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Title: Talks about Flowers.
Author: Wellcome, M. D.
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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[Illustration]



                TALKS ABOUT FLOWERS.

                        BY

                MRS. M. D. WELLCOME.

        Thank God for the beautiful flowers
          That blossom so sweetly and fair;
        They garnish this strange life of ours,
          And brighten our paths everywhere.

                                  DEXTER SMITH.


                PUBLISHED FOR THE AUTHOR,
                   BY I. C. WELLCOME,
                     YARMOUTH, ME.

  Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1881,
                   BY I. C. WELLCOME,
  In the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington.

                PRINTED BY B. THURSTON & CO.,
                    PORTLAND, MAINE.



PREFACE.


To all Flower Lovers who may read these pages, we come with kindly
greetings. To you we dedicate our Work.

Encouraged by the many testimonials of favor with which our Flower
Sketches have been received, which have appeared in the _Boston
Journal_, _Portland Transcript_, and the leading Floricultural journals,
we were induced to prepare this volume, intending it to be made up
chiefly of those articles revised and enlarged for this purpose; but
after entering upon this work, we found so little that was adapted for
use, nearly every page has been written while the sheets were passing
through the press.

Before we were aware, the printed matter had exceeded our proposed
limits, and we were obliged to enlarge the work by additional pages, and
even then omit our chapter of "Floricultural Notes," for we wished to
put the book at a low price, that it might reach the masses. As it is,
we are sure that we have given you a great amount of valuable
information, and just such as amateurs need, respecting the habits and
requirements of those flowers which are best adapted for general
cultivation, and in a form specially new and attractive, combining the
_history_ and _literature_ of flowers, with description and mode of
culture.

It may be deemed strange that we should omit from a work of this
character a "Talk" about the Queen of Flowers, but the subject was
so full that we thought best to devote the space to other varieties
and refer our readers to our recently published "Essay on
Roses,"--advertised in another part of this work--in which they will
find the subject fully treated.

We would here acknowledge our obligation to Mr. James Vick for the
beautiful Bouquet of Flowers which constitutes our Frontispiece.

                                            MRS. M. D. WELLCOME.
  _Yarmouth, Me._, June 9, 1881.



CONTENTS.


                                            PAGE

  Introduction                                 9

  A Talk to Farmers' Wives                    12

  A Talk About "The Wild Garden"              15

  A Talk About Stocking the Garden            19

  Phlox Drummondii                            24

  Verbenas                                    25

  Petunias                                    29

  A Talk About Pansies                        33

  Asters                                      35

  Balsams                                     37

  A Talk About Geraniums                      39

  A Talk About Begonias                       46

  Gloxinia, Tuberose                          50

  A Talk About Gladiolus                      54

  A Talk About Pelargoniums                   60

  A Talk About Fuchsias                       69

  A Talk About Coleuses                       75

  Ornamental Foliage Plants                   83

  A Talk About Primroses                      98

  Carnations and Picotees                    101

  A Talk About Climbers                      107

  Thoughts in My Garden--A Poem              117

  A Talk About Several Things                118

  The Love of Flowers                        122

  A Talk About Abutilons                     125

  A Talk About Dahlias                       130

  Amaryllis                                  135

  Hoya Carnosa or Wax Plant                  137

  Among My Flowers                           138

  A Talk About Cyclamens and Oxalis          143

  A Talk About Lilies                        147

  Double Bouvardia                           152

  Camellia Japonica                          154

  Azalea                                     155

  The Ingathering of the Flowers             156

  My Window Box                              157

  Hyacinths                                  158

  Insects                                    160



Introduction.

    "Thank God for the beautiful flowers,
      That blossom so sweetly and fair;
    They garnish this strange life of ours,
      And brighten our paths everywhere."

                             _Dexter Smith._


I have been thinking for some time of writing a few articles about
flowers, not for the entertainment nor instruction of those who have
extensive gardens artistically laid out, and fine conservatories with
skilled gardeners to care for the rare and costly plants, but for those,
who, like myself, have only a few beds filled with flowers, cared for by
one's own self.

Every year there is a marked advance in the floricultural kingdom. Books
and periodicals devoted to flower culture are on the increase; florists
are enlarging their domain; catalogues are scattered broadcast, and as
free as autumn leaves, some of them beautiful with their colored plates,
handsome enough to frame. Very many of the literary, religious, and
political journals of the day have their floral department, in which the
ladies gossip of their experience and exchange opinions, and we doubt if
any column is read with greater interest.

What recreation for the mind and body more pure, refining, healthful,
than that of the cultivation of flowers? How they reveal the Father's
love, and wisdom, and power! How perfect his work! Very fully have I
realized this, as I have examined bud, blossom, and leaf under the
microscope. Its magnifying power when applied to man's work, reveals
coarseness and imperfection, but in God's work only reveals new
beauties, and greater perfectness. The tiny flower, the details of which
cannot be perceived by the eye unaided, when magnified, surprises us
with its loveliness. We wonder and adore that Being whose hand created
its perfect form and arranged its tints with so much harmony. The study
of flowers with the microscope is one of never failing delight, and one
needs not the costly instrument to enjoy this study. The round open
glass, the size of a half dollar, and costing the same, serves every
needful purpose.

Not only have I enjoyed the examination of flowers, but also of insect
life, specially of those terrible pests to our rosebushes and some other
plants--the _aphides_. I have closely watched their development, from
the tiny egg to the portly insect, so filled with the juice of the leaf,
that like it, he is green all over. First I observe a little speck of
red in the egg--then it has slight motion--next it runs about, and the
spot is a little larger, sometimes it is black. Sometimes the baby aphis
is all red. Now and then I find a different sort mixed up with them; the
body is much larger and transparent white. Some have wings. Skeletons,
or more properly, cast-off skins, are often seen, but with the closest
observation I have never been able to trace these to their source. Once,
I was sure that a fellow was divesting himself of his overcoat, and I
watched him till my eyes ached too badly for further investigation.

These insects are the cows of a certain species of ant, and I am sure
they are quite welcome to all I have, provided they will have their yard
on other premises, though I would like to detain them long enough to see
the milking process. Some have seen it and written about it, so, strange
as it seems, it is no fiction.

In this series of articles which I have entitled "Talks About Flowers,"
I shall, in a very informal manner, talk to you about just those matters
pertaining to the flower garden, in which beginners and amateurs are
interested; to this class I belong; I am not a skilled florist, my
experience is limited; I am only a student in the lower classes of
floriculture, but I dearly love my lessons. I am acquiring knowledge
both from books and personal observation, and I shall enjoy imparting to
those not so favored with time and resources the results of this study,
believing it will be duly appreciated by my readers, and their interest
in the cultivation of flowers be thereby increased. I shall talk to you
about the sowing of seeds, the arrangement of your garden, the plants
with which to stock it, treating of them historically and descriptively,
with mode of culture. I shall talk to you about the most desirable
bulbs, about climbing plants, hanging pots, and the window garden, and
shall seek to meet in all these the wishes of many inquirers.



A Talk to Farmers' Wives.

    "Not useless are ye flowers, though made for pleasure,
      Blooming in field and wood by day and night;
    From every source your presence bids me treasure
                            Harmless delight."


"Once more I take my pen in hand," as the old time epistle was wont to
begin. While a "Young Farmer" discourseth of matters pertaining to the
farm, I propose to talk to farmers' wives and daughters of matters
relating to the flower garden. This article is specially dedicated to
them, and not to them as a whole, but to that class among them who take
no periodical devoted to flower culture, and find no time even to study
the various catalogues scattered broadcast, as sure precursors of spring
as are the falling leaves of autumn. Therefore you who have your floral
papers, your bay windows filled with plants, or your fine
conservatories, whether a farmer's wife or not, this is not written for
you, and you need not read any further.

There are many farmers' wives who give little attention to the
cultivation of flowers. Busy lives the most of them lead, and their
indoor work shuts them off largely from the enjoyment of those beauties
nature has so lavishly spread around them. It is a pity that any of them
should say, "I have no time to waste over flowers; they bring neither
food nor clothing."

Call that wasted time when tired, nervous, fretful perhaps, you leave
the heated rooms and run out to see if the seeds you sowed last week
have come up, or how the seedlings you set out are thriving? To look at
that opening rosebud, pick off the withered leaves from the geranium,
stir the earth a bit around that heliotrope, and linger over the dear
little pansies as their bright faces are up-turned to greet you and
cheer you with their diversified beauty? Gather a few; they will bloom
all the more because of it. There, now, don't you feel nicely rested?
The feeling of fretfulness is all gone. Refreshed in body and mind, you
resume your housework, and accomplish it much more effectively than if
you had kept right on, so tired and all out of sorts. Better far these
moments of out-door recreation than blue pill or bitters. All this is
anticipatory of the "good time coming" to you this summer. That kind
husband of yours when he goes to the store to buy his garden seeds, or
order them from abroad, is going to include an equal number of flower
seeds. He would have done it long ago but he did not think anything
about it. But you are going to give him a hint this spring. You can tell
him that in the general seed box there is one corner where are certain
dainty little packages labeled Candytuft--purple, carmine, white or
mixed; Mignonnette, Aster, Balsam, Pink, Petunia, Sweet Peas, etc.,
etc., and you tell him that those Sweet Peas bloom the most fragrant
blossoms for five months, while his "Extra Early," whether "Blue Peter"
or "Blue Tom Thumb," last only a little while. So as he goes on his way
he will think to himself, "Wife works hard; she makes capital butter and
keeps the house real tidy, and I guess I must indulge her." When he
returns home he gives you those little packages, in each tiny brown seed
of which there lies hidden a beautiful life--a life that shall, by
loving care, develop "the red, white and blue" in settings of emerald,
the influence of which shall be felt by the entire household, and bring
forth a fruitage of brightness, gladness and love.

It may be that you live remote from the village store, or perhaps there
may not be kept there a good, reliable assortment of flower seeds, so I
will tell you what to do in that case, for I wish to be helpful every
step of the way. You must send to some good florist for what you want,
enclosing stamps, if for an amount less than one dollar. You have your
seeds now, and some of them need to be started in the house in order to
secure early flowers, Asters, Petunias, Pinks, Pansies, Snapdragon and
Sweet Peas. Sift your earth through a coarse sieve. A little sharp sand
is good to mix with it. Shallow boxes are best, except for the peas. I
use cigar boxes. Dampen the earth, then sow thickly in rows, cover
lightly with more soil, dampen again, label, cover with paper so that
the moisture may not evaporate rapidly, and place in a sunny window.
Daily sprinkle through a fine rose pot, or with your fingers lightly if
you have none. However good your seeds may be, they will not grow if
kept dry, and will rot if kept too wet. The seedlings must be nursed
with care, not too much sun while tender. I do not thin out mine till I
transplant to the border, but many do, potting them singly. Peas can be
set out earliest of any. Sunny days in May often tempt one to bed out
their tender plants, and sow seed in open ground; then come cold nights,
when the fragile seedlings need a hot soapstone to their feet. It is
best to wait till warm weather is fully established, and then choose a
cloudy day for the work. Protect from the sun's rays till the plants are
established in their new quarters. Now, all this looks like much work
and care, I know, but it is only a little work, a little care each day,
and it is a work that will be a restful change, and bring you better
health and better feelings, and when you gather the lovely flowers from
the seeds you have sown and cultured, you will not say: "My time was all
misspent."



A Talk About "The Wild Garden."

    The lengthened days have come,
    The busiest of the year--


When the annual house cleaning treads heavily on the toes of spring
gardening, and one feels tempted to crowd the work of two days into one,
though sufficient for the present is the work thereof. The bright warm
days draw one forth to spend "an hour or two" they say, and they mean it
too--with shovel or spade in hand to prepare the flower beds, but the
air is so refreshing, and there is so much to be done, that they keep on
"a little while longer," "just a few minutes more," till Sol pours his
burning rays down upon them with the unmistakable assurance that it is
near the hour of noon.

These are the days that try men's souls, and women's, too; days when one
wishes with Dudley Warner for a "cast iron back," but would fain add the
improvement of rubber hinges; days when the inquiry is often provoked,
"Will it pay?"

As we change the numerous boxes of seedlings from one position to
another, that they may catch the sunbeams, "Will it pay?" As we take
them out of doors these warm days, and bring them all back again at
night, lest the air prove too harsh for the tender things, "Will it
pay?"

Yes, we know from past experience that it will pay even a hundred fold
for all our care when the restful days shall come, and we watch with
hopeful hearts each bud of promise as it grows, and gather our hands
full of lovely flowers, the fruitage of our seed sowing and unceasing
care.

Have been bedding out to-day my old stocky geraniums, after cutting off
all the dead and unsightly branches. These were just packed into large
boxes in the autumn--as closely as possible--dirt then thrown in to fill
up the spaces, and they were put into the cellar and severely let alone
till the weather admitted of their being taken out of doors.

Many throw away their geraniums, if the stalks decay by being
frost-bitten or for some other cause, when often the roots are alive,
and with proper care will sprout again. I had a few in my window box
that were touched by frost one intense cold night in December, and died
down to the roots. To my surprise, they sprouted in March, for I did not
suppose they would be seemingly lifeless so long in a sunny window.

Some of my neighbors hang up their large geraniums by the roots in the
cellar, and thus keep them throughout the winter nicely, but I have
never been successful with this method.

My house plants are nearly all re-potted, ready to be plunged into the
ground the first of June. I put in a bit of potsherd to keep the roots
from going astray, then small pieces of coal for drainage, then fill
with mellow sifted soil, enriched with well-rotted manure. I found it so
much better last year to bed out in pots that I shall practice it more
fully this summer. When the time comes in the autumn for taking them in
doors, the work can be done in half the time.

My seedlings will be six weeks or more in advance than those sown in the
open border. My sweet peas must go out very soon or I shall have to give
them a support, they are so tall.

Now I am going to tell you about another sort of a garden--"a spick-span
new" sort--and I know you will be pleased to hear about it, and I think
you will want to have one of your own.


THE WILD GARDEN.

Mr. B. K. Bliss, of New York, in a note, said: "We have put into your
box a packet of flower seeds for the wild garden, which we think will
interest you. We also send you the initial number of our new paper,
"_The American Garden_." In this journal I find a very interesting
article on "The Wild Garden," how to make it, and a description of one
at the country residence of Mr. M. S. Beach, near Peekskill, from his
own pen. We will quote a part of it. He says: "We plowed a strip about
six feet wide all around a five-acre field, close to the fence. On this
plowed ground, the seed, previously well mixed, was thrown just as it
happened to come. The surface having afterwards been well smoothed over,
we waited the result. This proved satisfactory. We had a wild garden
indeed. The plants came up as thickly as they could grow, and flourished
and blossomed as freely as though they had enjoyed all the care usually
given to hot-house exotics.

"Sweet Alyssum, Mignonnette, the pretty blue Nemophila and bright
colored Phlox Drummondii seemed to cover the ground. Morning Glories of
every shade and delicate Cypress vines tried to cover the fences and run
up every tree. Quaint little yellow and green Gourds appeared in the
most unexpected places, and the whole bed seemed to be ablaze with the
orange and yellow of the Eschscholtzia, Marigolds, Calendula Officinalis
and Zinnias. One of the chief charms of this wild flower bed was the
variety and change--not from season to season, but from day to day.
Every morning would find some new, unexpected, and previously forgotten
flower in bloom."

The packet of Flower Seeds for the "Wild Garden" consists of more than a
hundred varieties, sufficient for a square rod of ground. There must
needs be a peculiar charm in the "Wild Garden." When one wearies of the
monotonous ribbon beds and geometrical designs so long in fashion, they
can turn to the spot where flowers run riot at their own sweet will, and
give daily surprises because sown broadcast without any regard to their
names and location. Multitudes there are, who, with abundance of land
at their command, can have one on a large scale, others can have, but a
small spot. There are many who have ground specially adapted by its
wildness for the blending of the cultivated flowers with those which
grow in their native dells or woods. Wild shrubs, wild flowers, wild
climbers, can be transplanted to situations quite like their own. There
can be ferneries and rockeries, beds of violets and wild evergreens, and
combined with careless grace, such tropical plants and brilliant annuals
as would give the most pleasing effect and afford a beauty wholly
unique.



Make Home Beautiful.

    Make your home beautiful--bring to it flowers;
      Plant them around you to bud and to bloom;
    Let them give light to your loneliest hours--
      Let them bring light to enliven your gloom;
    If you can do so, O make it an Eden
      Of beauty and gladness almost divine;
    'Twill teach you to long for that home you are needing,
      The earth robed in beauty beyond this dark clime.



A Talk About Stocking the Garden.

    "The flowers we love?--They are those we gathered
      Years ago, when we played at home!
    Flowers by the door stone, dropped and scattered
      Here and there as a child would roam."


"How shall I stock my garden?" is a question often asked by amateurs.
That depends very much on the size, location and soil of the ground to
be furnished. If the site is elaborate, and the beds to be geometrically
laid out, much skill, artistic taste and generous expenditure is needful
to produce a fine effect. If the flower beds are cut in the lawn a
different classification and arrangement of plants will be needful. If
they consist of long beds bordering a walk, or one bed only, beneath the
front window, there needs to be a grouping of flowers adapted to the
situation. None but the "wild garden" ought to be stocked hap-hazard
style. Arrange always so that there shall be a succession of flowers
during the entire season, for if you devote a space for those of brief
duration, you will by and by have a barren spot by no means pleasing.
The most exposed situations ought, of course, to be arranged with
special reference to the best possible effects or continuity of bloom
and harmony of colors. Don't mix in all sorts of colors and sizes of
plants in any bed. Masses of distinctive colors always have a fine
effect. Where there are varieties that have more show of flowers than of
leaves, it is well to intersperse plants whose beauty lies more in their
foliage than in blossoms.

The beautiful Coleuses, Achyranthes and Alternanthera, with their richly
colored leaves, and Pyrethrums with their vivid green lancelated
foliage, are very effective for this purpose. Cannas are very fine among
tall, free blooming plants, particularly for centers. Care ought always
to be had in selections, so that a tall and coarse plant shall never
have for its surroundings the low and delicate growers. Imagine the
effect of a gorgeous California Sunflower or a towering Hollyhock in the
midst of a bed of Pansies, or Tea Roses, or a Dahlia in a bed of
Verbenas! Have your large stocky plants in a bed by themselves, unless
it be as a background border for the more delicate flowers. A long bed
running beside a fence, or one beneath the windows of a dwelling-house,
can have, with good effect, a dense background of shrubs or Pompone
Dahlias, or even the taller Dahlias, if relieved by a fence. Where there
is a large bed directly beneath the front windows, a good arrangement is
to have, first, trailing vines that shall cover far up the sides of the
dwelling. For this, the Ipomoeas are very appropriate; of these there
are numerous varieties. _I. Bona Nox_, with its large fragrant blossoms,
which however, expand in the evening; Mexicana _Grandiflora Alba_,
immense flowers of white, long tube, a native of Mexico; grows to the
height of ten feet. _I. Hederacea Superba_ is bright blue, with white
margin, Ivy-like foliage, and _I. Fol Mormoratis_, a new Japanese
variety, with foliage beautifully mottled and marbled with white;
_Coccinea_, or "Star" Ipomea, bears a great profusion of small flowers,
scarlet striped with white. With any of these, vines of the Canary Bird
Flower intermingled, would have a superb effect; the light green, deeply
lacinated leaves and bright, yellow fringed flowers, proving a marked
contrast to the foliage and blossoms of the Ipomea. It is a very rapid
grower, and will climb and branch out ten feet or more. In front of
these climbers, or whatever others may be preferred, a row of Sweet
Peas, quite thickly set, can be trained so as to fully cover the vines
below the flowering branches, and to conceal the unsightliness of these
low down, a row of Pyrethrums or some dwarf compact plants would be
attractive. Then a walk, if the bed is sufficiently wide. The plants on
the opposite side can be arranged so as to have those of medium height
next to the path, and low bedding ones for the foreground. Verbenas are
very fine for this, and so is the Double Portulaca. For an edging, many
things are appropriate; whether one desires merely a low green, or a
border of dwarf blooming plants. For the latter, we know of nothing
prettier than the new dwarf Candytuft, Tom Thumb. Its habit is low and
bushy, and its clusters of white blossoms continue a very long time.

