and during a hot dry spell water and liquid
manure should be given freely to insure a good supply of large heads.
Seedlings that are started well in a suitable bed take better care of
themselves than do plants from suckers, especially in a dry season.
Vigorous seedlings send down their roots to a great depth.

To advise on weeding and hoeing for the promotion of a clean and strong
growth should be needless, because all crops require such attention.
But as to the production of large heads, a few words of advice may be
useful. It is the practice with some growers to twist a piece of wire
round the stem about three inches below the head. This certainly does
tend to increase the size, but the same end may be accomplished by other
means. In the first place, a rich deep bed and abundant supplies of
water will encourage the growth of fine heads. Further aid in the same
direction will be derived from the removal of all the lateral heads that
appear when they are about as large as an egg. Up to this stage they do
not tax the energies of the plants in any great degree; but as the
flowers are forming within them their demands increase rapidly. Their
removal, therefore, has an immediate effect on the main heads, and these
attain to large dimensions without the aid of wire. The small heads will
be valued at many tables for eating raw, as they are eaten in Italy, or
cooked as 'artichauts frits.' The larger main heads are the best for
serving boiled in the usual way. After the heads are used the plants
should be cut down.

==Chards== are the blanched summer growth of Globe Artichokes, and are by
many preferred to blanched Cardoons. In the early part of July the
plants selected for Chards must be cut over about six inches above the
ground. In a few days after this operation they will need a copious
watering, which should be repeated weekly, except when heavy rains
occur. By the end of September the plants will have made much growth and
be ready for blanching. Draw them together, put a band of hay or straw
around them, and earth them up, finishing the work neatly. The blanching
will take fully six weeks, during which time there will be but little
growth made--hence the necessity for promoting free growth before
earthing up. Any Chards not used before winter sets in may be lifted and
preserved by packing in sand in a dry shed.

The Artichoke is hardy on dry soils when the winter is of only average
severity. But on retentive soils, which are most favourable to the
production of fine heads, a severe winter will destroy the plantations
unless they have some kind of protection. The usual course of procedure
is to cut down the stems and large leaves without touching the smaller
central leaves, and, when severe frost appears probable, partially earth
up the rows with soil taken from between; this protection is
strengthened by the addition of light dry litter loosely thrown over.
With the return of spring the litter is removed, the earth is dug back,
and all the suckers but about three removed: then a liberal dressing of
manure is dug in, care being taken to do as little injury to the plants
above and below ground as possible. At the end of five years a
plantation will be quite worn out; in somewhat poor soil it will be
exhausted in three years. But on any kind of soil the cultivation of
this elegant vegetable is greatly simplified by sowing annually, and
allowing the plants to stand for two years only, as already advised.


==JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE==

==Helianthus tuberosus==

The Jerusalem Artichoke is a member of the Sunflower tribe, quite hardy,
and productive of wholesome roots that are in favour with many as a
delicacy, and by others are regarded as worthless. It is said that wise
men learn to eat every good thing the earth produces, and this root is a
good thing when properly served; but when cooked in the same way as a
Potato it certainly is a very poor vegetable indeed. It is a matter of
some interest, however, that in respect of nutritive value it is about
equal to the Potato; therefore, in growing it for domestic use nothing
is lost in the way of food, though it needs to be cooked in a different
way.

The Jerusalem Artichoke will grow anywhere; indeed, it will often yield
a profitable return on land which is unsuitable for any other crop, but
to insure a fine sample it requires a deep friable loam and an open
situation. We have grown immense crops on a strong deep clay, but it is
not a clay plant, because it soon suffers from any excess of moisture.
To prepare the ground well for this crop is a matter of importance, for
it roots freely and makes an immense top-growth, reaching, when very
vigorous, a height of ten or twelve feet. Trench and manure in autumn,
and leave the land rough for the winter. Plant in February or March,
using whole or cut sets with about three eyes to each, and put them in
trenches six inches deep and three feet apart, the sets being one foot
apart in the trenches. When the plants appear, hoe the ground between,
draw a little fine earth to the stems, and leave the rest to Nature.
Take up a portion of the crop in November and store in sand and dig the
remainder when wanted, as recommended in the case of Parsnips. The
tubers must be dug with a fork by opening trenches and cleaning out
every scrap of the roots, for whatever remains will grow and become
troublesome in the following season.


==ASPARAGUS==

==Asparagus officinalis==

Asparagus is a liliaceous plant of perennial duration, and it demands
more generous treatment than the majority of Kitchen Garden crops. Under
favourable conditions it improves with age to such an extent as to
justify the best possible cultivation. Plantations that have stood and
prospered for twenty or even thirty years are not uncommon, but a fair
average term is ten years, after which it is generally advisable to
break up a bed, the precaution being first taken to secure a succession
bed on fresh soil well prepared for the purpose. Plantations are made
either by sowing seeds or from transplanted roots; and although roots
are extremely sensitive when moved, success can, as a rule, be insured
by special care and prompt action, assuming that the proper time of year
is chosen for the operation. The advantage of using roots is the saving
of time, and in most gardens this is an important consideration.
Fortunately roots may be planted almost as safely when two or three
years old as at one year.

==Soil.==--Asparagus will grow in any soil that is well cultivated; a deep
rich sandy loam being especially suitable. Calcareous soil is by no
means unfavourable to Asparagus; still, a sand rich in humus is not the
less to be desired, as the finest samples of European growth are the
produce of the districts around Paris and Brussels. The London
Asparagus, which is prized by many for its full flavour and tenderness,
is for the most part grown near at hand, in deep alluvial soils enriched
with abundance of manure. Nature gives us the key to every secret that
concerns our happiness, and on the cultivation of Asparagus she is
liberal in her teaching. The plant is found growing wild on the sandy
coasts of the British Islands--a proof that it loves sand and salt.

==Preparation of Ground.==--The routine cultivation must begin with a
thorough preparation of the ground. Efficient drainage is imperative,
for stagnant water in the subsoil is fatal to the plant. But a rich loam
does not need the extravagant manuring that has been recommended and
practised. Deep digging and, where the subsoil is good, trenching may be
recommended, but an average manuring will suffice, because Asparagus can
be effectually aided by annual top-dressings, and proper surface culture
is of great importance in the subsequent stages. It is necessary to
choose an open spot for the plantation. Preparation of the ground
should commence in the autumn and be continued through the winter, a
heavy dressing of half-rotten stable manure being put on in the first
instance, and trenched in two feet deep. In the course of a month the
whole piece should be trenched back. If labour is at command a third
trenching may be done with advantage, and the surface may be left ridged
up until the time arrives to level it for seeding. It will be obvious
that this routine is of a somewhat costly character, but we are
supposing the plantation is to remain for many years, making an abundant
return for the first investment. Still we are bound to say that a
capital supply for a moderate table may be obtained by preparing a piece
of good ground in an open situation in a quite ordinary manner with one
deep digging in winter, adding at the time some six inches or so of fat
stable manure, and leaving it thus until the time arrives for sowing the
seed. Then it will be well to level down and point in, half a spade
deep, a thin coat of decayed manure to make a nice kindly seed-bed.

Where soil known to be unsuitable, such as a damp clay or pasty loam,
has to be prepared for Asparagus, it will be found an economical
practice to remove the top spit, which we will suppose to be turf or old
cultivated soil, and on the space so cleared make up a bed of the best
possible materials at command. Towards this mixture there is the top
spit just referred to. Add any available lime rubbish from destroyed
buildings, sand, peat, leaf-mould, surface soil raked from the rear of
the shrubberies, &c., and the result should be a good compost obtained
at an almost nominal cost.

==Size of Bed, and Sowing Seed.==--At this juncture several questions of
considerable importance arise. And first, whether the crop shall be
grown on the flat or in raised beds. Where the soil is sufficiently
deep, and the drainage perfect, the flat system answers well. The
advantages of raised beds are that they deepen the soil, assist the
drainage, promote warmth, and thus aid the growth of an early crop. In
fact, raised beds render it possible to grow Asparagus on soils from
which this vegetable could not otherwise be obtained. The preparation is
the same in either case, and therefore we shall make no further allusion
to flat beds, but leave those to adopt them who find their soil and
requirements suitable. Now comes the question of distance, on which
depends the width of the beds. The first point may be settled by the
measure of the plant, and the second by the measure of the man. Monster
sticks are valued at some tables, and we shall refer to these later on,
but an abundant crop of handsome, though not abnormal, Asparagus meets
the requirements of most households. After many experiments, we have
come to the conclusion that the best mode of insuring a full return of
really good sticks, with the least amount of labour, is to lay out the
land in three-feet beds, with two-feet alleys between. In some
instances, no doubt, five-feet beds, containing three rows of roots, one
down the middle and one on each side at a distance of eighteen inches,
are preferable. For the majority of gardens, however, the three-feet bed
is a distinct advantage, were it only for the fact that all excuse for
putting a foot on the bed is avoided. On this narrow bed only two rows
of plants will be necessary. Put down the line at nine inches from the
edge on both sides, and at intervals of fifteen inches in the rows
dibble holes two inches deep, dropping two or three seeds in each. This
will give a distance between the rows of eighteen inches. In very strong
land, heavily manured, the holes may be eighteen inches apart instead of
fifteen. April is the right month for sowing.

==Thinning.==--When the 'grass' from seeds has grown about six inches
high, only the strongest plant must be left at each station, and they
should finally stand at a distance of fifteen or eighteen inches in the
row. Much of the injury reported to follow from close planting has been
the result of carelessness in thinning. The young plant is such a
slender, delicate thing, that, to the thoughtless operator, it seems
folly to thin down to one only. The consequence is that two or three, or
perhaps half a dozen, plants are left at each station to 'fight it out,'
and these become so intermixed as to appear to be one, though really
many, and of course amongst them they produce more shoots than can be
fed properly by the limited range of their roots. Severe, or may we say
mathematical, thinning is a =sine quâ non=, and it requires sharp eyes
and careful fingers; but it must be done if the Asparagus beds are to
become, as they should be, the pride of the Kitchen Garden.

==Blanching.==--The grave question of white =versus= green Asparagus we
cannot entertain, except so far as concerns the cultivator only. On the
point of taste, therefore, we say nothing; and it is a mere matter of
management whether the sticks are blanched to the very tip, or allowed
to become green for some few inches. Blanching is effected in various
ways. The heaping up of soft soil, such as leaf-mould, will accomplish
it. On the Continent many contrivances are resorted to, such as covering
the heads with wooden or earthen pipes. In a few districts in France
champagne-bottles with the bottoms cut away are employed. But a strong
growth being secured, the cultivator will find it an easy matter to
regulate the degree of colour according to the requirements of the table
he has to serve. As a rule, a moderately stout growth, with a fair show
of purple colour, is everywhere appreciated, and is the easiest to
produce, because the most natural.

There is, however, an interesting point in connection with the
production of green Asparagus, and it is that if wintry weather prevails
when the heads are rising (as unfortunately is often the case) the
tender green tops may be melted by frost and become worthless, or may be
rendered so tough as to place the quality below that of blanched
Asparagus; for the blanching is also a protective process, and quickly
grown white Asparagus is often more tender and tasty than that which is
green, but has been grown slowly. As the season advances and the heads
rise rapidly the green Asparagus acquires its proper flavour and
tenderness, and thus practical considerations should more or less
influence final decisions on matters of taste. The business of the
cultivator is to produce the kind of growth that is required, whether
white or green, or of a quality intermediate between the two. This is
easily done, making allowance for conditions. When green Asparagus is
alone in demand, the cultivator may be advised to have in readiness, as
the heads are making their first show, a sufficient supply of some rough
and cheap protecting material, such as grass and coarse weeds, cut with
a sickle from odd corners of the shrubbery and meadow land, or clean hay
and straw perfectly free from mildew; but for obvious reasons stable
litter should not be used. A very light sprinkling of material over an
Asparagus bed that is making a first show of produce will ward off the
morning frosts, and amply compensate for the little trouble in saving
many tender green sticks that the frosts would melt to a jelly and
render worthless. After the second or third week in May the litter may
be removed if needful; but if appearances are of secondary importance,
it may be left to shrink away on the spot.

==Cutting.==--Asparagus as supplied by market growers is needlessly long
in the stem. The bundles have an imposing appearance, no doubt, but the
useless length adds nothing to the comfort of those at table, and is a
wasteful tax on the energy of the plant. For home consumption it will
generally suffice if the white portion is about four inches long, and
this determines the depth at which the sticks should be cut. Here it may
be useful to remark that deeply buried roots do not thrive so well as
those which are nearer the surface, nor do they produce such early
crops. The sticks are usually cut by thrusting down a stiff
narrow-pointed knife, or specially made saw, close to each shoot; and it
is necessary to do this with judgment, or adjacent shoots, which are not
sufficiently advanced to reveal their presence by lifting the soil, may
be damaged. To avoid this risk of injury by the knife it is possible
from some beds to obtain the sticks without the aid of any implement by
a twist and pull combined, but the process needs a dexterous hand and is
impracticable in tenacious soils. The sticks of a handsome sample will
be white four or five inches of their length; the tops close, plump, of
a purplish-green colour, and the colour extending two or at most three
inches down the stems. Both size and degree of colouring are, however,
so entirely questions of taste that no definite rule can be stated. It
is more to the purpose to say that, if liberally grown, the plant may be
cut from in the third year; and that cutting should cease about the
middle of June, or early in July, according to the district. For the
good of the plant the sooner cutting ceases the better, as the next
year's buds have to be formed in the roots by the aid of the top-growth
of the current season.

==Weeding and Staking.==--Two other points relating to the general
management are worthy of attention. Some crops get on fairly well when
neglected and crowded with weeds. Not so with Asparagus. The plant
appears to have been designed to enjoy life in solitude, being unfit for
competition; and if weeds make way in an Asparagus bed, the cultivator
will pay a heavy penalty for his neglect of duty. The limitation of the
beds to a width of three feet, therefore, is of consequence, because it
facilitates weeding without putting a foot on them. The other point
arises out of the necessity of affording support to the frail plant in
places where it may happen to be exposed to wind. When Asparagus in high
summer is rudely shaken, the stems snap off at the base, and the roots
lose the service of the top-growth in maturing buds for the next season.
To prevent this injury is easy enough, but the precautions must be
adopted in good time. A free use of light, feathery stakes, such as are
employed for the support of Peas, thrust in firmly all over the bed,
will insure all needful support when gales are blowing. In the absence
of pea-sticks, stout stakes, placed at suitable distances and connected
with lengths of thick tarred twine, will answer equally well. In
sheltered gardens the protection of the young growth with litter, and of
the mature growth with stakes, need not be resorted to, but in exposed
situations these precautions should not be neglected.

==Manuring Permanent Beds.==--The management of Asparagus includes a
careful clean-up of the beds in autumn. The plants should not be cut
down until they change colour; then all the top-growth may be cleared
away and the surface raked clean. Give the beds a liberal dressing of
half-decayed manure, and carefully touch up the sides to make them neat
and tidy. It is usual at the same time to dig and manure the alleys, but
this practice we object to =in toto=, because it tends directly to the
production of lean sticks where fat ones are possible; for the roots run
freely in the alleys, and to dig is to destroy them. In the spring clear
the beds of the autumn dressing by raking any remnant of manure into the
alleys, and the beds and the alleys should then be carefully pricked
over with a fork two or three inches deep only, and with great care not
to wound any roots.

The application of salt requires judgment. For a time it renders the bed
cold, and when followed by snow the two combine to make a freezing
mixture which arrests the growth of established plants. On a newly made
bed salt is unnecessary, and may prove destructive to the roots. The
proper time for applying salt must be determined by the district and the
character of the season; but in no case should the mineral be used until
active growth has commenced, although it is not needful to wait until
the growth is visible above the surface. In the southern counties a
suitable opportunity may generally be found from the beginning to the
middle of April. Second and third dressings may follow at intervals of
three weeks, which not only stimulate the roots but keep down weeds.

==Planting Roots.==--In many gardens where there is space for two or three
beds only there will be the very natural desire to secure Asparagus in a
shorter time than is possible from seed, and we therefore proceed to
indicate the best method of planting roots. Asparagus roots do not take
kindly to removal, especially old and established plants. The mere
drying of the roots by exposure to the atmosphere is distinctly
injurious to them. They will travel safely a long distance when well
packed, but the critical time is between the unpacking and getting them
safely into their final home. Everything should be made ready for the
transfer before the package is opened, and the actual task of planting
should be accomplished in the shortest time possible.

A three-feet bed should be prepared by taking out the soil in such a
manner as to leave two ridges for the roots. The space between ridges to
be eighteen inches, and the tops of the ridges to be so far below the
level of the bed that when the soil is returned, and the bed made to
its normal level, the crowns will be about five inches beneath the
surface. This may be understood from the following illustration of a
section cut across the bed.

[Illustration]

A, A represent the alleys between the beds, and B the top of one bed.
The dotted lines show the ridges on which the roots are to rest at C, C.
When the bed is ready, open the package and place the Asparagus on the
ridges at fifteen or eighteen inches apart, allowing about half the
roots of each plant to fall down on either side of the ridge. As a rule
it will be wise to have two pairs of hands engaged in the task. The soil
should be filled in expeditiously, and a finishing touch be given to the
bed. Very rarely will it be safe to transplant Asparagus until the end
of March or beginning of April, for although established roots will pass
unharmed through a very severe winter, those which have recently been
removed are often killed outright by a lengthened period of cold wet
weather, and especially by thawed snow followed by frost.

==Giant Asparagus.==--Some of the most critical judges of Asparagus in the
country are extremely partial to giant sticks. Their preference is not
based on mere superiority in size, but on the special flavour which is
the peculiar merit of these extra-large Asparagus when they are properly
grown. Although there is no difficulty whatever in producing them, it
must be admitted that to insure specimens weighing nearly or quite half
a pound, plenty of space must be allowed for the full development of
each plant and a prodigal use of manure is imperative. Where drainage is
effectual, the soil of any well-tilled garden can be made suitable. The
roots may be grown in clumps or in rows. Clumps are planted in
triangular form, two feet being allowed between the three plants of each
group, with a distance of five feet between the groups. The more usual
method, however, is to plant in rows. In both cases the cultural details
are almost identical, and to obtain the finest results it is wise to get
the preparatory work done at convenient times in advance of the planting
season. Assuming that rows are decided on, commence operations by
digging a broad deep trench, throwing out the soil to the right and left
to form sloping sides until there is a perpendicular depth of
twenty-seven inches from the top of the ridge. About one foot of
prepared soil should be placed in the bottom of the trench. This may be
composed of such material as the trimmings of hedges, sweepings of
shrubberies, twigs from a faggot pile, wood ashes and leaf-mould. The
constituents must to some extent depend on the materials at command.
What is wanted is a light compost, consisting almost wholly of vegetable
matter in a more or less advanced state of decomposition. Add three or
four inches of rich loam, and on this, at the beginning of April, plant
strong one-year roots of a robust-growing variety. Between the plants it
is customary to allow a space of at least two feet, and some growers put
them a full yard apart. Cover the crowns with three inches of rich soil,
previously mixed with manure and laid up for the purpose. The second and
following rows are to be treated in the same way, and the work must be
so managed that an equal distance of four and a half or five feet is
left between the rows. When the foliage dies down in autumn, a layer of
fertile loam mixed with rotten manure should be spread over the surface.
In the succeeding spring remove just the top crust of soil and give a
thick dressing of decayed manure alone, upon which the soil can be
restored. During the autumn of the second year the furrow must be filled
with horse manure for the winter. Remove this manure in March, and
substitute good loam containing a liberal admixture of decayed manure
previously incorporated with the soil. The slight ridges that remain can
then be levelled down. By this treatment large handsome sticks of
Asparagus may be cut in the third year. To maintain the plants in a high
state of efficiency, it must be clearly understood that forcing with
horse manure will be necessary every subsequent year. Blanching may be
carried out by any of the usual methods, and Sea Kale pots are both
convenient and effectual. Not a weed should be visible on the beds at
any time.

==Forcing== is variously practised, and the best possible system,
doubtless, is to force in the beds, and thereby train the plants to
their work so that they become used to it. The growers who supply Paris
with forced Asparagus produce the white sample in the beds, and the
green by removal of the roots to frames. Forcing in beds may be
accomplished by means of trenches filled with fermenting material or by
hot-water pipes, the beds in either case being covered with frames.
Where the demand for forced Asparagus is constant, there can be no doubt
the hot-water system is the cheapest as well as the cleanest and most
reliable; for a casual supply forcing in frames answers very well, but
it is attended with the disadvantage that when the crop has been secured
the roots are worthless. The practice of forcing may be said to commence
with the formation of the seed-bed, for if it is to be carried on in a
systematic and profitable manner, every detail must be provided for in
the original arrangements. The width of the beds and of the alleys, and
the disposition of the plants, will have to be carefully considered, so
as to insure the best results of a costly procedure, and it will be
waste of time to begin forcing until the plants have attained their
fourth year. The rough method of market growers consists in the
employment of hot manure in trenches, and also on the beds, after the
frames are put on. The beds are usually four feet wide, the alleys two
feet wide and twenty inches deep, and the plants not more than nine
inches apart in the row, there being three or four rows of plants in the
bed. The frames are put on when forcing commences, but the lights are
withheld until the shoots begin to appear. Then the fermenting material
is removed from the beds, the lights are put on, and no air is given,
mats being added in cold weather, both to retain warmth and promote
blanching. This method produces a fair market sample, but a much better
growth may be obtained by a good hot-water system, as will be understood
from a momentary consideration of details. By the employment of
fermenting material the temperature runs up rapidly, sometimes
extravagantly, so that it is no uncommon event for the growth to
commence at 70° to 80° Fahr., which may produce a handsome sample, but
it will be flavourless. The hot-water system allows of perfect control,
and the prudent grower will begin at 50°, rise slowly to 60°, and take
care not to exceed 65°; the result will be a sample full of flavour,
with a finer appearance than the best obtainable by the rougher method.

Forcing in frames is systematically practised in many gardens, and as it
exhausts the roots there must be a corresponding production of roots for
the purpose. The first requisite is a good lasting hot-bed, covered with
about four inches of light soil of any kind, but preferably leaf-mould.
The roots are carefully lifted and planted as closely as possible on
this bed, and covered with fine soil to a depth of six inches. The
sashes are then put on and kept close; but a little air may be given as
the heads rise, to promote colour and flavour. The heat will generally
run to 70°, and that figure should be the maximum allowed. Experienced
growers prefer to force at 60° or 65°, and to take a little more time
for the advantage of a finer sample.


==BROAD BEAN==

==Faba vulgaris==

The Broad Bean is a thrifty plant, as hardy as any in the garden, and
very accommodating as to soil. It is quite at home on heavy land, but in
common with nearly all other vegetables it thrives on a deep sandy loam.
Considering the productive nature of the plant and its comparatively
brief occupation of the ground, the common Bean must be regarded as one
of our most profitable garden crops. Both the Longpod and Windsor
classes should be grown. For general work the Longpods are invaluable;
they are early, thoroughly hardy, produce heavy crops, and in appearance
and flavour satisfy the world at large, as may be proved by appeal to
the markets. The Windsor Beans are especially prized for their superior
quality, being tender, full of flavour, and, if well managed, most
tempting in colour when put upon the table.

==For early crops== the Longpods claim attention, and sowings may be made
towards the end of October or during November on a dry soil in a warm
situation, sheltered from the north. Choose a dry day for the operation.
On no account should the attempt be made while the soil conditions are
unfavourable, even if the sowing is thereby deferred for some time. The
distance must depend upon the sorts, but two feet will answer generally
as the distance between the double rows; the two lines forming the
double rows may be nine inches apart, and the seed two inches deep. On
strong ground a distance of three feet can be allowed between the double
rows, but it is not well to give overmuch space, because the plants
protect each other somewhat, and earliness of production is the matter
of chief moment. Thoroughly consolidate the soil to encourage sturdy
hard growth which will successfully withstand the excessive moisture and
cold of winter. It is an excellent practice to prepare a piece of good
ground sloping to the south, and on this to make a plantation in
February of plants carefully lifted from the seed rows, wherever they
can be spared as proper thinnings. These should be put in double rows,
three feet apart. If transplanted with care they will receive but a
slight check, and will give a successional supply.

==Main Crops.==--Another sowing may be made towards the end of January,
but for the main crop wait until February or March. For succession crops
sowings may be made until mid-April, after which time there is risk of
failure, especially on hot soils. A strong soil is suitable, and
generally speaking a heavy crop of Beans may be taken from a
well-managed clay. But any deep cool soil will answer, and where there
is a regular demand for Beans the cultivator may be advised to grow both
Longpods and Windsors--the first for earliness and bulk, the second for
quality. The double rows of maincrop Beans should be fully three feet
apart, and the plants quite nine inches apart in the rows. The
preparation of the seed-bed must be of a generous nature. Where grass
land or land of questionable quality is broken up and trenched, it will
be tolerably safe to crop it with Beans as a first start; and to prepare
it for the crop a good body of fat stable manure should be laid in
between the first and second spits, as this will carry the crop through,
while insuring to the subsoil that has been brought up a time of
seasoning with the least risk of any consequent loss.

There is not much more to be said about growing Beans; the ground must
be kept clean, and the hoe will have its work here as elsewhere. The
pinching out of the tops as soon as there is a fair show of blossom is a
good plan, whether fly is visible or not, and it is also advisable to
root out all plants as fast as they finish their work, for if left they
throw up suckers and exhaust the soil. The gathering of the crop is
often so carelessly performed that the supply is suddenly arrested.

==Sowings under Glass.==--In an emergency, Beans may be started in pots in
the greenhouse, or on turf sods in frames for planting out, in precisely
the same way as Peas for early crops. This practice is convenient in
cases where heavy water-logged ground precludes outdoor sowing in autumn
and early spring. In all such cases care must be taken that the forcing
is of the most moderate character, or the crop will be poor and late,
instead of being plentiful and early. When pushed on under glass for
planting out, the young stock must have as much light and air as
possible consistent with safety, and a slow healthy growth will better
answer the purpose than a rapid growth producing long legs and pale
leaves, because the physique of infancy determines in a great degree
that of maturity, not less in plants than in animals.


==DWARF FRENCH BEAN==

==Phaseolus vulgaris==

Among summer vegetables Dwarf French Beans are deservedly in high
favour, and are everywhere sown at the earliest moment consistent with
reasonable expectations of their safety. This early sowing is altogether
laudable, for although it occasionally entails the loss of a plantation,
the aggregate result is advantageous, and a very little protection
suffices to carry the early plant through the late spring frosts. But
those who supply our tables with green delicacies do not all recognise
the importance of late sowings of Dwarf Beans. Here, again, a risk must
be incurred, but the cost is trifling, and when the summer is prolonged
to October the late-sown Beans are highly prized. Even if they produce
plentifully through September there is a great point gained, but that
cannot be secured from the earliest sowings; it is impossible. After
July it is useless to sow Beans, but where the demand is constant, two
or three sowings may be made in this month, choosing the most sheltered
nooks that can be found for them. For late sowings the earliest sorts
should have preference.

Dwarf Beans for main crops require a good though somewhat light soil;
but any fairly productive loam will answer the purpose, and the crop
will yield an ample return for such reasonable digging and dressing as a
careful cultivator will not fail to bestow. At the same time, it is a
matter of some practical importance that the poorest land ever put under
tillage will, in an average season, yield serviceable crops of these
legumes, and on a rich soil of some depth the Dwarf Bean will endure
summer drought better than any other crop in the Kitchen Garden.
Earliness of production is of the highest importance up to a certain
point; but an early crop being provided for, abundance of production
next claims consideration, the heaviest bearers being of course best
adapted for main-crop sowing. As regards the sowing and general culture,
it is too often true that Dwarf Beans are crowded injuriously, even in
gardens that are usually well managed. Nothing is gained by crowding. On
the contrary, loss always ensues when the individual plant, through
deficiency of space, is hindered in its full development.

==For early crops== which are eventually to come to maturity in the open
ground, the first sowings may be made in the month of April, either in
boxes in a gentle heat, or better still in a frame on a sunny border
without artificial heat. In districts where frost frequently prevails in
May, and on heavy soils where early sowings outdoors are impracticable
in a wet spring, the forwarding of plants under glass is very desirable,
but the actual date for sowing must depend on local conditions. The
tender growth that is produced by a forcing process is not well adapted
for planting out in May; but a plant produced slowly, with plenty of
light and air, will be stout and strong, and if put out with care as
soon as mild weather occurs in May, will make good progress and yield an
early crop. The seed for this purpose should be sown in rather light
turfy soil, as the plants may then be lifted without injury to their
fleshy roots. Careful treatment will be desirable for some time after
they are planted, such as protection from sun and frost, and watering,
if necessary, although the less watering the better, provided the plants
can hold their ground. The plot to which these early sowings are to be
transplanted should be light and rich, and lying towards the sun; open
the lines with the spade or hoe in preference to using the dibber, and
as fast as the roots are dropped into their places with their balls of
earth unbroken, carefully restore the fine soil from the surface. Rough
handling will seriously interfere with the ultimate result, but ordinary
care will insure abundant gatherings of first-class produce at a time
when there are but few in the market. On dry soils a small sowing may be
made about the second week of April on a sheltered south border. Sow in
double rows six inches apart, and allow a distance of two feet between
the double rows. When the seedlings appear give protection if necessary,
and in due course thin the plants to six inches apart in the rows.

==Main crops== are sown from the last week in April to the middle of June.
The distance for the rows may be from one and a half to two feet apart,
according to the vigour of the variety, the strongest growers requiring
fully two feet, and the distance between the plants may be eight to
twelve inches; therefore it is well to sow the seed two to three inches
apart, and thin out as soon as the rough leaves appear. The ground being
in fairly good condition, it will only be necessary to chop over the
surface, if at all lumpy, and with the hoe draw drills about two inches
deep, which is far better than dibbling, except on very light soil, when
dibbling about three inches deep is quite allowable. Generally speaking,
if the plot be kept clean, the Beans will take care of themselves; but
in droughty weather a heavy watering now and then will be visibly
beneficial, for although the plant bears drought well, it is like other
good things in requiring something to live upon. In exposed situations
and where storms are prevalent, it is an excellent practice to support
the plants with bushy twigs.

==Late Crops.==--To extend the outdoor supply sowings may be made early in
July. When the ground has become dry and hard, it is advisable to soak
the seed in water for five or six hours; the drills should also be
watered, and, if possible, the ground should be covered with rotten
dung, spent hops, or some other mulchy stuff to promote and sustain
vegetation.

==The gathering of the crop== should be a matter of discipline. Where it
is done carelessly, there will very soon be none to gather, for the
swelling of a few seeds in neglected pods will cause the plants to cease
bearing. Therefore all the Beans should be gathered when of a proper
size, whether they are wanted or not; this is the only way to insure a
long-continued supply of good quality both as to colour and tenderness.

==Autumn, Winter and Spring Supplies.==--By successional sowings under
glass a continuous supply of Beans may be obtained through autumn,
winter, and spring. The earliest sowings should be made at fortnightly
intervals, from mid-July to mid-September, in cold frames filled with
well-manured soil. Put in the seeds two inches deep and six inches
apart, in rows one foot apart. Water copiously during the hot months and
give protection when the nights become cold. After mid-September crops
of dwarf-growing varieties should be raised in heated pits, or in pots
placed in a warm temperature. In pits the beds should be one foot deep,
the drills one foot apart, and the plants six inches asunder in the
rows. When pots are used the ten-inch size will be found most
convenient. Only three-parts fill the pots with a good compost, and
insure perfect drainage. Place eight or nine beans one and a half inches
deep in each pot, eventually reducing the number of plants to five. As
the plants progress soil may be added to within an inch and a half of
the rims. Air-giving and watering will need careful management, for the
most robust growth possible is required, but there must be no chill, and
any excess of either moisture or dryness will be immediately injurious.
When a few pods are formed feed the plants with alternate applications
of soot water and liquid manure, commencing with highly diluted doses.
Thoroughly syringe the plants twice daily to combat Red Spider. At night
a temperature of from 55° to 60° must be maintained. In mid-February
sowings may be made in frames in which six inches of fertile soil has
been placed over a good layer of litter or leaves. From these sowings
heavy crops may be secured in spring and early summer before the outdoor
supplies are ready.

==Flageolets== is the name given to the seeds of certain types of Dwarf
and Climbing Beans when used in a state intermediate between the green
pods (=Haricots verts=) and the fully ripe seeds (=Haricots secs=), and
they are strongly to be recommended for culinary purposes. The use of
Bean seeds as =Flageolets=, although so little known in this country, is
very largely practised abroad, and in the vegetable markets of many
French towns the shelling of the beans from the semi-ripe pods by women,
in readiness for cooking in the manner of green peas, is a very familiar
sight. The seeds of almost all varieties are suitable for use in this
way, irrespective of colour, as this is not developed as would be the
case if the seeds were quite ripe.


==CLIMBING FRENCH BEAN==

The Climbing French Bean has all the merits of the Dwarf French Bean,
and the climbing habit not only extends the period of bearing but
results in a yield such as cannot be obtained from the most prolific
strains in the Dwarf section. Although the modern Climbing Bean is less
vigorous in growth than the ordinary Runner, the former may generally be
had in bearing before the most forward crop of Runners is ready. For an
early supply out of doors seed should be sown under glass in April, in
the manner advised for early crops of the Dwarf class. Gradually harden
off the plants and transfer to permanent quarters on the first
favourable opportunity. In the open ground successive sowings may be
made from the end of April to June. The outdoor culture of Climbing
French Beans is practically the same as for the Dwarf varieties, except
that the former are usually grown in double rows about four to five feet
apart. Allow the plants to stand finally at nine to twelve inches each
way, and support them with bushy sticks such as are used for Peas, for
Climbing Beans will run far more readily on these than on single sticks.

The Climbing French Bean is especially useful for producing crops under
glass in spring and autumn, and the plants do well when grown in narrow
borders with the vines trained close to the roof-glass by means of wire
or string to which the growth readily clings. The general treatment may
be much the same as that recommended for the Dwarf varieties, special
care being taken with regard to watering and the giving of air. During
the autumn months atmospheric moisture must be cautiously regulated or
much of the foliage will damp off, while in spring a humid atmosphere
should be maintained and systematic watering practised. Cucumber, Melon,
and Tomato beds from which the crops have been cleared may often be
used to advantage for raising a crop of Climbing Beans, and generally
these beds are in excellent condition for the plants without the
addition of manure.


==HARICOT BEAN==

Although in France the term =Haricot= is given to all types of Beans,
except those of the English Broad Bean, in this country the word
=Haricot= is generally applied only to the dried seeds of certain Dwarf
and Climbing Beans, notably those which are white. Almost any variety,
however, may be used as =Haricots=, but the most popular are those which
produce self-coloured seeds, such as white, green, and the various
shades of brown. Seed should be sown early in May and the plants treated
as advised for French Beans. The pods should not be removed from the
plants until the seeds are thoroughly ripe. If ripening cannot be
completed in the open, pull up the plants and hang them in a shed until
the seeds are quite dry.


==RUNNER BEAN==

==Phaseolus multiflorus==

Runner beans need generous cultivation and will amply repay for the most
liberal treatment. The main point to be borne in mind is that the plant
possesses the most extensive root-system of any garden vegetable. Deep
digging and liberal manuring are therefore essential where the
production of the finest crops is aimed at. If possible the whole of the
ground to be allotted to Runners should be deeply tilled and well
manured in autumn or winter. But where this is inconvenient, trenching
must be carried out in March or early April. Remove the soil to a depth
of two feet, and the trench may be two feet wide for a double row of
Beans. Thoroughly break up the subsoil, half-fill the trench with
well-rotted manure, and restore the surface soil to within a few inches
of the level.

==Time of Sowing.==--It is seldom advisable to sow Runners in the open
before the month of May is fairly in, for they are less hardy than Dwarf
Beans, but as late supplies are everywhere valued it is important to sow
again in June. Of course these late crops are subject to the caprices of
autumnal weather, although they often continue in bearing until quite
late in the season. In districts where spring frosts are destructive,
and on cold soils or in very exposed situations, plants may be raised in
boxes for transferring to the open ground, as advised for Dwarf Beans,
but in the case of Runners allow a space of three inches between the
seeds.

==Distances for Rows, &c.==--Frequently the rows of Runner Beans are
injuriously close, and the total crop is thereby diminished. On deep,
well-prepared soils, single rows generally prove most productive, and
they should be not less than five feet apart. But where the soil is
shallow and generous preparation is not possible, and in wind-swept
positions, double rows, set nine inches apart, are more satisfactory.
Between the double rows allow a space of from six to eight feet, on
which Cauliflower, Lettuce, or other small-growing subjects may be
planted out. Two inches is the proper depth for putting in the seed, and
it is a wise policy to sow liberally and eventually to thin the plants
to a distance of from nine to twelve inches apart in the rows.

==Staking.==--It will always pay to give support by stakes, but where
these are not available wire netting or strands of stout string make
efficient substitutes. Immediately the plants are a few inches high,
insert the sticks on either side of the rows and tie them firmly to the
horizontal stakes placed in the fork near to the top. The means of
support should be decided upon and erected in advance of planting out
Runners which have been raised in boxes, thus avoiding any risk of
injury to the roots.

But Runners make a good return when kept low by topping, and without any
support whatever, a system adopted by many market gardeners. For this
method of culture space the plants one foot apart in single rows set
three feet apart. Pinch out the tips when the plants are eighteen inches
high and repeat the operation when a further eighteen inches of growth
has formed.

==General Cultivation.==--As slugs and snails are particularly partial to
the young plants, an occasional dusting of old soot, slaked lime, or any
gritty substance should be given to render the leaves unpalatable to
these pests. During drought copious watering of the rows is essential,
especially on shallow soils; spraying the plants in the evening with
soft water is also freely practised and this assists the setting of
flowers in dry weather. A mulch of decayed manure will prove of great
benefit to the plants and will prolong the period of bearing.

In some gardens Runners are grown in groups running up rods tied
together at the top, and when these groups are arranged at regular
intervals on each side of a path, the result is extremely pleasing. This
mode of culture interferes to a very trifling extent with other crops,
and the ornamental effect may be enhanced by growing varieties which
have white, red, and bicolor flowers.

Preserving the roots of Runners is sometimes recommended. We can only
say that it is a ridiculous proceeding. The utmost care is required to
keep the roots through the winter, and they are comparatively worthless
in the end. A pint of seed will give a better crop than a number of
roots that have cost great pains for their preservation.

==Runner Beans for Exhibition==.--Although fine specimens fit for
exhibition may frequently be gathered from the general garden crop, a
little extra attention to the cultivation of Runner Beans for show work
will be well repaid. When staged the pods must possess not only the
merit of mere size, but they should be perfect in shape and quite young.
Rapid as well as robust growth is therefore essential to success. Select
the strongest-growing plants in the rows, and for a few weeks before the
pods are wanted give alternate applications of liquid manure and clear
water. Pinch out all side growths, and limit the number of pods to two
in each cluster.


==WAXPOD BEAN==

Many visitors to the Continent have learned to appreciate the fine
qualities of the Waxpod Beans, sometimes known as Butter Beans, the pods
of which are usually cooked whole. There are two types, the dwarf and
the runner, for which respectively the culture usual for Dwarf French
Beans and Runner Beans will be quite suitable.


==GARDEN BEET==

==Beta vulgaris==

As a food plant the Beet scarcely obtains the attention it deserves.
There is no lack of appreciation of its beauty for purposes of
garnishing, or of its flavour as the component of a salad; but other
uses to which it is amenable for the comfort and sustenance of man are
sometimes neglected. As a simple dish to accompany cold meats the Beet
is most acceptable. Dressed with vinegar and white pepper, it is at once
appetising, nutritive, and digestible. Served as fritters, it is by some
people preferred to Mushrooms, as it then resembles them in flavour, and
is more easily digested. It makes a first-rate pickle, and as an agent
in colouring it has a recognised value, because of the perfect
wholesomeness of the rich crimson hue it imparts to any article of food
requiring it.

==Frame Culture==.--Where the demand for Beet exists the whole year
through, early sowings in heat are indispensable. For this method of
cultivation the Globe variety should be employed, and two sowings, the
first in February and another in March, will generally provide a good
supply of roots in advance of the outdoor crops. Sow in drills on a
gentle hot-bed and thin the plants from six to nine inches apart in the
rows. As soon as the plants are large enough, give air at every suitable
opportunity. Fresh young Beets grown in this way find far more favour at
table than those which have been stored for several months. They are
also of great service for exhibition, especially in collections of early
vegetables.

==Preparation of Ground==.--The cultivation of Beet is of the most simple
nature, but a certain amount of care is requisite for the production of
a handsome and profitable crop. Beet will make a fair return on any soil
that is properly prepared for it; but to grow this root to perfection a
rich light loam is necessary, free from any trace of recent or strong
manure. A rank soil, or one to which manure has been added shortly
before sowing the seed, will produce ugly roots, some coarse with
overgrowth, others forked and therefore of little value, and others,
perhaps, cankered and worthless. The soil should be well prepared by
deep digging some time before making up the seed-bed, and it is sound
practice to grow Beet on plots that have been heavily manured in the
previous year for Cauliflower, Celery, or any other crop requiring good
cultivation. If the soil from an old Melon or Cucumber bed can be
spared, it may be spread over the land and dug in, and the piece should
be broken up in good time to become mellow before the seed is sown.
Seaweed is a capital manure for Beet, especially if laid at the bottom
of the trench when preparing the ground. A moderate dressing of salt may
be added with advantage, as the Beet is a seaside plant.

==Early Crops==.--Where frames are not available for providing early
supplies of Beetroot, forward crops may often be obtained from the open
ground by making sowings of the Globe variety from the end of March to
mid-April, in a sheltered position. Of course, the earlier the sowing
the greater the risk of destruction by frost, and birds may take the
seedlings. A double thickness of fish netting, however, stretched over
stakes about one foot above the soil, will afford protection from the
former and prevent the depredations of the latter. Set the drills about
twelve inches apart and sow the seed one and a half to two inches deep.
Thin the plants early and allow them to stand finally at nine inches in
the rows.

==Main Crop.==--The most important crop is that required for salading, for
which a deep-coloured Beet of rich flavour is to be preferred, and the
aim of the cultivator should be to obtain roots of moderate size and of
perfect shape and finish. The ground having been trenched two spades
deep early in the year, may be made up into four-and-a-half-feet beds
some time in March, preparatory to sowing the seed. The main sowing
should never be made until quite the end of April or beginning of May.
For a neat crop, sow in drills one and a half to two inches deep, and
spaced from twelve to fifteen inches apart. When finally thinned the
plants should stand about nine inches apart in the rows. Hand weeding
will have to follow soon after sowing, and perhaps the hoe may be
required to supplement the hand. The thinning should be commenced as
early as possible, but it is waste of time to plant the thinnings, and
it is equally waste of time to water the crop. In fact, if the ground is
well prepared, weeding and thinning comprise the whole remainder of the
cultivation.

Some of the smaller and more delicate Beets, of a very dark colour, may
be sown in drills a foot or fifteen inches apart and thinned to six
inches distance in the drills. We have, indeed, lifted pretty crops of
the smaller Beets at four inches, but it is not prudent to crowd the
plants, as the result will be thin roots with long necks.

On stony shallow soils, where it is difficult to grow handsome long
Beets, the Globe and Intermediate varieties may be tried with the
prospect of a satisfactory result. We have in hot seasons found these
most useful on a damp clay where fine specimens of long Beet were rarely
obtainable. From this same unkind clay it is possible to secure good
crops of long Beets, by making deep holes with a dibber a foot apart and
filling these with sandy stuff from the compost yard and sowing the seed
over them. It is a tedious process, but it benefits the land for the
next crop, and the Beets pay for it in the first instance.

==Late Crops.==--By sowing the Globe or Turnip-rooted varieties in July,
useful roots may be obtained during the autumn and winter. Space the
drills as advised for early crops. Seed may also with advantage be
thinly sown broadcast; the young plants will thus protect one another,
and the roots may be pulled as they mature.

==Lifting and Storing.==--A Beet crop may be left in the ground during the
winter if aided by a covering of litter during severe frost. But it is
safer out of the ground than in it, and the proper time to lift is when
a touch of autumn frost has been experienced. Dry earth or sand, in
sufficient quantity, should be ready for the storing, and a clamp in a
sheltered corner will answer if shed room is scarce. In any case, a dry
and cool spot is required, for damp will beget mildew, and warmth will
cause growth. In cutting off the tops before storing, take care not to
cut too near the crown, or injurious bleeding will follow. On the other
hand, the long fang-like roots may be shortened without harm, for the
slight bleeding that will occur at that end will not affect more than
the half-inch or so next to the cut part. A little experience will teach
anyone that Beets must be handled with care, or the goodness will run
out of them. Many cooks bake Beets because boiling so often spoils them;
but if they are in no way cut or bruised, and are plunged into boiling
water and kept boiling for a sufficient length of time--half an hour to
two hours, according to size--there will be but a trifling difference
between boiling and baking.

==The Silver, or Sea Kale, Beet== is grown principally for the stalk and
the midrib of the leaf, considered by some to be equal to Asparagus. In
a rank soil, with plenty of liquid manure, the growth is quick, robust,
and the plant of good quality, without the necessity of earthing up. Sow
in April and May, thinly in drills, and allow the plants eventually to
stand at about fifteen inches apart each way. The leaves should be
pulled, not cut. As the stalks often turn black in cooking, it is
advisable to add a few drops of lemon-juice to the water in which they
are boiled, and, of course, soda should never be used. They should be
served up in the same manner as Asparagus. The remainder of the leaf is
dressed as Spinach.


==BORECOLE, or KALE==

==Brassica oleracea acephala==

The Borecoles or Kales are indispensable for the supply of winter
vegetables, and their importance becomes especially manifest when severe
frost has made general havoc in the Kitchen Garden. Then it is seen that
the hardier Borecoles are proof against the lowest temperature
experienced in these islands; and, while frost leaves the plants
unharmed, it improves the tops and side sprouts that are required for
table purposes.

As regards soil, the Borecoles are the least particular of the whole
race of Brassicas. They appear to be capable of supplying the table
with winter greens even when grown on hard rocky soil, but good loam
suits them admirably, and a strong clay, well tilled, will produce a
grand sample. Granting, then, that a good soil is better than a bad one,
we urge the sowing of seed as early as possible for insuring to the
plant a long season of growth. But early sowing should be followed by
early planting, for it is bad practice to leave the plants crowded in
the seed-bed until the summer is far advanced. This, however, is often
unavoidable, and it is well to consider in time where the plants are to
go, and when, according to averages, the ground will be vacant to
receive them. The first sowing may be made early in March, and another
in the middle of April. These two sowings will suffice for almost all
the purposes that can be imagined. A good seed-bed in an open spot is
absolutely necessary. It is usual to draw direct from the seed-bed for
planting out as opportunities occur, and this method answers fairly
well. But when large enough it is better practice to prick out as a
preparation for the final planting, because a stouter and handsomer
plant is thereby secured. If it is intended to follow the rough and
ready plan, the seed drills should be nine inches apart; but for
pricking out six inches will answer, and thus a very small bed will
provide a lot of plants. When pricked out, the plants should be six
inches apart each way, and they should go to final quarters as soon as
the leaves touch one another. On the flat, a fair distance between
Borecoles is two feet apart each way, but some vigorous kinds in good
ground will pay for another foot of space, and will yield enormous crops
when their time arrives. Transplanting is usually done in June and July,
and in many gardens Kales are planted between the rows of second-early
or maincrop Potatoes. The work should be done during showery weather if
possible, but these Brassicas have an astonishing degree of vitality. If
put out during drought very little water is required to start them, and
as the cool weather returns they will grow with vigour. But good
cultivation saves a plant from extreme conditions; and it is an
excellent practice to dig in green manure when preparing ground for
Kales, because a free summer growth is needful to the formation of a
stout productive plant.

We have suggested that two sowings may be regarded as generally
sufficient, but we are bound to take notice of the fact that the late
supplies of these vegetables are sometimes disappointing. In a mild
winter the Kales reserved for use in spring will be likely to grow when
they should stand still, and at the first break of pleasant spring
weather they will bolt, very much to the vexation of those who expected
many a basket of sprouts from them. A May sowing planted out in a cold
place may stand without bolting until spring is somewhat advanced. Kale
of the 'Asparagus' type, such as Sutton's Favourite, will often prove
successful when sown as late as July.

As regards the varieties, they agree pretty nearly in constitution,
although they differ much in appearance and in the power of resisting
the excitement of spring weather. But in this section of vegetables
there are a few very interesting subjects. The Variegated and Crested
Kales are extremely ornamental and eminently useful in large places for
decorative purposes. These do not require so rich a soil as Sutton's A1
or Curled Scotch, and they must have the fullest exposure to bring out
their peculiarities. It is found that in somewhat dry calcareous soils
these plants acquire their highest colour and most elegant proportions.
When planted by the sides of carriage drives and in other places where
their colours may be suitably displayed, it is a good plan to cut off
the heads soon after the turn of the year, as this promotes the
production of side shoots of the most beautiful fresh colours. A crop of
Kale may be advantageously followed by Celery.


==BROCCOLI==

==Brassica oleracea botrytis asparagoides==

The great importance of this crop is indicated by the long list of
varieties and the still longer list of synonyms. As a vegetable it needs
no praise, and our sole business will be to treat of the cultivation.

Of necessity we begin with generalities. Any good soil will grow
Broccoli, but it is a strong-land plant, and a well-tilled clay should
yield first-class crops. But there are so many kinds coming into use at
various seasons, that the cultivation may be regarded as a somewhat
complex subject. We will therefore premise that the best must be made of
the soil at command, whatever it may be. The Cornish growers owe their
success in great part to their climate, which carries their crops
through the winter unhurt; but they grow Broccoli only on rich soil, and
keep it in good heart by means of seaweed and other fertilisers. All the
details of Broccoli culture require a liberal spirit and careful
attention, and the value of a well-grown crop justifies first-class
treatment. On the other hand, a badly-grown crop will not pay rent for
the space it covers, to say nothing of the labour that has been devoted
to it.

==The Seed-bed.==--Broccoli should always be sown on good seed-beds and be
planted out; the seed-beds should be narrow, say three or three and a
half feet wide, and the seed must be sown in drills half an inch deep at
the utmost--less if possible; and where sparrows haunt the garden it
will be well to cover the beds with netting, or protect the rows with
wire pea guards. A quick way of protecting all round seeds against small
birds is to put a little red lead in a saucer, then lightly sprinkle the
seed with water and shake it about in the red lead. Not a bird or mouse
will touch seed so treated.

The seed-beds must be tended with scrupulous care to keep down weeds and
avert other dangers. It is of great importance to secure a robust plant,
short, full of colour, and free from club at the root. Now, cleanliness
is in itself a safeguard. It promotes a short sturdy growth, because
where there are no weeds or other rubbish the young plant has ample
light and air. Early thinning and planting is another important matter.
If the land is not ready for planting, thin the seed-bed and prick out
the seedlings. A good crop of Broccoli is worth any amount of trouble,
although trouble ought to be an unknown word in the dictionary of a
gardener.

==Manuring Ground.==--As a rule, Broccoli should be planted in fresh
ground, and, in mild districts, if the soil is in some degree rank with
green manure the crop will be none the worse for it. But rank manure is
not needful; a deep, well-dug, sweet loam will produce a healthy growth
and neat handsome heads. However, it is proper to remark, that if any
rank manure is in the way, or if the ground is poor and wants it, the
Broccoli will take to it kindly, and all the rankness will be gone long
before they produce their creamy heads. Still, it must be clearly
understood that the more generous the treatment, the more succulent will
be the growth, and in cold climates a succulent condition may endanger
the crop when hard weather sets in.

==Method of Planting.==--Broccoli follows well upon Peas, early Potatoes,
early French Beans, and Strawberries that are dug in when gathered from
for the last time. But it does not follow well upon Cabbage, Turnip, or
Cauliflower; if Broccoli must follow any of these, dig deeply, manure
heavily, and in planting, dust a little freshly slaked lime in the
holes. The times of planting will depend on the state of the plants and
the proper season of their heading in. But everywhere and always the
plants should be got out of the seed-bed into their permanent quarters
as soon as possible, for the longer they stay in the seed-bed the more
likely are they to become drawn above and clubbed below. As regards
distances, too, the soil, the variety, and the season must be
considered. For all sorts the distances range from two to two and a half
feet; and for most of the medium-sized sorts that have to stand out
through the winter for use in spring, a distance of eighteen to
twenty-four inches is usually enough, because if they are rather close
they protect one another. But with strong sorts in strong soils and kind
climates, two feet and a half every way is none too much even for safe
wintering. Plant firmly, water if needful, and do not stint it; but, if
possible, plant in showery weather, and give no water at all. Watering
may save the crop, but the finest pieces of Broccoli are those that are
secured without any watering whatever.

==Autumn Broccoli.==--To grow Autumn Broccoli profitably, sow in February,
March, and April, the early sowings in a frame to insure vigorous
growth, and the later sowings in the open ground. Plant out as soon as
possible in fresh land that has been deeply tilled. If the soil is poor,
draw deep drills, fill them with fat manure, and plant by hand, taking
care to press round each root crumbs from the surface soil. This will
give them a good start, and they will take care of themselves
afterwards. When they show signs of heading in, run in shallow drills of
Prickly Spinach between them, and as this comes up the Broccoli will be
drawn, leaving the Spinach a fair chance of making a good stolen crop,
needing no special preparation whatever. Another sowing of Broccoli may
be made in May, but the early sowings, if a little nursed in the first
instance, will pay best, because early heads are scarce, whereas late
Broccoli are plentiful.

==Winter Broccoli== should not be sown before the end of March and thence
to the end of April. As a rule, the April sowing will make the best
crop, although much depends on season, soil, and climate. Begin to plant
out early, and continue planting until a sufficient breadth of ground is
covered. Within reasonable limits it will be found that the time of
planting does not much affect the date when the heads turn in, and only
in a moderate degree influences the size of them.

==Spring Broccoli== are capricious, no matter what the world may say. It
will occasionally happen that sorts planted for cutting late in spring
will turn in earlier than they are wanted, and the sun rather than the
seedsman must be blamed for their precocity. In average seasons the late
sorts turn in late; but the Broccoli is a sensitive plant, and
unseasonable warmth results in premature development. Sow the Spring
Broccoli in April and May, the April sowing being the more important. It
will not do, however, to follow a strict rule save to this effect, that
early and late sowings are the least likely to succeed, while mid-season
sowings--say from the middle of April to the middle of May--will, as a
rule, make the best crops. Where there is a constant demand for Broccoli
in the early months of the year, two or three small sowings will be
better than one large sowing.

==Summer Broccoli== are useful when Peas are late, and they are always
over in time to make way for the glut of the Pea crop. Late Queen may,
in average seasons, be cut at the end of May and sometimes in June, if
sown about the middle of May in the previous year, and carefully
managed. This excellent variety can, as a rule, be relied on, both to
withstand a severe winter in an exposed situation and to keep up the
supplies of first-class vegetables until the first crop of Cauliflower
is ready, and Peas are coming in freely. Generally speaking, smallish
heads, neat in shape and pure in colour, are preferred. They are the
most profitable as a crop and the most acceptable for the table. An
open, breezy place should be selected for a plantation of late Broccoli,
the land well drained, and it need not be made particularly rich with
manure. But good land is required, with plenty of light and air to
promote a dwarf sturdy growth and late turning in.

==Protection in Winter==.--Various plans are adopted for the protection of
Broccoli during winter. Much is to be said in favour of leaving them to
the risk of all events, for certain it is that finer heads are obtained
from undisturbed plants than by any interference with them, provided
they escape the assaults of winter frost. But in such a matter it is
wise to be guided by the light of experience. In cold districts, and on
wet soils where Broccoli do not winter well, heeling over may be
adopted. There are several ways of accomplishing the task, the most
successful method being managed thus. Open a trench at the northern end,
and gently push over each plant in the first row so that the heads
incline to the north. Put a little mould over each stem to settle it,
but do not earth it up any more than is needful to render it secure.
Push over the next row, and the next, and so on, finishing off between
them neatly and leaving the plants nearly as they were before, save that
they now all look northward, and their sloping stems are a little
deeper in the earth than they were in the first instance. This should
be done during fine weather in November, and if the plants flag a little
they should have one good watering at the roots. In the course of about
ten days it will be scarcely perceptible that they have been operated
on. They may be lifted and replanted with their heads to the north, but
this is apt to check them too much. In exceptionally cold seasons cover
the plot with straw or bracken, but this must be removed in wet weather.
When it is seen that the heads are forming and hard weather is
apprehended, some growers take them up with good balls of earth and
plant them in a frame, or even pack them neatly in a cellar, and the
heads finish fairly well, but not so well as undisturbed plants. It is
impossible, however, to cut good heads in a very severe winter without
some such protective measures. In many gardens glass is employed for
protecting Winter Broccoli, in which case the plantations are so shaped
that the frames will be easily adapted to them without any disturbance
of the plants whatever. There must be allowed a good space between the
beds to be covered, and the plants must be fifteen to eighteen inches
apart, with the object of protecting the largest number by means of a
given stock of frames.

==Sprouting Broccoli==, both white and purple, are invaluable to supply a
large bulk of a most acceptable vegetable in winter and early spring.
Sow in April and the plants may be treated in the same way as other
hardy winter greens. They should have the most liberal culture possible,
for which they will not fail to make an ample return. The Purple
Sprouting Broccoli is a favourite vegetable in the kitchen, because of
its freedom from the attacks of all kinds of vermin.


==BRUSSELS SPROUTS==

==Brassica oleracea bullata gemmifera==

Brussels Sprouts are everywhere regarded as the finest autumnal
vegetable of the strictly green class. They are, however, often very
poorly grown, because the first principle of success--a long growing
season--is not recognised. It is in the power of the cultivator to
secure this by sowing seed at the end of February, or early in March, on
a bed of light rich soil made in a frame, and from the frame the plants
should be pricked out into an open bed of similar light fresh soil as
soon as they have made half a dozen leaves. From this bed they should
be transferred to their permanent quarters before they crowd one
another, the object being at each stage to obtain free growth with a
sturdy habit, for mere length of stem is no advantage; it is a
disadvantage when the plant is deficient of corresponding substance. The
ground should be made quite firm, in order to encourage robust growth
which in turn will produce shapely solid buttons. This crop is often
grown on Potato land, the plants being put out between the rows in the
course of the summer. It is better practice, however, to plant Kales or
Broccoli in Potato ground, because of the comparative slowness of their
growth, and to put the Sprouts on an open plot freely dressed with
somewhat fresh manure. If a first-class strain, such as Sutton's
Exhibition, is grown, it will not only pay for this little extra care,
but will pay also for plenty of room, say two and a half feet apart
every way at the least; and one lot, made up of the strongest plants
drawn separately, may be in rows three feet apart, and the plants two
and a half feet asunder. For the compact-growing varieties two feet
apart each way will generally suffice. Maintain a good tilth by the
frequent use of the hoe during summer, and as autumn approaches
regularly remove all decaying leaves. Those who have been accustomed to
treat Sprouts and Kales on one uniform rough plan will be surprised at
the result of the routine we now recommend. The plants will button from
the ground line to the top, and the buttons will set so closely that,
once taken off, it will be impossible to replace them. Moderate-sized,
spherical, close, grass-green Sprouts are everywhere esteemed, and there
is nothing in the season more attractive in the markets.

Crops treated as advised will give early supplies of the very finest
Sprouts. For successional crops it will be sufficient to sow in the open
ground in the latter part of March, or early in April, and plant out in
the usual manner; in other words, to treat in the commonplace way of the
ordinary run of Borecoles. With a good season and in suitable ground
there will be an average crop, which will probably hold out far into the
winter. It is important to gather the crop systematically. The Sprouts
are perfect when round and close, with not a leaf unfolded. They can be
snapped off rapidly, and where the quantity is considerable they should
be sorted into sizes. The season of use will be greatly prolonged, and
the tendency of the Sprouts to burst be lessened, if the head is cut
last of all.

==CABBAGE==

==Brassica oleracea capitata==

The Cabbage is a great subject, and competes with the Potato for
pre-eminence in the cottage garden, in the market garden, and on the
farm, sometimes with such success as to prove the better paying crop of
the two. It may be said in a general way that a Cabbage may be grown
almost anywhere and anyhow; that it will thrive on any soil, and that
the seed may be sown any day in the year. All this is nearly possible,
and proves that we have a wonderful plant to deal with; but it is too
good a friend of man to be treated, even in a book, in an off-hand
manner. The Cabbage may be called a lime plant, and a clay plant; but,
like almost every other plant that is worth growing, a deep well-tilled
loam will suit it better than any other soil under the sun. It has one
persistent plague only. Not the Cabbage butterfly; for although that is
occasionally a troublesome scourge, it is not persistent, and may be
almost invisible for years together. Nor is it the aphis, although in a
hot dry season that pest is a fell destroyer of the crop. The great
plague is club or anbury, for which there is no direct remedy or
preventive known. But indirectly the foe may be fought successfully. The
crop should be moved about, and wherever Cabbage has been grown, whether
in a mere seed-bed or planted out, it should be grown no more until the
ground has been well tilled and put to other uses for one year at least,
and better if for two or three years. There are happy lands whereon club
has never been seen, and the way to keep these clear of the pest is to
practise deep digging, liberal manuring, and changing the crops to
different ground as much as possible. A mild outbreak of club may
generally be met by first removing the warts from the young plants, and
then dipping them in a puddle made of soot, lime, and clay. But when it
appears badly amongst the forward plants, their growth is arrested, the
plot becomes offensive, and the only course left is to draw the bad
plants, burn them, and give up Cabbage growing on those quarters for
several years. The question as to why the roots of brassicaceous plants
are subject to this scourge on some soils, while plants from the same
seed-bed remain healthy when transferred to different land, is deeply
interesting, and the subject is discussed later on in the chapter on
'The Fungus Pests of certain Garden Plants.' Here it is sufficient to
say that the presence of the disease is generally an indication that the
soil is deficient in lime. A dressing at the rate of from 14 to 28 or
even 56 pounds per square pole may be necessary to restore healthy
conditions. The outlay will not be wasted, for lime is not merely a
preventive, it has often an almost magical influence on the fertility of
land.

For general purposes Cabbages may be classified as early and late. The
early kinds are extremely valuable for their earliness, but only a
sufficient quantity should be grown, because, as compared with
mid-season and late sorts, they are less profitable. In the scheme of
cropping it may be reckoned that a paying crop of Cabbage will occupy
the ground through a whole year; for although this may not be an exact
statement, the growing time will be pretty well gone before the ground
is clear. After Cabbage, none of the Brassica tribe should be put on the
land, and, if possible, the crop to follow should be one requiring less
of sulphur and alkalies, for of these the Cabbage is a great consumer,
hence the need for abundant manuring in preparation for it. The presence
of sulphur explains the offensiveness of the exhalations from Cabbage
when in a state of decay.

==Spring-sown Cabbage for Summer and Autumn use==.--To insure the best
succession of Cabbage it will be necessary to recognise four distinct
sowings, any of which, save the autumnal sowing, may be omitted. Begin
with a sowing of the earliest kinds in the month of February. For this,
pans or boxes must be used, and the seed should be started in a pit or
frame, or in a cool greenhouse. When forward enough, prick out in a bed
of light rich soil in a cold frame, and give plenty of air. Before the
seedlings become crowded harden them off and plant out, taking care to
lift them tenderly with earth attached to their roots to minimise the
check. These will heart quickly and be valued as summer Cabbages. The
second sowing is to be made in the last week of March, and to consist of
early kinds, including a few of the best type of Coleworts. As these
advance to a planting size, they may be put out a few at a time as plots
become vacant, and they will be useful in various ways from July to
November or later. A third sowing may be made in the first or second
week of May of small sorts and Coleworts; and these again may be planted
out as opportunities occur, both in vacant plots for hearting late in
the year, and as stolen crops in odd places to draw while young. The
second and third sowings need not be pricked out from the seed-bed, but
may be taken direct therefrom to the places where they are to finish
their course.

In planting out, the spacing must be regulated according to the size of
the variety grown. If put out in beds, the plants may be placed from
one to two feet apart, and the rows one and a half to two feet asunder.
All planting should be done in showery weather if possible, or with a
falling barometer. It may not always be convenient to wait for rain, and
happily it is a peculiarity of Brassicas, and of Cabbage in particular,
that the plants will endure, after removal, heat and drought for some
time with but little harm, and again grow freely after rain has fallen.
But good cultivation has in view the prevention of any such check. At
the best it is a serious loss of time in the brief growing season.
Therefore in droughty weather it will be advisable to draw shallow
furrows and water these a day in advance of the planting, and if labour
and stuff can be found it will be well to lay in the furrows a
sprinkling of short mulchy manure to follow instantly upon the watering;
then plant with the dibber, and the work is done. If the mulch cannot be
afforded, water must be given, and to water the furrows in advance is
better than watering after the planting, as a few observations will
effectually prove. If drought continues, water should be given again and
again. The trouble must be counted as nothing compared with the certain
loss of time while the plant stands still, to become, perhaps, infested
with blue aphis, and utterly ruined. As a matter of fact, a little water
may be made to go a long way, and every drop judiciously administered
will more than repay its cost. The use of the hoe will greatly help the
growth, and a little earth may be drawn towards the stems, not to the
extent of 'moulding-up,' for that is injurious, but to 'firm' the plants
in some degree against the gales that are to be expected as the days
decline.

==Autumn-sown Cabbage for Spring and Summer use.==--The fourth, or autumn,
sowing is by far the most important of the year, and the exact time when
seed should be put in deserves careful consideration. A strong plant is
wanted before winter, but the growth must not be so far advanced as to
stand in peril from severe and prolonged frost. There is also the risk
that plants which are too forward may bolt when spring arrives. In some
districts it is the practice to sow in July, and to those who find the
results entirely satisfactory we have nothing to say. Our own
experiments have convinced us that, for the southern counties, August is
preferable, and it is wise to make two sowings in that month, the first
quite early and the second about a fortnight later. Here it is necessary
to observe that the selection of suitable varieties is of even greater
consequence than the date of sowing. A considerable number of the
Cabbages which possess a recognised value for spring sowing are
comparatively useless when sown in August. Success depends on the
capability of the plant to form a heart when the winter is past instead
of starting a seed-stem, and this reduces the choice to very narrow
limits. Among the few Cabbages which are specially adapted for August
sowing, Sutton's Harbinger, April, Flower of Spring, Favourite, and
Imperial may be favourably mentioned, and even in small gardens at least
two varieties should be sown. Where Spring Cabbages manifest an unusual
tendency to bolt, sowing late in August, followed by late planting, will
generally prove a remedy, always assuming that suitable varieties have
been sown.

The planting of autumn-sown Cabbages should be on well-made ground,
following Peas, Beans, or Potatoes, and as much manure should be dug in
as can be spared, for Cabbage will take all it can get in the way of
nourishment. If the entire crop is to be left for hearting, a minimum of
fifteen inches each way will be a safe distance for the smallest
varieties. Supposing every alternate plant is to be drawn young for
consumption as Coleworts, a foot apart will suffice, but in this case
the surplus plants must be cleared off by the time spring growth
commences. This procedure will leave a crop for hearting two feet apart,
and when the heads are cut the stumps will yield a supply of Sprouts. As
these Sprouts appear when vegetables are none too plentiful, they are
welcome in many households, and make a really delicate dish of greens.

By sowing quick-growing varieties of Cabbage in drills during July and
August, and thinning the plants early, thus avoiding the check of
transplanting, heads may often be had fit for cutting in October and
November.

==The Red Cabbage== is grown for pickling and also for stewing, being in
demand at many tables as an accompaniment to roasted partridges. The
plant requires the best ground that can be provided for it, with double
digging and plenty of manure. Two sowings may be made, the first in
April for a supply in autumn for cooking, and the second in August for a
crop to stand the winter and to supply large heads for pickling.


==SAVOY CABBAGE==

==Brassica oleracea bullata==

The Savoy Cabbage is directly related to Brussels Sprouts, though
differing immensely in appearance. It is of great value for the bulk of
food it produces, as well as for its quality as a table vegetable
during the autumn and winter. In all the essential points the Savoy may
be grown in the same way as any other Cabbage, but it is the general
practice to sow the seed in spring only, the time being determined by
requirements. For an early supply, sow in February in a frame, and in an
open bed in March, April, and May for succession. This vegetable needs a
rich deep soil to produce fine heads, but it will pay better on poor
soil than most other kinds of Cabbage, more especially if the smaller
sorts are selected. Savoys are not profitable in the form of Collards;
hence it is advisable to plant in the first instance at the proper
distances, say twelve inches for the small sorts, eighteen for those of
medium growth, and twenty to twenty-four where the ground is strong and
large heads are required. In private gardens the smaller kinds are much
the best, but the market grower must give preference to those that make
large, showy heads.


==CAPSICUM and CHILI==

==Capsicum annuum, C. baccatum==

Capsicums and Chilis are so interesting and ornamental that it is
surprising they are grown in comparatively few gardens. Sometimes there
is reason to lament that Cayenne pepper is coloured with drugs, but the
remedy is within reach of those who find the culture of Capsicums easy,
and to compound the pepper is not a difficult task. The large-fruited
varieties may also be prepared in various ways for the table, if
gathered while quite young and before the fruits change colour.

The cultivation of Capsicums is a fairly simple matter. The best course
of procedure is to sow seed thinly in February or March in pots or pans
of fine soil placed on a gentle hot-bed or in a house where the
temperature is maintained at about 55°. Pot on the young plants as they
develop and keep them growing without a check. Spray twice daily, for
Capsicums require atmospheric moisture and the Red Spider is partial to
the plant. Nice specimens may be grown in pots five to eight inches in
diameter, beyond which it is not desirable to go, and as the summer
advances these may be taken to the conservatory. Plants intended for
fruiting in warm positions out of doors should be hardened off in
readiness for transfer at the end of May. In gardens favourably
situated, as are many in the South of England, it is sufficient to sow a
pinch of seed on an open border in the middle of May, and put a hand
glass over the spot. The plants from this sowing may be transferred to
any sunny position, and will yield an abundant crop of peppers.

The Bird Pepper or Chili is grown in precisely the same way as advised
for Capsicum.

To prepare the pods for pepper, put the required number into a wire
basket, and consign them to a mild oven for about twelve hours. They are
not to be cooked, but desiccated, and in most cases an ordinary oven,
with the door kept open to prevent the heat rising too high, will answer
perfectly. Being thus prepared, the next proceeding is to pound them in
a mortar with one-fourth their weight of salt, which also should be
dried in the oven, and used while hot. When finely pounded, bottle
securely, and there will be a perfect sample of Cayenne pepper without
any poisonous colouring. One hundred Chilis will make about two ounces
of pepper, which will be sufficient in most houses for one year's
supply. The large ornamental Capsicums may be put on strings, and hung
up in a dry store-room, for use as required, to flavour soups, make
Chili vinegar, Cayenne essence, &c. The last-named condiment is prepared
by steeping Capsicums in pure spirits of wine. A few drops of the
essence may be used in any soup, or indeed wherever the flavour of
Cayenne pepper is required.


==CARDOON==

==Cynara Cardunculus==

This plant is nearly related to the Globe Artichoke, and it makes a
stately appearance when allowed to flower. Although the Cardoon is not
widely cultivated in this country, it is found in some of our best
gardens, and is undoubtedly a wholesome esculent from which a skilful
cook will present an excellent dish. The stalks of the inner leaves are
stewed, and are also used in soups, as well as for salads, during autumn
and winter. The flowers, after being dried, possess the property of
coagulating milk, for which purpose they are used in France.

In a retentive soil Cardoons should be grown on the flat, but the plant
is a tolerably thirsty subject, and must have sufficient water. Hence on
very dry soils it may be necessary to put it in trenches after the
manner of Celery, and then it will obtain the full benefit of all the
water that may be administered. In any case the soil must be rich and
well pulverised if a satisfactory growth is to be obtained.

Towards the end of April rows are marked out three or four feet apart,
and groups of seed sown at intervals of eighteen inches in the rows. The
plants are thinned to one at each station, and in due time secured to
stakes. Full growth is attained in August, when blanching is commenced
by gathering the leaves together, wrapping them round with bands of hay,
and earthing up. It requires from eight to ten weeks to accomplish the
object fully. The French method is quicker. Seed is sown in pots under
glass, and in May the plants are put out three feet apart. When fully
grown the Cardoons are firmly secured to stakes by three small straw
bands. A covering of straw, three inches thick, is thatched round every
plant from bottom to top, and each top is tied and turned over like a
nightcap. A little soil is then drawn to the foot, but earthing up is
needless. In about a month blanching is completed.


==CARROT==

==Daucus Carota==

The Carrot is a somewhat fastidious root, for although it is grown in
every garden, it is not everywhere produced in the best style possible.
The handsome long roots that are seen in the leading markets are the
growth of deep sandy soils well tilled. On heavy lumpy land long clean
roots cannot be secured by any kind of tillage. But for these unsuitable
soils there are Sutton's Early Gem, the Champion Horn, and Intermediate,
which require no great depth of earth; while for deep loams the New Red
Intermediate answers admirably.

==Forcing.==--Carrots are forced in frames on very gentle hot-beds. They
cannot be well grown in houses, and they must be grown slowly to be
palatable. It is usual to begin in November, and to sow down a bed every
three or four weeks until February. A lasting hot-bed is of the first
importance, and it is therefore necessary to have a good supply of
stable manure and leaves. The material should be thoroughly mixed and
allowed to ferment for a few days. Then turn the heap again, and a few
days later the bed may be made up. In order to conserve the heat the
material will need to be three to four feet deep, and if a box frame is
used the bed should be at least two feet wider than the frame. Build up
the material in even, well-consolidated layers, to prevent unequal and
undue sinking, and make the corners of the bed perfectly sound. Put on
the bed about one foot depth of fine, rich soil; if there is any
difficulty about this, eight inches must suffice, but twelve is to be
preferred. As the season advances less fermenting material will be
needed, and a simple but effective hot-bed may be made by digging out a
hole of the required size and filling it with the manure. The latter
will in due time sink, when the soil may be added and the frame placed
in position. The bed should always be near the glass, and a great point
is gained if the crop can be carried through without once giving water,
for watering tends to damage the shape of the roots. No seed should be
sown until the temperature has declined to 80°. Sow broadcast, cover
with siftings just deep enough to hide the seed, and close the frame. If
after an interval the heat rises above 70°, give air to keep it down to
that figure or to 65°. It will probably decline to 60° by the time the
plant appears, but if the bed is a good one it will stand at that figure
long enough to make the crop. Thin betimes to two or three inches, give
air at every opportunity, let the plant have all the light possible, and
cover up when hard weather is expected. Should the heat go down too
soon, linings must be used to finish the crop. Radishes and other small
things can be grown on the same bed. In cold frames seed may be sown in
February.

==Warm Borders.==--In March the first sowings on warm borders in the open
garden may be made. These may need the shelter of mats or old lights
until the plant has made a good start, but it is not often the plant
suffers in any serious degree from spring frosts, as the seed will not
germinate until the soil acquires a safe temperature. All the early
crops of Carrot can be grown on a prepared soil, or a light sandy loam,
free from recent manure. The drills may be spaced from six to nine
inches apart.

==For the main crops== double digging should be practised, and if the
staple is poor a dressing of half-rotten dung may be put in with the
bottom spit. But a general manuring as for a surface-rooting crop is not
to be thought of, the sure effect being to cause the roots to fork and
fang most injuriously. It is sound practice to select for Carrots a deep
soil that was heavily manured the year before, and to prepare this by
double digging without manure in the autumn or winter, so as to have the
ground well pulverised by the time the seed is sown. Then dig it over
one spit deep, break the lumps, and make seed-beds four feet wide. Sow
in April and onwards in drills, mixing the seed with dry earth, the
distance between rows to be eight to twelve inches according to the
sort; cover the seed with a sprinkling of fine earth and finish the bed
neatly. As soon as possible thin the crop, but not to the full distance
in the first instance. The final spacing for main crops may be from six
to nine inches, determined by the variety. By a little management it
will be an easy matter during showery weather to draw delicate young
Carrots for the final thinning, and these will admirably succeed the
latest of the sowings in frames and warm borders.

==Late Crops.==--Sowings of early varieties made in July will give
delicate little roots during the autumn and winter. The rows may be
placed nine inches apart, and it is essential to thin the plants early
to about three inches apart in the rows. In the event of very severe
weather protect with dry litter. For providing young Carrots throughout
the winter it is also an excellent plan to broadcast seed thinly. When
grown in this way the plants afford each other protection, and the roots
may be drawn immediately they are large enough.

In July the culture of the smaller sorts may also be undertaken in
frames, but hot-beds may be dispensed with, and lights will not be
wanted until there is a crop needing protection, when the lights may be
put on, or the frames may be covered with shutters or mats.

==Storing.==--Before autumn frosts set in the main crop should be lifted
and stored in dry earth or sand, the tops being removed and the earth
rubbed off, but without any attempt to clean them thoroughly until they
are wanted for use.

==Carrots for Exhibition.==--It will be found well worth while to give a
little extra attention to the preparation of the ground when growing
Carrots for exhibition. As in the case of Beet and Parsnip, holes should
be bored to the requisite depth and about one foot apart in the rows.
Where the soil is at all unfavourable to the growth of clean symmetrical
roots the adoption of this practice will be essential to success. Any
light soil of good quality will be suitable for filling the holes. Well
firm the material in and sow about half a dozen seeds at a station,
eventually thinning out to one plant at each. The tendency of Carrots to
become green at the tops in the later stages of growth, thus spoiling
them for show work, may be prevented by lightly covering the protruding
portion of the root with sifted fine earth.

==Destructive Enemies.==--The Carrot maggot and the wire-worm are
destructive enemies of this crop. In a later chapter on 'The Pests of
Garden Plants,' both these foes are referred to. Here it is only
necessary to say that sound judgment as to the choice of ground, deep
digging, and the preparation of the beds in good time, are the
preventives of these as of many other garden plagues. It is often
observed that main crops sown early in April suffer more than those sown
late, and the lesson is plain. It has also been noticed that where the
crops have suffered most severely the land was made ready in haste, and
the wild birds had no time to purge it of the insects which they daily
seek for food.


==CAULIFLOWER==

==Brassica oleracea botrytis cauliflora==

This fine vegetable is managed in much the same way as Broccoli, and it
requires similar conditions. But it is less hardy in constitution, more
elegant in appearance, more delicate on the table, and needs greater
care in cultivation to insure satisfactory results. As regards soil, the
Cauliflower thrives best on very rich ground of medium texture. It will
also do well on light land, if heavily manured, and quick growth is
promoted by abundant watering. In Holland, Cauliflowers are grown in
sand with water at the depth of a foot only below the surface, and the
ground is prepared by liberal dressings of cow-manure, which, with the
moisture rising from below, promotes a quick growth and a fine quality.
In any case, good cultivation is necessary or the crop will be
worthless; and whatever may be the nature of the soil, it must be well
broken up and liberally manured.

In gardens where Cauliflower are in great demand, an unbroken supply of
heads from May to November may be obtained by selecting suitable
varieties and with careful management of the crop. But in arranging for
a succession it should be borne in mind that some varieties are
specially adapted for producing heads in spring and summer, while others
are only suitable for use in late summer and autumn.

==For Spring and Early Summer use.==--To have Cauliflower in perfection in
spring and early summer, seed should be sown in autumn. The exact time
is a question of climate. In the northern counties the middle of August
is none too early, but for the south seed may be got in during August
and September, according to local conditions. The most satisfactory
course is to sow in boxes, placed in a cool greenhouse or a cold frame,
or even in a sheltered spot out of doors. For these sowings it is
desirable to use poor soil of a calcareous nature, as at this period of
the year the seedlings are liable to damp off in rich earth. From the
commencement every endeavour must be made to keep the growth sturdy and
to avoid a check of any kind. When the plants have made some progress,
prick them off three inches apart each way into frames for the winter.
No elaborate appliances are necessary. A suitable frame may be easily
constructed by erecting wooden sides around a prepared bed of soil, over
which lights, window frames, or even a canvas covering may be placed.
Brick pits, or frames made with turf walls, will also answer well. The
soil should not be rich, or undesirable fleshy growth will result,
especially in a mild winter. It is important to ventilate freely at all
times, except during severe weather when the structures should have the
protection of mats or straw, and excessive moisture must be guarded
against. As soon as conditions are favourable in February or March,
transfer the plants to open quarters on the best land at command, and
give them every possible care. For these early-maturing varieties a
space of eighteen inches apart each way will generally suffice. With
liberal treatment, vigorous healthy growth should be made and heads of
the finest quality be ready for table from May onwards.

As we have already said, the best results with early Cauliflower are
obtained from an autumn sowing, but there are many growers who prefer to
sow in January or February. At this season the seed should be started in
pans or boxes placed in a house just sufficiently heated to exclude
frost. Prick out the plants early, in a frame or on a protected border
made up with light rich soil, and when strong enough plant out on good
ground. Spring sowings put out on poor land, or in dry seasons, are
sometimes disappointing, because the heads are too small to please the
majority of growers. Where, however, the soil is rich and the district
suitable there is this advantage in quick cultivation, that while time
is shortened and the worry of wintering is avoided, the crop is safer
against buttoning and bolting, which will occasionally occur if the
plants become too forward under glass and receive a check when planted
out.

In well-prepared sheltered ground seed may also be sown in March and
April, from which the plants should be pricked out once before being
transferred to permanent positions. Occasional hoeing between the plants
and heavy watering in dry weather will materially tend to their
well-doing, the object being to maintain growth from the first without a
check. If the plants turn in during very hot weather, snap one of the
inner leaves without breaking it off, and bend it over to protect the
head.

==For use in Late Summer and Autumn.==--Seed may be sown in April or very
early in May, and where only one sowing is made the first week of April
should be selected. A fine seed-bed in a sheltered spot is desirable,
and as soon as the seedlings are large enough they should be pricked
out, three inches or so apart. Shift to final quarters while in a
smallish state. If the plants are allowed to become somewhat large in
the seed-bed they are liable to 'button,' which means that small,
worthless heads will be produced as the result of an untimely check. The
distances between the plants may vary from one and a half to two feet or
more, and between the rows from two to two and a half feet, according to
the size of the variety. If put out on good ground, the crop will almost
take care of itself, but should the plants need water it must be
copiously given.


==Cutting and Preserving.==--The management of the crop has been treated
so far as to growth, but we must now say a word about its appropriation.
The two points for practical consideration are, how to economise a glut,
and how to avoid destruction by frost. Cauliflowers should be cut at
daybreak, or as soon after as possible, and be taken from the ground
with the dew upon them. If cut after the dew has evaporated, the heads
will be inferior by several degrees as compared with those cut at the
dawn of the day. When the heads appear at too rapid a rate for immediate
consumption, draw the plants, allowing the earth to remain attached to
the roots, and suspend them head downwards in a cool, dark, dry place,
and every evening give them a light shower of water from a syringe. The
deterioration will be but trifling, and the gain may be considerable,
but if left to battle with a burning sun the Cauliflowers will certainly
be the worse for it. After being kept in this way for a week, they will
still be good, although, like other preserved vegetables, they will not
be so good as those freshly cut and in their prime. It often happens
that frost occurs before the crop is finished. A similar plan of
preserving those that are turning in may be adopted, but it is better to
bury them in sand in a shed or under a wall, and, if kept dry, they may
remain sound for a month or more.

==Cauliflower for Exhibition.==--On the exhibition stage few vegetables
win greater admiration than well-grown heads of Cauliflower. Indeed,
Cauliflower and Broccoli, in their respective seasons, are indispensable
items in the composition of any first-class collection. By closely
following the cultural directions contained in the foregoing pages no
difficulty should be experienced in obtaining heads of the finest
texture and spotless purity during many months of the year. The degree
of success achieved is generally in proportion to the amount of
attention devoted to minor details. Select the most robust plants and
treat them generously. As soon as the heads are formed, examine them
frequently to prevent disfiguration by vermin. The best period of the
day for cutting has already been discussed. Do not allow the heads to
stand a day longer than is necessary, and if not wanted immediately the
plants should be lifted and preserved in the manner described in the
preceding paragraph.


==CELERY==

==Apium graveolens==

Celery is everywhere esteemed, not only as a salad, but as a wholesome
and delicious vegetable. The crop requires the very best of cultivation,
and care should be taken not to push the growth too far, for the
gigantic Celery occasionally seen at Shows has, generally speaking, the
quality of size only, being tough and tasteless. Nevertheless, the sorts
that are held in high favour by growers of prize Celery are good in
themselves when grown to a moderate size; it is the forcing system alone
that deprives them of flavour. Yet another precaution may be needful to
prevent a mishap. In a hot summer, Celery will sometimes 'bolt' or run
up to flower, in which case it is worthless. This may be the fault of
the cultivator more than of the seed or the weather, for a check in many
cases hastens the flowering of plants, and it is not unusual for Celery
to receive a check through mismanagement. If sown too early, it may be
impossible to plant out when of suitable size, and the consequent arrest
of growth at a most important stage may result in a disposition to
flower the first year, instead of waiting for the second. It should be
understood, therefore, that early sowing necessitates early planting,
and the cultivator should see his way clearly from the commencement.

==Sowing and Transplanting.==--The 1st of March is early enough for a
first sowing anywhere of a small variety, and this will require a mild
hot-bed, or a place in the propagating house. Sow on rich fine soil in
boxes, cover lightly, and place in a temperature of 60°. When forward
enough prick out the plants on a rich bed close to the glass, in a
temperature of 60° to 65°, keep liberally moist, and give air, at first
with great caution, but increasing as the natural temperature rises
until the lights can be removed during the day. The plant may thus be
hardened for a first planting on a warm border in a bed consisting of
one-half rotten hot-bed manure and one-half of turfy loam. The bed need
not be deep, but it must be constantly moist, and old lights should be
at hand to give shelter when needful. If well grown in trenches, this
first crop will be of excellent quality, and will come in early.

For the general crop a second sowing may be made of the finest Red and
White varieties, also on a mild hot-bed, in the second week of March,
and have treatment similar to the first, but once pricking out into the
open bed will be sufficient, the largest plants being put out first at
six inches, and to have shelter if needful; other plantings in the same
way to follow until the seed-bed is cleared. By good management this
sowing may be made to serve the purpose of three sowings, the chief
point being to prick out the most forward plants on another mild bed as
soon as they are large enough to be lifted, and to make a succession
from the same seed-bed as the plants advance to a suitable size.

The third and last sowing may be made in the second week of April, in an
open border, on rich light soil, and should have the shelter of mats or
old lights during cold weather. From this, also, there should be two or
three prickings out, the first to be transferred to a bit of hard
ground, covered with about three inches of rich mulchy stuff, in the
warmest spot that can be found, and the last to a similar bed on the
coldest spot in the garden. In the final planting the same order should
be followed. The result will be a prolonged supply from one sowing, and
the first lot will come in early, though sown late, if the plants are
kept growing without a check, and receive thoroughly generous culture.

==The planting out== is an important matter, and each lot will require
separate treatment, subordinate to one general and very simple plan.
Celery must have rich soil, abundant moisture, and must be blanched to
make it fit for table. There are various ways of accomplishing these
ends, although they differ but slightly, and common sense will guide us
in the matter. For the earliest crops the ground must be laid out in
trenches, with as much rich stable manure dug in as can be afforded. To
overdo it in this respect seems impossible, for Celery, like
Cauliflower, will grow freely in rotten manure alone, without any
admixture of loam. The trenches should be eighteen inches wide at
bottom, ten inches deep, and four feet from centre to centre, and should
run north and south. The plants are to be carefully lifted with a
trowel, and placed six to nine inches apart in single or double rows,
and should have water as planted, that there may be no check. In a cold
soil and a cold season the trenches may be less in depth by two or three
inches with advantage. If dry weather ensues, water must be given
ungrudgingly, but earthing up should not commence until the plant has
made a full and profitable growth, for the earthing pretty well stops
the growth, and is but a finishing process, requiring from five to seven
weeks to bring the crop to perfection. The second lot can be put out in
the same way, and other plantings may follow at discretion; but as the
season advances the trenches must be less deep.

==Earthing up== is often performed in a rough way, as though the plant
were made of wood instead of the most delicate tissue. The first
earthing should be done with a hand-fork, and quite loosely, to allow
the heart of the plant room to expand. The result should be a little
ring of light earth scarcely pressing the outside leaves, and leaving
the whole plant as free as it was before. A fortnight or so later the
earthing must be carried a stage further by means of the spade. Chop the
earth over, and lay it in heaps on each side of the plant. Then gather a
plant together with both hands, liberate one hand, and with it bring the
earth to the plant half round the base, and, changing hands, pack up the
earth on the other side. Be careful not to press the soil very close;
also avoid putting any crumbs into the heart of the plant; and do not
earth higher than the base of the leaves. As soon as may be necessary
repeat this process, carrying the earth a stage higher; and about a week
from this finish the operation.

The top of the plant must now be closed, and the earth carefully packed
so high that only the very tops of the leaves are visible. Finish to a
proper slope with the spade, but do not press the plants unduly, the
object being simply to obtain a final growth of the innermost leaves in
darkness, but otherwise free from restraint.

==The Bed System== answers particularly well for producing a large supply
of Celery with the least amount of labour. This method of cultivation is
also especially suitable for raising Celery intended to be served when
boiled, or for soups. Celery beds are made four and a half feet wide and
ten inches deep, the soil which is taken out being laid up in a slope
round the outside of the bed, and the bank thus formed may be planted
with any quick crop, such as Dwarf Beans. The ground will need to be
heavily manured in the same manner as for the trench system. Space the
plants six inches apart in single or double lines, as may be preferred,
and allow not less than twelve inches between the rows. Water must be
given to each row as planted; afterwards the surface to be several times
chopped over with the hoe or a small fork, and watering repeated until
the plants have made a start. An easy means of blanching is by the use
of stiff paper collars as described below; another simple method is to
place mats over the tops of the plants when nearly full grown. The bed
system is not only economical, but convenient for sheltering in winter,
and should have the attention of gardeners who are expected to supply
abundance of Celery throughout the winter and spring, for in such cases
a large sample is not required, but quality and continuance are of
importance.

It is a great point to keep Celery unhurt by frost far on in the winter,
and the advantage of growing the late crops on dry light soil, and on
the bed system, will be seen in the ease with which the plants can be
preserved. On heavy soil Celery soon suffers from frost, but not so
readily on a soil naturally light and dry. Moreover, the bed system
allows of many methods of protection, with whatever materials are at
command. In heavy soil fine crops of Celery for autumn use may be grown,
but in consequence of the liability of the plant to suffer by winter
damp, it is advisable to plant late crops on the level, and earth up
from the adjoining plots in order to keep the roots dry in winter.
Another step towards securing a late supply consists in bending the tops
on one side at the final earthing, which prevents the trickling of water
into the heart of the plant during heavy rain or snow.

==Celery for Exhibition.==--From the opening paragraph it will be gathered
that to produce extra fine specimens of Celery for exhibition very
generous treatment of the plants is necessary. Apart from the choice of
varieties--and only the finest strains should be considered--four points
are of especial importance to the cultivator. The ground must be
liberally enriched; at no period should the plant receive a check or
suffer for want of water; there must be the closest inspection at
frequent intervals to prevent disfiguration of the stalks or leaves by
slugs, snails, or the Celery fly; and finally the operation of blanching
will need great care and discretion. These points have already been
dealt with at some length. But on the question of blanching it may be
well to add that in order to insure perfect specimens, free from
blemish, artificial means of some kind must be adopted in place of
earthing up in the ordinary way. The use of strips of good quality brown
paper will prove both simple and effectual. These strips need not exceed
a width of five or six inches, fresh bands being added as growth
develops. Tie them securely with raffia or twine, making due allowance
for expansion of the plant, and when in position carefully draw the soil
towards the base.

==The numerous enemies of Celery==, such as slugs, snails, the
mole-cricket, and the maggot, do not seriously interfere with the crop
where good cultivation prevails, but the Celery fly appears to be
indifferent to good cultivation, and therefore must be dealt with
directly. Dusting the leaves occasionally with soot has been found to
operate beneficially. It should be done during the month of June on the
mornings of days that promise to be sunny. If the soot is put on
carelessly it will do more harm than good; a very fine dusting will
suffice to render the plant distasteful to the fly. Syringing the leaves
with water impregnated with tar has also saved plants from attack. Where
the eggs are lodged the leaves will soon appear blistered, and the
maggot within must be crushed by pinching the blister between the thumb
and finger. Leaves that are much blistered should be removed and burned,
but to rob the plants of many leaves will seriously reduce the vigour of
growth.

==Celeriac==, or ==Turnip-rooted Celery==, is much prized on the Continent
as a cooked vegetable, and as a salad. In ordinary Celery the stem forms
a mere basis to the leaves, but in Celeriac it is developed into a knob
weighing from one to five pounds, and the root is more easily preserved
than Celery. When cooked in the same manner as Sea Kale, Celery is well
known as a delicacy at English tables, and the cooked Celeriac ranks in
importance with it, though it affords quite a different dish. The stem
or axis of the plant is used, and not the stalks. To grow fine Celeriac
a long season is requisite; and therefore it is advisable to sow the
seed in a gentle heat early in March, and afterwards prick out and treat
as Celery; but after the first stage the treatment is altogether
different. For the plantation a light and rich soil is required, and
where the staple is heavy, a small bed can easily be prepared by
spreading six inches depth of any sandy soil over the surface. The
plants must be put out on the level a foot and a half apart each way,
and be planted as shallow as possible. Before planting, trim carefully
to remove lateral shoots that might divide the stems, and after planting
water freely. The cultivation will consist in keeping the crop clean,
and frequently drawing the soil away from the plants, for the more they
stand out of the ground the better, provided they are not distressed.
They must never stand still for want of water, or the roots will not
attain to a proper size. The lateral shoots and fibres must be removed
to keep the roots intact, but not to such an extent as to arrest
progress. When a good growth has been made, and the season is declining,
cover the bulbs or stems with a thin coat of fine soil, and in the
first week of October lift a portion of the crop and store it in sand,
all the leaves being first removed, except those in the centre, which
must remain, or the roots may waste their energies in producing another
set. The portion of the crop left in the ground will need protection
from frost, and this can be accomplished by earthing them over with soil
taken from between the rows.

Celeriac is cooked in the same manner as Beet, and requires about the
same length of time. The stems, bulbs, or roots (for the knobs, which
are true stems, are known by various names) are trimmed, washed, and put
into boiling water without salt or any flavouring, and kept boiling
until quite tender; they may then be pared, sliced, and served with
white sauce, or left uncut to be sliced up for salads when cold.


==CHICORY==

==Cichorium Intybus==

A valuable addition to the supply of winter and spring roots. When
stewed and served with melted butter, Chicory bears a slight resemblance
to Sea Kale. More frequently, however, it is eaten in the same manner as
Celery, with cheese, and it also makes an excellent and most wholesome
salad. All the garden varieties have been obtained from the wild plant,
and some of the stocks show a decided tendency to revert to the wild
condition. It is therefore important to sow a carefully selected strain,
or the roots may be worthless for producing heads.

Seed should be sown in May or June, in rows one foot apart, and the
plants thinned out to about nine inches in the rows. The soil must be
deep and rich, but free from recent manure, except at a depth of twelve
inches, when the roots will attain the size of a good Parsnip.

In autumn the roots must be lifted uninjured with the aid of a fork, and
only a few at a time, as required. After cutting off the tops just above
the crown, they can at once be started into growth, and it is essential
that this be made in absolute darkness. French growers plant in a warm
bed of the temperature suited to Mushrooms, but this treatment ruins the
flavour, and has the effect of making the fibre of the leaves woolly. It
is far simpler and better to put the roots into a cellar or shed in
which a temperature above the freezing point may be relied on, and from
which every ray of light can be excluded. They can be closely packed in
deep boxes, with light soil or leaf-mould between. If the soil be
fairly moist, watering will not be necessary for a month, and had better
not be resorted to until the plants show signs of flagging. Instead of
boxes, a couple of long and very wide boards, stood on edge and
supported from the outside, make a convenient and effective trough. The
packing of the roots with soil can be commenced at one end, and be
gradually extended through the entire length, until the part first used
is ready for a fresh start. Breaking the leaves is better than cutting,
and gathering may begin about three weeks after the roots are stored.
From well-grown specimens, heads may be obtained equal to a compact Cos
Lettuce, and by a little management it is easy to maintain a supply from
October until the end of May. The quantity of salading to be obtained
from a few roots is really astonishing.


==CORN SALAD==

==Valerianella olitoria==

Corn Salad, or Lamb's Lettuce, so often seen on Continental tables, is
comparatively unknown in this country. The reason for this is, perhaps,
to be found in the fact that, as a raw vegetable, it is not particularly
palatable, although when dressed as a salad with oil and the usual
condiments it is altogether delicious, and forms a most refreshing
episode in the routine of a good dinner. Corn Salad is a plant of quick
growth, and is valued for its early appearance in spring, when elegant
salads are much in request. It may be mixed with other vegetables for
the purpose, or served alone with a little suitable preparation.

The most important sowings are made in August and September. Seed may,
however, be sown at any time from February to October, but only those
who are accustomed to the plant should trouble to secure summer crops;
when Lettuces are plentiful Corn Salad is seldom required. Any good soil
will grow it, but the situation should be dry and open. Sow in drills
six inches apart, and thin to six inches in the rows. The crop is taken
in the same way as Spinach, either by the removal of separate leaves or
cutting over in tufts.


==COUVE TRONCHUDA==

==Brassica oleracea costata==

Couve Tronchuda, or Portugal Cabbage, is a fine vegetable that should be
grown in every garden, including those in which Cabbages generally are
not regarded as of much importance. The plant is of noble growth, and in
rich ground requires abundant room for the spread of its great leaves,
the midribs of which are thick, white, tender, and when cooked in the
same manner as Sea Kale quite superb in quality. When a fair crop of
these midribs has been taken there remains the top Cabbage, which is
excellent.

Two or three sowings may be made in February, March, and April, and the
early ones must be in heat. Transfer to rich soil as early as possible,
giving the plants ample room, from two to three feet each way, and aid
with plentiful supplies of water in dry weather.


==CRESS==

==Lepidium sativum==


Cress is best grown in small lots from frequent sowings, and the sorts
should be kept separate, and, if possible, on the same border. Fresh
fine soil is requisite, and there is no occasion for manuring, in fact
it is objectionable, but a change of soil must be made occasionally to
insure a good growth. The seed is usually sown too thick, yet thin
sowing is not to be recommended. It is important to cut Cress when it is
just ready--tender, green, short, and plump. This it will never be if
sown too thick, or allowed to stand too long. Immediately the plant
grows beyond salad size it becomes worthless, and should be dug in. From
small sowings at frequent intervals under glass a constant supply of
Cress may be kept up through the cold months of the year, for which
purpose shallow boxes or pans will be found most convenient. Cress
generally requires rather more time than Mustard.

==American== or ==Land Cress== (=Barbarea præcox=) is of excellent quality
when grown on a good border, and two or three sowings should be made in
the spring and autumn in shady spots. If the site is not naturally
moist, water must be copiously given.

==Water Cress== (=Nasturtium officinale=) is so highly prized that many
who are out of the reach of ordinary sources of supply would gladly
cultivate it were there a reasonable prospect of success. Assertions
have been made that it can be grown in any garden without water, but we
have never yet seen a sample fit to eat which has been grown without
assistance from the water can. A running stream is not necessary. Make a
trench in a shady spot, and well enrich the soil at the bottom of it. In
this sow the seed in March, and when the plants are established keep
the soil well moistened. The more freely this is done the better will be
the result. Other sowings may be made in April, August, and September.
We have seen Water Cress successfully cultivated in pots and pans
immersed in saucers of water placed in shady positions.


==CUCUMBER==

==Cucumis sativus==


The Cucumber is everywhere valued. Its exceeding usefulness explains its
popularity, and happily the plant is of an accommodating character. In
large establishments, Cucumbers are grown at all seasons of the year; in
medium-sized gardens, summer Cucumbers are generally deemed sufficient,
and there is no difficulty in growing an abundant and continuous supply
of the finest quality. The winter cultivation demands suitable
appliances and skilful management; but a very small house, with an
efficient heating apparatus, will suffice to produce a large and
constant supply, and therefore winter Cucumbers need not be regarded as
beyond the range of practice of any ordinary well-kept garden.