Mr. Vick has for several years recommended Thrift as the best edging
plant for northern climates. It is easily propagated from cuttings;
every piece will make a plant, if taken in the fall or spring, and is
perfectly hardy. It bears tiny clusters of pink flowers, and the foliage
is fine for floral work.

In arranging your garden stock study the adaptions of your plants to
certain positions. Some require for their best development, a great deal
of sunshine, others require somewhat sheltered positions. Portulacas
revel in dry and sunny spots, laughing at drought, while Pansies love a
cool and moist situation, therefore to bed them in a sandy soil, and a
position where they would be exposed to the intense sunshine of mid-day,
and the Portulaca in the sheltered, moist situation would be a great
mistake.

Coleuses ought not to be set in a very open sunny place, but with plants
that will serve as a protection somewhat, or they will lose their vivid
markings. We observed this first with C. Shah; when exposed to a strong
light, the rich, velvety maroon changed to a dull color hue, but when
partially shaded it was of a very deep, rich color. The next summer we
had the beautiful Pictus, and its leaves looked as though they were
indeed painted with yellow, brown and green, but exposed for a time to
the direct sunshine nearly all day, it changed to a dark green, with
brown markings, and, robbed of its gold, it possessed no special beauty.
We speak only of our own experience, which has not been limited by any
means to these two varieties. We have had a few that would retain their
distinctive markings well, even in quite an exposed situation.

In the arrangement of your garden, have it adapted to its surroundings.
The broad leaved Palms, the Tropical Caladiums, the stately Cannas, the
Cape Jessamine and Crape Myrtle are in perfect harmony with the well
kept lawn and stately mansion, but quite out of place in the simple
border of a vegetable garden, or rough grass-plot belonging to a low,
plain cottage.

I will tell you of a bit of a garden furnished in harmony with its
surroundings. It was rudely dug and roughly finished by two very small
hands. It was a very wee bed, indeed. It was fenced on the west side by
a rough board shed; on the north by an old stump; the other side and end
had no protection. Without any method of arrangement, or reference to
artistic effects, here was massed the following assortment: Monks Hood,
Bachelors Buttons, Butter and Eggs, Star of Bethlehem, Poppies and
Marigolds; these last more odorous than fragrant. Old fashioned flowers
truly. But they harmonized with their surroundings, and the little pale
faced child thought them very beautiful.

It is not essential to harmony however, that the flower bed be rudely
prepared, though the cot be lowly and its surroundings rough; the
garden, however small, can be neatly prepared, provided there are
stronger and older hands than those of the little maid referred to, and
there may be a display of taste in the arrangement of the most common
flowers, in our day at least, where beautiful varieties are within reach
of all. But it was not so fifty years ago; boxes of flower seeds were
not to be found in the shops; catalogues were not scattered broadcast
like autumn leaves and as free; "a greenhouse at your door," was not
then, as now, a verity. School girls exchanged their limited floral
treasures, and now and then a slip could be begged from the fortunate
possessor of a few house plants. But if greenhouse flowers were rare,
there were thousands in the meadows, on the hills, in the woods; the
sweet May flowers, unknown then to the little maiden as the Trailing
Arbutus, the Anemone, Hepatica, Columbine, Violets of different hues,
Wild Roses, Gay Lilies, and late in autumn, the lovely fringed Gentian:

    "Each chalice molded in divinest grace,
      Each brimmed with pure, intense and perfect blue."

What could be more lovely among the garnered treasures of the
greenhouse? But our talk is a long one, and we will defer to another
what we have further to say on this subject.



The Phlox Drummondii.

    "Flowers for gladness and flowers for sorrow,
      Shadowing forth what we fail to tell;
    Mystic symbols of tender meanings,
      Such as the heart interprets well."


This is one of the most desirable of our annuals, coming into bloom
early in the season and continuing in flower till frost. They are very
effective in massed colors, and make fine ribbon beds. Contrasting
shades should be selected. A writer in the _Garden_ says that the
following are very desirable for this purpose: "Phlox Lothair, salmon
shaded with violet; Mons Henrique, brilliant reddish crimson; Venus,
pure white; Mons Goldenschugh, rosy violet; Spenceri, dark rosy lilac.
An excellent front edging for this ribbon bed is the variegated
Periwinkle. In order to grow them thoroughly well, and so to insure a
lengthened period of blooming, the ground should be deeply trenched and
well enriched with good manure from the farm yard, and not more than six
heads of bloom should be allowed to each plant. Thus treated, when
planted in long lines, it is difficult to convey an impression of these
and similar varieties."

There are many beautiful varieties of color; deep blood purple,
brilliant scarlet, large blue with white eye, not truly a blue, but the
nearest approach to it of any; Leopoldii, splendid deep pink, with white
eye; Carmine Queen and Violet with a large white eye; Vick's _New Double
White_, the only one that is reliable, from seed, to produce double
flowers. Then there are the buffs and the stripes, crimson striped with
white, and rose and purple. Mr. Vick, who makes a specialty of the
Drummondii Phlox, they being a favorite with him, devotes acres to their
cultivation, and who has been experimenting with them for several
years, has produced several new sorts that are very fine; one of them is
deep red with a fringed edge. There have been very marked improvements
since this plant was first discovered in Texas by Mr. Drummond, a
botanical collector sent out by the Glasgow Botanical Society, and it
was one of the last, if not the very last, sent to Europe by him. He
soon after went to Cuba, where he died of a fever in the prime of life.
Sir N. J. Hooker named the plant after its discoverer as a memento. When
first discovered it was very inferior to the flowers seen in our
gardens, as is very apparent from an engraving of it taken from a
drawing in Mr. Vick's possession, which was made in 1838, three years
after its discovery. It is given in _Vick's Magazine_ for September,
1880, with the items we have cited. The word Phlox signifies flame, and
is supposed to have been applied in allusion to the flame-like form of
the bud.

A lady who had excellent success with her seedlings, started early in a
box, and bedded out one cloudy day in May, says: "I was surprised to
find flowers on the plants when so young and small. I don't believe they
had been transplanted five days before half of them had flowers, and
soon the rest followed, and for more than two months my bed has been
glorious--a mass of bright colors more beautiful than any carpet or
dress pattern ever made. It is near the middle of September, and if the
frost will only keep away, it looks as though they would keep on
flowering for years. Tell everybody to have a Phlox bed and how to do
it. It is the cheapest pleasure possible."

                                      CARRIE, in _Vick's Magazine_.


VERBENAS.

This we must have, for it is one of the most beautiful annuals
cultivated. So varied its hues! So abundant its blooms! Not a brief
season of flowering, and then naught but leaves, which are, not of
themselves attractive, but an increase of blossoms from June till
October, and it requires quite a severe frost to mar their beauty. They
have the best effect massing each color by itself, and beds of a
circular form cut in the lawn and filled with Verbenas, have a superb
effect. Seedlings are much the best for bedding out, they are so much
stronger and more bushy. Those plants offered for sale in pots, having
one tall slender stem, crowned with a cluster of flowers, are almost
worthless for the garden. True, if you get a healthy one, by layering
and pegging down, you can sometimes get good plants, but you had better
purchase seedlings by the dozen as they are offered in boxes and
baskets, or order them of the florist by mail or express, and you will
have plants that will grow compact, bloom early and profusely, with far
better foliage than the puny straggling ones rooted from cuttings. One
objection to purchasing seedlings by the clump is, I am well aware, the
fact that they are not labeled as to color, and everybody wants to know
that they will have at least one scarlet, one white, purple, and so on,
and unless the color is peeping through the bud, one must buy with the
risk of not knowing the desired color. This is the true state of the
case so far as my own observation extends. But it need not be so, and we
presume it is not so everywhere. Seedlings can be raised of course with
each of the leading colors separate, and those in greatest demand in
large quantities to meet the wants of the general public, while the
fancy sorts can be of mixed varieties. Those who raise their own
seedlings, usually buy a paper of mixed sorts, so in that case they are
no better off than those who purchase seedlings of the florist, and as
their facilities are far greater for raising early plants, it seems
preferable as a general thing, to buy of them, for these reasons. In
order to have good sizable plants for bedding out in May and June that
will bloom in August, seed must be sown the first of March, at the
latest, for it takes weeks for the little dry sticks to germinate, and
then they are such slow growers, unless under the most favorable
circumstances, they do not become strong vigorous plants by the time
you want to bed them out. Few can care for them properly while their
sunny windows are full of choice house plants, so that as a rule, we
should deem it preferable to wait until May, and then purchase the large
budded seedlings, which so quickly unfold their beautiful flowers to
brighten the garden, when it is almost barren of bloom. They do not cost
usually more than sixty cents per dozen, and one is saved from so much
care.

However, for the benefit of those who prefer to sow their own seed, we
will give directions for the best method. First, be sure that the seed
is new. Don't sow old seed for it will not germinate. If you have no hot
bed, make one in a box or pan by putting in a layer of quite fresh horse
manure for bottom heat; over this a layer of coarse sand; then fill the
box with finely sifted soil, mixed with at least one-third fine sand.
Make it smooth; then in little rows drop the seeds, not very sparsely,
for all may not germinate, and if too thick when they come up they can
be thinned out. Press the seed down with a bit of flat board, sift a
little soil over them and then dampen by light spraying with tepid
water; a brush dipped in water makes a gentle sprayer. Cover with paper,
glass, or what is better, a bit of soft flannel wrung out of water laid
on the surface, as it keeps the soil damp without sprinkling, by being
wet as it dries. The soil must be kept moist, not soaking wet, for
however helpful to germination a previous soaking may be, when sown the
seed must not be drenched, and the same rules are equally applicable to
the seedlings, for in either case rot would surely follow. It is just
here where the special care is requisite to insure success. After the
plants have come up, the flannel or paper must be removed and the
seedlings given sunshine and air, though it is well to have a glass over
the top of the box for a week or more, as more moisture is thereby
secured; but there ought to be an aperture for the admission of air.
When two or more leaves are developed, it is well to prick them out into
other boxes or pots, if they are too thick for free growth; not all, a
part can remain undisturbed. They should be gradually hardened as a
preparation for out-door life, by being placed in cool situations. While
heat is essential to start the seed into growth, it is not beneficial to
the plants, and those who have a cold frame had better remove the plants
to it as soon as the temperature will admit.

In bedding out, an open situation is preferable. The ground should be
well dug and enriched, with well-decomposed manure, and if the soil is
heavy a liberal mixture of sand. A situation where the morning sun will
not strike them before the dew is off in the morning is best, as this is
one cause of the mildew or rust which so frequently saps the vitality of
the leaves. In order to promote their spreading, it is a good plan to
fasten down some of the branches when sufficiently flexible to the
ground, and for this, nothing is more convenient than hair-pins. All the
seed vessels should be pricked off in order to secure the best results,
as much of the strength of the plant goes to them if allowed to remain.
One can afford to be very liberal in gathering the flowers, for the more
liberally they are picked off, the more rapidly buds form and develop.
As it was with one of Bunyan's characters:

    "There was a man (though some did count him mad),
    The more he cast away, the more he had."

The wise man says: "There is that scattereth and yet increaseth."

A florist says that "to grow Verbenas successfully, plant them in beds
cut in the turf. Chop the turf well and thoroughly mix with it a good
share of well-decomposed stable manure; never, on any account plant them
in old and worn-out garden soil as they will most assuredly fail. Give
them a change of soil each season, as they do not thrive well two years
in the same bed."

As a house plant the Verbena is not a success. It is most always sickly,
and infested with red spiders. They cannot be kept over winter in a
cellar; it is growth or death.

Verbenas were first introduced into Europe about fifty years ago from
South America, and a few years later into this country. They have been
greatly improved, and the varieties are very numerous. Many are
fragrant. The only hardy sort is Montana, a native of Colorado. It is a
profuse bloomer, color, a bright rose. There are the German Hybrids, the
Italian stripes, and the Drummondii from Texas. Every year brings its
novelties, as with other flowers. Mr. C. E. Allen, who makes a specialty
of seedling Verbenas, is sending out several fine ones this season;
Silver Queen, Florence, Emma, Carroll, Ralph and Variegata are very
attractive according to the descriptions.


PETUNIAS.

[Illustration]

Few things in the garden will make more show throughout the entire
season, even after quite severe frosts, than a bed of Petunias from a
paper of seed marked "Choicest Mixed from Show Flowers." They will
produce such a profusion of flowers, charming one from day to day with
their variations of markings, and of color. Some retain their
distinctive characteristics, while with others they are changeful as the
Kaleidoscope. Stripes, blotches, sprays, white throats, green edges,
they are just lovely. Then there are the double sorts; purple with white
spots, white with purple; rose color, white, purplish-crimson margined
with white; lilac veined with purple; white with stripes of purple in
the center of each petal, some exquisitely fringed; large and full as a
rose, and some almost as sweet.

In nothing, perhaps, has there been such a wonderful improvement by
culture and hybridising as the Petunia. Mr. Vick tells us how that half
a century ago, he saw for the first time, a Petunia. It was a novelty--a
strange flower from a flowery land, South America, and it was carefully
treated in green-houses. The flower was white and small, and looked
somewhat as if made of paper--such a flower as would now be destroyed if
by chance seen growing accidentally in our gardens. The novelty soon
subsided, and although it was ascertained that it could be grown in
gardens, it did not possess sufficient merit to gain popular favor. A
little later, however, about 1831, to the astonishment of the floral
world, it was announced that a new Petunia, of a purple color, had been
discovered in Buenos Ayres. It was first flowered and seeded in the
Botanic Gardens of Glasgow, and thence seed was sent all over Europe and
to America, where it soon became a great favorite. About thirty years
ago a double Petunia was grown and propagated by cuttings. It was only
semi-double and white, but it was the commencement of a new era in
Petunia culture. Truly wonderful have been the advances in development
of this beautiful flower.

The Petunia is divided into three distinct classes, the Grandiflora,
Small Flowered and Double.

The Grandiflora varieties have a strong succulent growth, the flowers
are not so numerous as some others, but are very large and double,
frequently measuring three inches in diameter, and some kinds are
exquisitely marked with various shades of violet, purple, maroon and
scarlet upon white ground; some striped, others bordered, some marbled,
some deeply fringed. The double Petunia gives no seed, and it is only by
fertilizing single flowers with the pollen of the double that seed can
be obtained. But Petunias of all kinds are easily multiplied by
cuttings.

The Small Flowered class are those that make our gardens so attractive
with their varied hues and markings. Some of the new hybrids are of
wonderful beauty. Last year gave two of the Double and Fringed sort that
have been frequently noted as gems of the first water.

Mrs. Edward Roby, color, a glowing crimson-maroon, edged with pure
white, very double and deeply fringed. Model of Perfection, deep maroon,
heavily edged with white, and deeply fringed. These were priced last
year in a Western catalogue at $1.50 each; this year they are priced at
30 cents. So one gains by waiting a year for high-priced novelties.

New Double Fringed Petunia for 1881, is President Garfield, which
originated with Mr. C. E. Allen, and is thus described in his catalogue:
"Color, light purple veined with deep purple magenta, edged with a broad
band of an exquisite shade of green. Very novel in its appearance and a
new color in double petunias; flower very large and deeply fringed.
Plants strong and vigorous; one of the finest sorts ever offered." For a
Petunia so unique as this, with its broad band of green, and now offered
for the first time; its price, 75 cents, is low.



Pansies.

    "Open your eyes, my Pansies sweet,
        Open your eyes for me,
    Driving away with face so true,
    The chilling wind and wintry hue,
        That lingers so drearily.

    "Open your eyes, my Pansies sweet,
        Open your eyes for me.
    Where did you get that purple hue?
    Did a cloudlet smile as you came through?
    Did a little sunbeam bold
    Kiss on your lips that tint of gold?
        Tell me the mystery.

    "In your eyes a story I read--
        A story of constancy.
    After the storms and winter's wind,
    Softly you come with influence kind;
    Then as I bend with listening ear,
    Your cheerful voice I plainly hear,
        Preaching a sermon to me.

    "So, whisper to me, my Pansies sweet--
        Tell me in rustlings low,
    Of that beautiful land where fadeless flowers
    Brightly bloom in immortal bowers,
        And no blighting wind doth blow.

    "Tell of the care that is over all--
        That gives you your garments gay;
    Whose loving hand clothes the floweret small
    That grows in the field, or by the garden wall,
        Whose life is only a day.

    "Yes, tell of the love, my Pansies sweet,
        Of the love that knows no end;
    That through earth's winter safely keeps
    Watch over his children, and never sleeps;
    The love that paints the violet blue,
    And quenches your thirst with drops of dew,
        The weary heart's faithful friend."



A Talk About Pansies.

    "Pray you love, remember,
    There's Pansies--that's for thought."

                           _Shakespeare._


I find my Pansies are coming up finely. My bed of Pansies last year from
"choicest mixed seed" sown in April, began to bloom in June, and
afforded me so much pleasure with their varied beauty, that I resolved
this year to have a great many of them. I see, now that the snow has
melted from the bed, that the plants have wintered well. I had all of
the colors shown in the chromo plate of my catalogue, excepting _Emperor
William_, dark blue. I think that somebody else must have got him, for
my packet of seed was divided and sub-divided. _King of the Blacks_ was
rightly named, a mere dot of yellow in the center, and _Pure White_ was
in striking contrast, while _Pure Yellow_ was golden, and _Odier_ was
splendid with its dark center banded with yellow and scarlet. Then there
was copper-colored and striped, and such rich purples with a dot of
yellow. How lovely they were! They were not very large at first, but in
August after a rain, I had superb specimens. They were bedded beneath a
fruit tree, where they were sheltered from the noonday glare. They
thrive best in a moist, partially shaded situation. The blossoms ought
to be picked as they fade, for if left to seed the strength is taken
from the plants and the blossoms are smaller.

This season I have sown musical Pansies. "Musical Pansies! what are
they? What sort of music do they make? Will it be of the Brass Band
order, or that of the hand-organ style?"

No, no! Not that coarse, harsh, loud sort at all. If you could hear
their low, sweet notes, you would be enraptured. But this cannot be. I
call them musical, because named for the great composers, Mozart,
Handel, Schiller, Goethe, Beethoven, Haydn, Mendelssohn, and Schumann.
They are the "New German Pansies," of which types are given in oil
colors, in the catalogue of B. F. Bliss & Sons, and represent the most
beautiful strains I have ever seen. They are no fancy sketch, but drawn
as true to life in color and size as it was possible to make them, if we
will accept the testimony of Dr. Thurber in the _American
Agriculturist_. He says, that "no doubt many who have seen the colored
plate published by Messrs. B. F. Bliss & Sons, have supposed that the
artist had exercised his imagination both as to size and the strange
combinations of colors. So far from this being the case, the flowers
are, if anything, rather below the real size, and as to colors, it would
be impossible to conceive of any artificial colors more brilliant, or
more strongly contrasted, than they are in flowers, produced by this
remarkable strain of seeds."

In my childhood I knew nothing of the Pansy. The little Heartsease or
Ladies' Delight, as it was then called, was alone cultivated. Mr. Vick
tells us how it grew to be the fine flower now so highly prized. About
sixty years ago, a very young English lady living on the banks of the
Thames, had a little flower garden of her own, and one bed she filled
with Pansies, selecting from her father's grounds the finest she could
obtain. The gardener, seeing her interest and success, became ambitious
to try his hand, and grew plants from the finest specimens. These
attracted the attention of professional florists, and speedily the Pansy
became a popular flower. Every country gives it a pet name--Heartsease,
Fringed Violet, Trinity Flower, Butterfly flower, and Johnny-jump-up,
while the French call it _Pensée_, from which our name of Pansy is
probably derived. It means to remember or keep in mind. A floral work
published in 1732, illustrates it with a colored plate, which shows it
to have been then small like the Ladies' Delight.


MODE OF CULTURE.

For summer blooming plants sow seed in the house, in March or April.
Cigar boxes are very suitable for seed sowing. Put in a layer of coarse
sand for drainage, then one of horse manure for bottom heat. Fill with
rich, mellow earth sifted and mixed with one-third silver sand, or
finely pulverized leaf mold. Have it moist but not drenched. With a
narrow strip of board, make tiny furrows about one and a half inches
apart, and in these carefully drop the seed one by one an inch distant.
Cover slightly, and press the soil firmly, then lay a piece of old soft
flannel folded once or twice, and wrung lightly out of warm water,
carefully over the soil, which will keep it damp. Cover with glass, and
keep in a warm place. In a few days see if the covering is dry, if so
damp it again, and watch for the seedlings. When they appear, remove the
flannel, but still keep on the glass, not, however, so close as to
exclude all air. Gradually inure them to the sunlight, and as soon as
they have made four or five leaves, it is best to transplant every other
one, so that they may have room to grow. Great care is needful with
tender seedlings to keep them from damping off. If too wet, they will do
this, or if kept too shady. Good judgment is essential for success. As
the weather becomes warm, expose them at first an hour or two, to the
outdoor air, and thus prepare them for early bedding out. Being hardy
plants, living out of doors during the winter, with slight protection at
the North, they will bear transplanting sooner than many other
seedlings. A rich moist soil, and somewhat cool and shaded situation,
are best adapted for their growth. For winter flowers, sow seed the last
of August, or first of September, in a frame or boxes kept in a shady
place.


ASTERS.

These must be included among the essential annuals for the garden. They
are one of the chief attractions of the border in the autumn, when many
flowers have passed their prime. This plant, like the Petunia, has in
skillful hands and by hybridization, developed from a very inferior
flower to one of great beauty and numerous classes, which embrace a
great many varieties. They are represented by _Dwarfs_ and by _Giants_,
ranging intermediately from five or six inches in height to two feet.
_Dwarf Bouquet_ presents a mass of flowers with scarcely a leaf, while
_Tall Chrysanthemum_ grows to the height of two feet, and the _New
Victoria_, _Giant Emperor_, _Truffant's Perfection_ and the _New
Washington_ bear immense flowers of great beauty. The last named bears
the largest flowers of any variety; sometimes they measure more than
five inches across. The _New Rose_ is of a strong habit, and the petals
of its large blossoms are finely imbricated. _Truffant's Fiery Scarlet_
and _Dwarf Fiery Scarlet_, are a novelty in color among Asters.
_Goliath_ is of a bushy form, and its flowers are very large. Fine
colors. _Victoria_ is a dwarf; snow-white, very double. The _Crown
Asters_ have white centers surrounded with various bright colors, and
are very pretty. The _Quilled Asters_ are quite distinct in character,
the petals consisting of tubes or quills with outer blossom petals
slightly reflexed. _Newest Shakespeare_ and _Diamond_ and _Meteor_ are
novelties of recent introduction, and come in numerous colors. We grew
them last year and deem them admirable.

The native country of this plant is China, hence it has been called
frequently China Aster. It had originally only a few rows of petals and
a large disk. It was first discovered about a century and a half ago, by
a missionary, and sent to Europe. It was first cultivated in France, and
the French florists have done the most toward perfecting the
flat-petaled Aster, and this style of flower is known as the French
Aster. On the other hand the Germans have sought to produce fine flowers
with tubular petals, and the quilled are therefore called German Asters.
Within a few years, however, the Germans have rivaled the French in
originating superior varieties of the flat-petaled style.

When first cultivated in France it was called _Reine Marguerite_,
meaning Queen Daisy; afterward in England it was called _China Aster_,
which means China Star.

Asters require a rich, deep soil. Twelve inches apart is a very good
distance for the large varieties, the dwarf can be set about six inches,
or even less will do. The tall kinds need to be staked, or they are
liable to be blown down, or prostrated by heavy rains. Do not tie one
string around the entire plant, but use several, and confine a few
branches with each, so that, while having sufficient support, they may
retain their natural position.


BALSAMS.

[Illustration]

Have been sowing my Balsams to-day in a box, so as to have nice
seedlings to bed out in six weeks from now. My Balsams last year were
superior to any I had seen, but Mr. J. L. Childs, who rather prides
himself on his plants, has sent me several packages for trial. He says:
"My stock of Balsams is undoubtedly the finest in the world; all who saw
them flowering the past season were astonished at their size and
magnificence. The new variety (Child's Camellia Flowered Perfection), is
indeed a great acquisition; its flowers are of gigantic size, and so
double and perfect that they resemble small Camellias; it is also a very
free bloomer. I have counted five and six hundred perfect flowers upon a
plant at the same time." That is a wonderful yield, truly; I cannot
expect so many, but half that number would satisfy me. The Camellia
Flowered Perfection comes in nine colors; pink, scarlet, striped white
and purple, mottled, white and delicate pink, magenta spotted with
white, crimson spotted with white, purple spotted with white, pure
white, and rose-flowered perfection, lavender color, buds when half
open, resemble a rosebud.

I shall sow some of the seeds in June, for autumn blooming, and shall
try more fully than last year the pruning method. This is done by
removing all of the branches, and then the main stock will grow two or
three feet in height, and be a perfect wreath of blossoms. Another
method is to remove the leader and let two or three branches remain. The
flowers are larger, and the plant handsomer than when allowed to grow at
its own sweet will. They do best in a light, rich soil, and a liberal
supply of liquid manure will greatly advance their growth. A writer in
the _Gardener's Chronicle_ says: "Considering the very effective display
that these plants make when associated with stately foliage plants in
sub-tropical beds, I think they are worthy of more extended cultivation.
There are few plants better adapted for the above purpose than the
Balsam, being easily raised from seed, and as is well known, they are
rapid growers if they are planted in a rich soil. Several samples of
these plants with us are now three feet through and over two feet high,
and they work admirably with such things as Castor Oils, Cannas, and the
beautifully striped Japonica. The plants referred to were planted out
early in June, and I am so pleased with their behaviour in the
sub-tropical garden, that I intend to grow them largely another year."

I know of no reason why the Balsam might not with good cultivation
thrive as well here as in England. Let us try our "level best," and see
what we can do.



A Talk About Geraniums.


My interest in this class of plants was specially awakened four years
ago by the successful cultivation of a dozen or more new varieties which
I was induced to send for by the reception of the catalogue of the
"Innisfallen Green houses," containing a more attractive list of
geraniums, and at lower prices than I had ever seen. I secured a Club by
a little effort, and thus obtained so many fine extras, that it was a
very agreeable surprise. I have since learned that very many others have
had a similar surprise.

The next spring I had a much larger assortment, and last year the
greatest variety I ever saw. I am sure that I had sixty kinds in bloom
at once. Although very small plants, as they always are when many are
ordered by mail, they throve wonderfully, and with one exception, were
all in flower in a few weeks, and kept on blooming till after removal in
the autumn.

My method of treatment is the following: On opening the boxes I find
them packed in damp moss, many closely tied together. I take off the
oiled paper, loosen the moss packed around them, and put them in a
shallow pan, in which is sufficient tepid water to cover the roots.
After an hour or two I set them in three and four inch pots, first
putting a bit of crock over the hole in the bottom of the pot, so as to
keep the roots from going astray, then some of the coarse siftings of
soil, or small bits of coal for drainage. As geraniums are not at all
fastidious about soil, I take whatever is available, mix a small
quantity of sand with it to make it friable, enriching with old manure.
I nearly fill the pot, and then make a hole in the center, set in the
plant, press the earth firmly around it, fill to the top and press down
again, water, and set the pot in a cool and shady place for several
days, then bring to the light for a few hours, gradually accustoming
them to the sunshine, until they become fully established in their new
quarters. When the weather is sufficiently warm, I plunge the pots in
the border for the summer, covering the pots entirely. I choose a cloudy
day if possible; if otherwise, I do the work late in the afternoon, so
that the intense sunshine may not at the first beat upon them. I prefer
massing these new plants by themselves, as the effect is more pleasing
than when intermixed with other kinds. The geranium bed is the most
attractive one of my garden. It is always full of bloom, and the varied
hues commingled are very attractive. I remove all decayed leaves, and
the trusses as soon as the flowers have faded. Frequently there will be
a few decayed pips marring the beauty of a fine truss, and these I
carefully remove. All of my large stock geraniums which have been
wintered two years, I set by themselves, and they furnish an abundance
of flowers for bouquets, and cuttings for new plants. Where one has a
plenty of garden room, they need not mind having several choice
geraniums of a kind. Slips will root well during the summer months, if
set in the earth near the parent stock, where they are shaded from the
direct rays of the sun. Care must be had to set the cuttings well down
in the soil, and firm the earth compactly around them. In this way one
can obtain with little care nice plants for the winter window garden,
which will be more shapely than those which have become very branchy.
Geraniums are ill growing plants unless pruned and trained with skill.
But they are so easily cultured, adapting themselves to most any
situation whether of shade or sunshine, are so hardy, and bloom so
freely, that we can but admire them though they yield no fragrant
flowers. There are many varieties of scented leaved geraniums, and these
mixed with the odorless blossoms are almost an equivalent. Then the
beautiful "Golden Bronzed Zoned" geraniums, and the "Silver Margined"
and "Tricolored," are so beautiful in foliage, while _Happy Thought_,
with its creamy yellow leaf margined with green; _Distinction_, with
deep green leaves zoned with black; Mrs. Pollock with bronze red zone
belted with bright crimson margined with golden yellow, are exceedingly
ornamental. Beside these there are many perhaps equally attractive, not
often named in the general collection. _Freak of Nature_, first sent out
last year, is an improvement on Happy Thought the center of pure white
narrowly margined with light green; flowers light scarlet; habit very
dwarf and spreading. It originated with Mr. Gray of England, and was
awarded three first class certificates.

[Illustration: BISHOP WOOD GERANIUM.]

Of the numerous classes into which geraniums are divided, few only are
given usually by florists. There are the Ornamental Foliage of which we
have cited a few examples, and the Golden Tricolors, Silver Tricolors,
Golden Bronze, Nosegay and Lilliputian Zonale; Double and single
Geraniums.

We will specify a few varieties worthy of special note, as we can
testify by personal observation. Bishop Wood, Madam Baltet, C. H.
Wagner, Madam Thibaut, Victor Hugo, Jean Dolfus, Cassimer Perier, John
Fennely, Naomi and Rose d'Amour, all double sorts. Of the single, Dr.
John Denny possesses a rare beauty, and is thus described by an English
writer: "Dr. John Denny, raised by J. Sisley, has quite set at rest the
probability of a blue or a purple, which is a positive fact, and great
honor is due to its distinguished raiser. It also possesses another
novel and distinct feature. The base of the two top petals is of a
bright crimson tinted with orange, which gives it a most striking
appearance; this, together with its immense sized trusses, free growth
and shape of blooms, renders it one of the best for pot or house
decoration, and is of great acquisition." Jean Dolfus belongs to this
purple magenta class, a double geranium, very beautiful. Also Zuleika,
which has larger pips and trusses. It is a little more striking in color
than John Denny, but both are just as lovely as a geranium can possibly
be. When Jealousy was sent out, there was much ado over it because it
was the nearest approach toward a yellow Zonal, but it was eclipsed
pretty soon by Guinea, which was an advance by a shade or two. We had
the two in proximity last summer, and though but little difference, it
was sufficiently marked to enable us to decide that Guinea for color,
size and form, was preferable. We just get settled down on that, when we
are startled by the announcement of another novelty, "New Guinea" by
name, "a great improvement on Guinea, being two shades brighter." Well,
well! we must have that, too, and see if in other respects as well as
color, it is worthy to eclipse our favorite.

Henry Cannell--this is a new geranium, originating with Mr. John Thorp
of Queens, New York, who makes a specialty of seedling geraniums, and
has sent out from his grounds many of great value, one of them Happy
Thought, so widely known. We have not tested H. Cannell, ours was sent
from Innisfallen during the winter, and has not yet bloomed, but we are
sure that it would never have received the name of the most
distinguished florist in England, if it were not a superior variety.

New Life originated with Mr. H. Cannell of Swanley England, in our
Centennial year, and he sent out the first thousand by subscription
only, at £1 each--not one sold till the thousand were engaged! When
introduced the following year to this country, stock plants were sold
for $5.00 each. Now you can purchase it at prices ranging from ten cents
to thirty. It is unique in color, being splashed, striped, and flecked
with salmon and white on an intense scarlet ground. It is sometimes
freakish, having pips with some petals salmon, others partly white and
partly scarlet, others pure scarlet. But this very freak is charming,
for with beautifully striped trusses there will be others thus sportive.
Its habit is dwarf, compact, and its dark leaves zoned with black are
very handsome. It cannot be surpassed as a free bloomer. Mr. Cannell,
when sending it out, expressed the wish that the day might come when
there would not be a cottage in the land where New Life was not found.
John Fennely, salmon striped with white, and Fairy, flaked and striped
with crimson on a bluish white ground, are very pretty. Dazzle, Harry
King, Richard Dean, and Jean Sisley are scarlet with white eye. Of
several single white geraniums in my garden, I gave decided preference
to Madame Quinet.

There is a great difference in the duration of the flowers. Victor Hugo,
a splendid geranium, retains its beautiful trusses full five weeks.
Bishop Wood is also admirable in this respect, and Jenny Dolfus and
Naomi we believe cannot be surpassed.

[Illustration]

Of the Sweet Scented Geraniums, we have none equal to the hybrid, Mrs.
Taylor, for beauty of foliage and of flower. It is a fine grower, and
for green to mix with flowers it is admirable. Dr. Livingstone, a more
recent novelty, is very handsome and fragrant. Rose and Lemon scented
are delicious. Lady Plymouth is a variegated rose; leaves bronzy green,
fringed with creamy white, sometimes assuming a pink tinge; very
ornamental. London Blue is a very rare variety of scented geranium, of
heavy creeping growth, with large crimped or curled leaves covered
thickly with fine spines or hairs. Seldom blooms.

We have specified a goodly number, yet but a few from the many, and we
can assure you that if you have a large bed of geraniums you will
greatly admire them, and feel satisfied that you have the most effective
bedding plants, requiring the least care, and for the smallest outlay,
that you could possibly obtain. In California they grow without culture
to an enormous size. From an editor's notes we cite the following:

"A little slip of geranium planted out in the spring, had grown in the
summer to 150 branches, its stalk at its base four inches thick, and
bearing over a thousand blooms! I saw a fence fifteen feet high,
sixty-five feet long, covered with geranium vines that had clambered up
one side, and then dropped down the other, filling both sides with a
blanket of scarlet blossoms. It grows like weeds, and needs no care."

Geraniums are so hardy that one can leave them to the last in removing
from the border in autumn. Frosts that kill Dahlia tops, and many other
plants, do not harm geraniums. Some of mine, for lack of time to remove,
are exposed till late without harm. The roots have great vitality, and
when the stalk has frozen and rotted to the ground, a new growth will
start forth, sometimes in a few weeks, and sometimes not for three
months. I have had this proved by plants in my window boxes. So one need
not be in a hurry to pull up the frozen geraniums. My large stocky
plants I pack in dry goods boxes, filling in earth around the roots, and
put them in the cellar where they have little light. The pot plants,
also, are mostly put away so as to give all the available room to the
cuttings rooted in the summer, and the rare and tender plants that will
not live in a cellar. These cuttings make fine plants for bedding out in
May or June.

In the spring the large geraniums are brought up to the open air and
trimmed of their dead leaves, pruned of dead branches, and put in a
large bed with the Hybrid Perpetual Roses.



A Talk About Begonias.


My first Begonia was a Rex. It thrived for several years, and then to my
regret died, for it was quite a favorite with me. Its large leaves with
broad silvery belt and red dots, were very handsome. This species thrive
best in a Wardian case and are of rare beauty and size, grown under such
circumstances. A cool, moist atmosphere is the best for them; they burn
and shrivel exposed to the intense sunlight. They are easily multiplied
from the leaves. Cut the leaf so that a small portion of the stem will
remain, insert this in a pan of damp sand, laying the leaf out flat upon
the sand, upper side uppermost. It can be retained in place by bits of
stone or small pegs. Cuts must then be made in a number of places so as
to sever the veins, thus checking the flow of sap. A callus then forms
at the base of each piece of vein where severed, and just above it, a
bud starts out, and thus a new plant is formed. It is essential for
success, that there should be bottom heat, and that the air should be
moist. A bell glass is the best to put over the leaf, and if there is
danger that the air become too moist, the glass can be tilted up to
allow of an escape. The leaves best adapted for propagation are those
neither very young nor very old, but healthy and vigorous; yet that this
is not absolutely essential is shown by the experience of a lady who had
excellent success with a leaf that was some what decayed around the
edges, and for that reason was cut off and thrown away. Remembering
afterward that the plant was sometimes grown from pieces of a leaf, she
hunted it up, trimmed off the decayed portion, and planted it at the
foot of a tree, about half under ground, and pressed the soil firmly
around it. A few months afterward she had a nice little plant from it,
with its beautiful leaves unfolding finely.

[Illustration]

There are many varieties of the Rex family; some have brilliant colors
in their leaves, others are thickly covered with short hairs. These are
more difficult to manage, and require great care to preserve from dust,
as like all rough leaved plants, they do not enjoy spraying, as do
smooth leaved ones. It is well to set them out in a mild shower
occasionally. Tepid water is the best for watering.


BEGONIAS, NOT REX.

This class are the most generally cultivated, and they embrace a great
many varieties, which are specially distinguishable by the diversity of
their leaves. Most of them are one-sided, that is, they are larger on
one side of the mid-rib than on the other. Some have fern-like foliage,
others lobated. Some have large palmate leaves, others are spotted and
laced with white. As a class they are very beautiful for their foliage,
but when to this attraction is added beauty of flowers, it will be seen
at once that they are eminently deserving of the prominent position now
given them both in the open border and the window garden.

We will name for the benefit of amateurs some of the most desirable as
given by Mr. Vick: _Fuchsioides_, with its drooping scarlet flowers, is
one of the most desirable of the whole class; the leaves are small, and
of a dark green color, and the small, delicate brilliant flowers are
produced in great profusion. As a winter blooming sort it is
indispensable. _F. Alba_ bears white flowers. _Richardsonii_, a variety
with white flowers and deeply cleft palmate leaves, requires more heat
than the former, therefore well adapted to our warm rooms. _Subpeltata
nigricans_ has large, dark purple leaves, and bears clusters of large
rosy flowers, very ornamental. _Grandiflora rosea_, with light pink
flowers, and _Sandersonii_, scarlet flowers; _Weltoniensis_, of dwarf
habit and small dark green foliage, rich pink flowers, are all fine
winter bloomers. _Argyrostigma picta_ has long, thick leaves, with white
spots. _Metallica_, an elegant plant with bronzy green foliage, and
producing an abundance of pale peach-colored flowers, is of very recent
introduction. _Louis Schwatzer_ has a beautiful marked foliage in the
style of Rex, dwarf habit. _Mons. Victor Lamoine_, leaves marbled like
lace. _Glaucophylla Scandens_ is of quite recent introduction, and the
very best of all for a hanging basket. It is of a drooping habit, and
its bright glossy leaves are very handsome. It bears large panicles of
orange salmon flowers.