==Frame Cucumbers== are the most in demand, and the easiest to grow. The
very first point for the cultivator is to determine when to begin, for
the rule is to begin too early, and to waste time and opportunity in
consequence. We will suppose the Cucumbers are to be grown in a
two-light frame, for which will be required four good cartloads of
stable manure. This should be put in a heap three weeks before the bed
is made up, and the bed will have to last until the season is
sufficiently advanced to sustain the heat without any further
fermentation. Considering these points, it will be understood that it is
a far safer proceeding to begin the first week in April than the first
week in March, and unless the way is clearly seen, the later date is
certainly preferable, for it reduces to a minimum the conflict with time
in the matter of bottom heat. Make up the heap; then, early in March,
turn it twice, and at the end of the month prepare the bed, firming the
stuff with a fork as the work proceeds, but taking care not to tread on
the bed. Put on the lights and leave the affair for five or six days;
then lay down a bed of rich loamy soil of a somewhat light and turfy
texture, about nine inches deep. It is now optional to sow or plant as
may be most convenient. Strong plants in pots, put out at once, will
fruit earlier than plants from seeds sown on the bed. But sowing on the
bed is good practice for all that, and if this plan is adopted a few
more seeds must be sown than the number of plants required, to provide a
margin for enemies; any surplus plants will generally prove useful, for
Cucumber plants seldom go begging. If it is preferred to begin with
plants, the question of providing them must be considered in good time.
The seed should be sown at least a month in advance, and should be
brought forward on a hot-bed or in a cool part of a stove. Many a
successful Cucumber grower has no better means of raising plants than by
sowing the seeds in a box or pan of light rich earth, kept in a sunny
corner of a common greenhouse, with a slate or tile laid over until the
seeds start, and by a little careful management nice thrifty plants are
secured in the course of about four weeks. In some books on horticulture
a great deal is said as to the soil in which Cucumber seed should be
sown. We advise the reader not to make too much of that question. Any
turfy loam, or even peat, will answer; but a rank soil is certainly
unfit. The object should be to obtain short, stout plants of a healthy
green colour; not the long-drawn, pallid things that are often to be
seen on sale, and which by their evident weakness seem destined to
illustrate the problems of Cucumber disease.

Having made a beginning with strong plants on a good bed, the two
matters of importance are to regulate the temperature and the watering.
In the first instance, it will be necessary to shade the plants a
little, but as they acquire strength they should have more light and
more air than are usually allowed to Cucumbers. A temperature averaging
60° by night and 80° by day will be found safe and profitable, as
promoting a healthy growth and lasting fruitfulness. But the rule must
be elastic. You may shut up at 90° without harm, and during sunshine the
glass may rise to 95° without injury, provided the plants have air and
are not dry at the roots. But it is of great moment that the night
temperature should be kept near 60° and not go below it. If the
thermometer shows that the night temperature has been above the proper
point owing to the heat of the bed, wedge up the lights about half an
inch in the evening, and as the season advances increase this supply of
night air, for it keeps the plants in health, provided there is no chill
accompanying it. As regards watering, the important point is to employ
soft water of the same temperature as the frame, and therefore a spare
can, filled with water, must be always kept in the frame ready for use,
and when emptied should be filled again and left for the next watering.
Twice a day at least the plants and the sides of the frame should
receive a shower from the syringe. It is better to syringe three times
than twice, but this must be in some degree determined by the
temperature. The greater the heat, the more freely should air and water
be supplied; on the other hand, if the heat runs down, give water with
caution, or disaster may follow. In case of emergency the plants will go
through a bad time without serious damage if kept almost dry, and then
it will be prudent to give but little air. Sometimes the heat of the bed
runs out before there is sufficient sun heat to keep the plants growing,
but if they can be maintained in health for a week or so, hot weather
may set in, and all will come right. But to carry Cucumbers through at
such a time demands particular care as to watering and air-giving.

As regards stopping and training, we may as well say at once, that the
less of both the better. Free healthy natural growth will result in an
abundant production of fruit, and stopping and training will do very
little to promote the end in view. But there is something to be done to
secure an even growth and the exposure of every leaf to light. When the
young plant has made three rough leaves, nip out the point to encourage
the production of shoots from the base. When the shoots have made four
leaves, nip out the points to promote a further growth of side shoots,
and after this there must be no more stopping until there is a show of
fruit. The growth should be pegged out to cover the bed in the most
regular manner possible, and wherever superfluous shoots appear they
must be removed. Any crowding will have to be paid for, because crowded
shoots are not fruitful. If a great show of fruit appears suddenly,
remove a large portion of it, as over-cropping makes a troublesome glut
for a short time, and then there is an end of the business; but by
keeping the crop down to a reasonable limit, the plants will bear freely
to the end of the season. Every fruiting shoot should be stopped at two
leaves beyond the fruit, and as the crop progresses there must be
occasional pruning out of old shoots to make room for young ones. An
error of management likely to occur with a beginner is allowing the bed
to become dry below while it is kept quite moist above by means of the
syringe. Many cultivators drive sticks into the bed here and there, and
from time to time they draw these out and judge by their appearance
whether or not the bed needs a heavy watering. To be dry at the root is
deadly to the Cucumber plant, and to be in a swamp is not less deadly.
It must have abundance of moisture above and below, but stagnation of
either air or water will bring disease, ending in a waste of labour.

==The greenhouse cultivation== of the Cucumber for a summer crop only is
the most profitable and simple as well as the most interesting of all
the methods practised. In many gardens the houses that have been filled
during the winter with Geraniums and other plants are very poorly
furnished during the summer, and present a most unsightly appearance.
Now, it is a very easy matter to render them at once profitable and
beautiful, for when clothed with green vines bearing handsome Cucumbers,
such houses are attractive and pay their way amazingly well. To carry
out the routine properly, the house should be cleared at the end of
April, the plants being removed to pits and frames. If possible, make up
the beds on slates laid close over the hot-water pipes, and use a bushel
or more of soil under each light to begin with. First lay on the slate a
large seed-pan, bottom upwards, and on that a few flat tiles, and then
heap up a shallow cone of nice light turfy loam. Start the fire and shut
up, and raise the heat of the empty house to 80° or 90° for one whole
day. The next day plant on each hillock a short stout Cucumber plant, or
sow three seeds. Proceed as advised for frame culture, keeping a
temperature of 60° by night and 80° by day, with a rise of 5° to 10°
during sunshine. Ply the syringe freely, give air carefully, and use the
least amount of shading possible. It will very soon be found that by
judicious management in shutting up and air-giving, the firing may be
dispensed with, and then it remains only to syringe freely and train
with care. The plants should not be stopped at all, but be taken up
direct to the roof and be trained out on a few wires or tarred string,
in the first instance right and left, and afterwards along the rafters
to meet at the ridge, and form a rich leafy arcade. The fruits will
appear in quantity, and must be thinned to prevent over-cropping. As the
plants grow, earth must be added to the hillocks until there is a
continuous bed, on which a certain number of shoots may be trained where
there is sufficient light for them. It is best to begin as advised
above, with the aid of fire heat to start the crop for the sake of
gaining time; but if this is not convenient begin without fire heat in
the last week of May, and the plants will produce fruit until the chill
of autumn makes an end of them, and the house is again required for the
greenhouse plants.

==Winter Cucumbers== thrive best in lean-to houses with somewhat steep
roofs, as such houses are less liable to chill during cold windy
weather, and they catch a maximum of the winter sunshine. In a mild
winter, Cucumbers may be grown in any kind of house that can be
maintained at a suitable temperature, and the markets are supplied from
rough constructions that do duty for many purposes. But in hard weather,
the steep lean-to, with bed along the front, and tank to give equable
bottom heat, will prove the most serviceable, as it will neither allow
snow to lodge on the glass, nor suffer any serious decline of
temperature during the prevalence of sharp frost and keen winds. For
late autumn supply any kind of house will suffice, but best of all an
airy span. A brick pit will answer every purpose from October to March
with good management, and fermenting materials will afford the needful
heat. In such cases trenches should be provided for occasional renewal
of the bottom heat. But a roomy house and a service of hot water justly
stand in favour with experienced cultivators, as combining the necessary
conditions with convenience of management.

For winter culture, plants are raised from seeds and from cuttings.
Seedling plants are the most vigorous, but they require a little more
time than cuttings to arrive at a fruiting state. For pot culture
cuttings are preferable, as only a moderate crop is expected, and
quickness of production is of great importance. It is usual to sow the
first lot of seeds on the 1st of September, and to sow again on the 1st
of October and the 1st of November; after which it is not advisable to
sow again until the 1st of February for the spring crop. If the
management is good, the first sowing will be in fruit by the time the
third batch of seed is sown, say, by the first week of November, and
thenceforward throughout the winter there should be no break in the
supply.

The management of Winter Cucumbers turns upon details chiefly, and will
be found in the end to depend rather upon care than skill. The general
principles are the same as in growing Cucumbers in frames, the task for
the cultivator being to carry them out successfully. Begin by sowing the
seed singly in small pots in light turfy loam, or peat with which a fair
proportion of sharp sand has been mixed. These pots to be placed in a
heat of 70° to 75°, and for plants to last long the lower temperature is
preferable. As regards the next stage, the plants may be trained up
rafters, or spread out on beds, the first being always the better plan
where it happens to be convenient. But the prudent cultivator will not
be tied to rules; he will cut his coat according to his cloth, and while
he has a house of Cucumbers trained to the roof, he will, perhaps, also
have a pit filled with plants on beds. To stop severely is bad practice,
for vigorous growth is wanted; but a certain amount of stopping must be
done to promote an even growth, and to distribute the fruit fairly both
in space and time. We have already admitted that in some books on
gardening too much has been said about soil. In many places a suitable
turfy loam, or a good fibrous peat, may be obtained, and the accidents
that have befallen Cucumbers have usually been the result of bad
management in respect of heat, water, and air, rather than the use of
unsuitable soil. But it must not be supposed that we are careless about
this matter. Neither a pasty clay, a sour sticky loam, nor a poor sandy
or chalky soil will produce fine Cucumbers. On the other hand, rank
manure and poor leaf-mould are both unfavourable materials. There is
nothing like mellow loam, which can be enriched and modified at
discretion, without going to extremes.

==Ridge Cucumbers== are grown in much the same way as recommended for
Vegetable Marrows. They may be put on hillocks or beds, and in either
case a foundation of fermenting material is required to insure a crop in
the early part of the summer. For a late crop, the natural heat of the
soil will be sufficient should the summer prove to be fine, but in a
cold season Ridge Cucumbers are disappointing. Of the many methods of
growing them, one of the best is to lay out the ground in four-feet beds
by taking out the soil to a depth of fifteen inches, and spreading about
that depth or more of half-rotted manure, to which may be added any
leaves and other litter that may be handy. Cover with a foot depth of
good loam. About mid-April sow the seeds in three-inch pots or in boxes
and place in a cool greenhouse. After careful hardening, plant out about
the third week of May. If preferred, seeds may be sown on the bed early
in May. Give the plants the protection of a hand-light should the
weather prove unfavourable, and some care will be needed to keep them
moving fairly until the season is so far advanced as to allow for the
removal of the lights. Put the plants at thirty inches apart down the
middle of the bed, and when growing freely, nip out the points =once
only=. A crop of Lettuce may be taken from the beds while the plants are
advancing.


==DANDELION==

==Taraxacum officinale==

As a salad Dandelion has won general esteem for its wholesome medicinal
qualities. Nature teaches the way to grow this plant, for she sows the
seed in early summer, and we find the finest plants on dry ground,
while there are none to be found in bogs and swamps. Any gravelly or
chalky soil will grow good Dandelion, one fair digging without manure
being a sufficient preparation for it. Sow in May or June, and thin to
one foot apart every way, keeping the crop scrupulously clean by flat
hoeing. Any time in the winter the roots may be lifted and forced in the
same way as Sea Kale, or they may be covered with pots in spring to
blanch where grown. In any case the spring growth must be made in
darkness, for when green the flavour is bitter. Invalids who require
this salutary salad may obtain early supplies by planting the roots in
boxes in a cellar, and covering with empty boxes. Only as much water
should be given as will keep the roots reasonably moist.


==EGG PLANT (AUBERGINE)==

==Solatium Melongena, S. esculentum==

In this country the Egg Plant is generally grown merely as an ornament,
but it is a delicious vegetable when sliced and fried in oil, the
purple-and black-fruited kinds being especially serviceable for the
table. The common white, which is best known, is fairly good when cooked
young, though less rich in flavour than the purple. The cultivation
recommended for Capsicum will suit the Egg Plant, but little atmospheric
moisture is needed or the seedlings may damp off. They are not well
adapted for planting out, although in a warm season they will fruit
freely under a sunny wall, and will grow in a gravel walk if helped at
first with a little good soil round the roots. If required in quantity
for the table, the purple variety may be grown in a frame from plants
raised on a hot-bed. Generally speaking, a few plants in pots are all
that are required where the fruit is not valued as an esculent.


==ENDIVE==

==Cichorium Endivia==

As a result of the growing taste for wholesome salads Endive has
considerably advanced in public esteem. The flavour of well-blanched
Endive suits most palates that have had experience of salads, and of the
salutary properties of the plant we have a hint in its close relation to
the Chicory.

The selection of sorts is a question of importance, because the handsome
curled varieties that make the best appearance on the table, and might
be regarded as ornaments if they were not edible, are the very finest
for salads, being tender, with a fresh nutty flavour. The broad-leaved
sorts are not so well adapted for salads as for stews, and they take the
place of Lettuces when the latter are not available for soups and
ragoûts. However, when an emergency occurs, the curled varieties will be
found suitable for cooking, and the broad-leaved for salading, and
therefore there need be no waste where one sort predominates.

==Soil==.--A difficulty common to Endive culture may be got over in the
way advised for Celeriac. The plant requires a light, dry, sandy soil;
and a portion, at least, of the crop is expected to stand through the
winter. Thus on a heavy soil there is a prospect of failure in respect
of the late crop, but that is obviated by adopting a made bed--one of
smallish dimensions being sufficient to accommodate a large stock of
plants. Select an open spot, make a foundation of any hard rubbish that
is at hand, and on this put one to two feet of sandy soil. This will
form a raised bed of a kind exactly suited to the plant, and will cost
but little as compared with its ultimate value. If regularly dressed
with manure, and otherwise well managed, the bed will supply Endive in
winter and other salads in summer, or it may be cropped with Dwarf
Beans, which can be removed in August to make way for the usual planting
of Endive. Where the soil is naturally light and dry no such preparation
is needed, but Endive does not come to perfection without food, and
therefore the soil should be rich and deeply dug.

==Sowing and Transplanting==.--The seed may be sown as early as March, in
a moderate heat, but the latter part of April is early enough for most
purposes, and the main sowings are made in June. Later sowings may
follow in July and August. But the June sowing is the most important, as
by a little careful management it will supply a few early heads and many
late ones. Sow in shallow drills six inches apart, and when the plants
are an inch high draw the most forward, and prick them out on a bed of
rich light soil in the same way as Celery, and with a little nursing
these will make a first plantation. The plants in the seed-bed should be
thinned to three inches, and must have water in dry weather. All the
thinnings should be pricked out in the first instance to make them
strong for planting, but the last lot may go direct to the beds to
finish.

The final planting must be on rich, light, dry soil, and water given to
encourage growth. The distance for the curled varieties is a foot each
way, and for the broad-leaved fifteen inches. In taking the last lot
from the seed-bed, a crop should be left untouched to mature at twelve
to fifteen inches apart. These plants will give a first and most
excellent supply if carefully blanched.

If more convenient, seed may be sown where the crop is intended to
stand, the plants being thinned to the distances already given.

==The blanching== is an important business, and is variously performed.
The customary mode is to tie the leaves together in the manner usual
with Lettuce and mould them up. This method answers perfectly, except in
wet seasons, when, if the plants stand for some time, the outer leaves
begin to rot, and the decay proceeds inwards, to the deterioration or
destruction of the plant. A clean and effective process is to cover the
heart of the plant with a flower-pot. The hole is darkened with part of
a tile or slate, on which should be laid a piece of turf or a handful of
mould. A plate or clean tile placed over the centre of the plant will
also blanch Endives satisfactorily in autumn. For winter supplies, the
plants may be lifted as wanted and placed in boxes or pots of soil,
these being covered with other boxes or pots to exclude light. A
Mushroom-house, cellar, or under a greenhouse stage, will serve for
storing the lifted plants. The blanching must be carried on in such a
way as to insure a succession without a glut at any time, for when
sufficiently blanched Endive should be used, or decay will soon set in.


==GARLIC==

==Allium sativura==

The mode of culture advised for Shallots will suit Garlic also, except
that the latter should be planted in February about two inches beneath
the surface of the soil, and the bulbs may be grown closer together,
about eight or nine inches apart each way.

When large bulbs are required for exhibition or other purposes, the
cloves--as the divisions of each root are called--should be planted
separately; but for general use moderate-sized bulbs, planted whole,
will produce a heavier crop.


==GOURD and PUMPKIN==

(==Cucurbita==)

Gourds and Pumpkins may be grown to perfection by precisely the same
method recommended for Ridge Cucumbers; but as the plants occupy more
space, room must be left for them to extend south wards beyond the
limits of the ridge. It is well to put out strong plants from seeds sown
in pots in April or May, and protect them until established. If these
are not obtainable, the seed may be sown where the plants are intended
to stand, and there will in time be plenty of produce, but of course
somewhat later in the season than if strong plants had been put out in
the first instance. Keep a sharp look-out for slugs, which will flock in
from all quarters to feast upon them, but will scarcely touch them after
they have been planted a week or so. Any rough fermenting material, such
as grass mowings, may be used in making the hills, to give them the aid
of a warm bed for a brief space of time, and it is a great gain if they
grow freely from the first. Later on the natural heat will be enough for
them.

The edible Gourds are useful in all their stages and ages; and if the
cultivator has a fancy to grow large, handsome fruits, he can make the
business answer by hanging them up for use in winter, when they may be
employed in soups in place of Carrots, or in addition to the usual
vegetables, and may indeed be cooked in half a dozen different ways.
There remains yet one more purpose to which the plants may be applied:
supposing you have a great plantation of edible Gourds and Marrows, and
would like a peculiarly elegant and delicious dish of Spinach, pinch off
a sufficiency of the tops of the advancing shoots, and cook them Spinach
fashion. If properly done, it is one of the finest vegetables ever
eaten. As pinching off the tender tops of the shoots lessens the
fruitfulness of the vines, we only recommend this procedure where there
is a large plantation.

Gourds may be trained to trellises, fences, and walls. In all such
cases, a good bed should be prepared of any light, rich loam, and it
will be none the less effective if made on a mound of fermenting
material.


==HERBS==

With certain exceptions, the growing of Sweet Herbs from seeds is
altogether advantageous. The plants come perfectly true, and are so
vigorous that it is easier to raise them from seed than to secure a
succession from slips or cuttings. To meet a large and continuous demand
in the kitchen there must be a proportionate plantation in the border;
but in gardens of medium size we do not advocate the culture of Herbs on
an extensive scale, unless there be a special object in view. A
moderate number of Herbs will meet the necessities of most families.
Still it is a fact that the tendency is always in the direction of
increased variety, and gardeners are called on to provide frequent
changes of flavouring Herbs, some of which are quite as highly prized in
salads as they are for culinary purposes.

In the smallest gardens, Mint, Parsley, Sage, and both Common and Lemon
Thyme, must find a place. In gardens which have any pretension to supply
the needs of a luxurious table there should be added Basil, Chives, Pot
and Sweet Marjoram, Summer and Winter Savory, Sorrel, Tarragon, and
others that may be in especial favour. Large gardens generally contain a
plot, proportioned to demands, of all the varieties which follow.

Several of the most popular Herbs, such as Chives, Mint, Tarragon, and
Lemon Thyme, are not grown from seed--at all events, those who venture
on the pastime might employ their labour to greater advantage. But
others, such as Basil, Borage, Chervil, Fennel, Marjoram, Marigold,
Parsley, Savory, &c, are grown from seed, in some cases of necessity,
and in others because it is the quicker and easier way of securing a
crop.

Angelica and Mint flourish in moist soil, but the majority of aromatic
Herbs succeed on land that is dry, poor, and somewhat sandy, rather than
in the rich borders that usually prevail in the Kitchen Garden. Happily
they are not very particular, but sunshine they must have for the
secretion of their fragrant essences. A narrow border marked off in
drills, and, if possible, sloping to the south, will answer admirably.
Thin the plants in good time, and the thinnings of those wanted in
quantity may, if necessary, be transplanted. The soil must be kept free
from weeds, and every variety be allowed sufficient space for full
development.

==Angelica== (=A. Archangelica=).--A native biennial which is not easily
raised from seed treated in the ordinary way. Germination is always
capricious, slow and irregular. It may be several months before the
plants begin to appear. The best results are obtained by placing the
seed in sand, kept moist for several weeks before sowing. The leaves and
stalks are sometimes blanched and eaten as Celery, and are also boiled
with meat and fish. Occasionally the tender stems and midribs are coated
with candied sugar as a confection. Angelica was formerly supposed to
possess great medicinal virtues, but its reputation as a remedy for
poison and as a preventive of infectious diseases is not supported by
the disciples of modern chemistry. The seeds are still used for
flavouring liqueurs.

==Balm== (=Melissa officinalis=).--A perennial herb, which can be
propagated by cuttings or grown as an annual from seed. An essential oil
is distilled from the leaves, but they are chiefly used, when dried, for
making tea for invalids, especially those suffering from fever. The
plant has also been used for making Balm wine. Sow in May.

==Basil, Bush== (=Ocymum minimum=).--A dwarf-growing variety, used for the
same purposes as the Sweet Basil. Sow in April.

==Basil, Sweet== (=Ocymum Basilicum=).--A tender annual, originally
obtained from India, and one of the most popular of the flavouring
Herbs. Seeds should be sown in February or March in gentle heat. When
large enough the seedlings must be pricked off into boxes until they are
ready for transferring to a rich border in June, or seed may be sown in
the open ground during April and May. A space of eight inches between
the plants in the rows will suffice, but the rows should be at least a
foot apart. The flower-stems must be cut as they rise, and be tied in
bundles for winter use. This practice will prolong the life of the plant
until late in the season. Many gardeners lift plants in September, pot
them, and so maintain a supply of fresh green leaves until winter is far
advanced.

==Borage== (=Borago officinalis=).--A native hardy plant, which thrives in
poor, stony soil. The flowers are used for flavouring purposes,
especially for claret-cup. Borage is also a great favourite with
bee-masters. Sow in April or May in good loam, and thin to fifteen or
eighteen inches apart. The rows should be from eighteen to twenty-four
inches asunder, for the plant is tall, and strong in growth.

==Chervil, Curled== (=Anthriscus Cerefolium=).--Used for salads,
garnishing, and culinary purposes. To secure a regular supply of leaves
small successional sowings are necessary from spring to autumn, and
frequent watering in dry weather will prevent the plants from being
spoiled by throwing up seed-stems. For winter use, sow in boxes kept in
a warm temperature.

==Chives== (=Allium Schænoprasum=).--A mild substitute for the Onion in
salads and soups. The plant is a native of Britain, and will grow freely
in any ordinary garden soil. Propagation is effected by division of the
roots either in spring or autumn. The clumps should be cut regularly in
succession whether wanted or not, with the object of maintaining a
continuous growth of young and tender shoots. At intervals of four years
it will be necessary to lift, divide, and replant the roots on fresh
ground.

==Fennel== (=Fæniculum officinale=).--A hardy perennial which has been
naturalised in some parts of this country. It is grown in gardens to
furnish a supply of its elegant feathery foliage for garnishing and for
use in fish sauces. Occasionally the stems are blanched and eaten in the
same way as Celery, and in the natural state they are boiled as a
vegetable. The seeds are also employed for flavouring. Sow in drills in
April and May, and thin the plants to fifteen inches apart.

==Finocchio, or Florence Fennel== (=Fæniculum dulce=, DC).--A
sweet-tasting herb, very largely grown in the south of Italy, where it
is eaten both in the natural state and when boiled. Sow in the open
ground during spring or early summer, in rows about eighteen inches
apart, and thin or transplant to six or nine inches. When the base
begins to swell, earth up the plants in the same manner as Celery. If
transplanted, pinch off the tips of the roots.

==Horehound== (=Marrubium vulgare=).--A well-known medicinal herb, from
which an extract is obtained for subduing irritating coughs. Sow in
April or May, and thin the plants until they stand fifteen inches apart.

==Hyssop== (=Hyssopus officinalis=).--The leaves and young shoots are used
as a pot-herb, and the leafy tops and flowers, when dried, are employed
for medicinal purposes. Hyssop is also occasionally used as an edging
plant. A dry soil and warm situation suit it. Sow in April, and thin the
plants to a foot apart in the rows.

==Lavender== (=Lavandula=).--Universally known and valued for its perfume.
Although the plant is generally propagated from cuttings, it can easily
be grown from seed sown in April or May. The plants attain a height of
one or two feet, and the stems should not be cut until the flowers are
expanded.

==Marigold, Pot== (=Calendula officinalis=).--Employed both in flower and
vegetable gardens: in the former as a bedding annual, and in the latter
that the flowers may be dried and stored for colouring and flavouring
soups; also for distilling. In April or May sow the seed in drills one
foot apart, and thin the plants to the same distance in the rows.

==Marjoram, Pot== (=Origanum Onites=).--One of the most familiar Herbs in
British gardens. The aromatic leaves are used both green and when dried
for flavouring. Strictly the plant is a perennial, but it is readily
grown as an annual. Sow in February or March in gentle heat, and in the
open ground a month later. The plants should be allowed a space often
inches or a foot each way.

==Marjoram, Sweet Knotted== (=Origanum Majorana=).--This plant is used for
culinary purposes in the same way as the Pot Marjoram, and it is also
regarded as a tonic and stomachic. The most satisfactory mode of
cultivation is that of a half-hardy annual. Sow in March or April and
allow each plant a square foot of ground.

==Mint== (=Mentha viridis=).--Known also as Spearmint. It must be grown
from divisions. Between the delicacy of fresh young green leaves and
those which have been dried with the utmost care there is so wide a
difference that the practice of forcing from November to May is fully
justified. This is easily accomplished by packing roots in a box and
keeping them moist in a temperature of 60°. Where this is impossible,
stems must be cut, bunched, and hung in a cool store for use during
winter and spring. Mint grows vigorously in damp soil, and the bed
should have occasional attention, to prevent plants from extending
beyond their proper boundary. To secure young and luxuriant growth a
fresh plantation should be made annually in February or March. If
allowed to occupy the same plot of land year after year the leaves
become small and the stems wiry.

==Parsley== (=Carum Petroselinum=) will teach those who have eyes exactly
how it should be grown. There will appear here and there in a garden
stray or rogue Parsley plants. No matter how regularly the hoeing and
weeding may be done, a stray Parsley plant will occasionally appear
alone, perhaps in the midst of Lettuces, or Cauliflowers, or Onions.
When these rogues escape destruction they become superb plants, and the
gardener sometimes leaves them to enjoy the conditions they have
selected, and in which they evidently prosper. The lesson for the
cultivator is, that Parsley should have plenty of room from the very
first; and this lesson, we feel bound to say, cannot be too often
enforced upon young gardeners, for they are apt to sow Parsley far more
thickly than is wise, and to be injuriously slow and timid in thinning
the crop when the plants are crowding one another.

Parsley, like many other good things, will grow almost anywhere and
anyhow, but to make a handsome crop a deep, rich, moist soil is
required. It attains to fine quality on a well-tilled clay, but the
kindly loam that suits almost every vegetable is adapted to produce
perfect Parsley, and every good garden should show a handsome sample,
for beauty is the first required qualification. To keep the house fairly
well supplied sowings should be made in February, May, and July. The
first of these will be in gentle heat. When large enough prick out the
plants into boxes, or on to a mild hot-bed, and transfer to the open
ground at the end of April, allowing each plant a space of one foot each
way. In the open, it is best to sow in lines one foot apart, and thin
out first to three inches, and finally to six inches, the strongest of
the seedlings being put out one foot apart. By following this plan
sufficient supplies for a small household may be obtained from one
annual sowing made in April. It should not be overlooked that Parsley is
indispensable to exhibitors of vegetables, especially as a groundwork
for collections, and due allowance for such calls must be made in fixing
the number and extent of the sowings. When the plant pushes for seed it
becomes useless, and had best be got rid of; but by planting at various
times in different places a sufficiency may be expected to go through a
second season without bolting, after which it will be necessary to root
them out and consign them to the rubbish-heap. Parsley is often grown as
an edging, but it is only in large gardens that this can be done
advantageously, and then a very handsome edging is secured. In small
gardens it is best to sow on a bed in lines one foot apart, and thin out
first to three inches, and finally to six inches, the strongest of the
thinnings being planted a foot apart, to last over as proposed above.
When Parsley has stood some time it becomes coarse, but the young growth
may be renewed by cutting over; this operation being also useful to
defer the flowering, which is surely hastened by leaving the plants
alone. For the winter supply a late plantation made in a sheltered spot
will usually suffice, for the plant is very hardy; but it may be
expedient sometimes to put old frames over a piece worth keeping, or to
protect during hard weather with dry litter. A few plants lifted into
five-inch pots and placed in a cool house will often tide over a
difficult period. In gathering, care should be taken to pick separately
the young leaves that are nearly full grown, and to take only one or two
from each plant. It costs no more time to fill a basket by taking a leaf
or two here and there from a whole row than to strip two or three
plants, and the difference in the end will be considerable as regards
the total produce and quality of the crop.

==Pennyroyal== (=Mentha Pulegium=) is a native perennial which must be
propagated by divisions, and this can be done either in spring or
autumn. The rows may be twelve or fifteen inches apart, but in the rows
the plants do well at a distance of eight inches. The taste for
Pennyroyal is by no means universal, but some persons like the tender
tops in culinary preparations. The belief in its supposed medicinal
virtues is slowly dying.

==Purslane== (=Portulaca oleracea=).--This annual plant thrives best in a
sunny position. Seed should be sown from mid-April onwards to insure a
succession of young leaves and shoots which may be cooked as a vegetable
or eaten raw as a salad. Space the rows nine inches apart and thin the
plants to a distance of six inches.

==Rampion== (=Campanula Rapunculus=).--Both leaves and roots are used in
winter salads; the roots are also boiled. If the seed be sown earlier
than the end of May the plants are liable to bolt. Choose a shady
situation where the soil is rich and light, and do not stint water. The
rows need not exceed six inches apart, and four inches in the rows will
be a sufficient space between plants.

==Rosemary== (=Rosmarinus officinalis=).--A hardy evergreen shrub easily
grown from seed, the leaves of which are used for making Rosemary tea
for relieving headache. An essential oil is also obtained by
distillation. A dry, warm, sunny border suits the plant. Sow in April
and May.

==Rue== (=Ruta graveolens=).--A hardy evergreen shrub, chiefly cultivated
for its medicinal qualities. The leaves are acrid, and emit a pungent
odour when handled. The plant is shrubby, and as it attains a height of
two or three feet it occupies a considerable space. Sow in April.

==Sage== (=Salvia officinalis=).--Although Sage can be raised from seed
with a minimum of trouble, yet this is one of the few instances where it
is an advantage to propagate plants from a good stock. The difference
will be obvious to any gardener who will grow seedlings by the side of
propagated plants. Still, seedlings are often raised, and as annuals the
plants are quite satisfactory. Sow under glass in February and March,
and in open ground during April and May. Prick off the seedlings into a
nursery bed before transferring to final positions, in which each plant
should be allowed a space of fifteen inches.

==Savory, Summer== (=Satureia hortensis=).--An aromatic seasoning and
flavouring herb, which must be raised annually from seed. Sow early in
April in drills one foot apart, and thin the plants to six or eight
inches in the rows. Cut the stems when in full flower, and tie in
bunches for winter use.

==Savory, Winter== (=Satureia montana=).--A hardy dwarf evergreen which
can be propagated by cuttings; but it is more economically grown from
seed sown at the same time, and treated in the same manner, as Summer
Savory.

==Sorrel== (=Rumex scutalus=).--The large-leaved or French Sorrel is not
only served as a separate dish, but is mingled with Spinach, and is also
used as an ingredient in soups, sauces, and salads. Leaves of the
finest quality are obtainable from plants a year old, and when the crop
has been gathered the ground may with advantage be utilised for some
other purpose. Light soil in fairly good heart suits the plant. The seed
should be sown in March or early April, in shallow drills six or eight
inches apart, and the seedlings must be thinned early, leaving three or
four inches between them in the rows. To keep the bed free from weeds is
the only attention necessary, unless an occasional watering becomes
imperative. In September the entire crop may be transferred to fresh
ground, allowing eighteen inches between the plants, or part may be
drawn and the remainder left at that distance. In the following spring
the flower-stems will begin to rise, and if these are allowed to develop
they reduce the size of the leaves and seriously impair their quality;
hence the heads should be pinched out as fast as they are presented.

==Tarragon== (=Artemisia Dracunculus=).--This aromatic herb is used for a
variety of purposes, but is most commonly employed for imparting its
powerful flavour to vinegar. The plant is a perennial, and must be
propagated by divisions in March or April, or by cuttings placed in
gentle heat in spring. Later in the year they will succeed under a
hand-glass in the open. Green leaves are preferable to those which have
been dried, and by a little management a succession of plants is easily
arranged. For winter use roots may be lifted in autumn and placed in
heat. Those who have no facilities for maintaining a supply of green
leaves rely on foliage cut in autumn and dried.

==Thyme, Common== (=Thymus vulgaris=).--An aromatic herb, well known in
every garden, and in constant demand for the house. Seedlings are easily
raised from a sowing in April, or the plant can be grown from division
of the roots in spring. Thyme makes a very effective edging, and is
frequently employed for this purpose on dry, well-kept borders.

==Thyme, Lemon== (=Thymus Serpyllum vulgaris=).--This plant cannot be
grown from seed; only by division of the roots in March or April. It is
an aromatic herb, generally regarded as indispensable in a well-ordered
garden.

==Wormwood== (=Artemisia Absinthium=).--An intensely bitter herb, used for
medicinal purposes. The plant is a hardy perennial, and is usually
propagated in spring by taking cuttings or dividing the roots.


==HORSE-RADISH==

==Cochlearia Armoracia==

This vegetable is highly prized as a condiment to roast beef, but as a
rule it is badly grown. The common practice is to consign it to some
neglected corner of the garden, where it struggles for existence, and
produces sticks which are almost worthless for the table. In the same
space a plentiful supply of large handsome sticks may be grown with as
little trouble as Carrots or Parsnips. Choose for the crop a piece of
good open ground, and in preparing it place a heavy dressing of rotten
manure quite at the bottom of each trench. Early in the year select
young straight roots from eight to twelve inches long, each having a
single crown, and plant them one foot apart each way. By the following
autumn these will become large, succulent sticks, which will put to
shame the ugly striplings grown under starving conditions. The roots may
be dug as required; but we do not advocate that method. It is better
practice to clear the whole bed at once, and store the produce in sand
for use when wanted. This plan should be repeated each year, and a fresh
piece of land ought always to be found for the crop.


==KALE==--=see=== BORECOLE==, =page 27=


==KOHL RABI (KNOL KOHL)==

==Brassica oleracea Caulo-rapa==

Kohl Rabi, or Knol Kohl, is comparatively little grown in this country,
because we can almost always command tender and tasty Turnips. On the
Continent it is otherwise. There Kohl Rabi may be seen in every market,
and on many a good table, where it proves a most acceptable vegetable.
For all ordinary purposes the green variety is better than the purple. A
small crop of this root should be annually grown in every garden. In
case of failure with Turnips, Kohl Rabi will take their place to tide
over an emergency. When. served it has the flavour of a Turnip with a
somewhat nutty tendency, and may be prepared for table in the same
manner.

Kohl Rabi is cultivated in much the same way as Turnips. Seed may be
sown at any time from March to August in rows one and a half to two feet
apart. As soon as possible thin the seedlings to three inches apart in
the rows, and, as the leaves develop, to six inches apart. By drawing
every other plant some small roots may be obtained early, and the
remainder will be left to mature at twelve inches in the rows. The
seedlings may be transplanted, if desired. Keep the ground clean and the
surface open, but care should be taken not to damage the leaves, or in
the least degree to earth up the roots. Any animal that can eat a Turnip
will prefer a Kohl Rabi, and when substituted for the Turnip in feeding
cows, it does not affect the flavour of the milk. The plant is hardy,
and as a rule may stand, to be drawn as wanted, until the spring is far
advanced, when the remnant should be cleared off for the benefit of the
animals on the home farm, or be dug in as manure.


==LEEK==

==Allium Porrum==

The leek is not so fully appreciated in the southern parts of England as
it is in the North, and in Scotland and Wales. It is a fine vegetable
where it is well understood, and when stewed in gravy there is nothing
of its class that can surpass it in flavour and wholesomeness. One
reason of its fame in Scotland and the colder parts of Wales is its
exceeding hardiness. The severest winters do not harm the plant, and it
may remain in the open ground until wanted, occasioning no trouble for
storage.

==Times of Sowing.==--To obtain large handsome specimens of the finest
quality a start must be made in January or early February, and this
early sowing is imperative for the production of Leeks for exhibition,
as the roots must be given a longer season of growth than is generally
allowed for ordinary crops. It is usual to sow in pans or boxes of
moistened soil, placed in a temperature of about 55°. The seeds need
only a very light covering of fine soil. When the seedlings are about
two inches high transfer to shallow boxes of rich soil, spacing them
three inches apart each way, or the finest may be placed in pots of the
32-size, taking care not to break the one slender root on which the
plant depends at this stage. Grow on in the same temperature until
mid-March, when they may be transferred to a cold frame to undergo
progressive hardening in readiness for planting out at a favourable
opportunity in April.

There may be three sowings of Leek made in the open ground in February,
March, and April, to insure a succession, and also to make good any
failures. But for most gardens one sowing about the middle of March will
be sufficient. From this sowing it will be an easy matter to secure an
early supply, a main crop, and a late crop, for they may be transplanted
from the seed-bed at a very early stage, and successive thinnings will
make several plantations; and finally, as many can be left in the
seed-bed to mature as will form a proper plantation.

==General Cultivation==.--The Leek will grow in any soil, and when no
thicker than the finger is useful; indeed, in many places where the soil
is poor and the climate cold it rarely grows larger, but is,
nevertheless, greatly valued. A rich dry soil suits the plant well, and
when liberally grown it attains to a great size, and is very attractive,
with its silvery root and brilliant green top. The economical course of
management consists in thinning and planting as opportunities occur,
beginning as soon as the plants are six inches high, and putting them in
well-prepared ground, which should be thoroughly watered previously,
unless already softened by rain. The distance for planting must depend
upon the nature of the soil and the requirements of the cultivator. For
an average crop, eighteen inches between the rows and six to nine inches
between the plants is sufficient; but to grow large Leeks, they must be
allowed a space of twelve to eighteen inches in the rows. In planting,
first shorten the leaves a little (and very little), then drive down the
dibber, and put the plant in as deep as the base of the leaves, and
close in carefully without pressure. Water liberally, occasionally stir
the ground between plants, and again cut off the tops of the leaves,
when the roots will grow to a large size. If the ground is dangerously
damp or pasty, make a bed for the crop with light rich soil, plant on
the level and mould up as the growth advances. On light land, however,
it is advisable to grow them in trenches, prepared as for Celery. The
largest and whitest should not be left to battle with storms, but those
left in the seed-bed will take no harm from winter weather, and will be
useful when the grandees are eaten. The finest roots that remain when
winter sets in may be taken up in good time and stored in dry sand, and
will keep for at least a month. Any that remain over in spring can
readily be turned to account. As the flower-stems rise nip them out; not
one should be left. The result of this practice will be the formation on
the roots of small roundish white bulbs, which make an excellent dish
when stewed in gravy, and may be used for any purpose in cookery for
which Onions or Shallots are employed. They are called 'Leek Bulbs,'
and are obtainable only in early summer.

==Blanching==.--The edible part of the root should be blanched, and this
may be effected in various ways. Drain-pipes not less than two and a
half inches in diameter, and from twelve to fifteen inches in length,
answer well for large stems. Tubes of stiff brown paper are also very
serviceable. Drawing up the earth to the stem as growth develops is a
simple method of blanching, and the edible portion may easily be
increased according to the amount of earthing-up given. Perfect
blanching is of first importance when specimens are wanted for the
exhibition table, and a commencement must be made as soon as the plants
may be said to have thoroughly recovered from the effects of
transplanting.


==LETTUCE==

==Lactuca sativa==

The lettuce is the king of salads, and as a cooked vegetable it has its
value; but as it does not compete with the Pea, the Asparagus, or the
Cauliflower, we need not make comparisons, but may proceed to the
consideration of its uses in the uncooked state. Scientific advisers on
diet and health esteem the Lettuce highly for its anti-scorbutic
properties, and especially for its wholesomeness as a corrective. It
supplies the blood with vegetable juices that are needful to accompany
flesh foods when cooked vegetables are unattainable. Our summers are
usually too brief and too cool to permit us to acquire a knowledge of
the real value of the Lettuce, but in Southern Europe and many parts of
the East it becomes a necessary of life, and those large red Lettuces
that are occasionally grown here as curiosities are prized above all
others because of their crisp coolness and refreshing flavour under a
burning sun.

The numerous varieties may, for practical purposes, be grouped in two
classes--Cabbage and Cos Lettuces. They vary greatly in habit and are
adapted for different purposes, the first group being invaluable for
mixed salads at all seasons, but more especially in winter and early
spring; the second group is most serviceable in the summer season, and
is adapted for a simple kind of salad, the leaves being more crisp and
juicy. A certain number of the two classes should be grown in every
garden, both for their great value to appetite and health, and their
elegance on the table, whether plain or dressed. In the selection of
sorts, leading types should be kept in view. Some of the varieties which
have been introduced have no claim to a place in a good list, because of
their coarseness. Although they afford a great bulk of blanched
material, it is too often destitute of flavour, or altogether
objectionable. The best types are tender and delicately flavoured,
representing centuries of cultivation, and the sub varieties of these
types should retain their leading characteristics, though perhaps they
are more hardy and stand longer, and are therefore much to be desired.

==Preparation of the Soil==.--The Lettuce requires a light, rich soil, but
almost any kind of soil may be so prepared as to insure a fair supply,
and in places where fine Cos Lettuces are not readily obtained, it may
be possible to grow excellent Cabbage varieties in place of them. A
tolerably good garden soil will answer for both classes, and fat stable
manure should be liberally used. The best way to prepare ground for the
summer crop is to select a piece that has been trenched, and go over it
again, laying in a good body of rough green manure, one spade deep, so
that the plant will be put on unmanured ground, but will reach the
manure at the very period when it is needed, by which time contact with
the earth will have rendered it sweet and mellow. By this mode of
procedure the finest growth is secured, and the plants stand well
without bolting, as they, are saved from the distress consequent on
continued dry weather. As regards drought, it must be said that the
red-leaved kinds stand remarkably well in a hot summer, and although
they do not rank high as table Lettuces in this country, were we to
experience a succession of roasting summers they would rise in repute
and be in great demand. Cabbage Lettuces bear drought fairly well, more
especially the diminutive section; but where water is available Lettuces
have as good a claim to a share of it in a dry, hot season, as any crop
in the garden.

==Blanching==.--A first-class strain of White Cos Lettuce will produce
tender white hearts without being tied, and, as a rule, therefore, the
labour of tying may be saved. The section of which Sutton's Superb White
Cos is the type may be said to produce better samples without tying than
with this imaginary aid to blanching. The market grower is still
accustomed to tie Lettuces because they are more easily packed and
travel better when tied, but when tying is practised it need not be done
until one or two days before the Lettuces are cut. The coarser market
kinds certainly are improved by tying, and in this case the operation
must be performed when the plants are quite dry, and not more than ten
days in advance of the day on which it is intended to pull them. The
Bath Cos must be tied always, and when well managed the heart is white,
with a pretty touch of pink in the centre.

==Spring-sown Lettuces== may be forwarded under glass from January to
March, from which time sowings may be made successively in the open
ground. In any and every case the finest Lettuces are obtained by sowing
in the open ground, and leaving the plants to finish in the seed-bed
without being transplanted. It will, of course, occur to the practical
cultivator that the two systems may be combined, so as to vary the time
of turning in, and thus from a single sowing insuring a longer
succession than is possible by one system only. We will suppose small
sowings made of three or four sorts in January or early in February, and
put into a gentle heat to start them. A very little care will keep them
going nicely, and of course they must have light and air to any extent
commensurate with safety. When about three weeks old, it will be
advisable to prick these out into a bed of light rich earth in frames;
or if the season is backward, and they need a little more nursing, prick
them into large shallow boxes, containing two or three inches of soil,
which will be sufficient provided it consists in great part of decayed
manure, kept always moist enough for healthy growing. The next step will
be to plant them out about six inches apart, with a view to draw a
certain number as soon as they are large enough to be useful, leaving
the remainder at nine to twelve inches, taking care to thin out in time
to prevent any leaves overlapping. If Peas are being grown under glass,
a few plants of an early Cabbage variety may be put out between the
rows, or they may be pricked out on the borders of a Peach-house, in
either case spacing the plants nine inches apart. Successive sowings
made in February and March will be treated in the same way, and will
need less nursing. In planting out, it is important to have the
seedlings well hardened, for they are naturally susceptible to wind and
sunshine, and if suddenly exposed to either will be likely to perish.
Again, when first planted out their delicate leaves will attract all the
slugs and snails in the garden, and the discreet way of acting is to
regard a plantation of Lettuce as an extensive vermin trap, and thus,
knowing where the marauders are, to be ready to catch and kill, or to
destroy them by sprinklings of lime, salt, or soot, in all cases being
careful to keep these agents at a reasonable distance from the plants.

Sowings in the open ground from the end of March onwards should be
made, not on an ordinary seed-bed, but on a plot loaded with rich manure
at one spit deep, and the seed should be put in shallow drills one foot
apart. From the time the young plants are two inches high they must be
drawn freely for 'Cutting Lettuce,' or for planting out elsewhere; this
thinning to proceed until a sufficient crop remains to finish off on the
ground. The value of 'Cutting Lettuce' is better understood on the
Continent than in this country. The small tender plants are in daily
use, and appear in the salad bowl with Water Cress and Corn Salad,
delicately dressed with delicious flavourings. After this brief
digression it is necessary to add that a crowded Lettuce crop is an
encumbrance to the ground; and one of the evils of the best system, that
of sowing where the crop is to finish, is the tendency of the cultivator
to be timid in the thinning, which should be done with a bold hand, and
in good time.

==July and August Sowing==.--From sowings made during these months the
supply of Lettuce from the open ground may be extended throughout the
autumn, and even into December or January should the weather prove
favourable. The main conditions essential to success are, the use of
quick-growing varieties, sowing in good soil where the heads are to
mature, and early and severe thinning. The thinnings may be transplanted
if required.

==Winter Lettuces== are produced and provided for in various ways. In some
places Lettuces stand out the winter without covering, and turn in early
in the spring. But in other districts they seldom survive the winter
without protection, even when the sparrows spare them. The summer
sowings will afford supplies to a late season of the year, and the crop
that remains when frost sets in may be preserved with slight and rough
protection. But for the profitable production of Winter Lettuces frames
are a necessity, and care must be taken not to promote a strong growth,
for after a term of mild winter weather a sudden and severe frost will
probably annihilate those that are in a too thriving condition. In the
least likely places, however, it is well to have a small plantation of
Winter Lettuces in the open, and to give some rough protection in bad
times, as these often prove of great advantage, and even outlive frame
crops which have been allowed to get too forward by the aid of warmth
and a rich soil.

For winter and spring use sowings should commence in August and be
continued, according to requirements, until the middle of October, after
which it is waste of time and seed to sow any more. The August and
September sowings may be made partly on an open border and partly in
frames, but the October sowings must be in frames only, for winter may
overtake them in the seed-leaf. The seedlings must in all cases be
thinned and pricked out as soon as large enough, and should be planted
in fine soil, free from recent manure, being carefully handled to avoid
needless check. Some should be planted in frames on beds of light soil
near the glass, at three inches apart, and when these meet they must be
thinned for the house as may be necessary: the remainder of the
thinnings may be put out on warm borders at six inches, and, if quite
convenient, a crop should be left in the seed-bed at six inches. From
the frames, the supplies will be ready in time to follow those from late
summer sowings, and thus through the winter until the frames are cleared
out for the work of the spring. The frame crop must have plenty of air,
and be kept as hardy as possible, but with moisture enough to sustain a
steady healthy growth. If roughly handled in the planting, or a little
starved in respect of moisture, the plants will rise from the centre
just when they ought to begin to turn in, and the first few days of warm
sunshine will start them in the wrong way. As to those wintered out,
there are many ways of protecting them, and when success has crowned the
effort there will be a crowded plant. It will be necessary, therefore,
to transplant at least half the crop by lifting every other one. This
must be done with care, as though they were worth a guinea each. By
transplanting early in March to a piece of rich light ground in a warm
spot, and doing the work neatly and smartly, the result will be a
valuable crop of early Summer Lettuce, while those that remain will help
through the spring.

==Forcing.==--Lettuces do not force well; but as they are so constantly in
demand, it is a matter of importance to grow them in every possible way.
Nice promising plants from August and September sowings may be selected
from the frames, and planted on gentle hot-beds from November to
January, and will do well if tenderly lifted. The Commodore Nutt and
Golden Ball are the best of the Cabbage varieties for forcing. The Cos
varieties do not differ much as to forcing, none of them being well
adapted for the purpose; but the Superb White Cos may be brought to fine
condition by taking time enough, so as to make a very moderate warmth
suffice. On sunny days the heat should not exceed 75°; but 65° is
sufficient, with a night temperature of 45°to 50°.

One other method of providing small delicate salading may be adopted to
meet emergencies. On the barrows of itinerant greengrocers in Paris the
thinnings of Lettuce crops form part of the general stock, and in this
country we do not sufficiently utilise this young tender stuff. But we
have now in view the use of Lettuce in a still earlier stage of growth.
By sowing rather thinly in boxes, kept under glass, a dense growth is
produced in a short time which can be cut in the same manner as Mustard.
For this purpose Sutton's Winter Gathering is especially valuable, or
one of the best White Cos varieties should be sown.


==MAIZE and SUGAR CORN==

==Zea Mays==

Maize is a tender plant of great beauty that may be grown as a table
vegetable, a forage plant, or a corn crop; but in the last-named
capacity it is rarely profitable in this country, owing to the brevity
of our summers. As an ornamental plant it is entitled to consideration,
and the more so because, while adorning the garden with its noble
outlines and splendid silken tufts, it will at the same time supply to
the table the green cobs that are so much valued when cooked and served
in the same manner as Asparagus.

There is a simple rough and ready way of growing Maize, the first step
towards which is to prepare a deep rich soil, in a sunny and sheltered
situation. Late in April or early in May dibble the seeds two inches
deep, in rows two feet asunder and one foot apart in the rows. When the
plants have made some progress, remove every other one, these thinnings
to be destroyed or planted at discretion. Plants may also be started
under glass by sowing seeds in gentle heat in April. Prick off into pots
and gradually harden for transfer to the open. The crop will almost take
care of itself when the weather is warm enough to suit it. But a deluge
of water may be given during the hottest weather. In its native country,
and indeed wherever Maize thoroughly thrives, it is dependent on
frequent storms.


==MELON==

==Cucumis Melo==

The popularity of this cool and delicious fruit has in recent years been
greatly enhanced by increased knowledge as to the best method of
treating the plant, and also by the introduction of several varieties
which are attractive in form and superb in flavour. It would shock a
modern Melon eater to be advised to cook a Melon, and flavour it with
vinegar and salt, as in the early days of English gardening. A good
Melon of the present day does not even need the addition of sugar; the
beauty, aroma, and flavour are such that it is not unusual for the
epicure to push the luscious Pine aside in order to enjoy this cool,
fresh, gratifying fruit that delights without cloying the palate. The
newer varieties are remarkable alike for fruitfulness and high quality,
and are somewhat hardier than the favourites of years gone by.

The Melon is grown in much the same way as the Cucumber, but it differs
in requiring a firmer soil, a higher temperature, a much stronger light,
less water, and more air. It may be said that no man should attempt to
grow Melons until he has had some experience in growing Cucumbers. As
regards this point, the hard and fast line is useless, but
Cucumber-growing is certainly a good practical preparative for the
higher walk wherein the Melon is found. But Cucumbers are grown
advantageously all the winter through; Melons are not. The former are
eaten green, and the latter are eaten ripe; this makes all the
difference. Melons that are ripened between October and May are seldom
worth the trouble bestowed upon them; therefore we shall say nothing
about growing Melons in winter.

==The Frame Culture== may with advantage begin about the middle of March
by the preparation of a good hot-bed. It is best to use a three-light
frame, as the heat will be more constant than with one of smaller size.
There should be six loads of stuff laid up for the bed, and the turning
should be sufficient to take out the fire, without materially reducing
the fermenting power. Begin a fortnight in advance of making up the bed,
and be careful at every stage to do things well, as advised for the
cultivation of frame Cucumbers. The best soil for Melons is a firm,
turfy loam, nine inches of which should be placed on top of the manure.
In a clay district, a certain amount of clay, disintegrated by frost,
may be chopped over with turfy loam from an old pasture. If the soil is
poor, decayed manure should be added, but the best possible Melons may
be grown in a fertile loam without the aid of manures or stimulants of
any kind. It is good practice to raise the plants in pots, and have them
strong enough to plant out as soon as the newly-made beds have settled
down to a steady temperature of about 80°, but below 70° will be unsafe.
If plants cannot be prepared in advance, seed must be sown on the bed,
and as a precaution against accidents and to permit of the removal of
those which show any sign of weakness, a sufficient number of seeds
should be sown to provide for contingencies.

As regards the bed, it may be made once and for all at the time of
planting, a few days being allowed for warming the soil through. But we
much prefer to begin with smallish hillocks, or with a thin sharp ridge
raised so as almost to touch the lights, and to plant or sow on this
ridge, which can be added to from time to time as the plants require
more root room. The soil, coming fresh and fresh, sustains a vigorous
and healthy root action. The high ridge favours the production of stout
leaves, and the absorption by the soil of sun-heat is to the Melon of
the first importance.

The practice of pruning Melons as if the plants were grown for fodder,
and might be chopped at for supplies of herbage, must be heartily
condemned. Melons should never be so crowded as to necessitate cutting
out, except in a quite trivial manner. A free and vigorous plant is
needed, and under skilful attention it will rarely happen that there is
a single leaf anywhere that can be spared. We will propose a practical
rule that we have followed in growing Melons for seed, of which a large
crop of the most perfect fruits is absolutely needful to insure a fair
return. The young plants are pinched when there are two rough leaves.
The result is two side shoots. These are allowed to produce six or seven
leaves, and are then pinched. After this, the plants are permitted to
run, and there is no more pinching or pruning until the crop is visible.
Then the fruits that are to remain must be selected, and the shoots be
pinched to one eye above each fruit, and only one fruit should remain on
a shoot; the others must be removed a few at a time. All overgrowth must
be guarded against, for crowded plants will be comparatively worthless.
It is not by rudely cutting out that crowding is to be prevented, but by
timely pinching out every shoot that is likely to prove superfluous.
From first to last there must be a regular plant, and not a shoot should
be allowed to grow that is not wanted. Cutting out may produce canker,
and crowding results in sterility.

As the Melon is required to ripen its fruits, and the Cucumber is not,
the treatment varies in view of this difference. It is not necessary to
fertilise the female flowers of the Cucumber, but it is certainly
desirable, if not absolutely necessary, to operate on those of the Melon
to insure a crop. The early morning, when the leaves are dry and the sun
is shining, is the proper time for this task, which is described in a
later paragraph. And the necessity for ripening the crop marks another
difference of management, for Cucumbers may carry many fruits, and
continue producing them until the plants are exhausted. But the
production of Melons must be limited to about half a dozen on each
plant, and good management requires that these should all ripen at the
same time, or nearly so, fully exposed to the sun, and with plenty of
ventilation.

The requisite supply of water is an important matter. The plant should
never be dry at the root, and must have a light shower twice a day over
the leafage, but the moisture which is necessary for Cucumbers would be
excessive for Melons. It is a golden rule to grow Melons liberally,
keeping them sturdy by judicious air-giving, and to give them a little
extra watering just as they are coming into flower. Then, as the flowers
open, the watering at the root should be discontinued, and the syringe
should be used in the evening only at shutting up. If discontinued
entirely, red spider will appear, and the crop will be in jeopardy, for
that pest can be kept at a distance only by careful regulation of
atmospheric moisture.

Melons in frames do better spread out on the beds than when trained on
trellises. When so grown, each fruit must be supported with a flat tile
or an inverted flower-pot, and means must be taken, by pegs or
otherwise, to prevent it from rolling off, for the twist of stem that
ensues may check the fruit or cause it to fall. When the fruits are as
large as the top joint of a man's thumb, watering may be resumed, and
the syringe used twice a day until the fruit begins to change colour,
when there must be a return to the dry system, but with care to avoid
carrying it to a dangerous extreme.

==The Melon-house==, heated by hot water, is adapted to supply fruit
earlier than is obtainable by frame culture, and is entirely superior to
any frame or pit. It appears, however, that in Melon-houses red spider
is more frequently seen than in frames heated by fermenting material;
but this point rests on management, and there can be nothing more
certain than that a reasonable employment of atmospheric humidity may be
made effectual for preventing and removing this pest. For the convenient
cultivation of the crop a lean-to or half-span is to be preferred. The
width should not exceed twelve feet, and ten to twelve feet should be
the utmost height of the roof. A service of pipes under the bed will be
required; but as Melons are not grown in winter, the heating of a
Melon-house is a simple affair, and, indeed, very much of the
cultivation as the summer advances will be carried on by the aid of
sun-heat only. The treatment of the plants in a house differs from the
frame management, because a trellis is employed, and the plants are
taken up the trellis without stopping until they nearly reach the top,
when the points are pinched out to promote the growth of side shoots. In
setting the fruit, the same principles prevail as in frame culture, and
it is advisable to 'set' the whole crop at once; if two or three fruits
obtain a good start, others that are set later will drop off. As the
fruits swell, support must be afforded to prevent any undue strain on
the vine, and this should be accomplished by nets specially made for the
purpose, or by suspending small flat boards of half-inch deal with
copper wires, each fruit resting on its board, until the cracking round
the stem gives warning that the fruit should be cut and placed in the
fruit room for a few days to complete the ripening for the table. In
houses of the kind described Melons and Cucumbers are occasionally grown
together. But although this may be done, and there are many cultivators
expert in the business, the practice cannot be recommended, for ships
that sail near the wind will come to grief some day. The moisture and
partial shade that suit the Cucumber do not suit the Melon, and it is a
poor compromise to make one end of the house shady and moist, and the
other end sunny and dry, to establish different conditions with one
atmosphere. A glass partition pretty well disposes of the difficulty,
because it is then possible to insure two atmospheres suitable for two
different operations. (=See also pages 157, 175, and 184.=)

==The Pollination of Melons== is performed by plucking the mature male
blooms, and after the removal of the petals, transferring the pollen of
the male flower to the stigma of the female flower.


==MERCURY==

==Chenopodium Bonus-Henricus==

This perfectly hardy vegetable, known also by the name of Good King
Henry, is much grown in Lincolnshire. The leaves are used in the same
way as Spinach, and by earthing up the shoots they may be blanched as a
substitute for Asparagus. Sow the seeds during April in drills twelve
inches apart, and in due course thin the seedlings to one foot apart in
the rows.


==MUSHROOM==

==Agaricus campestris==

The Mushroom has many friends among all classes, few benevolent
neutrals, and fewer still who are absolutely hostile to it as an article
of food. Those who find, or imagine they find, that this delicacy does
not agree with them, might possibly arrive at another conclusion were a
different mode of preparation adopted, or were the consumption of it
accompanied with a full persuasion that the Mushroom is not merely
delicious in flavour, but thoroughly wholesome, rich in flesh-forming
constituents, and, for a vegetable, possessed of more than the average
proportion of fat-formers and minerals. These facts have been clearly
established by chemical analysis, and may dispose of timid misgivings,
always supposing the true edible Mushroom, =Agaricus campestris=, to be
in question.

Hitherto the artificial production of Mushrooms has never been equal to
the demand. Notwithstanding the enormous quantities sent to Covent
Garden by the growers around London, many tons are imported from France,
although it is generally admitted that they are neither so fine nor so
rich in flavour as those produced in this country. If, however, the
large centres of population are inadequately supplied, the scarcity of
Mushrooms is more keenly felt in the provinces, except, perhaps, in
certain favoured districts, where, after a few warm days in autumn, an
abundant crop may be gathered from the neighbouring pastures. Then there
is a brave show in the greengrocers' windows for a brief period,
followed by entire dearth for weeks, and perhaps months. Obviously,
therefore, the demand, large as it already is, might be immensely
augmented by a commensurate supply. Yet it is not only possible but
quite easy to grow Mushrooms for the greater part of the year in very
small gardens, even when such gardens are entirely destitute of the
appliances usually considered necessary for the higher flights of
horticulture. The idea that Mushroom-growing is somewhat of a mystery,
forbidden to all but the strictly initiated, has happily been dispelled.
If we examine the conditions under which Mushrooms grow freely in
pastures, it is surprising how few and simple are the elements of
success. The crop generally appears in September, when temperature is
genial and fairly equable, with sufficient but not superabundant
moisture. The artificial production of Mushrooms in the garden needs
only reliable spawn, a sweet fertile bed, and some means of maintaining
a steady temperature under varying atmospheric conditions. When the
principles of Mushroom culture are thoroughly mastered, they may be
successfully applied in many different ways, and they render the
practical work easy and tolerably certain.

==The Spawn.==--Although the Mushroom may be grown from seed, it is seldom
done except for strictly scientific purposes. The seeds are, however,
largely disseminated by Nature, and, having found a suitable home, they
germinate and produce an underground growth which at a hasty glance
resembles mildew. It really consists of white gossamer-like films, which
increase in number and distinctness as they develop, until they push
their way towards the surface, and give rise to the growth above ground
of the Mushroom. It follows that if we do not begin the cultivation with
seeds or spores, we must resort to the white films or 'mycelium,' that
the growth of the plant may begin in Nature's own way below ground. What
is called 'Mushroom Spawn' consists of certain materials from the stable
and the field, mixed and prepared in such a manner as to favour the
development of the mycelium of the Mushroom. When dried, the cakes have
the appearance of an unburnt brick. The preparation of the spawn, though
a very simple matter, demands the skill and care of experienced
operators. If the work is not well done, the spawn will be of poor
quality, and will yield a meagre crop, or perhaps fail to produce a
single Mushroom. Whether the cakes or bricks are impregnated in the
manner long practised in this country, or direct from the tissue of the
Mushroom, the culture remains the same. Provided that the spawn is good,
it has but to be broken into lumps of a suitable size, and inserted in
the bed, to impregnate the entire mass with the necessary white films.
These will take their time to collect from the soil the alkalies and
phosphates of which Mushrooms principally consist, and this part of
their work being done, the fruits of their labours will be displayed
above ground in the elegant and sweet-smelling fungus that few human
appetites can resist when it is placed upon the table in the way that it
deserves. Experts can readily form an opinion as to whether a cake of
Mushroom spawn is or is not in a fit state for planting, and it will be
a safe proceeding for the amateur to buy from a Firm which has a large
and constant sale; otherwise, spawn may be purchased which was
originally well made and properly impregnated, but has lost its vitality
through long keeping.

==Soil.==--As to soil, it is well known that in a favourable autumn
Mushrooms abound in old rich pastures, and those who have command of
turf cut from a field of this character have only to stack the sods
grass side downwards for a year or two, and they will be in possession
of first-class material for Mushroom beds either in the open or under
cover. But small gardens, particularly in towns, have no such bank to
honour their drafts, and for these it becomes a question of buying a
load or two of turfy loam, or of making the soil of the garden answer,
perhaps with a preliminary enrichment by artificial manure. In the
general interests of the garden, the money for a limited quantity of
good loam would probably be well spent, independently of the question of
Mushrooms. No great bulk is necessary to cover a moderate-sized Mushroom
bed, but the quality of the soil will certainly have an influence on the
number and character of the Mushrooms. As a proof of the exhaustive
nature of the fungus, it almost invariably happens that when the soil is
used a second time it tends to diminish the size and lower the quality
of the crop.

==Manure.==--In the management of the manure two essentials must be borne
in mind. Not only is nourishment for the plant required, but warmth
also. Probably a large proportion of the failures to grow Mushrooms
might, if all the facts were known, be traced to some defect in the
manure employed, or to some fault in its preparation. It must be rich in
the properties which encourage and support the development of Mushrooms,
absolutely free from the least objectionable odour, for the plant is
most fastidious in its demand for sweetness, although it can dispense
with light; and there must remain in the manure when made into a bed a
sufficient reserve of fermentation to insure prolonged heat, no matter
what the temperature of the atmosphere may be. Of course, the duration
of the heat will depend very much on the care with which it is conserved
by suitable covering and management. These requirements, formidable as
they may seem, can be insured with extreme ease; indeed, the work is
apparently far more difficult and complicated on paper than it proves to
be in practice.

==Preparation of the Bed.==--The manure should come from stables occupied
by horses in good health, fed exclusively on hard food. The most
suitable store is the floor of a dry shed, or under some protection
which will prevent the loss of vital forces. Ammonia, for example, is
readily dissipated in the atmosphere or washed away by rain. The manure
should neither be allowed to become dust dry, nor to waste its power in
premature fermentation. Operations may be commenced with three or four
loads. A smaller quantity increases the difficulty of maintaining the
requisite temperature when fermentation begins to flag. The first
procedure is to make the manure into a high oblong heap well trodden
down. If the stuff be somewhat dry, a sprinkling of water over every
layer will be necessary. In a few days fermentation will make the heap
hot all through, and then it must be taken to pieces and remade, putting
all the outside portions into the interior, with the object of insuring
equal fermentation of the entire bulk. This process will have to be
repeated several times at intervals of three or four days until the
manure has not only been fermented but sweetened. When ready it will be
of a dark colour, soft, damp enough to be cohesive under pressure, but
not sufficiently damp to part with any of its moisture, and almost
odourless; at all events the odour will not be objectionable, but may be
suggestive of Mushrooms. Make a long bed, having a base about four feet
wide, and sides sloping to a ridge like the roof of a house, with this
difference--the narrow part of the ridge is useless, and the top should,
therefore, be rounded off when about a foot across. Some growers prefer
a circular bed of six or eight feet diameter at the bottom and tapering
towards a point, after the shape of a military tent; but here again the
point will be worthless, and the bed may terminate abruptly. Either the
long bed or the round heap answers admirably. Tread the manure down
compactly, and for the sake of appearances endeavour to finish it off in
a workmanlike manner. During the first few days there will be a
considerable rise in the temperature, which will gradually subside, and
when the plunging thermometer shows that it has settled down to a
comfortable condition of about 80° the bed must be spawned. Experienced
men can determine by the sense of touch when the temperature is right,
but the inexperienced should rely entirely on the thermometer. The
question will arise as to the period of the year when operations should
be commenced. Well, the experts who grow Mushrooms in the open ground
for market gather crops almost the year round; but a beginner will do
wisely to start under the most favourable natural conditions, and these
will be found about midsummer, because the bed will commence bearing
before winter creates difficulty as to temperature.

==Spawning and After-management.==--Break each cake of spawn into eight or
ten pieces, and force every piece gently a little way into the manure at
regular intervals of six to nine inches all over the bed, closing the
manure over and round each piece of spawn. The practice of inserting
spawn by means of the dibber is to be strongly condemned, for it leaves
smooth, hollow spaces which arrest the mycelium; and very small pieces
of spawn should be avoided because they generally result in small
Mushrooms. Immediately the spawning is completed, a thick and even
covering of clean straw or litter of some kind should be laid over the
bed, secured from wind by canvas, mats, hurdles, or in some other way.
From good spawn the films of mycelium will begin to extend within a
week. In the contrary case an examination of the pieces will show that
they have become darker than when put into the bed, which means that
they have perished. Then the question will arise as to whether the bed
or the spawn is at fault, and the former must either be spawned again or
broken up. Supposing the spawn to show signs of vitality, the time has
come for covering the bed with a layer of rather moist soil, pressed
lightly but firmly on to the manure with the spade or fork, so that the
earth will not slip down. At once restore the covering of litter, &c.,
and wait patiently for about seven or eight weeks for the crop.
Meanwhile the plunging thermometer ought to be consulted daily. Until
the Mushrooms appear the instrument should not indicate less than 60°,
and while in bearing not less than 55°. Experience proves that the most
violent alternations of temperature may be combated by regulating the
thickness of the covering. Although it may possibly be necessary to
resort to eighteen inches of litter or more during hard frost or the
prevalence of a cutting east wind, a much thinner covering will suffice
in milder weather.

Should the temperature of the bed, through inexperience in the
management of it, sink below the point at which Mushrooms can grow, we
advise the exercise of a little patience. We have known several
instances of beds made in autumn producing no crop at the expected time,
but which have borne fairly in the following spring or summer. But in
the event of the first effort failing outright there is no great loss.
The manure, which is the most costly item, will still be available for
the garden, and an observant man will pretty well understand in what
respect he must amend his course of procedure.

==Water.==--Moisture is of great consequence, for a dry Mushroom bed will
soon be barren also; but whenever water is given it must be applied
tepid and from a fine rose. To slop cold water over a Mushroom bed is
about as reasonable a procedure as putting ice into hot soup. Water is
best administered in the afternoon of a genial day, and should be
sufficient to saturate the bed. Immediately it is done the covering of
litter and canvas must be promptly restored to prevent the temperature
from being seriously lowered by rapid evaporation. A couple of stakes
driven from the crown to the bottom of the bed at the time of making up
the heap are useful as indicators of moisture, and may occasionally be
drawn out and examined.

==In gathering the crop,== only a small portion of the bed should be
uncovered at a time. This should be the rule at all seasons, and the
strict observance of it will prevent a mistake in cold weather, for
then, if the bed is carelessly uncovered and much chilled, the crop will
come to an end, when perhaps it would, if properly handled, be at high
tide and full of profit. Another rule should be enforced, to this
effect, that every Mushroom must be taken out complete, and if the root
does not come with the stem, it must be dug out with a knife. Any
trifling with this rule will prove a costly mistake. The stem of a
Mushroom, if left in the ground, will produce nothing at all. But it may
attract flies, and it certainly will interfere with the movements of the
mycelium at that particular spot, and actually prevent the production of
any more Mushrooms. The old practitioners were accustomed to leave the
stem in the ground, and they were content with about one-third of the
crop now produced on beds that are, perhaps, not better made than were
theirs. But they had a notion about the powers of the root which
increased knowledge of the subject has shown to be fallacious.

==In Pastures.==--As already indicated, Mushrooms are often to be found in
abundance in well-stocked pastures during the late summer months, and
where favourable conditions exist it is an excellent plan to insert
pieces of spawn two inches deep in the turf in June and July.

==Turf Pits.==--The facility with which Mushrooms may be raised under
simple methods is illustrated by the practice of growing them inside the
turf walls of cool pits. In the country turf walls are common, and they
offer the advantage of growing Mushrooms in addition to the purpose they
usually serve. After determining the size of the pit, and accurately
marking it on the ground, cut the turf into narrow strips, say three or
four inches wide, and of exactly eighteen inches length. The strips
should be closely laid, grass side downwards, across the width of the
walls--not longitudinally--except at the corners, where the layers
should cross each other. The front and back walls to be rather above the
required height, because the turf always scales down a little, and the
two ends must gradually rise from front to back. The top layer may be
right side up, when it will keep green for a long time. As the work
proceeds insert lumps of spawn at intervals in every layer, about three
or four inches from the inside edge. A wooden frame will be requisite on
the top to carry the glass lights. This structure makes a useful cool
pit and a Mushroom bed from which supplies may sometimes be gathered for
years. In the summer it will be necessary to keep the walls moist by
means of the syringe, or they will cease bearing.

==Indoor Beds.==--Mushrooms may be grown almost anywhere, evenly in a
cellar, or on the wall of a warm stable, provided only that the mode of
procedure is in a reasonable degree adapted to the requirements of the
fungus. Ordinary pits and frames are also serviceable, and many
gardeners obtain good crops in autumn by the simple process of inserting
a few lumps of spawn in a Cucumber or Melon bed while the plants are
still in bearing. Between spawning and cropping a period of six or eight
weeks usually elapses, so that if the plan just mentioned be adopted,
the spawn should be introduced in the height of summer, both to insure
it a warm bed and to allow time for the crop to mature before the season
runs out. Sheds and outhouses not only afford shelter and space for beds
on the floor, but the walls can be fitted with shelves on which
Mushrooms may be plentifully grown. In all cases the shelves should be
two feet apart vertically, and each shelf should have a ledge nine
inches deep. The walls of a house may be quickly and cheaply fitted with
woodwork for the purpose, but brick is so much better than wood that
whenever it is possible to employ brick it should have the preference.
As regards the ledges, they should be of stout planking in any case, and
should not be fixed, because of the necessity for clearing the shelves
and renewing the soil periodically. The details of cultivation are the
same within doors as without, but the roof gives valuable protection,
and helps to maintain the beds at a suitable temperature.

==A proper Mushroom-house== for production during winter should be heated
with hot water, and have an opaque roof. There is nothing so good for
the crop as a roof of thatch, but there are many objections to it, and
usually slate is employed. A double roof will pay for its extra cost by
promoting an equable temperature. A few side lights fitted with shutters
are necessary, as there should be a good light for working purposes; but
the crop does not need light, and a more steady temperature can be
maintained in a dark house than in one which has several windows. The
most convenient dimensions for a Mushroom-house are: length, twenty-five
feet; width, twelve feet; height at sides, six feet, to allow of a bed
on the floor, and a shelf four feet above it; the ridge rising
sufficiently for head room, and to shoot off water. There will be room
for a central path of four feet, and a bed of four feet on each side. An
earth or tile floor and a slate or stone shelf will, with one four-inch
flow and return pipe, complete the arrangements. The less wood and the
less concrete the better; there is nothing like porous red tiles for the
floor and stone for the shelves, with loose planks on edge to keep up
the soil, a few uprights being sufficient to hold them in their places.

==Temperatures== at every point are of great importance. The bed should be
near 80° when the spawn is inserted. The air temperature requisite to
the rising crop is 60° to 65°, which is the usual temperature of the
season when Mushrooms appear in pastures. While the bed is bearing a
temperature of 55° will suffice, but at any point below this minimum
production will be slow and may come to a stop. When giving water, take
care that it is at a temperature rather above than below that of the
bed.


==MUSTARD==

==Sinapis alba, and S. nigra==


Mustard is much valued as a pungent salad, and for mixing in the bowl it
may take the place of Water Cress when the latter is not at command.
Mustard is often sown with Cress, but it is bad practice, for the two
plants do not grow at the same pace, and there is nothing gained by
mixing them. The proper sort for salading is the common White Mustard,
but Brown Mustard may be used for the purpose. Rape is employed for
market work, but should be shunned in the garden. As the crop is cut in
the seed leaf, it is necessary to sow often, but the frequency must be
regulated by the demand. Supplies may be kept up through the winter by
sowing in shallow boxes, which can be put into vineries, forcing pits,
and other odd places. Boxes answer admirably, as they can be placed on
the pipes if needful; they favour the complete cutting of a crop without
remainders, and this is of importance in the case of a salad that runs
out of use quickly and is so easily produced. From Lady Day to
Michaelmas Mustard may be sown on the open border with other saladings,
but as the summer advances a shady place must be found for it.



==ONION==

==Allium Cepa==


The onion has the good fortune to be generally appreciated and well
grown almost everywhere. It enhances the flavour and digestibility of
many important articles of food that would fail to nourish us without
its aid, while to others it adds a zest that contributes alike to
enjoyment and health. Although there are but few difficulties to be
encountered in the cultivation of the Onion, there is a marked
difference between a well-grown crop and one under poor management.
There is, moreover, what may be termed a fine art department in Onion
culture, one result being special exhibitions, in which handsome bulbs
of great weight are brought forward in competition for the amusement and
edification of the sight-seeing public. Thus, when the first principles
have been mastered, there may be, for the earnest cultivator of this
useful root, many more things to be learned, and that may be worth
learning, alike for their interest and utility.

==Treatment of Soil.==--The Onion can be grown on any kind of soil, but
poor land must be assisted by liberal manuring. A soil that will not
produce large Onions may produce small ones, and the smallest are
acceptable when no others are to be had. But for handsome bulbs and a
heavy crop a deep rich loam of a somewhat light texture is required,
although an adhesive loam, or even a clay, may be improved for the
purpose; while on a sandy soil excellent results may be obtained by good
management, especially in a wet season. In any case the soil must be
well prepared by deep digging, breaking the lumps, and laying up in
ridges to be disintegrated by the weather, and if needful its texture
should be amended, as far as possible, at the same time. A coat of clay
may be spread over a piece of sand, to be thoroughly incorporated with
it; on the other hand, where the staple is clay, the addition of sand
will be advantageous. All such corrective measures yield an adequate
return if prudently carried out, because it is possible to grow Onions
from year to year on the same ground; and thus in places where the soil
is decidedly unsuitable a plot may be specially prepared for Onions, and
if the first crop does not fully pay the cost, those that follow will do
so. But the plant is not fastidious, and it is easy work almost anywhere
to grow useful Onions. The first step in preparing land is to make it
loose and fine throughout, and as far as possible to do this some time
before the seed is sown. For sowing in spring, the beds should be
prepared in the rough before winter, and when the time comes for
levelling down and finishing, the top crust will be found well
pulverised, and in a kindly state to receive the seed. Stagnant moisture
is deadly to Onions, therefore swampy ground is most unfit; but a
sufficient degree of dryness for a summer crop may often be secured by
trenching, and leaving rather deep alleys between the beds to carry off
surface water during heavy rains.

==Manures.==--As almost any soil will suit the Onion, so also will almost
any kind of manure, provided that it be not rank or offensive. This
strongly flavoured plant likes good but sweet living, and it is sheer
folly to load the ground for it with coarse and stimulating manures. Yet
it is often done, and the result is a stiff-necked generation of bulbs
that refuse to ripen, or there may be complete failure of the crop
through disease or plethora. But any fertiliser that is at hand, whether
from the pigstye, or the sweepings of poultry yards or pigeon lofts, may
be turned to account by the simple process of first making it into a
compost with fresh soil, and then digging it in some time in advance of
the season for sowing, and in reasonable but not excessive quantity. All
such aids to plant growth as guano, charcoal, and well-rotted farmyard
manure, may be used advantageously for the Onion crop; but there are two
materials of especial value, and costing least of any, that are
universally employed by large growers, both to help the growth and
prevent maggot and canker. These are lime and soot, which are sown
together when the ground is finally prepared for the seed, and in
quantity only sufficient to colour the ground. They exercise a magical
influence, and those who make money by growing Onions take care to
employ them as a necessary part of their business routine.

==Spring-sown Onions== require to be put on rich, mellow ground, the top
spit of which is of a somewhat fine texture, and at the time of sowing
almost dry. Having been well dug and manured in good time, the top spit
only should be dug over when it is finally made ready for the seed. The
work must be done with care, and the beds should be marked off in
breadths of four feet, with one-foot alleys between. Break all lumps
with the spade, and work the surface to a regular and finely crumbled
texture. Light soil should be trodden over to consolidate it, and then
the surface may be carefully touched with the rake to prepare it for the
seed. March and April are the usual months for spring sowing, although
in mild districts seed is sometimes put in as early as January. Space
the rows from nine to twelve inches apart, according to the character of
the sort and the size of bulbs required. The drills must be drawn across
the bed, at right angles to the alleys, for when drawn the other way it
is difficult to keep the ground properly weeded. For a crop of Onions
intended for storing, the seed should be only just covered with fine
earth taken from the alleys and thrown over, after which the drills must
be lightly trodden, the surface again touched over with the rake, and if
the soil is dry and works nicely, the business may be finished by gently
patting the bed all over with the back of the spade. If the ground is
damp or heavy, this final touch may be omitted, as the Onion makes a
weak grass that cannot easily push through earth that is caked over it.
But speaking generally, an Onion bed newly sown should be quite smooth
as if finished with a roller. To the beginner this will appear a
protracted and complicated story, but the expert will attest that Onions
require and will abundantly pay for special management.

As soon as possible after the crop is visible the ground between should
be delicately chopped over with the hoe to check the weeds that will
then be rising. Immediately the rows are defined a first thinning should
be made with a small hoe, care being taken to leave a good plant on the
ground. The next thinning will produce young Onions for saladings, and
this kind of thinning may be continued by removing plants equally all
over the bed to insure an even crop, the final distance for bulbing
being about six inches. Keep the hoe at work, for if weeds are allowed
to make way, the crop will be seriously injured. When Onions are doing
well they lift themselves up and =sit= on the earth, needing light and
air upon their bulbs to the very axis whence the roots diverge. If weeds
spread amongst them the bulbs are robbed of air and light, and their
keeping properties are impaired. But in the use of the hoe it is
important not to loosen the ground or to draw any earth towards the
bulbs. When all the thinning has been done, and the weeds are kept down,
it will perhaps be observed that in places there are clusters of bulbs
fighting for a place and rising out of the ground together as though
enjoying the conflict. With almost any other kind of plant this crowding
would bode mischief, but with Onions it is not so. Bulbs that grow in
crowds and rise out of the ground will never be so large as those that
have plenty of room, but they will be of excellent quality, and will
keep better than any that have had ample space for high development. It
is almost a pity to touch these accidental clusters, for the removal of
a portion will perhaps loosen the ground, and so spoil the character of
those that are left. Really fine Onions are rarely produced in loose
ground, hence the necessity for care in the use of the hoe. Watering is
not often needed, and we may go so far as to say that, in a general way,
it is objectionable. But a long drought on light land may put the crop
in jeopardy, unless watering is resorted to, in which case weak manure
water will be beneficial. Still, watering must be discontinued in good
time, or it will prevent the ripening of the bulbs, and if a sign is
wanted the growth will afford it, for from the time the bulbs have
attained to a reasonable size the water will do more harm than good.

==The harvesting of the crop== requires as much care as the growing of it.
If all goes well, the bulbs will ripen naturally, and being drawn and
dried on the ground for a few days with their roots looking southward,
may be gathered up and topped and tailed or bunched as may be most
convenient. But there may be a little hesitation of the plant in
finishing growth, the result, perhaps, of cool moist weather, when dry
hot weather would be better. In this case the growth may be checked by
passing a rod (as the handle of a rake for example) over the bed to bend
down the tops. After this the tops will turn yellow, and the necks will
shrink, and advantage must be taken of fine weather to draw the Onions
and lay them out to dry. A gravel path or a dry shed fully open to the
sun will ripen them more completely than the bed on which they have been
grown; but large breadths of Onions must be ripened where they grew, and
experience teaches when they may be drawn with safety.

As to keeping Onions, any dry, cool, airy place will answer. But if a
difficulty arises there is an easy way out of it, for Onions may be hung
in bunches on an open wall under the shelter of the eaves of any
building, and thus the outsides of barns and stables and cottages may be
converted into Onion stores, leaving the inside free for things that are
less able to take care of themselves. During severe frost they must be
taken down and piled up anywhere in a safe place, but may be put on
their hooks again when the weather softens, for a slight frost will not
harm them in the least, and the wall will keep them comparatively warm
and dry. When the best part of the crop has been bunched or roped, the
remainder may be thrown into a heap in a cool dry shed, and a few mats
put over them will prevent sprouting for at least three months. But damp
will start them into growth, and the only way to save them then is to
top and tail them again, and store as dry as possible in shallow baskets
or boxes.

==To grow large Onions== the principles already explained must be carried
into practice in a more intense degree. It will be necessary to devote
extreme care to the preparation of the ground, and to give the plants
more time to mature; much greater space must also be allowed than is
usual for an ordinary crop. A good open position is imperative, and
where the soil is sufficiently deep, trenching is desirable. Shallow
soil ought to be thoroughly dug down to the last inch, and it will be
an advantage to break up the subsoil by pickaxe and fork. Cover the
subsoil with a thick layer of rotten manure before restoring the top
soil. For light land farmyard manure is excellent, but stable manure is
preferable for stiff cold soil. The usual time for trenching is October
or November, leaving the surface rough for disintegration during winter.
Nothing more need be done until the following March. Early in that month
break the soil down to a fine tilth and make it quite firm by treading,
or by rolling. Then broadcast over the plot a liberal dressing of ground
lime and soot, using about three pounds of each per pole. Rake both in
and leave the bed until the time arrives for planting out: this will
depend on the weather.

Those who are accustomed to exhibit Onions at horticultural shows almost
invariably sow very early in the year under glass and in due time
transplant either from seed-pans or boxes. Of the two, properly prepared
boxes are usually found most convenient. The dimensions are optional,
but boxes about two feet long, one foot wide, and five inches deep
answer admirably. Several holes are perforated in the bottom to insure
efficient drainage. In every box place a thick layer of rotten manure
and then fill with thoroughly rich soil firmly pressed down, leaving the
surface quite smooth. One of the most successful growers sows seed in
rather small boxes early in January, and about the middle of February
the young Onions are pricked into boxes of the size we have named. Only
the finest and most promising seedlings are used. When transferred, each
Onion is allowed a space of three inches. The boxes are kept in a
greenhouse, as near the glass as possible, in a temperature of about
50°. After sowing, very little water is given; but when transplanted,
finish with a sprinkling from a fine rose. Every morning the plants will
require spraying, but this must never be done at night or damping off
may follow. All through their time in the greenhouse it is important to
keep the boxes near the glass. Towards the end of March remove to cold
frames, keeping the lights rather close for a few days, but gradually
giving more air until the lights can be taken off for a short time
daily.

In the south, about the middle of April is generally a suitable time for
transplanting to open beds, but in the event of a cold east wind
prevailing a brief delay is advisable and it is always an advantage to
plant out on a dull day or in showery weather. Space the rows twelve to
eighteen inches apart, and allow about fifteen inches between plants in
the rows. In the actual work of transplanting take care to insert only
the fibrous roots in the soil. To bury any portion of the stem results
in thickened necks. Finish with a dusting of soot over the entire bed,
including the Onions, and then well spray from a fine rose to settle the
soil around the roots. Until the plants are established continue the
spraying daily. After the middle of May renew the dusting of the bed
with soot and repeat at fortnightly intervals. About the 20th of June
feeding the Onions must commence. Peruvian guano and nitrate of soda are
both excellent, but these powerful artificials need using with
discretion, or the crop may be scorched instead of stimulated. It is
often safer to employ them in liquid form than dry, and ten ounces of
either, dissolved in ten gallons of water, will suffice for thirty
square yards. Use the two articles alternately at intervals of ten days
and cease at the end of July. If continued longer, some of the finest
bulbs will split. The use of soot can, however, be regularly maintained.
Should bulbs be required for autumn exhibition carefully lift them a
week or ten days in advance of the show date. This has the effect of
making the bulbs firm and reducing the size of the necks.

Supposing an attack of mildew to occur, a dusting of flowers of sulphur
will prove effective if applied immediately the disease appears.
Sulphide of potassium, one ounce to a gallon of water, is also a
reliable remedy.

==July and August Sowing==.--During these months seed of the quick-growing
types of Onion may be sown for producing an abundant supply of salading
and small bulbs during the autumn and onwards. It is important to thin
the plants early in order that those left standing in the rows may have
every opportunity of developing rapidly.

==Autumn-sown Onions==, intended for use in the following summer, may also
be sown in the same way as advised for spring sowing. The time of sowing
is important, as the plants should be forward enough before winter to be
useful, but not so forward as to be in danger of injury from severe
frost. On well-drained ground all the sorts are hardy, and the finest
types, which are so much prized as household and market Onions, may be
sown in autumn as safely as any others. It may be well in most places to
sow a small plot: in the latter part of July, and to make a large sowing
of the best keeping sorts about the middle of August--say, for the far
north the first of the month, and for the far south the very last day.
Thin the plants in the rows and transplant the thinnings, if required,
as soon as weather permits in February. In places where spring-sown
Onions do not ripen in good time in consequence of cold wet weather,
autumn sowing may prove advantageous, as the ripening will take place
when the summer is at its best, and the crop may be taken off before the
season breaks down.

==Pickling Onions== may be obtained by sowing any of the white or
straw-coloured varieties that are grown for keeping, but the large sorts
are quite unfit; the best are the Queen and Paris Silver-skin, as they
are very white when pickled and are moderately mild in flavour. A piece
of poor dry ground should be selected and made fine on the surface. Sow
in the month of April thickly, but evenly, cover lightly, and roll or
tread to give a firm seed-bed, and make a good finish. Be careful to
keep down weeds, and do not thin the crop at all. If sown very shallow
the bulbs will be round: if sown an inch deep they will be oval or
pear-shaped.

==The Potato or Underground Onion== is not much grown in this country, in
consequence of occasional losses of the crop in severe winters. In the
South of England the rule as to growing it is to plant on the shortest
day, and take up on the longest. It requires a rich, deep soil, and to
be planted in rows twelve inches apart, the bulbs nine inches apart in
the row. Some cultivators earth them up like Potatoes, but we prefer to
let the bulbs rise into the light, even by the removal of the earth, so
as to form a basin around each, taking care, of course, not to lay bare
the roots in so doing. When the planted bulbs have put forth a good head
of leaves, they form clusters of bulbs around them, and the best growth
is made in full daylight, the bulbs sitting on and not in the soil.

==The Onion Grub== (=Phorbia cepetorum=) is often very troublesome to the
crop, especially in its early stages, and its presence may be known by
the grass becoming yellow and falling on the ground. It will then be
found that the white portion, which should become the bulb, has been
pierced to the centre by a fleshy, shining maggot, a quarter of an inch
in length, this being the larva of an ashy-coloured, ill-looking,
two-winged fly. Where this plague has acquired such a hold as to be a
serious nuisance, care should be taken to clear out all the old store of
Onions instantly upon a sufficiency of young Onions becoming available
in spring, and to burn them without hesitation. If left to become garden
waste in the usual way, these old Onions do much to perpetuate and
augment the plague. A regular use of lime and soot will be found an
effectual preventive. Other remedies are suggested in the article on
Onion Fly, Page 420.

==PARSLEY==--=see= ==HERBS==, =page= 68


==PARSNIP==

==Pastinaca sativa==


The Parsnip is one of the most profitable roots the earth produces.
Probably its sweet flavour imposes a limit on its usefulness, but bad
cooking doubtless has much to answer for, the people in our great towns
being, in too many instances, quite ignorant of the proper mode of
cooking this nourishing root. When cut in strips, slightly boiled and
served up almost crisp, it is a poor article for human food; but when
cooked whole in such a way as to appear on the table like a mass of
marrow, it is at once a digestible dainty and a substantial food that
the people might consume more largely than they do, to their advantage.

The Parsnip requires only one special condition for its welfare, and
that is a piece of ground prepared for it by honest digging. Rich ground
it does not need, but the crop will certainly be the finer from a deep
fertile sandy loam than from a poor soil of any kind. But the one great
point is to trench the ground in autumn and lay it up rough for the
winter. Then at the very first opportunity in February or March it can
be levelled down and the seed sown, and the task got out of hand before
the rush of spring work comes on. A fine seed-bed should be prepared
either in one large piece or in four-feet strips, as may best suit other
arrangements. Sow in shallow drills eighteen inches apart, dropping the
seeds from the hand in twos and threes at a distance of six inches
apart; cover lightly, and touch over with the hoe or rake to make a neat
finish. As soon as the plants are visible, ply the hoe to keep down
weeds and thin the crop slightly to prevent crowding anywhere. The
thinning should be carried on from time to time until the plants are a
foot apart; or if the ground is strong and large roots are required,
they may be allowed fifteen inches. Good-quality roots may be grown on
the worst types of clay and on stony soils by boring holes and filling
them in with fine earth, in the manner described for Beet and Carrot.
The holes for Parsnip, however, should be rather larger and deeper, with
more space allowed between. It may be well to lift some of the roots in
November, a few spits of earth being removed first at one end or corner
of the piece to facilitate removal without breaking the roots: these may
be put aside for immediate use, but the general bulk of the crop should
remain in the ground to be dug as wanted, because the Parsnip keeps
better in the ground than out of it, and in the event of severe frost a
coat of rough litter will suffice to prevent injury. Whatever remains
over in the month of February should be lifted and trimmed up and stored
in the coolest place that can be found, a coat of earth or sand being
sufficient to protect the roots from the injurious action of the
atmosphere.


==GARDEN PEA==

==Pisum sativum==

Thanks to the skill and enterprise of enthusiastic specialists, we have
now the wrinkled as well as the round-seeded Peas for the earliest
supply of this favourite vegetable. Not only can we commence the season
with a dish possessing the true marrowfat flavour, but in the new
maincrop varieties dwarf robust growth is combined with free-bearing
qualities, while the size of both Peas and pods has been increased
without in the smallest degree sacrificing flavour. On the contrary,
there has been a distinct and welcome advance in all the special
characteristics which have won for this vegetable its popular position,
and so highly is the crop esteemed that it is usually regarded as a
criterion by which the general management of a garden is judged.

As an article of food Peas are the most nutritious of all vegetables,
rich in phosphates and alkalies, and the plant makes a heavy demand on
the soil, constituting what is termed an exhausting crop. For this
reason, and also because the time that elapses between sowing seed and
gathering the produce is very brief, it is imperative that the land
should be well prepared to enable the roots to ramify freely and rapidly
collect the food required by the plant.

==Treatment of Soil==.--The soil for Peas must be rich, deep, and friable,
and should contain a notable proportion of calcareous matter. Old
gardens need to be refreshed with a dressing of lime occasionally, or of
lime rubbish from destroyed buildings, to compensate for the consumption
of calcareous matters by the various crops. For early Peas, a warm dry
sandy soil is to be preferred; for late sorts, and especially for robust
and productive varieties, a strong loam or a well-tilled clay answers
admirably, and it is wise to select plots that were in the previous year
occupied with Celery and other crops for which the land was freely
manured and much knocked about. Heavy manuring is not needed for the
earliest Peas, unless the soil is very poor, but for the late supplies
it will always pay to trench the ground, and put a thick layer of rotten
manure at the depth of the first spit, in which the roots can find
abundant nutriment about the time when the pods are swelling. In all
cases it is advisable not to enrich in any special manner the top crust
for Peas. When the young plant finds the necessary supplies near at
hand, the roots do not run freely but are actually in danger of being
poisoned; but when the plant is fairly formed, and has entered upon the
fruiting stage, the roots may ramify in rich soil to advantage. Hence
the desirability of growing Peas in ground that was heavily manured and
frequently stirred in the previous year, and of putting a coat of rotten
manure between the two spits in trenching. As regards the last-named
operation, it should be remarked that as Peas require a somewhat fine
tilth, the top spit should be kept on the top where the second spit will
prove lumpy, pasty, or otherwise unkind. In this case bastard trenching
will be sufficient; but when the second spit may be brought up with
safety, it should be done for the sake of a fresh soil and a deep
friable bed. The use of wood ashes, well raked in immediately in advance
of sowing, will prove highly beneficial to the crop, for the Pea is a
potash-loving plant.

==Method of Sowing==.--It will always pay to sow in flat drills about six
inches wide, but the V-shaped drill in which the seedlings are generally
crowded injuriously is not satisfactory. Two inches apart each way is a
useful distance for the seed, although more space may be given for the
robust-growing maincrop and late varieties. It is wise policy, however,
to sow liberally in case of losses through climatic conditions, birds or
mice; and if necessary superfluous plants can always be withdrawn. The
depth for the seed may vary from two to three inches: the minimum for
heavy ground and the maximum for light land.

==Early Crops (sown outdoors==).--Early Peas are produced in many ways.
The simplest consists in sowing one or more of the quick-growing
round-seeded varieties in November, December, and January, on sloping
sheltered borders expressly prepared for the purpose, and provided with
reed hurdles to screen the plants from cutting winds. Where the assaults
of mice are to be apprehended, it is an excellent plan to soak the seed
in paraffin oil for twenty minutes, and then, having sown in drills only
one inch deep, heap over the drill three inches of fine sand. If this
cannot be done, sow in drills fully two inches deep, for shallow sowing
will not promote earliness, but it is likely to promote weakness of the
plant. It is not usual to grow any other crop with first-early Peas, but
the rows must be far enough apart to prevent them from shading one
another, and, if possible, let them run north and south, that they may
have an equable enjoyment of sunshine. As soon as the plant is fairly
out of the ground, dust carefully with soot, not enough to choke the
tender leaves, but just sufficient to render them unpalatable to vermin.
When they have made a growth of about three inches, put short brushwood
to support and shelter them, deferring the taller sticks until they are
required. Then fork the ground between, taking care not to go too near
to the plant. Sticks must be provided in good time, lest the plant
should be distressed, for not only do the sticks give needful support,
but they afford much shelter, as is the case with the small brushwood
supplied in the first instance.

On fairly warm soils the first opportunity should be taken to sow one of
the early dwarf marrowfat varieties in the open ground. This may be in
February or early March, but it will be useless to make the attempt
until the ground is in a suitable condition. Sow in flat drills as
already described, the distance from row to row depending upon future
plans. If no intercropping is to be done, eighteen inches between the
rows will generally suffice for dwarf-growing Peas, but many gardeners
prefer to allow three feet and to take a crop of Spinach on the
intervening space.

==Early Crops (sown under glass.==)--We now come to the modes of growing
early Peas by the aid of glass. The surest and simplest method is to
provide a sufficiency of grass turf cut from a short clean pasture or
common. There is in this case a risk of wireworm and black bot; but if
the turf is provided in good time and is laid up in the yard ready for
use, it will be searched by the small birds and pretty well cleansed of
the insect larvas that may have lurked in it when first removed. Lay the
turves out in a frame, grass side downwards, and give them a soaking
with water in which a very small quantity of salt has been dissolved.
This will cause the remaining bots and slugs to wriggle out, and by
means of a little patient labour they can be gathered and destroyed. In
January or February sow the seed rather thickly in lines along the
centre of each strip of turf, and cover with fine earth. By keeping the
frame closed a more regular sprouting of the seed will be insured; but
as soon as the plants rise, air must be given, and this part of the
business needs to be regulated in accordance with the weather. All now
depends on the cultivator, for, having a very large command of
conditions, it may be said that he is removed somewhat from the sport of
the elements, which wrecks many of our endeavours. There are now three
points to be kept in mind. In the first place, a short stout
slow-growing plant is wanted, for a tall lean fast-growing plant will at
the end of the story refuse to furnish the dish of Peas aimed at. Give
air and water judiciously, and protect from vermin and all other
enemies. A little dry lime or soot may be dusted over the plants
occasionally, but not sufficient to choke the leaves. All going well,
plant out in the month of March or April, on ground prepared for the
purpose, and laying the plant-bearing turves in strips, without any
disturbance whatever of the roots. Then earth them up with fine stuff
from between the rows, and put sticks to support and shelter them.

A more troublesome, but often a safer method, is to raise plants in
pots, or in boxes about four and a half inches deep and pierced at the
bottom to insure free drainage. Old potting soil will answer admirably,
and the seeds should be put in one inch deep and two inches apart. Place
the pots or boxes in any light cool structure as near the roof-glass as
possible, but make no attempt to force either germination or the growth
of the plants. When fair weather permits, transfer to the open in March
or April. A good succession may be obtained by sowing a first-early
dwarf variety and a second-early kind simultaneously.

==Main crops== require plenty of room, and that is really the chief point
in growing them. Supposing the ground has been well prepared as already
advised, the next matter of importance is the distance between the rows.
The market gardener is usually under some kind of compulsion to sow Peas
in solid pieces, just far enough apart for fair growth, and to leave
them to sprawl instead of being staked, because of the cost of the
proceeding. But the garden that supplies a household is not subject to
the severe conditions of competition, and Peas may be said to go to the
dinner table at retail and not at wholesale price. Moreover, high
quality is of importance, and here the domestic as distinguished from
the commercial gardener has an immense advantage, for well-grown 'Garden
Peas' surpass in beauty and flavour the best market samples procurable.
To produce these fine Peas there must be plenty of space allowed between
the rows, and it will be found good practice to grow Peas and early
Potatoes on the same plot, and to put short sticks to the Peas as soon
as they are forward enough. By this management the first top-growth of
the Potatoes may be saved from late May frosts, and the Peas will give
double the crop of a crowded plantation. The general sowings of Peas are
made from March to June, but as regards the precise time, seasons and
climates must be considered. Nothing is gained by sowing maincrop Peas
so early as to subject the plant to a conflict with frost. It should be
understood that the finest sorts of Peas are somewhat tender in
constitution, and the wrinkled sorts are more tender than the round.
Hence, in any case, the wrinkled seeds should be sown rather more
thickly than the round to allow for losses; but robust-habited Peas
should never be sown so thickly as the early sorts, for every plant
needs room to branch and spread, and gather sunshine by means of its
leaves for the ultimate production of superb Green Peas.

==Late Crops.==--To obtain Peas late in the season sowings may be made in
June and July, and preference should be given to quick-growing early
varieties. Ground from which early crops of Cauliflower, Carrot,
Cabbage, Potatoes, &c., have been removed is excellent for the purpose.
In dry weather thoroughly saturate the trench with water before sowing,
and keep the seedlings as cool as possible by screening them from the
sun.