TUBEROUS ROOTED BEGONIA.

This is a class of quite recent origin, and differs from the more
general varieties, in that it has bulbous roots which can be taken up
and stored during the winter like Gladioli and Gloxinia bulbs. It has
larger flowers than the other species; red, orange, yellow, with
intermediate tints. A writer in the London _Garden_ says of them:

"The bulbous Begonias, mostly of the Boliviniensis and Veitchi sections
or families, may have also a brilliant future in the flower garden.
Meanwhile, their proper place seems to be in the conservatory,
greenhouse and window garden. For such positions it is well-nigh
impossible to match the bulbous-rooted Begonias for brilliancy, grandeur
and grace, three qualities seldom combined in the same plant. The plants
are also characterized by great distinctness and freshness of style and
character."

They are both double and single. Of the single flowered, the most
important sent out last year was _Davisii_. It is a native of the Andes
of Peru. Dwarf in habit, the leaves and flowers all springing from the
root stalk. "The scapes which rise erect above an elegant bluish green
foliage, are light red; each scape bears three dazzling scarlet flowers.
The plant is of very free growth, and a profuse bloomer." _Frobelii_, a
new species from Ecuador, said to be very attractive, producing, well
above the foliage, erect branches of large brilliant scarlet flowers;
the foliage is of bright green, furnished on the under side with a thick
covering of white hairs. _White Queen_, a very elegant variety with
numerous racemes of ivory white blossoms.

Of the new double flowered, _Glorie de Nancy_ is represented as a
magnificent variety, with large very double carmine flowers, and very
floriferous. _Louis Van Houtte_, flowers large, of a crimson scarlet
color; of fine habit, and a free bloomer.

"_Comtesse Horace Choeteau_, is an inch or more in diameter, very
double, and of a delicate, soft shade of rose; the young plant in a
three-inch pot presented a number of flowers and buds, indicating a good
blooming habit. As a double flower it is remarkably fine, the petals
being well formed, pretty smoothly laid and imbricated."--_James Vick._

The soil best adapted for Begonias is turfy loam, leaf-mold, sand, and
old well-rotted manure in equal parts. When growing, they require a
liberal supply of water, applied directly to the soil.

The Begonias are natives of the tropical countries of Asia, Africa, and
America, and most of them inhabit the mountainous regions at a
considerable elevation. They were first brought to notice and introduced
into cultivation about two hundred years ago by a French naval officer,
Michel Begon, from whom they derived their name.


GLOXINIA.

This bulbous plant is a native of the tropical region of South America,
and deserves a more general culture, for all the varieties of this
genus are very handsome, _magnificent_ is not too strong a term to apply
to many of them. They may be raised from seed by sowing early in spring
in a finely sifted soil of leaf mold and garden loam. But great care is
needful, and then one has to wait the following year for the flowers. It
is better to obtain the bulbs in the spring all started, then they will
bloom during the summer. Mine had several leaves, and I removed them
from the thumb pots to five-inch size, which I judged would be
sufficiently large for them. They need plenty of light and heat and
plenty of air. To prolong the flowering an occasional watering with
manure water should be given. In the autumn they must be gradually dried
off and the bulbs kept in a warm, dry place, secure from frost. They can
be potted any time from February to May. The bulb must be planted so
that its top will be level with the surface of the soil, and watered
sparingly until the leaves appear.

I will describe a few "superlatively beautiful." _Cinderella_, pure
white with pink band. _Brilliant_, bright crimson, margined with rose,
rich violet throat. _Rose d'Amour_, rose carmine, cream colored throat,
zone of cerise. _Nero_, dark purple, white throat. _Princess Royal_,
tube and edges white, throat mottled with dark blue. _Lamartine_, very
beautifully undulated, magnificent shape; white bordered rose limb,
veering to cochineal, marbled with white and elegantly veined with rose.
_Boule de Neige_, pure snowy white, an abundant bloomer. These are only
a few selections from the many, but sufficient to give you an idea of
the variety of colors.


TUBEROSE.

What flower can be whiter, sweeter, and more lovely than the Tuberose?
As the flowering bulbs can be bought for ten and fifteen cents,
according to size, no one need be without this charming flower. It is a
native of the East Indies, and was introduced into Europe more than two
hundred years ago. Until recently Italy grew the tubers for Europe and
America, but it has now been discovered that American grown tuberoses
are superior in quality to the imported, and many florists of Europe now
advertise them.

Here is a description of the tuberose, which appeared originally in a
volume entitled "_The Flower Garden Displayed_," published in England in
1732:

"This is a bulbous root, brought to us from Italy every year. It brings
a spike of white flowers on the top of a stalk about three feet high,
and is very sweet scented. The flower buds are a little tinted with a
lake or carmine color. We raise this by planting the roots in pots of
fine earth, and plunging them in hot beds in February or March; but give
them no water till they sprout, then we have this flower in July. Or
else set the roots in a warm border under a south wall, and they will
some of them flower in August and some in September, or this month or
the next. When these blossom you may pot them and set them into the
green-house, and some will even bloom in December."

Mr. Vick, from whose magazine we quote the foregoing, gives an engraving
copied from the work, showing the character of the tuberose as it was
nearly a century and a half ago. It represents a small single flower,
that would be lightly esteemed by us.

The flower stalk is from three to five feet in height, and bears from
twenty-five to eighty blossoms. The _Pearl_ is much the finest sort.
When the bulbs are obtained from the florist they have usually several
little tubers round the large one. These ought to be taken off and
placed in rich, mellow soil to the depth of four or five inches. They
must be cared for by keeping the earth loose and watering occasionally.
Before frost they should be lifted, their tops cut away, and then kept
in a dry, warm place during the winter. The strongest ones will usually
blossom in the autumn. But summer flowering bulbs are so cheap it seems
scarcely worth the trouble.

Will Tuberoses flower the second year, is a question frequently asked,
and usually answered in the negative, even by popular florists. A writer
in an English periodical, _Gardeners' Chronicle_, gives the following
facts:

"Last year, instead of throwing away all our plants when they had done
flowering, as is, I believe, customary, I saved back twelve plants, not
picked ones, which were placed under a stage in a late vinery, where
they remained until the end of April without receiving any water to the
roots, other than what they derived from the moisture of the house, by
which time most of them had thrown up their flower-spikes, which
proceeded from young tubers, formed immediately upon the top or crown of
the old ones, and from the union of which--when the plants had received
a thorough watering, and otherwise were subject to a growing
temperature--a profusion of roots emanated, after which the plants
received a suitable shift to a small 24. The spikes of these plants,
although not so strong or fine as those produced by tubers imported last
autumn, are nevertheless good, both in spike and each individual flower,
which, moreover, expanded in the most satisfactory manner possible, so
much so, that this and other seasons I intend to save all my tuberoses
for flowering the second year, and perhaps the third. I may here remark
for the information of the uninitiated in tuberose culture, that in
potting the tubers all little bulbets or offsets should be rubbed off,
and subsequently any suckers which may appear should be removed
forthwith, otherwise failure to flower these most beautifully scented
flowers will, in all probability be the result. The plant is of
comparatively easy and simple culture, and considering the value of the
tuberose while in flower, and its great suitability for bouquet-making,
etc., the wonder is that it is not more extensively cultivated in
private establishments as well as by market gardeners."

A gentleman writes me of a new method with Tuberoses; new to him, and
he says that in a large range of horticultural reading he has never seen
it mentioned nor heard of its being used except in the instance he
cites. He says: "I have grown Tuberoses for the past ten years with
varying success, but the main difficulty has been that so long a time
has been required in rooting and stocking them that the first frost
finds a large proportion of them just budding, or not commenced to
spindle. Had tried various places, hot-bed, furnace-room and hot-house,
and all the early spring months and December, but that made no
difference; they would not start until they got ready, and I lost many
bulbs from rotting. Two years ago, a friend who had had a similar
experience surprised me by showing me plants about the first of May with
fine tops that had been planted but three weeks, and the first of June
had stalks a foot high, while my bulbs which had been planted the first
of February, did not commence to sprout until June, although they had
been in a hot-house under favorable conditions.

"Now the reason simply was this: He had taken his bulbs and not only
pulled off all the small ones attached, but had dug out with a sharp
knife all the small eyes, and had cut off the whole of the tuberous
part, leaving only the bulb proper. This I tried on one-half my bulbs,
with the result that they were nearly two months earlier than those
planted the same time, that I did not cut. Although this seems to be
rather severe treatment of the bulb, it has given such good results that
I propose to continue the practice."

My own experience is that of late blooming. Of the dozen I planted in
the border in June, five were finely budded when taken up in September,
and have since bloomed. Two others had just begun to spindle, the others
with one exception look as though they would not stalk. Next year I
purpose to try this new method.



A Talk About Gladiolus.

    "Posthumous glories, angel-like collection,
      Upraised from seed or bulb interred in earth,
    Ye are to me a type of resurrection
                      And second birth."


It was my intention to devote this entire article to "Ornamental Foliage
Plants," but I think I will have a prelude, and my prelude may have no
more connection with my "talk" proper than Mr. Cook's preludes do with
his lecture proper, and I think that frequently the first is the most
interesting and important; and from the fact that in the published
reports much more space is afforded to the prelude than the lecture, I
opine that others are of the same opinion. "The Topic of the Hour,"
whatever may be the question just then stirring the public mind, is
usually chosen as the preface. The topic of the hour to-day has been a
bit of a sermon from the text, "And to every seed its own body," and the
lesson embodied was that of Faith. The preaching came from a package of
gladiolus bulbs, just received, and it run on this wise:

[Illustration]

Here are these dry bulbs, separately wrapped and labeled. They look
alike in color, and very nearly alike in form; some are rather more cone
shaped than others. One is larger and more flat. But there is nothing in
form nor size to show that they will not develop precisely the same form
and color of flower. I know that they will all reveal the leaf, habit of
growth, bud and bloom that distinguishes this species of plant from all
others, because I know that these are gladiolus bulbs, and every seed
hath its own body. A gladiolus bulb never yet produced a dahlia. A
tigridia or shell-flower bulb, though greatly resembling some gladiolus
bulbs, and its form of leaf is very similar, yet it never produces a bud
nor blossom like the gladiolus. The tigridia hath "its own body,"
peculiarly and exclusively its own. I have spoken thus far of
demonstrated facts--facts that have become to me a matter of personal
knowledge.

But now comes the lesson of _Faith_. I find each bulb bears a different
name. I take my catalogue and read the description against the name on
each label. Thus I am told what colors pertain to each bulb, inclosed,
shut up beyond my ken. Do I have any doubts respecting these
descriptions--that the distinguishing characteristics of each sort
before me will fail to correspond? Here is _Lord Byron_ and _Lord
Raglan_. How do I know that the former will be a brilliant scarlet,
stained and ribboned with pure white, while the latter will have salmon
colored blossoms, spotted with scarlet and blotched with dark garnet? I
do not _know_ this, for I have never seen it demonstrated, but I have an
_assured faith_ that in due time I shall behold those flowers true to
their assigned colors, and if there should be a failure I should
attribute it to the mistake of the labeler.

But why should these brown bulbs, so alike to outward view, bear flowers
so widely differing in hues? Why should _Cleopatra_ have a large flower
of soft lilac tinged with violet, and a purple feathered blotch, while
_Meteor_ is dark red with pure white stain? Why should _Nestor_ be
yellow striped with red, and _Addison_ dark amaranth, with white
stripes? Vainly would I seek by dissection to fathom the mystery of
these hidden diversified markings, but He who created this plant of
wondrous beauty gave to each "seed its own body," and thus we can plant
in faith--yea in full assurance of faith--that in due time our eyes will
behold all those varied tints now secreted in these bulbs before us.
Our seed sowing is all the work of Faith, and Hope looks beyond with
bright anticipations of the summer and autumn harvest.

The gladiolus is very easily cultured, and I have far better success in
keeping the bulbs through the winter than I have with the dahlia. The
tubers of the dahlia easily rot, on account of the dampness of the
cellar, though carefully dried and packed in sand. But the gladiolus
bulbs, without any special care, come out in fine condition. I like to
add a few new ones to my old standard stock, so as to have a variety of
colors, for few flowers make such a grand display in the flower garden,
and the spikes of bloom are admirable for bouquets, as the buds will
unfold day after day for a long time. The lower flowers on the stalk can
be removed as they fade. The flowers are very fine also for saucer or
shoal dish bouquets. I have a special liking for these. Fill the shallow
dish with water or sand--I prefer the latter kept constantly wet--then
arrange tastefully short stemmed flowers till they are a mass of bloom.
I first make a green border of geranium leaves, or some trailing vine.
Different shades of gladiolus flowers picked from the stalk are very
effective to set off the flowers not so striking. Where the season for
out-door culture is short, as it is here in Maine, it is best to get the
bulbs started in the house. Some do this by simply placing them in a
sunny window without covering. I always plant mine in a box.

The gladiolus can be raised from seed, but they are of slow growth, and
one has to wait till the third summer usually for their flowering. It is
far better to purchase the bulbs, then they bloom the first season, and,
except some of the rare sorts, multiply rapidly. Although novelties, and
some rare sorts are very expensive, $1.50, $2 and $3 for a single bulb,
yet very fine bulbs of choice colors can be obtained for that price _per
dozen_. In reply to the question, "What are the names of six of your
finest gladiolus not very expensive?" the reply is, "Calypso,
Cleopatra, Agatha, Eldorado, James Carter and Lord Byron." These six
cost but little more than $1. Of those more expensive the following are
very desirable: Addison, Eugene Scribe, Etenard, La France, Meyerbeer
and Rossini. These cost a little less than $3. Unnamed bulbs, a good
variety, can be bought for $1 per dozen of reliable florists.

Of the new varieties sent out the present season for the first time, are
the following raised during the past year by M. Souchet, M. Leomine and
other French growers, who have for years made the improvement of the
gladiolus a special study. They are said to be superior to any gladiolus
hitherto introduced. Aurore, Bremontier, Chameleon, Corinne, Dalila,
Eclair, Gulliver, Hermione, Lesseps, Tolma, Victor Jacquemont. The
descriptions represent them as superb, and they ought to be at the price
named, $4 per bulb! Some of us will have to wait till their novelty is
worn off.


NEW HYBRID GLADIOLUS.

_Lemoinei_ and _Marie Lemoine_. "These two varieties are Hybrids of
gladiolus purpureo-auratus, and are of the old garden varieties of
Gandavensis, and are now offered for the first time. In form they
approach the old Gladiolus Biperatus, the colors being creamy ground
with distinct markings of crimson-maroon, with lemon and salmon colored
cloudings. They have proved quite hardy and may be left out of doors
from year to year." Mr. Henry Cannell of Swanley, England, a florist of
world-wide reputation, says of those hardy Hybrids: "It is considered
both by professionals and the trade, that M. Leomine's greatest victory
was in crossing Gladiolus purpureo-auratus and gandavensis, two distinct
species, and at the time they were awarded first-class certificates, it
was thought by many that some higher and substantial recognition ought
to have been made for introducing a perfectly hardy constitution into
our glorious garden gladiolus, and saving the trouble of housing them
from frost every season."


GLADIOLUS PURPUREO-AURATUS.

This is a new species from Natal, quite distinct from the common species
of gladiolus and very attractive. On a slender, bending stem, which
rises to the height of three or four feet, are borne from eight to
twelve nodding flowers, somewhat bell-shaped in form, and yellow in
color, with broad purple stripes on the lower divisions within. Its
bulbs are small, and at the end of long runners numerous offsets are
produced which are more certain to flower the succeeding season than are
the old bulbs.


GLADIOLUS GANDAVENSIS.

This ancient type is a very ordinary flower, and it seems almost
incredible that such superb varieties should have been produced
therefrom by cross-fertilization. In the hands of the French florists it
has attained to the superior position it occupies to-day. More than
forty years ago Mons. Souchet, head gardener at the Château of
Fontainebleau, first called attention to this flower, and began its
improvement, and although some few other French florists, such as
Messrs. Courant, Berger, Lamoine, Verdier and others followed his
example, yet nearly all of the varieties now in commerce in France, are
of the raising of that now venerable and respected private citizen. His
successors, Messrs. Soulliard and Brunelet supply the great French
houses of Paris, by whom the bulbs are forwarded to all parts of the
world. About thirty years ago Mr. Kelway of Longport, in Somersetshire,
began his culture and hybridizing of the flower, and has built up an
immense business. He devotes fifteen acres to Gladiolus exclusively, and
the number of seedlings annually raised is 200,000. In 1879-80, Mr.
Kelway exhibited eighteen named seedlings which were severally awarded
first-class certificates as possessing striking original
characteristics. Of our own eminently successful growers, Messrs.
Hallock and Thorp of Queens, N. Y., take the lead. They devote over
seven acres to Gladiolus, and raise thousands of seedlings.


MODE OF CULTURE.

For diversity of color and general effect, either in masses, or in beds
of three or four rows, placing the bulbs one foot apart and three inches
deep. Mix a liberal supply of well-rotted manure with the soil, and if
clayey, use sand. As soon as the plants are sufficiently tall stake
them, and mulch with dressing.


The Use of Flowers.

    God might have made the earth bring forth
      Enough for great and small,
    The oak-tree and the cedar-tree,
      Without a flower at all.
    We might have had enough, enough,
      For every want of ours,
    For luxury, medicine, and toil,
      And yet have had no flowers.

    Then wherefore, wherefore, were they made,
      All dyed with rainbow light,
    All fashioned with supremest grace,
      Upspringing day and night;--
    Springing in valleys green and low,
      And on the mountains high,
    And in the silent wilderness,
      Where no man passes by?

    Our outward life requires them not,--
      Then wherefore had they birth?--
    To minister delight to man,
      To beautify the earth;
    To comfort man,--to whisper hope,
      Whene'er his faith is dim,
    For Who so careth for the flowers,
      Will care much more for him.

                          MARY HOWITT.



A Talk About Pelargoniums.

    "And so I hold the smallest flower
      Some gracious thought may be;
    Some message of the Father's love
      Mayhap to you or me."