==Staking.==--This important operation must not be unduly deferred, as the
plants are never wholly satisfactory when once the stems have become
bent. Commence by carefully earthing up the rows as soon as the plants
are about three inches high. In the case of early varieties, light bushy
sticks of the required height, thinly placed on both sides of the row,
will suffice. Maincrop and late Peas, however, should first be staked
with bushy twigs about eighteen inches high, these to be supplemented
with sticks at least one foot taller than the variety apparently needs,
as most Peas exceed their recognised height in the event of a wet
season. No attempt should be made to construct an impenetrable fence,
for Peas need abundance of light and air. Neither should the stakes be
arched at the top, but placed leaning outwards.

==General Cultivation.==--On the first appearance of the plant, a slight
dusting of lime or soot will render the rising buds distasteful to slugs
and sparrows, but this is more needful for the early than the later
crops. When maincrop Peas have grown two or three inches, they are
pretty safe against the small marauders. As the plant develops,
frequently stir the ground between the rows to keep down weeds and check
evaporation. The earthing up of the rows affords valuable protection to
the roots of the plants, and a light mulch of thoroughly decayed manure
will prove very helpful in a dry season. In the event of prolonged dry
weather, however, measures must be taken to supply water in good time
and in liberal quantity. The advantage of deep digging and manuring
between the two spits will now be discovered, for Peas thus
circumstanced will pass through the trial, even if not aided by water,
although much better with it; whereas similar sorts, in poor shallow
ground, will soon become hopelessly mildewed, and not even water will
save them. In giving water, it will be well to open a shallow trench,
distant about a foot from the rows on the shady side, and in this pour
the water so as to fill the trench; by this method water and labour will
be economised, and the plant will have the full benefit of the
operation.

==The enemies Of Peas== are fewer in number than might be expected in the
case of so nutritive a plant. Against the weevil, the moth, and the fly,
we are comparatively powerless, and perhaps the safest course is
occasionally to dust the plants with lime or soot, in which case the
work must be carefully done, or the leaf growth will be checked, to the
injury of the crop. Light dustings will suffice to render the plant
unpalatable without interfering with its health, but a heavy careless
hand will do more harm than all the insects by loading the leafage with
obnoxious matter. The great enemy of the Pea crop is the sparrow, whose
depredations begin with the appearance of the plant, and are renewed
from the moment when the pods contain something worth having. Other
small birds haunt the ground, but the sparrow is the leader of the gang.
Ordinary frighteners used in the ordinary way are of little use; the
best are lines, to which at intervals white feathers, or strips of white
paper, or pieces of bright tin are attached. In the seedling stage the
plants may be protected by wire guards, and even strands of black thread
tied to short stakes will prove serviceable. We have found the surest
way to guard the crop against feathered plunderers is to have work in
hand on the plot, so as to keep up a constant bustle, and this shows the
wisdom of putting the rows at such a distance as will allow the
formation of Celery trenches between them. We want a crop to come off,
and another to be put on while the Peas are in bearing; and early
Potatoes, to be followed by Celery, may be suggested as a rotation
suitable in many instances. Even then the birds will have a good time of
it in the morning, unless the workmen are on the ground early. However,
on this delicate point, the 'early bird' that carries a spade will have
an advantage, because the sparrow is really a late riser, and does not
begin business until other birds have had breakfast, and have finished
at least one musical performance.

==Early Peas under Glass.==--So greatly esteemed are Peas at table that in
many establishments the demand for them is not limited to supplies
obtainable from the open ground. Sowings may be made from mid-November
to mid-February, according to requirements and the extent of
accommodation available, from which the crops may be expected to mature
from mid-March onwards. Where a large glass-house, such as is used for
Tomatoes, &c., is at command, early Peas may be grown without prejudice
to other crops. Assuming that a good depth of soil exists, thoroughly
trench and prepare it as for outdoor Peas. Select a tall-growing
variety, of which there are a number that do well under glass. Sow in a
triple row, placing the seeds about three inches apart each way, and in
due course support the plants with stakes. A cool greenhouse or a frame
will also carry through an early crop of Peas, but for these structures
pots should be used and only dwarf-growing varieties sown. A ten-inch
pot will accommodate about eight seeds, and these should be planted one
and a half inches deep. When a few inches high insert a few bushy stakes
to carry the plants. A compost consisting of two parts loam, one part
leaf-soil or well-decayed manure, with a small quantity of wood ashes,
will suit Peas admirably. At no time is a forcing temperature needed.
From 50° to 55° at night, with a rise of about 10° by day will suffice,
and free ventilation must be given whenever possible with safety. Apply
water carefully, but never allow the roots to become dust-dry.

==Peas for Exhibition.==--On the exhibition table handsome well-grown Peas
always elicit unstinted admiration, and the magnificent pods of the
newer varieties are certainly worthy of the utmost praise bestowed upon
them. In all cases where vegetables are grown for competition at Shows
the amount of success achieved depends largely on the intensity of the
cultivation adopted, and in this respect no other subject will respond
more readily to liberal treatment than will the Garden Pea. Deep
digging, generous manuring, and copious watering during dry weather, in
the manner already described, are fundamental essentials. Another matter
of no less importance is the selection of suitable varieties. It is now
the general custom to start the early sorts in pots or boxes under glass
(see page 104), and some growers treat mid-season Peas in the same
manner. Of this system it may be said that it offers the fullest
opportunity of giving attention to the young plants and allows of the
strongest specimens being selected for transfer to open quarters. The
number of sowings will, of course, depend on individual requirements. At
the time of transplanting give each plant plenty of space for
development, and it will be well to stake the rows immediately. Keep the
plants under constant observation, especially while quite young, when
they are liable to destruction by garden foes. The flowering should be
limited to the fourth spike, and from the time the pods appear
assistance must be given in the form of liquid manure or a mulching of
well-rotted dung. Remove all lateral shoots and promote vigorous healthy
growth at every stage. Some means should be adopted to prevent injury of
any kind to the pods, which when gathered should be well filled,
carrying a fine bloom free from blemish.


==POTATO==

==Solarium tuberosum==

The potato has been designated the 'King of the Kitchen Garden,' and
perhaps 'the noble tuber' should be so regarded. Of its importance as an
article of food it is impossible to speak too highly, and the dietetic
value of the Potato appears to be always advancing. The known deficiency
of flesh-forming constituents naturally associates this vegetable with
meat of various kinds, poultry, game and fish, and in this proper
association the root is probably capable of superseding all other
vegetable foods, bread alone excepted. It is far from our intention to
recommend abstention from Asparagus, Cauliflower, Peas, and Sea Kale,
and to regard Potatoes as a sufficient substitute for these and other
table delicacies; but it is well to remember that by virtue of its
starchy compounds the Potato has a direct tendency to promote health and
that freshness of complexion that generally prevails among well-fed
people.

==Forcing Potatoes==.--The demand for new Potatoes exists long before the
first of the outdoor crops grown in this country can be lifted. To meet
such a demand is not a difficult matter where the necessary amount of
glass is at command, and by adopting the method here given supplies may
be maintained through the winter and onwards until the first-earlies
from the open ground are available. It may be said at once that for
culture in pots and boxes under glass a high temperature is neither
requisite nor desirable. Sturdy healthy growth is essential to the
formation of a crop of tubers, and if the plants be forced into an
attenuated condition the labour will have been in vain. Another matter
which needs to be specially mentioned is the choice of suitable
varieties. Only dwarf-growing kinds, thoroughly adapted for forcing,
should be considered. The date of planting will necessarily be regulated
by the time at which the crop is required. But a few weeks in advance of
planting, the sets should be sprouted by placing them on end in shallow
boxes, packed with damp light soil and stood near the light in a
slightly warm pit or house. When the sprouts are formed rub off all but
the two strongest. Good turfy loam, a small quantity of manure from a
spent Mushroom bed, and a little bone meal, will make an excellent
compost for the pots or boxes. Two sets will suffice for a ten-inch or
twelve-inch pot, or five tubers may be placed in a box measuring about
four feet long by one foot wide. Perfect drainage must be insured. Plant
the sets with care, taking up as much soil as possible with the mass of
fibrous roots which will have formed during the period of sprouting. The
operation may best be accomplished by only half filling the pots or
boxes at first, and when the sets are in position add a further two
inches or so of soil. Water sparingly, especially at the outset. As root
growth increases add more soil and give the plants an occasional
application of tepid liquid manure. At all times avoid excessive heat,
and if the crop can be finished off gradually in a cool house so much
the better.

Where sufficient accommodation cannot be found for forcing Potatoes in
pots or boxes, an excellent crop may be grown on a gentle hot-bed made
up in the usual manner, and covered to a depth of at least nine inches
with a compost of three parts light loamy soil to one part leaf-mould.
After putting on the frame, keep the lights closed for a few days. But a
great heat is not wanted, and undue forcing at any stage will lead to
disaster. Partially exhausted hot-beds which have been used for other
purposes will also be found to answer admirably. Prepare the sets in the
manner already advised for pots and boxes, and plant them with the least
possible disturbance to the fibrous roots, three inches deep, in rows
fifteen inches apart, allowing twelve inches between the tubers in the
row. Whenever the weather is fine afford the plants a little air.
Increase the amount gradually as growth develops, but close the frames
early in the afternoon and give them the protection of mats at night
should the outside temperature be low. Water must be given in
moderation. It should always be of the same temperature as the frame,
and as soon as the haulm commences to turn yellow watering must be
discontinued. Little earthing up is needed, but when the foliage is
about nine inches high the addition of a small quantity of warm soil
along the rows will be beneficial.

==Early Potatoes== outdoors are produced in various ways, and by very
simple appliances. The Potato will not bear the slightest touch of
frost. It is a sub-tropical plant, and will endure considerable heat if
at the same time it can enjoy light, air, and sufficient moisture. In
some respects it may be likened to the Lettuce, for if crowded or
overheated, or subjected to sudden checks, it bolts--in other words, it
produces plenty of top and no bottom, just as Lettuces similarly treated
produce flowering stems and no hearts. We will here propose a very
simple and practical procedure for obtaining a nice crop of Potatoes in
the month of June. This system fairly mastered, endless modifications
will be easily effected as circumstances and judgment may suggest.

Begin by selecting an early variety of the best quality. Some time
towards the end of January the sets are packed closely in shallow boxes,
one layer deep only, and these are placed in full daylight safe from
frost, but are not subjected to heat in any way. Having started the sets
into growth in full daylight, proceed with the preparation of the
ground. This must be light, warm, dry and rather rich without being
rank. If a length of wall is available, and perplexity arises concerning
suitable soil for the early Potatoes, seize all the sandy loam that has
been turned out of pots, and having mixed it with as much leaf-mould and
quite rotten manure as can be spared, lay the mixture in a ridge at the
foot of the wall. As walls do not anywhere run in such lengths as to
provide for all the early Potatoes that are wanted, select a plot of
ground lying warm and dry to the sun, and having spread over it a
liberal allowance of decayed manure, and any light fertilising stuff,
such as the red and black residue from the burning of hedge clippings,
turf, and weeds, dig this in. The ground being ready, it is lined out in
neat ridges two feet apart, running north and south. These ridges must
be shallow, rising not more than six inches above the general level. On
every fourth ridge sow early Peas that are not likely to grow more than
two and a half to three feet in height. This being done in February, the
land is ready for Potatoes in the first week of March. Plant on the fine
stuff laid up next the wall in the first instance, and then on the
ridges, where there is room for three rows of Potatoes between every two
rows of Peas. In the process of planting, it will be advisable to rub
off all the weak eyes and thin out those on the crown, two or three
strong eyes being quite sufficient. This can easily be accomplished as
the sets are laid into their places in a shallow drill opened on the top
of the ridge. The sets may be put a foot apart, and have four inches of
fine soil over them. Prick the ground over with a fork between the rows,
leaving it quite rough, but regular and workmanlike. The Peas will soon
be visible and require attention. Draw a little fine earth to them, and
stake them carefully with small brushwood. If snails and slugs appear,
give dustings of lime or soot, and as soon as possible supply stakes of
sufficient height and strength to carry the crop. By the time the
Potatoes begin to show their shaws the Peas will constitute an effectual
shelter for them against east winds, and it will be found that the
morning frosts that are often so injurious to Potatoes in the month of
May will scarcely touch a crop that has the advantage of this kind of
protection. But to that alone it is not wise to trust. One serious
freezing that blackens the shaws will delay and diminish the Potato
crop. Therefore, as the green tops appear, cover them lightly with fine
earth from between the rows, and if necessary repeat this, always
allowing the leaves to see daylight. When a sharp frost occurs, it will
be advisable to cover the tops with a few inches of light dry litter in
just the same way that a bed of Radishes is protected. There are many
other methods of saving the rising shaws. A plank on edge on the east
side of a row will suffice to tide through an ordinary white frost. Mats
or reed hurdles laid on a few stout pegs will also answer admirably, but
care must be taken that the plant is not pressed down, and the covering
must be removed as soon as the danger is over.

Crops grown under walls will be ready first, and those in the beds will
follow. Spaces between the trees of a fruit wall may be planted with
Potatoes, without injury to the trees. Those grown on the south face of
a good wall will be ready for table three weeks in advance of the
earliest crops in the open quarters. But east and west walls may be made
to contribute, and even north walls are useful, if planted a week later
and a little deeper. In all cases the sets should be put close to the
wall to enjoy the warmth, and dryness, and shelter it affords. When the
crop is lifted, the soil specially laid up for it may be taken away, or
scattered over the border. But the bulk will be so slight that it will
not matter much what becomes of it. However, in a new place with a clay
soil it may be prudent to remove it, and keep it ready as an aid in seed
sowing, for there are times and places where a little fine stuff is
worth a great deal to give a crop of some kind a proper start.

==The main crop==, as the source of supply for fully nine months out of
twelve, deserves every attention. Potatoes are grown with advantage on
so many diverse soils, and in such unlikely climates, that the plant
appears, on a casual consideration, to be altogether indifferent to its
surroundings. But it is none the less true that for the profitable
cultivation of this crop certain conditions are absolutely essential.
Among these an open situation and a well-drained soil are perhaps the
most important. To this might be added favourable weather, because a bad
season frustrates every hope and labour. Having an open situation and a
well-drained soil, it is much to be preferred that the soil be of a
deep, friable, loamy nature; in other words, a good medium soil,
suitable for deep tillage, but neither a decided clay, chalk nor sand. A
fertile sandy loam, lying well as regards sunshine and drainage, may
generally be considered a first-rate Potato soil, and excellent crops
have also been grown on thin soils overlying chalk and limestone. So
again, fine crops are often taken from poor sandy soils, and from
newly-broken bog and moss, as well as from clay lands that have had some
amount of tillage to form a friable top crust. But when all is said the
fact remains that the ideal soil for Potatoes is a deep mellow loam,
and, failing this, preference should be given to calcareous and sandy
soils rather than to clays or retentive soils of any kind.

==Manures==.--Much prejudice prevails against manuring land for Potatoes,
and where the soil is good enough to yield a paying crop, it will be
prudent to do without manure, and to dress generously for the next crop
to restore the land to a reasonable state. Still it is the practice of
many of the most successful growers for the early market to manure for
this crop, and in some instances the manure is laid in the trenches at
the time of planting. Generally speaking, land intended for Potatoes
should be deeply dug, and, if needful, manured in the autumn. About
twenty to thirty cartloads of half-rotten manure per acre may be dug or
ploughed in to as great a depth as possible, consistent with the nature
of the subsoil and the appliances at command. In breaking up pasture
with the spade, bastard trenching will as a rule prove advantageous. The
land is lined off in two-feet breadths, and the top spit of the first
piece is removed to the last piece, which will often be close at hand by
the rule of working a certain distance down and back again. The under
spit will then be well broken up, the manure thrown in, and the top spit
of the next piece will be turned in turf downwards, making a sandwich of
the manure. If this is done in autumn, there will be a mellow top crust
produced by the spring, and the best way to plant will be in trenches,
unless the land is very light, in which case the dibber may be used.

As light lands are often profitably devoted to Potato culture, and more
especially to the production of first-class early Potatoes for the
markets, a few words on their management may be useful here. If on the
light land there is a choice of aspects, by all means select the plots
that slope to the south-west; the dangerous aspects are north and east.
The ground should be ploughed up in autumn and left rough, but it is not
economical to manure light lands in autumn. At the time of planting, the
furrows should be cut with a plough fitted with a double mould-board,
and the manure spread evenly along them previous to laying in the sets.
A good dressing per acre will consist of fifteen loads of farmyard
manure, and four cwt. of artificials, consisting of one and a half cwt.
of guano, two cwt. of superphosphate of lime, and half a cwt. of muriate
of potash. When the sets are laid, cover them by splitting the ridges
with the plough. If planted early in March, the crop should come off in
time for Turnips, for which the land will be in good heart, and the seed
should be sown as quickly as possible after the clearing of the
Potatoes.

==Preparing the Sets.==--Among the many subjects that open out before us
at this point are the selection and preparation of the sets. Why are
smallish tubers chosen in one case and planted whole? and why, in
another case, are large tubers chosen and divided before planting, to
make two or more sets of each? Because there is a principle on which
sound practice rests, and it is this: the number of shoots starting from
any one growing point must be limited, for if they become crowded the
crop will be less than the land is capable of producing. Keeping this
principle in view, we proceed to remark, in the first place, that
carefully selected seed of moderate size may be planted as it comes from
the store without any preparation whatever, and with a fair prospect of
a profitable result. But certain varieties produce few tubers of seed
size, and when large they must be divided in such a manner as to insure
at least two eyes in each set. As a matter of fact, profitable crops are
grown in the most simple way; the seed is neither sprouted nor
disbudded, and with a well-made soil and a favourable season, the return
is ample, and all claims are satisfied. Potato-growing entails much
labour, therefore it is important to distinguish between tasks that are
necessary and those that are optional.

But where the time and strength can be found for first-class
cultivation, it should have the preference over the rough and ready
methods that are satisfactory on a large scale. Exhibitions of Potatoes
are for the most part sustained by persons who can find the time to do
things with extra care, and they have their reward in their crops as
well as in their prizes, for what may be styled Exhibition culture
consists simply in growing the crop in the best possible way, and
planting many sorts where in any other case a few would suffice. Here,
then, on the best plan, we begin with sets most carefully selected, to
insure true typical form and colour, and these are, some six weeks or so
before planting time, put in shallow boxes or baskets, one layer deep,
to sprout in full daylight, but quite safe from frost. In the first
instance a number of sprouts appear, and a large proportion are rubbed
off. The object of the cultivator is to secure two or three stout, short
shoots of a green or purple colour; the long white threads that are
often produced in the store being regarded as useless. When large sets
are employed, they are allowed to make three or four stout shoots, and
at the time of planting--not before--these sets are cut so as to leave
to each large piece only one or two good sprouts or sprits. As for the
smaller sets that are not to be divided, it is common practice to cut a
small piece off each of these at the time of planting to facilitate the
decay of the tuber when it has accomplished its work, for having
nourished the first growth the sooner it disappears the better. Thus,
with a little extra trouble, sound tubers have been prepared for
planting, and the main reasons for taking this extra trouble are
doubtless fully apparent. The best seed possible is wanted and the most
suitable soil; these two items forming the first chapter. By sprouting
the seed time is gained, which is equivalent to a lengthening of the
season. By limiting the number of shoots an excess of foliage is
prevented. Where the shoots are crowded the tubers will not be crowded,
a few strong shaws with all their leaves exposed to the air and light
being capable of producing better results than a large number contending
for air and light that are insufficient for them all. And finally, by
cutting the sets, whether to divide them, or simply to hasten their
decay, we insure that they will not reappear with the young crop as
useless, ugly things.

==Distances for Planting==.--The distance at which the sets are planted is
of importance, for a crop too crowded will be of little value. But the
ground must be properly filled. By wasting only a small space in each
breadth, or in the spaces between the sets, the total crop will be many
bushels short of the possible quantity. The guiding principle must be to
allow to each plant ample room to spread, and absorb the air and
sunshine, in accordance with the character of the sort and the condition
of the soil. A considerable proportion of the losses from disease may be
traced to overcrowding in the first instance; the tangled haulm being
rendered weak through want of air, and then becoming loaded with water,
and in contact with wet ground, the disease has made havoc where, had
the management been founded on sound principles, there might have been a
vigorous healthy growth. If a doubt arises, it is safer to allow too
much rather than too little space, and in this respect the exhibition
growers are very liberal. They often place the rows of strong-growing
varieties four feet or more apart, and allow a space of three and a half
feet for the more moderate growers. Even then, with good land, in a high
state of preparation, the shaws sometimes meet across the rows, and
enormous crops are lifted. For a very comprehensive rule, it may be said
that the distance between the rows may vary from fifteen inches for the
early sorts of dwarf growth, to forty inches for the vigorous-growing
late sorts. Between these measurements, for varieties producing medium
haulm, a distance of twenty-six to thirty-six inches may be allowed on
good ground. The distance between the sets must in like manner be
determined by the growth, and will range from nine inches for crops to
be dug early, to sixteen or twenty inches for the robust kinds. The
medium maincrop Potatoes will generally do well at twelve inches apart.
Much, however, depends on the season, for when great space is allowed,
and the season proves warm and showery, there will be more large tubers
than the grower will care for; whereas, if planted somewhat closer, the
crop would be smaller and more uniform in size. When planted, the tops
of the tubers should be about four inches below the surface.

==Time of Planting==.--Under favourable conditions, it is possible to
plant on a warm dry border as early as mid-February in very sheltered
districts, but a supply of protecting material must be instantly
available in the event of severe weather. As a rule, however, the
opening of March is soon enough to plant early crops out of doors,
always provided that the soil is light and the situation warm, but where
these conditions do not exist it will be safer to wait until the middle
of the month. Maincrops may be got in at the end of March and during
April, according to the locality and the character of the soil. In any
case, it is better to defer the operation for a week or so than to plant
in heavy wet ground which quickly consolidates, making it impervious to
air and unsuitable for root-penetration. Excellent crops may also be
obtained by planting in July, preference being given to quick-growing
early varieties. Old tubers only should be used and these must be
carefully stored until required for planting.

==Method of Planting.==--On light soils, in a sufficiently dry condition,
the dibber or planting stick may be used, but on heavy ground it is not
satisfactory. A good method of planting for all classes of soil is to
draw out a V-shaped drill of the requisite depth, place the sets into
position and lightly return the earth. Another plan which is largely
adopted is to insert the sets in the trenches as made during the
operation of digging the ground in spring, a garden line being used to
obtain the accurate alignment of the rows.

==General Cultivation.==--As soon as the shaws appear the ground should be
hoed between the rows, and if there is any fear of frost the shaws
should be lightly moulded over. As the growth advances the crop must be
earthed up, care being exercised not to earth up too much, for, taking
six inches as the best average depth, the crop will be diminished by an
increase beyond this depth. One urgent reason for early work between the
rows is that a prosperous crop will soon put a stop to it. The moment it
becomes likely that the shaws will be bruised by traffic between the
rows they must be left to finish their course in their own way, because
the formation of tubers below will be in the ratio of the healthy growth
above ground. The Potato may be said to be manufactured out of sunshine
and alkaline salts. The green leaves constitute the machinery of the
manufacture, for which the solar light from above, and the potash,
phosphate of lime, phosphate of magnesia, and phosphoric acid from below
are the raw materials.

==Change of Ground and Seed.==--In common with all other crops, the Potato
needs as often as possible a fresh soil, and a renewal of seed from some
distant source. The need for a change of soil is made apparent by an
analysis of the root, which contains large proportions of potash,
phosphorus, and sulphur, with smaller proportions of magnesia and lime,
without which the plant cannot prosper. A succession of heavy crops of
Potatoes on the same land may be said to take from the soil its
available potash and phosphates, and this crop will not, like some
others, take soda instead of potash when the last-named alkali runs
short. Here then is a chemical reason for change of soil. Another reason
is found in the history of the species of fungi that prey on the Potato
when its growth is checked by heavy rains and a low temperature. These
leave their spores in the soil, like wolves hiding in ambush, to
destroy the next crop. They are powerless to attack any other crop;
therefore a suitable rotation gives them time to die out and leave the
land clean as regards the =Phytophthora= and other parasites that
destroy Potato crops. The necessity for an occasional change of seed
rests on old experience, and should scarcely need enforcing. One word
may be said here by way of explanation, and it is this: the seed house
that aims to put a good article in the market adopts measures which
altogether differ from those followed by the majority of persons who
have not been trained to the business. It is a common experience to find
that those who save their own seed from year to year have as a result a
constantly declining strain, so that every year the growth is weaker,
less true, and less profitable. It is so all through, but is especially
the case with Potatoes. We do not say that all who save their own seed
act unwisely, for some are most expert in the business. But we do say
that seed saving is not learned in a day, and many who think they save
shillings when they save seeds, actually lose pounds by burdening
themselves with a bad article. The art of 'roguing'--the elimination of
plants which are untrue to type--is but one part of the seed-saving
process. There is the proper storing, the selecting and sorting
operations, to which eyes and hands must be trained, and there must be
no scruple about the sacrifice of false, immature or diseased samples.
The point we have in view is to advise the Potato grower to be sure of
his seed, and when a doubt arises as to the purity and healthiness of
the sample at command, it may be remembered that the seed merchant
practises methods of purgation for insuring perfectly true stocks, while
by growing in many different districts, and on diverse soils, he can
furnish an admirable change of seed for any description of land.

==The Potato Disease.==--The culture of Potatoes cannot be dismissed
without allusion to the destructive fungus which is never absent in dry
seasons, and in wet summers does its deadly work on a vast scale.
Scientific men have acquainted us with the history of the Potato fungus,
and this may eventually result in as efficient a remedy as that which
renewed the vineyards of France. Such a remedy for the Potato murrain
has yet to be discovered. Meanwhile, we must continue to resist the foe
with the plough, spade, draining tool, and above all with a wise
selection of sorts. It is an acknowledged fact that many Potatoes that
have been cultivated for a long time appear to have lost their vigour,
and are liable to succumb to the disease; but several kinds that have
been raised from seed in recent years possess a constitution which
almost defies the virulent assaults of the =Phytophthora infestans=.
Since the introduction of Sutton's Magnum Bonum Potato there has been a
disposition to believe in 'Disease-proof Potatoes.' There is no such
thing absolutely, and perhaps there never will be, any more than there
is a disease-proof wheat, or dog, or horse, or man. But some varieties
of Potatoes are known to be more susceptible to the ravages of disease
than others, and it has been one of our aims to secure seedlings which
combine the highest cropping and table qualities with the least tendency
to succumb in seasons when conditions favour the spread of the fungus.
Scientific men have not yet explained why the varieties differ in this
respect, but practical men have discovered that initial vigour of growth
is the main defence against the plague, and as the growing of a good
Potato costs no more than the growing of a poor variety, the cultivator
should bestow his care on the very best he can obtain. A little extra
cost for seed in the first instance is as nothing to the multiplied
chances of success a good variety carries with it. To sum up this
subject, then, we say that disease may be avoided in the early crops by
cultivating sorts which may be lifted before the plague generally
appears; and on soils which will not produce an early crop, only such
varieties should be grown for the main crops as have been proved to be
most capable of standing uninjured until late in the season. Let there
be a dry, warm bed, sufficient food, the fullest exposure to the
life-giving powers of light, and conditions favourable to early
ripening.

==The Wart Disease (Black Scab) of Potatoes== (=Synchytrium endobioticum=,
Percival) is dealt with in the chapter on 'The Fungus Pests of certain
Garden Plants.'


==PUMPKIN==--=see= ==GOURD==, =page 63=


==RADISH==

==Raphanus sativus==

The Radish is often badly grown through being sown too thickly, or on
lumpy ground, or in places not favourable to quick vegetation. Radishes
grown slowly become tough, pungent and worthless. On the other hand,
those which are grown quickly on rich, mellow ground are attractive in
appearance, delicate in flavour, and as digestible as any salad in
common use. It should be understood that earliness is of the very first
importance, and that large Radishes are never wanted. To insure a quick
growth and a handsome sample the ground must not only be good, but
finely broken up.

==Frame Culture.==--For the earliest crops it is advisable to make a
semi-hot-bed, by removing a portion of the surface soil, and laying down
about two-feet depth of half-rotten stable manure, on which spread four
inches of fine earth, and then cover with frames. Sow the seed thinly,
and put on the lights. When the plants appear, give air at every
opportunity to keep the growth dwarf, and cover with mats during frost,
always taking care to uncover as often as possible to give light, for if
the tops are drawn the roots will be of little account. Where the plants
are crowded, thin them, allowing every plant just room enough to spread
out its top without overlapping its neighbour. Sowings made in this way
in December, January, and February will supply an abundance of beautiful
Radishes in early spring, when they are greatly valued. To follow the
outdoor crops frame culture will again be necessary in autumn.

==Outdoor Culture.==--The second crop (which in many gardens will be the
first) may be sown on warm, dry borders in February. Within a few days
after sowing, collect a quantity of dry litter, and lay it up in a shed
ready for use. It happens often that we have warm, bright weather in
February, and the Radishes start quickly and make good progress, and
then may come a severe frost, when the litter must be spread as lightly
as possible, three or four inches thick. These open-ground sowings will
bear cold well, but they should not be allowed to get frozen, and
therefore semi-hot-beds may be employed. If time and materials appear
excessive for such a purpose, it should be remembered that this is a
capital way of preparing for the next crop, whatever it may be, and is a
particularly good method of preparing for Peas that are to be sown in
the month of April, by which time the earliest sown Radishes will be off
the ground. Successive sowings should be made from March to September in
the coolest place that can be found for them, and the usual practice of
four-feet beds will answer very well. In many gardens sufficient
supplies of Radishes are obtained by sowing in the alleys between
seed-beds, but care must be taken that this plan does not interfere with
the proper work of hoeing, weeding, thinning, &c. When seed is sown on
light soils a moderate firming with the back of the spade may be
desirable, but generally speaking it is sufficient to cover the seed
lightly, and so leave it. To thin the crop early is, however, of great
importance, no matter how wasteful the process may seem, for wherever
the plants are crowded they will make large useless tops, and small
worthless roots, and prove altogether unprofitable. For the earliest
sowings we have choice of many sorts, round, oval, and long; but the
long Radishes are not well adapted for late sowing, whereas the round
and oval sorts stand pretty well in hot weather, if on good ground in a
cool situation, with the help of a slight amount of shade. As the year
advances we return to the practice recommended for the earliest crops.

==Winter Radishes==.--These large-growing kinds are much prized by those
who use them in winter in the preparation of salads. Seed may be sown in
the open from June to August, in drills nine inches apart, and the
plants thinned to six inches in the rows. The roots may be left in the
ground and dug as required, or taken up and stored in sand. These
Radishes may also be cooked in the same manner as Turnips and they make
an excellent dish.


==RHUBARB==

==Rheum hybridum==

RHUBARB is so much valued that we need not recommend it. There are some
remarkably fine sorts in cultivation, adapted for early work, main-crop,
and late use.

Although an accommodating plant, Rhubarb requires for profitable
production a rich deep soil, well worked, and heavily dressed with
rotten manure, and a situation remote from trees, but in some degree
sheltered. It will be observed that the markets are supplied from
sheltered alluvial soils, that have been much cultivated, and kept in
high condition by abundant manuring. On the other hand, the coarser
kinds will make a free and early growth on a damp clay, if sheltered
from the east winds that so often damage early spring vegetation. The
shortest way to establish a plantation is to purchase selected roots of
first-class named varieties, and plant them in one long row, three to
four feet apart, or in a bed or compartment four feet apart each way.
The smaller kinds will do very well at two and a half feet each way, but
for large-growing sorts this would be injuriously close. Plant with the
top bud two inches deep, tread in moderately firm, then lightly prick
the ground over, and so leave it. Rhubarb may be planted at any time in
spring or autumn but of the two the spring is preferable. In any case
where a special cultivation is determined on, it will be found that bone
manure has a wonderful effect on the growth of Rhubarb.

It is not sufficient to say that the plantation must be kept free from
weeds, but the plant should be allowed to make one whole season's growth
before a single stalk is pulled. And the pulling in the second season,
and every season thereafter, should be moderate and careful, for every
leaf removed weakens the plant, and it must be allowed-time to regain
strength for the next season. Some people know not when to leave off
pulling Rhubarb, but appear unwilling to cease until there is none to
pull; and it is a pity this should happen, especially as after the
delicate supplies of early spring are past, Rhubarb is a comparatively
poor thing, and to ruin a plantation to get stalks for wine is great
folly. For wine-making a special plantation should be made, from which
not one stick should be taken for table use. The summer stalks will then
be of a suitable character.

Rhubarb is easily forced in any place where there is a moderate warmth,
and it is only needful to pack the roots in boxes with moss or any light
soil, or even rough litter. The roots will push into any moist material
and find sufficient food. If entirely exposed to the light, forced
Rhubarb has a full colour; but the quality is better, and the colour
quite sufficient, if it is forced in the dark; hence when put under the
stage in a greenhouse, or any other place where there is a fair share of
daylight, it is well to put an empty box or barrel over to promote a
certain degree of blanching.

When raising Rhubarb from seed sow in spring in light soil, and the
young plants should have frame culture until strong enough to plant out.
If a great number are grown, they should all be kept in pots until the
end of the season, and then the common-looking and unpromising plants
should be destroyed, reserving the others for planting out in the
following spring. A new type of Rhubarb which is readily raised from
seed will remain in bearing continuously if put out on good ground and
given protection during severe winter weather. Seed of this strain
should be sown in March or April, in pots or boxes placed in a cold
frame. Plant out the seedlings in May and these will generally yield
sticks in the autumn. Seed may also be sown in the open ground in
spring.


==SALADS==

Although the art of making Salads is to some extent understood in this
country, it must be admitted that much has yet to be learned from the
masters of Continental cookery, who utilise more plants than are
commonly used on this side of the Channel, and who impart to their
Salads an endless variety of flavourings. Here, however, we are only
concerned with the plants that are, or should be, in requisition for the
Salad-bowl at different seasons of the year. But it will not be
irrelevant to allude to the fact, admitted by medical men of high
reputation, that the appetite for fresh, crisp, uncooked vegetables is a
really healthy craving, and that free indulgence in Salads is a means of
supplying the human frame with important elements of plant-life. In the
process of cooking, certain minerals, such as salts of potash, are
abstracted from vegetables, while in Salads they are available, and
contribute both to the enjoyment and the benefit of the consumer.

Our present object is to offer a reminder of the plants that must be
grown in order to supply such a variety of Salads as will fairly meet
the requirements of a generous table during the changing seasons of the
year. The culture of all the following subjects will be found under
their proper headings.

==Beet.==--For its distinct flavour and splendid colour Beet is highly
valued as a component of Salads. As the roots are easily stored they are
available for several months after the growing season has passed.

==Celeriac== is much used in French Salads, and some appreciation is now
shown for it in this country. The roots or bulbs are trimmed, washed,
and cooked in the same manner as Beet.

==Celery.==--This delicious Salad is in such general favour that no
comment on its virtues is necessary.

==Chervil.==--The curled is far handsomer than the common variety, and is
available for garnishing as well as for Salads.

==Chicory.==--The common Chicory (=Barbe de Capucin=) and the Brussels
variety (=Witloof=) have attained to great popularity. Both are
agreeable and wholesome, and a supply should be maintained from October
to May.

==Chives== find acceptance at times when the stronger flavour of Onion is
inadmissible.

==Corn Salad.==--The leaves should be gathered separately in the same
manner as they are collected from Spinach.

==Cress== should be in continual readiness almost or entirely through the
year.

==Cucumber.==--Everybody appreciates the value of this fruit, which is
almost startling in its crisp coolness.

==Dandelion.==--The cultivated forms of this familiar plant are
increasingly grown for use in the Salad-bowl.

==Endive== has a distinct flavour which is highly appreciated; and in
winter the plant occupies the important position that Lettuce fills in
summer and autumn.

==Lettuce.==--All the Cabbage varieties are in great demand for Salads,
because they readily assimilate the dressing. But for delicious
crispness the Cos varieties cannot fail to maintain their position of
assured popularity.

==Mustard== needs only to be named. Like Cress, it is in continuous
demand.

==Nasturtium.==--A few flowers may always be employed to garnish a Salad,
for they are true Salad plants, and may be eaten with safety by those
who choose to eat them.

==Onion== imparts life to every Salad that contains it; but for the sake
of the modest people who do not fail to appreciate the advantage of its
presence, although they scruple to avow their love, there must be
discretion in determining the proportion.

==Purslane.==--The leaves and shoots are used for Salads, and the former
should be gathered while quite young.

==Radish== finds a place on the tables of the opulent and of the humblest
cottager.

==Rampion.==--The fleshy roots are employed in Salads in the natural
state, and also when cooked.

==Salsify== is commonly known as 'Vegetable Oyster,' and is an excellent
component of a Salad. The roots may also be allowed to put forth leaves
in the dark to furnish blanched material.

==Shallot.==--A delicate substitute for Onion.

==Sorrel== possesses a piquant flavour that can be used by the skilful
with most agreeable results.

==Tomato== has fought its way to popularity in this country, and now holds
a commanding position.

==Water Cress.==--When the tender tops can be had they are seldom allowed
to be absent from first-class Salads.


==SALSIFY==

==Tragopogon porrifolius==

Salsify may be sown from the end of March to May, but two sowings will
in most cases be sufficient. Drill the seed in rows fifteen inches apart
and one inch deep. Thin from time to time until the plants stand nine,
ten, or in an extreme case twelve, inches apart. In ordinary soil nine
inches will be sufficient. Hoe between frequently, but do not use a fork
or spade anywhere near the crop, for the loosening of the ground will
cause the roots to branch.

A deep sandy soil with a coat of manure put in the bottom of the trench
will produce fine roots of Salsify. But there should be no recent manure
within fifteen inches of the surface, or the roots will be forked and
ugly. In a soil that produces handsome roots naturally the preparation
may consist in a good digging only, but generally speaking the more
liberal routine will give a better result.

In November dig a portion of the crop and store in sand, and lift
further supplies as required. Some roots may be left to furnish Chards
in spring. These are the flowering-shoots which rise green and tender,
and must be cut when not more than five or six inches long. They are
dressed and served in the same way as Asparagus.

Salsify is a root of high quality, the growing of which is generally
considered a test of a gardener's skill. Perhaps the after-dressing and
serving of Salsify may be a test of the skill of the cook, but upon that
point we will not insist. It is a less troublesome root than Scorzonera,
and superior to it in beauty and flavour--in fact, it is often dressed
and served as 'Vegetable Oyster,' having somewhat the flavour of the
favourite bivalve.

Salsify roots require to be prepared for use by scraping them, and then
steeping in water containing a little lemon juice or vinegar. They are
boiled until tender, and served with white sauce. To prepare them as the
'Vegetable Oyster' the roots are first boiled and allowed to get cold,
then cut in slices and quickly fried in butter to a light golden brown,
being dusted with salt and white pepper while cooking. Serve with
crisped Parsley and sauce made with butter, flour, and the liquor from
tinned or fresh oysters.


==SAVOY==--=see page 38=

==SCORZONERA==

==Scorzonera hispanica==

Scorzonera is not much grown in this country, but as it is prized on the
Continent, it might be introduced to many English tables with advantage.
The main point in the cultivation is to obtain large clean roots, for
carelessly grown samples will be small, forked, and fibrous. Trench a
piece of ground, and mix a good dressing of half-rotten manure with the
bottom spit, taking care that there is none in the top spit. Make a nice
seed-bed, and sow in the month of March in shallow drills fifteen inches
apart, and as the plants advance thin them until they stand a foot apart
in the drill. Keep the crop clean, and it will be fit for use in
September. Lift as wanted in the same manner as Parsnips. Seed may also
be sown in April and May.

To cook the roots they must first be scalded, then scraped and thrown
into water in which there are a few drops of lemon juice. Let them
remain half an hour; boil in salted water in the same way as Carrots
until quite tender, and serve with white sauce. If left to get cold they
can be sliced and fried in butter to make a good side dish.


==SEA KALE==

==Crambe maritima==

Many persons prefer Sea Kale to Asparagus, but the two differ so widely
in flavour and general character that no comparison between them is
possible. On two points, however, the advantage certainly rests with Sea
Kale. It can be more easily grown, and, regarded solely as an article of
food, it is the more profitable crop. This comparison has therefore a
practical bearing. In forming a new garden, and in cases where it may
not be possible to grow both these esculents satisfactorily, Sea Kale
should have attention first, as a thing that will require but a small
investment, and that will surely pay its way, with quick returns, to the
general advantage of the household.

==Outdoor Culture.==--Sea Kale requires strong ground, fully exposed to
the sun, and enriched with any good manure, that from the stable being
undoubtedly the best. The most satisfactory way to begin is with
well-grown roots, as they make a return at once with the least
imaginable trouble. Let the ground be well dug two spits deep, and put
a coat of manure between; or if it is a good substantial loam, plant
without manure, and the results will be excellent. As the thriving plant
covers a considerable space, and there must be a certain amount of
traffic on the ground to manage it, there should be one row in the
centre of a four-feet bed, with a broad alley on one side; or, better
still, mark out a ten-feet space, with a three-feet alley on each side,
and in this space plant three rows two and a half feet apart, and the
roots one and a half to two feet apart. The planting may be done at any
time after the leaves have fallen, late in autumn, and during winter and
early spring. On warm, dry ground, winter planting answers perfectly,
and enables the gardener to complete the task, for there is always
enough to do in the spring months. But on damp ground and in exposed
situations the best time to plant is the month of March. Put down the
line, and open a trench one foot deep; plant the roots with their crowns
two inches below the surface, filling in and treading firmly as each
trench is planted. The precaution may be taken to pare off all the
pointed prominent buds on each crown, as this will prevent the rise of
flower-stems; but if this is neglected, the cultivator must take care to
cut out all the flowering-shoots that appear, for the production of
flowers will prove detrimental to the crop of Sea Kale in the following
season. Our custom, when a plantation has been thus made, is to grow
another crop with it the first season. The ground between the rows is
marked out in narrow strips, and lightly forked over, and if a coat of
rotten manure can be spared it is pricked in, and a neat seed-bed is
made of every strip, eighteen to twenty-four inches wide. On this
prepared bed sow Onions, Lettuces, and other light crops, and as the Sea
Kale advances take care to remove whatever would interfere with their
expansion, for the stolen crop should not stand in the way of that
intended for permanent occupation. A crop of early Cauliflower, small
Cabbage, or even Potatoes, may be taken, in which case there will be
room for only one row alternately with each row of Kale, and perhaps one
row also in the alleys.

The growth of the Kale should be promoted by all legitimate means, and
in high summer it will take water, liquid manure, and mulchings of rich
stuff, to almost any extent, with advantage. The irrigation that suits
the Kale will probably also suit the stolen crop, but irrigation is not
good for Onions or Potatoes; where these crops are grown care must be
exercised to bestow the fluid on the Sea Kale only.

As the leaves decay in autumn they should be removed, and the ground
kept thoroughly clean. When finally cleaned up, let it be forked over,
but with care not to put the tool too near the plants; and if manure is
plentiful, lay down a coat for a finish, or fork it in at the general
clear up. There should now commence a systematic saving of clean leaves.
Mere vegetable rubbish is not to be thought of. Proceed to cover the
ground with leaves in heaps or ridges sufficient to make a coat finally
of about one foot deep, or say nine inches at the very least. If there
is any store of rough planking on the premises, let the planks be laid
on the ridges of leaves on whichever side the prevailing wind may be.
This will prevent the leaves being blown away, and the planks will be
handy for the next stage in the business.

At the turn of the year put the planks on edge by driving posts down in
any rough way that will hold them firmly for a brief season, and then
spread the leaves equally. If there are not sufficient leaves to cover
the bed for the requisite thickness, raise a good heap over each crown,
and sprinkle a little earth to keep the heap together. But a better mode
of procedure is to have a sufficiency of Sea Kale pots with movable
covers, or in place of these large flower-pots, or old boxes. Put these
over the crowns, and then heap the leaves over and around, and the
preliminaries are completed. A very early growth will be the result, and
the quality will be finer than that of forced Sea Kale. Uncover
occasionally to see how the crop goes on, remembering that perfect
darkness is needed to blanch it completely, and to produce a plump and
delicate sample. Cut close over, taking a small portion of the woody
part of the crown, and when all the growth of a crown is taken, remove
the pot or box, but leave a thin coat of leaves on the cut crown to
protect it, as at the time of cutting Sea Kale keen east winds are
prevalent, and it is unfair to the plants to expose them suddenly. When
the crop has been taken, remove the leaves and the planks, and dig in
between the rows a thick coat of fat manure. The growth will be too
strong now for a stolen crop, and will so continue for many years. After
the crop has been secured, each crown will throw out a number of buds or
shoots. These should all be removed except two or three of the
strongest, which will form the crowns for cutting in the following year.
At the same time take away any small blanched shoots that may have been
left because they were too small or insignificant for table use. This
proceeding will prevent the production of flower-stems, which is
injurious to the plant, and there never need be any fear that the crop
will be diminished, because plenty of buds around the crowns, that do
not show themselves in the first instance, will come forward in due
time.

==Forcing.==--It is so easy to force Sea Kale that the cultivator may
safely be left to his own devices. But it will be well, perhaps, to say
that perfect darkness is requisite, and the temperature should not
exceed 60° at any time, this being the maximum figure. A rise above 60°
will produce a thin or wiry sample. It is sufficient to begin with a
temperature of 45°, and to rise no higher than 55°, to insure a really
creditable growth. The market growers are not very particular as to
temperature, but then they do not eat the crop, or know much of it after
it has left their hands. With the gardener in a domestic establishment
the case is different; and we venture to advise young men--to whom book
advice is often valuable as entailing no obligations--that Sea Kale
slowly forced may be nearly as good as that grown under pots in the open
without any heat at all; better it cannot be. Any spare pits or odd
places may be made use of for this crop, provided only that the heat is
not too great. Pack the roots in mould or leaves, or even half-rotten
manure, and shut them up to exclude light, and the crop will be ready in
five or six weeks, unless forcing is commenced very early, in which case
seven weeks at least must be allowed from the time of planting to that
of the first cutting. Roots that have been lifted for forcing should be
thrown away when the crop has been secured, but roots forced in the open
ground suffer so little by the process that they may be forced for
several years in succession ere it becomes necessary to renew the
plantation, provided, of course, that the work is well done. The outdoor
forcing is accomplished in the way described for growing the crop, with
the aid of leaves only, but with certain differences. In the first
place, care must be taken to let the plants feel the cold, but at the
same time to prevent the ground becoming frozen. A touch of frost will
render them more ready to grow when the cultivator brings his
persuasions to bear by heaping hot manure over the pots, and covering
the bed with a thick coat of the same. This is all that can be done, but
it is sufficient. In cases where leaves and other suitable materials are
not available, good Sea Kale may be grown by simply raising over each
crown a heap of sand or sifted coal ashes, provided some clean material
be interposed to keep the sand or ashes from actual contact with the
plant. When this heap begins to crack at the top it will be worth while
to examine it at the bottom, when there will be found a fine head of
blanched Sea Kale, and the mound will have served its purpose.

==To grow Sea Kale from seed== is a simple matter enough, but there is a
loss of a year as compared with growing it from roots. The ground should
be rich and well worked, and the seed sown in March or April in drills
one foot asunder if for planting out, or in patches about two and a half
feet apart each way if to remain. It is believed by many that Sea Kale
should stand where sown, and we admit that analogies are in favour of
the proposal. But every year such fine produce is obtained from
transplanted roots that we have not the courage to condemn a course of
procedure which may not be theoretically correct. The fact is, the root
is tough and enduring, and suffers but little by moderate exposure to
the atmosphere if handled in a reasonable manner. But to return to the
seeds: they sprout quickly, and, soon after, the plants make rapid
progress. Let them have liberal culture, keep them scrupulously clean,
and thin in good time. If quite convenient, give a light sprinkling of
salt occasionally in the summer: they will enjoy it, and the leaves will
not be injured in the least.


==SHALLOT==

==Allium ascalonicum==


The old-fashioned mode of culture is to plant on the shortest, and lift
the crop on the longest, day; but that is only applicable to the milder
parts of the country. As a rule, spring is the best time for planting,
and it should be done as early as the ground can be got into working
order--certainly not later than the middle of April. The soil should be
in a friable condition, and it must be trodden firmly, after the manner
usual for an Onion bed. Merely press the bulbs into the soil to keep
them in position, and put them in rows one foot apart, and nine inches
apart in the rows. They should not be earthed up, but, on the contrary,
when approaching maturity the soil should be drawn away so as to expose
the bulbs, for this facilitates the ripening process.

To store the roots for any length of time it will be necessary to have
them well ripened, and this point demands consideration. If dry weather
could be insured for harvesting the crop, it might be allowed to finish
in the ground; but as this cannot be relied on, it is a wise precaution
to lift the crop on some suitable opportunity before it is quite ready,
and allow the ripening to be completed in a protected airy place.


==SPINACH==

==Spinacia oleracea==

Spinach plays an important part in the economy of the dinner table.
There are unfortunate beings who cannot eat it, for they describe it as
bitter, sooty, and nauseous. Probably an equal number of persons
entertain a very high opinion as to its value. The rest of mankind
proclaim it a wholesome, savoury, and acceptable vegetable. Spinach will
grow anywhere and anyhow; but some little management is needed to keep
up a constant supply of large, dark green leaves, that when properly
cooked will be rich in flavour as the result of good cultivation. To
produce first-class Spinach a well-tilled rich loam is needed, but a
capital sample may be grown on clay that has been some time in
cultivation.

==Summer Spinach.==--The early sowings of Round or Summer Spinach should
be in a sheltered situation, but not directly shaded. Sow in drills
twelve to fifteen inches apart, and one inch deep, beginning in January,
although the first sowing may fail, and continue to sow about every
fortnight until the middle of May. The earliest sowing should be on dry
ground, but the later sowings will do well on damp soil with a little
shade from the midday sun. It is important to thin the crop early, as it
should not be in the least drawn. This is the only essential point in
securing a fine growth, for if the plant cannot spread from the
beginning it will never become luxuriant, and will soon run up to seed.
Thin at first to six inches, and if large enough for use, send the
thinnings into the house. Before the leaves overlap thin finally to
twelve inches. Every plant will cover the space, and it will suffice to
take the largest leaves, two or three only from each plant, and thus a
basket may be filled in a few minutes with really fine Spinach.

As the heat of the summer increases, the crop will be inclined to bolt.
The starved plant will bolt first; the plant in rich moist soil, with
plenty of room to spread, will be more leisurely about it, and will give
time for the production of a succession crop to take its place. The
sowings from May to July should be small and numerous, and on rich moist
land, to be aided, if needful, with water. In many gardens there is a
sufficient variety of vegetables after the middle of June to render it
unnecessary to keep up the supplies of Spinach, and it is best to
dispense with it, if possible, during July and August.

==Winter Spinach.==--The sowing of Winter Spinach should commence in
July, and be continued until the end of September, subject to the
capabilities of the place. In gardens near towns, where the land is at
all heavy, it is generally useless to sow after August, as the autumnal
fogs are likely to destroy a plant that is only just out of the
seed-leaf. But in favoured localities, with a warm soil and a soft air,
seed may be sown up to the very end of the year with but little risk of
loss. The winter crops are sometimes sown broadcast, but drilling is to
be preferred, and the rows may be twelve to fifteen inches apart. Thin
at first to three inches, and afterwards to six inches, and leave them
at this distance, for Winter Spinach may be a little crowded with
advantage, because the weather and the black bot will now and then
remove a plant. Should ground vermin claim attention, the best way to
proceed will be to scratch shallow furrows very near the plants, taking
care not to injure them. This may be done with the hoe, but if time can
be spared it will be better to do it with a short pointed stick, having
at hand, as the work progresses, a vessel into which to throw the grubs
as they come to light when the earth is disturbed. Where small birds are
in sufficient numbers, they will observe the disturbance of the earth,
and diligently search for the grubs at hours when the cultivator is no
longer on the search himself.

The July sowings will be useful in the autumn and throughout the winter,
as the weather may determine; the later sowings will be useful in
spring. Plants may be drawn where they can be spared to make room for
the remainder, but leaves only should be taken when the plant is large
enough to supply them. When symptoms of bolting become visible in the
spring, cut the plants over at the collar, and at once prepare the
ground for another crop.

==New Zealand Spinach== (=Tetragonia expansa=).--Gardeners are only too
well acquainted with the difficulty of maintaining an unbroken supply of
true Spinach during the burning summer months. But the weather which
makes it almost impossible to produce a satisfactory crop of =Spinacia
oleracea= brings New Zealand Spinach to perfection. The latter is prized
by some persons because it lacks the peculiar bitterness of the former.
The plant is rather tender, and therefore to obtain an early supply the
seed must be raised in heat. It may be sown in pots or pans at the end
of March or beginning of April. Transfer the seedlings to small pots
immediately they are large enough, and gradually harden in preparation
for removal to the open ground towards the end of May. They should be
put into light soil in a sunny position, and be allowed three or four
feet apart each way. It is not unusual to grow them on a heap of
discarded potting soil, where they can ramble without restraint. The
growth is rapid, and there must be no stint of water in dry weather. In
five or six weeks the first lot of tender shoots will be ready for
pinching off. Those who do not care to incur trouble under glass may sow
in the open in the early part of May, and thin the plants to the
distance named.

==Perpetual Spinach, or Spinach Beet== (=Beta Cicla=).--A valuable plant
for producing a regular supply of leaves which make an excellent Spinach
at a period of the year when the ordinary Summer Spinach is past its
prime. Although it is a true Beet, the roots are worthless, and there
should be liberal treatment to insure an abundant growth of leaves. Seed
may be sown from March to the end of July or beginning of August, in
rows one foot apart. Thin the plants to a distance of six or eight
inches in the rows. When the leaves are ready for gathering, they must
be removed, whether wanted or not, to promote continuous growth.

==Orache== is frequently used as a substitute for Spinach where the
ordinary variety fails. Seed should be sown during the spring months,
and as the plant frequently attains a height of five feet allow a
distance of at least three feet in each direction for development. Red
Orache is useful for growing in ornamental borders, but it is not so
suitable for culinary purposes as the white variety. The leaves only are
eaten.


==STACHYS TUBERIFERA==


This vegetable is commonly known as the Chinese Artichoke, and from the
peculiar form it is also called Spirals. A wide difference of opinion
exists as to its value, but in its favour the fact may be stated that
tubers are often exhibited in the finest collections of vegetables
staged for competition.

The time for planting is early spring, in rows eighteen inches apart,
allowing a distance of nine inches in the rows. The proper depth is four
inches. The roots are quite hardy and the crop gives no trouble. After
planting it is only necessary to keep the plot free from weeds.

The tubers do not mature until late in autumn, and as far as possible it
is advisable to lift them when they are wanted. Should it be necessary
for any reason to clear the ground, the Stachys must be covered with
soil. When exposed to light and air they soon become discoloured and are
then unfit for cooking. It is usual to boil them in the same manner as
Potatoes, but the finish must be by steam alone. An agreeable variation
consists in frying the boiled roots with butter until slightly brown,
when the dish is considered by many connoisseurs to be very delicious
and suitable for serving with poultry or joint.


==STRAWBERRY==

==Fragaria==


Probably the first thought will be that the Strawberry is a fruit, and
that the consideration of its treatment is out of place in a series of
articles on the culture of vegetables. The answer is that the plant
forms an essential feature in every good Kitchen Garden, and the general
routine of work has to be arranged with due regard to this crop, so that
we need make no apology for alluding to it here.

==When to Plant.==--The Strawberry is the most certain of all our hardy
fruits, and is much valued both for eating fresh as a summer luxury and
as a preserve for winter use. Although it deserves the best of
cultivation, its demands are few, for under the poorest system of
management it is often extremely prolific, and not unseldom the most
profitable crop in the garden. We have choice of seeds, divisions, and
runners in making a plantation of Strawberries. The universal way is the
best way, and it consists in planting rooted runners of named sorts in
an open sunny spot in well-prepared ground any time during spring or
autumn, when fresh and good runners are obtainable; but late planting is
undesirable, for when the plants have not time to establish themselves
before winter sets in many are lost. If, therefore, the planting cannot
be accomplished at the latest by the beginning of October, it is better
to defer the task until the spring. Plants put in at the latter time
should have the flower-stems removed, and will then yield a heavy crop
in the succeeding season.

==Treatment of Soil.==--The best soil for Strawberries is a rich, moist,
sandy loam, but a heavy soil will answer perfectly if it is well
prepared. The ground should be trenched and liberally enriched with
rotten manure placed between the top and bottom spits, where the plants
will reach it when they are most in need. In a new soil that is rather
stiff it will be advisable, when the trenching has been completed, to
put down the line and cut shallow trenches, which should be filled with
any rather fine kindly stuff that may be at hand, such as old hot-bed
soil, leaf-mould, or a mixture of material turned out of pots, with some
good decayed manure. In this the young plants will root freely and
quickly without becoming gross, for they should attain a certain degree
of vigour; but an excessive leaf growth may result in losses during
winter, and a small crop of fruit in the following year. Well-cultivated
soils need no such special preparation, but in any case a good digging
and a liberal manuring are absolutely necessary. And here it may be well
to state that after the plants have obtained a firm hold on the soil it
matters not how hard the ground becomes. The practice of some growers in
running a plough lightly between the rows either for a mulch, or to give
the plants the full benefit of rain, does not in the least degree upset
this conclusion, for this only creates a loose and friable surface, and
the operation is so managed that the soil near the roots remains
undisturbed. It may be accepted as a secret of successful Strawberry
culture that the bed should be firm and compact, and, in forcing, this
principle is so far recognised that the soil is positively rammed into
the pots.

==Method of Planting.==--If Strawberry plants come to hand somewhat dry,
unpack them quickly, and spread them in small lots in a cool shady
place, and sprinkle lightly with water to refresh them. A deluge of
water is not needed, and in fact will do harm, but enough to moisten
them will put them in a condition to begin growing as soon as they are
properly located. In planting, a little extra care in the disposition of
the roots in the soil will be well repaid, for plants merely thrust into
the ground cannot develop that robust root growth on which the future of
the crop largely depends. When preparing the positions it is an
excellent plan to build in the centre of each excavation a mound of
earth over which to spread the fibrous roots. Then return the soil and
firmly tread down. As a finish give each plant a copious watering. On no
account should the plant be deeply buried, but the crown should be left
just clear of the surface level. The distances in planting will have to
be determined by the relative vigour of the varieties and the nature of
the ground. As a rule the rows should be two feet apart, and the plants
eighteen inches in the rows, but some varieties require fully two and a
half feet between the rows. It is good practice to leave a three-feet
space between every two rows for necessary traffic. A modification of
the plan consists in planting a foot apart each way; and immediately the
first crop of fruit is off every alternate row is removed, and then
every alternate plant in each row is also taken out. This places the
remainder at two feet every way. The ground is then lightly forked and a
heavy coat of manure put on.

==The general management== comprises keeping down weeds, supplying water
abundantly in dry weather, especially when the berries are swelling, and
removing runners as fast as they appear, for to allow them to get ahead
is most injurious, and any serious neglect of this rule is likely to
ruin the plantation. The Strawberry plant makes no proper return on a
dry lumpy soil. Large plantations that cannot be watered must be aided
in the height of the season by covering the ground with any light
material which will prevent evaporation. As to obtaining runners, that
is easy enough, but there is a good way and a bad way. To allow them to
spread and root promiscuously is the bad way; it injures the plants,
makes the bed disorderly, and does not produce good runners. At the time
when runners begin to push, dig and manure the surrounding spaces, and
allow a certain number of runners to come out from each side of the
rows. As they approach maturity and are disposed to make roots, lay
tiles or stones upon the runners near to the young plants to favour the
process, but a neater way will be to peg them down. Or they may be fixed
by short pegs in small pots, filled with light rich earth and plunged in
the soil.

To keep the crop clean many plans are adopted, and the plant probably
takes its name from the old custom of covering the ground with straw for
the purpose. The cultivator must be left to his own devices, because of
the difficulty in many places of obtaining suitable material. But we
must warn the beginner in Strawberry culture against grass mowings as
more or less objectionable. They sometimes answer perfectly, and at
other times they encourage slugs and snails to spoil the crop, and if
partially rotted by wet weather communicate to the fruit a bad flavour.
There is a very simple means of feeding the crop and making a clean bed
for the fruit. It consists in putting on a good coat of long, strong
manure in February, and in doing this it is no great harm if the plants
are in some degree covered. They will soon push up and show themselves,
and by the time the fruit appears the straw will be washed clean, and
the crop being thus aided will be a great one, weather permitting. As
regards cutting off the leaves, we advise the removal of old large
leaves as soon as the crop is gathered. But this should be done with a
knife; to use a scythe amongst Strawberries is to ruin the plantation.
The object of removing old leaves is to admit light and air to the young
leaves, for on the free growth of these the formation of good crowns for
the next year's use depends. By encouraging the young leaves to grow,
root action is promoted, and the embryo buds are formed that will, in
the next summer, develop into Strawberries.

Some gardeners recommend the removal of the Strawberry plantation every
three years. It is a better plan to make a small plantation annually,
and at the same time destroy an old plantation that has served its turn.
But we are bound to say that Strawberry plantations, well made and well
kept, will often last and prove profitable for six or even more years.
But this will never be the case where there is a stint of manure or
water, or where the runners are allowed to run in their own way to make
a Strawberry mat and a jam of the wrong sort. The Strawberry fancier
does not wish to keep a plantation any great length of time, and he must
plant annually to taste the new sorts. This to many people is one of the
chief delights of the garden, and it certainly has its attractions.

==Forced Strawberries.==--The high price realised on the market for the
earliest supply of forced Strawberries is a sufficient proof that
society is prepared to pay handsomely for this refreshing luxury. As the
season advances and competition becomes keen the figure rapidly
declines, but 'Strawberries at a guinea an ounce' has more than once
appeared as a sensational head-line in the daily press.

The fruiting of Strawberries in pots is part of the annual routine of
nearly all large establishments, but even with the most perfect
appliances it must be admitted that to produce berries which win
appreciation for their size, colour, and flavour demands both skill and
patience, especially patience.

Strong well-rooted plants are essential to success, and no trouble
should be spared to secure them from robust free-fruiting stocks. The
earliest runners must either be layered on square pieces of mellow turf
or over thumb pots filled with a good rich compost. When the runners are
fairly rooted in the layers of turf or the thumb pots they should be
transferred to pots of the fruiting size. No. 32 is generally used for
the purpose. After the pots have been crocked some growers add a layer
of half-inch bones, which aid the plants and insure free drainage. The
most satisfactory soil is a rich fibrous loam, with the addition of
one-fourth of well-rotted manure and a small proportion of sand, and the
compost must be well firmed into the pots with the ramming stick.

The best place to keep the plants is an open airy situation, easily
accessible, where the pots can stand on a bed of ashes. On the approach
of frost they can be transferred to a cold frame, keeping them close to
the glass, or they may be plunged in ashes in some sheltered position.

When the time arrives for forcing, it is usual to commence by plunging
the pots in a bed of warm leaves or in a mild half-spent hot-bed.
Immediately the plants show sign of blooming they must be shifted to
warmer quarters. A shelf at the back of an early vinery or Peach-house,
quite near the glass, is a suitable position. The temperature at
starting should be 55° Fahr., rising gradually to 60° by the time the
leafage is thoroughly developed.

The appearance of the flower trusses is a critical period. Liquid manure
should then be given freely, and at the same time the plants must have
abundance of light and a warm dry atmosphere. The blossoms need to be
artificially fertilised with a camel's-hair pencil, choosing midday as
the best time for this operation.

When the crop has set it must be thinned to about nine berries on each
plant, and in due time the fruits should have the support of forked
sticks. Care will be necessary to prevent injury to the stalks, or the
flow of sap to the berries may be arrested. Syringe twice a day in dry
weather; and on the first show of colour discontinue the manure-water
and use pure soft water only. At this stage a night temperature of 65°
must be maintained, giving all the air and light possible.

More failures in the pot culture of Strawberries are attributable to
neglect in watering than to any other cause. The soil must never be
allowed to become dry. Should the leaves once droop they seldom recover.
At least twice a day the plants will need attention, and it is important
that the water should be of the same temperature as the atmosphere.
Always leave the cans full in readiness for the next visit.

==Alpine Strawberries== are very largely grown in France, probably more so
than the large-fruited varieties which are popular in this country. The
best method is to sow the seeds in January, in pans filled with a light
rich compost and placed in a gentle heat. Prick out the plants on to a
bed of light soil in a frame, or on a nearly exhausted hot-bed, whence
they should be taken to the open ground. From these sowings fine fruits
may usually be gathered in the following September. Seeds may also be
sown outdoors in spring or in September in shallow drills, six inches
apart, on a bed of light soil. Transplant in due course for fruiting in
the succeeding Strawberry season. When a full crop has been gathered the
plants should be destroyed, a succession being kept up by sowing
annually. By slowly growing the plants from spring-sown seeds and
potting in autumn, it is not a difficult matter to have Alpines in fruit
under glass at Christmas.


==SUNFLOWER==

==Helianthus annuus==


Although the Sunflower is not utilised as food for man, the plant is
frequently grown in the Kitchen Garden, partly as an ornament, and also
for the production of seeds which are given to poultry.

As regards cultivation, sow in pans in April, and put on a gentle
hot-bed, or shut up close in a sunny frame. The plants will soon appear.
Give them light and air, and plant out when they are two or three inches
high. But Sunflowers can be grown without any kind of artificial aid. A
simple and effectual method is to make the spot intended for them very
rich, and dibble the seed an inch deep on the first day of May.


==TOMATO==

==Lycopersicum esculentum==


The taste for Tomatoes often begins with a little antipathy, but it is
soon acquired, and not infrequently develops into decided fondness for
the fruit both cooked and in its natural condition. As a necessary
article of food the call for it in this country is no longer limited to
a select circle of epicures, for the value of its refreshing,
appetising, and corrective properties is now widely recognised, and its
advance in public favour has been accelerated by the improved quality,
enhanced beauty, and increased variety effected by expert raisers.

The Tomato is a tender, but not a tropical plant, and it requires a
moderately high temperature, free access of air, and above all a full
flood of solar light to bring it to perfection. The necessary heat is
easily managed in any garden equipped with ordinary forcing appliances;
so also is a current of air in properly constructed buildings; but the
deficiency of light during the darker months renders the task of
producing fruit in midwinter less easy than at other seasons. By the
introduction of varieties possessing increased powers of crop-setting,
however, the difficulty of winter fruiting has been largely overcome, so
that, with efficient management, it is now possible to send Tomatoes to
table throughout the year.

Almost every imaginable glass structure can be employed for growing
Tomatoes, from the small suburban greenhouse to the vast span-roof,
hundreds of feet in length, devoted to their culture in the Channel
Islands. And it is not essential that the crop should be grown alone.
Potatoes, French Beans, Strawberries, and Vines may be forced in the
same building, provided there be no obstruction to light and air, nor
any interference with the conditions which experience has proved to be
imperative for sustaining the plants in vigorous health. For winter and
spring gathering there must be a service of hot-water pipes, but as the
season advances it is easy to ripen fruit in cool houses, and later on
plants outdoors will in favourable seasons yield an abundant return
without artificial protection of any kind.

==INDOOR CULTURE--Sowing and Transplanting.==--Seed may be sown at almost
any time of the year, but the most important months are January to
March, August and September. In gardens favourably situated in the South
of England and furnished with the most perfect appliances, seed is sown
in all these months, and in others also; but in smaller gardens sowings
are generally restricted to February and March. Whenever a start is made
sow thinly and about half an inch deep, in pans or boxes, and do not
allow the seedlings to remain in them for an unnecessary day.
Immediately two or at most four leaves are formed either prick off into
other pans or boxes, or transfer singly to thumb pots, and as a rule the
pots will be found preferable. The soil for these pans or pots should be
stored in the greenhouse a few days in advance of the transfer, so that
the compost may acquire the proper temperature and save the plants from
an untimely check. In small houses place the plants near the glass that
they may remain short in the joint, but on cold nights they must be
taken down to avoid injury from fluctuations of temperature. In large
houses, where the light is well diffused, there is no need to incur this
trouble, for the seedlings will do equally well on the ground level. In
due time shift into six-inch pots, from which they can go straight to
borders, or into a larger size if they are to be fruited in pots. About
fourteen weeks will be required to prepare the plants for borders in the
winter season, but a shorter period will suffice in spring and summer.
Plants from an August or September sowing will not mature fruit in much
less than six months, while a March sowing will yield a return in four
months or less. A great deal depends on the character of the season, and
more on skill and attention. Those who sow in January or February should
sow again a fortnight later, and onwards until the end of April,
according to requirements. For winter supplies a first sowing may be
made in June, in a cold frame, and prepared for transfer to fruiting
pots in September.

==Treatment of Soil.==--In the first instance there need be no anxiety
about soil. Any fairly good sandy loam will answer for the seed-pans,
and if too stiff it may be freely mixed with sharp sand or the sifted
sweepings from roads and gravel walks. A fibrous loam, cut from a rich
pasture, and laid up in a heap for twelve months, will, with an addition
of wood ashes and grit, make an ideal soil for pots or borders. As the
plants advance, leaf-mould or thoroughly decayed manure in moderate
quantity should be supplied; but, instead of incorporating it with the
loam in the usual way, it will be found advantageous to place the manure
immediately above the crocks, and the roots will find it at the right
time. But the quantity of manure must not be overdone, especially in the
earlier stages of growth, because excessive luxuriance neither promotes
fruitfulness nor conduces to early ripening. After the fruit has set, a
mulch of decayed manure will aid the plants in finishing a heavy crop.
Manure which is only partially fermented will not do at all. The ammonia
it liberates exerts so deadly a power that the plants are quickly
scorched.

In its demand for potash the Tomato closely resembles the Potato, and of
the two the former is the more exacting. So quickly does this crop
exhaust the soil, that in small houses it is usual to take out the earth
to a depth of fifteen or eighteen inches every second or third year, and
replace it with virgin loam. Others grow the Tomatoes alternately in the
bed and in pots, but this is only a partial remedy. Constant dressings
of farmyard or stable manure result in the formation of humus, which, as
it becomes sour, has to be sweetened by the solvent influence of lime.
The chief objection to the use of stable manure, however, even when well
rotted, is that it induces a free growth of foliage instead of promoting
an early development of fruit. The most enduring method is that which is
based on chemical knowledge of the constituents of the soil, and the
relation which the plant bears to it. One of the most successful growers
for the London market almost entirely avoids the use of stable manure,
and he is able, by applications of nitrate of potash, dissolved bones,
and the occasional use of lime, to grow splendid crops in the same
houses year after year.

All the conditions which answer for border work are applicable to pots,
and a limited number of plants brought forward in succession will supply
the requirements of a small household from early spring until near
Christmas. The pot system is conducive to free setting and to early
ripening, and for these reasons it is worth attention. The plants should
be kept short in the joint by frequent shifts until the twelve-inch pot
is reached, and this size will accommodate two cordons or one plant
having two branches, each of which will require a separate stake for its
support. Plunging the pots can be adopted to save labour in watering.

==Temperatures.==--No advantage is to be gained by attempting to force
Tomatoes in a higher temperature than is consistent with healthy
progress, although in winter there is great temptation in the direction
of overheating. Full time for development in moderate heat will bring
stout joints, and impart a vigorous constitution that materially aids
the plants in resisting the insidious attacks of disease. The waning
autumn and dull winter days are the most troublesome periods of
management, and it is remarkable that of two days equal in duration and
apparently in other conditions, the autumnal appears to be less
favourable than the spring day. But if, on the one hand, a high
temperature is injurious, a low temperature must be avoided; although
for a time it may not appear to be harmful. A temperature of 60° or 65°
suits the seed-pans, and after transfer to pots and the roots have
become established, the thermometer should not register less than 55°
during the night. It may rise 10° by means of fire heat in the daytime,
and during bursts of sunshine another 10° or 15° will be quite safe,
always assuming that the roots are not dry, and that the plants have
free ventilation.

==Watering.==--The judicious administration of water forms an important
feature in the culture of the Tomato. The plant is too succulent to
endure drought with impunity, and it is mere folly to toy with the
water-can. Saturate down to the roots, and then leave the plants alone
until more water is wanted. No hard and fast rule can be stated as to
frequency. It depends on the condition of the soil, the period of the
year, and the age of the plants. Borders and soil for pots should be
made sufficiently moist in advance, so that watering will not be
necessary immediately after the plants are transferred. The prevalent
opinion that excessive watering generates disease is not confirmed by
our experience. Of course the watering should not be excessive for many
reasons, but the diseases which are often attributed to over-watering
are the result of atmospheric mismanagement.

==General Treatment.==--Authorities are not agreed as to whether branched
plants or simple cordons yield the better results. In our judgment the
single stem deserves preference, and it is now more extensively grown
than any other form, although plants having two branches are almost
equally popular. Certainly the cordon can be managed with extreme ease;
it is admittedly the earliest producer, and there is a general consensus
of opinion that the fruit it produces is unsurpassed in size and
quality. The doubtful point is quantity, but even here the difference,
if any, is too trifling to be worth the consideration of private
growers. Cordons are formed by removing the laterals as fast as they
appear, and when the fruit has set, or the requisite height is attained,
the top is also pinched out.

The space allowed for each plant varies greatly, especially among
growers for market. Under glass every branched Tomato should be allowed
at least three feet each way. For cordons we advocate a distance between
the rows of three feet, and a space of two feet in the row is not too
much. The stems require support of some kind, and stakes are preferable
to string; but of course the stems may be secured to wires whenever it
is convenient to run the plants immediately under the glass.

Another point upon which authorities differ is the extent to which
Tomatoes should be denuded of their foliage. Some growers condemn the
procedure entirely; others reduce their plants to skeletons. Both
extremes are objectionable, for when all the leaves are permitted to
remain there is delay or partial failure in colouring the fruit, and the
almost entire removal of foliage checks the root action injuriously. In
practice it answers well to wait until the fruit has set, then by
pinching out the leading point of each leaf, commencing at the bottom,
ripening and colouring are promoted, and the health of the plant remains
unimpaired.

In dull weather, and especially in short days, a difficulty is sometimes
experienced in setting the fruit, particularly the first bunch. After
fruit has begun to swell on one bunch, the remainder set with
comparative ease. A rather higher temperature than usual combined with
free movement of the atmosphere is generally sufficient to insure
fertilisation. If assistance is necessary, however, water the plants
early in the afternoon, and close the house rather before the usual
time. The warm atmosphere will develop plenty of pollen, and a gentle
shaking of the flower bunches with a slight touch from a hazel twig will
liberate visible clouds, which will effectually set the fruit. Another
method is to lift a flat label or paper knife against the flowers. The
label becomes covered with pollen, and by gently touching each flower
with a slight upward pressure a great number can be fertilised in a few
minutes. A soft brush passed over the flowers daily has the same effect.
Plants in the open ground need no such attention if they are in good
health and the season is at all genial. When a bunch of flowers contains
one that is fasciated or confused, the flower should be pinched out to
prevent the formation of large and ugly fruit. The remainder of the
bunch will be the finer for its absence.

==OUTDOOR CULTURE.==--For the open ground it is important to choose a
variety that ripens early. The plants should be vigorous, and they must
be carefully hardened before they are put out. Sow the seed in heat in
February or March, and when large enough transfer the seedlings to
single pots until wanted. Every effort should be made to avoid giving
the plants a check, and if room is available they may be potted on to
the six-inch size and allowed to form one truss of bloom before planting
out, thus saving valuable time. The end of May is usually the right time
for transfer to the open, but Tomatoes will not endure a keen east wind
or nipping frost. During the prevalence of unfavourable weather it is
advisable to wait a week or more rather than risk the destruction of the
plants. When the temperature appears to be fairly reliable, put them
into holes a foot deep and eighteen inches across, filled with light
soil not too rich. For a few nights until the roots take hold slight
protection should be at hand to assure safety; Sea Kale pots answer
admirably, and are easily placed in position. In addition to beds all
sorts of places are suitable for Tomatoes, such as under warm palings or
walls, on sloping banks and in sheltered nooks, where they will thrive
and yield valuable fruit. Stout stakes are required and should be
promptly provided. Pinch out the lateral shoots, and as soon as the
fruits commence to colour some of the largest leaves may be partially
removed. Early in August nip out the tips of the leaders in order to
encourage ripening. Thus in the open garden a supply of this delicacy
may be insured for part of the year equal in quality to fruit which is
grown under glass. (=See also page 181=.)

==The diseases of the Tomato== are dealt with in the chapter on The Fungus
Pests of certain Garden Plants.


==TURNIP==

==Brassica Rapa==


The Turnip is not a difficult garden crop; indeed, the simplest
management will produce an ample supply, and any fairly good ground will
suffice for it. But whatever is worth doing is worth doing well, and a
gardener may be pardoned for taking an especial pride in producing a
sufficiency of handsome and tender Turnips. The great point is to insure
a succession through a long season, or, say, the whole year round, for
Turnips are always in request, and at certain periods of the year
delicate young roots are greatly valued for the table.

The finest Turnips are grown in deep, sandy loam, kept in a high state
of cultivation. Useful Turnips may be grown on any soil, but a handsome
sample of the finest quality cannot be produced on heavy clay or thin
limestone. In common with other fast-growing plants of the cruciferous
order, Turnips must have lime in some form, and in many gardens it will
occasionally be necessary to give a dressing of lime in addition to the
ordinary manure. Superphosphate, bone, and old plaster or mortar from
destroyed buildings, are all valuable in preparing the soil for this
crop.

==Times of Sowing.==--An early crop of small bulbs may be grown by sowing
in January on a very gentle hot-bed as prescribed for early Radishes,
and it may be well to add, that in an emergency white Turnip Radishes
may be made to take the place of Turnips, both to flavour soups and to
appear as a dish in the usual way. Fast-growing Turnips may be sown on a
sheltered warm border in February and March, to be carefully watched and
protected when unkind weather prevails. In April and May sowings should
be made consistently with the probable wants of the household, but the
May sowings should comprise two or three sorts in the event of hot dry
weather spoiling some of them.

The principal sowings for autumn and winter supplies are made in June
and July, but seed may also be sown in August. Ground from which some
crop, such as Peas, has just been cleared generally needs little
preparation beyond breaking the surface with a hoe, followed by a good
raking. Thin the plants early and let them stand finally at six to nine
inches apart in the rows. For late crops seed is often sown broadcast,
the roots being pulled as they mature.

==General Culture.==--It is advisable to sow Turnips in drills on a fine
tilth, and it is an advantage to have a sufficiency of some stimulating
manure near the surface to hurry the growth of the young plant, for the
danger of fly belongs to the seed-leaf stage. Generally speaking, the
Turnip fly does but little harm in gardens; but where it is much feared,
the seed should be sown in prepared drills to encourage a quick growth.
Draw the drills twelve to fifteen inches apart, three inches deep, and
about the same width, and almost fill them with rotten manure, or with a
mixture of earth and guano, or wood ashes; cover this with a little fine
soil to prevent injury to the seed; then sow, and lightly conceal the
seed with earth as a finish. If the ground is sufficiently moist, growth
will commence almost immediately, and the plant will come up strong, and
very quickly put forth rough leaves. In the general management more
depends on timely and judicious thinning than upon any other point. If
Turnips are not well thinned, so that each plant can spread its green
head unimpeded by the leaves of a neighbour, a good growth cannot be
expected; and thinning by the hoe should be commenced as soon as the
rough leaves appear. The operation must be repeated until the plants are
at a suitable distance, and then comes the process of singling, which
should be done by hand. It will be found that in many cases two or three
little plants stand together looking like one. There must be only one
left at each station, and that should be the shortest. The distances may
vary from four to ten inches, according to the vigour of the variety and
the kind of Turnips required. An easy and profitable plan is to allow a
certain number of bulbs to swell to supply young Turnips, and, by
drawing these, leave room for the remainder of the crop to attain its
proper size for storing.

The Turnip likes a light soil, but does not well endure the occasional
dryness to which light soils are subject. This fact accounts for many
failures of the crop in a hot dry season, for sunshine suits the Turnip,
but it must have moisture or suffer deterioration in some way. If,
therefore, the soil becomes dry, and there is no prospect of rain, the
Turnips should have water, not simply to moisten the surface, but to go
to the roots, for frequent watering is not good for the crop, as it
tends to spoil the beauty of the bulbs, and promotes a rank leaf-growth
which is not wanted. An occasional heavy watering in dry weather will
also do much towards the repression of the many enemies that beset this
useful root--the jumpers, the grubs, the weevils, and the rest of the
vermin will be routed out of their snug hiding-places in the dusty soil
when the watering takes place, and the death of many will follow. But so
long as the soil is fairly moist at the depth the roots are ranging,
there is no need for watering, and the time it would consume may be
utilised for other work.

==Lifting and Storing.==--On the approach of winter a certain portion of
the Turnip crop should be lifted and stored. In doing this the tops must
be cut off, not too close, but just leaving a slight green neck, and the
roots should be rather shortened than removed; at all events, to cut the
roots off close is bad practice: when so treated the bulbs do not keep
well. Any rough storage answers for Turnips, the object being to keep
them plump by excluding the atmosphere, and at the same time render them
safe against frost. The portion of the crop left in the ground may be
lifted as wanted in the same way as Parsnips, but this should be done
systematically, so that the ground which is cleared may be dug over and
ridged up before winter. Those that remain will be in a piece, and will
give a good crop of spring greens, after which they may be made use of
as manure by putting them at the bottom of a trench.

==Some of the foes== that war against the Turnip crop are alluded to at
greater length later on. Happily, the gardener has many friends that are
insufficiently known to the farmer, not the least important being the
starlings, song birds, and occasionally (but not often) the sparrows.
Where the cultivation is good and small birds abound, the Turnip crop is
pretty safe, and the general routine of culture sketched above will
certainly promote, if it does not absolutely secure, its safety. The
worst foes of the Turnip in the field are the fly and the caterpillar;
but in the garden, and more especially the old garden, anbury is the
most to be feared. When this happens the cultivator may rest satisfied
that the soil is in fault, and this may be owing to a bad routine of
cropping. Wherever anbury appears, whether on Cabbages or Turnips or any
other cruciferous plant, there should be worked out a complete change in
the order of cropping, taking care not to put any brassicaceous plants
on the plots where the disease has occurred for two or three seasons,
and allowing at least one whole year to pass without growing any of the
cruciferous order upon them. In the meantime, for other crops the land
should be well trenched and limed, and generously tilled. The result
will be profitable crops of other kinds of vegetables and a refreshing
of the soil that will enable it to carry brassicaceous plants again,
with but little risk of the recurrence of anbury. Good cultivation is
the only panacea known against the plagues that assail our crops. This
does not surely secure them, for the elements are capricious and beyond
our control; but where good cultivation prevails the failures are few,
and even unfavourable seasons do not utterly obliterate the benefits of
past labour.

==Swede.==--There are several advantages in growing Swedes as one of the
garden crops. They are hardy in constitution and prolong the supply of a
wholesome vegetable. In districts where Turnips are unsatisfactory,
Swedes prove successful, and are appreciated for their delicacy of
flavour when grown from stocks which have been carefully selected for
the purpose. The culture is in all respects the same as for Turnip. The
date of sowing depends on the district. In the north it is safe to sow
at the beginning of May, but in the midlands and southern counties of
England the end of May or beginning of June is early enough.


==VEGETABLE MARROW==

==Cucurbita Pepo ovifera==


The Vegetable Marrow does not, in a general way, obtain the right kind
of attention in gardens. It is very generally grown and is much valued
as a summer vegetable. But too often the aim of the cultivator is to
obtain large Marrows, that at the very best are coarse and troublesome
to the cook and are always wanting in substance and flavour, instead of
smallish Marrows, which are easily dressed, elegant on the table, and
combine with a substantial and somewhat glutinous pulp a most delicious
flavour. Two fears beset the average gardener: he is afraid to grow
small sorts, and he is afraid to cut them when quite young. When he can
overcome these fears he will appreciate the smaller Marrows that have of
late years been secured by patient labour in cross-breeding, for while
they are of the highest quality, they are also early and productive, far
surpassing all the larger Marrows in quickness and usefulness. The
market grower we do not pretend to advise, for he must grow what he can
sell; and if the smaller Marrows are insufficiently appreciated in
gardens, we cannot hope to see them on sale in shops.

The Vegetable Marrow will grow in any good soil, and although a tender
plant, it is so accommodating that if the seed is sown on a piece of
newly dug clay land in the latter part of May, or early in June, the
plants will thrive and produce a heavy crop the same season. We put this
as an extreme case, but we do not recommend such a careless mode of
growing this valuable vegetable. The fact is, it pays better to grow it
well than to grow it ill; and in a country where land and labour are
costly, and the summer very uncertain, it is best to take such a thing
in hand scientifically, and provide for it as many favourable conditions
as possible. Three conditions are imperative: a moderate bottom heat
from fermenting material; a kindly, loamy soil, quite mellow, in which
the roots can run freely; and a sufficiency of water, for this is a
thirsty plant. But the excessive use of manure is undesirable, as this
only forces a rank growth of foliage at the expense of the fruit.

==Frame culture== is of some importance, because early Marrows are highly
valued at good tables. For this business the neat-growing, small-fruited
kinds should be chosen, as they yield a great crop in a small compass.
The best place for an early crop of Marrows is a brick pit, with
hot-water pipes for top heat, and a bed of fermenting materials for
bottom heat. It is no difficult matter to obtain a supply in a house
with Cucumbers, but it is better to grow the Marrows apart, as they
require less heat and less moisture than Cucumbers. In making up the
bed, it is well to employ leaves largely, say to the extent of one-half,
the remainder being stable manure that has been twice turned. Such a bed
will give a mild heat for a great length of time, and the plants can be
put out upon it within three days of its being made up. When grown in a
common frame, the arrangements are much the same as advised for the
frame cultivation of the Cucumber, the chief points of difference being
that Marrows should have less heat and more air. The temperature for
Marrows under cover may range from 55° the minimum, to 80° the maximum;
the safe medium being about 65° when the weather is cold and dull;
running to 80° when strong sunshine prevails, and the plants are growing
freely with plenty of air. As for the general management, a bed nine
inches deep of good fibrous loam is required, with regular supplies of
water of the same temperature as the pits, so that the bed is always
reasonably moist, and every evening a slight syringing over the leaves
and the walls before shutting up. The training out is a very simple
matter. Let the vines run in their own way until they have made shoots
eighteen inches long, then nip out the points. After this there must be
no more stopping, but occasionally the laterals must be suppressed to
prevent crowding. Give air freely at every opportunity, and be careful
not to administer too much water, or the blunder will result in a
deficiency of fruit.

To grow Marrows in the open air, the best course of procedure is to
remove a portion of the top soil, to form a shallow trench four feet
wide. Into this carry one foot to eighteen inches depth of half-rotten
manure, or a mixture of equal parts of manure and leaves, and cover with
the soil that was taken out. This will produce a very gentle hot-bed
that will last until the natural ground heat is sufficient to keep the
plants in vigorous health. The middle of May is quite early enough to
make up the bed, and in the course of two or three days the plants may
be put out. Cover with hand-lights or small frames, which on the
following day should be tilted at bottom to admit a little air, and if
strong sunshine occurs, a Rhubarb leaf may be laid over to subdue the
glare upon the young plants. We will suppose these plants to have been
raised in a Cucumber frame from seeds sown in April. If plants are not
available, sow seeds in patches of two or three on the bed, and cover
with inverted large flower-pots, and with a piece of tile to stop the
hole. This plan hastens germination. Pots may also be used as protectors
if glass frames are not at command, being taken off during the day and
put on at night, the hole being left open to give a little air. During
bad weather the pots should remain all day over the plants, but as soon
as possible must be again taken off to keep the growth short, green, and
vigorous. The plants should be put singly down the centre of the bed,
three feet apart, and as a matter of course the seeds should be sown at
the same distance, and each clump of two or three should be reduced to
one when the plants are somewhat forward. It is advisable not to be in a
hurry in thinning the plants, for the slugs will probably compel some
modification of arrangements, so that sometimes it will be necessary to
lift a clump, and divide the plants, to fill up gaps where the slugs
have made a clearance. An occasional inspection in the after part of the
day, and again in the early morning, will be the best course to keep
down the slugs, as they may then be caught and disposed of; but a
dusting of soot around each clump will do much to protect the plants
against silent marauders. As for after-management, there is no occasion
whatever for any stopping or training, but now and then a stout peg may
be placed to keep some strong vine in order. The necessity for moisture
must not be overlooked. If the ground becomes dry the plants will
suffer, but with sufficient moisture they will continue growing and
bearing until the frost destroys them. Cut the Marrows when quite young,
for not only are they more useful on the table when small and tender,
but the plants will bear five times as many as when a few are permitted
to attain their full size. The explanation of the case is very simple.
The production of the young fruits does not in any appreciable degree
exhaust the plants; but when the fruits are allowed to develop, the
plant is too severely taxed, and a succession is pretty well brought to
a stop. The most delicately flavoured Marrows, as a rule, are the
smallest; these when cooked should be served whole, or at most only cut
into halves, and of course there is no occasion to remove the seeds.



A YEAR'S WORK IN THE VEGETABLE GARDEN


The following monthly notes are not intended to supersede the detailed
instructions on the several kinds of Vegetables which appear in the
preceding pages. The present object is to call attention to the work
that must be done, and the work that must be prepared for, as the
changes of the seasons require and the state of the weather may permit;
yet some amount of detail is included. Merely to offer reminders would
be to exclude the great mass of amateurs, and the less experienced of
practical gardeners, from participation in the advantages of these
monthly notes, and to restrict their use to a few practical men who are
masters of every detail of the business of gardening. The routine under
each month is generally in harmony-with that already recommended, but
certain variations of practice are suggested which may prove of service
in some districts and under particular circumstances.

A work on gardening demands of the reader the exercise of judgment. If
blindly followed, it may prove as often wrong as right; for it is not in
the power of the authors to influence the weather in favour of their
directions, or to insure to those who may follow their guidance a single
one amongst the many conditions requisite to success. Although the times
named for certain operations are the best as an average, peculiarities
of climate and of season will require some modifications, which each one
must discover for himself; and after the seed of any vegetable has been
sown it is not always needful to give subsequent reminders of
successional sowings. These naturally follow in accordance with the
requirements of each particular garden. With such allowances duly made,
these notes will, it is hoped, prove thoroughly practical, and tend
materially to aid the cultivator in obtaining from the vegetable garden
an abundance of everything in its season, and of a quality of which he
need not be ashamed.



==JANUARY==


Work in the garden during the opening month of the year is entirely
dependent on the weather, and it is futile to enter on a vain conflict
with Nature. When heavy rains prevail keep off the ground, but
immediately it will bear traffic without poaching be prepared to take
advantage of every favourable hour. Much may be done in January to make
ready for the busy spring, and every moment usefully employed will
relieve the pressure later on. Survey the stock of pea-sticks, haul out
all the rubbish from the yard, and make a 'smother' of waste prunings
and heaps of twitch and other stuff for which there is no decided use.
If properly done, the result will be a black ash of the most fertilising
nature, such as a mere fire will not produce. Should the soil be
frost-bound wheel out manure and lay it in heaps ready to be spread and
dug in where seed-beds are to be made. If the weather is open and dry,
trench spare plots and make ready well-manured plots for sowing Peas and
Beans. So far as may be convenient, all preparatory work should be
pushed on with vigour, and every effort must be made to lay up as much
land in the rough as possible; for the more it is frozen through the
greater will be its fertility, and the more beautiful, as well as more
abundant, the crops.

It is a matter of the most ordinary prudence to be prepared to resist
the shock of a severe frost. When this event occurs, many suffer loss
because they are not prepared for it. Good brick walls and substantial
roofs are needed for the safe keeping of fruits and the more valuable
kinds of roots; but when rough methods are resorted to, such as clamping
and pitting, there should be a large body of stuff employed, for a
prolonged frost will find its way through any thin covering, no matter
what the material may be. As there is not much to do now out of doors,
it is a good time to look over the notes which were made concerning
various crops in the past season, and to attend to the seed list.

Seed sowing should be practised with exceeding caution; but great things
may be done where there are warm, sheltered, dry borders, and suitable
appliances for screening and forwarding early crops. Under these
favourable conditions, we advise the sowing of small breadths of a few
choice subjects towards the end of the month; and, this being done,
every care should be taken to nurse the seedlings through the trying
times that are before them. Such things as tender young Radishes,
Onions, small Salads, Spinach, Cabbage, and Carrots never come in too
early; the trouble often is that they are seen in the market while as
yet they are invisible in the garden. Hedges of Hornbeam, Laurel, or
Holly, to break the force of the wind, are valuable for sheltering early
borders, and walls are great aids to earliness by the warmth they
reflect and the dryness they promote.

The soil for these early crops should be light and rich, and the
position extra well drained, to prevent the slightest accumulation of
water during heavy rains. Supposing you have such a border, sow upon it,
as early as weather will permit, any of the smaller sorts of Cabbage
Lettuce, Onion, Long Scarlet Radish, Round Spinach, Cabbage, and Carrot.
All these crops may be grown in frames with greater safety, and in many
exposed places the warm border is almost an impossibility. Reed hurdles
and loose dry litter should be always ready when early cropping is in
hand; and old lights, and even old doors, and any and every kind of
screen may be made use of at times to protect the early seed-beds from
snow, severe frost, and the dry blast of an east wind.

==Forcing== is one of the fine arts in the English garden. It is an art
easily acquired up to a certain point, but beyond that point full of
difficulty. Every step in this business is a conflict with Nature, and
in such a conflict the devices of man must occasionally fail. A golden
rule is to be found in the proverb 'The more haste the less speed.'
Whatever the source of heat, it should be moderate at first, and should
be augmented slowly. The earlier the forced articles are required the
more careful should be the preparation for them, and the more moderate
the temperature in the first instance. There must be at command a
constant as well as sufficient temperature: when a forced crop has made
some progress a check will be fatal to success. The beginner should
acquire experience with Rhubarb and Sea Kale, then with Asparagus and
Mushrooms and Dwarf French Beans, and so on to 'higher heights' of this
branch of practical gardening.

==Artichokes, Globe==, are not quite hardy, and must be protected with
litter.

==Asparagus== beds to be heavily manured, if not already done, but the
beds need not be dug. Be content to lay the manure on, and the rains
will wash the stimulant down to the roots in due time. In gardens near
the coast seaweed is the best of manure for Asparagus, and the use of
salt can then be dispensed with.

==Beans, Broad==, may be sown in frames, and towards the end of the month
in open quarters. For early crops select the Longpod varieties. Sow on
ground deeply dug and well manured.

==Cabbage== may be planted out at any time when weather permits, provided
you possess, or can obtain, the plants; and it is of the utmost
importance to secure them from a reliable source, or varieties may be
planted which will in a few weeks send up flower-stems instead of
forming tender hearts. At every season of the year vacant plots should
be kept going with a few breadths of Cabbage. With our variable climate
they may be acceptable, even in the height of summer, if there has been
a hard run upon other vegetables, or some important crop has failed
outright.

==Cauliflower== may be sown on a gentle hot-bed, or in a pan in the
greenhouse, or even in a frame, to make a start for planting out in
March or April.

==Cress==, to be enjoyed, must be produced from a constant succession of
small but frequent sowings. All the sorts are good, but different in
flavour, and they should be used only while young and tender. Sow at
intervals of a few days in pans, as in the case of Mustard, until it is
possible to cultivate in the open air, and then give a shady position
during summer on a mellow and rather moist soil.

==Cucumbers== are never ready too soon to meet the demand in early spring.
They are grown in houses more or less adapted to their requirements, and
also in frames over hot-beds. At this time of year, however, frames are
somewhat troublesome to manage, and in trying weather they are a little
hazardous, although later in the season there is no difficulty whatever
with them. For the present, therefore, we shall confine our remarks to
house culture. Almost any greenhouse may be made to answer, but the work
can be carried on most successfully and with the greatest economy in
houses which are expressly constructed for Cucumbers. For winter work a
lean-to, facing south, possesses special advantages. But for general
utility, if we had to erect a building on a well-drained soil, it should
be dwarf, sunk three feet in the ground, with brick walls up to the
eaves, and lighted only from the roof. Such a structure is less
influenced by atmospheric changes than a building wholly above ground.
The size, of course, is optional; and quite a small house will supply
an ordinary family with Cucumbers. But a small house is not economical
either in fuel or in labour. A building thirty feet long by twelve feet
wide, six feet high at the sides, and eight and a half feet high at the
ridge, will not only grow Cucumbers and Melons, but will also be of
immense service for many other plants. A division across the middle by a
wall rising four feet, surmounted with a glass screen fitted to the
roof, and finished with a door partially of glass, will greatly augment
its usefulness. There should be an alley down the centre four or five
feet wide, bounded by walls reaching four feet above the floor. These
walls should be nine inches thick for two feet six inches of their
height, but for the upper parts the brickwork need only be four and a
half inches thick. This arrangement will provide a ledge on the inner
side of each wall, and the main walls should also have ledges
corresponding in height, on which to lay slates to carry the soil. To
insure drainage, allow a space of about an inch between the slates, and
place tiles or an inverted turf over every opening to prevent the soil
being washed away. The hot-water pipes will be in chambers immediately
beneath the plants. Openings in the alley walls, fitted with sliding
doors, will admit the heat direct into the house whenever it may be
desirable. Ventilation should be provided for under the ridge at each
end, as well as in the roof. In such a house it is easy to grow
Cucumbers all the year round, except, perhaps, in the dead of winter,
when the short, dark days render the task difficult, no matter how
perfect the appliances at command. The division in the centre will be
found valuable at all times, and especially when one set of plants is
failing; for another set can be brought into bearing exactly when
wanted. But whatever the structure may be, the mode of culture remains
substantially the same in any case. Now, as to soil, a compost made of
mellow turfy loam and leaf-mould in equal parts will be effective and
sweet. In the absence of leaf-mould, use two parts of loam and one of
thoroughly decayed manure with a few pieces of charcoal added. Sweetness
is not absolutely necessary for success, but nevertheless we like to
have it, so that a visit to the Cucumber-house may be a source of
pleasure. This it cannot be if rank manure has been used. Raise the seed
singly in small 60-pots, and sow enough, for however good the seed may
be a proportion will almost certainly fail from some cause at this
critical period. Give the plants one shift into the 48-size, to keep
them going until they are ready for putting into the beds. Cucumbers
grow with great rapidity, and should never know a check, least of all
by starvation. Upon the slates make as many heaps of soil as are
required, and in the centre of each heap put one plant. As the roots
extend, add more soil until the heaps meet and finally become level with
the top of the brickwork. This treatment will supply food as the roots
develop, and help to maintain the plants in bearing for a long period.
Stout wires running parallel with the length of the house, a foot below
the glass, will carry the vines. Temperature should never fall below 60°
at night; but as the season advances, if the thermometer registers 90°
on sunny days, no harm will be done, provided the roots are not dry, and
the air be kept properly moist by plying the syringe. On dull days one
good sprinkling over the foliage will suffice, and it should be done in
the morning. In warm sunny weather, however, two or three syringings
will be beneficial; but the work must not be done so late as to risk the
foliage being wet when night comes on. There will be occasions when it
may be advisable to avoid touching the leaves with water, if there is no
probability of their drying before nightfall. In such a case the
moisture can be kept up by freely sprinkling the floor and walls.
Cucumbers cannot thrive if they are dry at the roots, but although there
should be no stint of water, it must be given with judgment; and it is
of the utmost importance that the drainage should be effectual, for
stagnant water is even more injurious than a dry soil. A few sticks
placed in various parts of the bed, reaching down to the slates, will
serve as indicators. Draw and inspect them occasionally, and a pretty
correct idea of the condition of the soil will be obtained. The water
should be of the same temperature as the house; if applied cold the
plants will sustain a serious check. In the event of the bed falling
somewhat below the proper temperature, the water may with advantage be a
few degrees higher than usual.

==Horse-radish== should be planted early, to insure fine roots for next
Christmas beef.

==Leek==.--Those who wish to produce stems of superb size and beautiful
texture must sow in heat during this month or early in February, for a
longer period of growth is requisite than for ordinary crops. When
sufficient root growth has been made, transplant into larger pots, and
in due course transfer these to a frame where the plants may be
gradually hardened off for putting out into specially prepared trenches
in April.

==Lettuces== will soon be in demand, and the early hearts will be
particularly precious. Sow a few sorts in pans, in frames, or on gentle
hot-beds, to be ready for planting out by-and-by.