Here we step on disputed ground. Are Geraniums Pelargoniums? Who shall
decide when florists disagree? There are eminent names on both sides of
the question. Mr. Henry Cannell of Swanley, England, a florist who
stands in the front rank, and whose name has become so widely known in
connection with _New Life_ Geranium, of which he was the originator,
jumbles up together under the head of Pelargoniums everything we on this
side of the water class under the head of Geraniums. A veritable muddle
he makes of the matter--that is our private opinion--we whisper it to
you confidentially. Here is our yellow Zonal _Guinea_; our best scarlet
bedder, _Gen. Grant_, and _Wellington_, and _Mrs. Pollock_, and _Happy
Thought_, all called Pelargoniums, and yet are quite unlike in leaf and
flower what we Americans denominate a Pelargonium; and, to avoid
confusion, it is certainly advisable for us to adhere to our established
distinctiveness. We quote from the _Gardener's Chronicle_ of January 3d,
1880, a sensible talk on this subject, to which Mr. Cannell takes
exceptions: "Pelargoniums and Geraniums--I think it would be as well to
settle by authority the exact names of those flowers that seem to be
indiscriminately called Pelargoniums and Geraniums. Botany has been
described as the 'science of giving polysyllabic barbarian Greek names
to foreign weeds;' but while some plants, Abies Mariesii for instance,
are most carefully described, others, as Geraniums, seem to be called by
names that do not belong to them, but to quite a different flower. I
notice, both in your letter-press and advertisement, mention made of
Zonal Pelargoniums; now I should certainly decline to receive Geraniums
if I ordered Pelargoniums. I am old enough to remember that we had a
parti-colored green-house flower of a violet shape that was called a
Geranium, then came a lot of hardy-bedding-out stuff with a truss of red
flowers, all of one color, followed by _Tom Thumbs_ and _Horseshoes_
which grow nicely out of door. Then we were told that we must no longer
call those green-house plants _Geraniums_, that their right and proper
name was Pelargoniums, and that those bedding-out plants were, strictly
speaking, Geraniums. Now, however, the old name Geranium seems to be
dropped for both, and the new name Pelargonium given to both, surely
erroneously! Let us, however, have it fairly settled which is which, so
that we may clearly and distinctly know what we are talking about, and
not make mistakes either in writing or talking, in sending to shows, or
in ordering plants."--_James Richard Haig, Blair Hill, Sterling._

We will now give a part of a lecture delivered last spring before a
Pelargonium Society in London, by Shirley Hibberd, a delightful writer
on Horticulture, says Mr. Vick, from whose magazine we quote the
following:

"A Pelargonium is not a Geranium, although often so called. The true
Geraniums are for the most part herbaceous plants inhabiting the
northern hemisphere, and the Pelargoniums are for the most part shrubby
or sub-shrubby plants of the southern hemisphere. Let us for a moment
wander among the pleasant slopes of Darley dale in Derbyshire, or by the
banks of the Clyde or the Calder. We shall in either case be rewarded by
seeing vast sheets of the lovely meadow Crane's Bill, Geranium pratense,
a true Geranium, and one of the sweetest flowers in the world. In the
rocky recesses of Ashwood Dale, or on the banks of the 'bonny Doon,' we
may chance to see in high summer a profusion of the Herb Robert,
Geranium Robertianum, with pink flowers and purple leaves, a piece of
true vegetable jewelry. And, once more, I invite you to an imaginary
journey, and we will ride by rail from Furness to Whitehaven, in order
to behold on the railway bank, more especially near St. Bees, a
wonderful display of the crimson Crane's Bill, Geranium sanguineum,
which from July to September, forms solid sheets, often of a furlong in
length, of the most resplendent color. No garden coloring can even so
much as suggest the power of this plant as it appears at a few places on
the Cumberland coast; even the sheets of scarlet poppies we see on badly
cultivated corn lands are as nothing compared with these masses of one
of the most common and hardiest of our wild flowers.

"Now let us fly to the other side of the globe and alight in the
vicinity of the Cape of Good Hope, say on the vast desert of Karroo,
where there is much sand, much sunshine, and little rain. Here, in the
midst of desolation, the world is rich with flowers, for the healthy
shrub that occurs in patches, glowing with many bright hues, consists in
part of wild Pelargoniums, which often take the form of miniature
deciduous trees, although in the valleys, nearer the coast, where more
rain falls, they are evergreen bushes.

"Very different in their character are these two tribes of plants, and
they are not less different in their constitution and aspects. We may
regard the Geraniums as herbs of Europe, and the Pelargoniums as
miniature trees of Africa. When we examine the flowers, we find the fine
petals of a true Geranium of precisely the same shape and size; but the
fine petals of a Pelargonium are not so, for sometimes the topmost are
the largest, and stand apart from the rest with great dignity, like
mother and father looking down on their dutiful daughters, and in other
cases they are the smallest, suggesting that the daughters have grown
too fast and become unmanageable. The florists are doing their utmost to
obliterate the irregularity of the petals of the Pelargonium, and in
this respect to convert Pelargoniums into Geraniums, but the conversion
will not be complete until much more wonderful things are accomplished.
A Geranium has ten stamens, and a Pelargonium has only seven (perfect
ones). These numbers are not constant, but the exceptions are of no
consequence in a general statement of the case.

"When all is said that can be said about the differences and
resemblances of the several genera of Geraniaceæ, there remains only one
constant and unfailing test of a true Pelargonium, and that is the
nectariferous tube immediately below the flower, and running down one
side of the flower-stalk. If you hold the pedicel up to the light, it
may be discerned as giving an indication of a double flower-stalk, but
when dissected with a pin or the point of a knife, it is found to
proceed from the base of the largest of the green sepals, and it often
appears to form a sort of digit or point in the line of the pedicel.
When you have mastered this part of the story, you may cherish the idea
that you know something about Pelargoniums.

"The large flowered show varieties and the large-flowered single Zonals
take the lead, and they are pleasantly followed by a crowd of
ivy-leaved, double-flowered and variegated sorts that are useful and
beautiful. The Pelargonium Society has set up a severe standard of
judging, and a variety must be distinct and good to pass through the
sieve. Moreover the raising of varieties has been to a great extent
reduced to scientific principles, and we obtain as a result new
characters suggestive of the great extent of the field that still lies
open to the adventurous spirit in cross-breeding. No one in recent years
has contributed more directly toward the scientific treatment of the
subject than our own painstaking Treasurer, Dr. DENNY, of whose labors I
propose to present a hasty sketch.

"Dr. DENNY commenced the raising of Pelargoniums in the year 1866,
having in view to ascertain the influence of parentage, and thus to
establish a rule for the selection of varieties for seed-bearing
purposes. In raising varieties with variegated leaves, as also with
distinct and handsome flowers, he found the pollen parent exercised the
greatest influence on the offspring. The foundation of his strain of
circular-flowered Zonals was obtained by fertilizing the large starry
flowers of Leonidas with pollen taken from the finely formed flowers of
Lord Derby. From 1871 to the present time Dr. DENNY has sent out sixty
varieties, and he has in the same period raised and flowered, and
destroyed about 30,000. These figures show that when the selection is
severe, and nothing is allowed to pass that is not of the highest
quality, there must be 500 seedlings grown for the chance of obtaining
one worth naming."

We have devoted a good deal of space to this citation because of its
interest and value on the question at issue. Mr. Hibberd has, we think,
made the matter very clear, and conclusive it must be to the most of
minds. Pelargoniums are divided into classes, though we rarely see any
classifications of them in the catalogues.


REGAL PELARGONIUMS

Are comparatively a new type, and from the fact of their having more
scalloped petals, somewhat approaching a double; they retain their
petals instead of shedding them as do the single show flowers. The
Beauty of Oxton and Queen Victoria, novelties of very recent
introduction, belong to this class. We had them in bloom last year and
thought them very fine. The Beauty of Oxton has the upper petals of a
very rich maroon color, darkly blotched; under petals very dark crimson,
shaded with maroon; light center tinted with rose. All the petals are
attractively and regularly margined with white and beautifully fringed.
The flowers are large and the extra number of petals gives them the
appearance of being semi-double.

Queen Victoria is of a very novel type and marvelously beautiful. The
flowers have crispy petals, all of which are a rich vermilion in color,
broadly margined with white, and the upper ones blotched with maroon.
The "Show and Fancy Pelargoniums" have what the florists term
"blotches," i.e. large spots on the two upper petals, and "spots" which
mean the darker marks upon the center of the lower ones. The Lady of the
Lake belongs to this class. Lower petals orange-rose painted with
crimson, very dark maroon top petals with a narrow, even crimson edge,
white center. Prince Charlie is very unique in its markings. Color white
elegantly tipped, with rose-violet blotches.


FRINGED AND STRIPED PELARGONIUMS.

This is a very handsome class of which there are many new varieties.
Princess of Wales we had last summer. It has elegant frilled petal
margins; flower trusses large size and borne in profusion well above the
foliage; ground color pure blush, each petal alike marked with a rich
dark velvet crimson-scarlet margined blotch.

Star of the East resembles the Princess of Wales in growth and profusion
of bloom, but with larger flowers, of pure white ground. The petals are
elegantly fringed, the upper ones marked with a rich crimson spot, and
the under ones elegantly penciled with violet-colored lines. These are
among the novelties of recent introduction.


HYBRID PERPETUAL PELARGONIUMS.

A class of distinct habit, free bloomers, mostly fragrant foliage, good
for bedding out. Of these we have only had Madame Glevitsky of Bavarian
origin. Color, upper petals a fine vermilion, veined and spotted with
purple, under petals vermilion.

We were much pleased with Pelargonium Filicifolia Odorata for its finely
cut leaves of a Fern-like appearance and pleasing fragrance.

Our specimens of the various classes were from the extensive and superb
collection of Mr. John Saul, of Washington, D. C. Among them was one
which originated in his establishment and was named for his wife. It
belongs to the "Regal" class. The habit is compact and very free
flowering, producing large trusses of flowers the color of which is a
rich glowing vermilion, with light center and light margin to the
petals.

We are indebted to Mr. John G. Heinl for specimen plants of two "New
Monthly Pelargoniums," now offered for the first time to the general
public. Of the origin of one, _Fred Dorner_, we have this account given
in a letter to Mr. Heinl, from Fred Dorner, Esq., of Lafayette. Mr.
Dorner says:

"Six years ago I undertook to grow some Pelargoniums from seed. I
procured some very choice seed of Ernest Benary of Erfust. The seedlings
grew finely. About midwinter one commenced to bloom, and to my
astonishment kept on blooming for ten months, during which period it was
never without flowers. The plants grew to a good size and at one time I
counted forty-seven good-sized trusses on it. The winter and
everblooming quality, with the large and beautifully colored flowers,
makes this Pelargonium a great acquisition to the amateur as well as the
florist. I have seen here in Lafayette plants in windows blooming all
winter, and it is acknowledged here to be the best and easiest kept
house and window plant, blooming from nine to ten months in the year."

_Freddie Heinl_ originated with Mr. John G. Heinl, who says it is a
sport from _Fred Dorner_; it is lighter-colored and the flowers are
somewhat larger. That these are both a rare acquisition is evident from
the testimony of such florists as Mr. John Thorp of Queens, and Mr.
Henry A. Dreer of Philadelphia. Mr. Thorp says, "There are no
Pelargoniums equal to them and they have a decided right to be called
perpetual." Three months later he writes: "I am more than ever impressed
with their superiority over any perpetual blooming varieties, and they
must take foremost rank." Mr. Dreer says: "The Pelargoniums have proven
very satisfactory. They flowered during the greater part of the summer,
and are now full of buds."

The colored lithograph, which Mr. Heinl says is a good representation,
shows them to be very beautiful. We should think that to call a plant so
dissimilar in foliage and flower a Geranium, would be a misnomer, why
not equally such to call a Geranium a Pelargonium?


MODE OF CULTURE.

As we have seen by Mr. Hibberd's address, the Pelargonium's native home
is on arid plains where there is much sand, much sunshine and little
rain, so that they are chiefly dependent on heavy dews for moisture. To
plant them in heavy soil, give them a sheltered situation and liberal
and frequent watering, would be a mode of treatment directly the reverse
of what they require. In the cultivation of all plants we should as far
as possible adapt them to their native conditions. One skilled amateur
says his rule is to let the earth in the pots become thoroughly dry
before watering, and always to give a period of rest after blooming.
Another, a lady, said she never had any success with Pelargoniums until
she gave them a heavy period of rest after blooming. In the spring, when
putting her plants out of doors, she laid the pots containing
Pelargoniums on their sides, and let them remain perfectly dry until
fall. She then took the plants out of the pots, shook the soil from the
roots, and scrubbed them well with a hard brush and water. The
old-looking roots were cut off and the top trimmed down to six or eight
inches in height. They were then repotted in rich earth and watered very
moderately till they started into full growth, and after that more
freely. With this treatment they never fail to bloom.

A young physician who raised many extraordinarily fine varieties of
Pelargoniums from seed, in stating his mode of culture, said that _his_
practice was to re-pot large plants whenever they seemed in danger of
being pot-bound. The mold he used was made up of black earth from under
a manure heap, and a little stiff clay to retain the water. After the
plants were done flowering, they were trimmed rather close, and with
regard to probable places of sprouting. They were then placed in partial
shade, and all shoots found straying out of symmetry were pinched off.
His large plants were kept moist till after bloom, and then rather
dry.--_Floral Cabinet._

We have given these methods so that if not successful with one, another
can be adopted.



The Rhodora.

LINES ON BEING ASKED, WHENCE IS THE FLOWER?

    In May, when sea-winds pierced our solitudes,
    I found the fresh Rhodora in the woods,
    Spreading its leafless blooms in a damp nook,
    To please the desert and the sluggish brook;
    The purple petals fallen in the pool,
      Made the black waters with their beauty gay,--
    Here might the red-bird come his plumes to cool,
      And court the flower that cheapens his array.

    Rhodora! if the sages ask thee why
    This charm is wasted on the marsh and sky,
    Dear, tell them, that if eyes were made for seeing,
    Then beauty is its own cause for being.
    Why thou wert there, O rival of the Rose!
      I never thought to ask; I never knew,
    But in my simple ignorance suppose
      The selfsame Power that brought me there, brought you.

                                      RALPH WALDO EMERSON.



A Talk About Fuchsias.

A LEGEND OF THE FUCHSIA, FROM VICK'S MAGAZINE.

    A legend of this little flower,
      I heard not long ago;
    'Tis this, that when upon the cross
      The sinless Saviour died,
    And soldier with his cruel spear
      Had pierced his precious side,
    The holy drops flowed to his feet,
      Then fell upon the sod,
    When Mary knelt and wept for Him,
      Her son, and yet her God;
    An angel who was hovering near,
      Thus breathed a prayer to heaven:
    "Oh, Father, let them not be lost,
      These drops so freely given,
    But in some form of beauty still,
      Let them remain on earth,
    And here upon this rugged hill,
      Give some sweet floweret birth."
    Then, forth from the ensanguined sod,
      A Fuchsia sprang that morn,
    Rich crimson, dyed with Christian blood,
      Wrapped in his "robe of scorn,"
    Drooping in sorrow, still it bows
      Ever its graceful head;
    Shivering in the slightest breeze--
      Trembling in fear and dread;
    For the dark shadow of the cross
      Can ne'er forgotten be,
    Where all the perfume of its breath
      Was spent on Calvary.
    Yes, offering its rich fragrance there,
      As incense at His feet,
    The Fuchsia, though so beautiful,
      Can never be more sweet.


ITS HISTORY AND CULTURE.

The Fuchsia was introduced into England in the latter half of the last
century by a sailor, at whose home it was discovered by Mr. James Lee, a
florist of Hammersmith, who secured the original plant by paying quite a
sum of money for it, and in addition promising to give to the sailor's
wife one of the first young plants he would succeed in raising. In a
short time he succeeded in producing several hundred nice plants, nearly
all of which were sold at a guinea each. Shortly after this a captain
Firth presented one that he had brought from Chili to the Royal Garden
at Kew. The plant was named in honor of Leonard Fuch, an eminent German
Botanist, who lived in the 16th century. The varieties in cultivation
to-day are vast improvements. One of the early varieties was called
_Fulgens_. We recollect seeing this variety some four or five years ago,
and could not refrain from comparing it with a number of varieties
lately introduced. The flower may be described as follows: A slender
crimson tube two inches in length; sepals narrow, one-half inch; in
color a shade lighter than the tube; the corolla purple; in size very
small compared with the varieties of the present time. This variety is a
strong grower, large foliage which has a silvery appearance. Thus we can
have a slight idea of that from which have been produced the beauties of
our time; thus can we see what a skillful florist can do when he has
something to begin with. Some of the varieties of the Fuchsia are hardy
in England as well as in some parts of our own country. A traveler
informs us that he has seen them in California trained over arbors and
to the houses just as we train grape vines here, and growing most
luxuriantly. They grow in favor very rapidly wherever introduced, and it
was but a short time after they became known we find the Poet eulogizing
them in these lines--

    "Graceful flowers on graceful stem,
    Of Flora's gift a favorite gem;
    From tropic fields it came to cheer,
    The natives of a climate drear;
    And grateful for our fostering care,
    Has learnt the wintry blast to bear."

While some flowers have been extremely popular for a season, and then
have sunk into comparative obscurity, the popularity of the Fuchsia has
never waned, but on the contrary has continually been on the increase
until now it occupies a prominent place in every collection of plants,
be that collection large or small. There is a cause for this popularity,
and that cause is, it is of easy culture and produces its flowers
freely, often under adverse circumstances. The Fuchsia is readily
propagated by cuttings of the young wood. These will root in from two to
three weeks, when they should be potted in rich soil, say one-half
garden soil or loam enriched with well-rotted manure, and one-half leaf
soil, with a little sand added to make the compost very porous. From the
time the plant is first potted it should never be allowed to become so
dry as that the growth will be checked. The great secret of growing
Fuchsias successfully is to _keep them growing_. In order to do this we
must provide for them a rich soil, an abundance of pot-room and a moist
atmosphere. If you wish to grow large specimen plants the cuttings
should be struck (that is rooted), early in the season. This will allow
a longer period for them in which to make their growth before the season
for blooming arrives; by keeping the plants supplied with plenty of
pot-room the time of blooming will be somewhat retarded, and if on the
other hand we desire to have the plants in bloom as early as possible we
allow plenty of pot-room during the early part of the growing season,
after which we allow the pots to become pretty well filled with roots,
and abundance of beautiful pendulous flowers will be the result.

As house or window plants the Fuchsias are very popular. The variety
_Speciosa_ will bloom very freely during the winter. During the summer
months they should be protected from the direct rays of the sun, and
kept well syringed. As bedding plants their utility is limited, as they
must be planted in a shaded position. A bed of them in such a position
makes a pleasant appearance, and in this way they are easily kept
through the hottest part of the year. They may be bedded out, or may be
allowed to remain in the pots and the pots plunged in the garden. In
this latter way they will need additional care, as they must not be
allowed to suffer for want of water. If it is desirable to keep the old
plants another year they may be removed to the house or cellar, and kept
cool and dry until toward spring, when they can be repotted in fresh
soil, watered scantily, and started into growth and pruned or trained to
any desired shape or form.--_The Floral World._

The foregoing article so fully and clearly stated all that was essential
respecting the culture of the Fuchsia, that we have transferred it
entire instead of writing something original. We need now only add a few
things respecting some choice varieties and recent novelties. "_Champion
of the World_ has the largest blooms of any Fuchsia; the tubes are
short; sepals very broad and of great substance, well reflexed, and of a
most beautiful coral red; the foot-stalk of each bloom is of unusual
length and strength, so that each flower stands out bold and graceful.
Corolla of immense size, and as it expands forms two-thirds of a perfect
ball. Color is of the most intense bright dark purple. Free tall grower,
and for conservatory decoration is one of the most remarkable Fuchsias
for size ever yet sent out."--_H. Cannell._

The illustration of this Fuchsia in Mr. Cannell's _Floral Guide_
measures two and one-third inches in diameter, and yet we are told that
when well grown, the _Champion_ produces much larger bloom than the
engraving. It has four rows of petals, and looks round and full like a
pink. _Bland's New Striped_ is of the single class, but the corolla is
very large, of a rich plum-colored purple, regular and distinctly
striped red and rose, pyramidal shape, habit strong.

Of the Hybrid variegated Fuchsias, _Sunray_ is by far the best with red
variegated leaves ever sent out; it is very ornamental. _Pillar of Gold_
is a very showy variety with yellow leaves. Among the novelties in
color, we find mention of _Aurora Superba_; tube and sepals rich salmon,
corolla large and spreading of a distinct orange scarlet highly suffused
with yellow, fine habit and free bloomer. _Polyhymnia_ is a dwarf
yellow.

Of _Lord Beaconsfield_, Mr. Cannell says: "One of the strongest and most
conspicuous blooming varieties ever sent out, and one of the very best
for sale and decoration; flowers neither good shape nor color, but
produced in very large clusters and blooms nearly all the year if
allowed plenty of root room."

This Fuchsia originated with Mr. John Laing, Stanstead Park Nursery,
Forest Hill, near London, and is a cross between Fuchsia Fulgens and one
of the modern varieties known as "Perfection." It was exhibited at some
of the meetings of the Royal Horticultural Society first, as Laing's
Hybrid, in 1875 or 1876. It much resembles the old Speciosa, but is more
free blooming even than that, and its flowers are twice as large.

Kingsburyana, figured in Mr. Cannell's _Floral Guide_--which comes to us
from Swanley, England--is very large and double. "It is another addition
to the double white corolla class, and is remarkable for its fine
vigorous growth and large showy flowers; its corolla is particularly
novel and beautiful."

Mrs. H. Cannell, named for the florist's wife by Swaffield, its
originator, "was one of the greatest lifts in bringing the double white
corolla to perfection," and has given great satisfaction in this
country. We have never seen one so beautiful, but Mr. C. E. Allen who
has a large collection, including those rare gems from across the water,
we have named, says: "_Snow White_ is the very best double white Fuchsia
ever sent out. A fine, erect grower, and a remarkably free and early
bloomer. Sepals coral red. Superior to Miss Lucy Finnis in that it is of
a stronger habit. Have none now in bloom." Among the fine specimen
blooms of the dark purple type sent us by Mr. Allen, we think _Elm City_
the gem for size, richness of color--a double dark purple striped with
scarlet, sepals scarlet-crimson--and compact form. The _Swanley Gem_ is
of a peculiar shape, single, very open bell-shape corolla, "frilled" Mr.
Cannell calls it, rose color with tube and sepals coral scarlet, the
latter are very prettily reflexed.

We began our list with the _Champion_--the largest known--we will end it
with the tiniest, _Microphylla_, the whole plant, flowers and leaves are
Liliputian among the Fuchsias.


FUCHSIAS IN THE ISLE OF MAN.

Here these are truly wonderful; they grow up the house fronts, and grow
into large trees, so large that you can have a tea-party around the bole
of the trees. They are also grown for hedges and kept nicely clipped,
and with their bright green leaves and scarlet flowers look cheerful and
refreshing. The winds and the spray from the sea do not in the least
affect them.--_The Garden._

Mr. Vick, in his Magazine says: "Once when in Europe, we saw at Ventnor,
in the Isle of Wight, a Fuchsia tree, perhaps twenty feet or more in
height, with a trunk full fifteen inches in diameter. The editor of the
_Flore des Serres_ of Belgium, in writing of this tree, says it is
doubtless the largest specimen in Europe, but is only a baby compared
with specimens the editor has seen in South America. Seeing our notice
of this tree, Mr. NICHOLLS of Sharon Springs, N. Y., wrote us that he
had "seen Fuchsias in the Isle of Jersey, in the English Channel, thirty
feet in height, and there are hundreds there from twenty to twenty-five
feet."


PROPAGATING FUCHSIAS.

We have found the most effective method to be by placing the cuttings in
a bottle of water, and keeping them in a sunny window, but the following
method is said to be practiced by cottagers in the west of England: "In
the autumn, after the frost has destroyed the foliage, the wood of the
present season is cut off close to the ground and laid like a sheaf of
corn in a trench a foot deep. The bundle is covered with a few inches of
soil, and here it remains until spring, when a multitude of young shoots
may be seen pushing their way through. The soil is then carefully moved,
and with a sharp knife a cut is made each side of a joint, and the
result is rooted plants enough for the parish. The old stool throws up
more vigorously than before, to be served in the same way the following
autumn."



A Talk About Coleuses.


BY ONE OF THEMSELVES.

Only a few years ago, not one of the Coleus family had a place in the
gardens of Europe and America, and I have been told that in our absence
gardeners depended chiefly upon plants with showy flowers for
ornamenting their gardens and grounds. When some of my remote relatives
were introduced, numerous were the surmisings as to what place they
should occupy amongst cultivated plants. This was especially so in the
case of Perilla Nankinensis, a plant of most sombre hue, but so striking
withal as to attract general attention. Some looked upon it as the
forerunner of a class of plants destined to play an important part in
the future, whilst others regarded it as a vile weed. Nevertheless,
considerable attention was bestowed upon its cultivation for a time; but
ultimately became so neglected as to be met with chiefly as a garden
weed. This may have been owing in some measure to the introduction of
Coleus Blumei, which species was regarded with greater favor, and at
once took a place which it held fairly well for a time, or until he
whose name I bear obtained from it varieties so novel and brilliant in
color, as to entitle them to rank high amongst the time-honored
favorites of the garden. From the most reliable information, I infer
that this species at least is one of my immediate ancestors, and whether
I owe as much of kinship to any other, has not been made known. But this
I do know, from the day I was first introduced to the public, in my
chocolate and violet colored suit until the present time, I have been
praised as few plants have been. But being neither envious nor vain, I
have desired the company of those whose colors are brighter than my own,
as variety in harmony gives greater satisfaction than any one can singly
bestow. Some of the older varieties are well fitted to produce this
effect, and none more so, perhaps, than my old friends Aurea Marginata,
and Golden Circle; but the majority of their class either lack
expression, or are so delicately constituted as to become perfect
"frights" when planted out of doors.

[Illustration: DREER'S NEW HYBRID COLEUSES.]

During my time, many varieties with excellent characters when in my
company, have performed their parts but poorly, whilst others have had
enough to do to keep up a doubtful reputation. It was with pleasure,
therefore, I hailed the arrival of a fresh set from England a short time
ago, headed by George Bunyard, who, with his companions were so highly
spoken of, that I hoped one or more of them would prove of service to
me. But this hope has not been realized, and to-day, for all of them, I
am as destitute of support as I was before their arrival. Poor George,
after being much in his company for a season, it is only fair to say, he
performed his part so poorly that I hope, for the credit of both, we
shall never meet again under similar circumstances.

What the incoming season may bring forth, yet remains to be seen, but at
present the prospects are good for a grand display, as a new order of
aspirants are being marshaled for duty, whose merits, some say, are such
as to eclipse the old members of our family, and even take from me the
honors I have enjoyed so long. Should their claim be well founded, I
shall surrender my right to the first place without regret, and be even
glad to take any subordinate place I may be deemed competent to fill.
But should they fail to meet the expectations thus produced, it will be
my duty to remain at my post until such time as new varieties are found,
regarding whose merits there can be no doubt.

Be it understood that what has been said about my associates has
reference only to them as bedders; for it is well known, many varieties
when grown under glass, and partially shaded from the glare of sunshine,
possess greater brilliancy and beauty than I lay claim to. For this
reason, I think those so constituted as to require the protection of a
green-house, should be sparingly, if at all, planted out of doors, and
the outside department exclusively occupied by such as attain their
greatest perfection in free air and the full tide of sunlight.

Before closing this monologue, I am forced to say a word in behalf of a
plant seemingly possessed of extraordinary capacity for the work in
which I excel. I refer to Acalypha Macaffeana, the leaves of which are
large and finely formed; color, reddish-brown, and irregularly blotched
with bright shades of crimson. When fully exposed to sunlight, it looks
as if "on fire through all its length," and being much more stately than
myself, might form the central figure in a group of Coleus or other
plants with the greatest acceptance.--VERSCHAFFELTII, in _Gardeners
Monthly_.

We do not know who is the author of this very interesting autobiography
of an old and popular Coleus. The florist for whom it was named, M.
Nuytans Verschaffelt, was the adopted son of the late Jean Verschaffelt,
of whose nursery near Ghent, he was the manager, and to which he
succeeded on the death of the proprietor. M. Nuytans was a very
distinguished and highly esteemed horticulturist; he was an active
member of the Royal Agricultural and Botanical Society of Ghent and
Chevalier of the Order of Philip the Magnanimous. He died June, 1880, in
the forty-fourth year of his age.

There has been a remarkable progress in the development of the Coleus
since the introduction of Blumei, but the two past years have been more
distinguished than any previous ones by the originating of many new and
beautiful hybrids. Pre-eminent among these are "Dreer's Set of
Tri-colored Coleus," fifteen varieties; "Queensland Set," fifteen
varieties, and "Queensland Set of Dwarfs," ten varieties. Mr. Henry A.
Dreer says of them: "These varieties which it is a pleasure to offer,
have originated in our nursery grounds during the past summer, were
selected from perhaps six thousand seedlings excelling in point of
color, variety, habit and novelty, and we feel safe in predicting for
them a future that leaves nothing wanting in this class of plants."

Mr. Dreer is sustained in his statement by the verdict of many of the
leading florists who visited them, and the committees of the Cincinnati,
Philadelphia and New York Horticultural Societies, the summer and autumn
before they were offered to the public.

In the February number of the _Gardeners Monthly_, a lady asks some of
the correspondents who have tried the new Coleuses, to report thereon,
whether as brilliant as their illustrated types, and if they retain
their colors in bedding out. We will give the replies from the March
number.

J. R. H., Richmond, Va., says: "In response to the query of Mrs. R. B.
Edson about Dreer's New Hybrid Coleus, I take pleasure in giving my
experience with regard to their hardiness in the summer sun. As the
summers in our city are extremely dry and hot, I think it a very fair
trial of them.

"When I received my box of Coleus from Mr. Dreer and opened it, the
first thought was that I was swindled nicely, while I at once perceived
that they were of an entirely new type of Coleus, but considered their
colors very ugly indeed, and quite different from the colored sheet in
his catalogue. However, I determined to give them a trial before
expressing my opinion. I put them in the hottest place I could find,
determined to get out of them all the 'come out,' should there be any,
and to my utter surprise, their colors changed so rapidly and
beautifully, that after a lapse of two weeks, I could scarcely believe
they were the same plants. I so much liked them I determined they should
have a prominent place in my garden, and accordingly planted them in my
border where they did not miss the sun at all while it shone. They grew
off at once with the old colors (as when received), which discouraged me
again, when to my surprise, about the middle of June, they began to
show their bright colors again, and in three weeks they were the
brightest and prettiest Coleuses I have ever seen, and remained so with
a continual growth until they were killed by the frost.

"I must confess I never saw plants resemble as much the colored plates
of their likeness, as did my Coleus; just like the plate with the
exception of the fine gloss, which of course I did not expect. It seemed
that the hotter the atmosphere was the brighter they looked, and have
stood the sun about twenty per cent better than the older varieties.
They have given me more pleasure than any set of new plants I have ever
received. I consider them the greatest acquisition I have known in the
soft-wooded class of plants. While there is quite a similarity in the
tri-colored set, it is not at all an objection. The only objections to
any of them are that Amabilis and Mrs. E. B. Cooper, while very rank
growers, are exceedingly ugly, and Superbissima entirely worthless. It
will not grow, I don't care what I do with it. Some seedlings that I
have raised from them are very richly colored, and I think them much
prettier than their parents, though I have not had a chance to test
their qualities in the summer."

We regret that the writer did not give the names of those Coleus he so
much admired as well as those which are "exceedingly ugly" and "entirely
worthless." We can report the same lack of success with Superbissima. It
would not grow one bit, but remained stationary several months, and then
died.

Mr. E. L. Koethens reports from a large collection: "For bedding these
are the chosen ones, Gracilliana, Miss R. Kirkpatrick, Superbissima, and
above all, Speciosa. But for inside culture, many of the new ones are
unsurpassed for beauty in any class of decorative plants. Here again
Speciosa and Miss R. Kirkpatrick of Dreer's set, lay claims to
attention, and his Amabilis is attractive for its free blooming
properties. Fairy is also conspicuous, and Beacon takes the place of
Superbissima indoors, but Zephyr, in my opinion crowns them all as a
foliage plant for indoor culture; a single head often measuring ten
inches across, with a rich bronzy-brown color. The above are all
valuable acquisitions and should be in every collection."

Mrs. M. D. Wellcome thus writes: "Mrs. R. B. Edson in her charming
'Garden Notes and Gossip,' asks that some of the correspondents who have
tried the new Coleus, Dreer's and Henderson's new sets, report thereon.
I have not tried Henderson's, and only six of Dreer's, so I am not
prepared to report very fully. But I wish to make special mention of
Miss Ritta Kirkpatrick, which looks like the picture only it is
handsomer. It is the one represented by a large leaf, creamy white
center, broad, green lobed margin. It was a wee plant when it came to me
in early spring, but it very rapidly outgrew the other five, branching
out finely, so that I began in June to take slips from it, and have
continued to do this each month to the present time. I should think I
had rooted full thirty cuttings, and the original plant, which has been
beheaded on three of its branches, has now twenty-eight that would I
think all make very nice plants, if treated as were the others. I rooted
them all in sand, kept constantly wet, and exposed nearly all day to the
rays of the sun. I never saw anything so quickly take root and so
rapidly grow as did those cuttings. At one time I kept half a dozen
about two months in the pure sand, till they were fine large plants,
with a great mass of roots. They can be removed from the sand to pots of
earth without retarding their growth. I always allow the particles which
adhere to remain in transplanting. This Coleus is a special favorite
with me. Fairy, foliage yellow and green, blotched with crimson-scarlet,
and Charm, yellow, tinged with bronzy scarlet, stained with dark brown;
green deeply serrated margin, were very beautiful in the open ground,
and from these I rooted also in sand several very fine cuttings. But
the original plants did not grow rapidly. I think the Coleus adds much
to the attraction of the border, but it is for the winter window-garden
they are specially valuable."

These new Hybrids have stood the test of a year's trial, and three
varieties exhibited at the June meeting of the Royal Horticultural
Society, London, carried off the highest prize for this class of plants,
and received very flattering newspaper notices. In Mr. Dreer's catalogue
for 1881, he has selected twenty-four which he calls the cream of those
New Hybrids. Superbissima is included, while Zephyr is omitted.
Kirkpatrick is among them, we are happy to say. So superb are some of
the recent Coleuses, Verschaffeltii, we fear, will have to retire still
further into private life. Being quite advanced in years, we presume he
will not regret this. We are sure that he will always be treated with
that respect which is due to honorable old age.



Ornamental Foliage Plants.


How much one who gives attention may learn in the vast field of Nature!
How varied are its attractions, how wonderful its work, how
indescribable its beauties! There is a fascination in these studies,
whatever may be the department to which they are directed, and the more
one learns the more sensible they become of the limitations of their
knowledge. I have already told you I had within a year or two been
awaking to a realization of the value of ornamental foliage plants in
giving an abiding brightness and beauty to the window-garden and open
border. As humanity is ever prone to extremes I may become too
enthusiastic in this direction. I thought there was some danger of it as
I surveyed my array of pots filled with fine specimens of various sorts.
I will take them for my subject to-day, giving whatever facts of
interest I have been enabled to gather from various sources.


CROTONS.

Everybody has heard of croton oil, but only a few of that same everybody
know anything about Crotons. The number of species known is enormous,
and they are found in many parts of the world, but chiefly at the South
Sea Islands. Some kinds are native to our own country, mainly in the
South and Southwest, but these are not characterized by the brilliant
markings of the foreign varieties. Their leaves are often thick and
large, but usually they are very long and narrow and ribbed, veined,
spotted and blotched with crimson, scarlet and gold. They are a very
interesting class of ornamental plants, and their low price, twenty-five
to fifty cents, except for novelties, places them within reach of the
common people. They do best in a rich soil, with a little peat and sand;
also an abundance of water.

The specimens I have are these: _Aucubæ Folium_--leaves large, dark
green, blotched with golden yellow. _Interruptum_, very long leaves,
mid-rib bright scarlet, shading to gold--very graceful. _Irregulare_, so
named because of the irregularity of its leaves in shape and color--two
precisely alike being rare.

The handsomest however of my collection, is Croton _Weismanni_. The
ground color is a shining bright green, striped and mottled with golden
yellow. The leaves grow to a foot in length and three-fourths of an inch
wide. Among the more recent and high priced novelties are Croton
_Evansianus_ and _Princess of Wales_. The former is "distinguished by
the peculiar form of its trilobate leaves and the depth of coloring
pervading the whole plant. The newest formed leaves are light olive
green with mid-ribs and veins of golden yellow, and the interspaces
spotted with the same color. As the leaves become older, the green
deepens and changes to a bright bronzy crimson, and the golden yellow of
the mid-ribs, veins and spots becomes a rich orange scarlet." _Princess
of Wales_ is one of the long-leaved drooping forms of Croton, and is
very distinct in character. The leaves are from one and one-half to two
feet in length. The ground color is green, and the variegations
creamy-yellow, very variable in color. The markings are of the maculate
style, with here and there large blotches of clear cream-yellow, and and
in other parts clouded markings of smaller confluent blotches and spots.
Occasionally these conditions are reversed.

The Croton _Fenzii_, recently offered in commerce by M. SOLVIATI, of
Florence, is described as a jewel among the Crotons. It is the result of
a cross effected in the green-houses of Sesto, between _C. Veitchii_ and
_C. Weismanni_, and has moderate sized oval acuminate leaves, richly
veined with golden yellow, the principal nerves being purplish-red,
which color extends to the stem and the petiole. The habit is so dwarf
and compact that plants only a foot high are often seen with all their
splendor, the yellow streaking then extending to almost the whole
surface of the leaf, and the red nerves shining on the yellow ground. It
is a variety especially fitted for the decoration of small green-houses,
as it requires very little room to be able to develop all its charms.
This variety has been dedicated to the Chevalier E. O. FENZI, President
of the Royal Horticultural Society of Tuscany.--_London Florist._


FANCY CALADIUMS.

Of these the varieties are numerous, and the foliage very ornamental.
Those I have are _Dr. Hondley_; green ground, blotched with rose,
crimson center; _Madame Houllette_,--blush clusters and white spots on
green ground; _Sagittæfolium pictum_,--arrow-shaped leaves prettily
spotted with white; _Madame Alfred Bleu_,--the ground color of the
leaves is silvery white, which is blotched with green, in some leaves
very sparingly, in others, nearly half the surface; the veins are
prominent and of rich rosy crimson, bordered by narrow bands of a
lighter shade. _Alfred Mame_,--beautiful deep carmine, richly marked
with rosy spots and white leaf margin. _La Perle de Brazil_,--ground
color, green, reticulated all over with pure white, like fine lace.
These last three are from the collection of Mr. John Saul of Washington,
and are new.

Fancy Caladiums do best in somewhat shaded positions, in well enriched
soil, composed of finely decomposed manure, leaf mold and sand, and a
moist, warm temperature. Great care must be had in their earliest stage
of growth, to prevent decay of the tubers by over-watering. They can be
preserved in sand during the winter, in a room sufficiently warm to
prevent danger from frost.


CALADIUM ESCULENTUM,

Is the most striking and grand of the Ornamental Foliage Plants for the
lawn or flower garden. It will grow in any good soil, and is very easy
of cultivation. When of full size it stands about five feet high, and
its immense leaves often measure four feet in length by two and a half
in breadth; very smooth, of a light green color, beautifully veined and
variegated with dark green. When killed down by frost in the autumn, the
bulbs must be taken up and stored in the cellar. The Caladium belongs to
the family of "Jack in the Pulpit," or Indian Turnip, and the Ethiopian
or Egyptian Calla. They rarely bloom in our Northern States. The flowers
resemble in shape the Calla Lily, only are much larger and narrower, are
of a rich cream color, very fragrant at first, but soon lose their odor,
which resembles the Magnolia.