==Melon==.--Although the Melon is a fruit, its culture naturally forms
part of the routine of a vegetable garden. Up to a certain point it may
be grown in the same house with Cucumbers; but after that point is
reached, the two plants need widely different treatment. Cucumbers are
cut when young, and must be grown in a warm and humid atmosphere from
beginning to end. Melons need warmth, and at the commencement moisture
also; but the fruit has to be ripened, and after it is set dry treatment
becomes essential for the production of a rich flavour with plenty of
aroma. In large gardens, three crops of Melons are usually grown in the
same house in one season. A light soil is advisable at the beginning of
the year, but later in the season a heavier compost may be employed. For
the first sowing select an early variety, and at the beginning of this
month put the seed in separate pots. Re-pot the plants once, and they
will be ready for the beds by the first week of February. Melons from
this sowing should be fit for table in May, which is quite as early as
they can be produced with any sugar in them. Until the fruits begin to
swell the treatment advised for Cucumbers will suit Melons also.
Afterwards the watering will need careful management. It would be an
advantage if the fruit could be finished off without a drop of water
from the time they are about two inches in diameter, but the hot pipes
render it almost impossible. Still, water must not be given more
frequently than is actually necessary to keep the plants going, and when
it is applied let there be a thorough soaking. At the same time
ventilation will demand constant attention, and, provided the
temperature can be maintained, it is scarcely possible to give air too
freely. In the early stage of growth, and in mild weather, if the
thermometer registers 65° at 9 P.M., the cultivator may sleep peacefully
so far as Melons are concerned. As the season advances, the temperature
may be increased to 70° by night, and 75° to 90° by day. With reference
to stopping, it may be sufficient to say that it is a waste of energy to
allow the plant to make a large quantity of vine, which has afterwards
to be cut away. By judiciously pinching out the shoots, the plant can be
equally spread over the allotted space. The flowers must be fertilised,
and in this respect the treatment differs from that advised for
Cucumbers. The practice has the advantage of allowing the fruits to be
evenly distributed over the vine, and from four to six, according to the
size of the variety, will be enough for each plant to ripen.

==Mustard==.--Those who care for salads need a supply of Mustard almost
all through the year, and to secure a succession it will be necessary
to sow at regular intervals. It is a good plan to keep a few boxes in
use for the purpose in a plant-house or pit, sowing one or two at a time
as required, and taking care not to sow wastefully. The seed may be sown
out of doors all the summer, on a shady border, but nothing surpasses
boxes or large pans under glass. Mustard and Cress should never be sown
in the same row or in the same pan, but separately, because they do not
grow at the same pace, and the former may be fit for use a week or so
before the latter. Do not be content to use Rape, or any other
substitute, but sow the genuine article.

==Onion.==--The modern practice of sowing Onion seed in boxes under glass
is to be commended for several reasons. It insures a long season of
growth and results in handsome bulbs far above the average in size.
Transplanting affords the opportunity of selecting the strongest
seedlings and of placing them at exact intervals in the bed. As a
crowning advantage this system, to a large extent, prevents attack from
the Onion Fly. Sow in boxes filled with rich soil and see that the
plants have sufficient water, although very little is necessary until
after transfer to other boxes.

==Peas== of the round-seeded class may be sown in open quarters, and the
driest and warmest places must be selected. It is next to impossible to
grow them too well; for if the haulm runs up higher than usual, the
produce will be the finer. Remember, too, that if deep trenches are dug
and a lot of manure is put in for Peas, the ground is so far prepared
for Broccoli, Celery, and late Cauliflowers to follow; for the
early-sown Peas will be off the ground in time for another paying crop.
As everybody wants an early dish of Peas, sow one of the forward
marrowfat varieties in pots, or on strips of turf laid grass-side
downwards in boxes having movable bottoms that can be withdrawn by a
dexterous hand when the transfer is made from frames to the open ground.
Troughs for Peas can be made in very little time out of waste wood that
may be found in the yard; or a few lengths of old zinc spouting blocked
up at the ends will answer admirably. In the absence of such aids,
flower-pots may be used. The seed should have the shelter of a frame or
pit, but should have the least possible stimulus from artificial heat,
except in cases where there is all the skill at command to promote very
early production.

==Potatoes== are prized when they come in early, and may be forwarded on
beds of leaves and exhausted hot-beds by covering with light rich soil,
and employing old frames for protection, with litter handy in case of
frost. For this early work select the earliest Kidneys and Rounds; the
main-cropping varieties are not quick enough.

==Radishes== are more or less in demand for the greater part of the year.
The early crops are, however, especially valued, and there need not be
the least difficulty in producing a supply. A half-spent hot-bed, or,
indeed, any position that affords shelter and warmth, will answer
admirably for raising this crop until it may be trusted to a suitable
position in the open.

==Sea Kale== may be covered with pots or a good depth of litter, or a
combination of pots and litter. This should be done early, as at the
first move of vegetation this delicious vegetable will come into use,
and will generally be of finer quality than if forced. It happens,
however, to be the easiest of all things to force, and so, wherever it
is cared for, a plentiful supply may be maintained from Christmas (or
earlier) until May. As the leaf-stems must be thoroughly blanched,
covering is needful in all cases.

==Spinach== may be sown in open quarters. If the frost destroys the plant,
sow again. Some risk must be encountered for an early dish of this
highly-prized vegetable. Keep the autumn-sown Spinach clear of weeds,
and in gathering (if it happens to be fit to supply a gathering), pick
off the leaves separately with a little care.

==Strawberries==.--Seed of the Alpine varieties sown in pans this month,
for transfer later to the open ground, usually produce fine fruits in
September.

==Tomato.==--Of the immense value of the Tomato as an article of diet we
need say nothing, but we may confidently affirm that its merits for
decorative purposes have not as yet been fully recognised. Long racemes
of brilliant glossy fruit are sometimes employed with striking effect in
épergnes, and there is a natural fitness in using them for decorating
the dinner table. All the Tomatoes can be grown and ripened under glass
in almost any fashion which may suit the cultivator's convenience. Pits,
frames, vineries, and Peach-houses will bring the fruit to perfection,
either in pots or planted out. Magnificent crops are also grown in the
manner usual with Cucumbers, but in a lower temperature; and those who
have an early Cucumber house at liberty during the summer may turn it to
good account for Tomatoes. The soil should be prepared and laid up in
the autumn. It must not be too rich, or there will be much foliage and
little fruit, and the flowering will also be late. A compost of
leaf-mould and loam with an addition of sand suits Tomatoes admirably;
but raw manure should be regarded as poison. Sow thinly in well-drained
pots firmly filled with soil, and place in a temperature of 60° or 65°.
When large enough to handle, transfer the seedlings to small pots, and,
if necessary, shade them for a few days. Keep them near the glass until
the roots are established, and allow them to suffer no check from first
to last.



==FEBRUARY==


The work of this month is to be carried on as weather permits, but with
greater activity and more confidence, for the sun is fast gaining power.
Earnest digging, liberal manuring, and scrupulous cleansing are the
tasks that stand forward as of pre-eminent importance. Many weeds,
groundsel especially, will now be coming into flower, and if allowed to
seed will make enormous work later on. It is well, however, to
remember--what few people do remember, because the fact has not been
pressed upon their attention--that weeds of all kinds, so long as they
are not in flower, are really useful as manure when dug into the soil.
Therefore a weedy patch is not of necessity going to ruin; but if the
weeds are not stopped in time, they spread by their seeds and mar the
order of the garden. Dig them in, and their decay will nourish the next
crop. If early sowing is practised, and the earliest possible produce of
everything is aimed at, there must be always at hand the means of
protection, such as litter, spruce branches, mats, or other material, as
circumstances require. The vigilant gardener is not surprised by the
weather, but is always armed for an emergency. Read the notes for
January before proceeding further; and in respect of what remains
undone, spare the necessity of reminders here.

==Frame Ground== should be kept scrupulously clean and orderly. Many
things will require watering now, but water must not be carelessly
given, because damp is hurtful during frosty weather. Take care that the
plants are not crowding and starving, or they will come to no good.

==Artichoke, Globe.==--Plants from a sowing made now in a frame, and
transferred to the open at the end of April, will generally produce
heads in the following August, September, and October.

==Artichokes, Jerusalem,== may be planted this month where it has been
possible to prepare the ground. Use whole sets if convenient, or plant
cut sets with about three eyes in each.

==Beans, Broad==, may be sown both for early and main crops now, and with
but little risk of damage by spring frosts. The driest and warmest
situation should be selected for the early sorts, and the strongest land
for the late ones. If sowings were made in frames last month, take care
to harden the plants cautiously preparatory to planting out; if caught
by a sharp frost, every one will perish.

==Beans, French.==--To precede the outdoor crops make a sowing of Dwarf
French Beans in frames, and of the Climbing French varieties in
orchard-houses or other available spaces under glass.

==Beet.==--Sowings of the Globe variety may be made this month and in
March, on a gentle hot-bed under frames, to provide roots in advance of
the outdoor supplies.

==Broccoli.==--Sow on a warm sheltered border, and also in a frame. With
such an important crop at this time of year, there should be at least
two strings to the bow.

==Brussels Sprouts.==--For an early gathering of large buttons a sowing
should be made now on the warm border. This vegetable requires a long
period of growth to attain perfection, and those who sow late rarely
obtain such fine buttons as the plant is capable of producing.

==Cabbage== may be sown in pans or boxes placed in a frame, to be planted
out in due time for summer use, and from a quick-growing variety tender
hearts may be cut almost as early as from autumn-sown plants. Where
plantations stand rather thick, draw as fast as possible from amongst
them every alternate plant, to allow the remainder ample space for
hearting. It is well to remember that the small loose hearts of immature
Cabbages make a more delicate dish than the most complete white hearts;
but when grown for market, or to meet a large demand, there must be bulk
and substance. Cabbages are in constant request to mend, and to make
stolen crops, or take the place of anything that fails past recovery.

==Capsicum and Chili== should be sown now or in March on a hot-bed, and be
potted on until the plants are fit to be placed in the greenhouse or
conservatory.

==Cauliflower.==--Another sowing should be made under glass to supply a
succession of plants.

==Corn Salad== thrives well in any soil not particularly heavy, the best
being a sandy fertile loam. Sow in drills six inches apart; keep the
hoe well at work, and when ready thin the plants out to six inches
apart. They should be eaten young.

==Couve Tronchuda== produces two distinct dishes. The top forms a Cabbage
of the most delicate flavour and colour, and furnishes the best possible
dish of greens in autumn; and the midribs of the largest leaves may be
cooked in the manner of Sea Kale, and will be found excellent. This
delicious vegetable may be secured for use in summer and autumn and far
on into the winter by successive sowings in February, March, and April;
the first sowings to be assisted with heat. The plants should be put out
as early as possible on rich soil at from two to three feet each way;
they must have plenty of water in a dry summer. The season of Portugal
Cabbage may be prolonged by taking up what plants are left before severe
frost occurs, and heeling them into a bank of dry earth in a shed or
outhouse.

==Egg Plant.==--The fruits of Egg Plants play a more important part in the
cookery of the French and Italians than with us, and they make a
delicious dish when properly cooked. Seed may be raised in heat, but
when summer comes the plants thrive in rich soil at the foot of a wall
facing south. The white and purple varieties are grown for ornament as
well as for cooking. Sow now or in March in heat, and in June the plants
should be ready for transferring to rich soil in a sheltered spot,
allowing each one a space of two feet.

==Garlic== to be planted in rows, nine inches apart each way, and two
inches deep in rich mellow soil.

==Lettuce.==--Sow again on a warm border and in frames. Plant out in mild
weather any that are fit from frames and hot-beds, first making sure
that they are well hardened.

==Mustard.==--It is easy work with a frame to have Mustard at any time;
and many small sowings are better than large ones, which only result in
waste to-day and want to-morrow.

==Onion==.--There is still time for sowing seed in boxes preparatory to
planting out in April.

==Parsley== to be sown in the latter part of the month.

==Parsnip== should be sown as early as possible, on the deepest and best
ground as regards texture; but it need not be on the richest, for if the
roots can push down they will get what they want from the subsoil, and
therefore it is of great importance to put this crop on ground that was
dug twice in the autumn.

==Pea==.--Sow early sorts in quantity now, in accordance with probable
requirements; but there will be a loss rather than a gain of time if
they are sown on pasty ground or during bad weather. There are now many
excellent sorts of moderate height, and these give the least trouble in
their management; but a few of the taller varieties still remain in
favour, because of their fine quality. However, there is time yet for
sowing mid-season and late Peas; but the sooner some of the
first-earlies are in, the better. It is customary to sow many rows in a
plot rather close together, but it is better practice to put them so far
apart as to admit of two or three rows of early Potatoes between every
two rows of Peas. This insures abundance of light and air to the Peas,
and the latter are of great value to protect the Potatoes from May
frosts that often kill down the rising shaws. A warm, dry, fertile soil
is needed for first-early Peas. Those already up and in a bad plight
should be dug in and the rows sown again. It is worthy of note that if
Peas are thoroughly pinched and starved by hard weather, they rarely
prove a success; therefore, if they go wrong, sacrifice them without
hesitation and begin again. Where early rows are doing well put sticks
to them at once, as the sticks afford considerable protection, and the
effect may be augmented by strewing on the windward side small hedge
clippings and other light dry stuff.

==Radishes,== to be mild, tender, and handsome, must be grown rapidly. If
checked, they become hot, tough, and worthless. Much may be done to
forward a crop by means of dry litter and mats to protect the plants
from frost, removing the protection in favourable weather to give the
crop the fullest possible benefit of air and sunshine. Old worn-out
frames that will scarcely hold together will pay their first cost over
again, with the aid of a little skill, in growing Radishes.

==Rhubarb== should be taken up and divided, and planted again in rich
moist soil, every separate piece to have only one good eye. Do not
gather this season from the new plantation, but always have a piece one
year old to supply the kitchen. This method will insure sticks to be
proud of, not only for size, but for colour and flavour.

==Savoys== are valued by some when small, and by others they are prized
for size as much as for their excellent flavour when well frosted. Large
Savoys must have a long season of growth; therefore sow as soon as
possible, either in a frame, or on a rich, mellow seedbed, and be ready
to prick them out before they become crowded.

==Sea Kale.==--The plantations reserved for latest supplies should not be
covered until they begin to push naturally, and then the coverings must
be put on to blanch the growth effectually. Open-ground Sea Kale may be
uncovered as soon as cut, but a little litter should be left to give
protection and help the young shoots to rise, because after blanching
the cutting is a severe tax on the plant, and it has to begin life
afresh and prepare for the work of the next season.

==Shallot.==--When well grown the clumps are bigger than a man's fist, and
each separate bulb thicker than a walnut. To grow them well they must
have time; so plant early, on rich ground, in rows one foot apart and
the bulbs about nine inches asunder. Press them into the earth deep
enough to hold them firmly, but they are not to be quite buried.

==Spinach.==--Sow the Round-seeded plentifully; if overdone the extra crop
can be dug in as manure, and in that way will pay.

==Tomato.==--In many gardens the first sowing is made this month, and when
treated fairly, the plants come into bearing in about four months. Use
good porous soil for the seed-pans. Sow very thinly in a temperature of
60° or 65°, and get the plants into thumb pots while they are quite
small.

==Turnip== may be sown on warm borders, but it is too early for large
breadths in open quarters.



==MARCH==


This is the great season for garden work, and the gardener must be up
with the lark and go to bed with the robin, which is the latest of birds
to bid farewell to a sunny day. The first care should be to make good
all arrears, especially in the preparation of seed-beds, and the
cleaning of plots that are in any way disorderly. Where early-sown crops
have evidently failed, sow again without complaining; seed costs but
little, and a good plant is the earnest of a good crop; a bad plant will
probably never pay the rent of the ground it occupies. Keen east winds
may cause immense damage, but a little protection provided in time will
do wonders to ward off their effects, and the sunny days that are now so
welcome, and that we are pretty sure to have, will afford opportunity
for giving air to plants in frames, for clearing away litter, and for
the regular routine work of the season.

Seed of almost every vegetable grown in the garden may be sown in the
month of March. Make successional sowings of whatever it may be
advisable to put under cover or on heat, and then proceed with
open-ground sowings as weather and circumstances permit. The weather is
the master of outdoor work, and it is sheer waste of time to fight
against it. It is better to wait to the end of the month, or even far
into the next, before sowing a seed than to sow on pasty ground. But it
matters not how dry the ground may be, and if the wind blows keenly,
that should only be an inducement to brisk action; for seeds well sown
have everything in their favour if they are not too early for the
district. Very important indeed it is now to secure a ==Hot-bed.==--To
make one is easy enough, but it is of no use to half make it; for
half-acres in this department do not bear good corn. In the first place,
secure a great bulk of manure, and if it is long and green, turn it two
or three times, taking care that it is always moderately moist, but
never actually wet. If the stuff is too dry, sprinkle with water at
every turn, and let it steam away to take the rankest fire out of it.
Then make it up where required in a square heap, allowing it to settle
in its own way without treading or beating. Put on a foot-depth of
light, rich soil after the frames are in their places, and wait a few
days to sow the seed in case of a great heat rising. When the
temperature is steady and comfortable, sow seeds in pots and pans, as
needful, the quantity required of each separate crop, and stand them on
bricks above the bed, and the heat will then be none too much for them.
In the course of a few days finish the work by putting in a body of
earth. Do not attempt to hurry the growth of anything overmuch, for
undue haste will produce a weak plant; rather give air and light in
plenty, but with care to prevent injurious check, and the plants will be
short and healthy from the first.

==Artichokes, Globe==, to be cleared of protecting material as soon as
weather permits, and fresh plantations made ready for suckers to be put
in next month. A new plantation may also be formed by sowing seeds; in
fact, a sowing ought to be made every year. Where early produce is
required, the plants should be protected during winter to supply suckers
in the spring; but, if late supplies suffice, the sowing of a few rows
every year will reduce the labour, and render the production of Globe
Artichokes a very simple affair.

==Artichokes, Jerusalem==, may be planted now advantageously. Strong, deep
soil produces the best crop, and large roots are always preferred by the
cook, because of the inevitable waste in preparing this vegetable. The
Jerusalem Artichoke is certainly not properly appreciated, and one
reason is that it is often carelessly grown in any out-of-the-way
starving corner, whereas it needs a sunny, open spot, and a strong, deep
soil, and plenty of room. To hide an ugly fence during summer no more
useful plant is grown.

==Asparagus==.--Little attention is required as yet, except to remove
every weed as soon as it can be seen. If the beds are dry, and there are
no indications of coming rain, one good soaking of water or weak sewage
will be very beneficial. Mark out and make beds for sowing seed next
month.

==Bean, Broad==.--Plant out those raised in frames, and earth up those
from early sowings that are forward enough. Sow for main crops and late
supplies. In late districts a few of the earliest sorts may be sown to
come in before the Windsor section.

==Beet==.--Sow a little seed for an early supply, in well-dug mellow soil.
The crop will need protection in the event of frost.

==Broccoli== for autumn use to be sown early; and at the end of the month
sow again in quantity for winter supplies. In mild weather, put out the
plants from the earlier sowings made in frames as soon as they are fit
and well hardened.

==Brussels Sprouts==.--Look after the bed sown last month, and sow again
for the main crop. The best possible seed-bed is wanted and a rich
well-tilled soil for the plants when put out.

==Cabbage== of two or three kinds should be sown now to supply plants for
filling up as crops are taken off, and also to patch and mend where
failures happen. Where the owner of a garden has opportunities of
helping his poorer neighbours, he may confer a real benefit by supplying
them with Cabbage and Winter Greens for planting in their garden plots.
Cottagers too often begin with bad stocks--very much to their
discouragement in gardening, and to the loss of wholesome food the
garden should supply. The rankest manure may be employed in preparing
ground for Cabbage, reserving the well-rotted manure for seed-beds and
other purposes for which it will be required. A sowing of Red Cabbage
now will insure heads for pickling in autumn.

==Carrot==.--Sow one of the quick-growing varieties at the first
opportunity, but wait for signs of settled spring weather to sow the
main crops of large sorts.

==Cauliflower==.--Plant out as weather permits from hand-lights and
frames, choosing the best ground for this vegetable. In preparing a plot
for Cauliflower, use plenty of manure; and if it is only half-rotten, it
will be better than if it were old and mellow.

==Celeriac==.--So far as seed sowing is concerned, Celeriac may be treated
in the same way as Celery.

==Celery==.--For the earliest supply, sow on the first of the month a
pinch of seed of one or more of the smaller red or white sorts on a
mild hot-bed, or in an early vinery. As soon as the plants are large
enough to handle, prick them out three inches apart on a nice mellow bed
of rich soil on a half-spent hot-bed; give them plenty of light, with
free ventilation as weather allows, and constant supplies of water.
About the middle of the month sow again and prick out as before; but if
no hot-bed is available, a well-prepared bed in a frame in a sunny
position will answer; or, if the season is somewhat advanced, a bed of
rotten manure, two or three inches deep, on a piece of hard ground, will
suffice, if the plants are kept regularly watered. From this bed they
will lift with nice roots for planting out, scarcely feeling the removal
at all.

==Chives== to be divided and re-planted on a spot which has not previously
been occupied with the crop.

==Cucumber==.--The vines should now be in a flourishing condition, but it
is necessary to look forward to the day when they will fall into the
sere and yellow leaf. More seed sown singly in pots will provide a
succession of plants. Re-pot them once or twice if desirable, and when
large enough turn them out between the first lot. As the old plants
fail, the new-comers will supply their places. Setting the bloom, as it
is called, is not only useless, but is a mischievous procedure. It
results in the enlargement of one end of the fruit, and ruins its
appearance. If seed be the object, of course the process is justifiable;
but for the table a 'bottle nose' cannot be regarded as an ornament.
Besides, the ripening of seed in a single fruit will materially diminish
the usefulness of the plant, and perhaps entirely end its career.
Stopping the vine is a necessity, but it should not be done too soon. In
the early stage of growth, it reduces the vigour of the plant and
retards its fruiting; but when the fruit is visible, stopping aids its
development and at the same time tends to regulate and equalise the
growth.

Frame culture of Cucumbers is usually begun in March. There are men who
can produce fruit from hot-beds all the year round, but it is a
difficult task, and as a rule ought not to be expected. At this time of
year, however, success is fairly within reach of ordinary skill. In
quite the early part of the month put seed singly into pots which must
be kept in a warm, moist place. The plants will then be ready for frames
at the end of the month. The most important business is the preparation
of the bed, and in this, as in all else, there is a right and a wrong
way of doing the work. Accurately set out the space on which it is to be
made. If there is plenty of manure, make the bed large enough to project
eighteen inches beyond the lights all round. But if manure is scarce,
cut the margin closer, and trust to a hot lining when the heat begins to
flag. Commence with the outside of the bed, employing the long stuff in
its construction; and keep this part of the work a little in advance of
the centre until the full height is reached. A bed made in this way will
not fall to pieces, and the heat will be durable in proportion to its
size and thickness. Where fallen leaves are abundant, they should be
used for the middle of the bed, and they will give a more lasting heat
than short manure. When the bed has settled down to a steady
temperature, add six or nine inches of mellow loam over the entire
surface, upon which place the frames. To insure drainage, it is an
excellent plan to lay common flake hurdles on the top of the heap before
adding the soil. These do not in the least interfere with the free
running of the roots. It is usual to have two plants under each light,
but where the management is good, one is quite enough. The subsequent
work consists of shading and sheltering, to prevent any serious check
from trying weather, and in giving just water enough and no more. The
fermenting material should sustain the temperature of the frame, even
during frosty nights, and mats will screen off strong sunshine as well
as cold winds. The plants will need stopping earlier than those grown in
houses, and as there are no hot-pipes to dissipate the moisture, rather
less water will be necessary, both in the soil and from the syringe. But
the water employed should always be of the same temperature as the bed.
This is easily managed by keeping a full can standing with the plants.
In large frames, where there is a good body of manure and the loam is
mellow and turfy, pieces of Mushroom spawn can be inserted all over the
bed. The Mushrooms may appear while the bed is in full bearing; but if
they do not they will come when the plants are cleared out, and pay well
to keep the lights in use another month or so.

==Garlic== may still be planted, but no time is to be lost.

==Herbs== of many kinds may be sown or divided, and it will be necessary
to look over the Herb quarter and see how things stand for the supplies
that will be required. A little later, excess of work may prevent due
attention to this department.

==Horse-radish== to be planted, if not done already.

==Kohl Rabi==, or ==Knol Kohl==, to be sown in small quantity at the end of
the month, and onwards to August, as required. If cooked while young,
the bulbs are an excellent substitute for Turnips in a hot, dry season.

==Leek==.--Sow the main crop in very rich, well-prepared soil, and rather
thickly, as the seedlings will have to be planted out. With a little
management this sowing will yield a succession of Leeks.

==Lettuce==.--Plant out and sow again in quantity. All the kinds may be
sown now, but make sure of enough of the Cos and smaller Cabbage
varieties. In hot, dry soils, where Lettuces usually run to seed early,
try some of the red-leaved kinds, for though less delicate than the
green and white, they will be useful in the event of a scorching summer.
Lettuces require a deep free soil with plenty of manure.

==Melon==.--Raise a few seeds singly in pots, in readiness for putting
under frames on hot-beds next month. Re-pot the plants, and repeat the
process if the beds are not ready, for Melons must not be starved,
especially in the early stage of growth. Some growers make up the beds
in March, and sow upon them when the heat becomes steady, but the
practice is somewhat precarious. In a cold, late spring the heat may not
last a sufficient time to carry the plants safely into warm weather.
Hence it is more reliable to raise them now in a warm house, and make
the bed at the beginning of April.

==Onion==.--The plants already raised in boxes to be removed to cold
frames. If necessary, they should be pricked off into other boxes in
order to avoid overcrowding. Keep the frames close at first, but give
air with increasing freedom as the time approaches for transfer to the
open ground. Sow the main crop in drills nine inches apart, and tread or
beat the ground firm. This crop requires a rich soil in a thoroughly
clean and mellow condition, and it makes a capital finish to the
seed-bed to give it a good coat of charred rubbish or smother ash before
sowing the seed.

==Parsnip==.--Sow main crop in shallow drills eighteen inches apart in
good soil deeply dug. The seed should be lightly covered, and new seed
is indispensable.

==Pea==.--Sow the finest sorts of the Marrowfat class. Take care to put
them on the best seed-bed that can be made, and allow sufficient room
between the taller sorts for a few rows of Cabbage, Broccoli, or
Potatoes. A crowded quarter of Peas is never satisfactory; the rows
smother each other, and the shaded parts of the haulm produce next to
nothing.

==Potato==.--A small quantity for early use should be planted at the
opening of the month when the ground is dry and the weather soft. If
planted when frost or cold winds prevail, sets may become somewhat
shrivelled before they are covered, and every care should be taken to
prevent such a check to the initial vigour of the plant. The
first-early sorts will necessarily have the chief attention now, and
warm sheltered spots should be selected for them. Any fairly good soil
will produce a passable crop of Potatoes; but to secure a first-class
sample of any early sort, the ground should be made up with the aid of
turfy soil and charrings of hedge clippings and other light, warm,
nourishing material. Strong manures are not to be desired, but a mellow,
kindly, fertile soil is really necessary, and it will always pay well to
take extra pains in its preparation, because all the light rubbish that
accumulates in yards and outhouses can be turned to account with only a
moderate amount of labour, and the result of careful appropriation of
such rubbish will be thoroughly satisfactory. Burn all the chips and
sticks and other stubborn stuff, and lay the mixture in the trenches
when planting, so that the roots may find it at their first start. As
the Potato disease does not usually appear until late in summer, early
planting is a safe precaution, for it insures early ripening of the
crop. The planting of main crops may commence towards the end of March
and be completed during April, according to the locality and the
condition of the soil.

==Radish==.--From March to September make successive sowings in the
coolest place that can be found for them.

==Scorzonera== to be treated much the same as Salsify. See note on the
latter under April.

==Sea Kale== to be sown in well-prepared beds; or plantations may be made
of the smaller roots of the thickness of a lead pencil, and about four
inches in length. Plant them top end uppermost, and deep enough to be
just covered.

==Spinach==.--Sow in plenty. The Perpetual or Spinach Beet should not be
forgotten. This is one of the most useful vegetables known, as it
endures heat and cold with impunity, and when common Spinach is running
to seed the Perpetual variety remains green and succulent, and fit to
supply the table all the summer long.

==Spinach, New Zealand==, is another excellent vegetable in high summer
when the Round-seeded variety is worthless. The plant is rather tender,
and for an early supply the seed must be sown in moderate heat, either
in this month or in April. When large enough, get the seedlings into
small pots, and gradually harden them before planting in the open about
the end of May.

==Strawberries==.--Spring is undoubtedly preferable to autumn for
planting, and results in a finer crop of fruit in the following year.
Just as growth is commencing is the most favourable time, and this, of
course, depends on the character of the season. Alpine Strawberries may
be sown outdoors this month or in September for fruiting in the
succeeding year.

==Tomato.==--In ordinary seasons and in the southern counties there is no
difficulty in producing handsome Tomatoes in the open border; but to
ripen the fruit with certainty it is imperative that an early variety be
chosen. With the rise of latitude, however, the crop becomes
increasingly precarious, until in the North it is impossible to finish
Tomatoes without the aid of glass. For plants which are to ripen fruit
in the open, a sowing should be made early in the month, in the manner
advised under January. Plants which are ready should be transferred to
small thumb pots. Put them in so that the first leaves touch the rim of
the pot, and place them in a close frame or warm part of the greenhouse
for a few days until the roots take hold. To save them from becoming
leggy, give each plant ample space, and avoid a forcing temperature. A
shelf in a greenhouse is a good position, and plants in a single row
upon it will grow stout and short-jointed. Thrips and aphis are
extremely partial to Tomatoes. Frequent sprinklings in bright weather
will help to keep down the former, and will at the same time benefit the
plants. Both pests can be destroyed by fumigating with tobacco, and when
the remedy is to be applied water should be withheld on that day. A
moderate amount of smoke in the evening and another application in the
morning will be more destructive to the vermin, and less injurious to
the plants, than one strong dose. The usual syringing must follow.
Plants for the open ground must not be starved while in pots; they will
need potting on until the 4-1/2-inch or 6-inch size is reached, and it
is important that they should never be dry at the roots. Shading will
only be necessary during fierce sunshine; in early morning and late in
the afternoon they will be better without it.

==Water Cress.==--It is quite a mistake to suppose that a running stream
is requisite for growing this plant, and it is equally a mistake to
suppose that the proper flavour can be secured without the constant use
of water. Sow in a trench, water regularly and copiously, and mild and
tender Water Cress will reward the labour.

==Winter Greens== of all kinds to be sown in plenty and in considerable
variety; for in the event of a severe winter some kinds will prove
hardier than others.



==APRIL==


Vegetation is now in full activity, the temperature increases rapidly,
frosts are less frequent, and showers and sunshine alternate in their
mutual endeavours to clothe the earth with verdure and flowers. The
gardener is bound to be vigilant now to assist Nature in her endeavours
to benefit him; he must promote the growth of his crops by all the means
in his power; by plying the hoe to keep down weeds and open the soil to
sunshine and showers; by thinning and regulating his plantations, that
air and light may have free access to the plants left to attain
maturity; by continuing to shelter as may be needed; and by
administering water during dry weather, that vegetation may benefit to
the utmost by the happy accession of increasing sunlight.

==Artichoke, Globe==.--Suckers to be put in the plantations prepared for
them last month, in rows three to four feet apart each way.

==Asparagus==.--- Rake off into the alleys the remnant of manure from the
autumn dressing, and as soon as the weather is favourable give the beds
a light application of salt. If new beds are required, there must be no
time lost either to sow seed or get in plants. Our advice to those who
require only one small plantation is to form it by planting strong
roots; but those who intend to grow Asparagus largely may sow down a bed
every year, until they have enough, and then leave well alone; for a bed
properly made will last ten years at the very least, if taken care of.
It has been clearly demonstrated that this much-esteemed vegetable may
be grown to perfection in any garden with little more expense than
attends other crops, provided only that a reasonable amount of skill is
brought to bear upon the undertaking. A deep, rich, sandy loam suits it.
Dig in a good body of manure, and provide a mellow seed-bed. This being
done, care must be taken to sow thinly, and, in due time, to thin
severely; for a crowded plant will never supply fat sticks. Beds may be
made by planting roots instead of sowing seeds, but the roots must be
fresh, or they will not prosper. The advantage of using plants is that
'grass' may be cut earlier than when produced from seed.

==Bean, Broad==.--- Sowings may be made until the middle of this month,
after which time they are not likely to pay, especially on hot soils. It
is customary to top Beans when in flower, and the practice has its
advantages. In case the black fly takes possession, topping is a
necessity, for the insect can only subsist on the youngest leaves at the
top of the plant, and the process pretty well clears them away.

==Beans, Dwarf French,== may be sown outdoors at the end of the month, but
not in quantity, because of the risk of destruction by frost. Much may
be done, however, to expedite the supply of this popular vegetable, and
sowings in boxes placed in gentle heat or under the protection of a
frame will furnish plants which may be gradually hardened off for
transfer to the open in May. In proportion to the means at command,
early sowings outdoors will live or die, as determined by the weather,
although a very little protection is sufficient to carry the young
plants through a bad time in the event of late frosts and storms. But
sowings made at the end of the month will probably prosper.

==Bean, Climbing French.==--Sowings of the Climbing French Bean may be
made this month as directed for the Dwarf French class: the earliest in
gentle heat for transplanting, and later on in open quarters for
succession crops.

==Beet.==--At quite the end of the month sow in drills, a foot or fifteen
inches apart, on deep, well-dug ground, without manure. Large Beets are
not desired for the kitchen; but rather small, deeply coloured, handsome
roots are always valued, and these can only be grown in soil that has
been stirred to a good depth, and is quite free of recent manuring.

==Broccoli.==--Make another sowing of several sorts, giving preference as
yet to the early varieties. In particularly late districts, and,
perhaps, pretty generally in the North, the late Broccoli should be sown
now, but in the Midlands and the South there is time to spare for
sowing. Be particular to have a good seed-bed, that the plants may grow
well from the first; if the early growth be starved, the plants become
the victims of club and other ruinous maladies.

==Brussels Sprouts.==--In many households late supplies of Brussels
Sprouts are much valued, and as the crop is capable of enduring severe
weather, a supplemental sowing should always be made during this month.
Rich soil and plenty of room are essential.

==Cabbage.==--Sow the larger kinds for autumn use, and one or two rows of
the smaller kinds for planting in odd places as early crops are cleared
off. Cows, pigs, and poultry will always dispose of surplus Cabbage
advantageously, so there can be no serious objection to keeping up a
constant succession. Plant out from seed-beds as fast as the plants
become strong enough, for stifling and starving tend to club, mildew,
and blindness. Where Red Cabbage is in demand for use with game in
autumn, seed should be sown now.

==Cardoons== to be sown on land heavily manured in rows three or four feet
apart, the seeds in clumps of three each, eighteen inches apart. They
are sometimes sown in trenches, but we do not approve of that system,
for they do not require moisture to the extent of Celery, and the
blanching can be effectually accomplished without it. Our advice is to
plant on the level, unless the ground is particularly dry and hot, and
then trenches will be of great service in promoting free growth. To
insure their proper flavour, Cardoons must be large and fat.

==Carrot==.--Sow the main crops and put them on deeply dug ground without
manure.

==Cauliflowers== to be planted out at every opportunity, warm, showery
weather being most favourable. If cold weather should follow, a large
proportion of the plants will be destroyed unless protected, and there
is no cheaper protection than empty flowerpots, which may be left on all
day, as well as all night, in extreme cases when a killing east wind is
blowing. Sow now for late summer and autumn use, prick the plants out
early to save buttoning, and they will make a quick return.

==Celery==.--Sow in a warm corner of the open ground on a bed consisting
largely of rotten manure. It may happen in a good season that this
outdoor sowing will prove the most successful, as it will have no check
from first to last, and will be in just the right state for planting out
when the ground is ready for it after Peas and other early crops. If
Celery suffers a serious check at any time, it is apt to make hollow
stems, and then the quality is poor, no matter to what size the sticks
may attain. Prick out the plants from seed-pans on to a bed of rotten
manure, resting on a hard bottom, in frames or in sheltered nooks, and
look after them with extra care for a week or two. Good Celery cannot be
grown by the haphazard gardener.

==Endive==.--Sow a small quantity in moderate heat for the first supply,
in drills six inches apart, and when an inch high prick out on to a bed
of rich light soil.

==Herbs==.--Chervil, Fennel, Hyssop, and other flavouring and medicinal
Herbs, may be sown now better than at any other time, as they will start
at once into full growth, and need little after-care other than thinning
and weeding. Rich soil is not required, but the position must be dry and
sunny.

==Leek== to be sown again if the former sowing is insufficient or has
failed.

==Lettuce== to be sown for succession, the quick-growing, tender-hearted
kinds being the best to sow now. Plant out from frames and seed-pans. A
few forward plants may be tied, but as a rule tying is less desirable
than most people suppose. Certainly, after tying, the hearts soon rot if
not quickly eaten; and Lettuces as fine as can be desired may now be
grown without tying, the close-hearting sorts being very much improved
in that respect.

==Melon==.--Sow again for a second crop in houses, and grow the plants in
pots until they reach a foot high. The early crop will then be ripe, and
the house can be cleared and syringed for a fresh start. From this
sowing fruit should be ready about the beginning of July. The frame
culture advised for Cucumbers will be right for Melons, until the fruits
attain the size of a small orange. Then a thorough soaking must be
given, and under proper management no more water should be necessary. A
dry atmosphere and free ventilation are essential to bring the fruit to
perfection. Stopping must be commenced early by pinching out the leader,
and only one eye should be allowed beyond the fruit which are to remain.
Six will be enough for one plant to carry, and they should be nearly of
a size, for if one obtains a strong lead, it will be impossible to ripen
the others. The remainder should be gradually removed while young. The
worst foe of the Melon is red spider, and it is difficult to apply a
remedy without doing mischief. Water will destroy it, but this may have
disastrous results on the fruit. The most certain preventive is stout
well-grown plants. Weakly specimens appear to invite attack, and are
incapable of struggling against it. Where plants are occasionally lost
through decay at the collar, small pieces of charcoal laid in a circle
round the stem have proved a simple and effectual antidote.

==Onion==.--The plants raised under glass in January or February should be
ready for planting out on some favourable day about mid-April. If any
mishap has befallen the sowings made in the open in March there must be
no delay in resowing early in the present month, for Onions should have
good hold of the ground before hot weather comes. Onions for pickling
should be grown thickly on poor ground made firm. The plants are not to
be thinned, but may be allowed to stand as thick as pebbles on the
seashore. The starving system produces abundance of small handsome bulbs
that ripen early, which are the very things wanted for pickling. The
Queen and Paris Silver-skin are adapted for the purpose.

==Parsley== to be sown in quantity for summer and autumn supply; thin as
soon as up, to give each plant plenty of room.

==Peas== to be sown again for succession.

==Potato==.--Take the earliest opportunity of completing the planting of
main crops.

==Salsify==.--This delicious root, which is sometimes designated the
'Vegetable Oyster,' requires a piece of ground deeply trenched, with a
thick layer of manure at the bottom of the trench, and not a particle of
manure in the body of soil above it. The roots strike down into the
manure, and attain a good size combined with fine quality. If carelessly
grown, they become forked and fibrous, and are much wasted in the
cooking, besides being of inferior flavour. Sow in rows fifteen inches
apart, any time from the end of March to the beginning of May. Two
sowings will generally suffice.

==Spinach==.--Sow the Long-standing variety, which does not run so soon as
the ordinary kind. If a plantation of Spinach Beet has not been secured,
sow at once, as there is ample time yet for a free growth and a valuable
plant.

==Turnip== to be sown in quantity.

==Vegetable Marrow==.--An early sowing to be made in pots, in readiness
for planting out immediately weather admits of it. Three plants in a pot
are enough, and they must not be weakened by excessive heat.

==Winter Greens==.--A sowing of Borecole should be made, and if a supply
is required in spring, it will be well to sow again in the first week of
May.



==MAY==


High-Pressure times continue, for the heat increases daily, and the
season of production is already shortened by two months. The most
pressing business is to repair all losses, for even now, if affairs have
gone wrong, it is possible to get up a stock of Winter Greens, and to
sow all the sorts of seeds that should have been sown in March and
April, with a reasonable chance of profitable results. It must not be
expected, however, that the most brisk and skilful can overtake those
who have been doing well from the first dawn of spring, and who have not
omitted to sow a single seed at the proper time from the day when
seed-sowing became requisite. The heat of the earth is now sufficient to
start many seeds into growth that are customarily sown in heat a month
or two earlier; and, therefore, those who cannot make hot-beds may grow
many choice things if they will be content to have them a week or two
later than their more fortunate neighbours. In sowing seeds of the more
tender subjects, such as Capsicums, Marrows, and Cucumbers, it will be
better to lose a few days, in order to make sure of the result desired,
rather than to be in undue haste and have the seed destroyed by heavy
rains, or the young plants nipped off by frost. Do not, therefore, sow
any of these seeds in the open ground until the weather is somewhat
settled and sunny, for if they meet with any serious check they will
scarcely recover during the whole of the season.

==Asparagus== in seed-beds to be thinned as soon as possible, so that
wherever two or three plants rise together, the number should be reduced
to one. But there is time yet for seedlings to appear. The bearing beds
are more attractive, for they show their toothsome tops. The cutting
must be done in a systematic manner, and if practicable always by the
same person. It is better to cut all the shoots as fast as they attain a
proper size, and sort them for use according to quality, rather than to
pick and choose the fat shoots and throw the whole plantation into
disorder. Green-topped Asparagus is in favour in this country; but those
who prefer it blanched have simply to earth it up sufficiently, and cut
below the surface, taking care to avoid injuring the young shoots which
have not pushed through. It is not for us to decide on any matter of
individual taste, but we will give a word of practical advice that may
be of value to many. It is not the custom to protect Asparagus in open
beds, but it should be; for the keen frosts that often occur when the
sticks are rising destroy a large number. This may be prevented by
covering with any kind of light, dry litter, which will not in the least
interfere with that full greening of the tops which English people
generally prefer, because the light and air will reach the plant; but
the edge of the frost will be blunted by the litter. If there is nothing
at hand for this purpose, let a man go round with the sickle and cut a
lot of long grass from the rough parts of the shrubbery, and put a light
handful over every crown in the bed. The sticks will rise with the
litter upon them like nightcaps, and will be plump and green and unhurt
by frost.

==Bean, Dwarf French==.--The main crops should be got in this month, and
successional sowings may be made until the early part of July. Dwarf
Beans are but seldom allowed as much space as they require, and the rows
therefore should be thinned early, for crowded plants never bear so
well as those that enjoy light and air on all sides. In Continental
cookery a good dish is made of the Beans shelled out when about half
ripe. These being served in rich gravy, are at once savoury and
wholesome. Almost all the varieties of the Dwarf and Climbing sections
may be used in this way, and the Beans should be gathered when full
grown, but not yet ripe. The self-coloured varieties are also grown for
use as dry Haricots, in which case the pods should not be removed until
perfectly ripe.

==Bean, Climbing French==.--Sow this month for the main crop, and onwards
until June according to requirements. In a general way the treatment
usual for Runners will answer well for outdoor crops of the Climbing
French Bean.

==Bean, Runner==.--In the open ground sowings may be made as soon as
conditions appear safe, but it is well to sow again at the end of the
month or in June.

==Beet==.--The main crop should be sown in the early part of the month.
Thin and weed the early sown, and if the ground has been suitably
prepared, it will be needless to give water to this crop. As Beet is not
wanted large, it is not advisable to sow any great breadth until the
beginning of May, or it is liable to become coarse.

==Broccoli== to be sown for succession. Plant out from frames and forward
seed-beds at every opportunity. About the middle of the month sow for
cutting in May and June of next year.

==Brussels Sprouts==.--For the sake of a few fine buttons in the first
dripping days of autumn, when Peas and Runners and Marrows are gone, put
out as soon as possible some of the most forward plants, giving them a
rich soil and sunny position.

==Cabbage==.--Plant out from seed-beds at every opportunity, choosing, if
possible, the advent of showery weather. Sow the smaller sorts and
Coleworts, especially in favoured districts where there is usually no
check to vegetation until the turn of the year.

==Capsicum== can be sown out of doors about the middle of the month, and
nice green pods for pickling may be secured in the autumn.

==Carrot==.--Thin the main crops early, and sow a few rows of Champion
Horn or Intermediate, for use in a small state during late summer, when
they make an elegant and delicate dish.

==Cauliflowers== must have water in dry weather; they are the most hungry
and thirsty plants in the garden, but pay well for good living. Plant
out from frames as fast as ready, for they do no good to stand crowded
and starving.

==Celery== trenches must be prepared in time, though, strange to say, this
task is generally deferred until the plants have really become weak
through overcrowding. In a small garden it is never advisable to have
Celery very forward, for the simple reason that trenches cannot be made
for it until Peas come off and other early crops are over. To insure
fine Celery the cultivator must be in advance of events rather than lag
behind them. Plenty of manure must be used; it is scarcely possible, in
fact, to employ too much, and liberality is not waste, because the
ground will be in capital condition for the next crop. There are many
modes of planting Celery, but the simplest is to make the trenches four
feet apart and a foot and a half wide, and put the plants six to nine
inches apart, according to the sorts. This work must be done neatly,
with an artistic finish. In planting take off suckers, and if any of the
leaves are blistered, pinch the blisters, and finish by dusting the
plantation with soot. As Celery loves moisture, give water freely in dry
weather.

==Cucumbers== of excellent quality may be grown on ridges or hills, should
the season be favourable. Suppose the cultivator to have the means of
obtaining plenty of manure, ridges, which are to run east and west, are
preferable to hills. The soil should be thrown out three feet wide and
two feet deep, and be laid up on the north side. Then put three feet of
hot manure in the trench, and cover with the soil that was taken out, so
as to form an easy slope to the south, and with a steep slope on the
north side carefully finished to prevent its crumbling down before the
season ends. The plants should be put out on the slope as soon as
possible after the ridges are made ready, under the protection of
hand-lights, until there is free growth and the weather has become quite
summery. It is a good plan to grow one or two rows of Runner Beans a
short distance from the ridge on the north side to give shelter, and in
case of bad weather after the plants are in bearing, pea-sticks or dry
litter laid about them lightly will help them through a critical time,
but stable manure must not be used. In case manure is not abundant, make
a few small hills in a sheltered, sunny spot, with whatever material is
available in the way of turf, rotten manure, or leaf-mould, taking care
that nothing injurious to vegetation is mixed with it. Put several
inches of a mixture of good loam and rotten manure on the hills, and
plant and protect as in the case of ridges. If plants are not at hand,
sow seeds; there will still be a chance of Cucumbers during July,
August, and September; for if they thrive at all, they are pretty brisk
in their movements. Three observations remain to be made on this
subject. In the first place, what are known as 'Ridge' Cucumbers only
should be grown in the open air; the large sorts grown in houses are
unfit. In the second place, the plants should only be pinched once, and
there is no occasion for the niggling business which gardeners call
'setting the bloom.' Provide for their roots a good bed, and then let
them grow as they please. In the third place, as encouragement, we feel
bound to say that, as Cucumbers are grown to be eaten as well as to be
looked at, those from ridges are less handsome than house Cucumbers, but
are quite equal to them in flavour.

==Dandelion== somewhat resembles the Endive, and is one of the earliest
and most wholesome additions to the salad-bowl. Sow now and again in
June, in drills one foot asunder, and thin out the plants to one foot
apart in the rows. These will be ready for use in the following winter
and spring.

==Gourd and Pumpkin==.--An early show of fruit necessitates raising seeds
under glass for planting on prepared beds, and the plants must be
protected by means of lights or any other arrangement that can be
improvised as a defence against late frosts. Of course the seeds can be
sown upon the actual bed, but it is a loss of time. The rapidity with
which the plants grow is a sufficient indication that generous feeding
and copious supplies of water in dry weather are imperative.

==Lettuce==.--Sow for succession where the plants are to remain, and plant
out the earlier sowings at every opportunity. To insure a quick growth,
and prevent the plants from running to seed, extra care in giving water
and shade will be necessary after transplanting. The larger Cabbage
Lettuces will prove useful if sown now.

==Maize and Sugar Corn== may be grown in this country as an ornament to
the garden, and also for the green cobs which are used as a vegetable.
Sow early in the month on rich light soil, and in a hot season,
especially when accompanied by moisture, there will be rapid growth. The
cobs to be gathered for cooking when of full size, but while quite
green.

==Melon==.--It is not too late to grow Melons in frames, provided a start
can be made with strong plants.

==Pea==.--Sow Peas again if there is any prospect of a break in the
supply. It is a good plan to prepare trenches as for Celery, but less
deep, and sow Peas in them, as the trenches can be quickly filled with
water in case of dry weather, and the vigorous growth will be proof
against mildew.

==Savoy== sown now will produce small useful hearts for winter use. By
many these small hearts will be preferred to large ones, as more
delicate, and therefore a sowing of Tom Thumb may be advised.

==Spinach, New Zealand==, can be sown in the open ground in the early part
of this month and should be thinned to about a yard apart. The growth
somewhat resembles that of the Ice Plant. The tender young tops are
pinched off for cooking, and they make an elegant Spinach, which is free
from bitterness, and is therefore acceptable to many persons who object
to the sooty flavour of ordinary Spinach.

==Tomato==.--By the third week in May the plants for the open border
should be hardened. In a cold pit or frame they may be gradually exposed
until the lights can be left off altogether, even at night. A thick
layer of ashes at the bottom of the frame will insure drainage and keep
off vermin. If the plants are allowed plenty of space, and are well
managed, they will possess dark, healthy foliage, needing no support
from sticks until they are in final quarters. Do not put them out before
the end of the month or the beginning of June, and choose a quiet day
for the work. If possible, give them a sunny spot under the shelter of a
wall having a southern or western aspect. On a stiff soil it is
advisable to plant on ridges, and not too deeply; for deep planting
encourages strong growth, and strong growth defers the production of
fruit. Tomatoes are sometimes grown in beds, and then it is necessary to
give them abundant room. For branched plants three feet between the
plants in the rows, and the rows four feet apart, will afford space for
tying and watering. Each plant should have the support of a stout stake
firmly fixed in the soil, and rising four feet above it; and once a week
at least the tying should be attended to. As to stopping, the centre
stem should be allowed to grow until the early flowers have set. It is
from these early flowers that outdoor Tomatoes can be successfully
ripened, and the removal of the main shoot delays their production. But
after fifteen or twenty fruits are visible the top of the leading stem
may be shortened to the length of the stake. The fruiting branches
should also be kept short beyond the fruit, and large leaves must be
shortened to allow free access of sunshine. Should the single-stem
system be adopted, three feet between the rows and two feet between
plants in the rows will suffice. On a light soil and in dry weather
weak liquid manure may, with advantage, be alternated with pure water,
but this practice must not be carried far enough to make the plants
gross, or ripening will be delayed. Fruit intended for exhibition must
be selected with judgment, and with this end in view four to six
specimens of any large variety will be sufficient for one plant to bring
to perfection.

==Turnip== to be sown for succession. It is well now to keep to the small
white early sorts.

==Vegetable Marrow==.--In cottage gardens luxuriant vines may every year
be seen trailing over the sides of heaps of decayed turf or manure. All
forward vegetables are prized, and Marrows are no exception to the rule.
An early supply from the open ground is most readily insured by raising
strong plants in pots and putting them on rich warm beds as early as the
season and district will permit. Late frosts must be guarded against by
some kind of protection, and slugs must be deterred from eating up the
plants.



==JUNE==


To some extent the crops will now take care of themselves, and we may
consider the chief anxieties and activities of the season over. Our
notes, therefore, will be more brief. We do not counsel the cultivator
to 'rest and be thankful.' It is better for him to work, but he must be
thankful all the same, if he would be happy in his healthy and
entertaining employment. Watering and weeding are the principal labours
of this month, and both must be pursued with diligence. But ordinary
watering, where every drop has to be dipped and carried, is often
injurious rather than beneficial, for the simple reason that it is only
half done. In such cases it is advisable to withhold water as long as
possible, and then to give it in abundance, watering only a small plot
every day in order to saturate the ground, and taking a week or more to
go over a piece which would be done in a day by mere surface dribblings.

==Asparagus== should be in full supply, and may be cut until the middle or
end of the month. When cutting should cease depends on the district. In
the South of England the 14th is about the proper time to make the last
cut; north of the Trent, the 20th may be soon enough; and further north,
cutting may be continued into July. The point to be borne in mind is
that the plant must be allowed time to grow freely without any further
check, in order to store up energy for making robust shoots next year.
It is a good plan to insert stakes, such as are used for Peas, in
Asparagus beds, to give support to the green growth against gales of
wind; for when the stems are snapped by storms, as they often are, the
roots lose their aid, and are weakened for their future work.

==Beans==, both Dwarf and Runner, may be sown about the middle of the
month, to supply tender pods when those from the early sowings are past.
A late crop of Runners will pay well almost anywhere, for they bear
until the frost cuts them down, which may not happen until far into
November.

==Broccoli==.--- Take advantage of showers to continue planting out.

==Cabbage==.--Towards the end of the month sow a good breadth of small
Cabbages and Coleworts. They will be immensely valuable to plant out as
the summer crops are cleared away.

==Capsicums== may be planted out in a sunny sheltered spot.

==Cauliflowers== that are transferred now from seed-beds must have
plentiful supplies of water, and be shaded during midday for a week.
When the heads are visible it is customary to snap one of the inner
leaves over them for protection.

==Celery== to be planted out without loss of time, in showery weather if
possible; but if the weather is hot and dry, shade the plants and give
water. The work must be well done, hence it is advisable to lift no more
plants than can be quickly dealt with, for exposure tends to exhaustion,
and Celery ought never to suffer a check in even the slightest degree.
When planted, dust lightly with soot or wood-ashes. Pea-sticks laid
across the trenches will give shade enough with very little trouble.

==Chicory==.--This wholesome esculent is used in a variety of ways, and is
very much prized in some households. The blanched heads make an
acceptable accompaniment to cheese, and are much appreciated for
salading; they may also be stewed and served with melted butter in the
same manner as Sea Kale. To grow large clean roots a deep rich soil is
required. If manure must be added, use that which is well decayed, and
bury it at least twelve inches, for near the surface it will produce
fanged roots. Prepare the seed-bed as for Parsnips, sow in drills twelve
inches apart, and thin the plants to nine inches in the rows. In October
the roots will be ready for lifting, preparatory to being packed in dark
quarters for blanching.

==Cucumbers for Pickling== may be sown on ridges.

==Endive== is not generally wanted while good Lettuces abound, but it
takes the place of Lettuce in autumn and winter, when the more delicate
vegetable is scarce. Sow in shallow drills six inches apart. Thin the
plants, and transfer the thinnings to rich light soil. They must be
liberally grown on well-manured land, with the aid of water in dry
weather.

==Lettuce== to be sown and planted at every opportunity. A few rows of
large Cos varieties should be sown in trenches prepared as for Celery,
there to be thinned and allowed to stand. They will form fine hearts,
and be valued at a time when Lettuces are scarce.

==Melon.==--For a final crop in houses sow as previously directed, and
grow the plants on in pots, until the house can be cleared of the former
set for their reception. The growth should be pushed forward to insure
ripe fruit before the end of September. In the event of dull weather at
the finish, there will be all the greater need of abundant but judicious
ventilation, and of a warm dry atmosphere at night. Before they become
heavy every fruit should have the support of nets or thin pieces of
board suspended by wires from the corners.

==Mushrooms== may be prepared for now. The first step towards success is
to accumulate a long heap of horse-droppings with the least possible
amount of litter. Let this ferment moderately, and turn it two or three
times, always making a long heap of it, which keeps down the
fermentation. When the fire is somewhat taken out of it, make up the bed
with a mixture of about four parts of the fermented manure and one part
of turfy loam, well incorporated. Beat the stuff together with the flat
of the spade as the work proceeds, fashioning the bed in the form of a
ridge about three feet wide at the base, and of any length that may be
convenient. Give the work a neat finish, or the Mushrooms will certainly
not repay you. Put in rather large lumps of spawn when the bed is nicely
warm, cover with a thin layer of fine soil, and protect with mats or
clean straw. This is a quick and easy way of growing Mushrooms, and by
commencing now the season is all before one. Nine times in ten, people
begin preparations for Mushroom growing about a month too late, for the
spawn runs during the hot weather, and the crop rises when the moderate
autumnal temperature sets in.

==Onions== to be sown for salading. Forward beds of large sorts to be
thinned in good time. The best Onions for keeping are those of moderate
size, perfectly ripened; therefore the thinning should not be too
severe.

==Peas== may still be sown, and as the season advances preference should
be given to quick-growing early varieties.

==Turnips== may be sown in variety and in quantity after Midsummer Day.
Sow on well-prepared ground, and put a sprinkle of artificial manure in
the drills with the seed. By hastening the early growth of the plant the
fly is kept in check.



==JULY==


For gardeners July is in one respect like January; everything depends on
the weather. It may be hot, with frequent heavy rains, and vegetation in
the most luxuriant growth; or the earth may be iron and the heavens
brass, with scarcely a green blade to be seen. The light flying showers
that usually occur in July do not render watering unnecessary; in fact,
a heavy soaking of a crop after a moderate rainfall is a valuable aid to
its growth, for it requires a long-continued heavy downpour to penetrate
to the roots.

==Summer-sown Vegetables for Autumn and Winter use.== As the month
advances early crops will be finished and numerous plots of ground
become vacant. In many gardens it is now the practice to sow in July and
August seeds of quick-growing varieties of Vegetables and Salads to
furnish supplies through the autumn and early winter months, and this
system is strongly to be commended. These sowings not only increase the
cropping capacity of the garden but they extend the use of many
favourite Vegetables which from spring sowings customarily cease at the
end of summer. Two things are essential to success. =Early-maturing
varieties only should be sown and the plants must be thinned immediately
they appear (thus avoiding transplanting), so that they receive no check
in growth.= The following subjects are especially suited for the
purpose: Dwarf French Beans (sow early in July), Beet, Cabbage, Carrot,
Cauliflower (sow early in July), Italian Corn Salad, Cress, Endive, Kohl
Rabi, Lettuce, Onion, Parsley, Peas, Radish, Spinach, and Turnip.
Potatoes may also be planted in July, but only tubers of early varieties
saved from the preceding year should be used.

==Garden Rubbish== is apt to accumulate in odd corners and become
offensive. The stumps of Cabbages and Cauliflowers give off most
obnoxious odours, and neighbours ought not to be annoyed by want of
thought in one particular garden. The short and easy way with all soft
decaying rubbish is to put it at the bottom of a trench when preparing
land for planting. There it ceases to be a nuisance and becomes a
valuable manure.

==Beans.==--A few Dwarf French Beans may still be sown to extend outdoor
crops to the latest possible date. For autumn and winter supplies
sowings of the Dwarf and Climbing classes may be made from mid-July to
mid-September, the dwarfs in cold frames and the climbers on narrow
borders in any house that can be spared for the purpose.

==Broccoli== to be planted out as before; many of the plants left over
from former plantings will now be stout and strong, and make useful
successions.

==Cabbage.==--The sowing of Cabbage seed at this period of the year
entails consequences of such grave importance as to merit
reconsideration. When the crop has passed the winter there is a danger
that the plants may bolt, instead of forming hearts. In the great
majority of such cases the loss is attributable to an unwise selection
of sorts. For sowing in spring there is quite a long list of varieties,
many of them possessing distinctive qualities which meet various
requirements. It is otherwise now. The Cabbages that can be relied on to
finish well in spring are comparatively few in number. But repeated
experiments have demonstrated that loss and disappointment can be
avoided by sowing only those varieties which show no tendency to bolt.
Another, but minor, cause of Cabbages starting seed-stems is premature
sowing. The exact date for any district must be determined by the
latitude and the aspect of the place. In the North sowing will, of
necessity, be earlier than in the Midlands or the South. Assuming,
however, that suitable varieties are chosen, the whole difficulty can be
disposed of, even on soils where Cabbages show an unusual tendency to
send up seed-stems prematurely, by sowing in August instead of in July.
The seed-bed should be nicely prepared, and any old plaster, or other
rubbish containing lime, should be dug in. Sow thinly, for a thick
sowing makes a weak plant, no matter how severely it may be thinned
afterwards.

==Cardoons== to be thinned to one plant in each station, and that, of
course, the strongest.

==Carrot.==--Frame culture of small sorts should commence, to produce a
succession of young Carrots for table.

==Celery== to be planted out in showery weather. It is too late to sow
now, except for soups, and for that purpose only a small sowing should
be made, as it may not come to anything.

==Chards.==--Those who care for Chards must cut down a number of Globe
Artichokes about six inches above ground, and, if necessary, keep the
plants well watered to induce new growth, which will be ready for
blanching in September.

==Cucumbers== on ridges generally do well without water, but they must not
be allowed to suffer from drought. If watering must be resorted to, make
sure first of soft water well warmed by exposure to the sun, and water
liberally three or four evenings in succession, and then give no more
for a week or so.

==Endive== to be sown for winter. It will be well to make two sowings, say
on the first and last days of the month.

==Garlic and Shallots== to be taken up in suitable weather, and it may be
necessary to complete the ripening under shelter.

==Leeks== to be planted out; and on dry soils, in trenches prepared as for
Celery.

==Parsley== to be sown for winter use. It is a most important matter, even
in the smallest garden, to have a constant supply.

==Peas.==--Only quick-growing early varieties should be sown now.

==Potatoes.==--Where there is a good crop of an early variety it should be
lifted without waiting for the shaws to die down. The tender skins will
suffer damage if the work is done roughly, but will soon harden, and the
stock will ripen in the store as perfectly as in the ground. It needs
some amount of courage to lift Potatoes while the tops are still green
and vigorous, and it should not be done until the roots are fully grown
and beginning to ripen. Quick-growing sorts may be planted to dig as new
Potatoes later in the year.

==Radish.==--Sow the large-growing kinds for winter use.

==Spinach.==--Sow the Prickly-seeded to stand the winter, selecting for
the seed-bed ground lying high and dry that has been at least twice dug
over and has had no recent manure. The twice digging is to promote the
destruction of the 'Spinach Moth' grub, which the robins and thrushes
will devour when exposed by digging. These grubs make an end of many a
good breadth of Winter Spinach every year, and are the more to be feared
by the careless cultivator.

==Turnips== to be sown in quantity in the early part of the month; thin
advancing crops, and keep the hoe in action amongst them.

==Winter Greens== of all kinds to be planted out freely in the best ground
at command, after a good digging, and to be aided with water for a week
or so should the weather be dry.



==AUGUST==


The importance of summer-sown Vegetables and Salads is dealt with under
July, and seeds of most of the subjects there named may still be put in
as ground becomes vacant. The supplies of the garden during the next
winter and spring will in great part depend upon good management now,
and the utmost must be made of the few weeks of growing weather that
remain. One great difficulty in connection with sowing seed at this
period of the year is the likelihood of the ground being too dry; yet it
is most unwise to water seeds, and it is always better if they can be
got up with the natural moisture of the soil alone. However, in an
extreme case the ground should be well soaked before the seed is sown,
and after sowing covered with hurdles, pea-sticks, or mats until the
seeds begin to sprout.

==Artichokes, Globe==, to be cut down as soon as the heads are used.

==Broccoli== to be planted out. As the Sprouting Broccoli, which belongs
to the class of 'Winter Greens,' does not pay well in spring unless it
grows freely now, plant it far enough apart; if crowded where already
planted to stand the winter, take out every alternate plant and make
another plantation.

==Cabbage.==--In many small gardens the August sowing of Cabbages is made
to suffice for the whole year, and in the largest establishments greater
breadths are sown now than at any other period. But whether the garden
be small or large, it is not wise to rely exclusively on the sowing of
any one kind. At least two varieties should be chosen, and as a
precaution each variety may be sown at two dates, with an interval of
about a fortnight between. The wisdom of this arrangement will be
evident in nine seasons out of ten. It allows for contingencies,
prolongs the season of supply, and offers two distinct dishes of a
single vegetable--the mature hearts, and the partially developed plants,
which differ, when served, both in appearance and in flavour. Where the
demand is extensive, or great diversity is required, three or four kinds
should be sown, including Red Cabbage to produce fine heads for pickling
next year.

==Cardoon.==--Commence blanching if the plants are ready.

==Cauliflower.==--Seed sown now will produce finer heads in spring and
early summer than are generally obtained from a January or February
sowing. The time to sow must be determined by the climate of the
district. In cold, late localities, the first week is none too early;
from the 15th to the 25th is a good time for all the Midland districts;
and the end of the month, or the first week of September, is early
enough in the South. In Devon and Cornwall the sowing is later still.
But whatever date may suit the district, the seed should be sown with
care, in order that a healthy growth may be promoted from the first.
Winter the plants in frames or by other convenient means, but it is
important to keep them hardy by giving air at every favourable
opportunity.

==Celery== to be carefully earthed up as required. It takes five weeks or
more to blanch Celery well, and as the earthing up checks growth, the
operation should not be commenced a day too soon. Take care that the
earth does not get into the hearts.

==Corn Salad== should be sown during this month and September to produce
plants fit for use in early spring. In the summer months the whole plant
is edible, but in winter or spring the outer leaves only should be used.

==Cucumber.==--For a supply of Cucumbers during the winter months the
general principles of management are identical with those given under
January and March, with one important exception. At the commencement of
the year a continued increase of light and warmth may be relied on. Now
there will be a constant diminution of these vital forces. Hence the
progress of the plants will gradually abate as the year wanes, and due
allowance must be made for the fact. So much depends on the character of
the autumn and winter that it will be unwise to risk all on a single
sowing. Seed put in on two or three occasions between the end of August
and the end of October will provide plants in various stages of growth
to meet the exigencies of the season. The production of Cucumbers will
then depend on care and management. In very dull cold weather it may be
dangerous to syringe the foliage, but the necessary moisture can be
secured by sprinkling the floor and walls.

==Endive.==--Make a final sowing, and plant out all that are large enough,
selecting, if possible, a dry, sloping bank for the purpose.

==Lettuce== to be sown to stand the winter, choosing the hardiest
varieties. In cold districts the middle of the month is a good time to
sow; in favoured places the end of the month is preferable.

==Onion.==--For many years the Tripoli section enjoyed pre-eminence for
sowing at this season, the opinion prevailing that other kinds were
unsuitable. But it is found that several varieties which may with
propriety be described as English Onions are as hardy as the Tripolis,
and therefore as well adapted for sowing at this season. Thus, instead
of sorts that must be used quickly, we may command for summer sowing the
best of the keepers, and the result will be heavier crops and earlier
ripening, with plentiful supplies of 'thinnings' for salads all through
the autumn and winter. Two sowings--one at the beginning, the other at
the end of the month--may be adopted with advantage. The storage of
Onions is often faulty, and consequently losses occur through mildew and
premature growth. If any are as yet unripe, spread them out in the sun
in a dry place, where they can be covered quickly in case of rain. In
wet, cold seasons, it is sometimes necessary to finish the store Onions
by putting them in a nearly cold oven for some hours before they are
stored away.

==Pea.==--Crops coming forward for late bearing should have attention,
more especially to make them safe against storms by a sufficiency of
support, and in case of drought to give abundance of water.

==Strawberry Plants== may be put in should the weather prove favourable;
but next month will answer. In burning weather it is well worth while to
bed the plants closely in a moist shady place until rain comes, and then
plant out.

==Tomatoes== to be gathered as soon as ripe. If bad weather interferes
with the finishing of the crop, cut the full-grown fruit with a length
of stem attached, and hang them up in a sunny greenhouse, or some other
warm spot in full daylight. Seed sown now or in September will produce
plants that should afford fine fruit in March, and it will need care and
judgment to carry them safely through the winter.

==Turnip== may be sown in the early part of the month. The best sorts now
are White Gem, or Snowball. All the Year Round will please those who
like a yellow Turnip.



==SEPTEMBER==


Weeds will be troublesome to the overworked and the idle gardener, while
the best-kept land will be full of seeds blown upon it from the
sluggard's garden, and the first shower will bring them up in terrific
force. All that we have to say about them is that they must be kept
down, for they not only choke the rising crops in seed-beds and spoil
the look of everything, but they very much tend to keep the ground damp
and cold, when, if they were away, it would get dry and warm, to the
benefit of all the proper crops upon it. Neglect will make the task of
eradication simply terrible, and, in the meantime, every crop on the
ground will suffer. The two great months for weeds are May and
September; but often the September weeds triumph, because the mischief
they do is not then so obvious to the casual eye. As there are now many
used-up crops that may be cleared away, large quantities of Cabbage,
Endive, Lettuce, and even thinnings of Spinach may be planted out to
stand the winter.

==Cabbage.==--We advocate crowding the land now with Cabbage plants, for
growth will be slow and the demands of the kitchen constant. Crowding,
however, is not quite the same thing as overcrowding, and it is only a
waste of labour, land and crop to put the plants so close together that
they have not space for full development. The usual rule in planting out
the larger sorts of Cabbage at this time of the year is to allow a
distance every way of two feet between the plants. The crowding
principle may be carried so far as to put miniature Cabbages between
them, but only on the clear understanding that the small stuff is all to
be cleared off before spring growth commences, and the large Cabbages
will then have proper space for development.

==Cauliflower.==--Sow again in a frame or in a pan in the greenhouse.

==Celery.==--Continue to earth up, selecting a dry time for the task.

==Chards== take quite six weeks to blanch by means of straw, covered with
earth.

==Cucumbers== for the winter need careful management and suitable
appliances. See the remarks on this subject under August.

==Endive== to be planted out as directed last month. Plant a few on the
border of an orchard-house, or in a ground vinery, or in old frames for
which some lights, however crazy, can be found.

==Lettuces== should be coming in from the garden now in good condition,
but the supply will necessarily be running short. Sowings of two or
three sorts should be made partly in frames and partly on a dry open
plot from which a crop has been taken. The ground should be well dug but
not manured. Sow thinly, so that there will not be much need for
thinning, and confine the selection to sorts known to be hardy. The
August sowings will soon be forward enough for putting out, and it will
be advisable to get the work done as early as possible, to insure the
plants being well established before winter.

==Parsley.==--The latest sowing will require thinning, but for the present
this must not be too strictly carried out; between this and spring
there will be many opportunities. Thin the plot by drawing out complete
plants as Parsley is demanded for the kitchen. If no late sowing was
made, or, having been made, has failed, cut down to the ground the
strongest plants, that a new growth may be secured quickly. A few plants
potted at the end of the month, or lifted and placed in frames, may
prove exceedingly valuable in winter.

==Potatoes== that are ready should be taken up with reasonable care. It is
not wise to wait for the dying down of the shaws, because, when the
tubers are fully grown, they ripen as well in the store, out of harm's
way, as in the ground, where they are exposed to influences that are
simply destructive.

==Spinach.==--In favourable seasons and forward localities Winter Spinach
sown in the first half of this month will make a good plant before
winter. Thin the plants that are already up to six inches apart.



==OCTOBER==


Weeds and falling leaves are the plagues of the season. It may seem that
they do no harm, but assuredly they are directly injurious to every crop
upon the ground, for they encourage damp and dirt by preventing a free
circulation of air amongst the crops, and the access of sunshine to the
land. Keep all clean and tidy, even to the removal of the lower leaves
of Cabbages, where they lie half decayed upon the ground.

The heavy rains of this month interfere in a material degree with
outdoor work, and are often a great impediment to the orderly management
that should prevail. The accumulation of rubbish anywhere, even if out
of sight, is to be deplored as an evil altogether. The injury to
vegetation is as great as that inflicted on our own health when dirt
poisons the air and damp hastens the general dissolution. It is
therefore above all things necessary to keep the garden clean from end
to end. All decaying refuse that can be put into trenches should be got
out of sight as soon as possible, to rot harmlessly instead of infecting
the air, and leaves should be often swept up into heaps, in which form
they cease to be injurious, although, when spread upon the ground and
trodden under foot, they are breeders of mischief. If in want of work,
ply the hoe amongst all kinds of crops, taking care not to break or
bruise healthy leaves, or to disturb the roots of any plant. Dig vacant
plots, and lay the land up in ridges in the roughest manner possible.
Heavy land may be manured now with advantage, but it is not desirable to
manure light land until spring.

==Cabbages== to be planted out as advised last month.

==Cardoon.==--Blanching must be continued.

==Carrots.==--Lift the roots and store in sand.

==Cauliflowers== to be prepared for the winter.

==Celeriac.==--Part of the crop should be lifted and stored in sand; the
plants left in the ground to be protected by earthing over.

==Celery== must be earthed up, and protecting material got ready to assure
its safety during frost.

==Chicory.==--Raise about a dozen plants at a time as required, cut or
wrench off the foliage, and pack the roots, crown upwards, in boxes with
moist leaf-mould or soil. They must be stored in absolute darkness in
some cellar or Mushroom-house which is safe from frost, but a forcing
temperature is detrimental to the flavour. Gathering may commence about
three weeks after storing. The yield is abundant, and is of especial
value for salading through the autumn and winter months.

==Endive== to be blanched for use as it acquires full size, but not
before, as the blanching makes an end of growth.

==Lettuce.==--Continue to plant as before advised, and make a final sowing
in frames not later than the middle of the month.

==Parsnips== may be dug all the winter as wanted. Although a slight frost
will not injure them when left in the ground, protection by rough litter
is needful in very severe weather. It often happens that they grow
freely soon after the turn of the year, and then become worthless.

==Potatoes== to be taken up and stored with all possible speed.

==Rhubarb== for forcing should be taken up and laid aside in a dry, cool
place, exposed to the weather. This gives the roots a check, and
constitutes a kind of winter, which in some degree prepares them for the
forcing pit.

==Roots==, such as Beet, Salsify, and Turnip, to be taken up as soon as
possible, and stored for the winter.

==Winter Greens== may still be transplanted, and it is often better to use
up the remainder of the seed-beds than to let the plants stand. In the
event of a severe winter, these late-planted Greens may not be of much
value; but in a mild growing winter they will make some progress, and
may prove very useful in the spring.



==NOVEMBER==


The remarks already made on the necessity for tidiness and the quick
disposal of all decaying refuse apply as forcibly to this month as to
October. The leaves are falling, the atmosphere is moist, and there
should be the utmost care taken not to make things worse by scatterings
of vegetable rubbish. Now we are in the 'dull days before Christmas' the
affairs of the garden may be reviewed in detail, and this is the best
period for such a review. Sorts that have done well or ill, wants that
have been felt, mistakes that have been made, are fresh in one's memory,
and in ordering seeds, roots, plants, &c., for next season's work,
experience and observation can be recorded with a view to future
benefit. Consistently with the revision of plans by the fireside, revise
the work out of doors. Begin to prepare for next year's crops by
trenching, manuring, planting, and collecting stuff to burn in a
'smother.' Land dug now for spring seeds and roots, and kept quite
rough, will only require to be levelled down and raked over when spring
comes to be ready for seed, and will produce better crops than if
prepared in a hurry. Protecting material for all the needs of the season
must be in readiness, in view of the fact that a few nights of hard
frost may destroy Lettuces, Endives, Celery, and Cauliflowers worth many
pounds, which a few shillings'-worth of labour and litter would have
saved. Earthwork can generally be pushed on, and it is good practice to
get all road-mending and the breaking up of new ground completed before
the year runs out, because of the hindrance that may result from frost,
and the inevitable pressure of other work at the turn of the spring. The
weather is an important matter; but often the month of November is
favourable to outdoor work, and labour can then be found more readily
than at most other seasons.

==Artichokes, Globe==, must be protected ere frost attacks them. Cut off
the stems and large leaves to within a foot of the ground; then heap up
along each side of the rows a lot of dry litter consisting of straw, pea
haulm, or leaves, taking care in so doing to leave free access to light
and air. The hearts must not be covered, or decay will follow.

==Artichokes, Jerusalem==, may be dug as wanted, but some should be lifted
and stored in sand for use during frosts.

==Asparagus== beds not yet cleaned must have prompt attention. Cut down
the brown grass and rake off all the weeds and rubbish, and finish by
putting on a dressing of seaweed, or half-rotten stable manure.

==Bean, Broad.==--It is customary on dry warm soils to sow Beans at the
end of October or during November for a first crop, and the practice is
to be commended. On cold damp soils, and on clay lands everywhere, it is
a waste of seed and labour to sow now, but every district has its
peculiar capabilities, and each cultivator must judge for himself. In
any case, Beans sown during this month should be put on well-drained
land in a sheltered spot.

==Broccoli.==--In inclement districts lay the plants with their heads
facing the north.

==Carrot== to be sown in frames, and successive sowings made every three
or four weeks until February.

==Cauliflowers== will be turning in, and possibly those coming forward
will be all the better off for being covered with a leaf to protect the
heads from frost. If the barometer rises steadily and the wind goes
round to north or north-east, draw all the best Cauliflowers, and put
them in a shed or any out-of-the-way place safe for use.

==Celery.==--Hard frost coming after heavy rain may prove destructive to
Celery; and it is well, if there is a crop worth saving, to cut a trench
round the plantation to favour escape of surplus water. If taken up and
packed away in a dry shed, the sticks will keep fresh for some time.

==Horse-radish== to be taken up and stored ready for use, and new
plantations made as weather permits and ground can be spared.

==Pea.==--The sowing of Peas outdoors now is not recommended for general
practice, but only for those who are so favourably circumstanced as to
have a fair prospect of success. If it is determined to sow, select for
the purpose a dry, light, well-drained sunny border, and make it safe
from mice, slugs, and sparrows. The quick-growing round-seeded varieties
must be chosen for the purpose, and it will be advisable to sow two or
three sorts rather than one only. Peas to be grown entirely under glass
may be started now.

==Sea Kale== to be lifted for forcing. This delicious vegetable may,
indeed, be forced for the table in this month; but it is not advisable
to be in such haste, for a fine sample cannot be secured so early. Sea
Kale is the easiest thing in the world to force; the only point of
importance is to have strong roots to begin with. Any place such as
Mushroom-houses, cellars, pits, or old sheds, where it is possible to
maintain a temperature of 45° to 55°, may be utilised for the purpose.
Put the plants thickly into pots or boxes, or plant them in a bed, and
it is essential to exclude light to insure blanching. By these simple
means a regular supply may be obtained until the permanent beds in the
open ground come into use.



==DECEMBER==


The best advice that can be given for this month is to be prepared for
either heavy rain or sharp frost, so that extreme variations of
temperature may inflict the least possible injury in the garden. Let the
work be ordered with reference to the weather, that there may be no
'poaching' on wet ground, or absurd conflict with frost. Accept every
opportunity of wheeling out manure; and as long as the ground can be dug
without waste of labour, proceed to open trenches, make drains, and mend
walks, because this is the period for improving, and the place must be
very perfect which affords no work for winter weather. Dispose of all
rubbish by the simple process of putting it in trenches when digging
plots for early seeds. In sheds and outhouses many tasks may be found,
such as making large substantial tallies for the garden; the little
paltry things commonly used being simply delusive, for they are
generally missing when wanted, from their liability to be trodden into
the ground or kicked anywhere by a heedless foot. Make ready pea-sticks,
stakes of sizes, and at odd times gather up all the dry stuff that is
adapted for a grand 'smother.' A careful forecasting of the next year's
cropping will show that even now many arrangements may be made to
increase the chances of success.

==Warm Border== to be prepared for early work by digging and manuring. All
the refuse turf and leaf-mould from the potting-shed and the soil
knocked out of pots may be usefully disposed of by adding it to this
border, which cannot be too light or too rich, and a good dressing of
manure will give it strength to perform its duties.

==Beans, Broad==, to be earthed up for protection and support.

==Celery== to be earthed up for the last time. In case of severe weather,
have protecting material at hand in the shape of dry litter or mats.
Pea-sticks make a capital foundation on which to throw long litter,
mats, &c., for quickly covering Celery, the protection being as quickly
removed when the frost is over, and costing next to nothing.

==Endive== will be valued now, and must be blanched as required. Place a
few in frames and other protected spots. In the unused corners of sheds
and outhouses they may be safer than out of doors.

==Parsley.==--In all cold districts it is wise to secure a bed of Parsley,
in a frame or pit, or if a few plants were potted in September, they may
be wintered in any place where they can have light and air freely. It is
so important to have Parsley at command as wanted, that it may be worth
while to put a frame over a few rows as they stand in the open quarter,
rather than risk the loss of all in the event of severe weather.

==Radish.==--Sow one of the long sorts for a first supply in some warm
spot, to secure quick growth.

==Underground Onions== to be planted in rows one foot apart. They should
not be earthed up, for the young bulbs form round the stems in full
daylight.



THE ROTATION OF CROPS IN THE VEGETABLE GARDEN


This is a subject worthy the attention of those who aim at the largest
possible production and the highest possible quality of every kind of
kitchen-garden crop, for it concerns the natural relations of the plant
and the soil as to their several chemical constituents. The principle
may be illustrated by considering the demands of two of the most common
kitchen-garden crops. If we submit a Cabbage to the destructive agency
of fire, and analyse the ashes that remain, we shall find in them, in
round numbers, eight per cent. of sulphuric acid, sixteen per cent. of
phosphoric acid, four per cent. of soda, forty-eight per cent. of
potash, and fifteen per cent. of lime. It is evident that we cannot
expect to grow a Cabbage on a soil which is destitute of these
ingredients, to say nothing of others. The obnoxious odour of sulphur
emitted by decaying Cabbages might indicate, to anyone accustomed to
reflect on ordinary occurrences, that sulphur is an important
constituent of Cabbage. If we submit a Potato tuber to a similar
process, the result will be to find in the ashes fifty-nine per cent. of
potash, two per cent. of soda, six per cent. of sulphuric acid, nineteen
per cent. of phosphoric acid, and two per cent. of lime. The lesson for
the cultivator is, that to prepare a soil for Cabbage it is of the
utmost importance to employ a manure containing sulphates, phosphates,
and potash salts in considerable quantity; as for the lime, that can be
supplied separately, but the Cabbage must have it. On the other hand, to
prepare a soil for Potatoes it is necessary to employ a manure strongly
charged with salts of potash and phosphates, but it need not be highly
charged with soda or lime, for we find but a small proportion of these
ingredients in the Potato. There are soils so naturally rich in all
that crops require, that they may be tilled for years without the aid
of manures, and will not cease to yield an abundant return. But such
soils are exceptional, and those that need constant manuring are the
rule. One point more, ere we proceed to apply to practice these
elementary considerations. In almost every soil, whether strong clay,
mellow loam, poor sand, or even chalk, there are comminglings of all the
minerals required by plants, and, indeed, if there were not, we should
see no herbage on the downs, and no Ivies climbing, as they do, to the
topmost heights of limestone rocks. But usually a considerable
proportion of those mineral constituents on which plants feed are locked
up in the staple, and are only dissolved out slowly as the rain, the
dew, the ever-moving air, and the sunshine operate upon them and make
them available. As the rock slowly yields up its phosphates, alkalies
and silica to the wild vegetation that runs riot upon it, so the
cultivated field (which is but rock in a state of decay) yields up its
phosphates, alkalies and silica for the service of plants the more
quickly because it is the practice of the cultivator to stir the soil
and continually expose fresh surfaces to the transforming power of the
atmosphere. It has been said that the air we breathe is a powerful
manure. So it is, but not in the sense that is applicable to stable
manure or guano. The air may and does afford to plants much of their
food, but it can only help them to the minerals they require by
dissolving these out of pebbles, flints, nodules of chalk, sandstone,
and other substances in the soil which contain them in what may be
termed a locked-up condition. Every fresh exposure of the soil to the
air, and especially to frost and snow, is as the opening of a new mine
of fertilisers for the service of those plants on which man depends for
his subsistence.

The application to practice of these considerations is an extremely
simple matter in the first instance, but it may become very complicated
if followed far enough. Here we can only touch the surface of the
subject, yet we hope to do so usefully. Suppose, then, that we grow
Cabbage, or Cauliflower, or Broccoli, on the same plot of ground, one
crop following the other for a long series of years, and never refresh
the soil with manure, it must be evident that we shall, some day or
other, find the crop fail through the exhaustion of the soil of its
available sulphur, phosphates, lime, or potash. But if this soil were
allowed to lie fallow for some time, it would again produce a crop of
Cabbage, owing to the liberation of mineral matters which, when the
crops were failing, were not released fast enough, but which, during the
rest allowed to the soil, accumulated sufficiently to sustain a crop.
Obviously this mode of procedure is unprofitable and tends of necessity
to exhaustion, although it must be confessed that utter exhaustion of
any soil is a thing at present almost unknown. But, instead of following
a practice which impoverishes, let us enrich the soil with manure, and
change the crops on the same plot, so that when one crop has largely
taxed it for one class of minerals, a different crop is grown which will
tax it for another class of minerals. Take for a moment's consideration
one of the necessary constituents of a fertile soil, common salt
(chloride of sodium). In the ash of a Cabbage there is about six per
cent. of this mineral, in the Turnip about ten per cent., in the Potato
two to three per cent., in the Beet eighteen to twenty per cent. On the
other hand the Beet contains very little sulphur, but both Turnip and
Beet agree in being strongly charged with potash and soda. It follows
that if we crop a piece of ground with Cabbage, and wish to avoid the
failure that may occur if we continue to crop with Cabbage, we may
expect to do well by giving the ground a dressing of common salt and
potash salts, and then crop it with Beet.

The whole subject is not exhausted by this mode of viewing it, for all
the facts are not yet fully understood by the ablest of our chemists and
physiologists, and crops differ in their methods of seeking nourishment.
We might find two distinct plants nearly agreeing in chemical
constitution, and yet one might fail where the other would succeed.
Suppose, for instance, we have grown Cabbage and other surface-rooting
crops until the soil begins to fail, even then we might obtain from it a
good crop of Parsnips or Carrots, for the simple reason that these send
their roots down to a stratum that the Cabbage never reached; and it is
most instructive to bear in mind that although the Parsnip will grow on
poor land, and pay on land that has been badly tilled for years, yet the
ashes of the Parsnip contain thirty-six per cent. of potash, eleven per
cent. of lime, eighteen per cent. of phosphoric acid, six per cent. of
sulphuric acid, three per cent. of phosphate of iron, and five per cent.
of common salt. How does the Parsnip obtain its mineral food in a soil
which for other crops appears to be exhausted? Simply by pushing down
for it into a mine that has hitherto been but little worked, though
Cabbage might fail on the same plot because the superficial stratum has
been overtaxed.

Having attempted a general, we now proceed to a particular application.
In the first place, good land, well tilled and abundantly manured,
cannot be soon exhausted; but even in this case a rotation of crops is
advisable. It is less easy to say why than to insist that in practice we
find it to be so. The question then arises--What is a rotation of crops?
It is the ordering of a succession in such a manner that the crops will
tax the soil for mineral aliments in a different manner. A good rotation
will include both chemical and mechanical differences, and place
tap-roots in a course between surface roots, as, for example, Carrot,
Parsnip, and Beet, after Cabbage, Cauliflower, and Broccoli; and light,
quick surface crops, such as Spinach, to serve as substitutes for
fallows. The cropping of the kitchen garden should be, as far as
possible, so ordered that plants of the same natural families never
immediately succeed one another; and, above all things, it is important
to shift from place to place, year after year, the Cabbages and the
Potatoes, because these are the most exhaustive crops we grow. In a ton
of Potatoes there are about twelve pounds of potash, four pounds of
sulphuric acid, four pounds of phosphoric acid, and one pound of
magnesia. We may replace these substances by abundant manuring, and we
are bound to say that the best rotation will not obviate the necessity
for manuring; but even then it is well to crop the plot with Peas,
Spinach, Lettuce, and other plants that occupy it for a comparatively
brief space of time, and necessitate much digging and stirring; for
these mechanical agencies combine with the manure in preparing the plot
to grow Potatoes again much better than if the land were kept to this
crop only from year to year. If we could mark out a plot of ground into
four parts, we should devote one plot to permanent crops--such as
Asparagus, Sea Kale, and Rhubarb--and on the other three keep the crops
revolving in some such order as this: No. 1, Potatoes, Celery, Leek,
Carrot, Parsnip, Beet, &c. No. 2, Peas, Beans, Onions, Summer Spinach,
&c., followed by Turnips for winter use, Cabbage for spring use, and
Winter Spinach. No. 3, Brassicas, including Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts,
Kale, &c. In the following year the original No. 1 would be cropped as
No. 2, and No. 2 as No. 3. In the third season corresponding changes
would be made, constituting a three-course system. The cultivator must
use discretion in cropping vacant ground. As an example it will be
obvious that land cleared of Early Potatoes will be very suitable for
planting Strawberries. Another point is worth attention: Peas sown on
the lines where Celery has been grown will thrive without any
preparation beyond levelling the ground and drawing the necessary
drills. This is a West of England custom, and it answers exceedingly
well.



THE CHEMISTRY OF GARDEN CROPS


A Consideration of the chemistry of the crops that engage attention in
this country will afford an explanation of one great difference between
farming and gardening. And this difference should be kept in mind by all
classes of cultivators as the basis of operations in tillage, cropping,
and the order and character of rotations. The first thing to discover in
the cropping of a farm is the kind of vegetation for which the land is
best adapted to insure, in a run of seasons, fairly profitable results.
If the soil is unfit for cereals, then it is sheer folly to sow any more
corn than may be needful for convenience, as, for example, to supply
straw for thatching and litter, and oats for horses, to save cost of
carriage, &c. On large farms that are far removed from markets it is
often necessary to risk a few crops that the land is ill fitted for, in
order to satisfy the requirements of the homestead, and to save the
outlay of money and the inconvenience of hauling from distant markets.
But everywhere the cropping must be adapted to the soil and the climate
as nearly as possible, both to simplify operations and enlarge to the
utmost the chances of success. In the cropping of a garden this plain
procedure cannot be followed. We are compelled certainly to consider
what the soil and climate will especially favour amongst garden crops,
but, notwithstanding this, the gardener must grow whatever the household
requires. He may have to grow Peas on a hot shallow sand; and Potatoes
and Carrots on a cold clay; and Asparagus on a shallow bed of pebbles
and potsherds. To the gardener the chemistry of crops is a matter of
great importance, because he cannot restrict his operations to such
crops as the land is particularly adapted for, but must endeavour to
make the land capable of carrying more or less of all the vegetables
and fruits that find a place in the catalogue of domestic wants. That he
must fail at certain points is inevitable; nevertheless his aim will be,
and must be, of a somewhat universal kind, and a clear idea of the
relations of plants to the soil in which they grow will be of constant
and incalculable value to him.

We are bound to say at the outset that a complete essay on the chemistry
of vegetation is not our purpose. We are anxious to convey some useful
information, and to kindle sufficient interest to induce those who have
hitherto given but slight attention to this question to inquire further,
with a view to get far beyond the point at which we shall have to quit
the subject.

Plants consist of two classes of constituents--the Inorganic, which may
be called the foundation; and the Organic, which may be considered the
superstructure. With the former of these we are principally concerned
here. A plant must derive from the soil certain proportions of silica,
lime, sulphur, phosphates, alkalies, and other mineral constituents, or
it cannot exist at all; but, given these, the manufacture of fibre,
starch, gum, sugar, and other organic products depends on the action of
light, heat, atmospheric air, and moisture, for the organic products
have to be created by chemical (or vital) action within the structure,
or, as we sometimes say, the tissues of the plant itself. To a very
great extent the agencies that conduce to the elaboration of organic
products are beyond our control (though not entirely so), whereas we can
directly, and to a considerable degree, provide the plant with the
minerals it more particularly requires; first, by choosing the ground
for it, and next by tilling and manuring in a suitable manner. A clay
soil, in which, in addition to the predominating alumina, there is a
fair proportion of lime, may be regarded as the most fertile for all
purposes; but we have few such in Britain, our clays being mostly of an
obdurate texture, retentive of moisture, and requiring much cultivation,
and containing, moreover, salts of iron in proportions and forms almost
poisonous to plants. But there are profound resources in most clays, so
that if it is difficult to tame them, it is also difficult to exhaust
them. Hence a clay that has been well cultivated through several
generations will generally produce a fair return for whatever crop may
be put upon it. Limestone soils are usually very porous and deficient of
clay, and therefore have no sustaining power. Many of our great tracts
of mountain limestone are mere sheep-walks, and would be comparatively
worthless except for the lime that may be obtained by burning. On the
other hand, chalk, which is a more recent form of carbonate of lime, is
often highly productive, more especially where, through long
cultivation, it has been much broken up, and has become loamy through
accumulation of humus. Between the oldest limestone and the latest chalk
there are many intermediate kinds of calcareous soils, and they are
mostly good, owing to their richness in phosphates, the products of the
marine organisms of which these rocks in great part, and in some cases
wholly, consist. For the growth of cereals these calcareous soils need a
certain proportion of silica, and where they have this we see some of
the finest crops of Wheat, Trifolium, Peas and Beans in these islands.
If we could mix some of our obdurate clays with our barren limestones,
the two comparatively worthless staples would probably prove remarkably
fertile. Although this is impossible, a consideration of the chemistry
of the imaginary mixture may be useful, more especially to the gardener,
who can in a small way accomplish many things that are impracticable on
a great scale. Sandy soils are characterised by excess of silica, and
deficiency of alumina, phosphates and potash. Here the mechanical
texture is as serious a matter as it is in the case of clay. The sand is
too loose as the clay is too pasty, and it may be that we have to
prevent the estate from being blown away. It is especially worthy of
observation, however, that sandy soils are the most readily amenable of
any to the operation of tillage. If we cannot take much out of them, we
can put any amount into them, and it is always necessary to calculate
where the process of enrichment is to stop. It is not less worthy of
observation that sandy soils can be rendered capable of producing almost
every kind of crop, save cereals and pulse, and even these can be
secured where there is some basis of peat or loam or clay with the sand.
The parks and gardens of Paris, Versailles, and Haarlem are on deep
sands that drift before the wind when left exposed for any length of
time with no crop upon them; and not only do we see the finest of
Potatoes and the most nutritious of herbage produced on these soils, but
good Cauliflowers, Peas, Beans, Onions, fruits, and big trees of sound
timber.

Garden soils usually consist of loam of some kind, the consequence of
long cultivation. Natural loams are the result of the decay and
admixture of various earths, and they are mostly of a mellow texture,
easily worked and highly productive. They are, as a rule, the best of
all soils, and their goodness is in part due to the fact that they
contain a little of everything, with no great predominance of any one
particular earth. Cultivation also produces loam. On a clay land we
find a top crust of clayey loam, and on a lime or chalk land a top crust
of calcareous loam. Where cultivation has been long pursued the staple
is broken and manures are put on, and the roots of plants assist in
disintegration and decomposition. Thus there is accumulation of humus
and a decomposition of the rock proceeding together, and a loam of some
sort is the result. Hence the necessity of caution in respect of deep
trenching, for if we bury the top soil and put in its place a crude
material that has not before seen daylight, we may lose ten years in
profitable cropping, because we must now begin to tame a savage soil
that we have been at great pains to bring up, to cover a stratum of a
good material prepared for us by the combined operations of Nature and
Art during, perhaps, several centuries. But deep and good garden soils
may be safely trenched and freely knocked about, because not only does
the process favour the deep rooting of the plants, but it favours also
that disintegration which is one of the causes of fertility. Every
pebble is capable of imparting to the soil a solution--infinitesimal,
perhaps, but not the less real--of silica, or lime, or potash, or
phosphates, or perhaps of all these; but it must be exposed to light and
air and moisture to enable it to part with a portion of its substance,
and thus it is that mechanical tillage is of the first importance in all
agricultural and horticultural operations.

The principal inorganic or mineral constituents of plants are potash,
soda, lime, iron, phosphorus, sulphur, chlorine, and silica. Clays and
loams are generally rich in potash, sulphur, and phosphates, but
deficient in soluble silica and lime. Limestone and chalk are usually
rich in lime and phosphates, but deficient in humus, silica, sulphur,
and alkalies. Sandy soils are rich in silica, but are generally poor in
respect of phosphates and alkalies. Therefore, on a clay or loam,
farmyard manure is invaluable, because it contains ingredients that all
crops appreciate, and also because it is helpful in breaking up the
texture of the soil. The occasional application of lime also is
important for its almost magical effect on garden soil that has been
liberally manured and heavily cropped for a long term of years.
Calcareous soils are greatly benefited by a free application to them of
manure from the stable and cow-byre; but as a rule it would be like
carrying coals to Newcastle to dress these soils with lime. Clay may be
put on with advantage; and nothing benefits a hot chalky soil more than
a good dose of mud from ponds and ditches, which supplies at once humus,
alumina, and silicates, and gives 'staple' to the soil, while
preventing it also from 'burning.' In the manuring of sandy soils great
care is requisite, because of their absorbing power. In the bulb-growing
districts of Holland, manure from cowsheds is worth an enormous price
for digging into loose sand for a crop of Potatoes, to be followed by
bulbs. Sandy soils are generally deficient in phosphates and alkalies;
hence it will on such soils be frequently found that kainit (a crude
form of potash) and superphosphate of lime will conjointly produce the
best results, more especially in raising Potatoes, Onions, and Carrots,
which are particularly well adapted for sandy soils. Probably one of the
best fertilisers is genuine farmyard manure from stall-fed cattle, for
it contains phosphates, alkalies, and silicates in available forms. For
similar reasons Peruvian Guano is often useful on such soils. Artificial
manure should be selected with a view to correct the deficiencies of the
soil, and to satisfy the requirements of the crops to be grown on it.

While we have thus dealt principally with the Inorganic or mineral
constituents of plants, and the way in which the deficiencies of the
soil in respect of any of them may be supplied by artificial
applications, we must not ignore the other class of constituents, the
Organic. These are supplied almost entirely from the atmosphere itself,
though, to a limited extent, the presence in the soil of humus or
vegetable matter contributes also. Yet this latter, as seen in the case
of land heavily dressed with farmyard or stable manure, vegetable
refuse, &c, exercises important functions in other directions. Not only
are mineral constituents, in forms available for assimilation, supplied,
but soils so treated derive peculiar advantages as regards their
mechanical state and improved physical conditions, chiefly in respect of
retention of moisture, warmth, &c. Thus, sandy soils, which are very
apt, through poverty in humus, to lose their moisture readily and to
'burn,' are rendered more retentive of moisture and fertilising
constituents by the use of farmyard manure, &c., and have more 'staple'
or substance given to them, while heavy, tenacious clays are opened out,
lightened, and rendered more amenable to the influences of drainage,
aeration, &c., and so become less cold and inactive.

For the present purpose the principal garden crops may be grouped in two
classes, in accordance with their main characteristics and the
predominance of certain of their mineral elements. The figures given on
the following page show the average percentage proportions of the
several minerals in the ashes of the different plants.

In Class I. Phosphates and Potash predominate. This class consists of
the less succulent plants, and includes the following: The Pea:
containing, in 100 parts of the ashes, phosphates, thirty-six; potash,
forty. Bean: phosphates, thirty; potash, forty-four. Potato (tubers
only): phosphates, nineteen; potash, fifty-nine; soda, two; lime, two;
sulphuric acid, six. Parsnip: phosphates, eighteen; potash, thirty-six;
lime, eleven; salt, five. Carrot: phosphates, twelve; potash,
thirty-six; soda, thirteen; sulphuric acid, six. Jerusalem Artichoke:
phosphates, sixteen; potash, sixty-five.

In Class II. Sulphur, Lime and Soda Salts are predominant. This class
consists of the more succulent plants, and includes the following:
Cabbage: containing, in 100 parts of the ashes, phosphates, sixteen;
potash, forty-eight; soda, four; lime, fifteen; sulphuric acid, eight.
Turnip: phosphates, thirteen; potash, thirty-nine; soda, five; lime,
ten; sulphuric acid, fourteen. Beet: phosphates, fourteen; potash,
forty-nine; soda, nineteen; lime, six; sulphuric acid, five.

As a matter of course, Lentils and other kinds of pulse agree more or
less with Peas and Beans in the predominance of phosphates and potash.
So, again, all the Brassicas, whether Kales, Cauliflower, or whatever
else, agree nearly with the Cabbage in the prominent presence of lime
and sulphur; ingredients which fully account for the offensive odour of
these vegetables when in a state of decay. Fruits as a rule are highly
charged with alkalies, and are rarely deficient in phosphates; moreover,
stone-fruits require lime, for they have to make bone as well as flesh
when they produce a crop. As regards the alkalies, plants appear capable
of substituting soda for potash under some circumstances, but it would
not be prudent for the cultivator to assume that the cheaper alkali
might take the place of the more costly one as a mineral agent, for
Nature is stern and constant in her ways, and it can hardly be supposed
that a plant in which potash normally predominates can attain to
perfection in a soil deficient in potash, however well supplied it may
be with soda. The cheaper alkali in combination as salt (chloride of
sodium) may, however, be usually employed in aid of quick-growing green
crops; and more or less with tap-roots and Brassicas. Salt, too, is very
useful in a dry season by reason of its power of attracting and
retaining moisture. As regards Potatoes, it is worthy of observation
that they contain but a trace of silica, and yet they generally thrive
on sand, and in many instances crops grown on sand are free from disease
and of high quality, although the weight may not be great. The
mechanical texture of the soil has much to do with this; and when that
is aided by a supply of potash and phosphates, whether from farmyard
manure or artificials, sandy soils become highly productive of Potatoes
of the very finest quality. On the other hand, Potatoes also grow well
on limestone and chalk, and yet there is but little lime in them. Here,
again, mechanical texture explains the case in part, and it is further
explained by the sufficiency of potash and phosphates, as also of
magnesia, which enters in a special manner into the mineral constitution
of this root.