ERANTHEMUMS.

These comprise a large genus valuable for their foliage and also winter
flowers, yet not very generally cultivated. Mine are labeled
_Andersonii_, "a handsome orchid-like flower, white, spotted with red."
_Pictum_, foliage prettily streaked with white, a strong, vigorous
grower; _Tricolor_, leaves prettily marked with pink and green;
_Cooperi_, has flowers white, prettily streaked with purple; _El
Dorado_, light green foliage, with golden veinings.


MARANTAS.

These are considered by florists as among the most elegant of tropical
plants, but like the Eranthemums, are not generally known. They are all
natives of tropical America, and require strong heat with plenty of
moisture. They are low-priced, and ought to be more extensively
cultivated. I think mine are very beautiful. _Eximia_, upper surface of
leaves striped with grayish-white; under, purplish-violet. _Leopordina_,
pale green with oblong blotches of deep green. _Mikans_, shining green
with a white feathery stripe. _Van den Heckii_, dark glossy leaves,
mid-rib silvery white. _Makayana_, a very ornamental dwarf species;
leaf-stalks slender reddish-purple, blade of the leaf ovate, ground
color, olive green, beautifully and regularly blotched with creamy
yellow of a transparent character; on each side the mid-rib are oblong
dark green blotches, while the under side is rosy red. _Tubispatha_ is
an elegant and very attractive species of erect habit of growth; leaves
some nine or ten inches long, light green, ornamented on each side the
mid-rib with oblong blotches of cinnamon brown. _Veitchii_, "The leaves
of this grand plant are upward of twelve inches in length; the under
surface of a rich purplish-wine color, the upper of a deep shining
green, blotched with conspicuous patches along each side, of a
yellowish-green, almost verging on gray. The contrast is very marked,
and the whole plant very beautiful."

ACHYRANTHES, a genus of richly colored tropical plants, are better
known, and to a limited extent are found in many gardens,
_Verschaffelti_, with its dark crimson leaf, being the most common.
_Brilliantissima_, ruby red, is a new English variety; _Wallisii_ is a
new dwarf, with small purple leaves; _Lindeni Aurea Reticulata_, foliage
netted with golden yellow, on a light green ground. These plants are of
the easiest cultivation, and endure strong sunshine without injury.

ALTERNANTHERAS are also very effective for bedding plants; habit dwarf.
Foliage is in some of a magenta-rose color, others, yellow and red;
_Purpurea_ has a purplish tint, and _Versicolor_, crimson and pink
shadings. They are unsurpassed for ribbon or carpet bedding.

DIEFFENBACHIA, a genus of stove plants with very showy foliage.
_Brasiliensis_, a handsome variety, the leaves averaging eighteen inches
in length by eight or nine inches in width; the ground color of the leaf
is deep green, and the whole surface is mottled with small blotches of
greenish-yellow and white; _Bausei_ is a stocky-growing, broad-leaved
variety, with yellowish-green leaves, which are irregularly edged and
blotched with dark green, and also spotted with white, the markings
being peculiarly effective; _Weirie_ is of dwarf habit, the foliage of a
bright green color, thickly blotched and spotted with pale yellow. One
of the finest of the species. They grow best in loam and peat equal
quantities, with a little sand. Require strong heat and frequent
watering.

A few ornamental foliage plants of rare beauty received from Mr. John
Saul merit special notice:

_Cyanaphyllum Spectandum_ is a grand plant with large, oblong, lustrous
leaves which have a rich, velvety appearance; they are beautifully
ribbed with whitish color.

_Alocacia Macrorhiza Variegata_, its large caladium-shaped leaves are
marbled and broadly splashed with white. Some leaves are nearly all
white; _Zebrina_, fine yellow leaf-stalk with distinct black marks;
_Illustris_, the leaf-stalks are erect, and have a brownish-purple tint,
color a rich green, marked between the principal veins by broad patches
of a blackish olive, and forming a striking contrast with the brighter
green portions of the leaf surface; _Sedini_, "A very beautiful hybrid
between _A. Metallica_ and _A. Lowii_. The form of the leaf is perfectly
intermediate between the two parents, whilst the coloring is a very
striking and pleasing combination of the metallic hue of one parent,
with the dark green and prominent white veins of the other." Alocasias
require a moist heat during their growing season. Soil, peat, with a
small portion of loam, sand and manure.

_Acalypha Macafeeana_ is another of the rare and beautiful foliage
plants alluded to. It is considered the best Acalypha ever offered. It
is certainly very handsome with its "sub-cordate and serrate leaves,
eight inches long and six broad, frequently cut into many forms, and
very highly colored bright red, blotched with deep bronzy crimson." It
proves to be an admirable plant for bedding out. Quite as attractive
every way is _Panax Laciniatum_, "An elegant and very distinct habited
stove plant from the South Sea islands. The leaves are tinted and
indistinctly marked with pale olive brown, and form a rather complicated
mass of narrow segments; they are bipinnate, nearly as broad as long,
and have a drooping contour; and the pinnules or segments are very
variable in size and form, presenting the appearance of a complex head
of foliage in which the lanceolate lobes or pinnules have the
preponderancy."

_Panax Fruiticosm_ has a very graceful fern-like foliage. These plants
belong to the Aralia family, a genus very ornamental, natives of the
South Sea Islands.

Another of my Washington collection, very graceful and beautiful, is
_Paulinia Thalictrifolia_. Its delicate cut leaves resemble the fronds
of a finely divided Maiden-hair Fern. The leaves are of a rich shade of
green. The young shoots and foliage are of a pinkish-brown color. It is
of slender growth and climbing habit, very similar to Capsidium
Filicifolium, which has long been a special favorite of mine. Both of
these are elegant, trained on a pot trellis.

Paulinia Thalictrifolia is a native of the southern Brazils, from whence
it was introduced to the nurseries of Messrs. Veitch & Sons of Chelsea.
If only required for decorative purposes there should be no inclination
to make the plants produce flowers which are inconspicuous; therefore
the main object should be to have plenty of healthy foliage. To secure
this, the plant should be grown in a temperature of from 65° to 70°, and
if one part of the greenhouse is more adapted to its growth than
another, it is the dampest part. After this plant came into the
possession of Messrs. Veitch, and before its true value became known,
some plants of it were placed in a corner of an old, very damp, warm
pit, in which position they grew wonderfully strong, and quite surpassed
in vigor and beauty those that were, as was then supposed, placed under
more advantageous circumstances, i.e., in dryer and lighter parts of
other houses. Care is therefore now taken to keep them where abundant
atmospheric moisture can be supplied. A compost consisting of two parts
good substantial peat and one of loam, together with some silver sand,
suits it admirably.--_Gardening Illustrated._


CANNAS.

These form a very important part of the class of which we are treating.
They give a very beautiful and tropical appearance to the lawn and the
garden by their stately growth and broad massive foliage, relieved by
rich crimson, scarlet and orange-red flowers. Their foliage comprises
various shades of green, glaucous, chocolate and purple tints, ribbed
and striped, fitting them admirably for grouping with other plants.

They are also very effective for large pot plants in the
pleasure-ground, or conservatory. Under rich cultivation they will
attain the height of five feet. They need water often. Among the newer
roots _Creole_, very dark foliage, grows to the height of about six
feet. _Ornement du Grand Rond_, very tall, with large bronzy-green
foliage, large scarlet flowers. _Oriflamme_ has large lanceolate-green
leaves, with violet veins, a vigorous showy plant with salmon-orange
flowers.

The roots of Cannas must be taken up in the autumn. If wanted singly,
divide them, if a thick clump is desirable let them be planted out as
they are. They must be kept perfectly dry through the winter; if the
cellar is very damp they will do better packed in sand.


DRACÆNA.

This is a valuable genus of ornamental plants, specially fine for the
center of vases, and for pot culture. Although their culture is on the
increase, they are not so frequently grown as they deserve. The species
are very numerous, and are found in tropical countries, especially in
the islands of the tropics. Many of them assume the proportions of
trees. The largest specimen ever known was one of Dracæna Draco, or the
Dragon tree of Oratava in Teneriffe, one of the Canary Islands. This
tree was remarkable for its monstrous dimensions and prodigious
longevity. About ten years since, or in the autumn of 1867, this
magnificent specimen was destroyed by a gale of wind. It was a special
object of interest in the Canary Islands, and received the attention and
veneration of visitors, as do the great Seguvia trees of California. Its
trunk below the lowest branches was eighty feet in height, and ten men
holding hands could scarcely encircle it; by one measurement this span
around it was seventy-nine feet. The trunk was hollow, and in the
interior was a winding stair-case, by which one might ascend as far as
the part from which the branches sprang. It is affirmed by tradition
that, when the island of Teneriffe was discovered in 1402, this tree was
as large, and the cavity in the trunk as great, as at the time of its
destruction. We are even assured that in the fifteenth century, at the
time of the conquest of the Canaries by the Normans and Spaniards, they
celebrated mass on a little altar erected in this cavity. From the slow
growth of the young Dragon trees in the Canaries, it has been estimated
that this monster tree before it was destroyed, was the oldest plant
upon the globe. A writer in describing it says: "Long leaves pointed
like swords, crowned the extremities of the branches, and white
panicles, which developed in autumn, threw a mantle of flowers upon this
dome of verdure." The popular name of this species is Dragon's-blood
Tree, because of a resinous juice of a red color which exudes from the
cracks in its trunk. At one time this resin formed a considerable branch
of commerce, as it was used medicinally as an astringent, but it has
fallen into disuse.

The Dracænas belong to the Lily family, and they afford a remarkable
contrast to the palms and other arborescent endogens, by their branching
heads. The young trees of Dracæna Draco do not, however, send out any
branches, even in their native localities, until they are thirty years
old or more. The small plants of this species, cultivated for ornament,
have always a single, straight stem; but are much more robust, and
quickly assume more stately proportions than those of the other kinds
that will be mentioned.

The Dracæna is admired for its peculiar grace of form--it would be in
vain in common house culture to expect flowers. To admire a plant for
its well developed and graceful form, marks an advancement in refined
taste beyond that which would induce one to exclaim, "Oh!" at the sight
of a brilliantly colored flower. Even in rearing a plant for flowers,
the first object should be to develop it to the fullest extent in size
and shape and strength--to make a beautiful object of the plant itself;
just as the first and main attention given to a child, for years, should
be to develop and build up its physical system.

The Dracæna is a good house plant, a good balcony and veranda plant,
good for the vase in the open air, and in a handsome pot is a fine
ornament for table decoration. Its culture is of the simplest kind,
adapting itself to any ordinarily good soil, it only requires to be
supplied moderately with moisture and to have a temperature ranging
upward from sixty-five degrees. It delights in a moist air, and whenever
possible, water should be kept where it will rapidly evaporate, and thus
ameliorate the atmosphere in this respect for the plant. This condition,
moreover, is conducive to the well-being of most plants, and no good
plant-grower can disregard it with impunity. Washing the leaves and stem
of the plant frequently with a wet sponge, is favorable to its health
and vigor, and one of the best preventives of the attack of insects.
With dust on the leaves the plants look dingy, while frequent washing
keeps them bright and lustrous.

Dracæna indivisa has long, slender, dark green leaves, about
three-quarters of an inch or an inch in width, and from two and a half
feet to three feet in length, and the lower ones especially are very
much recurved or gracefully drooping. This species is among the hardiest
of the Dracænas, and is frequently wintered in the open ground, with
some protection in climates where the temperature frequently descends
several degrees below the freezing point.

Dracæna terminalis is the most popular of the whole family in this
country, and is worthy of all the admiration bestowed upon it. The
leaves are broader and more erect than those of the preceding species,
and of a dark green suffused with red, or having streaks of a reddish
color; the young leaves nearly pink, but assuming a dark bronzy copper
color afterward. It is a very distinct and showy plant, and adapted to a
great variety of ornamental purposes. The propagation and sale of it is
rapidly increasing every year, and it is already widely disseminated. At
the Sandwich Islands it is cultivated to a considerable extent for its
roots, which are baked and eaten. A fermented beverage is also made from
the juice, and its leaves are employed as fodder for cattle, and for
clothing and other domestic purposes.

Dracæna Shepherdii is of a most noble form, and is one of the finest yet
in cultivation. It has long, spreading leaves, of a metallic green, with
stripes and border of bronzy-orange, and is a very free grower. Unlike
most of the forms already known, which color most on the free young
growth of vigorous plants, this plant takes on its distinctive coloring
gradually on the older leaves.

Dracæna cannæfolia is an interesting species. Its peculiarity consists
in the length of petiole, which is as long as the rest of the leaf. The
blade of the leaf is elliptical in form, from fifteen to twenty inches
in length, firm, and of a glaucous green.

Within a few years past much attention has been given by cultivators in
Great Britain and Europe to hybridizing the Dracæna, and producing new
varieties. The most remarkable success has attended the efforts in this
direction, of MR. BAUSE, in the establishment of MR. WILLS, of Anerly,
England. The variety is wonderful--"broad-leaved, medium-leaved and
narrow-leaved; bronzy and green, crimson, rose, pink, violet and white
variegations; drooping, spreading, and erect habits, are blended in all
sorts of combinations."

One of the sorts produced is described as "a most important acquisition,
having quite the habit and character of the well-known favorite
terminalis, but with white variegation. The ground color is a bright
green, with bold, white variegation, the upper leaves being white, with
here and there a bar of green."--_Vick's Magazine._


DRACÆNA GOLDIANA.

Sent out in this country for the first time in 1880, is said to be "one
of the most magnificent ornamental foliage plants ever introduced, and
altogether unique in character and aspect. It is a native of Western
Tropical Africa. The plant is of erect habit, and the stems are closely
set with stalked spreading leaves, the petioles of which are of a
grayish color, terete with a narrow furrow along the upper side, the
base being dilated and sheathing the stem. The blade of leaf is marbled
and irregularly banded with dark green and silver gray in alternate
straight bands, the colors being about equally distributed. The back of
the unfolded leaves is a pale reddish-purple or wine color, and the
stem, where visible. It is, without doubt, one of the most superb of
ornamental stove plants."

When first sent out in London in 1878, its price was from five to ten
guineas per plant. We do not know the price in this country. Mr. H. A.
Dreer who has an illustration of it in his catalogue, furnishes the
price only on application, which is evidence that it is costly. From the
type given, it must be exceedingly handsome, and wholly unlike any
Dracæna before offered in America.

Dracænas, as we have noticed before, are particularly desirable house
plants, keeping in good condition for a long time, even in rooms where
gas is burned--places so unsuited to most plants. They are liable to
attacks of the Mealy Bug and the Red Spider if neglected, but the
syringing and sponging advised for them will effectually prevent their
gaining a foothold if frequently and thoroughly performed. After a year
or two the plants begin to lose their lower leaves, and to get leggy, a
state of things quite undesirable, as the beauty and effectiveness of
the plants depend upon their being furnished with leaves down to the
base of the stem. When the plants have become unsightly from the loss of
their leaves, they can be renewed very quickly by a simple process. Cut
a notch in the stem, on one side, just below the lowest good leaves, and
take out a piece of the wood, then do the same on the other side of the
stem, but not exactly opposite the first notch. The object is to check
the flow of sap at this point and yet allow enough of it to pass to
maintain the head. Having cut the notches, take some moss or sphagnum
and bind about the stem, covering the incisions and fastening it on
securely with twine or fine wire; the moss is to be kept gently moist,
and in the course of two weeks will have thrown out young roots above
the notches. The head can now be severed from the stem and potted in a
medium-sized pot. After keeping it a few days in the shade, it can be
gradually brought out into the full light, and will be found to be
established.

Dracænas may also be multiplied by removing the thick, fleshy root that
may usually be found in the base of the plant. Those tuberous roots can
be potted, and if kept in a warm place will soon start and make new
plants. When plants are re-potted a favorable opportunity is offered for
taking off these roots, for the roots of the old plants are actively at
work and, with the fresh soil they receive, will soon recover from any
slight check they may have received.

The most rapid method of propagating this plant is by cuttings of the
stem; the stem may be cut into pieces an inch in length, and those
pieces split in two, and all of those bits will root and become plants.
They should be placed in a light, sandy soil, and given a brisk bottom
heat of 70° or 80° degrees. They will break and start into growth in a
few days.--_Vick's Magazine._

So fully does the foregoing express all that is needful regarding the
Dracæna, we have thought best to give it entire. We might greatly
enlarge on the subject of Ornamental Foliage Plants, and speak of the
beautiful Palms, so fine for decorative purposes, the pretty Ferns and
elegant Aralias, of which latter "_Sieboldi_ is a capital house plant,
so enduring that it will live and keep its beautiful dark green color
for weeks almost in the dark." Then there is the Euonymus, so bright
with its glossy green leaves, long a favorite whether for the border or
window garden. _Argentea_ has striped foliage, and _Japonicas aurea_ has
its dark green foliage diversified with golden variegations. _Bicolor_,
foliage almost white, and _Tricolor_, a rarer form, is marked with pink
and white.

With the numerous varieties we have named, it will be apparent how
ornamental our gardens, whether within doors or without, may be made by
plants, the beauty of which is wholly independent of flowers, and they
do wonderfully enhance the effect of the bloomers. The Centaureas and
Cinerarias with their deeply lobed leaves of white, are too well known
to need any special mention. We do not intend however to pass so lightly
over another stately and highly ornamental genus that comes within the
reach of everyone. Ricinus, the seed of which can be purchased for a
dime, are magnificent in foliage, and when combined with the brilliant
colored fruit of the giant varieties, the effect is very oriental.
Ricinus _Africanus albidus_ is of recent introduction. It is white
fruited, and the stems and leaves are silvery; height eight feet.
_Borbaniensis arboreus_ has very large and showy foliage; height fifteen
feet. _Communis_ is the Castor Oil Plant. _Sanguineus_ (Obermanii) bears
splendid red fruit in clusters, and is very ornamental. A species from
Phillippines has gigantic foliage; height ten feet. These can be
purchased in separate or mixed packets, and we advise everyone who has a
bit of ground to try them. We will close with


A BIG BEAN STORY.

I have just harvested my Ricinus or Castor Bean, which I raised from the
seed you sent me last spring. It was of mammoth growth, attaining a
height of fourteen and a half feet, and sixteen feet across the branches
of which there were seventeen after cutting off five during the summer.
Each of the branches contained a cluster of burs, the center one having
one hundred and thirty-four burs, the other branches not so many. Many
of the leaves measured from thirty to thirty-two inches across from tip
to tip or point of leaves. When sawed off at the ground, the body
measured five inches and a half of wood in diameter, inside of the bark,
which was one-fourth of an inch thick. This is a big bean story but
nevertheless a true one.--T. G. T. in _Vick's Magazine_.



A Talk About Primroses.


It is an old adage that one must take Time by the forelock. In the
culture of flowers, we must certainly do so, planning and preparing in
spring for the coming winter, if we would secure for ourselves plants
that can be relied on for blooming. We know of none equal to


THE CHINESE PRIMROSE,

for common house culture, commencing to flower usually in November, and
continuing through the spring months. The seed for this ought to be sown
in April--if later the plants will not come into bloom so early. The
soil for Primroses in all stages should be fine, light and rich, with a
good mixture of sand.