Thus far we have not even mentioned nitrogen, or its common form of
salts of ammonia; nor have we mentioned carbon, or its very familiar
form of carbonic acid. These are important elements of plant growth; and
they account for the efficacy of manures derived directly from the
animal kingdom, as, for example, the droppings of animals, including
guano, which consisted originally of the droppings of sea-birds. Some of
the nitrogen in these substances, however, is of an evanescent
character, and rapidly flies away in the form of carbonate of ammonia;
hence, a heap of farmyard manure, left for several years, loses much of
its value as manure, and guano should be kept in bulk as long as
possible, and protected from the atmosphere, or its ammonia will largely
disappear. One difficulty experienced by chemists and others in
preparing artificial manures is that of 'fixing' the needful ammonia, so
that it may be kept from being dissipated in the atmosphere, and at the
same time be always in a state in which it can be appropriated by the
plant. In all good manures, however, there is a certain proportion of it
in combination, and in many instances the percentage of nitrogen is made
the test of the value of a manure.

The importance of humus--the black earthy substance resulting from the
decay of vegetation--in a soil is that it contains in an assimilable
form many of the ingredients essential to plant life. Humus when it
decomposes gives off carbonic acid, which breaks up the mineral
substances in the soil and renders them available as plant food. When
vegetable refuse is burned, the nitrogen--one of the costliest
constituents--is dissipated and lost. But by burying the refuse the soil
gets back a proportion of the organic nitrogen it surrendered and
something over in the way of soluble phosphatic and potassic salts; and
as this organic nitrogen assumes ultimately the form of nitric acid, it
can be assimilated by the growing plant, to the great benefit of
whatever crop may occupy the ground.

The practical conclusion is, that in the treatment of the soil a skilful
gardener will endeavour to promote its fertility by affording the
natural influences of rain, frost and sun full opportunity of liberating
the constituents that are locked up in the staple; by restoring in the
form of refuse as much as possible of what the soil has parted with in
vegetation; and by the addition of such fertilising agents as are
adapted to rectify the natural deficiencies of the soil. Thus, instead
of following a process of exhaustion, the resources of the garden may be
annually augmented.



ARTIFICIAL MANURES AND THEIR APPLICATION TO GARDEN CROPS


Plants, like animals, require food for their sustenance and development,
and when this is administered in insufficient quantities, or unsuitable
foods are supplied, they remain small, starved, and unhealthy.

The chemical elements composing the natural food of ordinary crops are
ten in number, viz.--carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, sulphur,
phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and iron. These are obtained
from the soil and air, and unless all of them are available plants will
not grow. The absence of even one of them is as disastrous as the want
of all, and a deficiency of one cannot be made up by an excess of
another; for example, if the soil is deficient in potassium the crop
suffers and cannot be improved by adding iron or magnesium. All the
food-elements are found in adequate quantities in practically all soils
and the surrounding air, except three--nitrogen, potassium, and
phosphorus. These are often present in reduced amount, or in a state
unsuited to plants; in such cases the deficiency must be made up before
remunerative healthy crops can be grown, and it is with this express
object that manures are added to the soil.

One of the best known substances employed in this way is farmyard
manure, which is indirectly derived from plants and contains all the
elements needed for the growth of crops. It is, however, of very
variable composition and rarely, or never, contains these elements in
the most suitable proportions, and its value can always be greatly
improved by supplementing its action with one or other of the so-called
artificial manures or fertilisers. Although it is strongly advisable to
add farmyard manure or vegetable composts to the soil of all gardens now
and again, in order to keep the texture of the soil in a satisfactory
condition, excellent crops can be grown by the use of artificial
fertilisers alone. To obtain the best results from these some experience
is of course necessary, but the following details regarding the nature
and application of the commoner and more useful kinds should prove a
serviceable guide in the majority of cases.

Artificial manures may be divided into three classes:--

1. The Nitrogenous class, of which nitrate of soda and sulphate of
ammonia are examples.

2. The Phosphatic class, such as superphosphate, basic slag, and steamed
bone flour.

3. The Potash class, including kainit and sulphate of potash. The
several examples of each class contain only one of the three important
plant food-elements, and as a single element can only be of use when the
others are present in the soil, it is generally advisable to apply one
from each class, either separately or mixed, in order to insure that the
crop is supplied with nitrogen, phosphates, and potash.

==Nitrogenous manures== specially stimulate the growth of the foliage,
stems, and roots of plants, and are therefore of the greatest benefit to
Carrots, Parsnips, Turnips, Beet, Celery, Asparagus, Rhubarb, all the
Cabbage tribe, and leafy crops generally.

=Nitrate of soda= supplies the single plant food-element, nitrogen, and
the soda for all practical purposes may be disregarded. It dissolves
very easily in water and is taken up immediately by growing plants, its
effect being plainly seen a few days after application. As this
artificial readily drains away from uncropped land it should only be
administered to growing plants. It is best applied in spring and summer
and in small quantities; for example, at the rate of one pound per
square rod, repeated at intervals of two or three weeks, rather than in
a single large dose. Nitrate of soda must not be mixed with
superphosphate, but it may be added to basic slag and the potash
manures.

=Sulphate of ammonia= is another nitrogenous fertiliser, similar in its
effects to nitrate of soda, but slower in action since its nitrogen must
undergo a change into nitrate before it is available for plants. It is
held by the soil, and can therefore be applied earlier in spring than
nitrate of soda without fear of loss. The continued use of this manure,
however, is liable to make the soil sour, and consequently it should
only be employed on ground containing lime, or to which lime has been
added. Never mix sulphate of ammonia with basic slag or with lime, but
it may be mixed with superphosphate and the potash manures.

==Phosphatic manures== have the opposite effect to the nitrogenous
fertilisers, checking rampant growth and encouraging the early
formation of flowers, fruit, and seeds. They are comparatively
inexpensive and should be liberally applied to all soils for all crops.
=Superphosphate= is an acid manure and best suited for use on soils
containing lime. =Basic slag= is a better material for ground deficient
in lime, or where 'club-root' is prevalent. It is less soluble and
therefore slower in action than superphosphate. Both these fertilisers
should be dug into the soil some time before the crop is planted or seed
sown--superphosphate at the rate of two to three pounds per square rod;
basic slag in larger amount, five to six pounds per square rod.
Superphosphate may also be employed as a top-dressing and worked into
the surface around growing plants with the hoe. =Steamed bone meal= or
=flour= is another useful phosphatic fertiliser, valuable on the lighter
classes of soil.

==Potash manures== are of benefit to plants in all stages of growth. They
are particularly valuable to Potatoes, leguminous crops, Carrots,
Parsnips, Turnips, and Beet. Like the phosphatic manures they should be
worked into the soil before seeds are sown or plants are put out.
=Kainit= is best applied in autumn, for it contains a considerable
amount of common salt and magnesium compounds which are sometimes
deleterious and best washed away in the drainage water during winter. It
should be dug in at the rate of about three pounds per square rod.
=Sulphate of potash= is three or four times as rich in potash as kainit,
and is correspondingly more expensive; apply in spring and summer, a
little in advance of sowing or planting, at the rate of about one pound
per square rod.

==Lime==.--- A word or two must be said about lime, which is a natural
constituent of all soils. In many instances there is sufficient for the
needs of most plants, but where lime is deficient in quantity it must be
added before healthy crops can be raised. Old gardens to which dung has
been freely applied annually require a liberal dressing of lime every
few years, or the ground becomes sour and incapable of growing good
crops of any kind. To insure the proper action of whatever manures are
used and to secure healthy crops, an application of slaked quicklime, at
the rate of fourteen to twenty pounds per square rod, is strongly
recommended. As a remedy against 'clubbing' or 'finger-and-toe' disease
of the Cabbage tribe of plants it is indispensable; it also neutralises
the baneful acidity of the land, and opens up stiff soils, making them
more easily tilled, more readily penetrated by the air, and warmer by
the better drainage of water through them.

The following suggestions for the manuring of the different crops
mentioned will be found effective. It is, however, not intended that
they should be slavishly followed, for useful substitutions may be made
in the formulæ given, if the nature of the various fertilisers is
understood and an intelligent grasp is obtained of the principles of
manuring enunciated in this and the preceding chapter.

In place of nitrate of soda, a similar quantity of sulphate of ammonia
may be used.

Instead of superphosphate, the following may be advantageously employed:
phosphatic guano, or mixtures of basic slag and superphosphate, or bone
meal and superphosphate; or basic slag may be applied alone on land
deficient in lime.

Four pounds of kainit may also take the place of one pound of sulphate
of potash in the suggested mixtures mentioned below.

Where dung is recommended, twenty to twenty-five loads per acre is
meant; larger quantities are frequently applied, but these are
uneconomical and much less efficient than more moderate amounts
supplemented with artificial fertilisers.

All the manures should be worked into the soil before sowing or planting
out, except the nitrate of soda, which is best applied separately to the
growing plants, preferably in small doses at intervals of two to four
weeks.

=In all cases the quantities of artificials named are intended for use
on one square rod or pole of ground.=

PEAS AND BEANS.--These leguminous plants are able to obtain all the
nitrogen they need from the air. They should, however, be amply supplied
with potash and phosphates, a good dressing being:--

2-3/4 to 3-1/2 lb. superphosphate
           3/4 lb. sulphate of potash

DWARF BEANS are sometimes benefited by the addition of 1/2-lb. to 1 lb.
of nitrate of soda.

ASPARAGUS.

A dressing of dung
         2 lb. nitrate of soda
3-1/2 to 4 lb. superphosphate
         3 lb kainit

The kainit contains a considerable amount of salt, which is of value to
this crop.

BEET.--For a fine crop a moderate amount of well-decayed dung applied in
autumn is almost essential, as well as 3 to 4 lb. of superphosphate per
square rod in spring. On land previously dressed with dung for a former
crop, the following may be used, especially on the lighter class of
soils:--

1-1/2 lb. nitrate of soda when the plants are well
up, and a similar amount a fortnight
after singling
4 to 5 lb. superphosphate
4 lb. kainit
BROCCOLI AND CAULIFLOWER.

=With dung=.
2 to 3 lb. nitrate of soda
2 to 3 lb. superphosphate
3/4 lb. sulphate of potash

=Without dung=.
4 to 5 lb. nitrate of soda
4 to 5 lb. superphosphate
3/4 lb. sulphate of potash

CABBAGE, KALE, AND BRUSSELS SPROUTS.--These Brassicas require
considerable quantities of nitrogen and phosphates. For spring Cabbage
planted in autumn, land well dunged for the previous crop gives good
results with the addition of the artificials mentioned below: for the
autumn crop, dung should be applied before planting out in the early
part of the year.

=With dung=.
2 to 3 lb. nitrate of soda
4 to 5 lb. superphosphate
3/4 lb. sulphate of potash

=Without dung.=
4 lb. nitrate of soda
5 to 6 lb. superphosphat
3/4lb. sulphate of potash

CARROT AND PARSNIP.--A good dressing of dung applied to the previous
crop is a valuable preparation where Carrots and Parsnips are to be
grown. In addition, one of the following mixtures should be used:--

    (1)
3/4 lb. nitrate of soda
3 to 4 lb. superphosphate
3/4 lb. sulphate of potash

    (2)

3/4 lb. nitrate of soda
2 lb. superphosphate
1 to 2 lb. basic slag
3 lb. kainit


CELERY requires the use of dung more than almost any other crop, and it
is little affected by artificial manures, except phosphates, which may
be given in the form of superphosphate at the rate of 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 lb
per square rod.

LETTUCE.

=With dung=.
3 to 4 lb. superphosphate
1/2 to 1 lb. nitrate of soda

=Without dung.=
3 to 4 lb. superphosphate
1 to 1-1/2 lb. nitrate of soda
1 lb. sulphate of potash

ONIONS never succeed without an ample supply of potash. This crop should
therefore have farmyard dung, or the special potash fertilisers in
adequate quantity.

=With dung.=
3/4 lb. nitrate of soda
4 to 5 lb. superphosphate
3/4 lb. sulphate of potash

=Without dung.=
1-1/2 to 2-1/2 lb. nitrate of soda
5 lb. superphosphate
1 lb. sulphate of potash

LEEKS require the same fertilisers as Onions, but will need little or
no nitrate if good dung is used.

POTATO.--For good yield, high quality, and freedom from disease,
Potatoes are dependent upon a good supply of potash. They do best when
supplied with a moderate amount of farmyard manure, supplemented by
suitable artificials, but can be grown on some soils with artificials
alone.

=With dung=.
3/4 lb. sulphate of ammonia
  3 lb. superphosphate
3/4 lb. sulphate of potash

=Without dung=.
1-1/2 lb. sulphate of ammonia
3-1/2 lb. superphosphate
1 to 1-1/2 lb. sulphate of potash

Instead of superphosphate, a mixture of this fertiliser with an equal
amount of bone meal or basic slag may be used, and either 4 lb. of
kainit and 1 lb. of muriate of potash instead of 1 lb. of sulphate of
potash.

RHUBARB.--An annual dressing of dung is beneficial, together with 6 lb.
of basic slag, 1 lb. of sulphate of potash, and 4 lb. of nitrate of
soda, half the nitrate being applied when growth commences and the
remainder a fortnight later.

SPINACH.

=With dung=.
3 to 4 lb. superphosphate
2 to 3 lb. nitrate of soda

=Without dung=
4 to 5 lb. superphosphate
1 lb. sulphate of potash
3 to 4 lb. nitrate of soda

TOMATOES need large supplies of potash and phosphates to induce stocky
growth and abundance of flowers and fruit. Nitrogenous manures should be
withheld until the flowering stage, for they stimulate the production of
rank succulent stems and leaves which are specially liable to attacks of
fungus pests. After the fruit is set the application of small doses of
nitrate of soda, or sulphate of ammonia, as advised below, greatly
assists the swelling of the crop. The following mixtures worked into the
soil will be found beneficial for Tomatoes:--

5 to 6 lb. superphosphate            7 to 8 lb. basic slag
1 lb. sulphate of potash  =or=  1 lb. sulphate of potash

Nitrate of soda, or sulphate of ammonia, at the rate of 1-1/2 to 2 lb.
per square rod, may be given with advantage as soon as the fruit is set.

TURNIP AND SWEDE.--For the development of fine roots a liberal supply of
phosphates is essential.

=With dung=.
1 lb. nitrate of soda
3 to 4 lb. superphosphate
3/4 lb. sulphate of potash

=Without dung=
2 lb. nitrate of soda
4 to 5 lb. superphosphate
1 lb. sulphate of potash



THE CULTURE OF FLOWERS FROM SEEDS


Whether the modern demand for flowers has created the supply, or the
supply has found an appreciative public, we need not stay to discuss.
The fact remains that the last four or five decades have witnessed a
phenomenal extension in the use of flowers by all classes of the
community, for the decoration of the house no less than for beautifying
the garden. Primarily, this advance of refinement in the popular taste
is traceable to the skill and enthusiastic devotion of the florists who
have supported in all their integrity the true canons of floral
perfection, and whose labours will continue to be imperative for
maintaining the standards of quality. By their severe rules of criticism
the florists further the ends of floriculture subjectively, and by the
actual results of their labours they render objective aid, their finest
flowers serving not only as types, but as the actual stud for
perpetuating each race. Hence the decline of floriculture would imply
the deterioration of flowers, and the prosperity of floriculture
involves progress not only in those subjects which lie within the
florists' domain, but of many others to which they have not devoted
special attention. Yet the acknowledgment must be made that, brilliant
as their triumphs have been, the methods they practised have in some
instances entailed very severe penalties. Continuous propagation for
many generations, under artificial conditions, so debilitated the
constitution of Hollyhocks, Verbenas, and some other subjects, that the
plants became victims of diseases which at one time threatened their
existence. To save them from annihilation it was necessary to desert the
worn path of propagation, and raise plants possessing the initial vigour
of seedlings. In stamina these seedlings proved eminently satisfactory,
although in other respects they were at first sadly disappointing. It
then became clear that before show flowers could be obtained from
seedlings judgment and skill must be devoted to the art of saving seed.
This was necessarily a work of time, demanding great patience and rare
scientific knowledge. The task was undertaken with enthusiasm in many
directions, and the results have more than justified this labour of
love. Formerly, the universal mode of perpetuating named Hollyhocks was
by the troublesome process of cuttings, or by grafting buds on roots of
seedlings in houses heated to tropical temperature. In many places it
was the custom to lift the old plants, pot them, and keep them through
the winter in pits. All this was found requisite to insure fine flowers.
While the burden of the work was thus rendered heavy, the constitution
of the plant became enfeebled, and at one time the fear was entertained
that its extinction was at hand. But the new system has preserved the
Hollyhock, and at the same time afforded a striking example of the
principle that seed saved scientifically is found to reproduce the
varieties it was taken from. Seedling Hollyhocks now give double flowers
of the finest quality; and the seedling plants are less liable to
disease. So with the Verbena. From suitable seed plants can be raised
that will produce the most resplendent flowers, and instead of
propagating a stock to keep over winter, to be stricken with mildew and
cost no end of care, only to become diseased at last, a pinch of seed is
sown in January or February, and soon there is a stock of healthy plants
possessing the vigour peculiar to seedlings. These, being bedded out at
a proper time, flower far more freely than plants from cuttings, and
produce trusses twice the size.

To illustrate the change of method still further we may instance the
Cineraria. Formerly this was a troublesome plant to grow, because it was
considered necessary to propagate named varieties by divisions and
suckers. The restricted system was reflected in limited cultivation. Few
were willing to venture on a task known to be hedged about with
difficulties. By degrees it was discovered that the finest Cinerarias
might be secured by simply sowing seed, and giving the plants the usual
cultivation of tender annuals. This has brought the Cineraria within the
reach of thousands who would not attempt to grow it under the old
system, and the consequent gain to society is immense.

What has been done with the Cineraria has its parallel in quite a number
of the most elegant decorative flowers. Brilliant results have been
achieved with Begonias, Calceolarias, Cyclamens, Gloxinias, Primulas,
and Schizanthus. It has also ceased to be needful to keep such large
stocks of bedding and other plants through the winter, for Ageratums,
Lobelias, and Pansies have proved amenable to the new treatment, and
very much of the accustomed labour in striking and potting cuttings, as
well as the expense of glass, fuel, and the frequent purchase of
high-priced plants, have been rendered unnecessary. Even among the
flowers which are properly designated annuals, new and delightful
variations have been obtained from original types. Of these we have
examples in Aster, Godetia, Larkspur, Mignonette, Phlox Drummondii,
Poppy, Stock, Sweet Pea, and many others. In some instances the increase
in the size of the flowers is remarkable, and in others the development
of new tints will surprise those who are not familiar with the labours
of modern hybridisers.

Thus a revolution has been accomplished in the economy and complexion of
the English Flower Garden, a revolution which has reduced and simplified
the gardener's labours, augmented the number and enhanced the beauty of
many flowers, effected a marked saving in the cost of garden pleasures,
and brought the culture of a large number of the most attractive
subjects within the means of those who had neither the facilities nor
the knowledge requisite for pursuing the florist's methods. There appear
to be no limits to further progress. All that we can do is to experiment
and gather knowledge, and those who love gardening may assist in
extending the area of this new and cheap system of producing some of the
most elegant garden flowers in one season from seed alone.

The time and the method of sowing flower seeds must in each case be
regulated by considerations as to their nature. Seeds of tender plants
are usually sown in pots or pans and placed on a moderate hot-bed or in
a propagating house early in spring, and in this case the plants have
greenhouse cultivation until the time arrives for hardening them off
preparatory to final planting. But seeds of many hardy flowers may be
treated in the same way, when a long season of growth is necessary for
their development. Thus Phloxes, Verbenas, and Hollyhocks, plants that
differ immensely in habit and constitution, may all be sown in February,
and put side by side in the same warm pit or vinery, or even in the
warmest corner of any greenhouse, and the very same treatment will suit
them equally well. The soil should be principally loam and sand, with a
little old thoroughly well-rotted manure from a hot-bed or compost heap;
and light, air, and moisture must be regulated with a view to insure a
free and vigorous growth from the first, with the least possible amount
of artificial heat. In some cases, however, the sowing should be
deferred to March or April, and the result will be far more satisfactory
than the growth made under the stimulus of artificial heat earlier in
the season. But in every case the plants must have sufficient time; for
although the rapid system has been developed, the constitution of the
plants remains unchanged, and those which have heretofore been classed
as biennials and perennials need a long season when treated as annuals.

A considerable proportion of the finest flowers may be raised from seed
by the aid of a frame and a little careful management. We will take as
an example a very restricted garden. Here is a small frame and some
packets of seed, and the month of February or March has arrived. The
pans and pots are made ready with sweet sandy compost, and the seeds are
sown and labelled, and the pans and pots are packed together in the
frame on a bed of clean coal ashes, or some slates, or tiles, or bricks
laid on the soil, to promote warmth and cleanliness and to prevent the
intrusion of worms among the seeds. By simple management almost as quick
a growth of seeds can be insured in this frame as with the aid of a
hot-bed, and the secret consists in careful storage of the heat of the
sun. Lay over the seed-pans sheets of glass to prevent evaporation, and
let the sun shine full upon them. Be careful as to moisture: they must
never be wet, never dry, and the water must not be slopped about
carelessly. It is a good rule to immerse the pots or pans in a vessel
containing soft water, slightly tepid. When the seedlings begin to
appear, give a little air and lay sheets of paper tenderly over them
during the hour or two at midday when the sun may be shining brightly.
But keep them from the first as 'hard' as possible with plenty of light
and air, always taking care that they are neither roasted, nor blown
away by the cruel east wind, nor nipped at night by a killing frost. A
few old mats or light loppings of trees laid over the frame from sundown
to sunrise will be sufficient protection at those trying times; and when
spring frosts are making havoc with the tender sprouting leaf and bloom
in every part of the garden those little things will be safe under their
glass cover, and slight experience will show that a common frame may
become a miniature hot-house in the hands of one who has learned to make
failure the stepping-stone to success. We must not omit to mention that
the owner of such a garden, or, indeed, of any garden, will be prudent
to take advantage of the first fine weather to sow in the open ground
whatever flower or vegetable seeds should be sown at that season. The
frame garden can be reserved, if needful, for wet weather, because it is
of the utmost importance to sow a good breadth of seeds in the open
ground as early as possible in the month of March.

Turning from this small example to the great garden, it will be obvious
that to those who always have heavy work on hand the advantages of this
transference, of labour from the old system to the new are immense. Both
to employers and gardeners the advantages are of importance; the
propagation of bedders by cuttings, and of florists' flowers by suckers
and divisions and layers and pipings, will not, of course, be completely
abolished; but for all ordinary purposes the ends in view may be
accomplished more simply, more expeditiously, and more cheaply than
heretofore. The pits hitherto appropriated to bedders, and the like, may
to a great extent be liberated, and there will be no difficulty in
finding for them more profitable occupants. While Mushrooms and early
Potatoes and winter salads are in request, it will be a gain to many a
garden to have reduced the summer display of flowers to a simple system
of seed-sowing, at an expense that may be described as merely nominal.

Before dealing specifically with certain flowers, it may be advisable to
say a few words generally concerning the culture of Annuals--Hardy,
Half-hardy, and Tender--and also on hardy Biennials and Perennials.

==Annuals==.--Although the most popular kinds of annuals are largely
employed in the embellishment of flower gardens, they are adapted for
many uses to which they may with advantage be more frequently applied. A
few misconceptions prevail as to the relative merits of this class of
plants. By some they are regarded as 'weedy' and 'short-lived.' Their
very cheapness, and the relatively small amount of skill required in
their cultivation, tend in some degree to detract from their value in
public estimation. We will not be so rash as to say that a more extended
use of annuals would render unnecessary the cultivation of what are
especially known as 'bedding plants'; but there is something to be said
on behalf of annuals that may be worth the consideration of all who are
interested in the development of freshness, variety, and richness of
colour in the flower garden. In the first place, these plants come into
flower within a comparatively short period of time from the sowing of
the seed, and it is a matter of considerable importance that a large
proportion of the best continue beautiful until the very close of the
season. Sometimes in the autumn Geraniums become literally washed out,
while Tom Thumb Nasturtiums may be ablaze with colour, and continue so
when the Geraniums are housed for the winter. A large number of showy
and long-lasting annuals are adapted for employment in bedding, and by a
little management those that do not last the season out may be replaced
by others for succession; thus affording the advantage of increased
variety, and making no demand for glass and fuel to keep them through
the winter as do the ordinary bedders. We have had great and glorious
sheets of Candytufts, snow-white, rich crimson, and bright carmine; and
when they began to wane they were removed, and the ground planted with
Asters, and very soon there was another display, so fresh and bright and
various that no greenhouse bedders could surpass them. Great hungry
banks, that would have swallowed many pounds' worth of greenhouse plants
to cover them, have been made delightfully gay at a very trifling cost
by sowing upon them Tropæolums, Tom Thumb Nasturtiums, =Bartonia aurea=,
the dwarf varieties of =Lupinus=, Virginian Stock, =Collinsia bicolor=,
Convolvuluses, Candytufts, Eschscholtzias, Poppies, and Clarkias; and
damp, half-shady borders have been delicately tessellated by means of
Forget-me-nots, Venus' Looking-glass, Pansies, the Rosy Oxalis,
Nemophilas, Godetias, Silenes, Coreopsis, and Scabious.

For the more important positions in the flower garden we have choice of
many really sumptuous subjects, such as Stocks, Asters, Balsams,
Drummond's Phlox, Lobelias, the lovely new varieties of Antirrhinums,
Dianthus, Portulacas, Zinnias, tall Stock-flowered Larkspurs, Nemesias,
and many other flowers equally beautiful and lasting. We do not hope by
these brief remarks to change the prevailing fashion--indeed, we have no
particular wish that way--but we feel bound to observe that it is
sufficient for the beauty of the garden that the greenhouse bedders
should be confined to the parterre proper. It is waste of space and
opportunity to place them in the borders everywhere, as is too commonly
done. In sunny borders, annual and perennial herbaceous plants are far
more appropriate.

Some time since, while walking over a large garden, we left the rich
colouring of the geometric beds to discover what should make the
wondrous glow of crimson on a border far away; and to our surprise it
proved to be a clump of the Indian Pink, which had been sown as an
annual with other annuals, and was there shining in the midst of a
constellation of the loveliest flowers of all forms and hues, the
result simply of sowing a few packets of seed. No one can despise the
Wallflower in the spring, and the heavenly-blue flowers of =Nemophila
insignis= in early summer will tempt many a one to walk in the garden
who would care little for sheets of scarlet and yellow that in full
sunshine make the eyes ache to look upon them. It must be remembered,
too, that among annuals are found many most richly-scented flowers;
others, like the everlastings and the grasses, are valuable to dry for
winter use for employment in bouquets, and garlands in Christmas
decorations; and the Sweet Peas, and =Tropæolum canariense,= and
climbing Convolvulus may be employed to cover arbours and trellises with
the best effect possible, and may even be allowed to hang in festoons
about the sunny parts of rockeries, or trail over the ground to make
genuine bedding effects. Another important matter must have mention
here, and we commend it to the consideration of gardeners who are
severely taxed to secure extensive displays of flowers during the summer
season. It is that a number of plants of highly ornamental character,
usually treated as perennials, are really more effective, besides
occasioning less labour to produce them, when cultivated as annuals. The
Dianthus and its several splendid varieties do better as annuals than
biennials. For all the ordinary purposes of display, Lobelias may be as
well grown from seed as from cuttings, and in every garden will be found
proof of the small amount of care they require; for we find stray,
self-sown plants in pots of Geraniums and other places, and these, if
left alone, become perfect bushes, and are a mass of flowers all the
summer. Many annuals commonly reputed to be tender and usually raised in
heat do very well indeed on a more rough and ready method. In proof of
this, sow =Perilla nankinensis= in the first week of May where it is
required, and in the month of July you will probably be convinced that
Perilla does not always need careful nursing in heated houses through
the spring. Even the really tender Castor-oil Plant will thrive if sown
in the open ground the first week in May. Having no check, as plants put
out from pots must have, the growth will be regular and sturdy, and
attain magnificent dimensions.

Perhaps the most effective way of growing annuals is to arrange them in
harmonious blendings or contrasts of colour. The wide choice of
varieties available admits of an almost endless number of combinations,
and the following tables, classified according to colour, will no doubt
afford some serviceable suggestions, although these by no means exhaust
the list. The height is indicated in feet and Climbers as 'Cl.'

==WHITE, AND CREAM SHADES.==

==TALL.==

Chrysanthemum coronarium,
Princess May    ...   ...  ...   3
Chrysanthemum coronarium,
Double white    ...  ...   ...   3
Cornflower, White    ...   ...   3
Helichrysum, Silver Globe   ...  3
Larkspur, Stock-flowered, White  3
Lavatera alba splendens ... ...  3
Poppy, Giant Double, White  ...  3
  " Giant Single, White     ...  3
Scabious, Snowball    ...   ...  3
Chrysanthemum carinatum album    2-1/2
       "    Dunnetti, Double
white    ...   ...   ...   ...   2-1/2
Nasturtium, Tall, Pearl ... ...  Cl.

==MEDIUM.==

Clarkia elegans, Snowball  ...   2
Lupinus Hartwegii, White   ...   2
Malope, White    ...  ...  ...   2
Poppy, White Swan     ...  ...   2
Shirley, Double White      ...   2
Calendula pluvialis   ...  ...   1-1/2
Chrysanthemum inodorum
     plenissimum      ...  ...   1-1/2
Clarkia, Double White ...  ...   1-1/2
Gilia nivalis   ...   ...  ...   1-1/2
Gypsophila elegans    ...  ...   1-1/2
Hawkweed, White       ...  ...   1-1/2
   "  Silver          ...  ...   1-1/2
Jacobea, Double, White...  ...   1-1/2
Sweet Sultan, Giant White  ...   1-1/2
Chrysanthemum coronarium,
Dwarf double white    ...  ...   1-1/4

==DWARF.==

Acroclinium, Single White   ...  1
Candytuft, Improved White Spiral 1
Clarkia, Dwarf white   ...  ...  1
   "  Double dwarf white    ...  1
Convolvulus minor, White    ...  1
Eschscholtzia crocea alba   ...  1
Godetia, Duchess of Albany  ...  1
Layia elegans alba     ...  ...  1
Linaria, Snow-white    ...  ...  1
Nasturtium, Dwarf, Pearl    ...  1
Platystemon californicus... ...  1
Viscaria, Pure White    ... ...  1
Alyssum, Sweet     ...  ... ...  3/4
Chrysanthemum inodorum plenis-
simum, Bridal Robe      ... ...  3/4
Collinsia candidissima  ... ...  3/4
Godetia, Dwarf White    ... ...  3/4
Swan River Daisy, White     ...  3/4
  "    "     " Star White   ...  3/4
Venus' Looking-glass, White ...  3/4
Venus' Navel-wort       ... ...  3/4
Virginian Stock, White  ... ...  3/4
Candytuft, Little Prince... ...  1/2
Nemophila insignis alba ... ...  1/2
Alyssum minimum         ... ...  1/3
Silene, Dwarf White     ... ...  1/3

==YELLOW AND ORANGE SHADES.==

==TALL.==

Sunflower, Giant Yellow ...  ...  10
    "  Primrose Perfection   ...   6
    "  Miniature        ...  ...   4
    "  Stella      ...  ...  ...   4
    "  Primrose Stella       ...   4
Chrysanthemum coronarium,
Double yellow      ...  ...  ...   3
Chrysanthemum, Golden Queen  ...   3
Coreopsis tinctoria     ...  ...   3
Helichrysum, Golden Globe    ...   3
Sunflower, Dwarf Double      ...   3
    "  Single Dwarf     ...  ...   3
Chrysanthemum   Dunnettii,
Double Golden    ...    ...  ...   2-1/2
Marigold, African       ...  ...   2-1/2
Nasturtium, Ivy-leaved Golden
Gem           ...  ...  ...  ...   Cl.
Nasturtium, Tall, Yellow     ...   Cl.

==MEDIUM.==

Hibiscus africanus major...   ...  2
Bartonia aurea  ...     ...   ...  1-1/2
Chrysanthemum, Star varieties ...  1-1/2
Coreopsis Drummondii    ...   ...  1-1/2
    "  coronata         ...   ...  1-1/2
Erysimum, Orange Gem    ...   ...  1-1/2
Hawkweed, Yellow        ...   ...  1-1/2
Leptosyne Stillmani     ...   ...  1-1/2
Lupinus Menziesii       ...   ..   1-1/2
Sweet Sultan, Yellow    ...   ...  1-1/2

==DWARF.==

Calendula, Orange King  ...   ...  1
    "  Lemon Queen            ...  1
Cheiranthus Allionii    ...   ...  1
Chrysanthemum coronarium,
Dwarf double yellow     ...   ...  1
Dimorphotheca aurantiaca      ...  1
Eschscholtzia californica...  ...  1
      "  crocea         ...   ...  1
      "  crocea fl. pl.       ...  1
Layia elegans       ...  ...  ...  1
Lupinus, Dwarf yellow    ...  ...  1
Nasturtium, Dwarf, Cloth of Gold   1
     "        "  Yellow       ...  1
Tagetes signata pumila   ...  ...  1

==YELLOW AND ORANGE SHADES==--=continued.=

==DWARF==--=continued.=

Eschscholtzia, Mikado                  3/4
      "        Mandarin                3/4
Linaria, Golden Gem                    3/4
Marigold, Miniature lemon              3/4
    "         "     orange             3/4
Eschscholtzia, Miniature Primrose      1/2
Limnanthes Douglasii                   1/2
Sanvitalia procumbens, Single          1/2
    "          "       Double          1/2
Leptosiphon aureus                     1/4

==BLUE, MAUVE, AND PURPLE SHADES.==

==TALL.==

Cornflower, Blue                           3
Larkspur, Stock-flowered, Blue             3
   "            "         Pale Mauve       3
Lupinus, Tall dark blue                    3
Poppy, Giant Double, Mauve                 3
Scabious, Mauve                            3

==MEDIUM.==

Godetia, Double Mauve                      2
Lupinus Hartwegii, Azure Blue              2
Poppy, Mauve Queen                         2
Sweet Sultan, Purple                       2
Xeranthemum superbissimum                  2
     "      imperiale                      2
Anchusa, Annual Blue                       1-1/2
Gilia capitata                             1-1/2
  "   tricolor                             1-1/2
Jacobea, Double, Purple                    1-1/2
Nigella, Miss Jekyll                       1-1/2
Phacelia tanacetifolia                     1-1/2
Salvia, Blue Beard                         1-1/2
Sweet Sultan, Giant Delicate Mauve         1-1/2
  "      "    Giant Mauve                  1-1/2

==DWARF.==

Asperula azurea setosa                 1
Candytuft, Lilac                       1
Convolvulus minor, Dark blue           1
     "        "    Sky-blue            1
Cornflower, King of Blue Bottles       1
Eutoca viscida                         1
Linaria, Mauve                         1
Lupinus, Dwarf rich blue               1
Mathiola bicornis                      1
Phacelia congesta                      1
Viscaria, Bright Blue                  1
Whitlavia gloxinioides                 1
Cornflower, Victoria, Dwarf blue       3/4
Leptosiphon androsaceus                3/4
Nigella, Double dwarf                  3/4
Phacelia campanularia                  3/4
Swan River Daisy, Blue                 3/4
 "     "     "    Star Blue            3/4
Campanula attica                       1/2
Nemophila insignis                     1/2

==PINK AND ROSE SHADES.==

==TALL.==

Cornflower, Pink                             3
Larkspur, Stock-flowered, Rosy Scarlet       3
Lavatera rosea splendens                     3
Lupinus mutabilis, Cream and Pink            3
Poppy, Giant Double, Chamois-rose            3
Scabious, Pink                               3
Nasturtium, Salmon Queen                     Cl.
     "      Rosy Queen                       Cl.

==MEDIUM.==

Clarkia elegans, Double Salmon              2
   "       "     Double Delicate Pink       2
Godetia, Double Rose                        2
Jacobea, Single, Bright Rose                2
Poppy, Pink Gem                             2
  "    Cardinal, Salmon-pink                2
  "    Shirley, Single Rose-pink            2
  "       "     Double Pink                 2
Saponaria Vaccaria, Pink                    2
Clarkia, Double Rose                        1-1/2
Hawkweed, Pink                              1-1/2
Jacobea, Double, Rose                       1-1/2
Silene Armeria, Rose                        1-1/2
Statice Suworowi                            1-1/4

==DWARF.==

Acroclinium, Double rose                1
     "       Single rose                1
Convolvulus minor, Pink                 1
Eschscholtzia, Frilled Pink             1
      "        Rosy Queen               1
      "        Rose cardinal            1
Gypsophila elegans, Delicate pink       1
Lupinus, Dwarf delicate pink            1
Nasturtium, Dwarf, Salmon Pink          1
    "         "    cæruleum roseum      1
Silene, Double Salmon Pink              1
  "       "    Delicate Pink            1
  "     Bonetti                         1
  "     Pseudo-Atocion                  1

==PINK AND ROSE SHADES==--=continued.=

DWARF--=continued=.

Statice spicata                     1
Viscaria, Delicate Pink             1
Cornflower, Victoria, Dwarf rose    3/4
Godetia, Dwarf Pink                 3/4
   "     Satin-rose                 3/4
Abronia umbellata                   1/2
Candytuft, Dwarf Pink               1/2
Saponaria calabrica                 1/2
Silene, Double Dwarf Delicate Pink  1/3
Silene, Double Dwarf Brilliant Rose 1/3
Silene, Bonetti, Dwarf Pink         1/3
Leptosiphon roseus                  1/4


==CRIMSON AND SCARLET SHADES,
including Carmine and Ruby.==

==TALL.==


Coreopsis atrosanguinea               3
Helichrysum, Fireball                 3
Poppy, Giant Double, Scarlet          3
Polygonum, Ruby Gem                   2-1/2
Malope, Red                           2
Nasturtium,  Tall,  Improved Lucifer  Cl.
Nasturtium, Tall, Black Prince        Cl.

==MEDIUM.==

Chrysanthemum atrococcineum            2
Clarkia elegans, Salmon scarlet        2
"   "  Firefly                         2
Godetia, Double Crimson                2
Poppy, Cardinal                        2
Cacalia coccinea                       1-1/2
Coreopsis cardaminifolia, Dwarf        1-1/2

==DWARF.==

Candytuft, Improved Carmine            1
"          Dark crimson                1
Centranthus macrosiphon                1
Godetia, Crimson King                  1
  "      Scarlet Queen                 1
  "      Lady Albemarle                1
Linum grandifiorum rubrum              1
Nasturtium, Dwarf, Scarlet Queen       1
    "         "    King Theodore       1
    "         King of Tom Thumbs       1
Viscaria cardinalis                    1
Collomia coccinea                      3/4
Coreopsis, Dwarf Crimson               3/4
Eschscholtzia, Ruby King               3/4
Godetia, Afterglow                     3/4
  "      Lady Albemarle, dwarf         3/4
Saponaria, Scarlet Queen               1/2
Virginian Stock, Crimson King          1/2
Viscaria, Dwarf Carmine                1/2

Yet one other method of growing annuals calls for special mention. It is
not fully recognised that a number of subjects, usually associated only
with beds and borders, may also be flowered with the greatest ease under
glass in winter and early spring. Those who have not hitherto attempted
the culture of annuals in this way will be delighted with the charming
effects produced. Among the subjects most suitable for the purpose are
Alonsoa; the Star and Dunnettii varieties of Annual Chrysanthemum;
=Clarkia elegans; = Dimorphotheca; =Gypsophila elegans=; Linaria;
=Nemesia Suttoni=; Nicotiana, Miniature White and =N. affinis=; Phlox,
Purity, one of the most lovely pot plants for the conservatory and of
especial value for decorative work at Easter; Salpiglossis; and the
pretty blue, Cineraria-like, Swan River Daisy. From the fact that these
annuals are of the hardy or half-hardy types it will be readily
understood that no great amount of heat is required to bring them to
maturity; indeed, the more hardy the treatment the better for their
well-doing. Seed should be sown during August or September in pots or
pans placed in a cool frame, the seedlings being pricked off into other
pots as soon as they have attained a suitable size. As colder weather
approaches, transfer to the greenhouse or conservatory, and provided the
night temperature is not allowed to fall below 45° all should be well.
During the day give the plants the maximum of air whenever weather
permits.

==Hardy Annuals.==--The seeds should be sown on a carefully prepared
surface from which large stones have been removed, and the clods must be
broken, but the soil should not be made so smooth as to become pasty
under rain. Sow thinly, in rows spaced to agree with the height of the
plant, cover with a very slight coat of fine dry earth--the smallest
seeds needing but a mere dusting to cover them--and, from the first,
keep the plants thinned sufficiently to prevent overcrowding.
Spring-sown annuals are worthy of a better soil than they usually have
allotted them, and also of more careful treatment. It is not wise to sow
earlier than March or later than the middle of April. In the
after-culture the most important matter is to keep the clumps well
thinned. Not only will the bloom of crowded plants be comparatively poor
and brief, but by early and bold thinning the plants will become so
robust, and cover such large spaces of ground with their ample leafage
and well-developed flowers, as really to astonish people who think they
know all about annuals, and who may have ventured after much
ill-treatment to designate them 'fugacious and weedy.' Although the
sowing of hardy annuals direct on to beds and borders where the plants
are wanted is economical in labour and avoids the check which
transplanting occasions, the practice of raising annuals on specially
prepared seed-beds and pricking out the plants to blooming quarters is
sometimes followed. The soil into which they are transferred for
flowering should be deeply dug, thoroughly broken up, and, if at all
poor, liberally manured. It is an excellent plan also to sow hardy
annuals outdoors in autumn, but it is needless to say more on this
subject here, as it is dealt with fully at page 313.

==Half-hardy Annuals.==--Give these as long a period of growth as possible
to insure a vigorous plant before the season of flowering. The best time
for sowing is February, or the beginning of March; for although some
kinds may with advantage be sown earlier, it is safer, as a rule, to
wait for sunshine and full daylight, so as to keep up a steady and
continuous growth. The soil for the seed-pans should be rich and fine.
Good loam, improved by the addition of thoroughly decayed manure and
leaf-mould, with sufficient sand to render the texture porous, will suit
all kinds of annuals that are sown in pans under glass. Sow the seed
thinly, cover very slightly, and lay squares of glass over to keep a
uniform degree of moisture without the necessity of watering. Should
watering become necessary, take care to avoid washing the seeds out. If
the pans or pots are stood in a vessel containing several inches depth
of water until sufficient has been absorbed, there will be no occasion
to pour water on the surface. A gentle heat is to be preferred; when
germination is too rapid it tends to the production of weak plants. As
soon as the young plants appear, remove the glasses and place the
seed-pans in the fullest light, where air can be given without danger to
them. A dry east wind blowing fiercely over them will prove a blast of
death. If they have no air at all, they will be puny, rickety things,
scarcely worth planting out. Choice varieties should be carefully
pricked out into pans and pots as soon as large enough; this will
promote a fine, stocky growth and a splendid development of flowers.
Take care not to plant out until the weather is favourable, for any
great check will undo all your work, and make starvelings of your
nurslings. If you cannot command heat for half-hardy annuals, sow in the
first week in April, put the pans in a frame facing south, and the seeds
will soon grow and do well. If that is too much trouble, sow in the open
border early in May, making the border rich and friable, that they may
have a good chance from the first.

==Tender Annuals.==--These require the same general treatment as advised
for half-hardy annuals. But it is desirable to sow in a stronger heat
than is necessary for annuals that are to be planted out. It is also
requisite to be in good time in pricking out the seedlings, for if they
get much drawn they cannot make robust pot plants. A light, rich,
perfectly sweet soil, containing a fair proportion of sharp sand, is
necessary to insure plants worth having. It is also important to get
them into separate small pots as soon as possible, and to shift them on
to larger and larger pots, until they have sufficient pot room for
flowering, after which shift no more. As soon as these pots are filled
with roots, give very weak manure water constantly until the plants are
in flower, and then discontinue it, using instead pure soft water only.

==Hardy Biennials and Perennials.==--These are often sown in pans or
boxes, and are pricked off when large enough into other pans or pots
before they are transferred to beds or borders. The system has certain
advantages in insuring safety from vermin and proper attention, for it
is an unfortunate fact that too many cultivators consider it needless to
thin or transplant sowings made in beds or borders. The plants are
frequently allowed to struggle for existence, and the result is feeble
attenuated specimens which, with trifling care and attention, might have
become robust and capable of producing a bountiful bloom in their
season. Still, it should be clearly understood that all the hardy
biennials and perennials may be grown to perfection by sowing on a
suitable seed-bed in the open ground, protecting the spot from marauders
of all kinds, and by early and fearless thinning or transplanting. As a
rule, we advocate one shift before placing the plants in final
positions.


==ABUTILON==

==Half-hardy greenhouse perennial==

Handsome plants, two feet or more in height, can be produced from seed
and flowered in a single season. They are useful for training to
greenhouse walls, and they may also be transferred to open borders for
the summer. When employed for the latter purpose, the plants should be
lifted and put into pots about the end of August, after there has been a
penetrating shower. In the absence of rain a soaking of water on the
previous day will prevent the soil from falling away from the roots.

February and March are the right months for sowing seed, and for the
pots any fairly light compost will answer. Prick off the seedlings when
about an inch high, putting the plants in down to the seed-leaves. They
must never be allowed to suffer for want of water, nor should they be
starved in small pots. The growth had better not be hurried at any
stage; the plants will then develop into shapely specimens with very
little care.


==ACHIMENES==

==Greenhouse or stove perennials==

Although Achimenes can be propagated by division of the tubers, the
simpler method of raising a supply from seed has become a common
practice. During March or April sow in pots or pans, and while quite
small transfer the seedlings to separate pots. It is important to insure
free drainage, especially as frequent watering is a necessity while the
plants are in active growth. Achimenes are generally kept in a high
temperature; but they do not really need so much heat as Gloxinias, and
in a warm greenhouse they can be flowered without the least difficulty.
This is one of the finest subjects for growing in hanging-baskets.


==ALONSOA==

These popular half-hardy flowers are not only valuable for a summer
display in borders, but they make charming subjects for the conservatory
in the spring months. For blooming outdoors seed may be sown in pans in
March and the plants treated in the manner usual for half-hardy annuals,
or a sowing can be made in the open towards the end of April. Plants for
flowering indoors in April and May should be raised from seed sown in
the preceding August and September. Grow on the seedlings steadily in
pots, but do not force them in any way. In fact, the treatment should be
as nearly hardy as possible, a night temperature of 45° being generally
sufficient to carry them through the winter.


==AMARYLLIS==

==Hippeastrum==

The majority of the named varieties are expensive, and a very
considerable saving is effected by raising plants from seed. Thanks to
the skill of the hybridiser, the seedlings not only compare favourably
with flowers grown from costly bulbs, but they have been successful in
winning certificates and awards of merit.

The germination is so irregular that it is well to put only one seed in
each small pot. The most suitable soil is a mixture of two parts loam
and one of leaf-mould, with sufficient coarse grit to insure free
drainage. The proper temperature is about 65°. After the seedlings are
established follow the treatment advised on page 340.


==ANEMONE==

==The Windflower. Hardy perennial==

The discovery that it is easy to flower the popular St. Brigid and
similar Anemones from seed in about seven months from the date of
sowing has given a great impetus to the culture of this plant,
especially as it possesses a high value for decorating vases, in
addition to its usefulness in beds and borders. From seed sown in
February or March the plants should begin to bloom in September or
October of the same year, and continue to flower until the following
June, when it is unprofitable to retain them longer. No coddling of any
kind is necessary. Dig a trench in a sheltered, sunny spot, and fill it
with rich soil freely mingled with decayed cow-manure. If the land
happens to be somewhat tenacious, Anemones will take kindly to it, but
it should be well worked, and it may be needful to add a little fine
sandy compost at the top as a preparation for the seed. The woolly seed
should be rubbed with sand, and the two may be sown together thinly in
lines. As a finish the ground should be lightly beaten with the back of
a spade. Germination is decidedly slow, so that until the seedlings
appear the removal of weeds requires care. The plants should be thinned
until they stand six inches apart. Seed may also be sown in June or July
for plants to flower in the following year, and the results will
probably be even more satisfactory than from the spring sowing.


==ANTIRRHINUM==

==Snapdragon. Hardy perennial==

In bygone years Antirrhinums were seldom seen beyond the limits of
old-fashioned cottage gardens. But even then the Snapdragon was a
popular flower, and it was generally perpetuated by subdivision of the
plants. Now, in common with a large number of perennials and biennials,
the Antirrhinum is almost exclusively grown from seed. This altered
method of culture has resulted in a marked advance in the size and
colour of the spikes of bloom, and has also increased the vigour and
floriferous character of the plants. In the process of raising,
selecting and re-selecting the stocks, experts have found it possible to
develop three distinct classes--Tall, Intermediate, and Dwarf--so that
the value of the plant as an ornament in the garden has been advanced
beyond the dreams of a former generation of gardeners. The Tall
varieties attain a height of about three feet; the Intermediates
generally range between twelve and eighteen inches, and the Dwarf or Tom
Thumb section seldom exceeds six inches. All three classes have a
distinct value for different positions in the garden.

Antirrhinums are not fastidious as to soil and may be relied on to give
satisfaction in almost any spot chosen for them. Still, it must be
admitted that they are conspicuously successful on dry soils and in
sunny positions. This will account for the surprising displays
occasionally seen on old walls and in large wild rockeries, where they
are perfectly at home, apparently indifferent to the starving conditions
in which their lot is cast.

The fact that the plant possesses such sturdy independence of character
greatly enhances its value and usefulness. Nothing more handsome can be
imagined in a border than the gigantic spikes of the Tall varieties, and
they make a magnificent decoration for vases at a season when flowers
suitable for cutting are much needed. The Intermediate Antirrhinums,
like the Tall class, combine advantages for both bedding purposes and
for cutting, perhaps in a still greater degree. The varieties are so
numerous and charming that an enthusiast has suggested the desirability
of devoting a garden to Antirrhinums alone. Although the Tom Thumb
section is also frequently employed for bedding, these dwarf-growing
varieties are better adapted for ribbon borders, or as an edging to
carriage drives.

Antirrhinums may be grown as half-hardy annuals or as perennials, but
the former is the simplest course for obtaining plants for summer
bedding. Sow the seeds in pans or boxes from January to March, and prick
off the seedlings as soon as large enough to handle. Grow on steadily
and gradually harden off in readiness for planting out after the
Wallflowers and other spring bedders have been removed. After flowering
it will save trouble to consign the plants to the waste heap and again
raise a sufficient supply to fill their places in the following spring.
When grown as perennials, seed should be sown in July or August. Leave
the plants in the seed-bed until ready for transfer to final positions.
These will stand the winter and come into flower earlier than plants
from spring-sown seed.


==AQUILEGIA==

==Columbine. Hardy perennial==

Since the introduction of the long-spurred hybrid varieties the
Aquilegia has become exceedingly popular. Like the Nasturtium, it is
particularly accommodating in character, and will thrive on poor soil
and amid surroundings altogether uncongenial to many other subjects.
Several of the fine varieties which have been recently introduced are,
however, worthy of a place in the best of borders. Sow in February or
early in March in a frame, and plant out when strong enough, or sow in
June in an open border. If the season is favourable, those sown early
may bloom the first year; the remainder will flower in the year
following.


==ASPARAGUS==

==Greenhouse foliage varieties. Half-hardy perennials==

The finely laciniated foliage of =A. plumosus= is greatly prized for
bouquets, and the plant invariably commands attention as a decorative
subject on the table or in the conservatory. =A. decumbens= has long
tremulous branches of elegant dark green foliage, and the plant is
admirably adapted for hanging-baskets. =A. Sprengeri= is distinct from
both, but is also very ornamental in baskets. Sow all three varieties in
pans during February or March, in heat; prick off the seedlings
immediately they are large enough to handle, and grow on in gentle heat
until the beginning of June, when cool-house treatment will suit them.



==ASTER==

==Callistephus sinensis. Half-hardy annual==

In high summer so many flowers are available that no difficulty arises
in making a varied display. The real trouble is in discarding,
especially for a limited area. But when summer begins to merge into
autumn the choice is not so extensive, and among the annuals which then
adorn the garden Asters are indispensable. This superb flower has been
developed into many forms, and each class affords a wide range of
magnificent colours. Yet it must be admitted that in the majority of
gardens Asters are seldom grown in sufficient numbers, and it is not
unusual to find the flowers small in size and poor in colour. In many
cases we believe the reason to be that the culture of Asters is often
commenced too late. Preparations should therefore be made in good time,
and apart from providing the requisite number of plants for filling beds
and borders, and for supplying cut blooms, others should be raised for
flowering in pots. For indoor decoration full use is rarely ever made of
Asters, although the colours include many delightful shades which may
be employed with most telling effect.

To secure a long-continued display of bloom there must be several
sowings, and the earliest will need the aid of artificial heat. One
secret of successful culture is to give no check to the plant from its
first appearance until the time of flowering; and a suitable bed must be
prepared, whether the seed be sown on the spot or plants are transferred
from other quarters.

Asters do not readily accommodate themselves to violent alternations of
heat and cold, particularly in the early stage of growth, and therefore
the most sheltered position in the garden should be chosen for them; but
avoid a hedge or shrubbery, where strong growing trees rob the soil of
its virtue. Begin the preparation of beds during the previous autumn by
deep digging, and incorporate a liberal dressing of well-rotted manure
as the work proceeds. On light and shallow soils it will do more harm
than good to bring the raw subsoil to the surface, but the subsoil may
with advantage be stirred and loosened by the fork, and if a little
loamy clay can be worked into it the land will be permanently benefited.

A very stiff soil will, however, present greater difficulties; but if by
free working it can be made sufficiently friable, Asters will revel in
it, and produce flowers of a size and colour that will reward the
cultivator for all his trouble. Throw the ground up roughly in October.
The more it is exposed to the action of wind, snow and frost, the more
thoroughly will the winter disintegrate its particles and render it
fertile. Early in spring give another digging, and then work in a good
supply of decayed manure, together with grit, charcoal, wood ashes, or
other material that will help to render the soil rich and free. Aim at
inducing the roots to go down deep for supplies--there will then be a
cool moist bottom even in dry weather, and these conditions will do much
toward the production of fine stocky plants capable of carrying an
imposing display of flowers.

For sowings from the end of March to the middle of April prepare a
compost consisting principally of decayed leaf-mould, with sufficient
loam to render it firm, and sharp sand to secure drainage. Either pots
or seed-pans may be used. Place these in a cool greenhouse, or in a
Cucumber or Melon pit, or even on a half-spent hot-bed. Sow thinly; a
thick sowing is very likely to damp off. Just hide the seed with finely
sifted soil, and place sheets of glass at the top to prevent rapid
evaporation. Give no water unless the soil becomes decidedly dry, and
then it is better to immerse the pot or pan for half an hour than to
apply water on the surface. When the plants attain the third leaf they
can be pricked off into shallow boxes or round the edges of 3-1/2 inch
pots. From these they either may have another shift singly into small
pots, or may be transferred direct to blooming quarters. A high
temperature is not requisite at any stage of growth, indeed it is
distinctly injurious. From 55° to 65° is the extreme range, and the
happy medium should, if possible, be maintained. Give air on every
suitable occasion, and as the time for transferring to the open ground
approaches, endeavour to approximate nearly to the outside temperature.
The plants will then scarcely feel the removal.

Another and simpler proceeding produces fairly good results, and we
describe it for the benefit of those whose resources may be small, or
who do not care to adopt the more troublesome method. In some spot
shaded from the sun make a heap of stable manure, rather larger than the
light to be placed upon it. Level the top, and cover with four or five
inches of rich soil. Place a frame upon it with the light a trifle open.
When the thermometer indicates 60°, draw drills at six inches apart; sow
the seed, and cover with a little sifted soil. The light had better not
be quite closed, in case of a rise of temperature. As the plants thrive,
gradually give more air, until, in April, the showers may be allowed to
fall directly upon them in the daytime. When the Asters are about three
inches high they will be quite ready for the open ground, and a showery
day is favourable to the transfer. After the bed has served its purpose,
the manure will be in capital condition for enriching the garden.

In the event of there being no frame to spare, drive a stake into each
corner of the bed. Connect the tops of the stakes, about one foot from
the surface of the bed, with four rods securely tied, and upon these
place other rods, over and around which any protecting material at
command may be used. With this simple contrivance it is quite possible
to grow Asters in a satisfactory manner.

The finest Asters are frequently grown in the open air, entirely without
the aid of artificial heat, and indeed without any special horticultural
appliances. Those who possess the best possible resources will find
additional advantage in resorting also to this mode of culture. It gives
another string to the bow, and prolongs the season of flowering. For
open-air sowings in April make the soil level and fine, and about the
middle of that month draw drills three inches deep. In these place an
inch of finely prepared rich soil, and if it is largely mixed with
vegetable ashes, so much the better. The distance between the drills
should be regulated by the variety. For tall-growing Asters twelve to
fifteen inches between the rows will not be too much. Ten inches will
suffice for the dwarfs. Sow the seed thinly and evenly, and cover
carefully with fine soil. Commence early to thin the plants, always
leaving the strongest, and arrange that they finally stand at from eight
to fifteen inches apart according to the sort.

Keep the ground clean, and before the flowering stage is reached gently
stir the surface, but not deep enough to injure the roots. An occasional
application of weak manure water will be advantageous, but it must not
be allowed to touch the foliage.

For tall varieties it may be needful to provide support. If so, place a
neat stick on that side of the plant towards which it leans, as this
takes the strain off the tying material, and saves the plant from being
cut or half-strangled. In a dry season, and especially on light soils,
there must be a bountiful supply of soft water, alternated every few
days with the manure water already alluded to. Evening is the best time
to apply it.

For show purposes rather more room is required than we have stated. Only
about five buds should be matured by each plant, and these, of course,
the finest. To prepare flowers for exhibition is in itself an art, and
each cultivator must be guided by his own resources and experience.

Asters in pots make excellent decorative subjects. It is only necessary
to lift them carefully from the borders with balls of earth surrounding
the roots, and pot them just before the buds expand, or they may be
potted up while in full flower without flagging.

The plants are liable to the attacks of aphis, both green and black.
While under glass the pests can be destroyed by fumigation; but in the
open a solution of some good insecticide may be administered with the
syringe at intervals of about three days, until a clearance is effected.
Other foes are the various grubs which attack plants at the collar. On
the first sign of failing vigour, gently remove with a pointed stick the
soil around the plant, and in doing this avoid any needless disturbance
of the roots. Do not be satisfied until the enemy is destroyed.


==AUBRIETIA==

==Hardy perennial==

In the early months of the year few subjects in the garden present so
gay an appearance as Aubrietias, for with the first approach of genial
weather the cushion-like plants burst into a mass of delightful blossom.
For spring bedding, edgings, and the rock garden Aubrietias are
indispensable, and they make a particularly effective show when grown in
conjunction with Yellow Alyssum and White Arabis. Aubrietias are easily
grown from seed sown in May and June. The plants are best raised in pans
of light rich soil and may be put out in autumn where required to flower
in the following spring.


==AURICULA==

==Primula Auricula. Hardy perennial==

Keen is the enthusiasm of the Auricula amateur. The only complaint we
ever heard about the flower is that its most devoted admirer cannot
endow it with perpetual youth and beauty.

It is well to bear in mind that seed from a worthless strain requires
just as much attention as that which is saved with all a florist's skill
from prize flowers. Some growers advocate sowing immediately the seed is
ripe, but this intensifies the irregular germination that characterises
seed of all the Primula species. Either February, March, or April may be
chosen, and we give preference to the end of February. Use six-inch
pots, and as there must be no doubt about drainage, nearly half-fill the
pots with crocks, cover with a good layer of rough fibrous loam mingled
with broken charcoal, and on the top a mixture of loam, decayed leaves,
and sharp sand. Press the soil firmly down; sow thinly and regularly,
putting the seeds in about half an inch apart; just cover them with fine
soil, and place the pots in a cool frame or greenhouse, with sheets of
glass over to prevent evaporation. Watering in the ordinary way is apt
to wash out the seeds, and it is therefore advisable to immerse the pots
in a vessel containing water until the soil has become saturated. Wait
patiently for the plants. When they show four or six leaves, prick out
into pans or boxes about two inches apart, and before the seedlings
touch each other transfer to small pots. The surface soil in the pots
may be lightly stirred occasionally to keep it free from moss. The
plants must never be allowed to go dry, but as winter approaches water
should be given more sparingly, and during sharp frosts it may be wise
to withhold it entirely. There really is no need of artificial heat, for
the Auricula is a mountaineer, and can endure both frost and snow. But
we prize its beauty so highly that frames and greenhouses are properly
employed for protecting it from wind, heavy rain, soot, dust, and all
the unkind assaults of a lowland atmosphere, to which it is unaccustomed
in a natural state. Still, the plants should be kept as nearly hardy as
possible.

The Auricula is a slow-growing plant, and although there will probably
be some flowers from seedlings in the second year, their value must not
be judged until the following season. To the trained eye of the florist
the Show Auriculas take precedence over the Alpine section; but for
general usefulness the Alpines hold the first place. They may be
fearlessly put into the open border, and especially the north border,
where, with scarcely any care at all, they will endure the winter, and
freely show their lovely flowers in spring.


==BALSAM==

==Impatiens Balsamina. Half-hardy annual==

The older methods of growing Balsams prescribed a false system,
comprising disbudding, stopping, and other interferences with the
natural growth of the plant. The rule of pinching back the leader to
promote the growth of side shoots, and removing the flower buds to
increase the size of the plants, was altogether vicious, because the
natural growth is more elegant and effective. The finest flowers are
produced on the main stem, and these are completely sacrificed by
disbudding.

It is desirable to make two or three sowings of Balsam, say from the
middle of March to the middle of May, the earlier sowings to be put on a
sweet hot-bed, although March sowings will soon germinate in a frame,
and the May sowing may be made in the open ground on a prepared bed. The
soil at every stage should be rich and light, but not rank in any
degree. Prick out the plants from the seed-pans directly the first rough
leaves show, and soon after shift them again to encourage a stout dwarf
habit. A sunny position should be chosen for the bed, in which they may
be planted out about the first week of June, or earlier if the weather
is particularly favourable. Heat, moisture, and a strong light favour a
fine bloom, and, therefore, water must be given whenever dry weather
prevails for any length of time. If kept sturdy while under glass, they
will need no support of any kind, and although they are peculiarly
fleshy in texture, it is seldom they are injured, even by a gale. When
grown in pots throughout, the chief points are to shift them often in
the early stages, to promote free growth in every reasonable way, and to
cease shifting when they are in pots sufficiently large to sustain the
strength of the plants. Generally speaking, eight-inch pots will suffice
for very fine Balsams, but ten-inch pots may be used for plants from an
early sowing. They will probably not show a flower-bud while increased
pot room is allowed them; but as soon as their roots touch the sides of
the pots the bloom will appear. It is occasionally the practice to lift
plants from beds when pot Balsams are wanted. This method has the
advantage of being the least troublesome, and as the plants need not be
lifted until the flowers show, favourite colours can be chosen.


==BEGONIA, TUBEROUS-ROOTED==

==Begonia hybrida. Half-hardy perennial==

One of the most remarkable achievements in modern horticulture is the
splendid development of single and double Tuberous-rooted Begonias from
the plant as first introduced from the Andes. Originally the flowers
were small, imperfect in form, and deficient in range of colour. But
experts were quick in apprehending the capabilities of this graceful
plant, and it proved to be unusually amenable to the hybridiser's
efforts. Now the large symmetrical blossoms of both single and double
flowers challenge attention for beauty of form and an almost endless
variation of tints peculiar to the Tuberous-rooted Begonia. The plants
are conspicuous ornaments of the conservatory and greenhouse for several
months, and experience has proved that they make unique bedders,
enduring unfavourable conditions of weather which are fatal to many of
the older bedding subjects.

From the best strains of seed it is easy, with a little patience, to
raise a fine stock of plants, possessing the highest decorative
qualities. Under generous treatment the seedlings from a January or
February sowing come into bloom during July and August. The seed should
be sown in well-drained pots containing a good compost at the bottom,
with fine sandy loam on the surface, pressed down. Before sowing
sprinkle the soil with water, and sow the seed evenly, barely covering
it with fine earth. A temperature of about 65° is suitable. Germination
is both slow and irregular, and the plants must be pricked off into pans
or small pots as fast as they become large enough to handle. This
process should be followed up so long as seedlings appear and require
transferring. They may be shifted on as the growth of the several plants
may require. Begonias need more attention with reference to an even
temperature during this stage than at any other period.

The merits of Begonias as bedding plants are now recognised in many
gardens, and they deserve to be still more widely grown. It is wise to
defer planting out until June. In the open ground they produce abundant
supplies of flowers for cutting at the end of September and early in
October, when many other flowers are over. The plants should be put out
when they show themselves sufficiently strong, and it is better to be
guided by the plants than by any fixed date. The beds must be freely
enriched with well-rotted manure and decayed vegetable matter; it can
scarcely be overdone, for Begonias are gross feeders.

The earliest plants to flower will often be retained in the greenhouse,
as they follow in succession the Cinerarias and Calceolarias. Those that
start later may be turned out as they come into bloom, which will
probably be in June. By deferring the planting out until there is a show
of bloom a selection of various shades of colour is possible, and this
will greatly enhance the beauty of the beds. Begonias are hardier than
is generally supposed; they need no protection, and require no heat,
except in the stage of seedlings, when first forming their tubers.

For autumn decoration Begonias should be taken up from the beds during
September and potted, when they will continue to bloom in the greenhouse
or conservatory for a considerable time, and form a useful addition to
the flowering plants of that period.

If not required for autumn decoration, let the plants remain out as long
as may be safe; then pot off, and place in the greenhouse. Be careful
not to hasten the drying of the bulbs. When the stems fall Begonias may
be stored for their season of rest, allowing them to remain in the same
pots. They can be put away in a dry cellar, or on the ground, covered up
with sand, in any shed or frame where the bulbs will remain dry and be
protected from frost. Both damp and cold are very injurious to them. The
temperature during their season of rest should be kept as near 50° as
possible. When they show signs of growth in spring they must be put into
small-sized pots, almost on the surface of the soil. As growth increases
shift into larger sizes, inserting the bulb a little deeper each time
until the crown is covered.


==BEGONIA, FIBROUS-ROOTED==l

==Begonia semperflorens. Half-hardy perennial==

Fibrous-rooted Begonias are exceedingly valuable for either bedding in
summer or greenhouse decoration during the autumn and winter. They
produce a continual succession of flowers, rather small in size, but
very useful for bouquets, and the plants are charming as table
ornaments. The directions for sowing and after-treatment recommended for
the Tuberous-rooted class will be suitable also for the Fibrous-rooted
varieties, except that the latter must always be kept in a growing
state, instead of being dried off at the end of the flowering season.
Sow seed at the end of January or in February, and again at the
beginning of March. Under fair treatment the first batch of plants will
come into flower for bedding out in June.


==CALCEOLARIA, HERBACEOUS==

==Calceolaria hybrida. Greenhouse biennial==

The present magnificent race of Herbaceous Calceolarias, both as to
constitution and the beauty of its flowers, is the result of much
cross-fertilisation of the finest types, so that the best strains are
capable of affording ever-new surprise and delight. The superb
collections exhibited in recent years, which have made lasting
impressions on the public by their form and brilliancy of colour, have
invariably been raised from seeds of selected varieties, saved on
scientific principles that insure vigour, variety, and splendour in the
progeny.

Calceolarias thrive under intelligent cool-house culture, but it must be
clearly understood that in every stage of growth they are quick in
resenting neglect or careless treatment. The work must be carried out
with scrupulous attention, and the result will more than justify the
labour. Extreme conditions of temperature are distinctly injurious, and
the plants are especially susceptible to a parched, dry atmosphere.

May is early enough to commence operations, and July is the limit for
sowing. As a rule, the June sowing will produce the quickest, strongest,
and most robust plants.

The soil, whatever its composition, should be rich, firm, and, above
all, porous. Press it well into the pots or pans, and make the surface
slightly convex and quite smooth. A compost that has been properly
prepared will not need water; but should water become needful, it must
be given by partially submerging the pans. The seed is as fine as snuff,
and requires delicate handling. It is easily lost or blown away, and
therefore it is wise not to open the packet until perfectly ready to
sow. Distribute the seed evenly and sift over it a mere dusting of fine
earth. Place a sheet of glass upon each pot or pan, and the glass must
be either turned or wiped daily. This not only checks rapid evaporation,
but prevents the attacks of vermin. Germination is always slower on an
open than on a close stage. Perhaps the best possible position is a
moist shady part of a vinery, if care be taken when syringing the vines
to prevent the spray from falling upon the seed-pans.

Under favourable circumstances, from seven to nine days will suffice to
bring the seedlings up in force, and very few will appear afterwards.
When they are through the soil remove the sheet of glass, and give them
prompt attention, or they will rapidly damp off. Immediately the second
leaf appears, tiny as the plants may be and difficult to handle,
commence pricking them off into other pots prepared to receive them, for
it is unsafe to wait until they become strong. Allow about two inches
between the plants. The occupants of each pan may generally be pricked
off in about three operations, and there should be only the shortest
possible intervals between.

With many subjects it is a safe rule to use the robust seedlings and
throw the weakly ones away. This practice will not do in the case of
Calceolarias, or some of the most charming colours that can grace the
conservatory or greenhouse will be lost. The strongest seedlings
generally produce flowers in which yellow largely predominates, a fact
that can easily be verified by keeping the plants under different
numbers. But it must not be inferred that because the remainder are
somewhat weaker at the outset they will not eventually make robust
plants.

Freely mix silver sand with the potting mould, and raise the surface
higher in the centre than at the edge of the pot. From the first
appearance of the seedlings shading is of the utmost importance, for
even a brief period of direct sunshine will certainly prove destructive.
Do not allow the plants to become dry for a moment, but give frequent
gentle sprinklings of water, and rain-water is preferable. As the soil
hardens, stir the surface with a pointed stick, not too deep, and give
water a few hours after. About a month of this treatment should find
each plant in the possession of four or five leaves. Then prepare thumb
pots with small crocks, cover the crocks with clean moss and fill with
rich porous soil. To these transfer the plants with extreme care,
lifting each one with as much soil adhering to the roots as a skilful
hand can make them carry. Place them in a frame, or in the sheltered
part of a greenhouse, quite free from dripping water. Always give air on
suitable days, and on the leeward side of the house.

Keep a sharp look-out for aphis, to the attacks of which Calceolarias
are peculiarly liable. Fumigation is the best remedy, and it should be
undertaken in the evening; a still atmosphere renders the operation more
certain. Water carefully on the following morning, and shade from the
sun.

By September the plants should be in large 60-pots, and it is then quite
time to begin the preparation for wintering. Some growers put them in
heat, and are successful, but the heat must be very moderate, and even
then we regard the practice as dangerous. Place the plants near the
glass, and at one end of the house where they will obtain plenty of side
light, as well as light from above. During severe frosts it may be well
to draw them back or remove them to a shelf lower down and towards the
centre of the house, but they must be restored as soon as possible to
the fullest light obtainable, as they have to do all their growth under
glass. The more air that can safely be given, the better, and dispense
with fire-heat if a temperature of 45° to 55° can be maintained without
it.

When growth commences in spring, which will generally be early in March,
give each plant its final shift into eight-or ten-inch pots. This must
be done before the buds push up, or there will be more foliage than
flowers.

The following is the compost we advise: one bushel good yellow loam,
half-bushel leaf-soil, one gallon silver sand, a pound of Sutton's A 1
Garden Manure, and a pint of soot, well mixed at least ten days before
use. Any sourness in the soil will be fatal to flowering. The compost
must be carefully 'firmed' into the pots, but no severe pressure should
be employed, or the roots will not run freely.

Neglect as to temperature or humidity will have to be paid for in long
joints, green fly, red spider, or in some other way. But there are no
plants of high quality that grow more thriftily if protected from cold
winds and kept perfectly clean. A light airy greenhouse is their proper
place, and they must have ample headroom.

After the pots are filled with roots, not before, manure water may be
administered until the flower-heads begin to show colour, when pure soft
water only should be used. About a fortnight in advance of the full
display the branches must be tied to supports. If skilfully managed the
supports will not be visible.

It may be that a few large specimens are required. If so, shift the most
promising plants into 6-size pots. These large Calceolarias will need
regular supplies of liquid manure until the bloom is well up, and if the
pots are efficiently drained and the plants in a thriving condition, a
rather strong beverage will suit them. For all ordinary purposes,
however, plants may be allowed to flower in eight-or ten-inch pots, and
for these one shift after the winter is sufficient.

==New Types of Calceolaria.==--There are now available a number of hybrid
half-hardy perennial varieties, of which =C. profusa= (=Clibrani=) is
the most popular, that bear the same relation to the Large-flowered
Calceolaria as the Star Cineraria does to the Florist's Cineraria. In
point of size the blooms produced by these new types are smaller than
those of the Large-flowered section, but the tall graceful sprays are
extremely beautiful and of the greatest decorative value. Except that
seed should be sown earlier (February and March are the proper months),
the plants should receive precisely the same treatment as that already
described for Herbaceous Calceolaria.


==CALCEOLARIA, SHRUBBY==

==Calceolaria rugosa. Half-hardy perennial==

Notwithstanding the ease with which cuttings of the Shrubby Calceolaria
can be carried through a severe winter, there is a growing disposition
to obtain the required number of plants from seed sown in February; and
seedlings have the advantage of great variety of colour. A frame or
greenhouse, and the most ordinary treatment, will suffice to insure a
large stock of attractive healthy plants for the embellishment of beds
and borders.


==CAMPANULA and CANTERBURY BELL==

==Hardy annual, hardy biennial, and hardy perennial==

Among the numerous and diverse forms in the order Campanulaceæ are many
flowers of great value in the garden, including Single, Double, and Cup
and Saucer strains of the popular Canterbury Bell (=C. medium=). The
impression that some Campanulas are shy growers and require
exceptionally careful treatment may arise from the frail habit of
certain varieties, or from the fact that some of them occasionally fail
to bloom within twelve months from date of sowing. The idea is not worth
a moment's consideration. In moderately rich, well-drained soil the
finest Campanulas not only prove to be thoroughly hardy, but they are
most graceful in herbaceous borders or beds, and they may also be used
alone in bold clumps with splendid effect. For instance, the handsome
Chimney Campanulas (=C. pyramidalis= and =C. pyramidalis alba=)
frequently attain a height of six feet or more, and sturdy spikes
occasionally measure eight and even ten feet from base to tip. Such
specimens are magnificent ornaments in conservatories and corridors, and
cannot fail to arrest attention at the back of herbaceous borders, or
when used as isolated plants on lawns. When grown in pots use a light
rich compost, taking care to insure perfect drainage. The plants must
never be allowed to become dry, as this not only checks growth but
renders them liable to attack by red spider or green fly. Another
distinctive subject for the decoration of the conservatory is =C.
grandis=, which may be described as a dwarf Chimney Campanula. The
freely branching plants, covered with attractive flowers, also form a
striking group when grown in the open border.

Altogether different in character is =C. persicifolia grandiflora=, or
the Peach-leaved Bell-flower as it is sometimes called. This plant is
lighter and more graceful than the Canterbury Bell. It throws up
handsome stems, two feet high, clothed from the ground with lance-like
leaves and elegant bells which quiver in the slightest breeze. An
interesting plant is the Giant Harebell, a dainty flower on a slender
stem, resembling the wild variety in form, but larger, richer in colour,
and a more profuse bloomer. =C. glomerata= is one of the hardiest plants
that can be grown in any garden, and the large close heads of deep blue
bells have long been familiar in herbaceous borders. For its very fine
glistening, deep blue, erect flowers, =C. grandiflora= is also a great
favourite.

Campanulas were formerly propagated by division, but this treatment has
created the impression that they are unworthy to be ranked among the
perennials. From seed, the plants are extremely robust. =C. persicifolia
grandiflora= resents division, which frequently results in weakened
growth and a tendency, especially in poor or badly drained soil, to
dwindle away. The only satisfactory method of growing Campanulas is to
raise plants annually from good strains of seed. If sown in gentle heat
early in the year--February is the usual month--many of the varieties
flower the same season. When they are well started, plenty of light and
air must be admitted. Unless intended for potting they should be planted
out in good soil where they will require no more care than is bestowed
on the borders generally. Seed can also be sown in the open ground from
May to July; transplant in autumn for flowering in the following season.
During hot weather, particularly on light soil, the plants need to be
well watered, but in retentive ground thorough drainage must be insured.
Should signs of debility appear, transplant to rich soil, where they
will soon regain vigour.

A popular half-hardy Campanula is =C. fragilis=, of trailing habit. The
starry pale blue flowers are seen to most advantage in hanging-baskets.
The charm of these flowers is wholly lost if they are placed on a stage
in the greenhouse; and they are not entirely satisfactory in a window
where the light is transmitted through the petals, as this robs them of
colour and substance. But hanging in a conservatory with plenty of air
and space their slender drooping stems are very graceful, and the light
reflected from the flowers does full justice to their beauty. Sow in
pans during February or March and pot on as required.

All the foregoing are perennials, but two little hardy annual Campanulas
are =Attica= and =A. alba=, growing about six inches high. They make
useful foreground plants, and are quite at home in rock gardens. Sow in
April on light soil.

==The Canterbury Bell== has already been alluded to; it is a charming
hardy biennial forming a valuable feature of the mixed border. The large
semi-double blooms of the Cup and Saucer class and the double varieties
are modern introductions which have become extremely popular; the range
of colours now includes the most delicate shades of pink, mauve, and
blue, in addition to pure white. Seed may be sown from April to July.
When the seedlings are large enough transplant them where required for
flowering in the summer of the succeeding year. But Canterbury Bells are
also interesting in the greenhouse during spring; for this work pot them
in October and on to December. So treated, they bloom even more
generously than in the garden. There can be no more beautiful adornment
for a hall or large drawing-room than a well-placed group of the fine
white flowers, backed by a mass of dark-foliaged plants.


==CANNA==

==Indian Shot. Half-hardy perennial==

Cannas have ceased to be regarded simply as sub-tropical foliage plants,
adapted only for the adornment of beds and borders. They have not lost
their merits for this purpose, although in all probability the taller
forms will be less grown than formerly, because the new dwarf varieties,
which maintain a high standard of beauty in the foliage, include a
diversity of rich tints previously unknown, and they possess the
additional merit of producing flowers that have lifted the race into
prominence as brilliant decorative subjects for the garden and the
greenhouse.

The popular name is descriptive of the seed, which is almost spherical,
black, and so hard that it has been used in the West Indies instead of
shot. Hence it will occasion no surprise that the germs burst through
the strong covering with difficulty, and that sometimes weeks elapse
before the seedlings appear, one or two at a time. To facilitate
germination some growers file the seed, others soak it until the skin
becomes sufficiently soft to permit of the paring away of a small
portion with a sharp knife. In either case caution must be exercised to
avoid injuring the germ. A safer mode of attaining the object is to soak
the seeds in water, placed in a greenhouse or stove, for about
twenty-four hours before sowing. After soaking the seeds it is necessary
to keep the soil constantly moist, or the germs will certainly suffer
injury. The number of seeds sown should be recorded, so that it may be
known when all are up. The first sowing should be made in January, in a
temperature of about 75°, and as fast as the seedlings become ready
transfer singly to small pots. As Cannas are gross feeders they must
have a rich, porous compost, and an occasional dose of liquid manure
will prove beneficial, especially when the pots are full of roots. If
the seedlings from the January sowing are regularly potted on and
properly managed they will begin to flower in June or July. Either the
plants may be turned out into a rich soil, or the pots can be plunged,
and after flowering in the open until late in autumn the plants can be
lifted for another display of bloom in the greenhouse. In warm districts
and in dry, sheltered situations, the roots may be left in the open
ground all the winter under a covering of ashes; but they must be lifted
from a damp, cold soil, and stored in a frame during the winter months.
We have only mentioned January as the month for sowing, but seed may be
put in up to midsummer, or even later, following the routine already
indicated.


==CARNATION==

==Dianthus Caryophyllus fl. pl. Hardy perennial==

The Carnation belongs to the aristocracy of flowers and has attained the
dignity of an exclusive exhibition. But in addition to their merits as
show flowers, Carnations make conspicuous ornaments in the garden and
the home, and it has been found that seed saved with skill from the
finest varieties will produce plants yielding hundreds of flowers of
which the grower need not feel ashamed. Since the introduction of the
early-flowering class, which can easily be had in bloom within six
months from date of sowing, an immense impetus has been given to the
culture of Carnations from seed, and with judicious management it is not
a difficult matter to insure a succession of these delightful subjects
almost the year through. For the decoration of greenhouses and for
providing cut flowers, seedling Carnations have a special value, which
has only to be known to be universally appreciated. No trouble should be
experienced with high-class seeds, which germinate freely and save much
time and labour in comparison with the more tedious process of
propagation; while an occasional new break may at times reward the
raiser.

The proverb that what is worth doing is worth doing well is peculiarly
exemplified in the cultivation of Carnations, the difference between the
results of good and bad work being immense. We therefore advise the
preparation of a compost consisting of about three parts of turfy loam,
to one part each of cow-manure and sweet leaf-mould, with a small
addition of fine grit. A compost that has been laid up for a year,
according to the orthodox practice of florists, is very much to be
desired; but it may be prepared off-hand if care be taken to have all
the materials in a sweet, friable state, free from pastiness, and as far
as possible free from vermin. By laying it in a heap, and turning two or
three times, the vermin will be pretty well got rid of. Sow from April
until August in 4-1/2 inch pots, which must be thoroughly drained. The
seed must be very thinly covered, and sheets of glass should be laid
over to check evaporation. Place the pots in a closed frame, or if the
season be genial a sheltered border will suffice. Immediately the plants
are large enough to handle, prick them off into seed-pans, or round the
edge of 48-size pots. Place these in a cold pit or in the greenhouse.
Give shade and water until the plants have formed six or eight leaves,
and then choose a moist day for planting out.

To insure flowering plants in the following summer it is necessary to
have them strong and robust before the winter sets in. As the blooming
stems rise they must be carefully tied to tall sticks, stout enough to
carry a cover for the bloom, if the plants are not flowered under glass.
When the buds show they should be thinned, leaving as a rule the top,
third, and fourth buds. The second is often too near the first, and some
will not carry the fourth with vigour. When the petals nearly fill the
calyx, each one must be carefully tied with a thin strip of material a
little more than halfway down, to prevent the calyx from bursting, which
disqualifies the flower for exhibition.

==The early-flowering class== is extremely valuable for the ease with
which it can be grown. The seedlings offer the advantage of being far
more floriferous than plants that have been propagated by the orthodox
method, and they are quite immune from the disease which often decimates
stocks raised from layers and cuttings. Two strains--Vanguard and
Improved Marguerite--possess these characteristics in a very high
degree. All the usual colours are included, and they not only make a
very imposing display in the borders but are of great value for table
decoration. Within about six months from the time seed is sown an
admirable form of delightfully scented Carnation is at the command of
every gardener, and a succession of these popular flowers is available
long after the perennial varieties have ceased to bloom. Plants from
seed sown in gentle heat in January or February will flower freely in
the autumn of the same year, and if lifted and potted they will continue
in bloom during the winter as ornaments of the greenhouse or
conservatory. From another sowing in autumn there will be a display in
the following spring.


==CELOSIA PLUMOSA==

==Plumed Cockscomb. Greenhouse annual==

The conditions which suit a liberally grown Cockscomb will produce long
graceful plumes of =Celosia plumosa=, but the starving system will not
answer with this plant. Sow in February or March, and by means of a
steady heat, regular attention with water, and a rather moist
atmosphere, the specimens should be grown without a check from beginning
to end. When they reach the final pots an occasional dose of weak manure
water will help them, both in size and colour, but it must be
discontinued when the flowers begin to show their beauty. As a rule it
will be found more easy to manage this plant on a moderate-sized hot-bed
than in a greenhouse. Repotting should always be done in time to prevent
the roots from growing through the bottom of the pots.


==CELOSIA CRISTATA--see COCKSCOMB, =page= 254==


==CHRYSANTHEMUM==

==Hardy perennial and hardy annual==

The tedious method of propagating Begonias, Gloxinias, and Primulas by
cuttings or layers has been replaced by the simpler and more
satisfactory procedure of sowing seeds, which insures all the finest
flowers in far greater variety than were obtained under the obsolete
treatment. A similar revolution is now proceeding in the culture of
Chrysanthemums. Many growers are relying entirely on seedlings raised
from sowings early in the year for their autumn display. The culture of
=C. indicum= from seed is as simple as that of Primulas or Stocks, and
the variety and delicate charm of the seedlings far surpass the formal
plants of years ago. Gardeners who require large numbers for decorative
purposes may use seedling Chrysanthemums with excellent effect.

Seed should be sown in January or February, using a compost consisting
of two parts leaf-soil to one part of loam. Place the pots or pans in a
temperature of 65° to 70°. As soon as the seedlings appear they should
be moved to a somewhat lower temperature--about 55° to 60°. When the
young plants are large enough to handle, prick off into trays at about
three inches apart, using a little more loam in the soil. The most
convenient size for the purpose is fifteen inches long by nine inches
wide and three inches deep. These trays produce a quicker root action
than pots. After growth has started, place them in cold frames.
Immediately the plants have made five or six leaves transfer singly to
three-inch pots, and when nicely rooted they may be stopped once. About
June shift into six-inch pots, adding a small quantity of coarse silver
sand to the potting soil. Ten days later place them out of doors on a
bed of ashes. Towards the end of July transfer to 9-1/2 inch pots for
flowering, using soil of the composition already advised. Keep them
standing on ashes or boards, if possible at the north side of a hedge or
house. When thoroughly rooted a little manure water may be given once a
week. In October stand the plants in a cool house, and in the first week
of November move them to flowering quarters, keeping the temperature
from 55° to 60°.

If required for blooming in the open, prick the seedlings off as soon as
they will bear handling, and in May have them planted out in final
positions, giving a little protection at first. They will yield a
profusion of bloom which will prove invaluable for decorative purposes
throughout the autumn months.

The Perennial Chrysanthemums include the well-known Marguerite, or
Ox-eye Daisy (=C. leucanthemum=), of which several new varieties have
been introduced in recent years. Not only have these flowers been
greatly improved in size and form, but there are now early-and
late-flowering varieties which will give a succession of bloom from May
until early autumn. The seed may be sown at any time from April to July
on a carefully prepared bed of light fertile soil, and when the
seedlings are large enough they should be transferred to permanent
quarters for flowering in the following year. In the perennial border
the plants make handsome specimens, and the long-stemmed flowers are
also invaluable for vase decoration when cut.

Several of the Annual Chrysanthemums make superb displays in borders,
especially when planted in large clumps, and they deserve to be grown
extensively in odd corners to furnish a supply of charming flowers for
bouquets and arrangement in vases. There is a considerable choice of
colours, which come quite true, and the plants may be treated in all
respects as hardy annuals. When grown in pots, the Star and Dunnettii
varieties make most attractive subjects for the decoration of the
greenhouse in winter and early spring. For this purpose seed should be
sown in August and September.


==CINERARIA==

==Greenhouse annual==

The comparative ease with which the Cineraria can be well grown,
together with the exceeding beauty and variety of its flowers, will
always insure for it a high position in public favour. It is now so
generally raised from seed that no other mode of culture need be alluded
to. The plant is rapid in growth, very succulent, thirsty, requires
generous feeding, and will not endure extremes of heat or cold. A
compost of mellow turfy loam, either yellow or brown, with a fair
addition of leaf-mould, will grow it to perfection. If leaf-mould cannot
be obtained, turfy peat will make a fairly good substitute. Soil from an
old Melon bed will also answer, with the addition of sharp grit such as
the sifted sweepings from gravel walks; the disadvantage of a very rich
soil is that it tends to the production of too much foliage.

The usual period for sowing is during the months of May and June, and,
as a rule, the plants raised in May will be found the most valuable. A
June sowing must not be expected to produce flowers until the following
March or April. It is quite possible to have Cinerarias in bloom in
November and December, and those who care for a display at that early
period should sow in April.

Cinerarias grow so freely that it is not necessary to prick the
seedlings off round the edges of pots or pans; but immediately the
plants begin to make their second leaves, transfer direct to thumb pots,
using rather coarse soil, and in doing this take care not to cover the
hearts of the plants. Place the pots in a close frame; attend to
shading, and sprinkle with soft water both morning and evening until
well established. In the second week after potting, gradually diminish
the heat and give more air. Too high a temperature, and even too much
shade, will produce thin and weak leaf-stalks. If the plants are so
crowded that they touch one another it will almost certainly be
injurious, and render them an easy prey to some of their numerous
enemies. It is far better to grow a few really fine specimens that will
produce a handsome display of superb flowers, than to attempt a large
number of feeble plants that will prove a constant source of trouble,
and in the end yield but a poor return in bloom. Endeavour to grow them
as nearly hardy as the season will allow, even admitting the night air
freely on suitable occasions. Immediately the thumb pots are filled with
roots, shift to a larger size, and it is important that this operation
should not be delayed a day too long. To the practised eye the
alteration of the colour of the leaves to a pale green is a sufficient
intimation that starvation has commenced, and that prompt action is
necessary to save the plants. It is the custom of some growers to
transfer at once to the size in which they are intended to bloom. There
is, however, some danger to the inexperienced in over-potting, and
therefore one intermediate shift is advisable. As a rule 32-size pots
are large enough, but the 24-or even the 16-size is allowable when very
fine specimens are required. The seedlings should be in their final
pots not later than the end of November.

It will help to harden and establish the plants if they are placed in
the open air during August and September. A north border under the
shelter of a wall or building is the most suitable spot, but avoid a
hedge of any kind. Clear away suckers, and if many buds are presented,
every third one may be removed when very fine blooms are wanted. From
the first appearance of the buds, manure water can be given with
advantage once or twice a week until the flowers show colour, and then
it should be discontinued.

Although Cinerarias are thrifty plants, they are fastidious about
trifles. If possible give them new pots, or see that old ones are made
scrupulously clean. Even hard water will retard free growth, oftentimes
to the perplexity of the cultivator.

A host of enemies attack Cinerarias; indeed, there is scarcely a pest
known to the greenhouse but finds a congenial home upon this plant.
Mildew is more common in some seasons than in others. As a rule, it
appears during July and August, especially after insufficient
ventilation, or when the plants have been left too long in one place or
too near to each other. Obviously weakness invites attack, and the
necessity of robust and vigorous growth is thus effectually taught. On
the first appearance of a curled leaf, dust the foliage and soil with
sulphur, and give no water overhead until a cure has been effected. The
aphis is easily killed by fumigation carried out on a quiet evening.
Some gardeners prefer to give an hour or two once a week to the removal
of the pest by means of a soft brush. From three to four dozen plants
are easily cleansed by hand in the time named.

==Star Cinerarias== (=C. stellata=) are grown under precisely the same
conditions as the Florists' or Show Cinerarias, and this type of flower
is highly valued for its singular gracefulness and beautiful decorative
effect. In the conservatory and on the table it is an indispensable
plant. The sprays admit of most charming arrangements in vases with any
kind of ornamental foliage, and maintain their beauty for a long time in
water.

==Intermediate Cinerarias==.--These new types of Cineraria, which in habit
are intermediate between the Large-flowered and Stellata classes, make
admirable subjects for table decoration, as well as for the adornment of
the conservatory or greenhouse. In this class the Feltham Beauty strain
undoubtedly has a great future before it. Originated at the Feltham
Nurseries, this strain has attracted considerable attention at the
numerous horticultural meetings where it has been exhibited, and since
it passed into our hands a few years ago some very beautiful colours not
to be found among the ordinary Stellata varieties have been added to it.
The distinctive feature of the flowers is the white centre, which
greatly enhances the vividness of the colouring of the petals. For the
Intermediate section the same methods of culture as advised for the
other classes of Cineraria will apply.


==CLARKIA==

==C. elegans. C. pulchella. Hardy annuals==

The two distinct classes of Clarkia named above include several
varieties that have long been freely grown in gardens as summer annuals.
But the very beautiful recent introductions in the Elegans class have
lifted these flowers to a higher plane of usefulness for producing
brilliant sheets of colour in beds, borders, shrubberies, and beside
carriage drives. Although all the Clarkias bloom profusely in ordinary
garden soil they well repay liberal treatment. Seed may be sown from
March to May, or in September if an early display is wanted. In good
ground each plant of the Pulchella varieties should be allowed a space
of eight or ten inches, but rather more room must be given to the
Elegans class to do the plants justice.

The Elegans varieties are of special value when treated as pot plants
for conservatory decoration in May and June. From seed sown in August or
early in September the plants can be slowly grown into magnificent
specimens four feet high and almost as much in diameter. Our own
practice is to sow thinly in clean well-drained 48-size pots. These are
placed in a temperature of from 50° to 55°, and when the seedlings are
large enough to handle they are pricked off into shallow boxes about
three inches apart, the base of the boxes being freely perforated to
insure ample drainage. The most suitable soil is composed of equal parts
of sound loam and leaf-mould, with the addition of a gallon of coarse
sand to each bushel of the mixed soil. After the plants are well
established, ventilate freely to secure robust growth. When three inches
high pinch out the points, and a little later transfer separately to
small pots, keeping them close for a few days and as near the glass as
possible. As the roots develop, transfer again to larger pots, and then
the second and final stopping of the shoots must be done. Should very
large plants be wanted they can be flowered in 16-size pots, using a
compost slightly heavier than that advised at a younger stage of growth.
The night temperature during winter should be about 45º, giving air
freely by day whenever possible to do so with safety. As the branches
need support, sticks of a suitable length must be provided, and the
stems tied out in good time to prevent them from breaking off.


==CLERODENDRON FALLAX==

==Stove shrub==

A very handsome erect shrub, which is extensively grown in tropical
gardens. In this country it attains a height of about two feet, and is
easily raised from seed in a warm greenhouse or conservatory, where it
proves to be a really beautiful and striking plant.

Sow in pots or pans in March or April and transfer to single pots while
small. From the commencement a very rich soil is necessary to insure
robust growth and intense colour in the panicles of brilliant scarlet
flowers. The plants bloom in August or September of the same year. When
the leaves fall, if the intention be to store through winter, remove to
a temperature of 55°; but raising plants annually is more satisfactory
and entails less trouble than storing.

Like many other tropical plants, Clerodendron fallax is subject to
attack by mealy bug, and this pest may be dealt with by hand picking or
by washing the leaves with insecticide two evenings in succession. Aphis
are also troublesome and should be cleared by fumigation.


==COCKSCOMB==

==Celosia cristata. Tender annual==

This fine old-fashioned flower has won renewed popularity of late years,
probably as the result of a number of well-grown plants exhibited at
horticultural shows. Those who can produce handsome Cinerarias, Balsams,
and Calceolarias, will be likely to turn out grand Cockscombs, strongly
coloured and on dwarf, leafy plants. Liberal culture is essential, and
the first start should be made in a compost consisting mainly of rich
light friable loam. Sow the seeds on a rather brisk heat in February or
March, a newly-made but sweet hot-bed being the best place for the
seed-pans. Prick out early into very small pots, and shift on so as to
encourage growth without a check, and keep the plants on the hot-bed
until the combs are formed. It is well not to shift beyond the
8-1/2-inch size; then, by allowing the roots to become pot-bound, the
combs are soon produced. It matters not how select the seed, or how
careful the culture, a certain proportion of unsymmetrical combs will
appear; but these, if richly coloured, will be useful for decorative
purposes, and should have all the attention needed to keep their leaves
fresh and the combs pure in colour.

==COLEUS==

==Stove perennial==

There is so much difficulty in carrying Coleus through the winter in
vigorous health that the modern plan of treating it as an annual is
advantageous for the saving of trouble and fire-heat in winter, and also
because it offers the charm of constant diversity. The fact is that our
winter days are too short and gloomy to maintain the splendour of
colouring which makes Coleus so attractive and valuable; and seed from a
good strain may be relied on to produce plants which will delight the
eye all through the summer and autumn. Some experienced men sow in
February and succeed, but the majority of cultivators will show prudence
by waiting until March, when increased daylight favours the rapid growth
of the plants. Flowerpots are better than pans, as the greater depth
affords opportunity of securing effectual drainage. The pots should be
nearly half-filled with crocks, covered with a layer of moss to prevent
the soil from being washed away. Fill them with light turfy loam,
mingled with almost an equal bulk of sharp sand. Make an even surface,
on which sow thinly, and shake over the seed a slight covering of fine
soil. Place the pots in a temperature of not less than 65°. Watering
needs particular care, because of the peculiar liability of the young
plants to damp off, especially in dull weather. The strongest seedlings
are pretty certain to be those in which green and black predominate, and
they may without scruple be removed to make way for the slower-growing
but better-coloured specimens. These should be transplanted round the
edges of pots while quite small; and such as show delicate tints,
especially those having pink markings on a golden ground, are worth
nursing through the early stage with extra care. The pots must be shaded
from direct sunshine, but should be kept near the glass. In May the
plants will be large enough for 48-sized pots, beyond which there is no
occasion to go. When the pots become full of roots the foliage increases
in brilliancy, whereas larger pots encourage free growth to the
detriment of colour. A dry atmosphere is particularly injurious, while
an occasional dose of manure water will maintain the plants in health.


==COLUMBINE--=see= AQUILEGIA==


==COSMEA==

==Cosmos. Half-hardy annual==

Cosmeas make a striking show in the mixed border, and the flowers are
also in large request for indoor decoration. Disappointment is often
caused, however, through the plants failing to bloom until late in the
season, and therefore it is important to grow an early-flowering strain
in order to insure a long-continued display. The most successful method
of raising plants is to sow the seed in pots during February, pricking
off the plants as soon as large enough. When the first flowers appear in
May, transplant to positions in the open immediately danger from frost
is past.


==CYCLAMEN==

==Half-hardy perennial==

Gardeners of experience will remember the time when the predominant
colours of Cyclamen were purple and magenta, and it was impossible for
the most friendly critic to feel enthusiastic concerning these flowers.
But the new colours--Salmon Pink, Salmon Scarlet, the intense Vulcan,
Rose Queen and Cherry Red, together with Giant White and White
Butterfly--are now regarded as the brightest and most beautiful
decorative subjects for the long period of dark winter days of which
Christmas is the centre. As cut flowers for the dinner-table Cyclamens
have no rival at that period of the year, and as specimen plants in the
home they are delightful for their free-flowering habit, compact form,
and elegant foliage.

Seed may be sown at any time during autumn or the early part of the
year, and the plants will not only flower within twelve months, but if
properly grown will produce more bloom than can be obtained from old
bulbs. We do not advise more than three sowings, the first and most
important of which should be made in August or the beginning of
September. To obtain a succession of plants, sow again in October and
for the last time early in the new year. Those who have not hitherto
grown Cyclamen for midwinter blooming will be well pleased with the
result. It is quite as easy to flower them in the winter as in the
longer days, and this is more than can be said about most plants.

The best soil for Cyclamen is a rich, sound loam, with a liberal
admixture of leaf-mould, and sufficient silver sand to insure free
drainage. Press this mixture firmly into pots or seed-pans, and dibble
the seed about an inch apart and not more than a quarter of an inch
deep. Cover the surface with a thin layer of leaves or fibrous material
to check rapid evaporation, and later on keep the soil free from moss.
The autumn sowings may at first be placed in a frame having a
temperature of not less than 45°. At the end of a fortnight transfer the
pans to any warm and moist position in the greenhouse or propagating
house.

Although the Cyclamen is a tender plant, it does not need a strong heat,
and will not endure extremes of any kind. Sudden changes are always
fatal to its growth. In winter the temperature should not be allowed to
fall below 56°, or to rise above 70° at any time. The more evenly the
heat can be maintained the better, and it is desirable to give all the
light possible. In summer, however, although a warm and humid atmosphere
is still necessary, the light may with advantage be somewhat subdued,
but shading must not be overdone, or the constitution of the plant will
suffer.

Cyclamen seed not only germinates slowly, but it also grows in the most
capricious manner; sometimes a few plants come up long after others have
made a good start. Do not be impatient of their appearance, but when
some seedlings are large enough for removal transfer to thumb pots,
taking care not to insert them too deeply. As the plants develop, shift
into larger pots, ending finally in the 48-size. In the later stages mix
less sand with the soil, and when potting always leave the crown of the
corm clear. Keep the plants near the glass, and as the sun becomes
powerful it will be necessary to provide shade and prevent excess of
heat. Never allow the seedlings to suffer from want of water, or to
become a prey to aphis. To avoid the latter, occasional, or it may be
frequent, fumigations must be resorted to. About the end of May should
find the most forward plants ready for shifting into 60-pots. Give all
the air possible to promote a sturdy growth. In doing this, however,
avoid draughts of cold air. From the end of June to the middle of July
the finest plants should be ready for their final shift into 48-pots, in
which they will flower admirably. The growth during August and September
will be very free, and then occasional assistance with weak manure water
will add to the size and colour of the flowers. As the evenings shorten,
save the plants from chills, which result in deformed blossoms.

The whole secret of successful Cyclamen culture may be summed up in a
few words: constant and unvarying heat, a moist atmosphere, and abundant
supplies of water without stagnation; free circulation of air, avoiding
cold draughts; light in winter, and shade in summer, with freedom from
insect pests. These conditions will keep the plants in vigorous growth
from first to last, and the result will be so bountiful a bloom as to
prove the soundness of the rapid system of cultivation. This routine may
be varied by the experienced cultivator, but the principles will remain
the same in all cases, because the natural constitution of the plant
gives the key to its management.


==DAHLIA==

==Half-hardy perennial==

Both the double and the single classes of Dahlia are increasingly grown
as annuals from seed, and this practice has the great advantage of being
economical in time and in the saving of space during winter. The
seedlings grow freely and quickly, and will flower quite as early as
those grown by the more lengthy and troublesome method from tubers. Even
those who possess a stock of named sorts may with advantage raise a
supply from seed, especially as there is a probability of securing some
charming novelty, which is in itself no small incentive.

Although the Dahlia is a tender plant, it is easily managed in a
greenhouse, or in a frame resting on a hot-bed. The seed may be sown as
early as January, but unless sufficient space is at command to keep the
plants stocky as they develop, it will be wise to wait until February. A
sowing in the month last named will produce plants forward enough to
bloom at the usual time. Even March will not be too late; but whatever
time may be chosen, when the start has been made it must be followed up
with diligence, so as to avoid giving any check from first to last. Sow
thinly in pots or pans filled with ordinary light rich compost, and
cover the seed with a mere sprinkling of fine earth. When the first pair
of leaves attain the height of an inch, pot off each plant singly close
up to the base of the leaves. It is not advisable to throw the weakly
seedlings away; these are the very plants which are most likely to
display new shades of colour and they are worth some additional trouble.
Although weak at the outset, they may, by judicious treatment, be
developed into a thriving and healthy condition.

When potted, place the plants in heat, giving a little extra care until
growth is fairly started. In due time shift into larger sizes as may be
necessary, and then it will be wise to consider whether there is space
to grow the whole stock well. If not, do not hesitate to sacrifice the
surplus, and in doing so reject the rankest-growing specimens, for these
are least likely to produce a fine display of bloom. It is mistaken
practice to take out the top shoot, as this checks the plant for no good
end; but when about six inches high, each one will need the support of a
stick. Give water freely, and air on all suitable occasions. The least
tendency to curled leaves indicates something amiss, and demands
immediate attention. A cold blast may have stricken the plants, or the
soil may be poor; lack of sufficient water will produce the mischief, or
it may arise from the presence of aphis. If the last-named assumption
prove correct, fumigate on the first quiet evening, and omit watering on
that day. The mere mention of the other points will be sufficient to
show the remedy for them.

As the time for transfer to the open air approaches, all that is
possible should be done to harden the plants for the change. They may be
placed for a few days under the shelter of a wall or hedge, but on the
least sign of frost be prepared to protect with hurdles or mats. Full
exposure during genial showers and fair weather is advisable, and an
occasional examination of the plants will prevent their rooting through
the pots into the soil.

The border for Dahlias can scarcely be made too rich, for they are
hungry and thirsty subjects, and will amply repay in a profusion of
bloom the manure that may be lavished upon them. Slugs and snails are
unfortunately too partial to newly planted Dahlias, but the vermin soon
cease to care about them; therefore it is advisable to plant Lettuces
plentifully at the same time, or previously, on the same ground, and to
dust around the Dahlias with lime. Insert at least one stake, about a
yard long, near each plant, to give support, and two or three others
will have to be given before the branches spread far. Secure the first
shoot when planting is completed, and follow up the tying as growth
demands.

Dahlias bloom continuously for a long time, and appear to be especially
at home in the shrubbery border, or in the centre of a bed. They are
also valuable for training against buildings having a southern aspect,
and here the flowering period is much prolonged, for an early frost will
scarcely reach them. A light wall is an admirable background for
deep-coloured varieties, and the white or yellow flowers are displayed
to advantage against a dark building. Dahlias may be used either alone
or in company with the climbing plants which are usual in such
positions.

The flowers possess a special value for indoor decoration, and any odd
corner of the garden can be utilised for producing a supply for this
purpose. Cutting should invariably be done in the early morning, while
yet the dew is upon them. They will then retain their beauty for a
longer period than those taken at a later hour from the same plants.
This remark is true of all flowers, but it applies with especial force
to the Dahlia.


==DAISY, DOUBLE==

==Bellis perennis fl. pl. Hardy perennial==


The remarkable development of the Double Daisy in recent years has
raised this simple garden subject to the foremost rank of spring bedding
plants. So pronounced has been the improvement achieved in the size and
form of the flowers, that plants raised from a reliable strain of seed
will now produce blooms which may well be mistaken for specimens of
finely shaped Asters. When massed in a large bed the flowers present one
of the most striking sights to be seen anywhere in the spring garden.
But apart from their use in formal beds and borders, Double Daisies make
a pleasing break among Wallflowers, and are particularly attractive when
grown as an edging to bulbous flowers and other spring-blooming subjects
such as Polyanthus, Myosotis, &c. Plants from a sowing made in pans in
April and put out when large enough, may be flowered in the autumn of
the same year. But the method more generally practised is to sow on
prepared beds in the open during June or July, and to transfer the
seedlings when sufficiently developed to positions for blooming in the
following season.


==DELPHINIUM==

==Hardy perennial==

Nearly all the perennial varieties may be raised from seed, and where
large numbers are required this is the best method of obtaining them.
They make handsome border flowers, and are extremely valuable during the
early months of summer. Sow in May, June or July, in the open ground,
and transplant in autumn. If mixed seed has been sown, it will not be
wise to thin out all the weakly plants, or it may happen that some of
the choicest shades may be lost. The first flowers will be over by
midsummer, but if the stalks are promptly cut down instead of being
allowed to seed, there will be a second display later in the year.

Three varieties, Queen of Blues, Dwarf Porcelain Blue, and Blue
Butterfly, may be flowered as annuals, by sowing in pans in March and
transplanting to the open as soon as the seedlings are ready. They also
make particularly charming pot plants, for which purpose it is advisable
to sow seeds in March.

The scarlet variety (=D. nudicaule=) is rather more delicate than the
others, and it is wise to raise the plants in well-drained seed-pans,
and to take care of them through the first winter in a cold frame;
indeed, in a heavy soil there is a risk of losing them in any winter
which is both cold and wet. It is not necessary to employ pots, but
immediately after flowering take them up and store in peat until the
following April, when they can be returned to the open ground.

=D. sulphureum.= The seed takes a very long time to germinate, and
severely taxes the patience of the sower. But otherwise there is no
difficulty in raising plants, and the long spikes of beautiful clear
sulphur-yellow flowers are well worth the extra time the seedlings need.
The best plan is to sow in autumn in the open ground, cover with a
frame, and avoid disturbing the soil, except for weeding, until the next
autumn, when the plants should be put into position for flowering in the
following summer.

As slugs are exceedingly partial to Delphiniums, the crowns should be
examined in spring, and the seed-beds may be dressed with soot and
surrounded with ashes to save the seedlings from injury.

The annual Delphiniums are dealt with under Larkspur, page 274.


==DIANTHUS==

==Pink. Biennials, hardy and half-hardy==

Many varieties of Dianthus claim attention for their elegant forms and
splendour of colouring. They have been so wonderfully improved by
scientific growers that they almost supersede the old garden Pinks, and
have the great advantage of coming true from seed. =D. Heddewigii=
(Japan Pink) and its varieties, =D. chinensis= (Indian Pink) and =D.
imperialis=, make interesting and sumptuous beds, and may all be
flowered the first year from sowings made in heat in January or
February. Immediately the seedlings are through the soil it is important
to shift them to a rather lower temperature than is necessary for
insuring germination, or the plants become soft and worthless. Be very
sparing with water, especially if the soil is at all retentive. When two
leaves are formed, transfer to pans, allowing about an inch between each
plant, and place in a sheltered position. Gradually introduce to cool
treatment, and when ready prick off again, allowing each plant more
space. They will thus have a much better start, when planted out in May,
than if taken from the seed-pans direct. Dianthus make a most attractive
display in pots, and a number of seedlings should be potted on for
flowering in this manner.

Where there are no facilities for raising Dianthus in heat, it is quite
easy to grow plants in an open spot from a sowing in June or July, and
they will flower freely in the following year. Prepare drills about six
inches apart and line them with sifted soil; sow thinly, and carefully
cover the seed with fine soil. Shade must be given during germination,
but it should be gradually withdrawn when the seedlings are up. Transfer
to final positions in August. Should this be impossible, prick the
plants out, and shift them again a little later. It will only do harm to
leave them crowded in the seed-bed, and the second move will better
enable them to withstand winter frosts. The Dianthus thrives in a sandy
or loamy soil, with full exposure to sunshine, and the plants scarcely
need water or any attention the whole season through.


==DIGITALIS==

==Foxglove. Hardy biennial==

Besides the native Purple Foxglove, largely grown in gardens, there are
several very handsome varieties that are valuable for adorning borders,
shrubberies and woodland walks. Specially worthy of attention are Giant
Primrose, a beautiful variety with rich cream or buff flowers; the Giant
Spotted, which produces handsome flowers, rich and varied in colour; and
the white variety with its abundance of charming ivory-white bells,
which are occasionally slightly spotted.

Any deep rich soil suits Digitalis, and seed sown in May, June, or July
will produce seedlings which, with very little attention, will yield a
fine display of flowers in the following summer. Sow in the open in
pans, or on a prepared border, and put the young plants into permanent
positions, choosing showery weather in August or September.


==DIMORPHOTHECA==

==Half-hardy annual==

The Dimorphotheca, also called the Star of the Veldt, was introduced
into this country from South Africa and, like the Nemesia, also a native
of that Dominion, it has become one of the most valuable of our summer
annuals. Under favourable conditions plants may be flowered in six weeks
from time of sowing and they will continue to bloom in profusion until
cut down by frost. In addition to the striking orange flower, =D.
aurantiaca= (Orange Daisy), a wide range of colours, including many
delicate tints, has been evolved by careful hybridisation.

Those who wish to obtain forward plants should sow during March or April
in pans of light soil placed in a cold frame, and the seedlings will be
ready for transfer to open quarters in May. Or seed may safely be sown
in the open ground in May and June. As suggested by its native habitat,
the Dimorphotheca loves a warm sunny position and grows to the greatest
perfection in a light soil or a well-drained loam.

The practice of flowering half-hardy annuals in pots is rapidly
increasing, and among this class of plants the Dimorphotheca has few
rivals as a decorative subject for the conservatory. It is more
effective to grow three or four plants in a pot than one only, and the
best specimens are obtained by sowing direct into the pots and thinning
the seedlings to the required number. Use a light rich compost
containing a fair proportion of silver sand, and do not let the plants
suffer for the lack of water.


==ESCHSCHOLTZIA==

==Hardy perennial==

A decade or so ago the predominant colours found in Eschscholtzias were
yellow and orange, but in recent years a number of new and very
attractive shades have been introduced, with the result that this plant
is now regarded as indispensable for summer bedding and for borders. The
modern practice is to grow Eschscholtzias as annuals, sowing in the open
during March and April. As the seedlings do not readily transplant, the
seed should be put in where the flowers are wanted. Thin out in due
course, allowing each plant ample space for development. Sowings may
also be made during September, from which the plants will bloom in
advance of those raised in spring.


==FREESIA==

==Half-hardy perennial==

The Freesia is another of the bulbous flowers easily raised from seed,
and it may be had in bloom within six months from date of sowing. Use a
rich compost, and sow under glass in January, February, or March, as may
best suit convenience. Seed should be sown again in August, to supply
flowers in spring or summer of the following year. The brittleness of
the roots makes re-potting a hazardous operation. It is therefore wise
to sow in 48-pots and thin to four or five plants in each, thus avoiding
the need for shifting until after flowering has taken place. When
re-potting becomes imperative, it must be done with a gentle hand, and
the bulbs ought to be carefully matched for each pot. The position
chosen for Freesias should be light and freely ventilated in mild
weather, but they will not endure a cutting draught. For further
cultural notes see page 328.


==FUCHSIA==

==Half-hardy perennial==

To raise Fuchsias from seed will be new practice to many; but it is both
interesting and inexpensive, and every year it secures an increasing
number of adherents. Seed may be sown at almost any time of the year; if
a start be made in January or February, the plants will bloom in July or
August. Soil for the seed-pots should be somewhat firm in texture, but
a light rich compost ought to be employed when the plants come to be
potted off, and the final shift should be into a mixture containing
nearly one-third of decayed cow-manure. For the early sowing we have
named, a rather strong heat will be necessary to bring up the seed. When
large enough to handle, prick off the seedlings round the edges of
60-pots, putting about six plants into each pot. Shade and moisture are
requisite to give them a start after each transfer. Subsequently they
must be potted on as growth demands, until the final size is reached;
and flowering will not commence so long as increased pot-room is given.
The growth must not be hurried, and the plants should at all times be
kept free from vermin. Seedlings having narrow pointed leaves may be
consigned to the waste heap without scruple; but plants with short
rounded foliage, especially if dark in colour, are almost certain to
prove of high quality.


==GAILLARDIA==

==Half-hardy perennial==

All the Gaillardias are most conveniently grown as annuals from seed.
The plants remain in bloom for a long period, and for their gorgeous
colouring the flowers are as highly prized for arranging in bowls and
vases as for garden decoration. The best month in which to sow seed is
March, and the plants will then be ready for putting out in May. Any
good compost will answer, and only a moderate temperature is necessary
to bring up the seedlings. The usual course of procedure in pricking off
must be adopted to keep them short and stout.


==GERANIUM==

==Pelargonium. Half-hardy perennial==

Geraniums of all kinds are most valuable if treated as annuals. In their
seedling state the plants are peculiarly robust and charmingly fresh in
leafage and flowers, even if amongst them there does not happen to be
one that is welcome as a novel florist's flower. When grown from
first-class seed, however, a large proportion of fine varieties and a
few real novelties may be expected. The seed may be sown on any day
throughout the year, but February and August are especially suitable.
Sow in pans filled with a good mixture, in a somewhat rough state. Cover
with a fair sixteenth of an inch of fine soil. Put the seed-pans in a
temperature of 60° to 70° if sown in February, but heat will not be
necessary at all unless it is desired to bring the plants into flower
early in the ensuing summer. We are accustomed to place the seed-pans on
a sunny shelf in a cool greenhouse, and have fine plants by the end of
June, many of which begin to flower in August.


==GERBERA==

==Half-hardy perennial==

The Gerbera, also known as the Barberton or Transvaal Daisy, is a native
of South Africa. Under cool greenhouse treatment it may be grown to
perfection in pots, and a charming display of bloom can also be obtained
in the open border from plants put out in a well-drained sunny position
and given slight protection in winter. The flowers somewhat resemble a
Marguerite in form, having a number of long pointed petals radiating
from a small centre. In addition to the brilliant =G. Jamesonii=,
sometimes called the Scarlet Daisy of the Cape, many hybrid flowers
having a wide range of delightful colours are also available. Although
seed is often sown in spring, the best results are probably obtained
from an August sowing, in pans placed in a gentle heat. Prick off the
seedlings when large enough, and if required for the greenhouse or
conservatory transfer to pots, or gradually harden off for planting in
the open as soon as weather permits in the following spring.


==GESNERA==

==Nægelia. Tender perennial==

An extremely beautiful ornament for stove or conservatory. The new
hybrids freely produce spikes of bright pendulous flowers of many
charming colours. Although the Gesnera is a perennial, it is sound
practice to treat the plant as an annual. Seedlings from a January
sowing will commence flowering in about nine months. Very rich soil, a
warm and even temperature, and plenty of water, are requisite to promote
luxuriant growth. The culture advised for Gloxinias will exactly suit
the Gesnera also.


==GEUM==

==Hardy perennial==

The introduction of the well-known double variety, Mrs. Bradshaw, which
may easily be flowered from seed in the first season, has brought the
Geum into prominence in recent years. Seed of the above-named variety
should be sown in pans in March or April and the seedlings pricked off
into boxes of rich soil when large enough. Put out in May or June and do
not let the plants suffer for want of water. Geums may also be raised
from sowings made in June or July, and transplanting in due course to
permanent quarters, in the manner usual with hardy perennials.


==GLADIOLUS==

==Corn Flag. Half-hardy perennial==

Formerly the Gladiolus was seldom raised from seed, probably because the
seed obtainable was not worth sowing. Now it is saved with so much care
that it will give a splendid display of flowers, a large proportion of
which will be equal to named sorts, and some may show a decided advance.

The use of large pots--the 32-size will answer--is advantageous for many
reasons, and they should be either new or scrupulously clean, for they
will have to remain unchanged for many months, so that a fair start is
the more necessary. For the same reason special care should be taken to
insure free drainage. Over the usual crocks place a layer of dry moss,
and fill with a compost of fibrous loam and leaf-mould in equal parts,
with sufficient sharp sand added to make it thoroughly porous. Press the
soil firmly into the pots, making the surface quite even, and in
February dibble the seeds separately about an inch apart, and half an
inch deep. This will render it needless to disturb the seedlings during
the first season. Put the seed-pots in a steady temperature not
exceeding 65° or 70°. After watering, it will help to retain the
moisture if the top of each pot is covered with a layer of =old= moss,
until the plants show. When the seedlings are about an inch high remove
to a lower temperature, and begin to harden off by giving air on
suitable occasions. Take care, however, that in the process no check is
given to growth. Soon after the middle of May the seedlings should be
able to bear full exposure, and it will then be time to renew the
surface soil. Gently remove the upper layer, and replace it with rotten
cow-manure, or some other rich dressing. Water must be given regularly
until about midsummer, when the pots may be plunged to the rim in a
shady border, and this will keep them tolerably moist until, in
September, the seedlings begin to ripen off, which they must be allowed
to do. When the leaves have died down, shake out the bulbs and place
them on a shelf to dry. A mixture of equal parts of peat and pine
sawdust, placed in a box or seed-pan, will make the best possible store
for them; the box or seed-pan to be kept in any spot which is safe from
heat and frost. After about six weeks, each bulb should be examined, and
decayed specimens removed. If any of them have commenced growing, pot
them and place in a pit or greenhouse. In March take the bulbs out of
store, pot each one singly, and prepare for planting out. The transfer
to the open must not be made until the danger of frost is past, even
though it be necessary to wait until the first week of June.

Further remarks on Gladiolus will be found at page 329, under 'The
Culture of Flowering Bulbs.'


==GLOXINIA==

==Tender perennial==

Gloxinias can now be flowered in the most satisfactory manner within six
months from the date of sowing seed. Hence there is no longer the least
temptation to propagate these plants by the lengthy and troublesome
method formerly in vogue, especially as seedlings raised from a
first-class strain produce flowers of the finest quality, both as to
form and style of growth. One great advantage to be obtained from
seedlings is an almost endless variety of colour, for the careful
hybridisation of the choicest flowers not only perpetuates those
colours, but yields other fine shades also. Those who have never seen a
large and well-grown collection of seedling Gloxinias have yet to
witness one of the most striking displays of floral beauty.

Quite as much has been done for the foliage of the Gloxinia as for its
flower, and the best strains now produce grand leaves which are reflexed
in such a manner as almost to hide the pot, so that the foliage presents
an extremely ornamental appearance.

By successive sowings and judicious management it is possible to flower
Gloxinias almost the year through. The most important months for sowing
seed are January, February, and March, and to secure an early display in
the following spring some growers sow again in June or July.

The soil most suited to Gloxinias is a light porous compost of fibrous
loam. If this is not obtainable, leaf-mould will answer, mixed with peat
and silver sand in about equal parts. New pots are advisable, or old
ones must be thoroughly cleansed, and free drainage is essential to
success. Fill the pots to within half an inch of the top. Sow thinly,
and slightly cover the seed with very fine soil. Place the pots in a
warm, moist position, carefully shading from the sun. A light sprinkling
of water daily will be necessary. Immediately some plants are large
enough for shifting, lift them tenderly from the seed-pot, so as
scarcely to disturb the rest, and prick off into large 60-pots in which
the soil has a convex surface. Follow this process as plants become
ready until all the seedlings have been transferred. When potting on
allow the leaves to rest on the soil, but avoid covering the hearts. On
the first warm day give air on the leeward side of the house, briefly at
first, and increase the time as the plants become established. A clear
space between the plants is necessary to prevent the leaves of
neighbours from meeting. The final shift should be into 48-pots, unless
extra fine specimens are required, and then one or two sizes larger may
be used. An occasional dose of weak manure water will prove beneficial,
taking care that the foliage is not wetted. A moist atmosphere, with the
temperature at about 60° to 65°, greatly facilitates the growth of
Gloxinias. With care, however, they may be well grown in greenhouses and
pits heated by hot water. Although the plants love a humid atmosphere
while growing, this ceases to be an advantage, and, in fact, becomes
injurious when the flowers begin to expand. At that time, also, the
manure water should be discontinued.

Under 'The Culture of Flowering Bulbs,' page 331, further instructions
are given.


==GODETIA==

==Hardy annual==

So far as the culture of Godetias is concerned, the usual spring sowing
and the regular treatment of hardy annuals will satisfy those who are
content with a display entailing the least possible trouble. But the
Godetia is no ordinary annual. The plants flower with such amazing
profusion, and the colours are so magnificent, that those who wish to
produce striking effects in beds or borders in July and August will find
Godetias of the highest value. All the varieties come perfectly true to
colour and admit of numerous contrasts and harmonies. As an example, we
suggest the following combination for a long border, or beside a
carriage drive. Sow two rows of Alyssum minimum, allowing twelve inches
between the rows; one row of Dwarf Pink Godetia fifteen inches from the
Alyssum; two rows of G. Dwarf Duchess of Albany eighteen inches apart;
one row of G. Scarlet Queen eighteen inches from the preceding variety,
and one row of Double Rose at the back. The result will astonish those
who have not previously seen a really fine exposition of this flower.
Many other combinations will occur to those who carefully study colour
schemes.

There are few annuals more greatly valued for cutting than the taller
varieties of Godetia. These mainly produce double flowers in sprays two
feet or more in length which develop into full beauty after being placed
in water.

March and April are the months for sowing seed in the open for a summer
display, and September for spring flowering. Good effects, however, are
obtained by raising a sufficient number of plants in boxes and pricking
off in readiness for putting out after bulbs and spring bedders have
been cleared away. Under this practice there need not be a blank or a
defective specimen.

Dwarf Godetias make exceedingly symmetrical and attractive pot plants.
For this purpose sow seed in October in pans and place them in a
temperature of 55° until the seedlings appear, then remove to a cooler
place. As soon as possible prick off three in each 48-pot and when
established grow on during winter in cold frames, giving air daily
except in frosty weather, when the frames must remain closed and can be
protected with whatever covering may be at hand. Here it may be well to
point out that even when touched by frost the plants will recover if
they are shaded from the sun's rays until the pots are quite clear of
frost. Godetias flowered in pots make bright groups in conservatories,
and occasionally do good service where failures occur in beds.


==GREVILLEA ROBUSTA==

==Australian Oak. Greenhouse shrub==

In its native country, New South Wales, this is a stately tree. Here it
is grown as a pot plant, and the finely cut, drooping, fern-like foliage
produces one of the most graceful decorative subjects we possess. Its
value is enhanced by the fact that it withstands the baneful influences
of gas, dust, and changes of temperature better than the majority of
table plants.

Seedlings are easily raised by those who can exercise patience; and
afterwards the simplest cool culture will suffice to grow handsome
specimens. But we do not know any seed--not even the Auricula--which
takes more time and is so capricious in germinating. In all cases where
seed is sown in fairly rich soil, which has to be kept constantly moist
and undisturbed for a long period, there is a tendency to sourness,
especially on the surface. Free drainage will do something towards
preventing this. Another aid in the same direction is to cover the seed
with a layer of sand, and the sand with a thin coating of ordinary
potting soil. When the surface becomes covered with moss, the coating of
soil can be gently removed down to the sand, and be replaced with fresh
earth, without detriment to the seeds.

Sow at any time of the year, in 48-sized pots filled with rather firm
soil; and as the seedlings straggle through and show two pairs of
leaves, pot them off singly, and give the shelter of a close pit or
frame until they become established. They must not be allowed to suffer
for lack of water, but there is no necessity to give them manure water
at any stage of growth. An occasional re-potting is the only other
attention they will require until they reach the final size, and the
pots need not then be large.


==HOLLYHOCK==

==Althæa rosea. Hardy perennial==

Generations of unnatural treatment had so debilitated the Hollyhock that
disease threatened to banish it from our gardens. Just at the critical
time it was discovered that the plant could be grown and satisfactorily
flowered from seed. Florists at once turned their attention to the
production of seed worth growing, and with marked success. The best
strains may now be relied on to produce a large proportion of perfectly
formed double flowers, imposing in size, colour, and substance. The
seedlings also possess a constitution capable of withstanding the deadly
=Puccinia malvacearum=, and there is no longer a danger that this
stately plant will become merely one of the pleasures of memory.

In growing the Hollyhock it is necessary to remember that a large amount
of vegetable tissue has to be produced within a brief period, so that
the treatment throughout its career should be exceptionally liberal.
Some gardeners are successful in flowering Hollyhocks as annuals. Where
this course is adopted it is usual to sow in January in well-drained
pots or seed-pans filled with rich soil freely mixed with sand, covering
the seed with a slight dusting of fine earth. A temperature of 65° or
70° is necessary, and in about a fortnight the plants should attain a
height of one inch, when they will be ready for pricking off round the
edges of 4-1/2-inch pots, filled with a good porous compost. Put the
seedlings in so that the first leaves just touch the surface. At the
beginning of March transfer singly to thumb pots, and immediately the
roots take hold remove to pits or frames, where they can be exposed to
genial showers and be gradually hardened. Defer the planting out until
the weather is quite warm and settled.

The shrubbery border is the natural position for the Hollyhock, but the
regular occupants keep the soil poor, and for such a rapid-growing plant
as we are now considering there is obviously all the greater need for
deep digging and liberal manuring. If put out during dry weather,
complete the operation with a soaking of water, and repeat this twice a
week until rain falls. Give each plant a clear space of three or four
feet to afford easy access for staking and watering. By midsummer
offshoots will begin to push through the soil. The removal of these will
throw all the strength of the plant into one stem. To insure its safety
a strong stake will be required, which should be firmly driven into the
ground, and rise six or seven feet above it. In case of an accident at
any time to the central stem the hope of flowers for that year is gone,
and it is therefore worth some pains to prevent a mishap. The tying must
be done with judgment, and as the plants increase in size an occasional
inspection will save the stems from being cut. Several inches of
half-decayed cow-manure placed round the stems, with a saucer-like
hollow in the centre to retain water, will be helpful to the roots, and
if the flowers are intended for exhibition, the treatment can scarcely
be too generous.

It is, however, easy to grow and flower Hollyhocks without the aid of
artificial heat. On a south border in June prepare drills about two
inches deep and a foot apart. Place an inch of rich sifted soil in each
drill, and upon this sow the seed very thinly, covering it about a
quarter of an inch. If the weather be dry, give a gentle soaking of
water, and finish with a dusting of soot to prevent vermin from eating
the seedlings. Thin the plants to six inches apart, and they may remain
in the seed-rows until the end of September. Whether they are then
transplanted straight to blooming quarters, or put into a cold frame for
the winter, depends on soil and climate. In the southern counties, and
on light land, it will generally be safe to winter Hollyhocks in the
open, with merely a shelter of dry fern or litter. But in heavy loam or
clay the risk is too great, and the cold frame must be resorted to. In
this they will be secure, and can be ventilated as weather permits. As
the season advances give more air, until they are planted out in May.
Seed may also be sown in pans in July or August, the seedlings being
transferred in due course to pots for the winter. The protection of a
frame will suffice, provided that frost is kept away, and the plants may
be put out in spring as already advised.


==IMPATIENS==

==Sultan's Balsam. Tender perennial==

Early sowing should be avoided for two reasons. The seed germinates but
slowly in dull weather, and the seedlings when raised are almost certain
to damp off. We do not advise a start before March, and not until April
unless a steady heat of 60° or 65° can be maintained. Sow in
well-drained pots, filled with soil composed of two parts of turfy loam
and one part of leaf-soil, with very little sand added. The seedlings
are exceedingly brittle at the outset, and re-potting should not be
attempted until they are about an inch high. Even then they need
delicate handling, and after the task is accomplished they should be
promptly placed in a warm frame or propagating pit for a few days. In
June or July the plants should reach 48-sized pots, but they must not be
transferred to the conservatory without careful hardening, or the whole
of the flowers will fall. =I. Holstii= also succeeds well when bedded
out in summer in the same manner as Begonias.


==JACOBEA--=see= SENECIO==


==KOCHIA TRICHOPHYLLA==

==Half-hardy annual==

This remarkable variety of =K. scoparia= is a miniature annual shrub,
which is also known as Summer Cypress, or Belvidere. It is singularly
attractive, of rapid growth and graceful habit. In a very brief time the
finely cut foliage forms a compact cylindrical plant, beautifully domed
at the top, and the tender green changes to a rich russet-crimson in
autumn.

Seed may be sown in slight heat during February or March to provide
early plants for pots, or for setting out in the open immediately the
bedding season commences. It is important not to crowd the seedlings,
and every precaution should be taken to prevent them from becoming thin,
leggy, or wanting in symmetry. Each plant must be allowed sufficient
space to develop equally all round. An April sowing can be made in the
open where the plants are intended to remain, and beyond regular
thinning they will give very little trouble.

As a conspicuous dot plant in beds this Kochia is extremely useful, or
it can be massed in borders, and it also forms an admirable dividing
line in the flower garden. For the decoration of conservatories a number
should be specially reserved. Specimens may be employed with striking
effect on flights of steps, in halls, and many other positions where a
plant of perfect outline will serve as an ornament. Height, 2 to 3 feet.


==LARKSPUR==

==Hardy annual==

The cultivation of the annual Delphiniums, more familiarly known as
Larkspurs, is so simple in character that it calls for little comment.
But these handsome subjects are so widely grown, and so greatly
appreciated, that they are fully deserving of special mention here. The
taller varieties, of which the Stock-flowered strain is the most
popular, are best grown in large beds, borders and shrubberies, and the
dwarfer kinds in small beds. Apart from their usefulness in the garden,
however, the taller sorts of Larkspur are much in request for providing
cut material, particularly for the decoration of the dinner-table, and a
number of plants should always be grown in reserve for this purpose. It
is usual to put in the seed where the plants are intended to stand, and
March and April are the best months for sowing. Thin out the seedlings
promptly, and give each plant ample room for development, especially
when grown on good ground.

Larkspurs may also be sown in September for producing an earlier display
in the following year than is possible from spring-sown seed.


==LAVATERA==

==Mallow. Hardy annual and hardy perennial==

Countryside gardens owe not a little of their floral brightness to the
Mallows. The modern varieties of Lavatera, however, far surpass in
effectiveness the flowers commonly met with and are regarded as among
the finest subjects for creating an imposing display in tall borders and
large beds. For this purpose the annual varieties, Loveliness, =Rosea
splendens=, and =Alba splendens=, are the most popular. As transplanting
is not to be depended upon, seed should be sown thinly in March, April
or May where the plants are wanted to flower. If the ground has been
generously prepared fine specimens will result, and each plant should be
allowed a spacing of at least two feet for development.

The perennial variety, =L. Olbia=, makes a bold subject for herbaceous
borders and shrubberies. Seed may be sown in pans any time from March to
August, putting out the plants when large enough for flowering in the
following season. Small plants of this variety may with advantage be
potted for conservatory decoration.


==LOBELIA==

==Annual and perennial; half-hardy==

There are several distinct classes of Lobelia, differing materially in
height and habit. For dwarf beds or edgings the =compact= varieties
should alone be used. These grow from four to six inches high, and form
dense balls of flowers. The =spreading= or =gracilis= class, including
=L. speciosa= and =L. Paxtoniana=, is in deserved repute for positions
which do not demand an exact limit to the line of colouring. The plants
also show to advantage in suspended baskets, window boxes, rustic work,
vases, and any position where an appearance of graceful negligence is
aimed at. The =ramosa= section grows from nine to twelve inches high,
and produces much larger flowers than the classes previously named.

All the foregoing can be treated as annuals; and from sowings, made in
February or March plants may be raised in good time for bedding out in
May. Use sandy soil, and place the seed-pans in a temperature of about
60°, taking care to keep them moist. By the end of March or beginning of
April the seedlings will be ready for transferring to pots, pans, or
boxes. The last named are very serviceable for this flower, for they
afford opportunity of giving the seedlings sufficient space to produce a
tufty habit of growth. A gentle heat will start them, and they will give
no trouble afterwards, except on one point, which happens to be of
considerable importance. It is that the plants should never be allowed
to produce a flower while in pots or boxes. Pick off every bud until
they are in final positions, and then, having taken hold of the soil,
they will bloom profusely until the end of the season.

Lobelias make elegant pot plants, yet, with the exception of the
=ramosa= varieties which are excellent for the purpose, they cannot be
grown satisfactorily in pots. The difficulty is easily surmounted by
putting them out a foot apart in a good open position, and if possible
in a rather stiff soil. When they have developed into fine clumps lift
them with care and place them in pots, avoiding injury to the roots.
This method will produce a display of colour which cannot be attained by
exclusive pot culture.

From the best strains of seed it is possible that a few plants may
revert to long-lost characters. Florists are striving to obviate this,
but it will require time. Meanwhile there are two ways of dealing with
the difficulty. Some growers prefer to raise plants from seed, and take
cuttings from approved specimens for the next season. This plan insures
exactitude in height and colour, with almost the robust growth and
free-flowering qualities of seedlings. But it necessitates holding a
stock through the winter, and this may be a serious matter to many. The
simpler proceeding, and one which answers well in practice, is to raise
seedlings annually and to remove from the pans or boxes any plants which
show the least deviation from the true type. A few kept as a reserve
will replace faulty specimens which may be detected after planting out.

The handsome perennial section of Lobelias obtains less attention than
it deserves, especially as the most ordinary routine culture will
suffice for these plants. They are partial to moisture, and also to a
deep rich loam. A sowing on moderate heat in February or March will
secure plants fit for bedding out in May. They may also be grown
entirely without the aid of artificial heat from sowings in June or
July. Employ pots or seed-pans, and pot off singly immediately the
plants are large enough to handle. The protection of a cold frame or
hand-light is all that is necessary during winter, and the planting out
may be done in May. These Lobelias reach two feet in height, and make
excellent companions to such flowers as =Anemone japonica alba= and
=Hyacinthus candicans=. The dark metallic foliage and dazzling scarlet
flowers also have an imposing effect as the back row of a ribbon border.


==LUPINUS==

==Lupine. Hardy annual and hardy perennial==

Both the annual and the perennial Lupines are extremely valuable for
garden decoration and for supplying an abundance of cut blooms. Each
class includes a number of charming colours and many of the flowers are
delightfully scented. Not the least of their merits is the fact that
Lupines are not particular as to soil; indeed, the annual sorts will
often thrive on ground that is too poor for other and more fastidious
subjects.

The annual varieties should be sown where intended to flower, as they do
not transplant well. Sow the seed in March, April, or May, and
subsequently allow each specimen a space of about eighteen inches for
development.

=L. polyphyllus= is a valuable race of perennial Lupines which, from a
sowing made in March or April and treated as annuals, will produce a
fine show in the following autumn. In order to insure a display earlier
in the season, however, many growers of these flowers prefer to sow in
June and July of the preceding year. Two varieties of =L. arboreus= form
large bushes which are distinctly ornamental when in full bloom. The
seed should be sown in June or July and the seedlings transplanted to
flowering positions before they become very large.


==MARIGOLD==

==Tagetes. Half-hardy annual==

Marigolds of several classes are valued for the profuse display of their
golden flowers in the later summer months. The choicest are the
so-called French, or =Tagetes patula=, which have richly coloured
flowers, and some of the varieties are beautifully striped. For their
high quality these Marigolds are judged by the florists' standards. The
African, or =Tagetes erecta=, make large bushy plants with flowers
'piled high' in the centre; the colours are intense orange and yellow.
in various shades. The bedding section is represented by the dwarf
varieties of =Tagetes patula=, or Dwarf French Marigolds; also by
=Tagetes signata,= a very neat plant with fine foliage and rather small
orange-coloured flowers, produced in great abundance. In hot seasons and
on dry soils this proves an admirable substitute for the Calceolaria,
which does not thrive when short of food, whereas the Tagetes bears
drought, the shade of trees, and a poor soil with patience, and up to a
certain point with advantage. Sow all these in March in a moderate heat,
and prick the plants out in the usual way, taking care finally to allot
them sunny positions. Seed may also be sown in the open ground at the
end of April or early in May.

The section of Pot Marigolds, =Calendula officinalis=, includes two
remarkably handsome varieties, Orange King and Lemon Queen; the flowers
of both are large, double, perfectly formed, and are worth a place in
the choicest garden. These may be sown on the open border in March,
April, and May, and the best place for them is in the full sun on a
rather dry poor soil, but they are not particular, provided they are not
much shaded.


==MARVEL OF PERU==

==Mirabilis Jalapa. Half-hardy perennial==

This flower may be treated either as an annual or as a biennial. As an
annual the plants are very compact and effective, the leaves and flowers
forming round glittering masses in the late summer and autumn months.
When the roots are saved through the winter and planted out in April
larger plants are obtained, but there is no advance in quality over the
very neat and sparkling specimens raised from seed in spring. Sow in
heat in March and April, and treat in the same manner as Balsams until
the time arrives for planting out. A rich sandy loam suits them, and
they like full exposure to sunshine.


==MIGNONETTE==

==Reseda odorata. Hardy annual==

Mignonette is so much prized that we must devote to it a paragraph,
although there is little to be said. In many gardens plants appear year
after year from self-sown seeds, and it will therefore be evident that
Mignonette may be grown with the utmost simplicity. As a border plant we
have but to sow where it is to remain, at different times from March to
midsummer; the one important point is to make the bed very firm; in fact
the soil should be trodden hard. It is imperative to thin early and
severely, for any one plant left alone will soon be a foot in diameter,
and in some circumstances cover a much larger area. Where bees are kept
and space can be afforded, seed should be sown in quantity, for
Mignonette honey is of the finest quality in flavour and fragrance. In
pot culture it should be remembered that Mignonette does not transplant
well; therefore, having sown, say, a dozen seeds in each of a batch of
48-or 32-sized pots, firmly filled with rich porous soil to which a
little lime or mortar rubble has been added, the young plants must be
thinned down to five, or even three, in each pot, as soon as they begin
to grow freely. If small plants are wanted early, leave five in a pot;
if larger specimens are wanted later, leave only three, or even only
one. For winter and spring, sow in August and September and keep them as
hardy as possible until it becomes necessary to put them under glass for
the winter. A further sowing for succession may be made in January or
February. Several strains of different tints are now at the command of
cultivators of this favourite flower.


==MIMULUS==

==Monkey Flower. Hardy perennial==

This flower will grow in almost any soil, although a moist retentive
loam and a shady situation are best adapted for it. There are many
varieties, differing in height, and all are worth growing, both in pots
and borders. If sown in February or March, and treated as greenhouse
annuals, they will flower in the first year. It is easy to raise a large
number of plants in a cold frame, and they make a rich display in
borders and beds later in the year. Sowings in the open ground during
summer will supply plants for blooming in the following season, but the
most satisfactory course is to grow them as annuals, and at the end of
the summer consign them to the waste heap. The Mimulus is quite hardy,
and the most ordinary care will suffice for it. Water in plenty it must
have, or the flowering period will be curtailed.

The well-known Musk is a Mimulus (=M. moschatus=), and is as easily
grown from seed as other varieties. It makes a valuable pot plant.


==MYOSOTIS==

==Forget-me-not. Perennials, hardy and half-hardy==

AT one time an impression prevailed that all the varieties of Myosotis
were semi-aquatic, and could only be grown satisfactorily in very damp
shady places. And it is quite true that most of them bloom for a longer
period in a moist than in a dry soil. Still, they all flower freely, and
last a considerable time in any garden border.

The only half-hardy variety that need be referred to is Sutton's Pot
Myosotis, which is a delightful subject for flowering indoors at
Christmas time; and as Forget-me-nots are everywhere welcome, the
practice of growing plants in pots is rapidly increasing. Seed should be
sown in a cold frame in June, and the seedlings can be potted on as
required, taking care from the commencement to avoid crowding as a
precaution against mildew, to which the plants are very liable. The
strain referred to produces fine free-growing specimen plants, and a
batch should always be in reserve for cutting. For table decoration in
winter Forget-me-nots are very telling.

All the hardy varieties may be sown from May to July for a brilliant
display in the following spring. The seed should be put into a prepared
seed-bed under the shelter of a wall or hedge; and in autumn the plants
must be transferred to blooming quarters at the earliest opportunity.

Myosotis make an extremely effective groundwork for spring bulbs, for
which purpose =M. dissitiflora= is the most valuable.


==NASTURTIUM--=see= TROPÆOLUM==


==NEMESIA STRUMOSA SUTTONI==

==Half-hardy annual==

THIS beautiful South African annual is remarkable for its floriferous
character, long duration of bloom, and diversity of colour. Since we
introduced it to this country in 1888 it has attained great popularity
as a pot plant for table decoration, and some of the most resplendent
bedding effects in public parks and gardens have been secured with this
flower.

For an early show of bloom sow in pots or pans in March under glass,
using a compost consisting largely of good fibrous loam, with the
addition of a small proportion of wood ashes. No more heat than
necessary should be used, and when the seedlings are large enough to
handle prick them off and gradually harden for planting out in May.
Other sowings may be made in May and June, and at this period of the
year the seed germinates most quickly in boxes placed in a cool shady
spot out of doors. In early summer seed may also be sown in the open
border, and by thinning to a distance of six or eight inches sturdy
plants will be secured, which will remain in bloom until quite late in
autumn.

For winter and early spring flowering in pots seed should be sown in
August or September. There must be no attempt at forcing, or attenuated
worthless plants will result. A further sowing may be made in January
for blooming in the later spring months.

Like the seed of Verbena, Furze, and some other subjects, the
germination of Nemesia under artificial conditions is somewhat
capricious, but no difficulty will be experienced with open-air sowings.


==NICOTIANA==

==Tobacco. Half-hardy annual==

The delicious fragrance of the Tobacco plant, especially during the
morning and evening, has made it a great favourite in the greenhouse and
conservatory, as well as in beds and borders near frequented paths.

As a pot plant too, the Nicotiana is exceedingly useful, the large
sweet-scented white, soft pink, and rich red coloured flowers being very
attractive. A group of plants placed in the porch will, in the earlier
and later hours of the day, as the door is opened, fill the house with
their delightful perfume. Seed may be sown from January to June, and a
continuance of bloom may thus be secured during nearly nine months of
the year. Prick off the seedlings as soon as they are fit to handle, for
if sown too thickly they are liable to damp off rapidly. Gradually
harden off if required for planting out in May or June. In some places,
more especially in the South of England, Tobacco seed sown on an open
sunny border early in May will produce fine plants that will flower
freely in August.


==PANSY==

==Viola tricolor. Hardy perennial==

The popularity of this flower has been greatly extended and the culture
simplified since it became the practice to raise the required number of
plants every year from seed. For all ordinary purposes the trouble of
striking cuttings and keeping stocks in pots through the winter is mere
waste of labour and pit-room. The Pansy is a little fastidious, but not
severely so. It thrives in a cool climate, with partial shade in high
summer, and in a rich, moist, sandy soil. Notwithstanding all this, the
Pansy will grow almost anywhere and anyhow; but as fine flowers of this
old favourite are highly prized, the plant should be treated with
reasonable care to do justice to its great merits.

A thick sowing is very liable to damp off: therefore sow thinly, either
in pots or boxes, in February and March. The thin sowing, moreover,
renders it possible to take out the forward plants without disturbing
the remainder. In due course transplant into pans or boxes of good soil,
and place in some cool spot where the plants may gradually harden off.
When they have become stocky, remove to beds or borders, with balls of
earth attached to the roots. Should the surrounding soil become set by
heavy rain or by watering, a slight stirring of the surface will prove
beneficial.

Seed sown in the open ground during the summer months will readily
germinate, and the seedlings need no attention beyond thinning to about
six inches apart until they are ready for transferring to their proper
positions, where they will produce a mass of bloom in the following
spring.

The Pansy puts forth its buds very early in the year. Whether they are
particularly tasty, or the scarcity of young vegetable growth gives them
undue prominence, we know not, but certain it is that sparrows show a
marked partiality for them. And having once acquired a taste for the
buds, these impudent marauders will not leave them alone; they evidently
regard Pansies as the perfection of a winter salad. Their depredations
can be prevented by an application of water flavoured with quassia or
paraffin oil, which must be repeated after rain.


==PELARGONIUM==

==Greenhouse perennial==

All kinds of Pelargonium may be raised from seed with the certainty of
giving satisfaction if the work be well done. An amateur, who
contributed to the production of symmetrical flowers in the Zonal
section, found that under ordinary treatment Zonals began to bloom in
one hundred days from the date of sowing the seed, and some of those
that flowered earliest proved to be the finest. The cultivator will soon
discover that one rule is important, and that is to sow seed saved from
really good strains. The simplest greenhouse culture suffices to raise
Pelargoniums from seed. Some growers sow in July or August; others in
January or February. The summer sowing necessitates careful winter
keeping, and the flowers appear earlier than those from spring-sown
seed. But the spring sowing is the easier to manage, and is recommended
to all beginners. Any light, sandy loam will serve for these plants, and
it is well to flower the principal bulk of them in 48-and 32-sized pots,
for if grown to a great size the date of flowering is deferred without
any corresponding advantage.


==PENTSTEMON==

==Hardy perennial==

Penstemons when grown as half-hardy annuals are a valuable addition to
beds and borders, where they produce a brilliant effect in summer. In
borders it is not advisable to plant singly, but they should be employed
in groups of not less than one dozen. It is also important to sow a
strain consisting principally of scarlet and pink shades with white
markings, as well as white flowers; under fair conditions there will be
a profusion of richly coloured blooms on stately spikes about two feet
high. Sow in heat during February or March and plant out in genial
weather. It is not necessary to keep them after flowering has finished,
although seedling Pentstemons on comparatively dry soil in favourable
districts scarcely feel the winter. Seed may also be sown in June, in
the manner usual with hardy perennials, and the plants will bloom in
advance of those which are spring-sown.

==PETUNIA==

==Half-hardy perennial==

The Petunia affords another example of the immense strides accomplished
in the art of seed-saving. Formerly the colours were few, and the
blossoms comparatively insignificant. Now the single strains produce
large flowers, beautiful in form, including self colours and others
which are striped, blotched, and veined, in almost endless diversity.
Some are plain-edged, others elegantly fringed. The double varieties
also come so nearly true to their types that there is little necessity
for keeping a stock through the winter. Plants raised from seed of the
large-flowered strain embrace a wide range of resplendent colours, and
the doubles are perfect rosettes, exquisitely finished in form and
marking.

The only way of obtaining double seedlings is to save seed from the
finest single blooms fertilised with pollen of good double flowers.
Plants raised from such seed may be relied on to produce a fair
proportion of double flowers of great beauty, and those which come
single will be of the large-flowered type.

The dwarf varieties attain the height of five to eight inches only, and
make admirable edging and bedding plants. The taller strains range from
one to two feet, and are handsome subjects for border and shrubbery
work. Both dwarf and tall sections are sufficiently brilliant and
free-flowering to produce a beautiful display as pot plants in the
greenhouse and conservatory.

For indoor decoration, the third week in January will be early enough to
commence operations. Two parts of leaf-mould, one of loam, and one of
sharp sand, make an excellent soil for them. Fill the pots or seed-pans
within half an inch of the rim, and press the soil firmly down. Sow
thinly on an even surface, and cover the seed with almost pure sand.
Keep the pots or pans uniformly moist with a fine rose and a light hand,
and in a temperature of about 60°. Greater heat will render the
seedlings weak and straggling. From this condition it will take some
skill and much time to redeem them; indeed, they may not produce a good
display of flowers until the season is well-nigh over. Just as the seed
is germinating is a critical time for Petunias, and a little extra
watchfulness then will be fully repaid.

In February the sun has not sufficient power to do mischief, so that
shading is generally unnecessary. An even temperature and freedom from
draughts should insure seedlings strong enough to prick off by the end
of that month. Put the plants into seed-pans about an inch apart, so
that the first leaves just touch the soil, still using a light compost.

In April they should be ready for transferring to small 60-pots.
Subsequently they must be potted on as growth demands, until they reach
the 48-or even the 32-size. After re-potting place the plants in a
sheltered part of the house or frame, where shade can, if necessary, be
given until the roots are established. Frequent sprinklings of water,
and a temperature of 60° or 65°, will give them a vigorous start. The
lights ought to be put down in good time in the evening, but this must
be done with judgment, or the plants will lose their healthy colour and
assume a yellowish tinge. Insufficient drainage has a precisely similar
effect. In about ten days air may be given more freely, and then no
suitable opportunity of exposure should be lost.

In raising Petunias for bedding, the same conditions are applicable; but
as it is useless to put them into the open ground until the weather is
warm and settled, the sowing need not be made until the end of February
or the beginning of March. And for bedding there is no occasion to put
the plants into larger pots than the 60-size. It will be necessary to
give these seedlings shade in their young state, after they have been
pricked off or potted.

The beds or borders intended for Petunias will be better without recent
manure, for this tends to the excessive production of foliage and defers
the flowering until late in the season. Do not be tempted by the first
sunny day to put them out, but wait for settled weather. A cutting east
wind, such as we sometimes have in May, will ruin them irretrievably.
Each plant of the tall class will occupy a space of two feet, and the
dwarfs may be one foot apart.

In potting Petunias, those which are weakly among the singles will
probably produce the most valued colours, and from seed sown for doubles
it may be accepted as a rule that from the feebler seedlings the finest
rosette-shaped flowers may be expected.

All Petunias are impatient of being pot-bound, and this applies
especially to the double varieties. They will, if treated generously, do
ample justice to the 8-or even the 10-inch size. The growth should not
be hurried at any stage, and if the foliage has a dark, healthy, green
colour, free from blight, there will be magnificent flowers four or five
inches across. The final shift should be into a sound compost,
consisting, if possible, of good loam and leaf-mould in equal parts,
with sufficient sand added to insure drainage. About a fortnight later
commence giving weak manure water once a week instead of the ordinary
watering, and as the buds appear it may be increased in strength, and be
administered twice a week until the flowers expand.

Petunias are accommodating in their growth, and may be trained into
various forms. The pyramid and fan-shape are most common, and the least
objectionable. We confess, however, to a feeling of antipathy to
fanciful shapes in plants, no matter what they may be. It is a necessity
of our artificial conditions of culture that many of them should be
trained and tied to produce shapely specimens, but the more nearly the
gardener's art approaches Nature, the greater pleasure we derive from
his labours.


==PHLOX DRUMMONDII==

==Half-hardy annual==

Those who are acquainted with the older forms of this annual might fail
to recognise a friend under its new and improved appearance. There are
now several beautiful types, each possessing characteristics of its own,
and all producing flowers that are perfect in form and brilliant in
colour. The large-flowered section produces splendid bedding plants, but
the dwarf compact varieties are also highly prized for effective massing
and general usefulness. The latter attain a height seldom exceeding six
inches, and are therefore eminently suitable for edgings and borders, as
well as for bedding. They bloom profusely for a long period, not only in
the open ground, but also as pot plants in the greenhouse or
conservatory, where they are conspicuous for the richness of their
display.

For early flowering sow seed of all the varieties in February or March
in well-drained pans or shallow boxes. Any good sifted soil, made firm,
will suit them, and every seed should be separately pressed in, allowing
about an inch between each; then cover with fine soil. This will
generally give sufficient space between the plants to save pricking off;
but if the growth becomes so strong as to render a transfer necessary,
lift every alternate plant, fill the vacant spots with soil, and those
left will have room to develop. Pot the plants that are taken out, give
them a start in a frame, and shade from direct sunshine. Phloxes should
not be coddled; the best results are always obtained from sturdy plants
which have been hardened as far as possible by free access of air from
their earliest stage of growth. This does not imply that they are to be
rudely transferred from protection to the open air. The change can
easily be managed gradually until some genial evening makes it perfectly
safe to expose them fully. A space of about two feet each way is
required for each plant of the large-flowered class, but a more modest
allowance of nine or twelve inches will suffice for the dwarf varieties.
Before they are put out the plants must be free from aphis; if not,
fumigation should be resorted to once or twice until there is a
clearance of the pest. Seed of the annual Phlox may also be sown in the
open ground during the latter part of May, and the plants will flower
abundantly from mid-August until frost destroys them.

The employment of Phlox as pot plants has already been alluded to, but
special mention must be made of Purity, which is by far the most
valuable of all the varieties for blooming indoors. The pure white
flowers, which are sweetly scented, may be produced at almost any period
of the year. They are, perhaps, more highly appreciated at Easter than
at any other time, and to insure a display at that season seed should be
sown in September or October. The plants will do well if grown on in a
cold frame, the final shift being into pots of the 48-size. When grown
under glass, Phlox should be given treatment as nearly hardy as
possible, all that is necessary in regulating temperature being the
exclusion of frost from the greenhouse or frame.


==PHLOX, PERENNIAL==

==Hardy perennial==

The seed of perennial Phlox is very slow and erratic in germinating, and
from a sowing made in September the seedlings may not appear until the
following spring. Seed may also be sown in the first week of March in
shallow boxes, and put into moderate heat. In due time prick out into
boxes filled with light rich soil, and having hardened them in the usual
way, plant out a foot apart in a good bed, and help, if needful, with an
occasional watering.


==PICOTEE==

==Dianthus Caryophyllus fl. pi. Hardy perennial==

Seedling Picotees are extremely robust and free-flowering, and seed
saved from the best types will produce handsome specimens. The
instructions for growing Carnation--sowing in pans from April to August
and transplanting when large enough--are equally applicable to the
Picotee.


==PINK==

==Dianthus plumarius. Hardy perennial==

This old English flower is valued in every garden. Both the double and
single varieties are easily raised from seed and the plants bloom with
the greatest freedom. Seed may be sown any time from April to August.
Treat the seedlings in the manner advised for Carnations, and in due
course transfer to open quarters. The foliage maintains its colour
during the severest winter, and is therefore worth consideration for
furnishing the border, to say nothing of the abundant display of
perfumed flowers which the plants afford in early summer.


==POLYANTHUS==

==Primula (veris) elatior. Hardy perennial==

A sowing in February or March in pans will produce strong specimens for
flowering in the following year. Or seed may be sown from May to July on
a shady border. Prick off the seedlings when large enough to handle. The
plants should never flag for want of water, and green fly must be kept
down by syringing. Some good solution will be necessary against red
spider if through starvation in a dry situation it has been permitted to
gain a footing. All the varieties can be grown in a bed with a cool
shaded aspect. They do not require a rich soil; a strong and fibrous
loam with a little leaf-mould is sufficient. On passing out of flower
the plants will split up into several heads, when they may be separated
and potted singly. Exquisite colour effects can be created by planting
Polyanthus in association with beds of Tulips for flowering in April.


==POPPY==

==Papaver. Hardy annual and hardy perennial==

The recent developments of this flower have brought it into great and
deserved popularity, and it may be safely affirmed that few other
subjects in our gardens afford a more imposing display of brilliant
colouring during the blooming period. The delicate beauty of the
Shirley Poppies is alone sufficient to create a reputation for the
entire class, and the huge flowers of the double varieties make a
gorgeous show. All the varieties are eminently adapted for enlivening
shrubbery borders and the sides of carriage-drives.

Seeds of Annual Poppies should be sown where the plants are intended to
flower, because it is difficult to transplant with any measure of
success. During March or April sow in lines or groups, =and thin to
about a foot apart=. Large clumps of some of the bolder colours should
be sown in spots that are visible from a distance, and they will present
glowing masses of flowers.

By sowing seeds of Perennial Poppies in pans in March, and putting out
the seedlings when large enough, the plants will flower the same year.
The more general practice, however, is to sow very thinly on a
well-prepared border any time from May to August. Keep the seedlings
free from weeds, and thin out if necessary. The plants may be
transferred to permanent quarters early in autumn or in the spring
months.


==PORTULACA==

==Purslane. Half-hardy annual==

This is a splendid subject when the weather favours it. In a dry hot
season, and on a sandy soil, Portulacas can be grown as easily as Cress.
Sowings are sometimes made early in the year in greenhouses or frames;
but as a rule it is a vain attempt. Wait until May or June, when the
weather appears settled; then put the seed into the open border, and the
lighter the soil, and the hotter the season, the more brilliant will be
the display of flowers. Sow on raised beds, in rows six or nine inches
apart, and cover the seed with sand or fine earth. If the plants appear
to be injuriously close they must be thinned. Should a period of rain
ensue, the raised beds have a distinct advantage over a flat surface,
and rows afford opportunity for stirring the soil and keeping down
weeds.


==PRIMROSE==

==Primula vulgaris. Hardy perennial==

The mere name of this flower is sufficient to recall visions of spring
and perhaps of happy visits to its haunts in days gone by. But many
ardent lovers of the Primrose may not know that the strains which are
now in favour embrace a wide range of colour, from pure white to deep
crimson or maroon, various shades of yellow and orange, and rich blue.
In fact, in a batch of seedlings nearly every plant may differ from its
companions. They all agree, however, in possessing the delicate perfume
which is characteristic of the hardy woodland favourite. Fancy Primroses
are prized as pot and border flowers, and they fully reward florists for
all the care which has been devoted to their improvement. They will
bloom satisfactorily in any shady spot; but to grow them to perfection
requires a stiff moist loam, on the north side of some hedge or
shrubbery, where glimpses of sunshine occasionally play upon them. Here
large flowers, intense in colour, will be abundantly produced far into
the spring.

The finest plants are generally obtained from a February or March sowing
made in pans or boxes. Seed may also be sown from May to July in
carefully prepared ground in the open. If inclined to take some pains in
raising the plants--and they are certainly worth it--make the summer
sowings in seed-pans in ordinary potting soil; sprinkle a little sand
over the seed, and as a finish press firmly down. Sheets of glass laid
over the pans and turned daily will prevent rapid evaporation and help
to keep the soil uniformly moist. The seedlings either may be potted
once, and then be planted out, or, if strong enough, they may be
transferred straight to flowering positions. Should this mode of
procedure be considered too troublesome, prepare a shady patch of ground
by deep digging; make it firm and level, and on this sow in shallow
drills, covering the seed very lightly. A dressing of soot over the
surface, and a cordon of ashes round it, will keep off slugs. Thin if
necessary, and when the plants are strong enough, remove to their proper
quarters. In February the buds will begin to show, and those intended
for pots should be allowed to reveal their colours before they are taken
up, so that a variety may be obtained. From a retentive soil each plant
with its surrounding earth may be taken out almost exactly of the size
required, and it should be rather smaller than the pot which has to
accommodate it. A light soil must be watered the day before the
operation, or the roots will be injuriously exposed. When potted, place
the plants in a shaded cold frame or greenhouse, allowing them plenty of
space, and withhold water until it is absolutely necessary. At first
they should be kept close, but as the roots become established gradually
give air more and more freely. Cool, slow treatment is all that is
required. Any attempt to hurry the growth will only weaken the plants
and ruin the colour of the flowers. Just before the buds open, one or
two applications of manure water will be beneficial. When the display in
pots is over, if the plants are put out in a shady border, they may
flower again late in the season.


==PRIMULA SINENSIS==

==Chinese Primrose. Greenhouse annual==

The history of the Chinese Primula since it first reached this country
has an almost romantic interest. As originally received the flower was,
and now is, insignificant in size and miserably poor in colour. But
florists at once perceived in it immense possibilities. The result of
their labours, extending over many years, may be seen in the magnificent
Single, Double, and Star Primulas which now adorn conservatories,
greenhouses, and homes. From so small a beginning the range of colours
is amazing; there are snowy-white flowers in several beautiful forms, a
pure Cambridge blue, rich violet-blue, many shades of rose, pink,
scarlet, and gorgeous crimson. Almost equally striking is the
improvement in the foliage, especially the introduction of the
fern-leaf, with its diverse shades of green and richly toned
under-surface.

To enjoy the bloom for a long period make successive sowings in May and
June. A further sowing may be made in July if necessary. Use new pots
which have been soaked in water; but if these are not at hand, scrub
some old pots clean, for Primulas are fastidious from the outset, and it
is by apparent trifles that some growers produce plants so immensely
superior to others treated with less care. Provide free drainage, and
place a little dry moss over the crocks. Any fairly good rich soil will
be suitable, but a mixture of equal parts of sound fibrous loam and
leaf-mould, with a small addition of silver sand, is best. Press this
compost firmly into the pots to within half an inch of the top. Water
before sowing, and sprinkle sufficient sand over the surface to cover
the soil. On this sand sow evenly and thinly, for it is well known that
the finest new Primula seed comes up irregularly, and a thin sowing
admits of the removal of plants that may be ready, without disturbing
the remainder. Cover the seed with just enough fine soil to hide the
sand, and gently press the surface. Place the pots in a sheltered part
of the greenhouse, protected from draughts and direct sunlight; a small
glazed frame will be useful for this purpose. While the seed is
germinating the temperature should not rise above 70°, or fall below
50°. Immediately the plants are large enough, prick off round the rim
of small pots, and if convenient place them in a propagating box. Water
with care, and shade if necessary. When established give air, which
should be daily increased until the plants will bear placing on the
greenhouse stage. Transfer singly to thumb pots, and subsequently shift
into larger sizes as may be requisite, but never do this until the pots
are filled with roots, and always put the plants in firmly up to the
collar. During July, August, and up to the middle of September expose
freely to the air in any convenient position where shelter can be given
in unfavourable weather.

Where there is no greenhouse, but only a hot-bed, it is still possible
to grow good Primulas, with care and patience. The instructions given
for treatment in the greenhouse may easily be adapted to the pit or
frame, only there must be a little more watchfulness in affording shade
on sunny days to prevent overheating.

Endeavour to give the plants a robust constitution from the first, for
weak, rickety things cannot produce a satisfactory bloom. Primulas need
a long period of growth before they flower; hence they should never be
subjected to a forcing temperature. Sufficient heat must be provided to
raise the plants, but afterwards the aim should be to render Primulas as
nearly hardy as possible before cold weather sets in. There must,
however, be ample protection against frost, damp, and cutting winds.

==Primula stellata== (=Star Primula=).--This elegant strain of Primula,
introduced by us in 1895, has attained a high position in popular
favour. Although it is not intended to supersede or compete with the
splendid strains of =P. sinensis=, it is a most valuable addition to the
conservatory, and will be found indispensable for general decorative
work. The plants are unusually floriferous and continue in bloom for a
long time. When cut, the sprays travel well and remain fresh in water
many days. For table adornment Star Primulas are unsurpassed by any
other greenhouse flower at their own period of the year. The culture is
precisely the same as for =P. sinensis=.

==Half-hardy Primula==.--This section, which embraces a number of very
charming species, includes the well-known =P. obconica grandiflora,=
which is almost perpetual-blooming under glass. Seed of this Primula may
be sown from February to July, from the earliest of which the plants
will flower in autumn and continue to bloom throughout the winter. In
the early stages the seedlings may be managed as already directed for
=P. sinensis=, bearing in mind that excessive watering should be
avoided. Cool greenhouse treatment will suit the plants well.

Another half-hardy variety which has recently attained wide popularity
is =P. malacoides=. The dainty flowers are produced tier upon tier to a
height of about two feet and are very sweetly perfumed. For a winter
display sow in February, and successional sowings may be made until
July. =P. malacoides= especially resents a forcing temperature.
Therefore the culture should be as nearly hardy as possible, and even in
the seedling stage the plants must have free access of air on all
suitable occasions, or they are very liable to damp off.

==Hardy Primula.==--A number of very elegant garden Primulas are worthy of
attention. The majority answer well when grown in borders, but they are
especially at home in rock or Alpine gardens. The family is now so large
and so variable in time of blooming that it is possible to have the
different species in flower during almost every month of the year. As a
rule, it is advisable to raise the seedlings in pots or pans placed in a
frame or greenhouse, and to transfer them to the open ground when
thoroughly hardened off.


==RANUNCULUS==

==Half-hardy perennial==

The Ranunculus can be grown either from seed or from roots. The seed is
thinly sown from January to March, in boxes four to six inches deep,
filled with good soil. A cool greenhouse or frame is the proper place
for the boxes until the spring is somewhat advanced. A little extra care
is requisite to insure free growth and a hardy constitution, and the
roots should not be turned out of the boxes until they have ceased
growing and are quite ripe; then they may be stored for planting in
November or February. For particulars on the treatment of roots, see
page 348.


==RICINUS==

==Castor-oil Plant. Half-hardy annual==

Although this plant flowers freely, it is grown in the sub-tropical
garden principally for its noble ornamental foliage, and also in the
shrubbery border, either alone or in conjunction with other fine
subjects, such as Canna, Solanum, Nicotiana, and Wigandia. Plants of
the dwarfer varieties may also be used with very decorative effect in
conservatories and greenhouses during the summer and autumn months.

To have plants ready for making a show in early summer they must be
raised as half-hardy annuals in February or March. From the commencement
a rich soil and abundant supplies of water are necessary for the
production of stately specimens. The seed is large, and may be put
singly into pots, or three or four in each, and the latter is the usual
practice. A temperature of about 60° will bring them up. If several
plants are grown in a pot, they must be separated while quite young, and
put into small pots filled with very rich soil. It is almost impossible
to have the compost too rich, so long as drainage is quite safe. When
the pot is full of roots, shift to a larger size, and commence the
process of hardening, in readiness for planting out in June. This is
worth some care, for if the plant receives a check when put out, it may
take a long time to recover, and then part of the brief growing season
will be wasted. Many gardeners never raise Ricinus in heat, but trust
entirely to a sowing in the open on the first day of May. The seeds are
put in three inches deep, in groups of three or four, and finally the
plants are thinned to one at each station.

Prepare the soil in advance by deep digging and the incorporation of an
abundant supply of manure. The most effectual way of doing it is to take
out the earth to a depth of eighteen inches or two feet, and fill in
with decayed manure and loam, chiefly the former. Upon this put out the
plant, or sow seed as may be determined. If this is too great a tax on
resources, or the near presence of shrubs renders the proceeding
impossible, drive a bar into the soil, which, if light, can be readily
worked into a fair-sized hole. Fill this with rich stuff nearly to the
top, and over it either put the plant or sow seed. A heavy top-dressing
round each stem is also desirable, and the application of copious
supplies of water will carry the nourishment down to the roots.
Sub-tropical plants are only a source of disappointment under niggardly
treatment, but they amply repay all the care and generosity which a
liberal hand may lavish upon them. The plants will need the support of
stakes to save them from injury in a high wind.


==SAINTPAULIA==

==Greenhouse perennial==

A very remarkable perennial, only four inches high, obtained from
eastern tropical Africa. The plant has fleshy leaves, and the flowers,
which are produced in clusters, somewhat resemble the Violet, but are
much larger. Saintpaulia makes a beautiful table ornament, and a row of
pot plants in full bloom forms a charming margin in conservatories,
either for a stage or on the ground. The seedlings flower freely in
about six months from date of sowing, and continue in bloom through the
winter. Sowings may be made from January to March, in well-drained pots
placed in a temperature of 60° to 65°. On no account should the soil be
allowed to become dry. Subsequently the plants may be treated as
recommended for Gloxinias.


==SALPIGLOSSIS==

==Half-hardy annual==

A highly ornamental half-hardy annual. The finest strains have large,
open flowers, exhibiting extraordinary combinations of colours which
range from the palest sulphur-white to orange, scarlet, and
purple-violet, all being more or less pencilled and veined with some
strong contrasting colour.

If an early display is wanted, a start should be made at the end of
February or beginning of March, by sowing on a moderate hot-bed. In May
the plants will be ready for flowering quarters. Or sow in April in the
open ground where the plants are to remain, taking care to thin
severely, and the thinnings will be useful for dibbling in
out-of-the-way comers, where they will furnish acceptable material for
table decoration, for which purpose this striking flower is well
adapted.

Salpiglossis make charming pot plants for the greenhouse and
conservatory. For this purpose seed should be sown in August or
September, and under cool-house treatment the plants will bloom
profusely in the following spring.


==SALVIA==

==Hardy annual and half-hardy perennial==

From a genus including 450 species a small number of Salvias have won
deserved popularity for beds and borders. In summer and early autumn the
long spikes of brilliant flowers produced by Fireball and Scarlet Queen
make an extremely attractive display, and =S. patens= is one of the most
superb pure blue flowers seen in gardens. As a bedding plant =S.
argentea= is extensively grown for its silvery-white foliage, which
completely covers the ground. These and other perennial varieties may be
sown in pans during February and March for transfer to the open in May,
and the plants need the usual treatment of half-hardy perennials.

A favourite annual variety is Blue Beard, growing eighteen inches high
and presenting long spikes of bright purple bracts. The annual Salvias
should also be sown in pans in February or March and transplanted in
May; or seed may be sown in the open border during April.


==SCHIZANTHUS==

==The Butterfly Flower. Half-hardy annual==

At many leading horticultural displays in recent years masses of
Schizanthus of extraordinary beauty have been exhibited with striking
success. In conservatories, greenhouses, and on dinner-tables the plants
form conspicuous ornaments and they should be freely grown for general
decorative purposes. On special occasions the pots may be plunged to
create a brilliant show of bloom as temporary beds and they are also
extremely attractive in hanging-baskets.

The usual time for sowing seed to insure fine specimens is the end of
August or early in September. Either well-drained pots or shallow boxes,
filled with a good potting compost, will answer for raising the
seedlings. Sow thinly, on a smooth surface, and cover the seeds with
finely sifted soil. When the young plants appear place the pots or boxes
near the glass where they can have abundance of light and air, so that
from the start the plants may be short and healthy. Seedlings that are
thin and drawn are never worth the space they occupy. Immediately they
are large enough to handle, transfer to shallow boxes, allowing a space
of three inches to each plant. The compost to consist of sound loam and
leaf-soil in equal proportions, with the addition of sufficient coarse
sand to render the mixture porous. For two or three days keep the boxes
in a frame, which must remain closed and be shaded from sunshine until
the seedlings are established, but remove the shading whenever possible;
then give air freely, and on attaining a height of three inches the
first stopping may be done. A fortnight later the plants will be ready
for pots of the 60-size. Treat them as nearly hardy as weather may
permit. Stop the shoots a second time when about six inches high, with
the object of forming bushy plants capable of yielding a bountiful
bloom. When the 60-pots are filled with roots transfer to the 48-size,
and in due time the final shift should be into pots of the 24-size.
Larger pots may, of course, be employed for very fine specimens. The
compost for this final shift ought to consist of two parts of rich loam,
one part of leaf-soil, and one part of thoroughly decayed manure; the
addition of sharp sand will be necessary. The stems to be tied out to
stakes in good time to prevent injury. Just before the flowering period
and while the plants are actually in bloom, weak liquid manure, instead
of water, once or twice a week will be beneficial. A high temperature is
not required, even in the winter months, to maintain Schizanthus in
healthy condition. From 35° to 40° is all the heat they need; in fact,
it is only requisite to keep frost at bay, and this near approach to
hardy treatment will result in fine robust plants.

The Schizanthus may also be sown during March and April in pans placed
in gentle heat, the seedlings being potted on for flowering in the
conservatory or they may be put out in the open border. Towards the end
of April or in May seed may be sown out of doors.

One point in the successful culture of Schizanthus should never be
forgotten. The roots must not be allowed to become pot-bound. Where this
is permitted at any stage of growth it is fatal to the development of a
handsome show of bloom.


==SENECIO ELEGANS==

==Jacobea. Hardy annual==

Among the double varieties, the crimson, purple, rose and white Senecios
take the lead for beauty and usefulness. They are remarkably
accommodating plants, adapted for beds or the greenhouse. Sow early in
pans or boxes, give the seedlings liberal treatment, and when bedded out
the plants will produce myriads of bright flowers, until frost puts a
stop to them. Any good soil which does not become pasty will suit, and
full exposure to sunshine is essential to the production of a rich
display of colour. In March or April seed may safely be sown in the open
ground.

The Tall Single Bright Rose Jacobea is invaluable as a cut flower for
table decoration under artificial light. It rivals the Star Cineraria in
form and, being a hardy annual, it may be grown with the utmost ease.


==SILENE==

==Catchfly. Hardy annual==

Not one of the hardy annuals has established a better claim to be sown
in autumn than the Silenes. Alone, they make a very attractive display,
and they can be used with especial effect in beds planted with
Daffodils, Hyacinths, and Tulips. While the Daffodils are in full beauty
the Silenes clothe the ground with a carpet of green, and after the
foliage of the bulbs has been cut off or pinned down the Silenes furnish
a fresh display of floral beauty in advance of the summer bedders.

Silenes do not thrive on heavy damp soils, but the difficulty can be
surmounted by keeping the plants in pans or boxes under a cold frame
until growing weather sets in. The plants do very well in loam, and best
of all in a dry sandy soil. The spring sowing should be made in March or
April; the autumn sowing in August or early in September.


==SOLANUM==

==Annual and perennial; half-hardy==

Solanums are of importance, some as greenhouse plants, and others as
sub-tropical bedders. They are somewhat tender in constitution, and must
have good cultivation in a light rich soil. A sharp look-out for red
spider is necessary, for this pest is very partial to Solanums. March is
early enough to sow the seed, but for ordinary purposes April is to be
preferred. By the middle of June the plants should be strong enough to
put out, and with genial weather will make rapid progress. Those grown
for their berries may be sown from February onwards, as it is important
to secure bushy plants before they begin to flower, and an early start
insures an early ripening of the bright, handsome fruit.


==STATICE==

==Sea Lavender. Hardy and half-hardy annuals and hardy perennial==

It would be difficult to decide whether the Sea Lavenders are more
highly valued as border flowers or as cut material for use indoors.
Certain it is that the light and graceful sprays of delicately coloured
flowers are indispensable for house decoration, either when freshly cut
or when dried for mixing with Helichrysums and other everlastings in
winter. Yet Statice are very attractive when growing in the border, the
varieties of branching habit giving a long-continued display of
beautiful flowers.

The half-hardy varieties should be sown from January to March in pans
placed on bottom heat. When large enough prick off the seedlings into
boxes of good light soil, and gradually harden off in readiness for
planting out in May. The hardy annual kinds also answer best when
started in pans during March or April and transferred to the open in due
course. Seed of the hardy perennial varieties should be sown in a nice
light compost any time from April to July. Put out the plants into
flowering positions when they have attained a suitable size.

When grown on in pots, the half-hardy sorts make exceedingly pretty
subjects for house or conservatory decoration.


==STOCK==

==Mathiola. Annual and biennial half-hardy==

From the botanical standpoint Stocks comprise two main classes--the
Annual and the Biennial. So accommodating as to treatment is this
extensive family, however, that by selecting suitable sorts and sowing
at appropriate periods, it is not difficult to obtain a succession of
these delightful flowers the year through. With this object in view, our
notes are divided into four sections covering the cycle of the seasons,
as follows: Summer-flowering, or Ten-week; Intermediate varieties, for
autumn-flowering; Winter-flowering; and Spring-flowering.

==Summer-flowering, or Ten-week Stocks==.--These annual varieties include
a wonderful range of colours, as well as considerable diversity in the
habit of growth. For their brightness, durability, and fragrance they
are deservedly popular. It is usual to sow the seed under glass from the
middle to the end of March. Pans or shallow boxes, filled with sweet
sandy soil, make the best of seed-beds, and it may be well to say at
once that no plants pay better for care and attention than the subjects
now under consideration. Sow thinly, that the plants may have room to
become stout while yet in the seed-bed, and from the very outset
endeavour to impart a hardy constitution by giving air freely whenever
the weather is suitable. This does not mean that they are to be
subjected to some cutting blast that will cripple the plants beyond
redemption, but that no opportunity should be lost of partial or entire
exposure whenever the atmosphere is sufficiently genial to benefit
them. If a cold frame on a spent hot-bed can be spared, it may be
utilised by pricking off the seedlings into it, or the pans and boxes
may simply be placed under its protection. The nearer the seedlings can
be kept to the glass, the less will be the disposition to become leggy.
In transplanting to the open ground, it is worth some trouble to induce
each plant to carry a nice ball of soil attached to its roots.

On light, friable land, Ten-week Stocks can be successfully grown from
sowings made in the open about the end of April. The character of the
season must be some guide to the time chosen, and the sowing in this
case should be rather thicker than in the seed-pans. Should the seed
germinate well, severe thinning will have to be practised as growth
demands. This method of culture entirely prevents loss by mildew, which
so often proves fatal to young transplanted seedlings. It is difficult
to make the soil too good for them, and there is no comparison between
Stocks grown on a poor border and those grown in luxuriance. Some
growers make a little trench for each row of seed, and this affords a
certain degree of protection from cutting winds, and also forms a
channel for water when there is a necessity for administering it. In a
showery season, the plants will appear in about twelve days, but in dry
weather it will be longer, and one or more gentle morning waterings may
be necessary to bring them up. The distance between the rows must be
determined by the variety. Nine inches is sufficient for the dwarf
sorts; twelve or fifteen inches will not be too much for medium and tall
kinds.

Slugs may be kept off by a dusting of soot or wood-ashes, and some
precaution must also be adopted to prevent birds from disturbing the
seed-bed.

Here it may be well to mention a fact which is not always remembered,
although the knowledge of it is generally assumed. Seed can only be
saved from single flowers, but those who have made a study of the
business find little difficulty in selecting plants, and treating them
in such a manner that seed obtained from them will produce a large
percentage of double blossoms in the following generation. But the
experience of the most skilled growers has not enabled them to save seed
which will result entirely in double-flowering plants; and this is
scarcely to be regretted, for the perpetuation of the race is dependent
on single flowers. In keeping the various colours true there is one very
awkward fact. Certain sorts invariably produce a difference in colour
between the double and single flowers.

==Intermediate Stocks== form a valuable succession to the
Summer-flowering, or Ten-week varieties. From seed sown in gentle heat
in February or March, the plants usually commence flowering when the
earlier varieties are beginning to fade, and will continue to bloom
until winter sets in. It is also easy to grow the Intermediate section
in pots for spring decoration, if the protection of a house or pit can
be given during the winter to preserve them from frost. A simple plan is
to sow in August or early in September five or six seeds in 48-sized
pots. Thin to three plants in each, and of course a larger pot with more
plants can be used when desirable. Give air whenever possible, and water
regularly. There is no need for artificial heat; indeed, it is not well
to hurry the plants in any way. A good top-dressing of rich soil is
advisable before flowering, and as the buds appear, manure water, weak
at first, but gradually increased in strength, may be given once a week
until in full bloom.

==Winter-flowering Stocks==.--During the winter months Stocks afford an
immense amount of pleasure. They are particularly welcome at Christmas,
and to insure flowering plants at that season of the year suitable
varieties, such as Christmas Pink or Beauty of Nice, should be selected,
and a start made in June. As soon as the first leaf is attained, prick
off three seedlings in a three-inch pot; place in a cool frame under a
north wall, keeping the light off all day until they are ready for
another shift into six-inch pots. Use three parts of good yellow loam
and one part of leaf-soil--no sand. Pot firmly and restore to the frame
until the plants start growing, when they may be removed to the
greenhouse. Manure water, not too strong, once a week is beneficial, and
pure water should be given sparingly. Keep near the glass and ventilate
freely. Further sowings made in July and August will extend the supply
of flowers.

==Spring-flowering Stocks==, which include the popular Brompton strain,
come into flower in spring and early summer. Although in some seasons it
may answer to sow where the plants are required to bloom, the practice
is too precarious to be risked generally. A safer method is to sow in
seed-pans in June or July. Place these under shelter until the plants
are an inch high, then stand them in the open for a week before
transplanting. Have ready a piece of freshly-dug soil, and on a dull day
put them out at eight to twelve inches apart. If the growth is too rapid
during September, it may be advisable to lift them and plant again, for
the winter must not find them soft and succulent. There should be hard
stems and sturdy growth to carry them through the cold weather. In
districts that are specially unfavourable it may be necessary to pot
each plant singly in the 60-size, and plunge these in ashes in a cold
frame, or under the shelter of a south wall, until severe weather is
past, and they can then be turned out into the borders.


==STREPTOCARPUS==

==Cape Primrose. Tender perennial==

The hybrids are a very striking race, invaluable for greenhouse and
conservatory decoration, producing a continuous succession of large
trumpet-shaped flowers, embracing colours ranging from pure white,
through lavender, purple, violet, rose, and red, to rich rosy-purple.
Sow very thinly from January to March in well-drained pots, and a
dusting of fine soil will sufficiently cover the seed. Place the pots in
a temperature of 60° to 65°, and take care that the soil is not allowed
to become dry. Prick off the seedlings when large enough to handle,
keeping them in the temperature named until the final potting. When
established they thrive with ordinary attention in a greenhouse, and
they winter well in a temperature ranging between 40° and 50°. Seed sown
in January and February will produce plants which will come into bloom
during the following June and July.

==Streptocarpus Wendlandii== is a singularly interesting variety. Only one
immense leaf is produced, which frequently attains a width of two feet,
with a proportionate length. This leaf is reflexed, completely hiding
the pot on one side, and from its midrib scapes of elegant violet-blue
flowers with white throat are thrown up to a height of eighteen inches.
The seeds should be sown in a warm greenhouse early in the year. The
plants will begin to flower in the winter and continue in bloom for
about six months. The temperature which is suitable for Gloxinias will
answer for this plant also.


==SUNFLOWER==

==Helianthus annuus. Hardy annual==

The utility of the Sunflower has been alluded to in a former page. Here
we have only to regard the plant in its ornamental character, as an
occupant of the shrubbery or flower border.

In addition to the common species, there are several strains which are
adapted for special purposes. The dwarf varieties grow about three to
four feet high, and produce fine heads of bloom. The 'giant' attains the
enormous height of eight or ten feet in a favourable season, and the
flowers are of immense size. The double strain generally reaches six
feet in height, and is valuable for its fine show of colour and enduring
quality. There is no difficulty, therefore, in making a selection to
suit the requirements of any border. The Sunflower can also be employed
in one or more rows to make a boundary or to hide an unsightly fence,
and some growers use it as a screen for flowers which will not bear full
sunshine.

Seed may be sown very early in the season, and the plants can be brought
forward in the manner usual with half-hardy annuals, but there is no
necessity for this mode of growing them. Sow in April or May where the
plants are to flower, on soil which has been abundantly manured to a
depth of eighteen inches, and they will bloom in good time. To maintain
the rapid growth, water must not be stinted in dry weather.


==SWEET PEA==

==Lathyrus odoratus. Hardy climbing annual==

The history of the Sweet Pea can be traced back for more than two
hundred years; and it is almost as fascinating as an exhibition of the
flowers. Recent improvements in this highly popular subject include an
amazing diversity of colours, a marked increase in the number of flowers
on each stem, and an extraordinary enlargement in their size. A modern
list may run into hundreds, but those who grow every known variety find
that there are many close resemblances, arising no doubt from
simultaneous introductions by hybridists who have experimented on
similar lines. Enthusiastic growers of Sweet Peas are no longer content
with a limited number of named varieties, for it is obvious that in
competitions where fifty or a hundred bunches have to be staged for
certain prizes, a large and representative collection must be grown. For
general garden decoration, however, and to provide sprays for the
adornment of homes, the Giant-flowered class, offered under colours
only, will continue to be extremely popular.

The change in character and the increased usefulness of Sweet Peas have
necessitated a revolution in the methods of culture. The freer growth
and more robust habit demand greater space than was formerly allowed.
Instead of crowded rows of attenuated plants, producing a meagre return
of small flowers, poor in colour, it is now the practice to prepare the
ground by deep trenching and liberal manuring, and to give every plant
ample space for full development both in rows and in clumps. In the
ensuing paragraphs we outline the cultural routine which should be
followed as nearly as possible by those who desire to insure a
long-continued supply of the very finest flowers. But where
circumstances do not permit of these recommendations being adopted in
full, the details may be modified according to the materials at command
and the requirements of the cultivator.

It is usual to commence the preparation of the ground in autumn.
Trenching is of paramount importance, for the roots of the Sweet Pea
require a considerable depth of good soil in which to ramify for the
support of robust healthy plants capable of producing handsome flowers
over a long season. Where the surface soil is shallow, care must be
exercised to avoid bringing uncultivated subsoil to the top, and it is
well worth incurring a little extra trouble to provide a sufficient
depth of fertile material for full root development. Therefore dig out a
wide trench and place the good top soil on one side. Then remove and
discard the subsoil to a depth of twelve inches and, after breaking up
the bottom of the trench with a fork or pickaxe, replace with an equal
quantity of decayed manure, leaves, old potting soil or any other
suitable stuff that may be on hand. Finally return the top soil to its
original position.

The use of manure needs discrimination, and in fixing the quantity, as
well as in selecting the most suitable kinds, due consideration must be
given to the character of the soil. For light land, four barrow-loads of
well-rotted farmyard manure per square pole will make an excellent
dressing, but a rather smaller amount will suffice for heavy ground. In
place of farmyard manure an unlimited quantity of leaf-soil, if
obtainable, may be used, and it is also a good plan to dig in any
available green refuse. Garden ground which for some years previously
has been kept in a state of high cultivation by the liberal use of
natural manure will not, as a rule, need further help in this direction,
but it should receive a good dressing of lime. Indeed, any soil in which
Sweet Peas are to be grown should contain not less than two per cent. of
lime. The employment of artificial, as well as organic, manures is
essential in any first-class scheme of cultivation. But here a word of
warning is necessary. Nitrogenous manures in any form are harmful to the
plant when applied in large quantities, and are liable to predispose it
to disease, except on extreme types of sandy soil. Heavy ground should
be dressed with seven pounds of basic slag in autumn and two pounds of
sulphate of potash in spring. On light soils apply in spring four pounds
of superphosphate of lime and two pounds of sulphate of potash. The
quantities stated in each case are sufficient for a square pole of
ground. Wood ashes (in a dry state) are also of great value, and these
should be raked in a little in advance of planting out.

The special preparation of the soil just described entails the raising
of plants in pots or boxes in readiness for transfer to the open as
early as weather permits in spring. The finest flowers are undoubtedly
obtained from an autumn sowing, and about the middle of September may be
regarded as the best period for putting in the seed. This early
commencement possesses the advantage of allowing ample time for the
development of sturdy, well-rooted plants, which will not only bloom in
advance of those sown in spring but will remain in flower for an
unusually long period. Sow in light porous soil, and either three-inch
pots, pans or boxes may be used. Place in a cold frame and keep the
lights down until the seeds have germinated, but afterwards the frame
should never be closed except during severe weather. There must be no
misunderstanding on the question of air-giving. The Sweet Pea is almost
hardy, and robust healthy seedlings, grown as nearly as possible under
natural conditions, are wanted. Therefore to subject the plant to
artificial heat will only defeat the object in view. A current of air
should be admitted to the frame day and night, and the lights may be
entirely removed on all favourable occasions. But the seedlings will
need protection from excessive moisture, for if too wet at the roots
they are liable to injury from frost. When four pairs of leaves are
formed, stop each plant once, and after a little further progress has
been made transplant singly into three-inch pots. Keep the pots in the
frame, giving only such protection from hard weather as may be
absolutely necessary, and plant out on the first suitable opportunity.
In the South transplanting may be possible late in February or at the
opening of March, but a month later will be safer in districts north of
the Trent.

Those who for any reason do not find it convenient to sow in autumn may
start the seed early in the year--from mid-January onwards, according to
the district. The general principles described in the preceding
paragraph apply equally to spring sowings, but it may be well to say
that there must be no attempt to hasten growth by the application of a
high temperature. A frame will afford all the protection necessary, and
even a box covered with glass and placed in a sheltered spot will be
found serviceable for raising seedlings.

Before planting out, the top soil of the ground prepared in autumn must
be well worked and made friable. The disposition of the plants, and the
method adopted for staking them, will, to a great extent, depend on the
precise purpose for which the flowers are required. For garden
decoration single rows answer well, and the plants should be spaced one
foot apart. Or, if preferred, put out in clumps of three to five plants,
allowing a diameter of from nine to fifteen inches. Carefully remove the
plants from the pots or boxes in which they were raised, disentangle the
roots and shake them quite free from soil. Make a hole of the necessary
depth, and allow the roots to descend into the ground to their full
extent, which may be as much as two feet in the case of well-grown
specimens from autumn-sown seed. Give support immediately with
well-branched twigs, and it is important that the plants be kept
perfectly upright. Finally stake with bushy hazel sticks eight to ten
feet in height, or taller still where the ground has been generously
prepared.

Long-stemmed flowers free from blemish are essential for show work and
for the highest forms of house decoration, and to insure an adequate
supply over an extended period the following method, which is adopted by
some of the most successful exhibitors, is strongly to be recommended.
The plants are put out in double rows one foot apart, and spaced a foot
apart in the lines. Each plant should carry two shoots only, both of
which must be provided with a rod of bamboo, ash, or hazel, ten to
twelve feet in length. For this double cordon system the rods will stand
six inches apart in the rows, and it is desirable to make them secure
against damage from high winds. Insert a stout pole at each end of the
row, and about seven feet from the ground-level fix to each pole a
substantial wooden crosspiece a little more than a foot in length. From
these cross-pieces tightly stretch strands of wire, to which securely
tie the rods. As growth develops commence disbudding promptly, regularly
remove all laterals and tendrils, and tie each cordon to its supporting
rod with raffia as often as may be necessary.

After transfer to the open ground the plants must never be allowed to
become dry at the roots. Keep the hoe going between the rows, especially
after the soil has been beaten down by rain.

The blooming period can be prolonged by the simple expedient of daily
removing the dead or faded flowers. The ripening of only a few seed-pods
speedily puts a stop to flowering.

In the open ground seed may be sown in spring from February to May, and
successional sowings at intervals of a fortnight will extend the supply
of flowers far into autumnal days. Even where a few clumps only can be
grown it is unwise to depend on a single sowing. Autumn sowings outdoors
are often made in September or October where a warm soil and favourable
situation can be insured.

Sweet Peas have two principal foes, the slug and the sparrow. Against
the former the usual precautions, such as ashes, old soot, lime, and
various traps, are available; and the latter must by some means be
prevented from doing mischief. After the buds show through the soil, it
is generally too late for the adoption of remedies. Nearly all the heads
will be found nipped off and laid ready for inspection. One could almost
forgive the marauders were food the object, but the birds appear to
commit havoc from pure wantonness, and whole rows are sometimes
destroyed in a single morning.

Early sprays are so much prized that the practice of flowering Sweet
Peas in pots under glass is yearly increasing, and for this purpose seed
must be sown in August or September; the plants to be kept slowly moving
during the dark days. In February the growth will be more rapid, but it
is important to give the plants the hardiest possible treatment. In
April, if properly managed, there will be a brilliant display.

The winter-flowering race blooms freely at a still earlier period,
although the plants are less vigorous than other varieties.


==SWEET WILLIAM==

==Dianthus barbatus. Hardy biennial==


Sweet William belongs to the same genus as the Pink. The finest strains
produce superb heads of flowers, some of them intensely rich in colour,
while others have a contrasting edge. The new varieties are so marked an
advance on older colours that they have created a fresh interest in this
favourite garden flower.

In several instances we have advised that biennials and perennials
should be treated as annuals, both on the ground of economy and for the
excellent results obtained by this practice. But the Sweet William is
not amenable to any treatment which reduces the natural period of
growth.

Seed may be sown in May, June or July for transplanting in autumn, and
the numerous colours afford opportunity of obtaining a great diversity
of splendid effects in beds and borders.


==TOBACCO==--=see= ==NICOTIANA==


==TORENIA==

==Greenhouse annual==

Sow in a warm temperature in March or April. Prick off while small into
pots, and subsequently pot the seedlings singly. Any fairly good compost
will suit them. The branches need support, and the plants must be kept
free from green fly. The Torenias make very elegant pot plants, and they
are also well adapted for hanging baskets and other ornamental
contrivances.


==TROPÆOLUM==

==Nasturtium, or Indian Cress. Hardy and half-hardy annuals==

The =Tropæolum tuberosum= is treated under the 'Culture of Flowering
Bulbs,' so that here we have only to consider the varieties that are
grown from seed. There are two distinct classes, both widely cultivated,
for the seed is inexpensive, and the plants extremely showy durable, and
easily raised.

=Tropæolum majus= is the climbing Nasturtium, or great Indian Cress. The
flower as originally obtained from Peru was a rich orange, marked with
deep reddish-brown, but it has been developed into various shades of
yellow and red, culminating in a tint which is almost black. The leaves
are nearly circular, and are attached to the long footstalks by the
centre instead of at the margin. Loudon fancifully compares the leaf to
a buckler, and the flower to a helmet. The Lobbianum section is close in
habit, with smaller foliage borne on somewhat woolly stems. All the
varieties bloom freely, and constitute a brilliant class of climbers of
great value for brightening the backs of borders or hiding unsightly
objects. After the seeds have been dibbled about an inch deep in either
April or May, the only attention the plants require is to nip out a
straggling shoot occasionally, or prevent a stray branch from reaching
over and smothering some plant which will not endure its embraces.

The well-known Canary Creeper (=T. canariense=) is a perfectly distinct
variety, and as a half-hardy annual should be raised under protection
and planted out in May, although sowings in the open ground in April and
May often prove satisfactory. Unlike the others, it needs a rich soil to
insure vigorous growth. When liberally treated the entire plant will be
covered with its bright fairy-like flowers, until frost ends its career.

=Tropæolum majus nanum.=--The Tom Thumb, or Dwarf varieties, make
excellent bedding plants, blooming far on into the autumn after many of
the regular bedders have faded and become shabby. There is an extensive
choice of colours in reds, yellows, and browns, which come perfectly
true from seed, and all possess the merit of flowering freely on very
poor soil. They grow luxuriantly on rich land, but then the foliage
becomes a mere mask under which the flowers are concealed. There is not
one of the Tom Thumb class that may not be treated as a hardy annual,
and all afford opportunity of making a gorgeous show of colour at a cost
ridiculously disproportionate to the effect obtained. They are also
admirably adapted for pot culture, making shapely plants covered with
bloom for a long period.

Many of the later introductions in Nasturtium are notable for their
refined and delicate colouring, and are extremely desirable subjects for
the decoration of the dinner-table and small vases in the drawing-room.

As the flavour of the flowers and leaves somewhat resembles that of
common Cress, they are frequently used in salads, and are accounted an
excellent anti-scorbutic. The flowers are legitimately employed in
decorating the salad-bowl, because they are not only ornamental but
strictly edible.

In a green state the seeds of both tall and dwarf varieties make an
excellent pickle which is occasionally used as a substitute for capers.


==VERBENA==

==Hardy and half-hardy perennials==

VERBENAS raised from the best strains of seed come true to colour and
the plants are models of health and vigour, and make resplendent beds.
It is of the utmost importance to remember that the Verbena requires
very little of the artificial heat to which it is commonly subjected,
and which fully accounts for the frequency of disease among plants
propagated from cuttings. Seed may be sown in boxes in January,
February, and March, the earlier sowings naturally requiring more heat
than the later ones. As the seedlings become large enough, they should
be potted on and planted out in May, when they will flower throughout
the summer, and far into the autumn.

Verbenas may also be sown in March or April in boxes, put into a frame,
and if kept moist a lot of plants will appear in about a month. When
large enough these must be carefully lifted and potted. A rich, mellow,
and very sweet soil is needed by the Verbena. Many of the failures that
occur in its cultivation are not only traceable to the coddling of the
plant under glass, but also to the careless way in which it is often
planted on poor worn-out soil that has been cropped for years without
manure, or even the sweetening effects of a good digging. Raising
Verbenas from seed has restored this plant to the list of easily grown
and thoroughly useful flowers for the parterre.

The hardy perennial =V. venosa= also comes perfectly true and uniform
from seed.


==VIOLA==

==Tufted Pansy. Hardy perennial==

This plant well merits its popularity for use in beds and borders. It is
perfectly hardy, the habit is good, and it continues in bloom for
several months in the year. The treatment prescribed for Pansy is also
suitable for Viola.


==WALLFLOWER==

==Cheiranthus Cheiri. Hardy biennial==

Wallflowers are often sown too late. As a result the growth is not
thoroughly matured, and the plants present but a feeble show of bloom.
They should in their season be little mounds of fire and gold, exhaling
a perfume that few flowers can equal in its peculiar freshness. Sow the
seed in May or June, in a sunny place, on rather poor, but sweet and
well-prepared soil favourable to free rooting. When the plants are two
inches high, transplant into rows six inches asunder, allowing three
inches apart in the row, and as soon as the plants overlap transplant
again, six or nine inches apart every way, aiding with water when
needful to help them to new growth. Or lift every other row and every
other plant, leaving the remainder untouched to supply flowers for
cutting. When the beds are cleared of their summer occupants, they may
be filled with the best plants of Wallflower, to afford cheerful green
leafage all through the winter and a grand show of bloom in the spring,
as frost will not hurt the single varieties; but the doubles will not
always endure the rigours of a severe winter.

==Early-flowering Varieties.==--By selection and cross-fertilisation an
early-flowering race of Wallflowers has been obtained, and it is now
possible to enjoy for many months of the year a fragrance which has
hitherto been associated exclusively with spring. From a sowing made in
May or June the plants commence flowering in autumn and continue
throughout the winter, unless checked by frost. With the advent of
spring weather, however, they burst into full bloom, making a delightful
display in advance of the ordinary varieties.


==WIGANDIA==

==Half-hardy perennial==

This plant is grown for its foliage, and is extensively used in
sub-tropical gardening. The instructions given for raising Ricinus in
heat apply equally to this subject; but it is not wise to rely on an
open-air sowing for a supply of Wigandias.


==ZINNIA==

==Zinnia elegans. Half-hardy annual==

THE double varieties of Zinnia have entirely eclipsed the single form of
this flower. They grow to an immense size and are extremely valuable for
beds and borders, the plants remaining in bloom for a considerable
period. Double Zinnias are so varied in colour and beautiful in form
that they deserve to take high rank as exhibition flowers.

The Zinnia is delicate, and should not be sown too soon. March is quite
early enough to commence operations, and the first week in April will be
none too late for sowing. A compost that suits Asters will answer
admirably for Zinnias. Sow in 4-1/2 inch pots, which should have very
free drainage, and cover the seed thinly with fine soil. Plunge the pots
at once in a temperature of about 60°, when the seed will germinate
quickly, and the plants on attaining one inch in height can be potted
off separately. Place them in a close frame, shade from sunshine, and
when well established, gradually give air and harden off. It will not be
safe to transfer to the open until the first week in June, unless the
position is exceptionally sheltered and the soil very dry. A shrubbery
border is a suitable spot, and the more scorching the season the finer
will be the flowers. There must, however, be shelter from the wind, for
the stems of Zinnias are hollow, and easily damaged by a storm.

A satisfactory display of this flower may be obtained without the aid
of heat by sowing in the open ground about the middle of May. Select a
sunny sloping border or bed for sowing, enrich the soil, and make it
fine. Press this down rather firmly, then drop three or four seeds at
intervals of from fifteen to eighteen inches between each group, and
lightly cover them. In due time thin to one plant at each station. If
they thrive the branches will not only meet but overlap, and produce a
grand display. In the event of very dry weather at sowing time the
ground may be watered before the seed is put in, and then be covered
with dry fine soil.

Zinnias do not transplant well, except as small seedlings. When it is
necessary to undertake the task, choose, if possible, a showery day, and
shade each plant with an inverted flower-pot for a few days, but take
off the pots in the evening.

Zinnias intended for exhibition must be treated in a more generous
fashion than plants that are grown for border decoration, or for the
sake of yielding cut flowers. The seed may be raised in heat as already
directed, but the border will need to be prepared with special care and
liberality. Should the soil be heavy, it must be reduced to a friable
state during winter. Before the plants are put in, raise the land into
ridges about four or five inches high. Plant on the top of the ridge,
and then an application of soot or lime (not too near to inflict injury)
may be used as a precaution against slugs. In a wet season the plants
will stand a better chance than if put on the flat, and if a scorching
summer comes they will be none the worse for it. As the flowering time
approaches mulch the ground with well-decayed manure.

The plants must be carefully staked and tied out. It is not merely
necessary to secure the main stem, but the branches should also be
supported, or when weighted with flowers they will be very liable to
give way under a moderate wind. Superfluous branches may be removed, but
not so severely as to start new growth to the detriment of the flowers.
Disbudding also will have to be practised for the highest class of
flowers. Only one bloom should be allowed to develop on each branch at a
time, and this must be protected from sun and rain after it is about
half grown.


==SPRING FLOWERS FROM SEEDS==

It is the spring flowers that perhaps give the greatest charm and
interest to the English garden. Commencing with the flowering trees, the
Almond, Double Peach, =Prunus Pissardi=, and many others, we soon have
the Daffodils, Wallflowers, and Pansies, making the ground bright and
gay after the long dreary winter. It may promote economy in the
production of these brilliant and charming displays if we offer a few
remarks on the employment of spring-flowering plants which can easily be
raised for the purpose from seeds. It will, of course, occur to the
reader that a considerable proportion of the annuals that are usually
sown in autumn are particularly adapted for producing rich and varied
displays in spring. A type of this class is found in the well-known
Erysimum, Orange Gem, one of the cheapest, hardiest, and most
resplendent plants of the kind, cheap enough for the humblest amateur to
employ freely in his borders and beds, and at the same time so effective
in its colouring as to be adapted for the most complex and highly
finished examples of geometric work. Another striking subject is the
Siberian Wallflower (=Cheiranthus Allionii=), so nearly allied to the
Erysimum, Orange Gem, the gorgeous orange flowers adding a fresh colour
to the many new shades given us in recent years by the old English
Wallflower. Among the annuals are several valuable spring flowers--such
as, for example, =Nemophila insignis=, well known for its lovely blue
blossoms, and the white variety, =alba=, of the same; =Saponaria
calabrica,= exquisite rosy pink; Silene, rose, dwarf rose, and dwarf
white; Virginian Stock, of which the distinct varieties are remarkably
well adapted to form bands and masses of red, white, and yellow, and
also to make a delightful groundwork for enhancing the splendour of late
Tulips; and clumps of Aubrietia, Yellow Alyssum, and other of the more
distinctive plants that are employed in high colouring in first-class
geometric gardening. A list of such plants will at once indicate that
there is a field of enterprise for the practitioner of spring flower
gardening; and while cheap and effective materials are thus brought into
the service, there is no interference with the later summer bedding,
because, if the annuals are well managed, they will give their plentiful
bloom when the garden is most in need of colour, and may be cleared off
in time to make way for the plants that are generally employed in the
summer display and which are known as ' bedding plants' =par
excellence=.

In the management of annuals for an early bloom, it is of great
importance to sow them at a proper time, so that they will be strong
enough to perform what is required of them, and yet not so forward (or
'winter proud') as to suffer from the severity of the weather. In the
North the middle of August is none too early for a general sowing in
beds, and in the South the middle of September is none too late. In some
few sheltered spots in the extreme South-West seed may be got in at the
middle of October. As a rule, however, the sowing should be made as late
as those familiar with the soil and climate of the place may deem safe,
the main point being to have the seedlings in a short-jointed condition,
close to the ground, in which state they are least likely to be injured
by frosts. We prefer sowing in drills on a rather poor soil well broken
up to a kindly state, and if the weather happens to be dry, the drills
should be freely watered before the seed is sown, and there will be no
more watering needed. The after-management is extremely simple: the
plants must be kept clear of weeds, and be slightly thinned out if much
crowded, for a few sturdy specimens are of more value than any number
that have run up weak and wiry through overcrowding.

In sheltered gardens, having dry chalk or sandy soils, the greater part,
or perhaps the whole stock, might be transplanted from the seed-beds to
the flower-beds and borders as soon as sufficient growth has been made;
but on heavy soils and in exposed places it will be advisable to delay
the removal until March. This part of the work must be nicely done, the
plants being lifted in clumps and no attempt made to single them, and
they must be carefully pressed in and aided with water, if necessary, to
promote a quick 'taking hold' of their new quarters. Those planted out
in October on a dry soil will not only bloom early and gaily, but will
be beautiful in their different tints of green all the winter through.

But we are not restricted to annuals in seeking for spring flowers from
seeds. With very few exceptions, =all= the favourite plants of the
spring garden may be grown from seeds at a cost almost infinitesimal as
compared with the raising of named varieties from cuttings and
divisions. Daisies, some of them now almost as large as Asters, are not
only suited to the ribbon border, but make an amazingly brilliant show
when the white, pink, and crimson are planted in masses or in separate
beds. Seedlings flower with far greater freedom and produce much larger
blooms than divided plants, and even after the first few weeks, when the
later flowers become smaller and less perfect in form, a brilliant
display is maintained till late in the summer if the beds are not
wanted for other things. Pansies, which are still unsurpassed for beds
and borders, are easily raised from seed. What is more interesting than
a long row of plants of Perfection Pansy beside the pathway? every step
brings one to a flower of perfect charm, quite different in marking or
colour from any other. The several species and varieties of Arabis,
Alyssum, Aubrietia, Viola, Polyanthus, Iberis, and Forget-me-not also
come quite true from seed. The precision of style and colouring that
results from raising these from cuttings is, of course, admitted; but in
forming masses and ribbon lines, minute individual characters are of
less consequence than a good general effect, and this may be insured by
raising the plants from seed in a manner so cheap and expeditious that
we feel assured spring bedding would be more often seen in its proper
freshness and fulness were the system we now recommend adopted in place
of the tedious one of multiplication by offsets and cuttings.

Wallflowers cannot be grown in too great numbers in any garden, for
either their delightful perfume or charming colour effect. The striking
displays to be seen in some of our public parks and on seaside fronts
have done much to popularise this old favourite flower. Since the first
edition of this book was issued, many new and remarkable colours in
Wallflowers have been introduced, among the last, but by no means least,
being the Fire King and Orange Bedder. It is by the blending of the
colours that the most telling effects can be produced. Probably Blood
Red, a very inadequate name, and Cloth of Gold will always be the most
favourite combination, and when planted together one sets off the other
to a degree little thought of when these varieties are grown separately.
Purple and the other yellows (Faerie Queene and Monarch) also make a
pleasing bed. Fire King and Orange Bedder should be grown in masses,
separately or together, and when seen in the late afternoon or early
evening their vivid and gorgeous colouring is almost unsurpassed by any
other flower. The early-flowering Wallflowers will, in mild winters,
bloom from January till April, or even as early as Christmas.

It should not be forgotten that these biennial and perennial plants
require more time to prepare themselves for flowering than do the
annuals. If sown in August they may not bloom at all the next season, or
the bloom may be late and insignificant. But if sown in May and June
they have a long season of growth before winter sets in, and at the turn
of spring the plants will be matured and strongly set for bloom.

The sowing of biennial and perennial plants for a display of spring
flowers must be carefully done. The ground should be moderately rich
and quite mellow through being well broken up; in other words, a good
seed-bed must be prepared. If the weather is dry, the drills should be
watered before the seed is sown; and in the event of a drought, the
young plants must have the aid of water to keep them going through the
summer. The seed should be sown thinly, and, as soon as the plants are
large enough, they should be thinned out if at all crowded, and the
thinnings can be planted in rows and shaded for a while. As a rule, the
whole of the work will be comprised in sowing, thinning, and weeding. In
average seasons they will not require watering, and in this matter alone
will be seen the advantage of raising from seeds instead of cuttings.

Ordinary care, with such plants as we have named, will insure a splendid
display of spring flowers; and they are worth whatever attention may be
necessary to promote complete and early development. It may happen that
plants from early sowings will show a few flowers in autumn if
neglected. This is easily prevented, to the great advantage of the
plants, by the simple process of 'stopping' or nipping out the points of
the leading shoots to cause the production of side shoots. If a sturdy
growth is thus secured, and the plants are transferred to the
flower-beds in October, the result will justify the labour.

Practical gardeners will not need to be informed that the system we now
propose is capable of many applications and expansions; but it may be
suggested to amateurs who lament the dreary aspect of their beds and
borders in the month of May and early part of June, that the plants we
recommend for the formation of masses in the geometric garden are
equally well adapted to form beautiful clumps and sheets on borders,
banks, and rockeries, as well as in many instances to serve as a
groundwork to Hyacinths, Tulips, Narcissi, and other splendid hardy
spring flowers.

Sweet Peas deserve to be considered separately. These flowers are now so
varied and exquisitely beautiful that they never appear in the garden
too early. From autumn sowings not only are the most forward blooms
obtained, but for size and intensity of colour the flowers are
unsurpassed by the later displays from spring sowings.



THE CULTURE OF FLOWERING BULBS


Our popular flowering bulbs are obtained from many lands; they are
exceedingly diversified in character, and they bloom at different
periods of the year. Each variety has a value of its own, and answers to
some special requirement in its proper season under glass or in the open
ground. In the darkest winter days we prize the glow of Tulips and
Hyacinths for brightening our homes. And bleak days are not all past
when Aconites and Snowdrops sparkle in beds and borders. The Anemones
follow in March, and during the lengthening days of spring there are
sumptuous beds of Hyacinths, Narcissi, and Tulips. When high summer
begins to decline we have stately groups of Gladioli and many beautiful
Lilies in the shrubbery borders.

Not least among the merits of Dutch Bulbs is the ease with which they
can be forced into flower at a period of the year when bright blossoms
are particularly precious, and they are equally available for the
grandest conservatory or the humblest cottage window. They are
attractive singly in pots or vases, or they can be arranged in splendid
banks and groups for the highest decorative purposes. Another advantage
is that bulbs endure treatment which would be fatal to many other
flowers. They can be grown in small pots, or be almost packed together
in boxes or seed-pans; and when near perfection they may be shaken out
and have the roots washed for glasses, ferneries, and small aquaria; or
they can be replanted close together in sand, and covered with green
moss. Their hardiness, too, permits of their being grown and
successfully flowered without the least aid from artificial heat. Small
beds and borders may be made brilliant with these flowers, and the
number of bulbs that can be planted in a very limited space is somewhat
astonishing to a novice. Unlike many other subjects, bulbs may be rather
crowded without injury to individual specimens.

For the decoration of windows no other flowers can compare with Dutch
Bulbs in variety and brilliancy of colour. Some of them are not
particularly long-lived, and this need occasion no regret, for it
affords opportunity of making constant changes in the character and
colour of the miniature exhibition, which may easily be extended over
many weeks. And a really beautiful display is within reach of those who
have not a scrap of garden in which to bring an ordinary plant to
perfection. Unused attics and lead flats can, with a little skill and
attention in the case of bulbs, be made to answer the purpose which pits
and greenhouses serve for many of our showy plants. Some of the most
attractive flowering plants cannot be successfully grown in large
centres of population, but bulbs will produce handsome blossoms even in
smoky towns.

We do not recommend the attempt to grow bulbs in the actual
window-boxes. It is seldom entirely satisfactory. They should be treated
in the manner advised under the several varieties in the following
pages, and just as the colours are becoming visible, a selection can be
made from pots or boxes for crowding closely in the ornamental
arrangements for the window. When the first occupants show signs of
fading, others can be brought forward to fill their places, and this
process may be repeated until the stock is exhausted. Winter Aconites,
Snowdrops, Squills, and Glory of the Snow furnish the earliest display;
these to be followed by Crocuses, Tulips, Hyacinths, and the many forms
of the great Narciss family, until spring is far advanced.

The secret of their accommodating nature lies in the fact that within
the Hyacinth or Tulip every petal of the coming flower is already
stored. During the five or six years of its progressive life the
capacities of the bulb have been steadily conserved, and we have but to
unfold its beauty, aiming at short stout growth and intensity of colour.
Of course there is an immense difference in the quality of bulbs, and
they necessarily vary according to the character of the season. The most
successful growers cannot insure uniformity in any one variety year
after year, because the seasons are beyond human control. But those who
regularly visit the bulb farms can obtain the finest roots of the year,
although it may be necessary to select from many sources.

Such bulbs as Lilies, Iris, Montbretia, Hyacinthus, and Alstroemeria
suffer no deterioration after the first year's flowering. Indeed, it
will be the cultivator's fault if they do not increase in number and
carry finer heads of bloom in succeeding years. As outdoor subjects some
of them are not yet appreciated at their full value. Magnificent as
=Lilium auratum= and =L. lancifolium= must ever be in conservatories,
they exhibit their imposing proportions to greater advantage, and their
wealth of perfume is far more acceptable, when grown among handsome
shrubs in the border. Very little attention is needed to bring them up
year after year in ever-increasing loveliness.

==Growing Bulbs in Moss-fibre.==--A most interesting method of growing
bulbs is to place them in bowls and jardinières filled with prepared
moss-fibre, and far better results for home decoration may be obtained
in this way than by using ordinary potting soil in vases, &c. For this
system of culture no drainage is necessary, and the bowls and vases
which are specially made for the purpose are not pierced with the usual
holes for the escape of water. The receptacles are non-porous and may be
placed on tables and columns, or they can be employed in halls and
corridors without the slightest risk of injury. The fibre is perfectly
clean to handle, odourless, and remains sweet for an indefinite period.

Vases of any kind may be used, provided they are non-porous, but the
bulbs to be planted in them should be of a suitable size. For quite
small jardinières, white and purple Crocuses, Scillas, Snowdrops, and
Grape Hyacinths are available, also the smaller varieties of Narcissi.
Larger vases will accommodate Hyacinths, Narcissi, Tulips, &c. It is
better not to mix different kinds of bulbs in one bowl unless
simultaneous flowering can be insured. The specially prepared fibre
needs only to be moistened before use. Having selected suitable
receptacles for the bulbs to be grown, place a few pieces of charcoal at
the bottom of each bowl. Then cover the charcoal with one to three
inches of moistened fibre according to the depth of the bowl, placing
the bulbs in positions so that their tips reach to within half-inch of
the rim. The spaces between and around the bulbs to be filled with
moistened fibre, carefully firmed in by hand. The bulbs will require
practically no attention for the first few weeks and may be stood in a
warm, airy position, but on no account must they be shut up in a close
cupboard. If the fibre has been properly moistened there will be no need
to give water until the shoots are an inch or so long, but the fibre
must not be allowed to go dry, or the flower-buds become 'blind.' The
surface of the fibre should always look moist, but if too much water has
been given the bowl may be held carefully on its side so that the
surplus water can drain away. As the growth increases more water will be
required and all the light possible must be given to insure sturdy
foliage. This fibre also answers admirably instead of water for
Hyacinths grown in glasses, but care should be taken to fill the glasses
as lightly as possible with the compost; if crammed in tightly the root
growth is liable to lift the bulbs out of position.


==ACHIMENES==

Showy stove bulbs remarkable for their beauty. Given a sufficiency of
heat, the cultivation is of the easiest nature, for they grow rapidly
and flower freely, if potted in sandy peat, and kept in a warm
greenhouse or the coolest part of a stove, in a somewhat humid
atmosphere. It needs only the simplest management to have these plants
in bloom at almost any season of the year, for the bulbs may be kept
dormant for a considerable length of time without injury, and may be
started into growth as required to keep up a long succession of flowers.
They are occasionally well grown in common frames over hot-beds. For
suspended baskets Achimenes are invaluable.


==AGAPANTHUS==

In favoured districts on the South coast this noble plant succeeds
admirably if planted out between September and March in a rich, deep,
moist loam, either in full sun or in partial shade. When grown in pots
it requires a strong loamy soil, with plenty of manure, and throughout
the summer the pots should be allowed to stand in pans of water. As the
Agapanthus is a gross-feeding plant, it should be re-potted annually in
autumn, and be wintered in a cool pit or frame. In transferring to new
pots a little care must be taken to avoid injuring the mass of fleshy
roots.


==ALLIUM==

The =Allium neapolitanum= is the finest white-flowered variety, and is
exceedingly valuable for bouquets and vase decoration. The large umbels
of blossoms are of the purest white. It is one of the earliest
spring-flowering bulbs, and, although quite hardy, it comes forward
quickly and easily in a cool house.


==ALSTROEMERIA==

An elegant plant which belongs to the nearly hardy group referred to in
the notice of Ixia. In autumn it may be safely planted out in almost any
part of the United Kingdom, provided it is planted nine inches deep, and
can have a sunny position on a dry soil, for damp is more hurtful to it
than frost. As a pot plant it is comparatively useless, but if allowed
to remain several years in a dry border, a large clump of any of the
varieties presents a brilliant appearance when in flower.


==AMARYLLIS==

See remarks under Lilies at page 340.


==ANEMONE==

==Windflower==

Our observations on this flower will be limited to the tuberous
varieties; but even with this restriction, the range of form and colour
is exceedingly wide. The Anemone is an accommodating plant, and can be
successfully flowered either in pots or in beds, at the option of the
cultivator.

The most natural place for it is near shady woodland walks, where it can
be seen to the greatest advantage. But it is also a splendid subject for
masses in the mixed border, or in front of shrubberies; and alone in
beds it makes a brilliant and lasting show. For all the purposes of
garden decoration to which the Crocus, Hyacinth, and Tulip are applied,
the Windflower is equally well adapted. We do not advise planting
singly, but the Anemone answers admirably in lines, groups, or beds, and
the colours admit of numberless harmonies and contrasts.

The commoner Anemones need only to be planted about three inches deep,
with the eyes upwards, at any time between September and March, and they
will require little or no attention afterwards. Under trees, instead of
planting in a formal pattern, it is worth while to put them in with some
attempt at natural grouping, and not too close together--say from six
inches to a foot apart. In such positions they may be left undisturbed
for years; and if the soil happens to be a good sandy loam, they will
thrive and increase. In masses or beds within the garden, however, a
richer effect is wanted, and the distance between the roots should not
exceed from four to six inches.

A choice collection of roots is worth more care, and florists are
accustomed to prepare the beds for their reception with fastidious
exactness. The soil, if not considered suitable, is taken out to the
depth of two feet, and is replaced by a rich and specially prepared
compost. Although the individual flowers produced by this method are
generally very fine, and the total effect of the bed is exceedingly
beautiful, yet the truth must be confessed that for ordinary gardening
the system is extravagant and unnecessary. As a hobby, it is, of course,
justifiable enough; but Anemones of high quality can be grown by a much
simpler mode of procedure. One deep digging there certainly should be,
and a layer of manure at the bottom of each trench is sound treatment,
for it supplies the roots with food and a cool subsoil. Poor land should
also be enriched by incorporating a dressing of decayed manure as the
work proceeds. Subsequently one or two light surface forkings will help
to make the bed mellow. A rough plan, showing the name and position of
every root, will be a safer record than labelling in the usual way, and
it also prevents the disfigurement of the bed. There should be a
distance of six inches between the roots; and they may be put in singly
by means of the trowel, or in drills drawn three inches deep. The former
method is generally adopted for groups; but to insure regularity in
flowering the planting must be uniform in depth. For beds, drills are
more reliable, and they are speedily made.

The time of planting determines to a considerable extent the date of
flowering; and, as the roots may be put in during autumn, winter, and
early spring, it is easy to secure a succession of Anemones from January
until May. But this flower is of so much more value early in the year
than at a later period, when many other subjects brighten the garden,
that it is scarcely worth while to plant so late as March.

The Anemone is well worth growing in pots, both for its foliage and
flowers. It does not resent forcing to the same extent as the
Ranunculus; nevertheless, cool treatment is almost essential to do it
full justice. The potting should be done in batches to insure a
succession of flowers, and the first lot may be put in at the end of
August, or beginning of September. They should have the benefit of
really good soil; a mixture of leaf-mould and loam, with the addition of
a little powdered charcoal, will suit them exactly. In preparing the
pots, place a layer of light manure above the crocks, which will assist
the drainage and benefit the plants. Then fill with compost to within
two inches of the top, and lay in the roots; add soil to a level with
the rim, and press lightly down. The strongest roots should, of course,
be selected for potting, and it will need more than a hasty glance to
put them in with the eyes upwards. One or more roots may be planted in
each pot, according to the size of the latter.

The early plantings can be placed in any warm position out of doors,
such as under a south wall; but after the middle of October remove to a
cold pit, or on to the greenhouse stage. Watering is all the attention
they will require, and of this there must be no stint, especially during
the blooming period. A high temperature at any stage is needless, and if
they are just kept out of the reach of frost they will take excellent
care of themselves.

Anemones are adapted for many decorative purposes; they make capital
window plants, and their sharply cut foliage is very ornamental in the
drawing-room or on the dinner-table.


==BABIANA==

Babianas are delicately constituted, but extremely elegant plants when
well grown. Though far from showy, they appeal to the educated eye for
appreciation of their blue and purple oculate flowers. The culture is
the same as for the Ixia, and we incline strongly to the practice of
keeping the bulbs at least two seasons in the same pots.


==BEGONIA, TUBEROUS-ROOTED==

Few flowers have a greater claim on the attention of horticulturists
than the Tuberous-rooted Begonia, either for the ease with which it can
be grown, or for the many valuable purposes to which the plant may be
applied. It can be flowered at any time from February until October, and
is available for all kinds of indoor decoration, and also for growing in
the open ground during the summer months.

Instead of allowing the plants to be rudely dried off, it is worth a
little trouble to reduce them slowly to the dormant state by gradually
withholding water. They should still be retained in pots, which may be
stored under a thick layer of ashes or dry peat in any cellar, frame, or
shed where the thermometer stands pretty uniformly at about 50°. The
store should also be dry, for damp is quite as injurious to these roots
as cold. Generally speaking, it may be said that any store which is safe
for Dahlias will also preserve Tuberous-rooted Begonias.

After the winter's rest the bulbs are invariably saucer-shaped, and in
the event of their being watered before growth has commenced, sufficient
water will remain in the hollow to destroy the bulb. This peculiarity
makes it dangerous to start the plant before activity is evident. In
January or February, as the bulbs show signs of life, pot them almost on
the surface of a rich loamy soil, and employ the smallest pots possible.
Nurse them with a little care in a warm place for about ten days, and
they should then be very gradually hardened. A regular system of potting
on will be necessary until the final size is reached; and at each
operation the plants should be inserted rather deeper than before. If
re-potting is deferred too long, the foliage will turn yellow--a sure
sign that the plant is starving. No flowers should be allowed in the
early stages of growth, and this rule is imperative if fine specimens
are wanted; but when the plants are transferred just as the pots are
full of roots, there will be little disposition to bloom prematurely.
While growing, the Tuberous Begonia delights in a humid atmosphere, but
this should be avoided after flowering has commenced. When sticks are
inserted for tying out the flowers, the bulbs must not be wounded.

The erect-growing varieties are valuable for low conservatory stages,
and they form splendid groups in corners of drawing-rooms. The drooping
kinds are seen to advantage on brackets, shelves, and in suspended
baskets; and the short-jointed plants of the drooping class are
specially adapted for rockeries and beds. They must not be put into the
open until the danger of a nipping east wind is past. The early part of
June is generally about the right time.

In the autumn it is usual to lift and pot the plants, although in mild
districts, and in a light soil, they may safely be left out all the
winter under the shelter of a heap of ashes or decayed manure. In beds
this plan is scarcely worth adoption, because it leaves the ground bare
for several months; but where Begonias are grown in the reserve border
to furnish a supply of flowers for cutting, it may be a considerable
advantage to leave them until the following year.

A word is necessary as to soil. The Begonia is a gross feeder, and to
develop its fine qualities there must be a liberal employment of manure.
As a matter of fact, it is scarcely possible to make the soil too rich
for this flower.


==CHIONODOXA==

==Glory of the Snow==

The varied blue tints of the Chionodoxa, its more open blossoms, and
larger size, distinguish this flower from its older and justly prized
rival, the Scilla. Indeed, the Chionodoxa is exquisitely beautiful, and
of great value for pot culture, beds, or borders. Five bulbs may be
grown in a 48-sized pot, and in the border not less than half a dozen
should be planted in a group. Employed as a single or double line, it
also produces a striking bit of colouring. The bulbs should be planted
in autumn four inches deep, the distance between being not more than
three inches. Any ordinary garden soil will grow this flower, and it is
advisable to allow the bulbs to remain undisturbed for several years, as
the effect will be the greater in each succeeding spring.


==CROCUS==

This brilliant harbinger of spring will thrive in any soil or situation,
but to be brought to the highest possible perfection it should be grown
in an open bed or border of deep, rich, dry sandy loam. The bulbs should
be planted during September, October, and November. If kept out of the
ground after the end of the year they will be seriously damaged, and
however carefully planted, will not flower in a satisfactory manner.
Plant three inches deep in lines, clumps, or masses, as taste may
suggest, putting the bulbs two inches apart. If convenient, let them
remain undisturbed two or three years, and then take them up and plant
again in well-prepared and liberally manured soil. A bed of mixed
Crocuses has a pleasing appearance, but in selecting bulbs for the
geometric garden it is more effective to employ distinct colours,
reserving the yellow for the exterior parts of the design to define its
boundaries, and using the blue and the white in masses and bands
within. In districts where sparrows attack the flowers, they may be
deterred from doing mischief by stretching over the beds a few strands
of black thread, which will not interfere with the beauty of the
display, and will terrify the sparrows for a sufficient period to save
the flowers.

The named varieties are invaluable for pot and frame culture, and to
force for decorative purposes; for though the individual flowers are
short-lived, the finest bulbs yield a long succession of bloom, and in
character Crocuses are quite distinct from all other flowers of the same
early season. When grown in pots and baskets, the bulbs should be placed
close together to produce a striking effect. A light, rich soil is
desirable, but they may be flowered in a mixture of charcoal and moss,
or in fibre, or moss alone. When required in quantity for ornamental
baskets and similar receptacles, it is wise to plant them in shallow
boxes filled with rotten manure and leaf-mould, and to lift them out
separately, and pack them when in flower in the ornamental baskets. A
perfect display of flowers in precisely the same stage of development
can thus be secured, and successional displays may follow as long as
supplies remain in the boxes.


==CROWN IMPERIAL==

==Fritillaria imperialis==

A noble plant which needs a deep, rich, moist soil, and an open
situation, to insure the full degree of stateliness, but it will make a
very good figure in any border where it can enjoy a glimmer of sunshine.
There are several distinct varieties, the flowers of which range in
colour from palest yellow to the deepest shade of orange and reddish
buff, and there are others which have variegated leaves. They should be
planted in autumn eighteen inches apart, allowing from four to six
inches of soil above the crowns.


==CYCLAMEN==

Although it is advisable to raise Cyclamens from seed every year,
occasions arise when it is necessary to store the bulbs for a second
season, and the best method of treating them during the period of rest
must be considered. As the production of seed weakens the corms,
preference should be given to those which have not been subjected to
this tax on their energies.

At the close of the flowering season the bulbs should be gradually
reduced to a resting state by withholding moisture. When the foliage
turns yellow the pots may be laid on their sides in a cold frame, if
available, or in any other convenient place where they will not be
forgotten, until about the middle of July. They should then be placed
upright, and have a supply of water. After fresh growth has fairly
commenced, shake the bulbs out of the pots, remove most of the old soil,
and re-pot in a compost consisting of mellow turfy loam and leaf-mould,
with a sufficient admixture of silver sand to insure drainage. The corm
should be so placed in the pot as to bring the crown about level with
the rim, and every care must be taken to avoid injuring the young roots.
Place the pots in a close frame for a few days, after which ample
ventilation should be given to maintain a robust condition. The lights
may remain constantly open until there is danger from autumn frosts.
Specimens that show a great number of flower-buds should be assisted
occasionally with weak manure water.

=C. Coum= and =C. europæum= are rarely well grown, for although quite
hardy, the climate of this country does not suit them in their season of
flowering, which is the early spring. The cool greenhouse is the safest
place for them, except in sheltered spots, where they may be planted out
on a border of peat, or amongst ferns in a rockery. When grown in pots,
light turfy loam and peat in equal quantities, with a fourth part of
cow-manure and a liberal addition of sand, will form an excellent
compost for them. The pots should never be exposed to the drying action
of the sun or wind, but should be plunged to the rim in coal-ashes. The
best time for potting or planting them is September or October.

Instructions on raising Cyclamens from seed will be found at page 256.


==DAFFODIL==--=see= ==NARCISSUS==, =page= 344


==DOG'S-TOOTH VIOLET==

The red and white varieties are as hardy as any plant in our gardens,
and by their neat habit and elegant leaves and flowers they are
admirably adapted to plant in quantities in the front of a rockery, in
either peat or sandy loam and leaf-mould. They are equally suitable for
edging small beds in gardens where spring flowers are systematically
grown; in fact, they are true 'spring bedders.' Autumn is the proper
time to plant the bulbs. But Dog's-tooth Violets are also worth growing
in pots, especially where an unheated 'Alpine house' is kept for plants
of this class. Several bulbs may be put in a pot of the 48-size.


==FERRARIA==--=see= ==TIGRIDIA==, =page 350=


==FREESIA==

The singularly graceful form, wide range of beautiful colours, and
delicious perfume of this flower have made it an immense favourite; and
happily there is no Cape bulb which can be grown with greater ease in
the frame or cool greenhouse. One characteristic is very marked, and it
is the disproportion between the small bulb and the fine flowers
produced from it.

Procure the bulbs as early in the autumn as possible, and lose no time
in potting them. Any light rich soil will answer, but that which suits
them best is composed of two parts of loam, one of leaf-mould, and one
of peat, with enough sand or grit added to insure drainage. Commence
with pots of the right size, for the roots are extremely brittle, and
there must be no risk of injuring them by re-potting. The 48-size will
accommodate several bulbs. Place under a south wall, and cover with
leaf-mould until top growth commences, and then remove the covering.

At the end of September transfer the pots to a cold frame, and when the
plants attain a height of four inches, support them with neat sticks,
which should not be inserted too near the bulbs. Watering will require
judgment, for too much moisture turns the foliage yellow. When the pots
are full of roots, liquid manure twice a week will be helpful.

After the blooming season has passed, encourage the foliage to wither by
withholding water. The roots may be stored away in their own pots until
the following August.


==FRITILLARIA==

Fritillarias produce bell-shaped flowers, varying in colour, but
generally of a purplish tint, and beautifully spotted. They thrive in a
good deep loam, but may be grown in almost any soil, and do well under
the shade of trees. They are quite hardy, and, like most other bulbs,
should be planted in autumn. Fritillarias are occasionally grown in pots
kept in a cold frame, but they will not endure forcing in the least
degree, and the mixed border is the best position for them. These
flowers make a charming ornament when grown in bowls filled with
moss-fibre.


==GLADIOLUS==

The Gladiolus is adapted for many important uses and it associates
admirably with Dahlias, Hollyhocks, Pyrethrums, and Phloxes in the
furnishing of clumps on the lawn and in the mixed border. It is
perfectly in harmony with surroundings when planted in American beds or
in the shrubbery. For supplying cut flowers it is invaluable, as they
retain their freshness in a vase for many days, and a plentiful supply
should be grown in reserved spots expressly for this purpose.

==Culture in Pots.==--The early-flowering varieties are of especial value
for decorating greenhouses and conservatories during spring and early
summer. The corms of these Gladioli are small, and a 32-sized pot will
accommodate several. The soil should be decidedly rich, and it must be
porous, because water has to be given freely when the plants are in full
growth. Pot the corms in autumn, and cover with leaf-mould until the
roots are developed, when successive batches can be brought forward and
gently forced for a continuous supply of elegant flowers during April
and May. A mild temperature of about 55° is quite sufficient for them.

==Culture in the Open Ground.==--The autumn-flowering Gladioli are grown
in the open ground, and preparations should begin well in advance of
planting time. Almost any soil can be made to answer, but that which
suits them best is a good medium, friable loam with a cool rich subsoil,
and each grower must decide for himself how far this is within reach
naturally, or can be secured by resources at command. Thus, a light soil
may be made suitable by placing a thick layer of rotten cow-manure a
foot below the surface, and a heavy, retentive loam can be reduced to
the proper state by the admixture of lighter material. On the surface
spread a liberal quantity of manure and dig it in, leaving the soil in a
rough state to be disintegrated by frosts. Before the planting time
arrives it is worth some trouble to free the ground from wire worms, or
they will play havoc with the growth just as it is appearing above
ground. Potatoes serve admirably as traps for these pests.

Gladioli are peculiarly liable to injury from wind, so that a sheltered,
but not a shaded, position should, if possible, be chosen for them. The
time of planting depends partly on the district, partly on the season;
but the soil must be in suitable condition and fine weather is
necessary. From the middle of March to the middle of April should afford
some suitable opportunity of getting the bulbs in satisfactorily. Give
the land a light forking, not deep enough to bring up the manure, and
make the surface level. The rows may be twelve or eighteen inches apart;
we prefer the greater distance, because of the convenience it affords in
attending to the plants when growing; nine inches is sufficient space in
the rows.

There are two methods of putting in the bulbs, each of which has
advocates among practised growers. One is to take out the soil with a
trowel to the depth of six or seven inches for each corm, then insert
about two inches of mixed sand and powdered charcoal or wood ashes; lay
the root upon it, and carefully cover with fine soil. If that process is
considered too tedious, draw a deep drill with a hoe, and at the bottom
put the light mixture already named; place the roots at regular
distances upon it, and lightly return the top soil. The operation should
be so performed as to leave the crown of the corm four inches below the
surface. When planting is completed, give the bed a finishing touch with
the rake.

An eminent grower strips off the outer coat or skin of each bulb before
planting to ascertain that there is no disease; and this cannot
otherwise be discovered. No doubt the procedure prevents the bed from
showing blanks, but that object can be more safely attained by growing a
reserve in pots. There is, however, another practice which possesses
very decided advantages, and it is to break the skin at the crown of the
bulb to allow the foliage free exit. The skin is so tough that it is
frequently the means of distorting the plant in its attempt to force an
opening.

The bed for a time needs little attention, except to keep it free from
weeds, and this is best done by hand. When the shoots reach about a foot
high, tying must be resorted to in earnest. The most effectual plan, of
course, is to put a separate stake to each plant, and for exhibition
specimens this is certainly advisable. But rows can be secured by a
stake at each end, with two or three strands of strong material carried
across, to which each flower must be tied. Whatever method is adopted,
care should be taken to avoid cutting the plant, while holding it secure
from damage in a high wind. Let the material which is placed round the
flowering-stem be soft and wide, such as list, which answers admirably.

Water must be freely and regularly given during dry weather, either in
the morning or in the evening; and a mulch of old manure spread over the
bed will prevent evaporation, and save the ground from caking hard.

Another important matter is shading. For ordinary purposes this is not
essential; but as it very much lengthens the duration of the flower, it
is worth attention on that ground alone, and for exhibition it is
indispensable. Whether shading is provided by separate protectors made
expressly for the purpose, or by home-made contrivances of canvas or
wood, the point to be quite certain about is security, or an accident
may wreck well-grounded hopes.

The lifting and storing of the corms affect the quality of the next
year's flowers so much that it is important to accomplish lifting at the
most suitable time, and the storing in the best manner. By the middle or
end of October, on some fine day, take up the roots, even if the foliage
be still green; tie a label to each variety, and hang them in some airy
place until they can be cleared of soil and leaves. Remove each stem
with a sharp knife, and lay out the bulbs to dry for another fortnight.
They can then be stored in paper bags or in boxes on any dry shelf which
is safe from vermin and frost.

An article on the culture of the Gladiolus from seed will be found on
page 267.


==GLOXINIA==

Gloxinias may be had in bloom almost all the year by judicious
management. When required for early flowering, those that start first
should be selected and carefully shifted into other pots, and be kept
near the glass, as they depend much on light for rapid and luxuriant
growth. A moist atmosphere, with the temperature about 60° to 65°,
greatly facilitates the growth of Gloxinias, but they may be grown well
in greenhouses or in pits heated by hot water. The most suitable soil is
a light fibrous loam, combined with a little peat and silver sand.
Manure water during the growing period twice a week is helpful, but it
should be discontinued when the flowers show colour. The plants love
shade, and at no time should suffer from drought. Storing Gloxinias for
their season of rest, =i.e.= the winter, must be carefully attended to,
as losses frequently occur during this stage. It is also important that
the plants should not be 'dried off' too quickly; place them in a light,
airy position, and by a gradual reduction of moisture the leaves will
fall off naturally. The bulbs may then be stored away on a shelf, in an
even temperature of about 50°, each bulb being closely surrounded by
cocoa-nut fibre and peat in equal parts to prevent excessive dryness,
which, like too much damp, often causes the loss of the bulb.

Besides growing the same plants from year to year, it is always
desirable to have a fresh stock coming on, as the old bulbs may
deteriorate after two or three years. This can easily be managed by
successive sowings of seed, as advised at page 268.


==HEMEROCALLIS==--=see under= ==LILIES==, =page 343=


==HYACINTH==

One of the most valuable characteristics of the Hyacinth is the ease
with which it can be flowered in a variety of ways by very simple modes
of treatment. It may be employed as a hardy, rough-weather plant for the
garden border, or as a grand exhibition and conservatory flower. The
bulbs may be planted at any time from September to the middle of
December, with the certainty of their blooming well, if properly cared
for; but the prudent cultivator will plant them as early as possible in
the autumn, and so manage them afterwards as to secure the longest
period of growth previous to their flowering. They can be forced to
flower at Christmas, but the more slowly the flowers are developed the
finer in the end will they be. To obtain good bulbs is a matter of the
utmost importance, and it may be useful here to remark that the mere
size of a Hyacinth bulb is no criterion of its value--nor, indeed, is
its neatness of form or brightness of appearance. The two most important
qualities are soundness and density. If the bulbs are hard and heavy in
proportion to their size, they may be depended on to produce good
flowers of their kind. The bulbs of some sorts are never large or
handsome, while, on the other hand, many others partake of both these
qualities in a marked degree.

One other matter in general relating to the treatment of Hyacinths needs
to be referred to. Harm has often been done by the practice of massing
the flowers, whether in pot groups or in garden beds, without
consideration of colour harmonies. Yet no other bulbous flower offers
such a wide choice of delightful colours, or is so eminently adapted to
artistic blending, as the Hyacinth. By eschewing the dull blues and
allied shades and by bringing into association exquisite tones of mauve,
pink, apricot, salmon, pale yellow, rich lilac, bright red, &c., it is
easy to demonstrate that there are possibilities in Hyacinths which may
never have been suspected before. The following are a few of the
charming blends which may be made, and will especially appeal to those
who grow Hyacinths indoors: (i) Apricot, cream, and pale blue; (2)
cream, pale pink, and rose-pink; (3) bright pink and pale blue; (4)
bright red, rich blue, and pure white; (5) rose-pink and rich blue; (6)
pale yellow and rich blue; (7) deep mauve and pale mauve; (8) cream and
pale blue; (9) bright blue shades (dull, washy, and nondescript blue,
purple, and violet tints must be avoided); (10) blush pink and
rose-pink; (11) apricot and cream; (12) pale lavender, cream, and
apricot. These examples will show that charming effects can be secured
either with two or with three varieties. Colour-grouping may also be
carried out in the garden, but in this case great care must be exercised
to get varieties of clear, bright hues which flower at the same time,
such as Inimitable Bedding Hyacinths. Modern taste further dictates that
the bare soil shall be hidden, and this end is best served by providing
a groundwork of dwarf plants, such as Daisies, Forget-me-nots, double
white Arabis, and mauve Aubrietia. Another course is to mix Hyacinths
with Daffodils of the Chalice or Star section; there is no better
variety than Sir Watkin, but others may be used.

==Culture in Pots.==--It is not necessary to use large pots, or pots of a
peculiar shape, for Hyacinths. There is nothing better than common
flower-pots, and in those of 60-size single bulbs may be flowered in a
most satisfactory manner. The pots usually employed are the 48-and
32-sizes, the last-named being required only for selected bulbs grown
for exhibition. We advise the use of small pots where Hyacinths are
grown in pits and frames for decorative purposes, because they can be
conveniently placed in ornamental stands, or packed close together in
baskets of moss, when required for the embellishment of the
drawing-room. As the use of new pots for Hyacinths is often the cause of
failure, they should not be employed if well-cleansed old pots are
available. The tender roots of the bulbs frequently become too dry owing
to the absorbent nature of the new pots. A rich, light soil is
indispensable, and it should consist chiefly of turfy loam, with
leaf-mould and a liberal allowance of sharp sand. The mixture ought to
be in a moderately moist condition when ready for use. In small pots one
hollow crock must suffice, but the 48-and 32-sized pots can be prepared
in the usual way, with one large hollow crock, and a little heap of
smaller potsherds or nodules of charcoal over it. Fill the pots quite
full of soil, and then press the bulb into it, and press the soil round
the bulb to finish the operation. If potted loosely, they will not
thrive; if potted too firmly, they will rise up as soon as the roots
begin to grow, and be one-sided. In large pots the bulbs should be
nearly covered with soil, but in small pots they must be only half
covered, in order to afford them the largest possible amount of
root-room. When potted, a cool place must be found for them, and unless
they go absolutely dry, they should not have a drop of water until they
begin to grow freely and are in the enjoyment of full daylight. The pots
may be stored in a dark, cool pit, or any out-of-the-way place where
neither sun, nor frost, nor heavy rains will affect them; but it is
advisable to plunge them in coal-ashes and also to cover them with a few
inches of the ashes. As to their removal, they must be taken out as
wanted for forcing, and certainly before they push up their flower
spikes, as they will do if they remain too long in the bed. The
cultivator will be guided in respect of their removal from the bed by
circumstances; but when they are removed, a distinct routine of
treatment must be observed, or the flowering will be unsatisfactory. For
a short time they should be placed in subdued daylight, that the
blanched growth may acquire a healthy green hue slowly; and they need to
be kept cool in order that they shall grow very little until a healthy
colour is acquired. The floor of a cool greenhouse is a good place for
them when first taken out of the bed and cleaned up for forcing. Another
matter of great importance is to place them near the glass immediately
their green colour is established, and to grow them as slowly as the
requirements of the case will permit. If to be forced early, allow
plenty of time to train them to bear a great heat, taking from bed to
pit, and from pit to cool house, and deferring to the latest possible
moment placing them in the heat in which they are to flower. Those to
bloom at Christmas should be potted in September, those to follow may be
potted a month later. If a long succession is required, a sufficient
number should be potted every two or three weeks to the end of the year.
Those potted latest will, of course, flower in frames without the aid of
heat. In any and every case the highest temperature of the forcing-pit
should be 70°; to go beyond that point will cause an attenuated growth
and poverty of colour. If liquid manure is employed at all, it should be
used constantly and extremely weak until the flowers begin to expand,
and then pure soft water only should be used. No matter what may be the
particular constitution of the liquid manure, it must be weak, or it
will do more harm than good. The spikes should be supported by wires or
neat sticks in ample time, and a constant watch kept to see that the
stems are not cut or bent, as they rapidly develop beyond the range
allowed them by their supports.

==Culture in Glasses==.--It is of little consequence whether rain, river,
or spring water be employed in this mode of culture, but it must be
pure, and in the glasses it should nearly but not quite touch the bulbs.
Store at once in a dark, cool place, to encourage the bulbs to send
their roots down into the water before the leaves begin to grow. When
the roots are developed, bring the glasses from the dark to the light,
in order that leaves and flowers may be in perfect health. Let them have
as much light as possible, with an equable temperature, and provide
supports in good time. Hyacinths are often injured by being kept in
rooms that are at times extremely cold and at others heated to excess.
Those who wish to grow the bulbs to perfection in glasses should remove
them occasionally as circumstances may require, to prevent the injury
that must otherwise result from rapid and extreme alternations of
temperature. It is not desirable to introduce to the water any
stimulating substance, but the glasses must be kept nearly full of water
by replenishing as it disappears. If the leaves become dusty, they may
be cleansed with a soft brush or a sponge dipped in water, but
particular care must be taken not to injure them in the process.

==Culture in Moss-fibre==.--While Hyacinths, differing from Daffodils and
Tulips, are perhaps relatively better in pots of soil than in bowls of
moss-fibre, they may still be grown successfully in bowls provided a
fairly deep receptacle is chosen and care is taken to avoid making the
fibre hard. With a shallow bowl and very firm fibre it may be found that
the roots strike upward and the plant does not get that abundant supply
of moisture which is essential to its welfare. For this method of
culture preference should be given to the Roman, Giant Italian,
Christmas Pink, Miniature and Grape Hyacinths, which look particularly
charming in bowls and similar contrivances. Detailed directions are
given on page 319.

==Culture in Beds==.--The Hyacinth will grow well in any ordinary garden
soil, but that which suits it best is a light rich loam. The bed should
be effectually drained, for though the plant loves moisture it cannot
thrive in a bog during the winter. It is advisable to plant early, and
to plant deep. If a rich effect is required, especially in beds near the
windows of a residence, the bulbs should be six inches apart, but at a
greater distance a good effect may be produced by planting nine inches
apart. The time of blooming may be to some extent influenced by the time
and manner of planting, but no strict rules can be given to suit
particular instances. Late planting and deep planting both tend to defer
the time of blooming, although there will not be a great difference in
any case, and as a rule the late bloom is to be preferred, because less
liable to injury from frost. The shallowest planting should insure a
depth of three inches of earth above the crown of the bulb, but they
will flower better, and only a few days later, if covered with full six
inches of earth over the crowns. The Hyacinth is so hardy that
protection need not be thought of, except in peculiar cases of unusual
exposure, or on the occurrence of an excessively low temperature when
they are growing freely. Under any circumstances, there is no protection
so effectual as dry litter, but a thin coat of half-rotten manure spread
over the bed is to be preferred in the event of danger being apprehended
at any time before the growth has fairly pushed through.

The bulbs may be taken up as soon as the leaves acquire a yellow colour,
so that the brilliant display of spring may be immediately followed by
another, equally brilliant perhaps, but in character altogether
different. When grown in beds, Hyacinths do not require water or sticks;
all they need is to be planted properly, and they will take care of
themselves.

==Miniature Hyacinths.==--These charming little sparkling gems are
invaluable for baskets, bowls and other contrivances which are adapted
for the choicest decorative purposes. In quality they are excellent, the
spikes being symmetrical, the flowers well formed, and the colours
brilliant. But they are true miniatures, growing about half the size of
the other kinds, and requiring less soil to root in. They will flower
well if planted in a mixture of moss-fibre and charcoal, kept constantly
moist, and covered with the greenest moss, to give to the ornament
containing them a finished appearance.

==Feather and Grape Hyacinths== will grow in any good garden soil, and are
admirably adapted for borders that are shaded by trees. They should be
planted in large clumps, and be allowed to remain several years
undisturbed. Both classes are beautiful--the Feather Hyacinth
emphatically so; indeed, numerous as beautiful flowers are, this, for
delicacy of structure, has peculiar claims to our admiration, when
presenting its feathery plumes a foot or more in length, all cut into
curling threads of the most elegant tenuity. Grape Hyacinths make a
charming ornament for the drawing-room when grown in bowls of
moss-fibre.

==Roman Hyacinth.==--This flower is particularly welcome in the short,
dark days of November, December, and January. For placing in glasses to
decorate the drawing-room or dinner-table the spikes of bloom are
largely grown; and the separate flowers, mounted on wire, form an
important feature in winter bouquets, for which purpose their delicious
perfume renders them especially valuable.

The bulbs can be grown with the utmost ease. Pot them immediately they
can be obtained in August or September, and stand them in some spare
corner in the open ground, where they can be covered with a few inches
of leaf-mould. This will encourage the roots to start before there is
any top growth. In October remove the covering, and transfer the pots to
a pit or frame, or they may be placed under the greenhouse stage for a
time, provided they will not be in the way of dripping water. A little
later, room should be found for them upon the stage, or the foliage may
become drawn. When the buds are visible, plunge the pots in a bottom
heat of 65° or 70°, and in a week the flowers will be fit for use. Like
its more imposing prototype, the Roman Hyacinth may have its roots
gently freed from soil for packing in bowls or vases filled with wet
moss or sand; but they ought not to be subjected to a violent change of
temperature. If wanted in glasses, they can be grown in water after the
usual fashion, but the flower is scarcely adapted for this mode of
treatment. They will, however, grow well in bowls filled with
moss-fibre.

==Italian Hyacinth.==--Although rather later in flowering than the Roman
variety, the Italian Hyacinth deserves to be grown as a pot plant,
especially for its more lasting quality. The graceful flowers are
carried on long stout stems which are most effective for the decoration
of vases. The bulbs are perfectly hardy, and may be planted in clumps in
the open border, where they will bloom in April and afford abundant
sprays for cutting. The habit is less formal than that of the Dutch
Hyacinth and the flowers exhale a sweet delicate perfume. As previously
stated, the Italian Hyacinth is especially suitable for growing in
moss-fibre.


==HYACINTHUS CANDICANS==

An excellent companion to Delphiniums, Salvias, and perennial Lobelias
in the mixed border. The stately spikes of this flower also associate
well with shrubs, and help to enliven a bed of Rhododendrons at a period
of the year when the latter is uninteresting. Roots may be planted in
any soil from November to March; and, as they are perfectly hardy, they
can be left in the open ground all the year without the least misgiving
as to their safety. A strong root will produce a succession of
flower-spikes, and this tendency will be assisted by cutting off each
spike immediately it has ceased to be attractive.


==IRIS==

The common varieties of Iris are well-known favourites of the border,
and the whole family have claims on the attention of amateurs, on
account of their excellent faculty of taking care of themselves if
properly planted in the first instance. The tuberous or bulbous rooted
kinds do not require a rich soil; a sandy loam suits them, and they
thrive in peat. Such beautiful species as Reticulata, the Chalcedonian,
and the Peacock are worth growing in pots placed in frames or in a cool
greenhouse. The English, Dutch, and Spanish varieties should be planted
in clumps in front of a shrubbery border, where they may be seen to
advantage. The crown of the bulb must not be more than three inches
below the surface. From September to December will answer for planting,
and the roots may be taken up when the flowering period is over, or if
the space is not wanted they can be allowed to remain for the following
season. Bulbs of the English class should never be kept out of the
ground longer than can be helped, but they ought not to be grown in one
spot for more than three years; after that time the clumps must be
divided and a fresh position found for them.


==IXIA and SPARAXIS==

These attractive Cape bulbs are hardy in favoured districts, and may be
left out for years in a sheltered border. In places where none but the
hardiest plants pass through the winter safely, they must be grown in
the greenhouse or the frame, and any good sandy soil will suit them,
whether peat or loam. They should be potted early in the autumn, and
have plenty of air at all times when the weather is favourable,
especially when they are growing freely in spring. If carefully managed,
they may remain two seasons in the same pots. Use the 48-size, and plant
four or five bulbs in each. A dry, deep, sandy border under a wall in
any of the warmer western and southern districts might be furnished with
such plants as Ixias, Sparaxis, Alstroemerias, Oxalis, Tritonias,
Babianas, and the choicest of the smaller kinds of Iris. It would
constitute a garden of the most interesting exotics.


==JONQUIL==

For its delicious fragrance and exquisite beauty the Jonquil has long
been considered one of the most valuable of the Narciss family for
cultivation in pots, and it is also a first-rate border and woodland
flower. When forced, the treatment should agree as nearly as possible
with that prescribed for the Narcissus. Four or five bulbs may be
planted in one pot.


==LACHENALIA==

An elegant plant which is not quite hardy enough to be trusted in the
open ground; but it is the easiest matter possible to grow it well in
the greenhouse. The bulbs should be potted as soon as they begin to grow
in the autumn, and several bulbs may be put into each pot. There can be
no better soil than turfy loam, without manure or sand. It is of the
utmost importance that the plants should have abundance of water, when
they will produce leaves two inches across, and spikes of flowers fully
double the size of those commonly met with. An admirable use for these
bulbs is to insert them all over the outside of hanging-baskets, which
they will cover with the most graceful display of aërial vegetation
imaginable, the flower-spikes turning upwards, and the leaves hanging
down.


==LEUCOJUM==

The Spring Snowflake (=L. vernum=) blooms as early as February or March,
and the Summer Snowflake (=L. æstivum=) comes into flower in May and
June. They closely resemble the Snowdrop, but are much larger than that
well-known spring favourite. The bulbs are perfectly hardy, and will
grow in any garden soil. Plant in clumps three inches deep, any time
from the end of September until the middle of November.


==LILIES==

Hardy border Lilies are among the most useful garden plants known. They
are peculiarly hardy and robust, requiring no support from sticks or
ties; several of them remain green all the winter, and are capable of
resisting any amount of frost. If left alone, they increase rapidly, and
become more valuable every year. We will say nothing of their beauty,
for that is proverbial; but it may be useful to observe that many of the
most lovely Lilies, usually regarded as only suitable for the
greenhouse, and grown with great care under glass, are really as hardy
as the old common white Lily, and may be grown with it in the same
border. To grow Lilies well requires a deep, moist, rich loam. A
stubborn clay may be improved for them by deep digging, and
incorporating with the staple plenty of rotten manure and leaf-mould.
They all thrive in peat, or rotten turf, or, indeed, in any soil
containing an abundance of decomposing vegetable matter. The autumn is
the proper time to plant Lilies, but they may be planted at any season,
if they can be obtained in a dormant state or growing in pots. They
should be planted deep for their size, say, never less than six inches.
After they have stood some years it is necessary to lift and part the
clumps, when the borders should be deeply dug and liberally manured
before replanting. If the stems of Lilies become leafless and unsightly
before the flowers are past, it is a sign that the roots are too dry, or
that the soil is impoverished; and therefore, as soon as the stems die
down, they should be lifted, and perhaps transferred to a more
favourable spot.

==Amaryllis.==--These magnificent plants do not require the high
temperature in which they are usually grown, nor should they be allowed
to remain for a great length of time dust-dry, as we sometimes find
them. It is important to remember that they have distinct seasons of
activity and rest, but must not be forced into either condition by such
drastic measures as are occasionally resorted to. The proper soil for
them is turfy loam, enriched with rotten manure, and rendered moderately
porous by an admixture of sand. The light soil in which many plants
thrive will not suit them; the soil must be firm, and somewhat rough in
texture. When first potted, give them very little water, and promote
growth by means of a bottom heat of 65°. Increase the supply of water as
the plants progress, and shift them into 6-inch pots for flowering.
While they are in flower they may be placed in the conservatory, or
wherever else they may be required for decorative purposes. When the
flowers have faded take them to the greenhouse to complete their growth,
after which dry them off slowly, but with the clear understanding that
they are never to be desiccated. They may be wintered in the greenhouse,
and should certainly be placed where they will always be slightly moist,
even if a few leaves remain green throughout the winter. Frequent
disturbance of the roots is to be particularly avoided in the
cultivation of Amaryllis, and therefore it is desirable to allow them to
remain in the same pots two or three years; or if they are shifted on,
it should be done in such a way that the roots are scarcely seen in the
process. Top dressing and liquid manure will help them when they have
been some time in the same pots.

==Lilium auratum.==--This magnificent Lily has proved to be as hardy as
the white garden variety, and is now freely planted in borders and
shrubberies where the noble heads of bloom always command admiration.
But the splendour of the flower will continue to insure for it a high
degree of favour as a decorative subject for the conservatory. When
grown in a pot the best soil is sandy peat, but it will flower finely in
a rich light mixture, such as Fuchsias require. It is advisable to begin
with the smallest pot in which the bulb can be placed, and then to shift
to larger and larger sizes as the plant progresses, taking care to have
the bulb two inches below the soil when in their flowering pots, because
roots are thrown out from the stem just above the bulb, and these roots
need to be carefully fed, as they are the main support of the flowers
that appear later. When the flower-buds are visible, there should, of
course, be no further shifting. In respect of temperature, this is an
accommodating Lily; but as a rule a cool house is better for the plant
than one which is maintained at a high temperature. The supply of water
should be plentiful during the period of growth and flowering, but
afterwards it can be reduced.

==Lilium Harrisii== (=The Bermuda, or Easter Lily=) is of the
=longiflorum= type, but the flowers are larger, and are produced with
greater freedom than by the ordinary =L. longiflorum=. Moreover, the
Bermuda Lily flowers almost continuously. Before one stem has finished
blooming another shoots up. This perennial habit gives it a peculiar
value for the greenhouse, and renders forcing possible at almost any
season.

Immediately the bulbs are received they should be potted in rich fibrous
loam--the more fibrous the better--and be placed in a cold frame. They
need little water until growth has fairly commenced, after which more
moisture will be necessary. So far as safety is concerned, they only
require protection from frost; but for an early show of bloom artificial
heat is imperative. The temperature should, however, be very moderate at
first, and rise slowly. When the buds show, a top-dressing of fresh loam
and decayed manure will be helpful, and to allow for this the soil must
be two inches from the tops of the pots when the bulbs are first potted.
After producing two or three flowering stems, it will be wise to place
the pots out of doors and give less water, or the bulbs will be
exhausted. But they must never be allowed to become quite dry, and after
a partial rest of six weeks or two months they may be re-potted in fresh
soil and started for another show of bloom.

We do not recommend the planting of this Lily in open borders during
autumn, for growth will commence immediately, and a severe frost will
cut it down; but if planted in spring, it succeeds admirably, and will
produce a long succession of its handsome trumpet-shaped flowers. For
the following winter it can be either protected, or lifted for storing
in a frame.

==Lilium lancifolium.==--A graceful and highly perfumed Lily, which is
perfectly hardy, and will grow in good loam, though peat is to be
preferred for pot culture. To produce handsome specimens the same
routine must be followed as directed for the cultivation of =L.
auratum=. It scarcely need be added that, instead of growing the bulbs
separately in pots, several may be grown in a large pot to produce a
richer effect. But it is not advisable to place the bulbs in a large
mass of earth in the first instance. It is better that they should
commence their growth in small pots, and be shifted on as they require
more room. Aphis is extremely partial to these Lilies, particularly if
they are badly grown and allowed to suffer for the want of water. The
simplest way to remove the pest is to dip the plants in pure water,
taking care, of course, to prevent them from falling out of the pots in
the operation.

==Lily of the Valley.==--The popular name of this native plant is a
misnomer. Botanically it is known as =Convallaria majalis=, and
structurally the roots differ from those which are characteristic of the
whole tribe of Liliums. However, we have no quarrel with a charming
name for a most dainty flower of fairy-like proportions. The sprays of
pure white pendulous bells have captivated the popular fancy, and they
are in public demand from the moment florists are able to place them on
the market.

Whether for early or late spring forcing, or for planting in the open
ground, the most vigorous strain should be chosen, and there is one
which is incomparably superior to all others, producing finer spikes and
larger individual flowers. As a rule these roots are obtainable in
November, but, if necessary, it is far better to wait a week or two than
attempt to force such as have been lifted prematurely.

The crowns may be potted, and where few are grown this is the usual
course. The large growers pack them in boxes, with a little fine soil,
and cover the tops with about four inches of cocoa-nut fibre. For the
earliest supply a temperature of 90° is necessary, accompanied with
plenty of moisture. After the spikes of bloom show, slightly reduce the
temperature, and remove the fibre to afford the leaves an opportunity of
maturing. When sufficiently advanced transfer the plants to pots for the
conservatory or the decoration of windows. Successive supplies can be
brought forward with less heat.

In the open, Lily of the Valley require a partially shaded position. The
soil must be freely manured, and a good proportion of leaf-mould worked
in. Plant single crowns at a distance of six inches from each other, and
supply them with liquid manure during the growing period. After four, or
at most five years, they will become too crowded, when they should be
lifted, and the largest and finest crowns be selected for the formation
of a fresh bed.

==Japanese Day Lily== (=Hemerocallis Kwanso fl. pl.=).--Admirably adapted
for pot culture to decorate the conservatory, the rich variegation of
its graceful curling leaves affording an elegant display of colour in
the early months of the year, and its fine double flowers being
extremely showy during their short blooming season. As this variety is
quite hardy, it may be planted in the select border with perfect safety,
and, in common with other Day Lilies, it bears the shade of trees
remarkably well. This is certainly one of the handsomest hardy plants in
cultivation.


==MONTBRETIA==

Of this useful autumn-flowering bulb there are several varieties, =M.
crocosmiflora= probably being the most popular. In the warm and
sheltered gardens of the South and in light well-drained soil the roots
pass the winter safely. But where frost prevails some protection, such
as a small mound of litter, must be provided; the covering to be removed
immediately the danger of frost is past. The most favourable time for
planting is the autumn, but during open weather the roots may be put in
up to the end of March. It is usual to plant in clumps at a depth of
about three inches, allowing a distance of six inches between the corms.
As they may remain undisturbed for several years the spacing will permit
them to spread and produce masses of their graceful flowers.


==NARCISSUS==

Narcissi and Daffodils differ from Hyacinths, Tulips, and some other
bulbs in one particular which is important, because it furnishes the key
to the management of these flowers. The rootlets do not perish during
the season of rest, and this fact clearly indicates that the bulbs
should not remain out of ground for a day longer than is necessary.

==Culture in Pots.==--All the Polyanthus class, and almost all the Garden
varieties, thrive in pots, and can be forced with extreme ease. Pot them
early in any rich, porous compost, and put them into the soil a little
deeper than is usual for Hyacinths. For a few weeks keep them in a cool
spot in the open ground under a thick covering of ashes to promote
root-growth without prematurely starting the tops. With all bulbs this
is an important point, especially for such as are intended to be brought
forward in heat. When the pots are full of roots, leaf-growth will
commence, and the covering should be removed. A cool pit is then the
best place for them. The after-treatment will depend entirely on the
date the flowers are wanted. A low temperature, long continued, means
late flowering, so that within reasonable limits the grower can control
the time of their appearance. For the earliest display select the Roman
and Paper White, which are naturally early-blooming varieties. After a
few days in a cool pit, transfer to the greenhouse, and about a week or
ten days before they are needed in flower plunge them in a brisk bottom
heat, and give plenty of water of the proper temperature. The forcing
should not begin until the plants are sufficiently advanced, or it will
injure the flowers in both size and colour. Weak manure water will be
beneficial occasionally, but when the blossoms begin to open this must
be discontinued, and at the same time the heat should be diminished.

A succession of Narcissi for indoor decoration can be secured by
starting batches at intervals of two or three weeks; and by moderating
the treatment as the season advances, the last lot will flower naturally
without artificial stimulus. Large bulbs should be potted singly, but
several roots of the smaller sorts may be put into one pot. Heavy heads
of bloom will need support, and there is nothing neater than the wires
which are made expressly for the purpose.

==Culture in Moss-fibre.==--The lightsome charm of Narcissi and Daffodils
is never seen to greater advantage than when these are grown in bowls of
fibre for the decoration of rooms. Well-filled bowls of Daffodils are as
delightful indoors as are sturdy clumps nodding over grass or
Polyanthuses in the open air. The cultural routine is clean, pleasant,
and full of interest. The bowls are chosen with care, the fibre is well
saturated by repeated turning and moistening (this is essential to
success), enough crushed oyster shell is incorporated to make the
compost glisten brightly through and through, the mixture is pressed
into the bowl until it is firm without being hard, the bulbs are half
embedded, a few pieces of charcoal are pushed in here and there, the
bowls are put in a dark place for six weeks or so, and the rest is
merely to see that the fibre never gets dry.

==Culture in Water.==--For growing in glasses no other bulbous flower is
equal to the Narcissus. Darkness at the outset is not essential to it,
and therefore the gradual development of the roots may be observed from
the time they start; and contact with water will do no harm to the bulb.
The glasses should, however, be kept in a low and fairly uniform
temperature, to discourage the growth of foliage until the bulbs have
fully formed their roots. Pure rain water is desirable, but it is not
actually necessary; and for the sake of appearances, as well as on the
score of health, it should be changed immediately it ceases to be quite
transparent. Those who do not care to observe the growth in glasses, but
like to have the plants in water during the blooming period, may grow
the bulbs in pots in the usual way, and wash off the soil when wanted.
In this case the roots will not be quite so regular as those which have
been wholly grown in water. Perhaps we need scarcely say that it is
possible to utilise this flower in many other ways--such, for instance,
as in decorating épergnes, glass globes, and fancy vases. They may also
be made to float on a small fountain or aquarium; indeed, it is
surprising to what varied and effective purposes a little ingenuity will
adapt them.

==Culture in Open Ground.==--For this purpose the Narcissus will always
command attention for its graceful appearance; and this observation
applies with as much force to the Polyanthus section, when thus used, as
to the varieties which are specially recognised as Garden Narcissus. The
latter class includes many old favourites, among which is the Pheasant's
Eye--one of the most exquisite flowers grown in our gardens.

The Narcissus is often used for bedding with superb effect. The graceful
habit, which is one of its principal charms, is very striking in large
masses, and its elegant appearance in the positions for which it is
naturally suited cannot fail to arrest attention. Beneath trees, by the
side of a shady walk, in front of shrubberies, or in the mixed border,
the Narcissus is thoroughly at home.

If possible, choose a position where the bulbs need not be disturbed for
several years, and plant them early. When the spot they are to occupy
happens to be full, pot the bulbs until the ground is vacant, and in due
time turn them out. A southern or western aspect is desirable, but the
nature of the soil is comparatively unimportant, provided it is dry when
the bulbs are in their resting state. In sour land or in stagnant water
they will certainly rot, but a touch of sea spray will not injure them.
If the soil needs enriching, there is no better material than decayed
cow-manure, which may be incorporated as the work goes on, or it can be
applied as a top-dressing. Those which are evidently weak may be
assisted with a few doses of manure water, not too strong.

In planting groups, put the smaller bulbs four or five inches, and the
larger sorts from six to nine inches apart; depth, six to nine inches,
according to size. Where exposed to a strong wind, it may be necessary
to give the flowers some kind of support to save them from injury.

The Double and Single Daffodils are now in marked public favour and
their bright colours make them extremely useful for beds and borders.
For planting under and among trees they are invaluable, and a sufficient
number should always be put in to produce an immediate effect. They
thrive in damp, shady spots, and every three or four years it will be
necessary to divide and replant them.

==The Chinese Sacred Lily== (=Narcissus Tazetta=).--The popular name of
this flower is misleading. It is not a Lily, but a Narcissus of the
Polyanthus type, and, like others of the same class, the bulbs may be
successfully grown in soil or in water. But =Narcissus Tazetta= has
proved to be singularly beautiful in water, and the management of it
entails very little trouble. A wide bowl of Japanese pattern is
appropriate for the purpose, and to obtain the best effect the bowl
should be partially filled with a number of plain or ornamental stones,
with a few pieces of charcoal to keep the water sweet. On the top, and
so that they will be held by the stones, place one or more bulbs: pour
in water until it covers the base of the bulbs. Store in a dark cool
cellar until the roots have started and the leaves begin to appear; then
remove to the room where the ornament is wanted. Occasionally the water
must be replenished. The development of the flower-heads is surprisingly
rapid, and a large bulb generally produces several clusters of sweetly
scented flowers. But if the bulbs are forced too quickly the blossoms
are sometimes crippled.


==ORNITHOGALUM==

==Star of Bethlehem==

During the month of June =O. arabicum= produces heads of pure white
fragrant flowers, each having a green centre. The roots are large and
fleshy, and should be planted in the autumn six inches deep. A sheltered
position, such as under a south wall, is desirable for them, and some
protection in the form of dry litter, or a heap of light manure, will be
necessary to carry the roots safely through severe winter weather. The
bulbs are frequently potted for indoor decoration. Another variety, =O.
umbellatum=, with pure white starry flowers, makes an attractive show in
May, and is valuable for naturalising in clumps or masses in the border.


==OXALIS==

These frame plants are suitable for the cool greenhouse or for forcing,
and they are adapted also for the open border in peculiarly favourable
districts. They are particularly neat and cheerful, flowering
abundantly, and requiring only the most ordinary treatment of frame
plants. In winter they should be kept dry. The 48-sized pot is suitable,
and about five bulbs may be planted in each, using light soil freely
mixed with sand.


==RANUNCULUS==

To maintain a collection of named Ranunculuses demands skill and
patience, but a few of the most brilliant self-coloured, spotted and
striped varieties may be easily grown, if a cool, deep, rich, moist soil
can be provided for them. The best soil for the Ranunculus is a loam or
clay in which the common field Buttercup grows freely and plentifully.
The situation should be open, the bed well pulverised, and the soil
effectively drained, both to promote a vigorous growth and, as far as
possible, to save the plants from injury by wireworms, leather-jackets,
and other ground vermin. Elaborate modes of manuring, such as mixing
several sorts of manure together in mystical proportions, are altogether
unnecessary, but a good dressing of rotten manure and leaf-mould should
be dug in before planting, and if the soil is particularly heavy, sharp
sand must be added. The roots may be planted in November and December in
gardens where vegetation does not usually suffer from damp in winter;
but where there is any reason to apprehend danger from damp, the
planting should be deferred until February, and should be completed
within the first twenty days of that month, if weather permit. Prepare a
fine surface to plant on, and draw drills six inches apart and two
inches deep, and place the tubers, claws downwards, in the drills, four
inches apart, covering them with sifted soil before drawing the earth
back to the drill. Rake the bed smooth, and the planting is completed.
To keep free from weeds, and to give plentiful supplies of water in dry
weather, are the two principal features of the summer cultivation. When
the flowers are past, and the leaves begin to fade, take up the roots,
dry them in a cool place, and store in peat or cocoa-nut fibre.

==Turban Ranunculus.==--This class is remarkably handsome, of hardier
constitution and freer growth than the edged and spotted varieties. For
the production of masses of colour, and to form showy clumps in the
borders, the Turban varieties are of the utmost value. They require a
good loam, well manured, and the general treatment advised for the named
varieties; but as they are not so delicate they will thrive under less
congenial conditions.


==SCILLA==

The Blue Squill may be grown in exactly the same manner as the Roman
Hyacinth for indoor decoration, and it makes a charming companion to
that flower. It is perfectly hardy, and for its deep, lovely blue should
be largely grown in the open border, where it appears to especial
advantage in conjunction with Snowdrops. It is also valuable for filling
small beds, and for making marginal lines in the geometric garden.

The =Scilla præcox=, or =sibirica=, thrives on the mountains of North
Italy, where masses of it may be seen growing close to the snow, and in
this country it withstands wind and rain which would be the ruin of many
another flower. Still we like to see it in a sheltered border, where it
has a fair chance of displaying its beauty without much risk of injury.
In such a position it will flower in February, and in the bleakest
quarter it will open in March. It is not at all fastidious as to soil,
but when planted will give no further trouble until the foliage withers,
and it is time to lift the bulbs to make way for other occupants. If
convenient, the roots may remain for years in one spot.

The =Scilla campanulata= deserves more attention than it has hitherto
received. After almost all other spring-flowering bulbs are over, it
makes a beautiful display, which lasts until nearly the end of May. It
somewhat resembles the wild Blue-bell, but is much larger than that
woodland flower.


==SNOWDROP==

Snowdrops are among the hardiest flowers known to our gardens, and are
invaluable for their welcome snow-white bells in the earliest days of
the opening spring. They should be planted in clumps, and left alone for
years. The double-flowering variety is exquisitely beautiful: we might,
indeed, speak of it as a bit of floral jewellery. The flowers are
bell-shaped, closely packed with petals, like so many microscopic
petticoats arranged for the 'tiring' of a fairy: they are snow-white and
sometimes delicately tipped with light green. This variety is as hardy
as the single, and the best for growing in baskets and pots. When
employed in lines the planting ought to be very close together, and the
line should be composed of several rows, making, in fact, a broad band.
Such a ribbon when backed with =Scilla sibirica= is very beautiful. The
best way of displaying the Snowdrop alone is in large groups densely
crowded together. The effect is much more telling than when the same
number of bulbs is spread over a larger area. Put the roots in drills,
two inches deep, and if possible in a spot where they need not be
disturbed for two or three years. Snowdrops may be grown in pots, and
be gently forced for Christmas. But unless wanted very early, it will
answer to lift clumps from the border in November and pot them.


==SPARAXIS==

See instructions under Ixia at page 338.


==TIGRIDIA, or FERRARIA==

The short-lived blossoms of the Tiger Flower are most gorgeously
painted, and differ from everything else of the great family of Irids to
which they belong. Much finer flowers are produced in the border than
when grown in pots, and they present great variety, scarcely any two
amongst hundreds showing flowers exactly alike. The usual time of
planting outdoors is March or April, at a depth of three or four inches,
and the flowers appear in June. Sandy loam and peaty soils are
especially suitable. Although Tigridias are not quite hardy they will on
a dry border pass the winter securely beneath a protection of litter.
But where the soil is damp it is safer to lift them in October and store
in the same manner as Gladioli. A bed of Tigridias makes an agreeable
ornament in front of the window of a breakfast-room, as the flowers are
in a brilliant state in the early hours of the day.


==TRITELEIA UNIFLORA==

This little gem belongs to the spring garden, and should be the
companion of the Dog's-tooth Violet, the Crocus, and the Snowdrop. It
will grow in any soil, and will produce an abundance of its
violet-tinted white flowers, which, when handled, emit a faint odour of
garlic. As a pot plant for the Alpine house it is first-rate. In the
open, plant in October two inches deep.


==TRITONIA==

Tritonias are more showy than the Ixia or Sparaxis, but belong to the
same group of South African Irids, and require the same treatment. They
may be planted out in April, if prepared for that mode of cultivation
by putting them in small pots in November or December. It is not
advisable to tie them to sticks, for they are more elegant when allowed
to fall over the edge of the pots, and suggest the 'negligence of
Nature.'


==TROPÆOLUM==

=T. tuberosum.=--A few of the tuberous-rooted Tropæolums are hardy, but
it is not wise to leave them in the ground, for damp may destroy them,
if they are proof against frost. They are all graceful trailing plants,
adapted for covering wire trellises, and may be flowered at any season
if required, though their natural season is the summer. The compost in
which they thrive best is a light rich loam, containing a large
proportion of sand. The stems are usually trained on wires, but they may
be allowed to fall down from a pot or basket with excellent effect, to
form a most attractive tracery of leafage dotted with dazzling flowers.
The sunniest part of the greenhouse should be devoted to the Tropæolums,
and special care should be taken in potting them to secure ample
drainage.

=T. speciosum.=--This showy variety is quite hardy, and is largely grown
in Scotland where it may frequently be seen on cottage walls. The roots
may be planted in either spring or autumn, and a moist, somewhat shaded
position best suits the plant.


==TUBEROSE==

==Polianthes tuberosa==

This bulb is extensively grown in the South of France for the delicious
perfume obtainable from its numerous pure white flowers. In this country
it is widely known, but considering the beauty and exceeding fragrance
of the blossoms it is astonishing that a greater number are not planted
every season. Perhaps the fact that the bulbs are valueless after the
first year may in a measure account for the comparatively limited
culture. They are easily flowered as pot plants in a mixture of loam and
leaf-mould, plunged in a bottom heat ranging between 60° and 70°. The
growth is rather tall, and unless kept near the glass the stems become
unsightly in length.

==TULIP==

==Culture in Pots.==--When grown in pots, Tulips are treated in precisely
the same manner as the Hyacinth, but several bulbs, according to their
size and the purpose they are intended for, are placed in a pot. When
required to fill épergnes and baskets, and other elegant receptacles, it
is a good plan to grow them in shallow boxes, as recommended for
Crocuses, and transfer them when in flower to the vases and baskets.
This mode of procedure insures exactitude of height and colouring,
whereas, when the bulbs are grown from the first in the ornamental
vessels, they may not flower with sufficient uniformity to produce a
satisfactory display. In common with the Hyacinth and Crocus, Tulips may
be taken out of the soil in which they have been grown, and after
washing the roots clean, they can be inserted in glasses for decorating
an apartment. Early Tulips are often employed in this way to light up
festive gatherings at Christmas and the early months of the year. But
the pot culture of Tulips need not be restricted to the early varieties.
The Darwin and May-flowering classes are also admirable when grown in
this way, but it is important they should not be hurried into bloom. If
placed in moderate heat and allowed ample time to develop, beautiful
long-stemmed flowers may be had in March which will make a charming
decoration for the drawing-room or the dinner-table.

==Culture in Moss-fibre.==--No bulb excels the Tulip in adaptability for
bowl culture, given the treatment suggested for Narcissi and Daffodils
on page 345, and particularly with respect to moisture.

==Culture in the Open Ground.==--For general usefulness the early Tulips
are the most valuable of all, because of their peculiarly accommodating
nature, their many and brilliant colours, and their suitability for the
formation of rich masses in the flower garden. Any good soil will suit
them, and they may be planted in quantities under trees if the position
enjoys some amount of sunshine, because they will have finished their
growth before the leafage of the trees shades them injuriously. If it is
necessary to prepare or improve the soil for them, the aim should be to
render it rich and sandy, and sufficiently drained to avoid a boggy
character in winter. Plant in October or November, four or five inches
deep, and six inches apart. The roots require no water and no supports,
and may all be taken up and stored away in good time for the usual
summer display of bedding plants. For geometric planting it is
important to select the varieties with care, but a most interesting
border may be made by planting clumps of all the best sorts of the
several classes. The result will be a long-continued and splendid
display, beginning with the 'Van Thols' (which are as hardy as any),
following with the early class in almost endless variety, and finishing
with the noble Darwin and May-flowering sections. The last named include
a very large number of extremely handsome flowers, and their lasting
beauty is of especial value at a season of the year when spring blooms
are over and summer plants have scarcely begun to make a show.

As cut flowers Tulips are worthy of special attention. With very little
care they not only maintain their full beauty in vases for a fortnight,
but some of them actually increase in brilliancy of colouring. The
May-flowering classes are perhaps the most appreciated for cutting,
because of their great length of stem and the enduring character of the
flowers. They are extremely beautiful in tall vases.


==VALLOTA PURPUREA==

This brilliant plant is nearly hardy in the Southern counties, and a
cool greenhouse plant where it cannot be grown in the open border. To
produce fine specimens a firm loamy soil is necessary, with abundance of
water all the summer, and moderate supplies all the winter. The bulbs
flower more freely when somewhat pot-bound. Therefore they should not be
re-potted too often. Under these conditions feeding with clear liquid
manure is necessary once a week from the time the flower-buds show until
they begin to open. To dry off the bulb may weaken or kill it. Those who
cannot cultivate the Amaryllis will find the Vallota an excellent
substitute.


==VIOLET, DOG'S-TOOTH==--=see page 327=


==WINTER ACONITE==

The Winter Aconite is the very 'firstling' of the year, for it blooms in
advance of the Snowdrop, covering the ground with gilt spangles in the
bleakest days of February. Any soil or situation will suit it, and it
should be planted in large patches where a winter's walk in the garden
affords pleasure. It should also be grown in quantity within view from
the windows, for the benefit of those who, in the dreary season, cannot
get out. The bulbs may be left in the ground for several years, or they
may be taken up and stored after the leaves have perished.


==ZEPHYRANTHES CANDIDA==

==Flower of the West Wind==

A dwarf white Crocus-like flower, with foliage resembling the common
Rush on a small scale. Plant in clumps from November to March in
borders, and it will commence blooming about the end of July, and
continue in flower until frost cuts it down. Any soil will suit this
plant, and it thrives for several years if left undisturbed.



FLOWERS ALL THE YEAR ROUND FROM SEEDS AND ROOTS


Before proceeding to the duties which need attention in successive
months of the year, it may be worth while to consider some of the points
which constitute the alphabet of flower culture. To grow any plant in a
pot is an artificial proceeding, and the conditions for its sustenance
and health have to be provided. Among these conditions are temperature
and accommodation. It is useless to attempt to grow flowers which
require heat unless that necessity can be met. And it is equally useless
to pot more plants than the space will accommodate when they attain
their full size. A limited number, well grown, will produce a greater
wealth of bloom, of finer quality, than a larger number which become
feeble from deficiency of space for development. Nevertheless, there are
many varieties raised in heat in the early months of the year which can
be grown and flowered in the most satisfactory manner, without any kind
of artificial aid, from sowings made in the open ground during April or
May. The flowering will be somewhat later than from plants brought
forward under glass; but as they receive no check from the very
commencement, they will not be greatly behind their nursed relations;
and they may even excel them in robust beauty, if they are treated
intelligently and with a generous hand.

==Good Soil== for pot plants is not always obtainable at a reasonable
cost, and sometimes the materials at hand must be made to serve the
purpose. None the less is it true, that in proportion to the skill and
experience of the cultivator will be his desire to secure a supply of
loam, peat, and leaf-mould. Those who are capable of turning poor soil
to the best account are precisely the men who will be most anxious to
obtain the materials which are known to promote the luxuriant growth of
pot plants.

The top spit of an old pasture makes capital potting soil. If taken from
light land, it need only be stacked for one year before use. A heavy
loam should be kept for at least two seasons, and in any case the heap
should be turned and re-made several times. A slight sprinkling of soot
between the layers of soil will be beneficial, and help to make it
distasteful to grubs, wireworms, and other vermin. The frequent turning
of the heap will not be wasted labour, for it equalises the quality, and
tends to sweeten the whole by exposing new surfaces to the atmosphere;
and this is a great aid to healthy growth.

Many plants thrive in peat, or in soil of which peat is a constituent,
and some flowers cannot be grown without it. The peat may have to be
purchased from a distance, but there is no difficulty in obtaining it.

A constant supply of decayed leaf-mould may possibly be arranged on the
spot by sweeping up leaves and making a fresh heap every fall. In due
time these leaves will decay and make useful potting soil. If this is
out of the question, the requisite quantity must be purchased.

The preparation of soil for pot plants is frequently postponed until the
day on which it is actually required. This is a bad practice, and
results too often in the use of an improper proportion of the materials,
and perhaps in their defective admixture. In this, as in all other
operations connected with horticulture, the men who make all requisite
arrangements in advance will achieve the highest results. In no pursuit
of life is it more necessary to forecast coming wants than in the
culture of flowers. We will suppose that three or four weeks hence many
pots are to be filled with Primulas. The man who grows this flower with
any degree of enthusiasm will not defer the preparation of the soil
until the day arrives for potting the plants. He will determine in
advance the proportions of loam, leaf-mould, and sand, have the whole
thoroughly incorporated, and possibly sifted to remove stones. With
these may come away some undecayed fibres, which make excellent material
for laying over the crocks at the bottom of each pot. Forethought of
this kind is certain of an ample reward.

Potting soil should also be in the right condition as to moisture. This
is not easy to describe, but it must handle freely, and yet there should
be no necessity for the immediate application of water after sowing
seeds or planting bulbs. In the event of the compost being too dry,
give it a soaking and allow it to rest for one or more days, according
to the time of year and the state of the atmosphere.

==Pots, new or old==, should be soaked in water before use. They are very
porous, and by absorbing moisture from the soil they may at once make it
too dry, although in exactly the right condition before being placed in
the pots. And old pots ought never to be used until they have been
scrubbed quite clean. These may appear to be trivial matters, unworthy
of attention. They have, however, an influence on the health of plants,
and experienced growers know that a few apparent trifles make all the
difference between success and failure. Pots which are dirty, or covered
with green moss, prevent access of air, and tend to bring about a sickly
growth. Cleanliness in horticulture is valuable for its own sake, and
for the orderly routine it necessitates on the part of the cultivator.

Pots are known both by number and by size. They are sold by the 'cast,'
and a cast always consists of the distinguishing number. The following
are the numbers and sizes:--

  Number in Cast                      Inches

      72  Inside diameter across top   2-1/2
Small 60        "          "           2-3/4
 Mid. 60        "          "           3
Large 60        "          "           3-1/2
Small 54        "          "           4
Large 54        "          "           4-1/4
Small 48        "          "           4-3/4
Large 48        "          "           5
      40        "          "           5-1/2
      32        "          "           6-1/4
      28        "          "           7
      24        "          "           7-1/2
      16        "          "           8-1/2
      12        "          "           9-1/2
       8        "          "          11
       6        "          "          12-1/2
       4        "          "          14
       2        "          "          15-1/2
       1        "          "          18

==Watering== is sometimes conducted on the principle that the usual time
has arrived, and therefore the plants must have water. But do they need
it? Press the fingers firmly on the surface; if particles of soil
adhere it is too dry. Or tap the pots smartly with the knuckles or with
a stick, when a clear and unmistakable answer will be obtained. Plants
differ widely in their demand for water. Some are very thirsty, others
require less frequent attention. The season of the year and the state of
the atmosphere have also to be considered, as well as the fact that a
heavy soil is more retentive of moisture than a lighter compost. A
watchful eye and a willing hand will seldom err on this point. The water
should always be of the same temperature as the house, otherwise the
plants will be constantly checked. A tank in the greenhouse meets this
requirement. In its absence, the watering-pots should be kept full under
the stage, and they will be ready when wanted.

In the open ground, it is better to water a few plots thoroughly for two
or three successive evenings, and then have an interval, rather than
moisten the surface daily. The effect of constantly applying small
quantities of water is to encourage the surface growth of roots. Then,
if the sun shines fiercely on the soil, the first day of neglect results
in immense mischief.

==Drainage== is easily managed. Into each pot put a crock almost the size
of the bottom, with the convex side upwards. There need be no niggling
to remove sharp angles, or to make the fragment shapely. Cover this with
smaller crocks, and these with moss, or in some cases with small pieces
of charcoal. If the compost has a proper admixture of sharp sand or
grit, free drainage will be insured, and yet the soil cannot be washed
through the pot. Silver sand is often employed, and there is nothing
better for the purpose. But the sweepings from gravel walks, finely
sifted, may be substituted. Road grit is often infested with weed seeds.

==Ventilation== is important, for a house full of plants cannot long be
kept closed with impunity. The lights should be opened whenever the
state of the weather may permit, and by doing this on the side opposite
to the quarter whence the wind blows it is frequently safe to give air
when it may be dangerous from other points of the compass; and it should
be done early in the day, before the sun gets hot. Often the lights
remain closed on a sunny morning until the atmosphere becomes stifling;
and then perhaps plants which have been made sensitive by excess of heat
are subjected to a killing draught.

==In managing Temperature==, there should be no violent alternations of
heat and cold, for these bring speedy disaster; and, it is unwise to
employ more heat than is actually necessary. Deviations from this rule
are generally traceable to neglect. If the proper season for sowing seed
of some important flower has been allowed to pass, an attempt is made to
compensate for lost time by hurrying the growth in a forcing
temperature. Every needless degree of heat will be harmful, and result
in attenuated growth, poverty of colour, or in the attack of some insect
plague which the weakly plant seldom invites in vain. It is wise always
to employ the lowest temperature in which plants will flourish. This
necessitates the proper time for their full development, and will result
in a sturdy growth capable of yielding a bountiful display of bloom.
Occasionally it is requisite to force some special subject, such as
bulbs for Christmas festivities. Even then it is advisable to augment
the temperature very gradually, and to defer the employment of its
highest power until the latest possible moment.

Plants are frequently taken straight from the forcing pit into a cold
room, to their utter ruin. A moment's reflection will show the folly of
such a proceeding. They should be prepared for the change by gradual
transfer through lower temperatures; and if only a few hours are
occupied in the process it will help them to pass the ordeal with less
injury.

It should be an established custom to examine the seed-pans at least
once every day, and morning is the best time for the task. If work has
to be done, there is the whole day to arrange for its accomplishment.
Whereas, if the visit is not made until evening, there may not remain
sufficient daylight to do what is necessary. Just as seedlings are
starting, a few hours' neglect will render them weak and leggy.

When transferring plants from seed-pans, it is usual to put them round
the edges of pots. This is no mere caprice, but is founded on the
well-ascertained fact that seedlings establish their roots with greater
readiness near the edge of the pot than away from it.

In the following monthly notes, our principal object is to offer a
series of reminders which will insure the sowing of various flower seeds
and the planting of bulbs at their proper periods, and thus save the
disappointment of losing some important display for a whole season.
Those who have command of large resources will sow certain seeds a month
earlier than we recommend, and their intimate knowledge and abundant
facilities justify their practice. But we have especially in view the
possibilities for an amateur, and of gardens moderate in extent, where
appliances may not be of the most perfect kind.

When seeds are once sown or bulbs potted, the work is before the
cultivator, and appeals mutely for attention. Therefore it is not our
purpose to give detailed and continuous instructions month by month for
every flower. Our remarks are limited to hints at the time for sowing or
planting, and to some few points which may subsequently appear to demand
notice.

For convenience of reference, the subjects are presented alphabetically
under each month.


==JANUARY==.


In the open ground there is little or nothing of interest in the way of
flowers, but the greenhouses and pits are full of promise. A constant
watch must be kept on the barometer, and the materials for repelling
frost or bleak winds should be at perfect command, so that there may be
ample provision for saving plants from biting weather.

==Achimenes== are stove bulbs and cannot be grown without a sufficiency of
heat. A warm greenhouse will answer for them, and some gardeners produce
fair specimens in frames over hot-beds. The bulbs will lie dormant for a
considerable time, so that it is easy to have a succession of flowers. A
few should be started in January, employing sandy loam for the pots.
Follow up with others at intervals.

==Amaryllis== may be sown in any month of the year, but the most
satisfactory period is immediately after the seed is ripened, and it is
advisable to put one seed only in each small pot. The slow and irregular
germination of the finest new seed makes the separate system almost a
necessity. A rich compost, well-drained pots, and a temperature of about
65° suit these plants.

==Anemone==.--See remarks under October.

==Antirrhinums== raised in heat now will flower from July onwards. Prick
off the seedlings, and gradually harden for planting out in May. There
are dwarf, medium, and tall varieties, of many beautiful colours.

==Begonia, Tuberous-rooted==.--The grace and beauty of this plant have
placed it in the front rank of popular favourites. For the foliage alone
it is worth growing, and the flowers are unique in both form and colour.
Raising plants from seed is not only the least expensive process, but it
possesses all the charm arising from the hope of some novelty which
shall eclipse previously known varieties. As a matter of fact, new
attractions either in colour or in habit are introduced almost every
year. From a sowing made now plants should flower in July and August.

The seed is small, and requires careful handling. It is also slow and
capricious in germinating, and many growers have their own pet methods
of starting it. Good results are obtained by insuring free drainage, and
partly filling the pots with rather rough fibrous compost, covered with
a layer of fine sandy loam made even for a seed-bed. This is sprinkled
with water, and the seed is sown very thinly. Some experienced growers
make a rather loose surface, press the seed gently into it, and do not
finish with a covering of soil. The majority, however, will find it
safer to give a slight sifting of fine earth over the seed. Then comes a
trial of patience, and as the seedlings appear at intervals, the wisdom
of thin sowing will be apparent, for each one can be lifted and potted
as it becomes ready, without wasting the remainder. An even temperature
of about 65° is essential during germination.

Begonia bulbs which have been stored through the winter will need
careful watching. Not until they start naturally should there be any
attempt to induce growth, or in all probability it will result in the
destruction of the bulb. Such as show signs of life should be potted in
good soil, commencing with small pots, and shifting into larger sizes as
the pots become full of roots. Until the final size is reached, remove
all flowers. A warm humid atmosphere is favourable to them while
growing, but when flowering begins moisture will be injurious.

==Begonia, Fibrous-rooted==, may also be sown at the end of this month or
in February, and again early in March. Under similar treatment to that
advised for Tuberous-rooted Begonias, the plants will be ready in June
for transfer to beds or as an edging to borders.

==Canna==.--From the popular name of Indian Shot it will naturally be
inferred that the seed is extremely hard and spherical. It needs soaking
in water for about twenty-four hours before sowing. Even then it will
probably be a considerable time in germinating, and there will also be
variable intervals between the appearance of the seedlings. A high
temperature is necessary to insure a start; but after the young plants
are transferred to single pots, they should be kept steadily going in a
more moderate heat until ready for the border or sub-tropical garden in
June. Meanwhile they will need re-potting two or three times, and should
have a rich and rather stiff compost.

==Carnation==.--Seed of the early-flowering class should be sown in heat
during this month and again in February. With very little trouble,
plants can be brought forward and transferred to the open ground, where
they will give a splendid display in about six months from the date of
sowing.

==Chrysanthemums== of the large-flowering perennial type can easily be
raised from seed. If sown during this month or in February in a moderate
heat, the plants will flower the first season. Pot the seedlings
immediately they are ready, then harden, and put them out of doors as
early as may be safe. This treatment will keep them dwarf and robust.
Seedlings should not be stopped, but be allowed to grow quite naturally.

==Cinerarias== should have air whenever it is possible. Choose the middle
of the day for watering, and do not slop the water about carelessly, or
mildew may result. In houses which are not lighted all round, the plants
should be turned regularly to prevent them from facing one way. Such
specimens are worthless for the dinner-table, and will be diminished in
value for decorating the drawing-room.

==Cyclamens== are still in the height of their beauty. The pots have
become so full of roots that ordinary watering partially fails of its
purpose. An occasional immersion of the pots for about half an hour will
result in marked benefit to the plants. The flowers, when taken from the
corm, should be lifted by a smart pull. If cut, the stems bleed and
exhaust the root.

Where a succession of this flower is valued, a sowing should be made in
this month. Dibble the seed, an inch apart and a quarter of an inch
deep, in pots or pans firmly filled with rich porous soil; and place in
heat of not less than 56° and not exceeding 70°; the less the
temperature varies the better. Cyclamen seed is both slow and irregular
in germinating, and sometimes proves a sore trial even to those who are
blessed with patience. As the seedlings become ready transfer to small
pots, and shift on as growth demands, always keeping the crown of the
corm free from soil. The increasing power of the sun will render shading
essential; yet a position near the glass is most advantageous to the
plants.

==Freesia==.--This elegant and delicately perfumed flower is annually
raised in large numbers from seed. From this month to March sowings may
be made in heat, and as the roots are extremely brittle, re-potting is a
delicate operation.

==Gesnera==.--Those who have once grown this handsome conservatory plant
will not afterwards consent to be without it. The richly marked foliage
contrasts admirably with the flowers. Sow in the manner advised for
Gloxinia, and the two plants may be grown in the same house.

==Gloxinia==.--From two or three sowings, and by a little management, it
is easy to have a supply of this magnificent flower in every month of
the year. Sow thinly in new pots filled with a light porous compost, and
see that the drainage is exceptionally good. Give the pots a warm moist
position, and a light sprinkling of water daily will assist germination.
The first seedlings that are ready should be lifted and pricked off
without disturbing the remainder of the soil. Follow up the process
until all are transferred. Although the leaves may rest on the surface,
the hearts should never be covered. Pot off singly when large enough,
and shift on until the 48-size is reached. For ordinary plants this is
large enough, but extra fine specimens need more pot room, and so long
as increased space is given the flowering will be deferred. Between the
plants there must be a clear space or the leaves will decay through
contact. While growing, a moist atmosphere, with a temperature of 60° or
65 °, will suit them; but immediately flowering commences, humidity is a
source of mischief. The most forward plants from this month's sowing
will, if well treated, begin to flower in June.

==Grevillea robusta==.--Seed of this exceedingly handsome shrub may be
sown at any time of the year, and the pots containing it must be kept
moist until the seedlings appear. How long it will be before they become
visible we cannot tell. Germination may not occur until hope has died,
and the pots have been contemptuously relegated to some obscure corner.
But after the young plants are pricked off, they will give no trouble,
except to re-pot them two or three times, and to take care that they do
not perish for want of water.

==Hollyhock==.--This stately border flower is occasionally grown and
flowered as an annual, and some gardeners succeed in producing
satisfactory plants, carrying fine double blossoms, superb in colour and
of noble proportions. Where this method is possible it is necessary to
sow in the opening month of the year, and to use well-drained pots or
seed-pans. Cover the seed with a sprinkling of fine soil, and place in a
temperature of 65° or 700. In about a fortnight the seedlings will be
ready for pricking off round the edges of 4 1/2-inch pots. But as a rule
the finest spikes are obtained from a sowing in July or August.

==Petunia==.--About the third week of this month a sowing should be made
to produce plants for indoor decoration. Late in February or early in
March will be soon enough to prepare for bedding stuff. Sow thinly in
good porous soil, and give the pots or pans a temperature of about 60°.
They should have a little extra attention just as the seed is
germinating, for that is a critical time with Petunias. Uniformity in
temperature and moisture, with shade when necessary, and plenty of pot
room, are the secrets of success in growing these plants.

==Statice==.--The Sea Lavenders make attractive border subjects, but the
sprays of flowers are probably still more valued for cutting and, when
dried, for the winter decoration of vases in association with
Everlastings. Seed of the half-hardy varieties may be sown from January
to March in gentle heat, transferring the plants to the open in due
course.

==Verbena==.--This flower should be grown with as little artificial aid as
possible. In fact, the more nearly it is treated as a hardy plant the
more vigorous and free blooming will it be. A temperature of 60° is
sufficient to raise the seed at this period of the year; and after the
plants are established in pots, heat may be gradually dispensed with.
Sow in pans or boxes filled with rich, mellow, and very sweet soil.
Transfer to thumb pots when large enough, and give one more shift as
growth demands, until the plants are ready for bedding out in May. There
is a choice of distinct colours, which come true from seed. Green fly is
very partial to the Verbena, especially while in pots; it must be kept
down, or the seedlings will make no progress.


==FEBRUARY==


A Considerable number of important flowers should be sown during this
month. The precise dates depend on the district, the character of the
season, and the resources of the cultivator. Should the month open with
frost, or with rough, wet weather, it will be wise to exercise a little
patience. Where there are insufficient means for battling with sudden
variations of temperature, choose the end rather than the beginning of
the month for starting tender subjects. Govern the work by intelligent
observation, instead of following hard and fast rules. But in no case
should fear of the weather form an excuse for the postponement of
necessary work.

==Annuals and Biennials, Hardy==.--It is one of the merits of hardy
annuals and biennials sown in late summer for blooming in the following
spring that they need very little attention. Still, they ought not to be
entirely neglected. They should be kept scrupulously free from weeds,
and it may be evident that a mulch of decayed manure is necessary to
protect and strengthen them for a rich display of colour in the spring.
Such varieties as have to be transplanted should be watched, and the
first suitable opportunity seized for transferring them to flowering
positions.

==Abutilon== is a flowering greenhouse shrub which answers well under the
treatment of an annual. It does not need a forcing temperature at any
stage, nor is the plant fastidious as to soil. The seed, which is both
slow and irregular in germinating, may be sown in pots. As the young
plants become ready they should be pricked off and kept steadily
growing. When leaves drop, it indicates mismanagement, perhaps
starvation. A well-grown specimen, when the buds show, will be two feet
high, and bear examination all round.

==Anemone==.--Against the practice of planting roots of this elegant
flower we have not a word to say. On the contrary, there is much to be
advanced in its favour. Arrangements of colour can be secured which are
impossible of attainment from seedlings. Still, there can be no doubt
that the supposed necessity of depending alone on bulbs has proved a
barrier to the growth of Anemones in many gardens, and on a large scale.
The culture from seed is of the simplest character, no appliances
whatever beyond those at the command of the cottager being needed. The
prime requisite is a rich moist soil. Where this does not exist
naturally, a liberal dressing of mellow cow-manure, and, in dry weather,
a diligent employment of the water-can, will render it possible to grow
superb flowers of brilliant colour. The best way of making the seed-bed
is to open a trench, putting a layer of decayed manure at the bottom,
and mingling a further quantity with the soil when it is returned. The
addition of some light compost or sand to the surface may or may not be
necessary to prepare it for the seed. We prefer sowing in rows and
lightly scratching the seed in. Some growers only sift a little sand
over, and the practice answers well. Weeds must be removed with care
until the seedlings appear, and these are a long time in coming.
Thinning to six inches apart, and keeping the bed clean and moist,
constitute the whole remainder of the work of growing Anemones.

==Aquilegia== sown this month in a frame will produce plants which may
flower later in the year, provided the season is favourable; but they
will certainly pay for this early sowing in the succeeding spring. The
plant is quite hardy, therefore seed may be sown later on in the open
for a display in the following year.

==Asparagus== (=Greenhouse foliage varieties=).--The finely feathered
sprays of =A. plumosus= have become indispensable for bouquets,
buttonholes, and general decorative purposes. =A. decumbens= and =A.
Sprengeri= are most graceful plants in hanging-baskets. Seed of the
three varieties should be sown in heat in either February or March.

==Auricula==.--The Show Auricula is one of the reigning beauties of the
floral world, and, like the Rose, has its own special exhibitions.
Although the flower merits all the admiration it receives, yet it must
be confessed that some amateurs indulge in a great deal of needless
coddling in the work of raising it. One quality there must be in the
grower, and that is patience; for seed saved from a single plant in any
given season, and sown at one time, will germinate in the most irregular
manner. Months may elapse between the appearance of the first and the
last plant. The lesson to sow thinly is obvious, so that the seedlings
may be lifted as they become ready, without disturbing the surrounding
soil. Both the Show and the Alpine varieties should be sown in pans
filled with a mixture of sweet sandy loam and leaf-mould. They may be
started in gentle heat, but this is quite optional. The Auricula is
thoroughly hardy against cold, and glass is only employed as a
protection against wind, heavy rain, and atmospheric deposits.

==Begonia, Tuberous-rooted.==--Seed may still be sown for a summer
display. Transplant seedlings which are ready, and later on pot them
singly.

==Calceolaria, Shrubby==.--Seeds sown in pans placed in a frame or a
greenhouse of moderate temperature will insure plants for outdoor summer
decoration. Transfer the seedlings to pots quite early.

==Campanula==.--By sowing seed in gentle heat during February many of the
Campanulas will flower the same season. These hardy plants require but
little heat, and they should be given as much light and air as possible.
They may be grown on in pots for the decoration of rooms or the
conservatory, or planted out on good ground in the open border. The
half-hardy trailing variety, =C. fragilis=, is specially adapted for
suspended baskets or large vases. Seed is generally sown in February or
March; when ready the seedlings are transferred to pots.

==Celosia plumosa==.--Seed may be sown either now or in March, and the
routine recommended for Cockscombs will develop splendid plumes. Re-pot
in good time to prevent the roots from growing through the bottoms of
the pots.

==Cockscomb==.--The ideal Cockscomb is a dwarf, well-furnished plant, with
large, symmetrical, and intensely coloured combs. Seed of a first-class
strain will produce a fair proportion of such plants in the hands of a
man who understands their treatment. Sow in seed-pans filled with rich,
sweet, friable loam, and place in a brisk temperature. Transfer the
seedlings very early to small pots, and shift on until the size is
reached in which they are to flower. Directly they become root-bound the
combs will be formed.

==Cosmea==.--To prevent the disappointment which is sometimes experienced
by growers of this attractive half-hardy annual, it is essential to sow
a reliable early-flowering strain. Start the seed on a gentle hot-bed in
February and plant out the seedlings in May or June when the danger from
frost is past.

==Dahlia==.--Both the double and single classes can be grown and flowered
from seed as half-hardy annuals. A sowing in this month will supply
plants sufficiently forward to bloom at the usual time. Some growers
begin in January, and provided they have room and the work can be
followed up without risking a check at any stage, no objection can be
raised to the practice. For most gardens, however, February is safer,
and March will not be too late. Sow thinly in pots or pans filled with
light rich soil, and finish with a very thin covering of fine
leaf-mould. When the seedlings are about an inch high, pot them
separately, taking special care of the weakly specimens, for these in
point of colour may prove to be the gems of the collection. After
transplanting, a little extra attention will help them to a fresh start.

==Dianthus==.--From sowings made this month or in January, all the
varieties may be raised in about 55° or 60° of heat, but immediately the
seed has germinated it is important to put the pots in a lower
temperature, or the seedlings will become soft. They should also be
transferred to seed-pans when large enough to handle.

==Fuchsia==.--It is now widely known that Fuchsias can be satisfactorily
flowered from seed in six or seven months, and from a good strain there
will be seedlings well worth growing. Sow thinly on a rich firm soil,
and give the pots a temperature of about 70°. While quite small transfer
the plants to the edges of well-drained pots, and later on pot them
singly into a compost consisting chiefly of leaf-mould until the
flowering size is reached, when a proportion of decayed cow-manure
should be added. The Fuchsia is a gross feeder, and must have abundance
of food and water. Aphis and thrips are persistent enemies of this
plant, and will need constant attention.

==Geranium== seed may be sown at any time of the year, but there are good
reasons why the months of February and August should be chosen.
Seedlings raised now will make fine plants by the end of June, and begin
to flower in August. They are robust in habit, and from a reliable
strain there will be a considerable proportion of handsome specimens.
Sow in pans filled with soil somewhat rough in texture, and the surface
need not be very smooth. Lightly cover the seed with fine loam. To have
plants ready for flowering in the summer it will be necessary to give
the seed-pans a temperature of 60° or 70°, and follow the usual practice
of pricking off and potting the seedlings.

==Gladiolus==.--It is not common to grow this noble flower from seed, but
the task is simple, and seed good enough to be worth the experiment is
obtainable. In large pots, well drained and filled with fibrous loam and
leaf-mould, dibble the seeds separately an inch apart and half an inch
deep. A temperature of 65° or 70° will bring them up, and when they
reach an inch high the heat should be gradually reduced. The seedlings
need not be transplanted, but may remain in the same pots until the
grass dies down, and the corms are sifted out in September or October.

==Gloxinia==.--The directions under January are applicable, but it will be
necessary to provide shade for the seedlings as the sun becomes hot,
especially after they have been re-potted.

==Kochia trichophylla==.--A beautiful half-hardy ornamental annual shrub,
symmetrical in form. From seed sown during this month or in March plants
can easily be raised for indoor decoration or to furnish a supply for
beds and borders. When well grown and allowed plenty of space from the
beginning, each specimen forms a dense mass of bright green foliage
which changes to russet-crimson in autumn.

==Lobelias== occupy a foremost place for bedding, and are sufficiently
diversified to meet many requirements. Indeed, there is no other blue
flower which can challenge its position. The compact class is specially
adapted for edgings; the spreading varieties answer admirably in borders
where a sharply defined line of colour is not essential; the =gracilis=
strain has a charming effect in suspended baskets, window-boxes, and
rustic work; and the =ramosa= section grows from nine to twelve inches
high, producing large flowers. All these may be sown now as annuals, to
produce plants for bedding out in May. Put the seed into sandy soil, and
start the pans in a gentle heat.

==Mimulus,== if sown now and treated as a greenhouse annual, will flower
in the first year. It is one of the thirstiest plants grown in this
country, and must have unstinted supplies of water.

==Nicotiana.==--Where sub-tropical gardening is practised the Tobacco
plant is indispensable. To develop its fine proportions there must be
the utmost liberality of treatment from the commencement. Either in this
month or early in March sow in rich soil, and place the pans in a warm
house or pit. Put the seedlings early into small pots, and promote a
rapid but sturdy growth, until the weather is warm enough for them in
the open ground. The Nicotiana also makes an admirable pot plant for the
conservatory or greenhouse, where it is especially valued for its
delightful fragrance.

==Pansy.==--Although the Pansy will grow almost anywhere, a moist, rich
soil, partially shaded from summer sun, is necessary to do the plant
full justice. Many distinct colours are saved separately, and the
quality of the seedlings is so good that propagation by cuttings is
gradually declining. Sow thinly in pots or pans, and when the young
plants have been pricked off, put them in a cool, safe corner until
large enough for bedding out. The soil should be plentifully dressed
with decayed cow-manure.

==Pelargonium.==--In raising seedling Pelargoniums, it is well to bear in
mind that worthless seed takes just as much time and attention as does a
first-class strain. The simplest greenhouse culture will suffice to
bring the plants to perfection. A light sandy loam suits them, and the
pots need not go beyond the 48-or at most the 32-size. Flowering will be
deferred until re-potting ceases.

==Petunia.==--Towards the end of the month the seedlings raised in January
for pot culture will be ready for transferring to seed-pans. It will
also be time to sow for bedding plants, although the beginning of March
is not too late.

==Phlox Drummondii.==--The attention devoted to this flower has made it
one of the most varied and brilliant half-hardy annuals we possess. The
=grandiflora= section includes numerous splendid bedding subjects which
flower freely, and continue in bloom for a long period. These and others
are also valuable as pot plants, and even in the greenhouse or
conservatory they are conspicuous for their rich colours. All the
varieties may be sown now in well-drained pans or shallow boxes. Press
the seeds into good soil about an inch apart, and as a rule this will
save transplanting; but if transplanting becomes necessary, take out
alternate plants and put into other pans, or pot them separately. The
remainder will then have room to grow until the time arrives for bedding
out.

==Polyanthus.==--Either now or in March sow in pans filled with any fairly
good potting soil, and do not be impatient about the germination of the
seed. Many sowings of good seed have been thrown away because it was not
known that the Polyanthus partakes of the slow and irregular
characteristics of this class of plants. As the seedlings become ready,
lift them carefully and transplant into pans or boxes, from which a
little later they may be moved to any secluded corner of the border,
until in September they are put into flowering quarters. While in the
seed-pans they must be kept moist, although excessive watering is to be
avoided. Should the summer prove dry, they will also need water when in
the open ground.

==Primroses== of good colours are admirably adapted for indoor decoration,
and there is no occasion to grow them in pots for the purpose. Lift the
required number from the reserve border without exposing the roots; pot
them, and place in a cool frame until established. Plenty of space, no
more water than is absolutely essential, and progressive ventilation,
comprise all the needful details of cultivation. Seed sown in this month
or in March, in pans or boxes, will produce fine plants for flowering in
the succeeding year.

==Primula==.--The elegant half-hardy varieties =P. obconica grandiflora=
and =P. malacoides= may be sown any time from February to July, the
earliest of which will commence flowering in the succeeding autumn and
winter. The aim should be to keep the plants as hardy as possible,
giving them air whenever conditions are favourable.

==Ranunculus.==--Although it is not usual to grow this flower from seed,
it is both easy and interesting to do so. Sow in boxes containing from
four to six inches of soil, and as there need be no transplanting, each
seed should be put in separately, about an inch and a half apart. A cool
greenhouse or frame will supply the requisite conditions for growing the
seedlings. When the foliage has died down, sift out the roots, and store
in dry peat or cocoa-nut fibre for the winter.

To secure an immediate display of Ranunculuses it is necessary to plant
mature roots. The soil in which they especially thrive is an adhesive
loam or clay. This happens to be unfavourable to their safety in the
winter, and therefore it is wise to defer planting in such soils until
this month. A very simple procedure will suffice to produce handsome,
richly coloured flowers. If possible, choose for the bed a heavy soil in
an open situation, and dress it liberally with decayed manure. Give the
land a deep digging, and lay it up rough, that it may be benefited by
frosts. In January and February fork it lightly over several times, with
the double purpose of making it mellow and of enabling birds to clear it
of vermin. Traps made of hollowed Potatoes will also assist the latter
object. Not later than the third week of February the roots should be
planted in drills drawn six inches apart and two inches deep. Put them
at intervals of four inches in the rows, with the claws downwards, and
cover with fine soil. Keep the bed free from weeds, and give abundant
supplies of water in dry weather. When the foliage is dead, lift the
roots and store for the next season.

The Turban Ranunculus is less delicate than the named varieties, and
there need be less hesitation about autumn planting.

==Ricinus.==--The Castor-oil Plant is largely cultivated for its striking
ornamental foliage, and under generous treatment it will attain from
four to six feet in height. It is a half-hardy annual, and should be
grown in the same manner as Nicotiana.

==Salpiglossis== merits its increasing popularity. A sowing at the end of
this month or the beginning of March will insure plants in condition for
the open ground in May. A moderate hot-bed is requisite now, but in
April the seed may be sown on prepared borders for a summer display of
the veined and pencilled flowers.

==Solanum==.--The varieties which are grown for winter decoration are much
prized when laden with their bright-coloured berries. Sow the several
kinds in heat, and transfer the seedlings straight to single pots filled
with very rich soil.

==Stock, Intermediate==.--To form a succession to the Summer-flowering, or
Ten-week, varieties in July and August, seed of the Intermediate Stocks
should be sown in gentle heat during February or March. The treatment
accorded to Ten-week Stocks, described on page 379, will suit the
Intermediate varieties also.

==Sweet Peas== have in recent years become such an important ornament to
the garden and the flowers are so highly prized for household use that
no effort is spared to insure a long-continued display. With this object
in view seeds are sown in pots and the seedlings transplanted, as soon
as weather permits, to the ground specially prepared in the preceding
autumn. Those who did not sow in September should do so in the latter
part of January or during February. A forcing temperature is injurious,
and the plants thrive best when given practically hardy treatment.

==Vallota purpurea.==--This handsome bulbous plant is not quite hardy, but
in several of the Southern counties it may be grown in the open ground,
with only the shelter of dry litter or a mat. In pots the bulbs should
not be allowed to go dry through the winter; and when growth commences
in spring, water must be given freely. Good loam suits the Vallota, and
it is desirable to avoid re-potting until the flowering period has
passed: when a transfer becomes necessary, disturb the roots as little
as possible.

==Verbena,== if not sown last month, should be got in promptly, for it is
important not to hurry the growth of this plant by excessive heat.

==Wigandia== is a half-hardy perennial, grown exclusively for its noble
tropical foliage. If started now, it will attain a large size as an
annual. It is impossible to grow this plant too well. A lavish
employment of manure and water will secure stately specimens. The
instructions given for Ricinus apply equally to the Wigandia.


==MARCH==

The first duty is to ascertain that there are no arrears to make good or
failures-to replace. If any sowing has gone wrong, do not waste time by
repining over it, but sow again. Growing flowers under artificial
conditions is a prolonged struggle with Nature, in which the most
experienced and skilful gardener need not be ashamed of an occasional
failure. But the cause of the failure should, if possible, be
ascertained for future guidance. We say if possible, because the secret
cannot always be discovered. There may have been every apparent
condition of success, and yet, for some inexplicable reason, there has
been disappointment. As a rule, however, the cause will be found by the
man who is determined to make every failure the stepping-stone to future
success.

The lengthening days and the growing power of the sun demand increased
vigilance and activity. Danger of frost remains, and, worse still, there
may come the withering influence of the north-east wind, which scorches
delicate seedlings as with a breath of fire.

==Annuals, Hardy,== may be sown in the open from February to May. Perhaps
a list of the principal flowers comprised under this denomination may
aid the memory. Several of the following are not strictly hardy, but
for practical ends they may be so regarded.

Abronia
Acroclinium
*Alyssum
*Asperula
Bartonia
*Cacalia
Calandrinia
Calendula
Candytuft
Centranthus
Chrysanthemum,
   annual
Clarkia
Collinsia
Collomia
Convolvulus minor
Coreopsis
Cornflower
Dimorphotheca
Erysimum
Eschscholtzia
Eutoca
Gilia
Godetia
*Gypsophila
Hawkweed
Helichrysum
Hibiscus
Jacobea
Kaulfussia
*Larkspur
*Lavatera
Layia
*Leptosiphon
Leptosyne
Limnanthes
Linaria
Linum
Love-lies-bleeding
*Lupinus
Malope
Marigold
*Mathiola
*Mignonette
Nasturtium
Nemophila
Nigella
Phacelia
Platystemon
*Poppy
Prince's Feather
Rudbeckia
Salpiglossis
Sanvitalia
Saponaria
Silene
Sunflower
Swan River Daisy
Sweet Pea
Sweet Sultan
Venus' Looking-glass
Venus' Navel-wort
*Virginian Stock
Viscaria
Whitlavia
Xeranthemum

Hardy annuals are worth better treatment than they sometimes receive.
They may be sown at once where they are intended to bloom, and for the
varieties preceded by an asterisk this method is a necessity, because
they do not well bear transplanting. In every case sow thinly, and
afterwards thin boldly, for many of the flowers named will occupy a
diameter of one or even two feet if the soil is in a condition to do
them justice. Give the ground a deep digging and incorporate plenty of
manure, except where Nasturtium is to be sown. A rather poor soil is
necessary for this annual, or the flowers will be hidden by excessive
foliage.

==Abutilon.==--There is yet time to raise plants for blooming in the
current year. The seedlings must be potted on regularly to render them
robust and free-flowering.

==Aster.==--Only those who are closely acquainted with the modern
development of this handsome flower can have any conception of its
varied forms and colours. There are dwarf, medium, and tall varieties
in almost endless diversity, and nearly all of them will be a credit to
any garden if well grown. Too often, however, flowers are seen which are
a mere caricature of what Asters may become in the hands of men who
understand their requirements. To grow them to perfection the ground
should be trenched in the previous autumn, where the soil is deep enough
to justify the operation. If not, the digging must be deep, and plenty
of decayed manure should be worked in. Leave the ground roughly exposed
to the disintegrating effects of winter frosts; and in spring it should
be lightly forked over once or twice to produce a friable condition, in
which the roots will ramify freely and go down to the buried manure for
stimulating food. If by such means stiff land can be made mellow, it
will grow Asters of magnificent size and colour.

In sowing it is not wise to rely on a single effort. We advise at least
two sowings; and three are better, even if only a few plants are wanted.
This diminishes the risk of failure and prolongs the flowering season.
Prepare a compost of leaf-mould and loam, mixed with sharp sand to
insure drainage. Towards the end of the month sow in pots or in
seed-pans on an even surface; and we lay stress on a thin sowing, to
avoid the danger of the seedlings damping off. Barely cover the seed
with finely sifted soil, and place sheets of glass on the pans or pots
to check rapid evaporation. If water must be given, immerse the pots for
a sufficient time, instead of using the water-can. A cool greenhouse,
vinery, or a half-spent hotbed is a good position for the pans, and a
range of temperature from 55° to 65° should be regarded as the outside
limits of variation.

==Auricula.==--Seed may still be sown; indeed, April will not be too late.
Partially submerging the pans when water is needed saves many seeds from
being washed out and wasted.

==Balsam.==--- Although this flower comes from a tropical climate, it is
not very tender; a gentle hot-bed is quite sufficient to bring up the
seed. Two or three sowings are advisable to secure a succession of
bloom, and for the first of them the middle of this month is the proper
time. It is important that the soil for this plant should be light,
rich, and very sweet. When the seedlings show their first rough leaves,
lose no time in pricking them off, and they should afterwards be potted
early enough to promote a dwarf habit.

==Calceolaria.==--- Plants from last year's sowing will begin to move, and
should be shifted into their final pots before the buds show. The
eight-inch size ought to contain very fine specimens. The compost for
them should be prepared with care several days before use. Put the
plants in firmly, and place them in a light airy greenhouse. As soon as
the pots are filled with roots an occasional dose of manure water will
be beneficial until the flowers begin to show colour, when pure soft
water alone will be required. Tie out the plants some time before the
buds attain full size.

==Clerodendron fallax.==--A charming stove plant, producing large heads of
bright scarlet flowers suitable for greenhouse decoration. From seed
sown in March or April there should be a show of bloom in August or
September following.

==Coleus== is strictly a stove perennial. But our short winter days do not
maintain a rich colour, and it will in almost every instance give more
satisfaction if treated as an annual, enjoying the beautiful and varied
foliage during summer and autumn, and consigning the plants to the
waste-heap as wintry days draw near. We do not advise the sowing of seed
earlier than March, because a considerable amount of daylight is
necessary to the development of rich tints and diversified markings in
the foliage. The essentials for raising plants from seed are good
drainage, a temperature which does not fall below 65°, the careful
employment of water, and the early transfer of the seedlings. The green
plants may be thrown away immediately they reveal their character, but
those which show delicate tints in the small leaves will abundantly
compensate for all the care bestowed upon them.

==Dianthus.==--Put the seedlings into single pots, and harden in readiness
for transplanting to the open in May or June.

==Dimorphotheca.==--This valuable half-hardy annual, a native of South
Africa, known also as the Star of the Veldt, may be flowered within six
weeks from time of sowing. Plants may be raised by starting seed this
month or in April, in pans of light soil given the protection of a
frame. Transplant in May, in well-drained soil, choosing a warm sunny
spot. In the open, seed may safely be sown in May or June. Plants potted
on from the early sowing will make a most attractive show in the
conservatory, or seed may be sown in pots and the seedlings thinned to
three or four in each.

==Gaillardia.==--To secure a supply of plants for the open ground in May,
seed of all the varieties may be sown during this month. Prick off early
and keep them dwarf.

==Geum.==--From seed sown this month or in April, the popular double
variety, Mrs. Bradshaw, may be brought into flower in the first year.
The seedlings should be pricked off into boxes and gradually hardened
for putting out in May or June.

==Gladiolus==.--This is one of the most stately and beautiful flowers
grown in our gardens. Some of the varieties are strikingly brilliant;
others are exceedingly delicate in tint and refined in their markings.
The culture may be of the most primitive kind, or it may become one of
the fine arts of horticulture. Simply put into the ground and left to
fight their own battle, the corms sometimes produce splendid spikes of
flower, although not so imposing as better culture might have made them.
Under skilful care the flowers are magnificent in size and colour.

The main work of preparing the ground should be done in autumn. Now it
is only necessary to give the soil two or three light forkings, and
those not deep enough to bring the buried manure to the surface. This
frequent stirring is beneficial in itself, and it promotes the
destruction of the foes which prey upon Gladiolus roots. Small Potatoes,
roughly hollowed out, or pieces of Carrot, may be used as traps for
wireworm and other vermin. Planting is sometimes done at the end of this
month, but as a rule it is better to wait until the beginning of April.

==Gloxinia==.--There is yet time to secure a brilliant summer display from
seed. Bulbs which have been stored through the winter need attention.
Where these flowers are wanted early, and there is plenty of room, a
commencement will probably be made in February; but in the greater
number of gardens March is soon enough. Assuming the bulbs to be sound,
they should be potted in a mixture of loam, peat, and sand. Those which
start first must be re-potted for a forward supply. While growing,
manure water twice a week will help to produce fine flowers, intense in
colour; but when the flowers open, the liquid manure must be abandoned,
and pure soft water be given as often as necessary, for Gloxinias cannot
endure drought. Shading is an important matter from the commencement,
and particularly during the flowering period.

==Hollyhock== seedlings will be ready for putting into thumb pots.
Directly they are established, begin to prepare them for planting out in
May.

==Impatiens==.--Some growers find a little difficulty in raising this
elegant flower from seed. Probably it arises from sowing too early.
Where there is a command of sufficient heat no trouble should be
experienced in March, and it is essential to sow very thinly for two
reasons. Crowded seedlings are liable to damp off, particularly in dull,
moist weather, and they are so fragile that it is well-nigh impossible
to transfer them from the seed-pots until they are about an inch high.

==Lavatera==.--As the Mallows do not transplant well it is desirable to
sow in the flowering positions. Good ground is necessary to insure fine
specimens, and ample space must be allowed for the plants to develop.
The seed may be sown from March to May.

==Lobelia==.--The perennial varieties make splendid border plants, and are
easily grown from seed. Sow during February or March, in moderate heat,
and in due time transfer to a deep rich loam. Their dark metallic
foliage and brilliant flowers are most conspicuous, and admirably fit
them for the back row of a ribbon border, or for groups in the mixed
border.

==Lupinus==.--Seed of the annual varieties may be put in from March to
May, and it is necessary to sow where required for flowering, as
transplanting is not satisfactory. The perennial Lupines may also be
flowered as annuals by sowing seed in March or April.

==Marigold==.--Both the African and French varieties are of importance
late in the season, for they continue to bloom until cut down by frost.
The former reaches the height of from eighteen to thirty inches, and the
colour is limited to yellow in several shades, from pale lemon to deep
orange. The latter is more varied in habit as well as in colour, and the
Miniatures make excellent bedding plants. In hot dry seasons Marigolds
entirely eclipse Calceolarias, because they can well endure drought and
a short supply of food; whereas the Shrubby Calceolaria does not thrive
under such conditions. All the varieties of Tagetes may be sown now on a
moderate heat, and they should be pricked off into pans or boxes in
readiness for transferring to the open ground in May.

==Marvel of Peru==.--The treatment prescribed for Balsam will suit this
plant. In the first year it will grow to a considerable size, but will
not, as a rule, attain to its full dimensions until the second season.
It is a half-hardy perennial, and when saved through the winter will
need protection from frost.

==Mignonette== finds a welcome in every English garden; and to add to its
attractiveness there are now yellow, red, and white varieties, in
addition to such forms as dwarf, pyramidal, and spiral. Mignonette can
be grown without the least difficulty; indeed, it will reproduce itself
from seed shed in the previous year. Nevertheless, it is true that in
the majority of gardens justice is seldom done to this flower, for the
simple reason that there is not sufficient faith in its capabilities.
Each plant will cover a space of at least one foot, and we have seen
specimens a yard across, bristling with flower-spikes which are
delightfully fragrant. The soil for it should be made firm, just as an
Onion bed is treated. Except for this one point, the culture of a hardy
annual is all that is necessary. Mignonette does not transplant
successfully, but otherwise it is very accommodating. The seedlings are
frequently taken off by fly as fast as they appear above ground. Soot
and wood-ashes applied in good time are the best preventives; but a
second sowing may be necessary, and it should be made immediately the
loss is discovered.

==Nemesia==.--For the earliest display of this beautiful annual the first
sowing should be made in pots under glass during this month. In the open
border seed may be sown in both May and June. Occasionally a little
difficulty is experienced in raising plants under artificial conditions,
but those who sow in beds or borders from the same packet of seed during
the months named, will find that the culture is quite easy.

==Pentstemon==.--The treatment recommended for the perennial section of
Lobelias will exactly suit this flower.

==Phlox Drummondii==.--There is still time to sow. Established seedlings
should be gradually hardened by free access of air, until they are ready
for the open ground.

==Phlox, Perennial==, may be raised from seed sown in shallow boxes in the
early part of this month, and placed in moderate heat. Transplant the
seedlings when ready, gradually harden, and plant out in rich soil one
foot apart, or put them into vacant places in the shrubbery. Aid with
water if necessary.

==Poppy==.--The annual varieties do not well bear transplanting,
especially from light soils, and therefore, as a rule, it is advisable
to sow where the plants are intended to bloom. They make conspicuous
lines and clumps among shrubs; and this is especially the case with the
huge flowers of the double class. Sow in March and April, and commence
thinning the seedlings while they are small. They should ultimately be
left about one foot apart. The perennial Poppies may also be flowered as
annuals if sown in this month and transferred to open quarters when
large enough.

==Schizanthus==.--Elegant half-hardy annuals, which can be grown as
specimens for the conservatory, or in quantity for open borders. Sow in
gentle heat, and pot on the seedlings.

==Solanum==.--For a succession of the varieties which are grown for their
berries, sow again in heat, and make a sowing of the ornamental-foliaged
kinds for sub-tropical gardening. The latter are rather more tender,
and need a somewhat higher temperature than the former. They must all
have liberal culture to bring out their fine qualities.

==Statice==.--The hardy annual varieties of Sea Lavender may be sown
during March or April, and the best results are obtained by starting the
seed in pans and planting out when the seedlings are far enough advanced
in size. Seed of the hardy perennial kinds should be sown from April to
July on light soil, and transplanted later on to flowering quarters.

==Stock, Ten-week.==--The increasing favour shown for Annual Stocks is in
part no doubt attributable to the growing appreciation manifested for
all kinds of flowers. But it is traceable in a still greater measure to
the augmented purity, brilliance, and variety in colour of modern
Ten-week Stocks, as well as to the enhanced reliability of seed in
producing double flowers. We need say nothing of its perfume, for this
is a quality which the most unobservant can scarcely fail to notice.

Although the Ten-week Stock is half-hardy, it must not receive the
treatment of a tender annual; indeed, one of the most important points
in growing it is to avoid any excess of artificial heat. A little
assistance at the commencement it must have; but the aim should be to
impart a hardy constitution from the moment the seedlings appear. We are
not advocating reckless exposure to chill blasts, but the necessity of
giving air freely whenever there may be a fair opportunity. The best of
seed-beds can be made in pans or shallow boxes filled with sweet, sandy
soil. In these sow thinly, so that the young plants may have abundant
room. Even a little apparent wastefulness of space will be repaid by
stout and vigorous growth. From the middle to the end of the month is a
suitable time for sowing.

==Sweet Pea==.--This flower is so much in demand for decorative purposes
that a prolonged display should be secured by successive sowings,
commencing in this month and continuing until May, or even to June,
where the soil and circumstances are specially favourable. The value of
groups of Sweet Peas in borders and for enlivening shrubberies is now
thoroughly appreciated, and it is not uncommon to see fine clumps among
dwarf fruit trees.

==Tigridia, or Ferraria==.--Finer flowers are generally obtained from the
open border than from pots, and the bulbs should be planted out three or
four inches deep in March or April. Sandy loam and peat suit them
admirably. On a dry border these bulbs will pass the winter safely, but
in wet land it will be perilous to leave them out.

==Verbena.==--It is possible to raise Verbenas in the open from seed sown
in drills on light soil, but the attempt is a little hazardous. There
is, however, no danger at all in sowing in pans placed in a cool frame.
The plants should be potted immediately they are large enough to handle.
The flowering from this sowing will be rather late, but not too late for
a good show of bloom.

==Zinnia.==--The double varieties are now grown almost to the exclusion of
single flowers, and the former are so incomparably superior, that they
are judged by the severe rules of the florist. With this plant it is
useless to start too early. Towards the end of the month a commencement
will be made by experienced growers, but the comparative novice will be
wise to wait until the beginning of April. Sow in pots filled with a
compost of leaf-mould, loam, and sand, and be quite sure there is
effectual drainage. Plunge the pots in a temperature of about 60°.


==APRIL==

Many half-hardy flowers, such as Acroclinium, =Convolvulus major=,
=Linum rubrum=, Nemesia, Salpiglossis, Schizanthus, and others, which at
an earlier period can only be sown with safety under protection, may now
be consigned to the open ground without the least misgiving. A knowledge
of this fact is of immense value to owners of gardens that are destitute
of glass, for it enables them to grow a large number of flowers which
would otherwise be impracticable. Of course, the flowering will be a
little later than from plants raised earlier in heat.

==Annuals, Hardy,== which were not sown in March should be got in during
this month and in May. A large number of beautiful subjects are
available for the purpose, the most popular of which are named on page
373.

==Aster.==--When the seedlings attain the third leaf, they should be
pricked off round the edges of 60-sized pots; later on put them singly
into small pots, from which the transfer to the open ground will not
cause a perceptible check. As the plants do not thrive in a close
atmosphere, it is important to give air freely on every suitable
occasion, or they cannot be maintained in a healthy growing condition. A
second sowing should be made about the middle of the month, following
the routine already advised. A sowing in drills on a carefully prepared
bed in the open ground is also desirable, and in some seasons it may
produce the most valuable plants of the year. Asters come so true from
seed that the bed may be arranged in any desired pattern. Thin the
plants early, and continue the process until they are far enough apart
for flowering. A distance of eight inches is sufficient for the
miniatures, ten inches for the dwarfs, and twelve or fifteen inches for
the tall varieties.

==Balsam==.--About the middle of this month will be the time for a second
sowing, and the seed may be raised in a frame without artificial heat.

==Canterbury Bell==.--Sow in good soil from April to July and transplant
when ready. Under generous treatment these hardy biennials make a
beautiful display in borders and the pure colours show with striking
effect against the dark foliage of shrubs.

==Carnation==.--Any time from now until August will be suitable for
sowing, and if the seed has been saved from a first-class strain, a good
proportion of very fine flowers will be produced in the following year.
For these plants florists have always considered it important that the
potting soil should be prepared months before use, and there are good
reasons for the practice. If this is impossible, see that the compost is
sweet, friable, and, above all, free from that terrible scourge of
Carnations, the wireworm. Even sifting will not rid the soil of its
presence with certainty, but by spreading thin layers of the mould
evenly upon a hard, level floor, and passing a heavy roller over it east
and west, then north and south, the wireworm will be disposed of. Or
dressing the soil with Vaporite two or three weeks in advance of potting
will often prove effectual. Turfy loam three parts, leaf-mould one part,
decayed cow-manure one part, with an addition of sharp sand, make a
first-class compost. Sow in well-drained 48-sized pots, cover the seed
very lightly, and place in a frame. Transplant the seedlings immediately
they can be handled, when a cool, shaded pit will keep them in hard
condition. After six or eight leaves are formed it will be time to plant
them out. In the following spring the usual routine of staking and tying
must be followed.

==Chrysanthemum leucanthemum== (Marguerite, or Ox-eye Daisy).--Seed of
these well-known perennial varieties may be sown any time from April to
July. There are several greatly improved forms of this popular flower
which may now be had in bloom from May until early autumn. Start the
seedlings on a bed of light soil, and when large enough transplant them
to positions for flowering in the following year.

==Cyclamen==.--The bulbs which have been flowering in pots through the
winter are now approaching their period of rest, and they must not be
neglected if they are to make a satisfactory display next season. Water
should be gradually diminished until the foliage dies off, and then the
corms will require shade, or they will crack. Dry treatment generally
results in an attack of thrips, and each root must be painted with some
good insecticide to destroy the pest. Cyclamen should never be allowed
to become actually dust-dry; but if the pots can be plunged in a shaded
moist pit, watering will rarely be necessary. In June the pots may be
buried to the rim in a shady spot until August, when it will be time to
re-pot and start the bulbs into growth. The chief enemies of Cyclamen
are aphis and thrips. Fumigation will settle the former; for the latter,
dip the plants in a solution of tobacco-water and soft soap.

==Dahlia==, seedlings must have plenty of water, and be kept free from
aphis while in pots. Instead of taking out the leading shoot, as is
often done, give it the support of a neat stick. The plants should also
be potted on as growth demands, the important point being to maintain
steady progress without a check until they can be planted out. At the
same time they must be hardened in readiness for removal to the open
ground; and if the work is carried on with judgment, the plants will be
dwarf, and possess a robust constitution capable of producing a
brilliant display of flowers until frost appears.

==Gladiolus==.--Assuming that the beds have been properly prepared, we
have now only to consider the question of planting, and no better time
can be chosen than the beginning of April. Some eminent growers are at
the trouble of taking out the soil with a trowel for each bulb. In the
opening, a bed of sand and wood-ashes or powdered charcoal is made, on
which the root is placed. Others lay them in deep drills, partly filled
with a similar light mixture. Whichever method is adopted, the crown of
the corm should be left about four inches beneath the surface. The
distance between them may vary from twelve to eighteen inches, and the
greater space is a distinct advantage when attending to the plants
subsequently. The same rules apply to the planting of clumps.

==Kochia trichophylla==.--Sow seed where the plants are to stand, or in a
prepared bed from which they can be transferred to make clumps, lines,
or single specimens where the attractive foliage will be most effective.

==Lobelia==.--Early in the month transfer the seedlings to pans or boxes,
but the latter are preferable. Not a single flower should be allowed to
show until the plants are established in the open ground. Although
Lobelias are very attractive in pots, they cannot be satisfactorily
grown in them, with the exception of the =ramosa= varieties. But the
object is easily attained by potting plants from a reserve bed after
they have developed into good tufts. From a stiff soil they can be
lifted and potted with facility; and a light soil will cause no
difficulty if the bed be soaked a short time in advance. After potting,
the plants will give no trouble, except to supply them with water.

==Marigolds== can be raised in a cold frame, and towards the end of the
month there will be no risk in sowing in the open ground. The plants
thrive in a sunny position, even in scorching seasons.

==Marvel of Peru==.--If not sown last month, there is no time to lose; and
with a little care seed can now be germinated without artificial heat.
When the plants come to be transferred to the open, put them, if
possible, in sandy loam, exposed to full sunshine.

==Mignonette==.--Successional sowings may be made up to the end of June.
Give each plant plenty of room. By removing the seed-pods as fast as
they are formed flowering is greatly prolonged.

==Nasturtium==.--Both dwarf and tall varieties are usually treated as
hardy annuals, with the exception of the date of sowing. None of the
Nasturtiums are quite hardy, and if sown in March the plants are liable
to destruction by late frosts. It is therefore usual to sow in April or
May, according to the district, and the growth is so rapid that the
plants are full of bloom before the summer has far advanced. Sow on poor
soil always.

The =Tropæolum canariense= (Canary Creeper) may be raised in pans from a
March sowing for planting out in May, or seed can be sown in the open
during April.

==Petunia==.--- Plants from the first sowing will be ready for small pots,
and they must be kept going until the 48-or 32-size is reached. All
Petunias rebel if root-bound, and the double varieties are especially
impatient in this respect. After each transfer give them a sheltered,
shady position and attention with water until they start again. Good
drainage and careful ventilation are essential, or the foliage will lose
colour. Seedlings intended for beds may be transferred direct from the
seed-pans into 60-sized pots.

==Picotee and Pink==.--See the culture prescribed for Carnation.

==Ricinus==.--At quite the end of the month or the beginning of May, seed
put into the open ground will produce splendid specimens if treated with
a lavish hand. Take out the soil for a depth of eighteen inches or two
feet, and fill the space to within three inches of the surface with a
mixture of rich soil and well-decayed manure. Upon each bed thus made
place three Ricinus beans in a triangle, and when they are up, thin to
one plant at each station, and this, of course, the strongest. This mode
of growing Ricinus will astonish those who have been accustomed to allow
the plant to struggle through existence in the ordinary soil of a garden
border. Plentiful supplies of water must be given in dry weather, and
stakes will be necessary to save the specimens from injury by wind. It
is too early for putting out those raised in heat.

==Stock, Ten-week.==--Where the requisite quantity of seed has not been
sown, it must be done promptly. If there happens to be a cold frame on a
spent hot-bed to spare, it will exactly suit the seedlings when they are
ready for transferring. Make the surface fresh by adding a little rich
soil, and put the plants in rows three or four inches apart, allowing
three inches between them in the rows. In seed-pans, however, space
cannot be afforded in this liberal fashion, but they will make a full
return for rather more than the usual spacing. To maintain a dwarf
habit, it is imperative that the plants should be kept near the glass.

Where there are no facilities for growing Stocks in the manner described
seed may be sown at the end of the month in the open ground, and with a
little care there will be a handsome show of bloom. The seedlings are
subject to the attacks of turnip fly, which is a terrible foe to them in
the seed-leaf stage; in fact, the plants are sometimes up and gone
before danger is suspected. A light sprinkling of water, followed
immediately by a dusting of wood-ashes, just as they are coming through,
will save them, but it may be necessary to repeat the operation two or
three times until they are out of peril. A rich and friable seed-bed is
one remedy for the fly, for it promotes rapid growth, which speedily
places the plant beyond the power of its insect adversary. But if
open-ground culture exposes Stocks to one hazard, it saves them from
another, as mildew does not attack them unless they have been
transplanted. Stocks come so true from seed that it is easy to arrange a
design in any desired colours. Sow in drills from nine to fifteen inches
apart, according to the height of the variety, and cover the seed very
lightly with fine soil. The bed must be protected from birds, and a
dressing of soot will keep off slugs. Begin to thin the plants early,
but do not forget that some single specimens will have to be taken out
when the flowers show, and that is the time for the final thinning.

==Sunflowers== do not well bear transplanting, hence the seed should be
sown where the plants are intended to flower. During its brief season of
growth, the Sunflower taxes the soil very severely, and to develop its
full proportions decayed manure must be freely employed to a good depth,
and unstinted supplies of water will be necessary in dry weather.

==Zinnia==.--- The first week of this month is as good a time as any to
sow seed, and the conditions named under March should be followed. When
the seedlings are an inch high, pot them separately, and place in a
close, shaded frame until they are established. Then give air more and
more freely while the plants are being trained to bear full exposure.


==MAY==

This is the chief month for bedding, and the crowded state of pits and
houses creates a natural anxiety to push forward the work; yet the
exercise of a little patience may save many a valuable lot of plants
from being injured past recovery. Although the days are long, and
perhaps sunny, the nights are often treacherous, especially in the early
part of the month. The first business is to prepare the plants gradually
for transfer to the open ground by free exposure whenever there is a
favourable opportunity. Take off the lights on genial days, and by
degrees open them at night, until they can be dispensed with altogether.
About the second week of the month it will generally be safe to put the
most hardy subjects on a bed of ashes, under the shelter of a hedge or
wall, before planting them. Begin with Antirrhinum, Dianthus, Phlox
Drummondii, Stock, and Verbena. A little later on, others which are
rather more delicate, as, for instance, Balsam, Begonia, Dahlia,
Petunia, Zinnia, &c, can be treated in the same way, until the great
bulk of them are in final quarters. Sub-tropical plants, such as
Nicotiana, Ricinus, Solanum, and Wigandia, had better be kept under
control till the first or second week of June.

==Annuals==.--There is still an opportunity of sowing many varieties, and
also to make further sowings of others that are already showing signs of
promise. The practice of insuring a succession of all flowers much in
demand for vases, of which Sweet Peas are an example, is on the
increase, and deserves to be further extended. Another point is that
many annuals which require heat in earlier months may with confidence be
sown during May in the open ground.

==Hardy Biennials and Perennials==.--Seed of many favourite biennials and
perennials may be safely sown in the open ground during May, June, and
July, and as a general rule the finest plants for flowering in the
following season are obtained from the earliest sowings. The bed for the
seed should be prepared with care and a friable loam is the best for the
purpose. Immediately the seedlings are large enough to handle,
transplant to small rich nursery beds and shift to flowering positions
in the autumn. A number of these subjects are dealt with individually in
the calendars for the months named, and others which are suitable for
the purpose are:

Anchusa italica
Aster sub-cæruleus
Aubrietia
Candytuft (Iberis)
Cheiranthus Allionii
Chrysanthemum leucanthemum
Coreopsis grandiflora
Cynoglossum
Digitalis
Gaillardia
Galega officinalis
Gaura Lindheimeri
Geum
Gypsophila paniculata
Heuchera
Lupinus
Cenothera
Poppy, perennial
Pyrethrum
Saxifrage
Thalictrum
Verbascum
Viola

==Antirrhinum== is admirably adapted for a dry and sunny position, in
which it will thrive and flower freely.

==Balsam==.--Towards the middle of the month a final sowing may be made
with safety in the open ground. Former seedlings will need potting on
until they reach the eight-inch size, and at each transfer put the
plants in rather deeper than before; this encourages the growth of roots
from the stems. While increasing the pot-room not a bud will show; but
immediately the roots are checked by the pots, flowering will commence.
The old method of stopping and disbudding not only spoiled the plants,
but robbed them of the finest flowers, which are invariably produced on
the main stem. Since the natural method of growing Balsams has been in
favour it is usual to see grand specimens covered with immense flowers.

==Campanula==.--The hardy perennial varieties may be sown in the open
during the present month to provide seedlings for transplanting to
flowering positions in autumn. Should there be any good reason for delay
it will not be too late to sow in June or July, but the finest
specimens are generally produced from May sowings. The best results can
always be obtained by raising the required number annually and
discarding the plants after they have flowered in the following season.

==Cineraria.==--Those who care to have Cinerarias in bloom during November
and December may do so from a sowing made at the beginning of April, but
it is not usual to start so early. Our own practice is to sow twice,
during the present month and again in June, to insure a succession. From
this month's sowings we look for our finest plants. The Cineraria is
easy to raise and to grow, but it will by no means take care of itself.
It has so many enemies that unusual vigilance is necessary to flower it
to perfection. It thrives in a compost of turfy loam, with a little
leaf-mould added; but the soil should not be over-rich, or there will be
much foliage and few flowers. Still, as the plant is a rapid grower, it
must not be starved, neither must it suffer for lack of water. Pots or
pans may be employed for the seed; and as the young plants grow freely,
they may go straight to thumb pots without the usual intermediate stage
of pricking off.

==Coleus== should be finally shifted into 48-sized pots. If signs of
decline become manifest, weak liquid manure water given occasionally
will revive the plants and intensify their colours. During the summer
any ordinary greenhouse or conservatory will suit them, provided they
are shaded from fierce sunshine.

==Cyclamen.==--The strongest seedlings should now be ready for 60-sized
pots. Abundant but judicious ventilation, plenty of water, and freedom
from aphis, are the conditions to be secured.

==Dahlia.==--Make the ground on which this flower is to be planted
thoroughly rich. It is a rapid grower, and cannot attain to fine
proportions on a poor soil. If the plants are carefully prepared for the
change by free exposure on genial days, and also during warm nights,
they will scarcely feel the removal. When first put out, dress the
surrounding soil with soot to prevent injury by slugs, which show a
decided partiality for newly planted Dahlias. Give water freely when
requisite, and in staking the plants take care that the ties do not cut
the branches. These ties will require attention occasionally during the
summer and autumn.

==Delphinium.==--Sow the perennial varieties on a prepared bed. Thin
early, without removing all the weaker seedlings, and when sufficiently
advanced to bear removal, transfer to borders where the plants are to
flower.

==Hollyhocks== may be put into the borders when the weather is quite
warm. Wait until the end of the month, or even the beginning of June,
rather than have them nipped by an untimely frost. Like the Dahlia this
plant must have unstinted supplies of water and abundance of manure. A
tall stake, firmly fixed, will also be necessary for each plant.

==Nicotiana.==--Seed may be sown on an open, sunny border, but it is a
waste of seed and labour to put it into poor soil. Prepare the ground
beforehand by deep digging, and by incorporating plenty of manure. If
the near presence of other plants renders this impossible, drive a bar
into the soil and work a good-sized hole. Fill it with rich stuff to
within a few inches of the surface, and finish with fine soil, on which
sow the seed. This method can only be adopted for light land. In the
event of a cutting east wind after the seedlings are up, improvise some
kind of shelter until the danger is past.

==Petunias== are very sensitive under a frost or cold wind. Therefore be
in no hurry to bed the plants until quite the end of the month or
beginning of June, especially if the weather appears to be at all
threatening. A good mellow soil, free of recent manure, suits them. If
unduly rich, it will strengthen the foliage at the expense of the
flowers, and will also postpone the blooming until late in the season.

==Portulaca.==--It is useless to sow until the temperature is summerlike.
If necessary, wait until the close of the month, or longer, before
putting in the seed. This flower will endure neither a moist atmosphere
nor a retentive soil. Sow on raised beds of light soil, the more sandy
the better; and in seasons which speedily burn the life out of other
plants, Portulacas will display their beauty, no matter how fiercely the
sun may beat upon them. Water will occasionally be necessary, but it
should never be given until there is obvious need for it. Portulacas are
easily grown in pots or window-boxes, and they will bloom profusely
where many other flowers only wither and die.

==Primula.==--Almost every season witnesses the advent of some novelty in
this flower, either in colour or in form. And the plant is now worth
growing for the beauty and diversity of its foliage alone. The flowers
range from pure white through all shades of tender rose up to a deep,
rich crimson. After years of earnest effort, two beautiful blue flowers
have been obtained. There are also several elegant double strains, and
these possess a special value for bouquets, because of their enduring
quality. All the varieties, including the popular Star Primulas, can be
grown with ease in any soil which is fairly rich and friable. Equal
parts of leaf-mould and loam, with a little sand, will suit them to
perfection. Fill the pots firmly, taking precautions to insure effective
drainage. A thin layer of silver sand sifted over the soil will aid an
even sowing by showing up the seed. As a finish, shake over just enough
fine soil to hide the sand. Thin sowing is important, because the most
reliable new seed is almost certain to germinate at intervals, and the
plants which come first can then be lifted without imperilling the
remainder. Prick off as fast as ready round the edges of small pots, and
shade until established. Then give air more and more freely.

==Stock, Ten-week.==--The preparation of the soil is the first business,
and whether the Stocks are intended to be grown in small groups or alone
in beds, the treatment should be the same in either case. With light
land there is no difficulty; it is only needful to dig it well, and to
incorporate a sufficient quantity of decayed manure. If disposed to
incur a little extra trouble to give the plants a start, take out some
soil with a trowel, and fill the hole with compost from the potting
shed. This course is indispensable on heavy land; and assuming it to be
rich enough, the quickest and most effectual way is to make drills six
inches deep at the proper distances, and nearly fill them with prepared
soil, in which the Stocks can be planted. For a short time afterwards
provide shelter from the midday sun, but do not keep them covered a
moment longer than is necessary. In planting it must not be forgotten
that an uncertain proportion of single specimens will have to come out.
On this account it is advisable to put them in small groups, and remove
the surplus even if they are double,

==Sweet William==.--The introduction of several new varieties has created
a fresh interest in this fine old garden favourite. This is one of the
hardy biennials that will not be hustled. On a nicely prepared bed in
the open sow thinly in drills either during this month or up to July. In
due time transplant in rows, affording sufficient space for each
specimen to become stocky, and in autumn transfer to flowering quarters.

==Verbena==.--Beds for Verbenas should be rich, mellow, and very sweet. A
poor soil not only produces poor flowers, but it materially shortens the
blooming period. Peg the plants down from the outset, and allow them to
cross and recross each other until there is a sheet of glowing colour.

==Wallflower.==--This fragrant spring flower is not always grown as well
as it might be. It is often sown too late to become established before
winter sets in. Sow now in drills nine inches apart on friable loam.
Thin to three inches apart, and transplant the thinnings. A little later
repeat the operation, so as to leave the plants at a distance of six
inches in the rows. Assist them with water if necessary.

==Zinnia.==--A sowing in the open ground about the middle of the month
will provide plants in gardens where there are no means of raising them
artificially at an earlier date. Even those who possess a stock will be
wise to put a final sowing in the open. If possible, choose a sunny
border sloping to the south, and make the soil rich, fine, and rather
firm. Drop seeds in little groups of three or four at each spot,
allowing fifteen or eighteen inches between the groups. Cover lightly,
and eventually thin the plants to one at each station.


==JUNE==

The days are now at their longest, and plants in pits and houses should
have the full benefit of it. By opening the lights early, and shading in
good time, the flowering period will be greatly prolonged. Ply the
syringe over plants infested with aphis until they are quite clean. In
some instances, it may even be wise to pinch off young shoots which are
covered with the fly.

Keep Verbenas, Petunias, and the taller varieties of Phlox Drummondii
pegged down; this furnishes the beds and helps to check evaporation.

Rain and watering alike tend to harden the ground; and as this condition
does not favour growth, the surface should be frequently broken with the
hoe.

==Anemone.==--Those who grow this flower from seed should make another
sowing now or in July, even if they have thrifty plants from the
February sowing. By this arrangement the flowering period is prolonged,
and the finer blossoms will probably come from this month's sowing.

==Aquilegia== seed will germinate now in the open ground, and the plants
need no protection during winter.

==Balsam.==--As a rule, it is unwise to put Balsams into beds or borders
before the first week of this month. The plant revels in warmth and
light, and should have an open, sunny position. Its succulent nature
will indicate the necessity of giving abundant supplies of water. For so
fleshy and apparently fragile a plant, it is astonishing how well it
stands in a strong wind. From good strains the separate colours come so
true that the design of a bed can be accurately arranged. As pot plants
Balsams need no support, provided they are kept dwarf and stout, and
they make admirable decorative subjects. But for indoor use it is easy
to grow them in the open ground, and when well advanced they can be
lifted with care and potted. This procedure offers the advantages of a
choice of colours even from mixed seed and a selection of the most
robust plants.

==Begonia, Tuberous-rooted.==--This has proved to be one of the most
elegant and refined bedding subjects we possess, and it appears to
become more popular every year. The plant is also freely grown in the
reserve border to produce flowers for cutting. Employ specimens that are
large enough to make a show at once, and select plants of the
short-jointed class for outdoor work. They must have unusually rich
soil.

==Calceolaria.==--For wealth of bloom, combined with richness and
intensity of colouring, the Herbaceous Calceolaria has no rival among
biennials. A large greenhouse filled with fine specimens in their full
splendour is a sight which will not soon be forgotten. One great source
of interest lies in the annual changes in shades of colour, and the
variations in the markings of individual flowers. From a first-class
strain of seed, high expectation will not be disappointed. Indeed, the
excellence of seedlings is so fully recognised, that there is not the
smallest advantage in propagating the plant by the tedious method of
cuttings. But Calceolarias will not be trifled with. They must have an
even temperature and unremitting attention to maintain a thriving
condition. Fill the seed-pans or pots firmly with a compost which is
both rich and porous; the last point is of great consequence in helping
to secure free drainage. Make the surface perfectly even, and whiten it
with silver sand; this answers the double purpose of revealing the seed
and afterwards of showing when it is sufficiently dusted over with fine
soil. Whether or not this method be adopted, the sowing must be thin and
even, and as the seed is exceedingly fine, the task is rather a delicate
one. Sheets of glass placed over the pans and turned daily will check
rapid evaporation. Place the pans in a moist, shady spot, where the
temperature is constant, and germination will take place in from seven
to nine days, when the glass must be promptly removed. Then comes a
critical stage, and a little neglect may result in the loss of past
labour, and necessitate a fresh start. Still keep the pans in some
sheltered corner which can be thoroughly shaded from the sun. This
question of shade needs much vigilance. So also does the supply of
water, which must not be administered wholesale, but rather by frequent
gentle sprinklings. On the appearance of the second leaf, promptly prick
off the seedlings in carefully prepared pots, allowing about two inches
between them. They will need dexterous manipulation because of their
small size, but a skilful hand will transfer them without injury, and
perhaps with a little soil adhering to the roots. As all the seedlings
will not be ready at one time, it will probably require about three
operations to clear the seed-pans, and the early removals should be so
made as to avoid injuring the remainder. A pen, with the point firmly
pressed into the holder, makes a small handy implement for the task.
Retain the seedlings in a sheltered position, and continue the attention
as to shade and watering. In about a month the plants will be ready for
thumb pots.

==Canna.==--In the mixed border, and also in the sub-tropical garden,
Cannas are much valued for the exceeding grace and beauty of their
foliage. They should be put into very rich soil; and, like all other
plants of rapid growth, they will need copious supplies of water in dry
weather. In mild districts and on dry soils the plants may remain out
all the winter, under the protection of a heap of ashes. But, as a rule,
it will be necessary to store them in frames until spring; and they may
be finer in the second than in the first season.

==Cineraria.==--To insure a succession, and where a sufficient stock is
not already provided, another sowing should be made, following the
method advised last month. The seedlings, when transferred to small
pots, should be put into a close frame, and be sprinkled with water
morning and evening until the roots take hold. At first it is desirable
to keep them fairly warm, but in a fortnight the heat may be gradually
reduced and more air be given until cool treatment is reached. The
plants will need potting on up to November, when they should go into the
final size; and, except for special purposes, 6-1/4-or 7-1/2-inch pots
are large enough. Cinerarias are sought after by every pest which
infests the greenhouse. We need only say that by fumigation, sulphur, or
by syringing with a suitable insecticide, the plants must be kept clean,
or they cannot be healthy.

==Daisy, Double.==--The finest blooms are obtained from seedlings raised
annually, and the general practice is to sow in the open ground during
this month or July. When large enough transplant to good ground for
blooming in the following season. The new Giant forms of the Double
Daisy are of superb size, closely resembling finely shaped Asters in
form.

==Dianthus.==--For a display next summer, sow in drills drawn six inches
apart in an open situation, and cover the seed lightly with fine soil.
Shade the spot until the plants show.

==Geranium.==--Sometimes a difficulty is experienced in bringing Geranium
seedlings into flower. They possess so much initial vigour that the
production of wood continues to the very end of the season. Plants which
show signs of excessive growth should be put into the border without
removing the pots. This check to the roots will throw the plants into
luxuriant bloom.

==Gladioli== are very liable to injury by high wind, and stakes should be
put to them in good time. Each plant may have a separate support, and
this is the most perfect treatment; or the stakes may be at intervals,
or at the ends of rows, connected by lengths of strong, soft material,
to which intervening stems can be secured. The work should be done
carefully, and if the flowers are intended for exhibition they must also
be shaded by some means. This may be a cheap or a costly proceeding; but
in whatever manner it is carried out, security is essential, or the
whole bed may be ruined.

==Hollyhock.==--A sowing in the open ground will produce plants for
wintering in the cold frame; and if generously treated, they will make a
fine show in the following year.

==Myosotis.==--During this month sow Sutton's Pot Myosotis and bring
forward in a cold frame for winter decoration, for which purpose this
plant is rapidly increasing in favour. Seed of the hardy varieties may
also be sown now or in July, choosing a shady spot in the open ground.
Transplant when large enough.

==Nicotiana.==--To expose Tobacco plants before warm weather is
established will give them a check from which they may not recover until
the summer is half over, if they recover at all. Spare frames with
movable lights will prepare them admirably and save labour. The second
week of this month is generally warm enough for the planting. The
seedlings must have a very rich soil, and abundance of water in dry
weather. A heavy mulch of decayed manure will supply them with food and
check evaporation.

==Pansy.==--From the end of May to the end of July seedlings may be raised
in the open ground. Thin and transplant when ready.

==Polyanthus== to be sown from May to July on a shaded border. Thin the
seedlings boldly, and bed the thinnings. Those raised early will flower
next spring, but the later seedlings cannot be depended on for blooming
in the first year.

==Portulaca.==--The weather may have been too cold and wet for sowing in
May, or seed then sown may have failed; happily, there is yet ample time
for raising this flower, in either beds or pots.

==Primrose.==--This fine old favourite may be grown from seed in various
tints of yellow and almost any shade of colour from white to deep
crimson; an effective blue has also been achieved. Primroses make
beautiful pot and border flowers. Seed may be sown from May to July.
Seed-pans can be used, or the sowing may be made in drills in the open.
In the latter case, a free dressing of soot must be employed to render
the spot distasteful to slugs. When transplanting, give the plants a
deep retentive loam if possible, and a shady position.

==Primula.==--To insure a succession of flowers next spring, make another
sowing as advised under May. Seedlings which are ready should be got
into small pots, and afterwards they must be re-potted when necessary;
but never shift them until the pots are full of roots, and always put
them in firmly up to the collar.

==Solanum.==--The berried varieties may be grown entirely in pots, or they
can be put into beds for the summer, from which they will lift for
potting again just as the handsome berries are turning colour. The
spiny-leaved varieties are valuable for sub-tropical gardening. Small
plants are of little worth, hence they should be put into very rich
soil, with a thick layer of manure on the surface, and have copious
supplies of water to induce free growth.

==Stock, Spring-flowering.==--This valuable section, which includes the
popular Brompton strain, usually comes into bloom in May and June. Seed
is sometimes sown where the plants are to flower, but a certain degree
of risk attends this mode of procedure, and Spring-flowering Stocks are
so valuable that they are worth more careful treatment. Either now or in
July sow in pans, and place them under shelter until the plants are an
inch high; then stand them in the open for a week before planting out.

==Stock, Winter-flowering.==--For their refreshing colours and delightful
perfume Stocks are highly prized during the winter months. To have them
in flower at Christmas, seed of Christmas Pink or Beauty of Nice should
be sown in June. It is usual to grow three or more plants in a pot,
according to size. At the fall of the year place them in the
conservatory or a cool greenhouse, and give assistance in the form of
weak liquid manure as soon as the buds appear. Other suitable varieties,
of which there are a number, may be sown in July or August for flowering
indoors through the winter and spring months.

==Wallflower.==--If no seed was sown in May the task ought not to be
neglected this month.

==Zinnia.==--The first week of June is about the right time to bed
Zinnias, and there are three facts to be borne in mind concerning them.
They do not transplant well, and therefore a showery day should, if
possible, be selected for moving them. In the absence of rain, be
liberal with water. They are very brittle, and should have a position
somewhat sheltered from the full force of the wind; and as they revel in
sunshine, the more roasting the season the finer will be the flowers.


==JULY==

==Antirrhinum.==--A sowing in drills during the present month or August
will supply plants for flowering next year. Transfer direct from the
seed-bed to the positions where they are intended to bloom.

==Calceolaria.==--If more plants are wanted, sow again. Among the
seedlings which we left last month just as they had been pricked off, it
will soon be evident that there is a wide difference between the
strength of the plants. As a rule, the most robust are those in which
yellow largely predominates. These make bright and showy decorative
plants, but the colours that are especially valued by florists will
probably come from the seedlings which are weakly in the early stage.
Hence these should be specially prized, and under skilful management
they may be grown into grand specimens. The thumb pots for Calceolarias
need careful preparation with crocks covered with clean moss or
vegetable fibre, and they must be filled with rich porous compost.
Transfer the plants with extreme care, and place them in a sheltered
part of the greenhouse or in a shaded frame, allowing free access of air
on the leeward side. If aphis has to be dealt with--and it is very
partial to Calceolarias--fumigation is the best remedy. Choose a quiet
evening for the operation; on the following day carefully water the
plants and shade them from the sun.

==Campanula.==--The perennial varieties may still be sown, either in pans
or in the open. Give them a good light soil, and do not stint the supply
of water.

==Cyclamens== which are forward enough should be shifted into 48-sized
pots. Follow up the process until all are re-potted.

==Lobelia.==--In pots or pans sow seed of the perennial varieties to
provide plants for the borders next year. Pot off singly when ready, and
protect in a cold frame through the winter.

==Mimulus== sown in the open ground will flower in the following spring.
If possible, make the seed-bed in a moist retentive soil and in a shaded
situation.

==Primula.==--To force the growth of this plant is to ruin it. The most
satisfactory results are invariably obtained from specimens which have
matured slowly, and have been treated as nearly hardy after the seedling
stage. From this month up to the middle of September it will be quite
safe to expose them freely, day and night, except in inclement weather.
Even in the winter protection is only needed from frost, damp, and keen
winds.


==AUGUST==

==Annuals and Biennials, Hardy.==--In the majority of English gardens the
spring display of bulbous flowers is too often followed by a dreary
blank, which is almost unredeemed by a touch of colour, except that
afforded by the late Tulips and a few other flowers which are relatively
unimportant. The brilliance of the Crocuses, Hyacinths, and early Tulips
serves to throw into relief the comparative barrenness which follows.
And the contrast is rendered all the more striking by the cheerful
spring days. It is at this juncture that annuals and biennials from
summer or early autumn sowings light up the garden with welcome masses
and bands of fresh and vivid colouring. They are then so valuable that
it is surprising they are not more commonly grown, especially as the
cost of seed is very trifling. Even the transitory character of some of
them is an element in their favour, for they do not interfere with the
summer bedding arrangements. Such flowers as Pansy and Viola, however,
produce a long-continued show of bloom.

The following list contains the varieties which are best adapted for
the purpose:--

Alyssum, Sweet
Antirrhinum
Asperula azurea setosa
Calandrinia umbellata
Calendula officinalis fl. pl.
Candytuft
Cheiranthus Allionii
Chrysanthemum, Morning Star
Chrysanthemum, Evening Star
Chrysanthemum inodorum plenissimum
Chrysanthemum segetum gr.
Clarkia
Collinsia
Coreopsis
Cornflower
Erysimum
Eschscholtzia
Gilia tricolor
Godetia
Iceland Poppy
Larkspur, dwarf rocket
Leptosiphon
Limnanthes Douglasii
Linaria, pink
Nemophila
Nigella, Miss Jekyll
Papaver glaucum
Phacelia tanacetifolia
Poppy, Shirley
Saponaria calabrica
Scabious
Silene
Sweet Sultan
Venus' Looking-glass, purple
Virginian Stock
Viscaria
Whitlavia

Sow thinly, not later than the middle of the month in cold districts,
but September will be early enough in the Southern counties. Drills are
preferable to broadcasting, because the beds are more easily weeded and
kept in order. Thin the rows early, so that the plants may become stout
and hard before winter overtakes them. Early in the new year
transplanting must be resorted to during open weather if the plants are
to be flowered in heavy soil; but on light, rich land, sow where they
are intended to bloom.

==Annuals under Glass.==--The flowers available for winter and spring
blooming are naturally few in number compared with those which fill
gardens and conservatories during the summer months. But it is not
generally realised that several favourite outdoor annuals are as
serviceable for flowering under glass in the short days of the year as
they are for growing in the open ground in summer, and they are the more
valuable for winter and spring use as no elaborate system of cultivation
is needed. Any greenhouse or conservatory from which frost can be
excluded will grow these annuals well. Seed should be sown in August or
September, in pots or pans placed in a cool house or frame. When the
seedlings have made some progress, prick them off into the pots in
which they are wanted to flower, and grow steadily on, bearing in mind
always that the most important point is to keep the plants as hardy as
possible by giving air at every favourable opportunity. The following
varieties are especially suitable for winter and spring flowering under
glass:--Alonsoa; The Star and Dunnettii varieties of Annual
Chrysanthemum; Clarkia elegans; Dimorphotheca; Gypsophila elegans;
Linaria; Nemesia Suttoni; Nicotiana, Miniature White and N. affinis;
Phlox, Purity; Salpiglossis; and Swan River Daisy.

==Asters== for indoor decoration should now be lifted from beds or borders
and potted. It is worth a little trouble to accomplish the task with the
least possible injury or disturbance to the roots. Light soils should
have a good soaking of water on the previous evening, to prevent the
mould from crumbling away.

==Carnation.==--Seed may still be sown as advised in April; but to carry
the plants safely through the winter it is necessary to have them strong
before cold weather sets in.

==Chionodoxa== can be forced with the same ease as Roman Hyacinths. A
48-sized pot will accommodate several bulbs.

==Cinerarias== are frequently placed in the open during this month and
September, and as it tends to impart a hardy constitution, the practice
is to be commended. A north border under a wall will suit them, but the
proximity of a hedge should be avoided. Before the plants are put out
see that they are quite clean, or it may be necessary to restore them to
the house in order to rid them of some troublesome pest.

==Clarkia.==--The varieties of the Elegans class make very handsome pot
plants, and to insure the requisite number seed must be sown in
well-drained pots during this month or early in September.

==Cyclamen.==--Where Cyclamens are extensively grown it is usual to make
the first sowing in August, and many gardeners regard this as the most
important period for securing healthy young seedlings. A common mistake
with beginners is to raise them in too high a temperature. On this and
other points useful suggestions will be found in the article commencing
on page 256.

==Dianthus.==--Either now or a little later transfer seedlings to
flowering quarters, and if possible put them into sandy loam in a sunny
spot.

==Freesia.==--Few and simple are the conditions necessary to the
well-being of this beautiful and delicately scented flower. The fine
specimens to be seen occasionally in cottagers' windows in the Isle of
Wight attest the ease with which it can be grown in a congenial
atmosphere. The bulbs are exceedingly small in proportion to the
flowers, and the rootlets are so fragile that potting on is to be
avoided. A 48-sized pot will hold five or six bulbs, and the soil should
consist largely of decaying vegetable fibre, such as peat, leaf-mould,
and turfy loam. The pots can be stood in any sheltered position out of
doors, under a covering of cocoa-nut fibre or other light material,
until the foliage begins to grow.

==Geranium==.--A sowing in August will supply plants for flowering next
summer, and the directions given in February are suitable, save that
heat can now be dispensed with. These late seedlings will need more care
to carry them through the winter than plants raised earlier in the year.

==Gerbera==.--These charming flowers make admirable subjects for the
greenhouse and conservatory, and an excellent display may also be
obtained outdoors if a sunny well-drained part of the garden be selected
for the plants. August is the best month for sowing seed. Plants
required for indoor blooming should be potted on as may become
necessary. Those for the open ground must be thoroughly hardened off for
planting out in the early summer of the succeeding year.

==Hyacinths, Italian and Roman==.--Obtain the bulbs as early as possible,
and pot them promptly. Place them in any spare corner of the open
ground, where they can be covered with cocoa-nut fibre or leaf-mould
until the roots are formed. A child can grow these flowers; and they
should be largely employed for bouquets and for indoor decoration during
the dark winter days.

==Mignonette==.--For winter flowering sow in 48-or 32-sized pots, filled
with light rich soil. Put the seed in little groups, thin to three or
five plants in each pot, and give them the benefit of full daylight
close to the glass. When flowering commences do not allow seed to form.
If the spikes which have passed the heyday of perfection are cut off,
the plants will break again and flower a second time.

==Narcissi==.--The first potting of early varieties is made this month as
soon as the bulbs can be obtained.

==Pelargonium==.--The remarks under Geranium apply to this flower also.

==Picotee==.--Follow the instructions given for Carnation.

==Schizanthus==.--To do full justice to this flower seed should be sown
now for plants to be kept through the winter in any house which is
sufficiently warm to exclude frost.

==Scilla præcox, or sibirica==.--The treatment which suits Roman
Hyacinths will answer for this bulb also, when required for flowering
indoors. The two form an admirable harmony in blue and white.

==Silene==.--All the most useful varieties of Catchfly are hardy against
cold, but not entirely so against damp. They possess a special value for
their sparkling appearance in spring. Sow in light sandy soil, in which
they will pass the winter safely. On a heavy loam the transplanting
system must be resorted to in February or March.

==Stock, Intermediate==.--This section is valuable for indoor decoration
in spring. No artificial heat is necessary to raise the seed; in fact,
it is not wise to employ it. Either in this month or early in September
sow the required number of pots and plunge them in ashes in a frame
until March. Thin the seedlings to three in each pot. Before flowering,
a rich top-dressing will be beneficial; and manure water--weak at first,
but stronger by degrees--will intensify the colours.

==Stock, Spring-flowering.==--A bed prepared under trees or shrubs will
afford some shelter from winter frost. Make it thoroughly rich, and in
it plant the seedlings. Should the growth be very rapid in September,
the plants will probably become too succulent to endure the stress of
winter. If so, lift them and plant again on the same spot.

==Sweet Pea==.--The modern culture of this delightful flower includes deep
trenching and the liberal use of manure. Those who intend to sow during
September in the open must get the trenched ground into perfect order
early in the present month. The details are important and are fully
described in the article commencing on page 303.


==SEPTEMBER==

==Agapanthus== taxes the soil severely, and must have ample nourishment in
pots. It is also one of the thirstiest bulbs known, but is quite hardy,
and will thrive in the open if planted in a deep rich loam at any time
from September until March.

==Alstroemeria==.--Although related to the Ixia, this bulb may be trusted
to the open ground in all but the coldest districts of the country. It
is not suitable for pot culture, but in a dry border it may be allowed
to remain undisturbed for years. Plant quite nine inches deep.

==Amaryllis==.--The proper time to commence operations with these superb
flowers is during their season of rest, which ranges from September to
March. Pot them in firm loam, enriched with leaf-mould, and containing a
fair proportion of sand. Very little water is required until growth
begins, and then it must be increased with the progress of the plant.
Start them by plunging the pots in a temperature of about 65°, and when
they are coming into bloom, remove to a warm greenhouse or conservatory.
After the flowers have faded, allow the plants to complete their growth,
and then slowly reduce them to a resting condition without permitting
the bulbs at any time to become quite dry.

==Anemone==.--The tuberous varieties are valuable as pot plants, not only
for their flowers, but also for the distinctive character of the
foliage. The roots may be potted from now up to the end of the year, so
that a succession of flowers can be easily insured. When plunged in a
pit or frame to preserve them from frost, watering is all the attention
they will need, but of this there must be plenty, particularly when the
plants begin to flower. Pot the roots between one and two inches deep,
in rich soil, and with the eyes upwards. A large pot will accommodate
several roots.

==Babiana==.--Treat in the same manner as the Ixia.

==Begonia, Tuberous-rooted.==--Lift the plants which are in the open
ground, and pot them to complete their season in the greenhouse; but if
they are not wanted for this purpose, they may remain in the beds until
October. When the stems fall, still retain the bulbs in their own pots,
and store them in a dry cellar or shed, under a layer of cocoa-nut
fibre. They need protection from both damp and cold. Neither hurry the
drying off of the roots, nor attempt to force the growth in spring, but
wait until they start naturally.

==Calceolarias== ought now to be in large 60-pots, placed close to the
glass to insure a dwarf habit. During sharp weather they may be taken
down, but should be restored immediately the danger is past. Much heat
in winter will be injurious; a range of 45° to 55° should be considered
the limits of variation in temperature. Pot the plants on as growth
demands.

==Crocus==.--For indoor decoration, two or three separate lots should be
potted at intervals of a fortnight; and the named varieties are worth
this mode of treatment, both for the size of their flowers and for the
exceptional brightness and diversity of their colours. Use a light rich
soil, and put six to eight corms in a 48-sized pot. They may also be
grown in quantity in large seed-pans or in shallow boxes. When coming
into flower, the roots may be freed from soil to facilitate the packing
into ornamental baskets or vases.

==Crown Imperial==.--This bulb requires a rich loamy soil and an open
position to bring it to perfection. Still, it will flower satisfactorily
in a shrubbery, or under the shade of trees; and, so far as the roots
are concerned, there is no occasion to divide them more than once in
three seasons. Plant during this month, and on to the beginning of
November.

==Cyclamens== in pots will pay for an occasional dose of weak manure
water. Shut the plants up in good time on chilly evenings. If a sowing
of seed was not made last month it should be put in without delay.

The hardy varieties, such as =C. europœum= and =C. Coum=, are cultivated
out of doors; and in some of the warmer districts of the South of
England the Persian varieties can also be successfully grown in the
open. They are suitable for rockwork, or for little nooks and sheltered
corners, in which some gardens abound. For their success good drainage,
a warm position, and plenty of water in dry weather are essential.
September and October are the best months for planting out.

==Dog's-tooth Violet==.--For small beds, or in front of a rockery, these
compact and interesting little plants are valuable for spring flowering,
and are worth cultivating for their foliage alone. They also succeed in
pots, and thrive in peat, or in sandy loam and leaf-mould. A 48-sized
pot will accommodate five bulbs.

==Freesia==.--Towards the end of the month these bulbs will be ready for
removal to a cool greenhouse or cold pit. No heat is required--merely
protection from frost and excessive moisture. The stems are so slender
that support must be given early. As the plants do not bear re-potting,
the danger of exhausted soil can be met by administering weak manure
water occasionally.

==Fritillarias== belong to the same order as the Crown Imperial, and the
conditions which suit that plant will answer for all the Fritillarias.
The bulbs thrive in a deep loam, and they are quite hardy.

==Gladiolus==.--The potting of the early-flowering varieties should be
commenced this month and continued according to requirements. As the
corms of these Gladioli are small, several may be placed in a 32-sized
pot. No great amount of heat is wanted for these flowers, a temperature
of about 55° being quite sufficient for them.

==Gloxinia==.--As the season of rest approaches, place the plants in any
airy position, and gradually reduce the supply of water until the
leaves fall off. The bulbs may be stored for the winter in peat or in
dry moss. The majority of growers, however, never store a bulb, but rely
entirely on seedlings raised annually.

==Hyacinth==.--To grow this flower successfully in glasses demands no
horticultural skill, for children often produce very creditable
specimens. It only requires the intelligent application of certain
well-understood principles. Like all other bulbs, the Hyacinth should
form its roots before top-growth begins. The flower is cultivated in
water for two reasons: the pleasure derived from seeing the entire
plant, and the decorative value insured by this mode of treating it. As
darkness retards top-growth, but does not delay the production of roots,
it is usual to place the glasses in a cool cellar; and if this happens
to be airy as well as cool and dark, there is no better place in which
to start the bulbs. Still, it must be admitted that darkness is not
essential for the development of roots. But darkness and coolness alike
tend to delay the growth of foliage until roots are formed. Therefore,
if the cultivator resolves to have the plants in view from the
commencement, he must place them in a low and uniform temperature. The
water should always be pure and bright, although it must not quite touch
the bulb, or the latter will rot. Wires to support the flowers are
necessary, and those which are manufactured expressly for the purpose
are both neat and effective. A rather low temperature, and free access
of pure air, should be regarded as necessary conditions of health in all
stages of growth. Hence it will be obvious that a mantelpiece, with its
fluctuations of heat and cold, is a most unsuitable position for the
glasses. We should like to add, that notwithstanding the high qualities
of the Hyacinth, it is quite a cottager's flower.

For pot culture the Hyacinth is a grand subject. Prepare the pots
carefully as to drainage, and fill them with a light, rich, porous
compost. Remove a little soil from the central surface, and into this
hollow lightly press the bulb, and press the soil somewhat firmly round
it, leaving about half the bulb visible. If too much power is employed,
the soil will be so compact that when the roots begin to grow, instead
of penetrating, they will lift the bulb out of its proper position.
There is always some risk of this, and it accounts for the practice of
heaping over the pots a considerable weight of ashes. Of course this
covering serves a second purpose in checking leaf-growth until the roots
are established. Any cool and safe position will answer for storing the
pots at this stage. For the earliest supply of flowers select single
varieties, as these naturally come into bloom somewhat in advance of
the doubles. When the tops begin to grow, remove the pots to a
greenhouse or frame, and subdue the light for a brief period until the
natural colour is gained. Thence transfer to the forcing-pit as
requirements demand; and they will need a week or ten days to prepare
them for use. It is easy to secure a continuous supply of Hyacinths from
Christmas onwards by forcing successive batches of roots until the final
display will come into flower without artificial assistance. To augment
the beauty of the flowers employ as little heat as may be necessary, and
defer the finishing temperature until the latest moment possible. For
general decorative purposes, small pots will be found extremely
convenient when a brilliant display is wanted in a limited compass; good
specimens can be grown in the 48-size, but for exhibition the 32-size
must be resorted to. Neither in pots nor in glasses should the bulbs be
allowed to send up leaves from between the outer scales; these rob the
central growth, and they should be carefully removed with a sharp knife.

==Hyacinths, Italian and Roman==, should be potted in successive batches
to provide a continuous supply. When the roots are formed the pots may
be removed to a pit or frame, and to the forcing temperature as the buds
show. If they have been brought on gradually, a very few days in a warm
pit or house will throw them into bloom. It is a source of astonishment
to us that these flowers are not more extensively grown in private
gardens. Immense numbers are annually consigned to the London markets,
and find a ready sale for bouquets and table decoration. Of course these
Hyacinths will not bear comparison with the splendid named varieties
which come later, but the Italian and Roman classes are ready at a time
when flowers are scarce and valuable. Like other bulbs of the same
class, they may be shaken out of their own pots and transferred to
ornamental contrivances.

==Iris==.--The tuberous varieties are all perfectly hardy, and may be
planted at any time from August to December. Put into light soil three
inches deep and nine inches apart they will give no trouble, except to
lift and divide them every second or third season.

==Ixia==.--Babianas, Ixias, and Sparaxis may all be treated in precisely
the same manner. In sheltered districts in the Southern counties they
can be grown in the open ground; but otherwise the culture must be in
pots under the shelter of a frame or greenhouse. A 48-sized pot will
hold four or five bulbs, and they will thrive in any soil which contains
a large proportion of sand. In spring they may be transferred to a
sandy border, or they can be kept in pots for a couple of years when
well managed.

==Jonquil==.--The treatment recommended for Narcissus will suit this
highly perfumed flower, both for forcing and in the open ground.

==Narcissus==.--It is undesirable to hold these bulbs in a dry condition
longer than is necessary, and those intended for pot culture should be
got in promptly. A low temperature must be relied on for keeping back
such as are intended to flower late. The Double Roman and the Paper
White naturally come into bloom in advance of other sorts, and these
should be selected for the earliest display. Give them a rich porous
soil, and pot them rather firmly, but not so firmly as to render it
impossible for the roots to penetrate, or the bulb will be raised above
the soil. Place them in a cool spot, covered with suitable material to
keep the bulbs in their places, and to prevent the foliage from starting
prematurely. When top-growth commences, the pots must go into some house
or frame where they can progress slowly until the moment arrives for
forcing them. If the buds just show, about a week in a bottom heat of
65° will suffice to bring them to perfection. A succession can be
brought forward at intervals by the same means, until the final lot will
flower without artificial aid. And for the comfort of those who do not
possess heating apparatus, we may add that the flowers grown naturally
will probably be finer than those which have been forced.

Narcissus may also be grown in glasses in the manner recommended for
Hyacinths, or in bowls and other suitable receptacles filled with
moss-fibre.

In the open ground Narcissus should be planted in quantity, especially
in spots where it appears to be naturally at home, and one of the most
charming effects is obtained by putting them in the rough grass
adjoining shrubbery borders. Instead of cutting the grass, it must be
allowed to throw up flower-heads, and this affords the bulbs time to
mature in readiness for the following season. The many forms of Double
and Single Daffodil are effective border flowers, and the numerous
varieties of Narcissus should be grown in clumps and patches in every
spot which is suitable and vacant. In the reserve border of many gardens
large numbers of Pheasant's Eye and other Narcissus are planted to
supply flowers for cutting. They are peculiarly valuable for the
purpose, and if cut when scarcely ready they will develop in water, and
last for many days. In planting, be guided as to distance by the size of
the bulb, allowing four or five inches between small sorts, and six to
nine inches for large varieties; depth, six to nine inches.

==Oxalis==.--Except in a few sheltered districts, it will be necessary to
cultivate this exceedingly pretty flower in frames, or in a sunny, airy
greenhouse. It may also be forced in the stove with success. Put several
bulbs in a pot, and give them a light soil with plenty of sand in it.

==Snowdrop==.--It does not improve the roots of this exquisite little
favourite to keep them out of the ground, and they should, if possible,
be planted early.

==Sparaxis== needs the same treatment as advised for the Ixia.

==Sweet Pea==.--Exhibitors of Sweet Peas and those who endeavour to secure
the finest sprays for decorative purposes, commence the preparation of
the ground during the present month and incur whatever expense may be
necessary to insure a deep bed of rich friable loam in which the roots
can ramify freely. It is also the practice to sow seeds about the middle
of September in order to provide sturdy well-rooted plants in readiness
for transfer to the prepared plots in early spring. Either pots or boxes
may be used, and a frame is sufficient to bring the seedlings safely
through the winter. The method is dealt with in detail on page 305.

From mid-September to the end of October, according to the locality, is
an excellent time for sowing Sweet Peas outdoors where the soil is light
and the situation fairly warm. Plants from autumn-sown seed are
generally more robust and produce finer flowers than those raised from
seed sown in the open in spring.

==Tropæolum tuberosum==.--In potting the tuberous varieties, insure
efficient drainage, and use a compost of rich light loam mixed with
sand. The foliage will trail over the sides of wire baskets with
graceful effect, but it may be trained around balloon-shaped wires
specially made for these flowers. The bulbs remain dormant all through
the winter, and may be started at any time from September to March.

==Tulip==.--The early class of Tulips is of great value for forcing
because of their brilliant colours and elegant forms. They take kindly
to a high temperature, but forcing should not be commenced too early,
nor should the heat be allowed to exceed 65° at the finish. Plunging is
the most satisfactory method. Several bulbs may be put into one pot, but
it is more convenient to grow them singly, so that flowers in exactly
the same stage of development may be selected for use at one time. A
continuous supply may be secured by potting batches at short intervals.
When in bloom the roots can be washed free from soil for placing in
vases. Decayed turf, with decomposed cow-manure and a proportion of
sand, make an excellent potting soil for Tulips, and it will be all the
more suitable if laid up in a heap for twelve months after being mixed.


==OCTOBER==

==Anemone==.--The tuberous-rooted Anemones may be planted in the open at
any time from September to March, and from successive plantings a
continuous display will be obtained from February until far into spring.
For the choice named varieties it is customary for specialists to make
elaborate preparations, into which we need not enter here. Splendid
flowers can be grown in clumps and beds in ordinary gardens by deep
digging, and the employment of a liberal dressing of decayed cow-manure.
Plant the roots from four to six inches apart, and at a uniform depth of
about three inches. In a heavy, retentive soil it is not advisable to
risk a collection of named Anemones until January, unless a deep layer
of light compost can be placed in the drills where the roots are to be
planted.

==Annuals, Hardy==.--On light soils it will be safe to transplant these
now; but on heavy land the risk is too great, and we advise waiting
until February or March. Lift the plants with as much soil attached to
the roots as possible.

==Crocus==.--Several flowers bloom in advance of, or as early as, the
Crocus; but no other bulb of its own period can compare with it for
brightness and effective colouring. Plant during this month and
November, in groups and patterns wherever there is a vacant plot and
bulbs can be found to fill it. Put them in at a uniform depth of about
three inches. Drills are easy to draw, and are better for the bulbs than
the objectionable plan of dibbling.

==Cyclamen== seed may be sown again this month. If properly grown,
seedlings raised now will bloom splendidly next autumn.

==Ferraria==.--See Tigridia, page 379.

==Gladiolus==.--By the end of the month lift roots which have flowered,
even if the stems are still green. Label them, and hang in an airy place
to dry. A little later remove the foliage with a sharp knife. Then lay
out the roots for about a fortnight, and when ready store them in paper
bags or boxes placed on a dry shelf, secure from vermin.

==Hollyhock==.--In favoured districts and in light soil it will be safe
to winter this plant in the open ground with merely the protection of a
little dry litter. But in damp adhesive land it is perilous, and a cold
frame will afford the requisite protection until May returns.

==Hyacinth==.--Considering the magnificent appearance of this flower, its
culture is most simple. Any fairly good garden soil which is not too
damp in winter will grow it; and the bulbs may be planted in clumps or
beds in any design or arrangement of colour that taste may dictate. At
six inches apart there will be a brilliant display, but the distance is
quite optional. The crowns of the bulbs should not be less than four or
more than six inches below the surface; the greater depth will slightly
retard the flowering. When planted they will give no more trouble until
the time arrives for lifting them to make room for other occupants.

==Hyacinth, Feather==, is an exceedingly beautiful border flower during
May and early in June. The stems are from nine to fifteen inches high,
and carry flowers whose petals are cut into slender filaments. It will
grow in pots and in the open, in any soil which suits Hyacinths. Plant a
good number in each group.

==Hyacinth, Grape==.--An interesting dark blue flower, which should be
freely grown in mixed borders to bloom in April. Singly it is useless;
plant good-sized clumps in soil which answers for bulbs.

==Hyacinths, Miniature==, are the delight of children, in whose honour
many of the varieties are named. Except for their diminutive size, they
are in all respects equal to their larger relations. The culture in
pots, glasses, and beds is similar to that advised for the full-sized
roots, save that the planting in open ground need not be quite so deep,
three inches of soil over the crowns being sufficient.

==Hyacinths, Italian and Roman==.--Uncover the pots containing the
earliest planting, and at first place them in a dimly lighted position.
The application of heat will depend on the time the flowers are wanted;
but when the plants are forward enough, plunge them in a temperature of
65°, and in about a week they will be ready for use.

==Lachenalias== rarely attain the proportions they are capable of for want
of water in their growing state. They thrive in peat, and may be forced
into flower at almost any season. Except in warm and sheltered gardens,
they must not be planted in the open. Yet only sufficient warmth is
required to keep frost at bay.

==Leucojums== are perfectly hardy bulbs which will grow in any garden. The
flowers resemble Snowdrops, but are much larger. Plant in dense groups.

==Narcissus==.--From the natural characteristics of this bulb it is
desirable that it should be planted early. Sometimes, however, it is
impossible, consistently with other arrangements, either to pot or to
plant Narcissus before October or November. In such cases it is
consoling to know that from sound, well-ripened roots good flowers may
be confidently anticipated, even from late plantings.

==Ornithogalum==.--In the open this bulb must have some protection during
winter, to save its large fleshy roots from injury by frost. A heap of
light manure or dry litter will answer the purpose. Plant six inches
deep.

==Scilla præcox== can be grown almost anywhere, and in a light rich soil
it blooms profusely. The bulbs will safely pass the severest winter in
the open ground, and flower in February or March. The exact time depends
on the climate and position. In sheltered spots and mild districts they
will naturally bloom earlier than in bleak and exposed quarters. Plant
in masses or lines, and the bulbs may remain undisturbed for years. A
dense row makes an exceedingly beautiful background to Snowdrops. The
other Scillas are equally hardy and valuable, and they all flower with
great freedom.

==Triteleia uniflora== is a handsome white-flowering hardy bulb, which
will grow freely in any garden. It is adapted for the company of any of
the dwarf-growing bulbs, and may be employed in either lines or clumps.
Plant the roots three inches apart and two inches deep.

==Tuberoses== are valued for the purity of their white flowers, and for
the agreeable perfume they exhale. The bulbs may be potted singly or
three in a pot. They thrive in a compost of loam and leaf-mould, and
need a bottom heat ranging between 60° and 70° to bring them to
perfection. The African bulbs are generally ready in September and the
importations from America arrive in December and January.

==Tulips== may be planted in the open ground at any time during the month.
We shall say nothing as to the arrangement of colours, nor as to the
form of the beds, for both points admit of endless diversity. The mixed
border may be enlivened with groups of many varieties, and if they are
judiciously selected, there will be a succession of flowers for several
weeks in the spring.

==Wallflower==.--After the summer bedding plants are cleared, Wallflowers
may be usefully employed to fill beds with green foliage all the winter.
They will flower freely in spring, when their colour and fragrance will
be especially welcome, and they can be removed in time to make way for
a different display for the summer.

==Winter Aconite== is not dismayed by frost or snow, but will put forth
its golden blossoms in the dreariest days of February, and after the
flowers have passed away the foliage will remain as an ornament. To put
in single roots is useless; it is far better to plant a few large
patches than to fritter away the flower in a number of small and
inconspicuous groups.


==NOVEMBER==

==Cyclamen.==--Where there is a large demand for this flower, another
sowing may be made this month, unless it was done in October. With so
important a subject it is not wise to depend on a single venture. The
seedlings will afford a valuable succession to those started in August.

==Gladiolus.==--The soil which answers best for the autumn-flowering
section is a medium friable loam, with a cool rich subsoil. A light loam
can be made suitable by trenching, and putting a thick layer of
cow-manure at the bottom of each trench. And a heavy soil may be reduced
to the proper condition by the free admixture of light loam or sand.
Autumn is the proper time for doing this work, and the ground should be
left rough, so that it may benefit by winter frosts. Wireworms are
deadly enemies to the Gladiolus corms, and an effort should be made to
clear them out. Happily, they will flock to traps such as Potatoes and
Rape cake, and their destruction is a mere question of daily attention.
Planting must, of course, be deferred until spring.

==Hyacinthus candicans== is generally grown in the company of other
flowers which attain to something like its own imposing proportions. In
good soil the spikes grow three feet high. It may be planted from this
time until March.

==Lilies== are an ornament to the cottage garden, and they grace the
grandest conservatory. Many of the most superb varieties, including the
king of all the race, =L. auratum=, can be magnificently flowered in the
open border; and we have seen fine specimens of the =Lancifolium=
varieties grown in pots without the aid of pit or frame. It is therefore
obvious that there are no difficulties in the culture of Lilies. In
borders the best soil for them is a deep, rich, moist loam. Peat and
leaf-mould also answer; but a stiff clay will not do unless it has been
cultivated and mixed with lighter stuff. Plant the roots at least six
inches deep, at any time they are in a dormant state, or can be obtained
in pots. Their position in the border should be clearly marked, or the
roots may sustain injury when the soil is forked over.

The noble appearance of =L. auratum= will always command for it a
prominent place in the conservatory or greenhouse. It will grow in sandy
peat, or in a mixture of loam, leaf-mould, and sand. The bulb should be
put into a small pot at first. When this is full of roots, transfer to a
larger size, and shift occasionally until the flower-buds appear, when
re-potting must cease. A cool house will bring the plant to perfection,
although it will bear a high temperature if wanted early. During growth
water must be given freely and be gradually reduced when the flowering
season is over.

The =Lancifolium= varieties require the same treatment, but it is usual
to put several in one large pot. After the flowering is ended, instead
of allowing the bulbs to become quite dry, keep them moist enough to
prevent the fibrous roots from perishing, and they will start with all
the greater vigour when the time arrives for repotting next season.

==Lily of the Valley.==--The forcing of this favourite flower generally
begins in November, and it is important to secure roots which are
thoroughly matured for the purpose. They must be finished in a high
temperature, and if managed with judgment there will be plenty of
foliage to set off the long spikes of charming white bells. When planted
in the open ground a shaded spot should be chosen, which must be freely
enriched with leaf-mould, and the plants will not need to be lifted for
four or five years.

==Ranunculus==.--On a light dry soil, where there is no danger of the
roots sustaining injury during winter, this is a suitable time for
planting all the varieties. To do them justice the land must be
liberally dressed with decayed manure, and the longer the bed can be
made ready before planting, the better will it answer. Put the roots in
drills drawn six inches apart and two inches deep and cover with fine
soil. For retentive land it is advisable to defer planting until
February.

==Tritonia==.--Perhaps the best way of treating this flower is to pot the
bulbs now or in December, and keep them in frames until April, when they
may be transferred to the open ground. A dry soil and a sunny spot
should be found for them.

==Tulip.==--There is no better time for planting Tulips in beds than the
first half of this month. The bulbs should be covered with four or five
inches of soil according to size, and it is important that each kind
should be put in at a uniform depth to insure a simultaneous display. On
a heavy soil draw deep drills, and partially fill them with light
compost, on which the roots should be planted. The late single varieties
are the Tulips which were formerly so highly prized by florists. For
these bulbs it was the custom to prepare the soil with extraordinary
care when the Tulip craze was at its height. After the amazing folly of
paying 300l. for a single bulb, the minor folly of extravagance in
preparing the soil may be readily pardoned. Happily that phase of the
business has passed away, and handsome Tulips are now grown without such
a prodigal expenditure of money and labour. The site for this flower
should be sunny, the soil fairly rich, and the drainage good. With these
conditions insured, and roots which are sound and dense, it is easy to
obtain a magnificent show of Tulips.

==Zephyranthes Candida== can be grown in any soil, and if possible the
bulbs should be planted in some spot where they may remain unmolested
through several seasons. The flowers appear about the end of July,
resembling a White Crocus in form, and the blooming continues until cold
weather sets in. Planting may be done between November and March.


==DECEMBER==

Only the idle or the half-hearted gardener will complain that he has no
work to do in the short dark days of this month. Although there may be
little or nothing to plant or sow, and few flowers need repotting, yet
there are soils to obtain and store for future use; former heaps to turn
over and remake; dead leaves to remove from plants in pits and houses;
stakes and neat sticks to prepare for subjects which will need support
by-and-by; beds and borders to enrich, and many other duties to perform.
In the evenings, too, there are new combinations and fresh harmonies in
colour to be designed for beds and groups in borders; the requirements
for the coming season to consider while experience gained during the
closing year is still fresh in the memory; the position of plants in
pits and frames and houses to forecast, so that the plan of the summer
campaign may be clearly understood, and all the resources of the garden
be under intelligent control. The fluctuations of the thermometer have
also to be watched, and means adopted to save plants from injury by a
sudden fall of temperature. Altogether, there are abundant sources of
profitable employment for those who have a mind to work.

==Bulbs==, such as Hyacinths, Tulips, Crocuses, &c., which have not been
planted, will have commenced growing, notwithstanding the precautions
taken to prevent it, thus showing that they ought to be in the ground.
The growth has been made at the expense of the bulb itself, for there
are no fibrous roots from which to draw support. Therefore it can
scarcely be expected that the flowers from very late plantings will be
quite so good as the same bulbs would have produced had they been put in
at an earlier period. Still there are cases when the delay is
unavoidable, and it is reassuring to know that sound bulbs carefully set
at the proper depth will produce flowers only in a degree inferior to
those from earlier plantings.

==Bulbs in store==, such as Begonia, Dahlia, Gladiolus, and Gloxinia,
should be passed in review. Examination will almost certainly reveal
some unsound specimens, and their removal may save valuable companions
from their contaminating influence. This practice should be followed up
about once a fortnight until all are eventually planted.



THE PESTS OF GARDEN PLANTS


The life-history of plant pests and ground vermin, with the best means
of saving various crops from their ravages, are dealt with in a series
of valuable leaflets issued by the Ministry of Agriculture and
Fisheries. These leaflets embrace a very large number of subjects,
several of which belong to the farm and the orchard and are beyond the
scope of the present volume. Others are rarely met with, but concerning
those which are common to the majority of gardens we offer information
which will, we hope, enable readers to safeguard their crops from
disaster.

When adverse weather operates injuriously on vegetation the plagues that
infest garden plants usually acquire increased power in proportion to
the degree of debility to which vegetation is reduced. This circumstance
perfectly accords with the general law of Nature, and is full of
instruction as to the means of saving plants from serious injury by
vermin. The keen, dry east wind that so often jeopardises fruit crops is
usually followed by visitations of fly and maggot, and in this case the
cause is beyond human power or forethought. But neglect of watering and
air-giving to pot plants can be avoided. Good cultivation not only
insures fine specimens, but is often the means of preventing the plants
from failing under the attacks of Aphis, Mealy Bug, and other enemies
against which the gardener has to fight an unceasing battle.

Insects are among the frailest of living creatures and they perish at a
touch. As they breathe through the pores of the skin, water alone--the
promoter of life and cleanliness--is death to them; and they are still
more subject to sure destruction when to the water is added an active
poison, such as tobacco, or a substance that adheres to them and stops
the process of breathing, such as glue, clay, sulphur, soft soap, and
the numerous preparations that are specially made to annihilate insect
hosts.

The various stages through which the larger insects pass place them
within our power at some period of their existence. The butterfly may
float beyond the reach of harm, but in the caterpillar or the chrysalis
state it can be dealt with effectually. Again, we may be powerless to
destroy the Chafer grubs as they feed or hibernate beneath turf, but in
their perfect state as Cockchafers or Rose Chafers many may be beaten
down during quiet evenings, and others can be shaken from Roses at dawn
or sunset. A knowledge of the life-history of injurious insects will
suggest what is to be done and the right time for doing it, so that
often by simple treatment they may be destroyed.

The expense of preparing mixtures and washes may be in some degree
lessened by economy of application. A drenching-board fitted on a firm
frame, should be provided in every place where plant-growing is carried
on to any extent. The board should slope from a resting ridge at the
base. The plant in its pot may be laid on the board, with the bottom of
the pot against the resting ridge, and a pail should be put to catch the
liquid used as it drains from the plant after syringing. Every general
washing or fumigating should be followed by another at an interval of
from a week to a fortnight, because, although the first operation may
kill every insect, there will be many living eggs left, and these renew
the race, and very soon bring the plants into as bad a state as ever,
unless consigned to a happy despatch as their parents were. In some
cases it will be more economical to feed than to destroy the vermin;
and, as a rule, feeding vermin does not add to their numbers, in the
same or any future season, for insect life is so strangely dependent on
certain conditions of temperature, &c, that if the season is not
favourable to a particular kind it will be scarce, no matter how
plentiful it may have been in a previous year. In the case of the Turnip
Fly, feeding is frequently the cheapest and surest way of saving the
crop. It is customary with Dahlia-growers, and, indeed, with the growers
of florists' flowers generally, to sow Lettuces where the flowers are to
be planted, for so long as Lettuces are on the spot Slugs and Snails
will prefer them to other food. As the Lettuces themselves serve the
purpose of traps, the Snails and Slugs congregated about them may,
towards evening, be caught and destroyed.

In using a mixture for the first time, it is advisable to try it on one
plant only, and that, of course, the worst in the collection affected.
If the preparation is too strong, the truth will be declared by the
state of the plant within twenty-four hours; thus a little caution may
prevent a great loss. Another good rule is to employ the several
remedies in a rather weak state until experience has been gained, for
not only has the strength of the medicine to be considered, but the
management of the patient before and after it is administered. It is
above all things important to be thorough in the cleansing of plants,
because they succumb rapidly to the attacks of insects, and should be
effectually and promptly cleaned or consigned to the fire. If left in a
foul state they spread the infection to all around. In the space at our
command it is only possible to notice a few of the garden pests, and we
begin with one of the most frequent and troublesome of plant foes.

==Aphis== in some form or other is the most persistent and perplexing of
plant pests. The Green Fly is the enemy of the softer kinds of
vegetation, and the Blue and the Black Fly are common plagues of the
Peach-house and the orchard. The tender body of the Aphis is instantly
affected by conditions unfavourable to its life, and it is therefore
easily killed; but its marvellous power of reproduction renders its
extinction impossible, for in every instance a few escape, and very soon
re-establish their race. Two methods for the destruction of Aphis are in
vogue. One is fumigation by tobacco, either pure or in some of the
numerous preparations offered, including several popular insecticides
which have nicotine as a basis. These are both clean and effective. When
a houseful of plants is infested no time should be lost, and the evening
is most suitable for dealing with the pests. The plants ought to be
quite dry and the house closely shut. A dense cloud of smoke without
flame is required. Allow the smoke to do its deadly work during the
night. Early next morning syringe the plants freely, and in the course
of an hour or so give air. The other remedy is to use one of the many
liquids which are inimical to the life of Aphis and other insect pests.
To economise the liquid it is advisable to fill a pail or tub and
immerse the plants individually. Take one in the right hand and spread
the fingers of the left hand over the surface of the soil to prevent an
accident; then turn the plant over and plunge the foliage in the liquid,
moving it up and down briskly two or three times. If this is not
practicable syringe the plants, taking care to wet the leaves on both
sides. On the following day syringe with pure soft water.

Rose trees may generally be cleansed of fly by means of the garden
engine and pure water only, the essential point being to direct the
water on the trees with some amount of force for several evenings in
succession whenever the fly threatens to obtain the mastery.

Soft soap dissolved in water makes a cheap and effectual wash for
exterminating all kinds of Aphis, and to these ingredients quassia may
with advantage be added. One pound of soft soap will suffice for ten
gallons of water, into which stir the extract obtained by boiling one
pound of quassia chips in water. Pot plants can be dipped in it as
already advised, or the solution may be applied by means of the syringe.
On the following day the plants should be cleansed with pure soft water.

==The Bean Aphis==, also known as the Bean Plant Louse, or Black Dolphin
=(Aphis rumicis)=. Our illustration shows the wingless female and pupa
natural size and magnified. The pupa is black with greyish white
mottlings, while the female is deep greenish black in colour. This
insect commonly attacks the young shoots and tops of Broad Beans. It is
well to cut off the infected tops and burn them. Should the attack be
repeated spray the Beans with a solution of soft soap and quassia.

[Illustration: BEAN APHIS=Aphis rumicis= (pupa and female)]

==The Pea Siphon-Aphis== (=Siphonophora pisi=, Kalt).--Among the aphides
peculiar to vegetables this is one of the most common.

[Illustration: PEA SIPHON-APHIS=Siphonophora pisi=]

Our illustration shows the natural size and an enlarged figure of the
greenish-winged and green-tinted wingless females, as produced, not
from eggs, but alive and developed. This insect is occasionally very
destructive to Pea crops.

[Illustration: AMERICAN BLIGHT=Schizoneura lanigera=]

==American Blight==, or ==Woolly Aphis==, generally appears first on trees
grafted on dwarfing stocks, particularly the bad forms of the Paradise
Apple. Rapidly the mischief spreads, healthy trees become infested, and
unless checked an orchard is speedily ruined. Andrew Murray says that in
bad cases of American Blight it is sometimes necessary to root up and
burn all the trees, and let the ground remain unplanted for a year or
two. Fruit trees should be examined periodically for this pest, and
immediately the woolly spots are detected small tainted boughs should be
pruned away, and from the mainstems and large branches diseased spots
can be pared off. The operation may need a bold and vigorous hand if the
trees are to be saved, and it is important that every scrap should be
burned. There is almost certain to be a further appearance of the
Blight, which should be destroyed by one of the many remedies known to
be effectual. Fir Tree Oil Insecticide has proved to be an excellent
remedy. Gishurst Compound, in the proportion of eight ounces to a gallon
of water, with sufficient clay added to render it adhesive, makes a
capital winter paint for Apple trees. But there is no cheap remedy equal
to soft soap for smothering American Blight in the crannies of the bark.
The soap may be rubbed into the diseased spots, or as a wash it can be
brushed into the boughs.

Our illustration shows a piece of Apple twig with the aphides and their
woolly material natural size. The enlarged figures represent the winged
female and the wingless larva of the Apple Blight Aphis =(Schizoneura
lanigera=).