For seed sowing it can be put in pans, boxes or six inch pots. First,
put in drainage--I use for this coarse sand--then the coarse siftings of
the soil. On this to the depth of one and a half or two inches, put the
fine mixed soil, press down smoothly and spray lightly with tepid water.
Sow the seed on the surface, and sift on enough of the fine earth to
partially but not fully cover them. Cover with a glass, or with a bit of
soft nice flannel, and place in the shade where a mild moist temperature
can be attained. Where flannel is used, it can be kept damp and thus
impart moisture to the seeds without their being saturated, washed bare,
or displaced by spraying. When the seed has germinated, then glass can
be substituted. The tender seedlings must be gradually brought to the
sunlight; too long exposure at first would kill them, and if kept in the
shade too much they will become drawn and dwarfed. This is the critical
period, and many fail at this point. Great care is essential till the
plants put forth the third leaf, which is rough and the true primula
leaf. Then the plants must be carefully transplanted into other pots
prepared as before. In about a month the glass can be removed and the
plants potted separately, setting them low, as it is a peculiarity of
the Primula to stretch itself up out of the soil, and become shaky. It
is necessary sometimes to give them support. In watering, care must be
had to prevent the water lodging in the axils of the leaves, which cause
them to decay. They will not bear showering like smooth surfaced plants,
and only occasionally should they be sprayed through a fine hose. They
must be kept during the summer months in a shady place, and have a cool
bottom to stand on; a cold frame is the best. They must be housed by the
end of September, and the best situation for them is a light, airy shelf
near the glass, yet not exposed to intense sunshine. They do not like
frequent changes of position and temperature, nor to be grown with other
plants. Give them a cool place where they will have the morning or
afternoon sun for a time. During the blossoming season stimulate the
soil once a week with liquid manure, or water with a few drops of
ammonia added. Pick off all flowers as fast as they fade. Plants are
stronger and better the second year, and unless they get too shaky, are
good for three years. They must, after blossoming, be taken out of the
pot, the ball of earth reduced from the roots, and then re-potted in
fresh soil. It is not needful to keep them dormant and shaded through
the summer, but in a cool and partially secluded position, they will
after a brief rest begin to grow, putting forth frequently little crowns
all around about the old one, and be full of blossoms during the autumn
and winter months. The double varieties are not so easily grown, and
cannot be recommended for general culture to be raised from seed. Fine
plants can be procured from the florists, but the large single sorts, we
think give the most satisfaction. Ellis Brothers, Keene, N. H., have
sent us for trial, packets of very fine strains; some are rare, and,
judging from the description, must be very beautiful. It is not often
that we find more than four varieties named in the catalogues. They
send out a dozen sorts, some of which we will name: _Primula Fimbriata
Kermesina Splendens_; Large flowers, brilliant velvet like crimson,
yellow eye. _Primula Frimbriata Punctata Elegantissima_; a new variety;
flower velvety crimson, edge spotted with white; very distinct. _Primula
Fimbriata Striata_; beautifully striped. _Primula Fringed_, _Fern Leaf_;
pure white, with large citron eye; very fine. _Primula Globosa_, new; a
large flowering, fringed sort; petals large and many of them crimped,
each overlapping the other, so that they appear almost semi-double;
colors white, light pink, crimson and lilac pink. All of these can be
bought in mixed or separate packets. We cannot find room for all of
these, but hope from the rarest to obtain some fine plants to brighten
our room the coming winter. Great advances have been made since the
Primrose was introduced into this country little more than half a
century ago.

[Illustration]

Of the novelties we find in the London _Garden_ special mention made of
Primula Sinensis Fimbriata Alba Magnifica. The writer says: "The
Primulas from Mr. B. S. Williams' Victoria Nurseries, Holloway, were
remarkably fine. The newest sort shown, Alba Magnifica, promises to be
an excellent kind; the flowers are large, produced in dense and many
flowered trusses, borne well above the foliage, which is also remarkable
being elegantly crisped at the margins. The color is white, the purity
of which, however, is more strongly marked when the plants are more
mature than those shown; the habit of growth is very robust."

Of this novelty Mr. H. Cannell says: "The new white Primula is of
exquisite form and substance; the plants are exceedingly compact, with
deeply indented leaves of a light green color; the flowers measure two
and one-quarter inches in diameter, pure white, with large, bright
yellow eye, each petal being deeply and beautifully fringed, and are
borne in large trusses well above the foliage."

We give an illustration of this Primula, kindly furnished by Ellis
Bros., who are of the first to offer it in this country.


CARNATIONS AND PICOTEES.

"What is the difference between them? I am told differently by nearly
every florist I ask. An old Englishman told me the other day that he
used to grow great quantities of them in England, and that the
difference between the two is, that the Picotee has fringed edged
leaves, while in the Carnation proper the edge of the leaf is smooth
like a rose."

The question is asked of Mr. Vick, and he thus replies: "The Carnation
and Picotee differ only in the arrangement of the color, or markings.
The distinction is made by florists, and is of course arbitrary. Seeds
saved from one plant, may produce both Carnations and Picotee, or even
from the same seed-pod. In an old work in our possession, the
distinction is as stated, but for long years any flower with an
irregular edge has been considered unworthy of propagation. The
Carnation should have broad stripes of color running through from the
center to the edge of the petals. The Picotee has only a band of color
on the edge of each petal."--_Vick's Magazine._

Although Mr. Vick here states that the Carnation should have broad
stripes of color, neither he, nor any other florist makes this
distinction, but call pure white, and pure red Carnations, just as
freely as those that are striped.

There are two classes of Carnations, and thousands of varieties. The
class of Perpetual Bloomers are called Monthly and Tree Carnations. The
Garden Carnations are hardy, and can be left in the garden during winter
by giving them a covering of leaves, straw, or evergreen boughs. They
are easily raised from seed. Sown in June or July, will make good robust
plants before frost, which will bloom the following summer. Some of them
will be single, perhaps, and these can be removed. Those of superior
merit may be multiplied by _layering_. This method is to select good
healthy shoots that have not bloomed, and make a cut midway between two
joints. First cut half way through the shoot, then make a slit
lengthwise to a joint. Remove the earth a few inches in depth, and press
the branch down so that this slit will open, and then cover with the
soil. Roots will form where the cut was made, and thus a new plant will
be formed, which can be removed in the autumn or spring. Midsummer is
the best time to do this, and by adopting this method good, healthy
plants are secured. The plants should be well watered a day or two
before layering is commenced, and immediately afterward--then only
occasionally. They are frequently propagated by cuttings, which can be
rooted in wet sand, or in light sandy soil.


PERPETUAL BLOOMERS,

Or Monthly Carnations, can be easily obtained of the florists for summer
or winter blooming; the former purchased in the spring, and the latter
in the autumn. If one raises their own stock, it is not best to allow
those to bloom much during the summer that are wanted for winter
flowering. It is well to sink the pots in a good sunny place in the
garden, and when they run up and show signs of bedding, cut back the
stalk so that it may become more compact and branchy, then the buds in
the late autumn or winter, will be much more numerous. The best for
winter blooming are _La Purite_ (carmine), _President de Graw_ (white),
_Peerless_ (white, striped with pink) and _Peter Henderson_, of the
well-known varieties. Of those of recent introduction, _Lady Emma_ is
said to be excellent. One florist says that "it is destined to be one
of the leading winter-blooming Carnations. From my bed of one thousand
plants in the green-house throughout December and January last, I
plucked more blooms than from any other variety occupying the same
space." It has proved excellent also for a bedding pink. Its color is a
rare shade of crimson scarlet; the flower is of medium size, full and
double, and never bursting down the side. _Lord Clyde_ has for three
years proved to be an excellent winter bloomer. It is of a very robust
growth, like its parent the _Edwardsii_, but of a more dwarf,
low-flowering habit. The ground-work is white, thickly striped with
carmine, and a frequent blotch of maroon; very floriferous, each stem
bearing from six to eight flowerets. _Lydia_ is another of the recent
novelties, and is very handsome. Flowers very large and intensely
double, of a rich rosy, orange color blotched and flecked with carmine.
_Crimson King_ is one of the largest Carnations, very full, bushy habit,
and robust, color crimson-scarlet. A pure bright scarlet is rare; when
therefore, _Firebrand_, a novelty of 1880, was announced as a bright
scarlet, it produced quite a sensation. It is very highly commended by
those who have seen it. _Grace Wilder_, _Princess Louise_ and _Fred
Johnson_, are new hybrid seedlings now offered for the first time to the
public.

There was quite a discussion in the _Gardener's Monthly_ of last year as
to the best pure White Carnation. In the August number, Mr. E. Fryer of
Delaware writes: "The varieties called _Peter Henderson_, sent out by
Nanz and Neuner I have found to be the best white I have yet grown for
winter bloom. It is a stronger and better bloomer than de Graw, its only
drawback being that it runs up high like _La Purite_. _Snowdon_ is a
true dwarf, pure white, and if it proves a good winter bloomer, will
probably supersede all other whites, the flower being of fair size and
very fragrant. Bock's Seedling, _Charles Sumner_, I have grown the past
winter. The flower is of an enormous size, but it invariably bursts
before opening, and is a dull unattractive color. _Waverly_ I have also
grown last winter--a splendid variety, rich crimson scarlet; the color
was no way exaggerated as represented in the _Monthly_ a year ago;
produces a fair average of flowers to the plant, flowers selling readily
at ten cents each. I think this the most useful color to the commercial
florist.

"I still cling to the old carmine _La Purite_, which for quantity of
bloom, size of flower and general good qualities, I think has not been
beat by any of the newer varieties for winter bloom." Mr. Peter
Henderson, one of the leading florists, places _Snowdon_ above all other
white Carnations, its dwarf habit making it specially desirable.

Florist's Pinks are more dwarf than the Carnations, flowers very double,
clove scented, and are of various shades of maroon, carmine, crimson and
rose interlaced with white.


THE ORIGIN OF THE FLORIST'S PINK.

The _Gardener's Chronicle_ gives the following interesting account of
the origin of this class: "It may be interesting to record the fact,
published in an old number of the _Floricultural Cabinet_, that the
first Pink worthy of notice was raised in the year 1772, by Mr. JAMES
MAJOR who was then gardener to the duchess of Lancaster; previous to
that there were but four sorts, and those of very little note, being
cultivated as only common border flowers. Mr. MAJOR having saved some
seed in 1771, he reared several plants, which, blooming the next season,
one of the number proved to be a double flower with laced petals, at
which he was agreeably surprised, although he considered it as being
only in embryo, and the prelude to still further advance to be developed
at some future period, which is now verified by the rapid strides this
beautiful flower made in size and quality during the years which
followed. Mr. MAJOR informed the writer of the foregoing remarks that he
made his discovery known to a nurseryman or florist and was offered the
sum of ten guineas for the stock of his new Pink; but, acting on the
advice of his friends, he declined to sell, and set to work instead and
increased the stock with a view of offering it in sale to the public. It
was sent out to the public at half a guinea a pair (for it has long been
a custom of offering Pinks in pairs, a custom which is continued to this
day), under the name of MAJOR'S Duchess of Lancaster, the orders for
which amounted to £80. It is recorded that one individual ordered as
many as twenty pairs, which was considered in those days an unusually
large number. It would be interesting to have a bloom of Duchess of
Lancaster to compare with the fine double varieties of the present day.
We appear to have come to something like a pause in the matter of Pink
production as the flowers are now very large and full, and the lacing is
as perfect as can well be conceived."


DIANTHUS.

The word is derived from the Greek words _Dios_, divine, and _Anthos_, a
flower; God's flower, or the flower of Jove. There are several species,
and many varieties of Dianthus; _Dianthus Caryophyllus_ is what is
commonly known as the Clove Pink, and from it have been produced the
double varieties called Carnations and Picotees. The plant in its wild
state is found growing on the south side of the Swiss Alps, at a low
altitude, where the winters are not severe. The common perennial garden
Pink is _Dianthus Plumarias_. The old and well-known Chinese Pink,
_Dianthus Chinensis_, is a biennial, flowering the first season from
seed sown in spring, lives during the winter, blooms the second year,
and then dies. New and superb varieties have been introduced of late
years from Japan, and _Dianthus Laciniatus_, and _Dianthus Heddewigii_,
both single and double, make a splendid display, and are among the most
desirable of our garden flowers. _Dianthus Diadematus_ is of dwarf
habit, very profuse in blooming, and the flowers are of various hues,
from white to dark maroon, and also beautifully marbled and spotted. Of
the recent novelties _Eastern Queen_ and _Crimson Belle_ are superb; we
speak from personal knowledge. "Eastern Queen" is beautifully marbled;
the broad bands of rich mauve upon the paler surface of the petals are
very striking. "Crimson Belle," as its name implies, is of a rich
crimson hue, with dark markings; very large and finely fringed.

For early blooming it is well to sow seed as early as April. June sowing
will secure good hardy plants for the following season. When there is a
profusion of bloom, it is well to remove a portion of the flowers, so
that the plants may not become exhausted, and the seed pods beyond what
are desired for ripening, ought also to be cut off.



A Talk About Climbers.

    Oh, a dainty plant is the Ivy green,
      That creepeth o'er ruins old!
    Of right choice food are his meals I ween,
      In his cell so lone and cold,
    The wall must be crumbled, the stone decayed,
      To pleasure his dainty whim;
    And the moldering dust that years have made,
      Is a merry meal for him.
              Creeping where no life is seen,
              A rare old plant is the Ivy green.

                                CHARLES DICKENS.


Have been off on a vacation, peering into other folks' gardens and
admiring other people's flowers. Visited the Public Garden of Boston and
saw that there had been a marked improvement within ten years. The
massed beds of several sorts, with their contrasting borders, were very
attractive, specially the maroon Coleuses with border of Centaurea.
There were few varieties of Geraniums, and these were mostly massed in
beds, some all scarlet, others wholly pink.

At Forest Hills Cemetery there was the finest display of flowers and
tropical plants I ever saw, and they are very artistically and
tastefully displayed. I saw several beds with artistic designs on a
ground work of Sempervivum, evidencing great skill in the arrangement
and culture. The entrance gateway to Forest Hills Cemetery is very
beautiful in design, and here we saw that graceful climber Ampeclopsis
Veitchii, in the perfection of its beauty, covering the front almost
entirely. I had noted it in various stages of growth, clinging to the
dwellings in all parts of the city, requiring no aid but its own little
rootlets. It is a native of Japan and was introduced in this country
twelve years ago. It was slow at first in being duly appreciated, but
now is widely known and extensively propagated. Probably the finest
plant is owned by Mr. George L. Conover of Geneva, N. Y. It covers the
entire front of his two-story square house, and has become so famous
that horticulturists from all parts of the country have been attracted
by it, and a great many people have visited Geneva for the special
purpose of seeing this fine plant. It has proved to be perfectly hardy,
only the first year the young and tender plant needs some protection
during the winter. Florists are growing them in great quantities to meet
the increasing demand. It can be obtained for twenty cents. I received a
small plant last year and kept it in my window box during the winter. It
died down, however, and I quite forgot about it, till it sprang forth
anew in April. Since putting it in the ground it has grown rapidly, and
I shall value it now more than ever.


HONEYSUCKLE.

_The Golden-Leaved Honeysuckle_ is a special favorite of mine. Its
leaves are so netted and veined with yellow as to give this hue the
predominance. The foliage is small; the flowers are yellow and fragrant.
The family of _Lonicerus_, or Honeysuckle, embraces a large variety. The
botanical name was given in honor of _Lonicer_, a German botanist, who
died about three hundred years ago.

_Lonicerus Holliana_ was introduced into this country from Japan by Dr.
Hall. The flowers are pure white when they first open, but assume a
creamy tinge in a few days. This variety blooms almost continuously from
June till frost. It attains sometimes to the height of twenty, and even
thirty feet. The flowers are very fragrant.

_Belgian_, or Monthly Fragrant, bears its blossoms in clusters. They are
pure white in the interior at first, but afterward change to creamy
yellow, deepening into orange.

_Sempervirens_ (Scarlet Trumpet) is a native of this country, and
perfectly hardy. This is the most common, though not fragrant. It is a
strong grower, and blooms from June to November. Its scarlet flowers
tinged with orange afford a pleasing contrast with its dark, glossy
foliage.


CANARY BIRD FLOWER.

For an out-door annual climber, what can be prettier than the dainty,
graceful Canary Flower? Mine have scorned the limitations of the twine I
had fastened to the lower limbs of a small pear tree and ascending far
above them, have run out a full yard on a large branch. The light green,
finely lacinated foliage is very handsome of itself, but when the Canary
bird flower is added, how lovely it is! It is so easily grown from seed
that I wonder so few have it. A paper costing only ten cents would give
you a score of plants, and they are much prettier for the bay window
than Madeira vines.

A writer from England says: "While in the north of England, last fall,
we paid a visit to Alnwick Castle, the seat of the Duke of
Northumberland, and the ancient home of the Percy family.... The first
thing that struck me on entering the town was a bay window most
charmingly draped with light green climbers, and literally covered with
bright lemon yellow flowers. Now this appeared so strange to me (for the
chilly night air had already affected the geraniums and other tender
out-door plants), that I had to cross the street, take the Yankee
liberty to open the gate, go inside and examine this thrifty beauty. I
confess I was not only surprised but greatly interested to find it was
_only_ the Canary flower, _Tropaeolum peregrinum_, a member of the
Nasturtium family, and I concluded at once that there should be one
cottage in America next summer worth coming miles to see on account of
its climbing plants of light green foliage and rich yellow masses of
Canary bird flower."--WALTON, in _Vick's Magazine_.

Do not forget to include this pretty vine in your seed order next year.


COBOEA SCANDENS.

This is one of the best of our climbing annuals, on account of its rapid
and luxuriant growth, attractive foliage and large bell-shaped flowers.
Under favorable circumstances they will grow to the height of twenty and
even thirty feet in a summer. They commence to bloom when quite young,
and continue in bloom until destroyed by frost. Some people remove them
from the border to the house for winter blooming, but the change from
out-door to indoor life, often retards their growth and mars their
beauty. They are too cumbersome for window plants after having grown
during the season, and it is better to sow seed in August, and get in
this way plants for the house. They are hard to germinate, and need to
be started in pots or in a hot bed. Place them in moist earth _edge
down_, and do not water until the young plants appear above the surface,
unless the earth becomes very dry.

For out-door blooming sow in March or April. As soon as the plants are
strong enough, transplant to three-inch pots; keep them shaded from the
sun for a few days, gradually expose to the open air, and plant out when
all danger from frost is over. The soil should be well stirred to the
depth of nearly two feet, and well rotted manure worked in. In dry
weather they need liberal watering as often as once a week, and liquid
manure water occasionally is of great benefit to them.

The Coboea can be propagated by layers at almost any season of the year.
It is done in this way: Cut a notch near a joint, place in a pot and
fill with soil, and keep the soil moist. It takes from two weeks to a
month for them to root.

A writer says of this plant: "The Coboea is an old favorite and it is
worthy of remark that but few of the novelties introduced of late years
can equal some of the old favorites that we have been accustomed to
grow. The Coboea is a native of Mexico, from which country it was
introduced in 1792. It was named in honor of Bernandez Cobo, a Spanish
priest and botanist. The growth of the vine is very luxuriant, and it is
equally easy of cultivation, the only essentials to success being
warmth, a rich, light soil, and sufficient water. If allowed to become
very dry, it will soon wither away. It requires sun and a warm room to
grow it to perfection; yet it is not a tender plant, that is, it will
live anywhere, provided the frost does not touch it, and is one of the
few plants which will flourish luxuriantly in parlors lighted with gas
and kept almost at fever heat. If grown in a hanging basket or pot, it
must be large and the roots allowed plenty of room to spread out in. In
the summer the pots can be removed from the interior room to a balcony
or piazza, or plunged until they are again wanted. Then clip off the
growth of branches and leaves, place the pot back again in a sunny
window, where it will soon start afresh, with new arms and leaves to
cover the window. It is one of the best vines for parlor decoration, as
it will drape and festoon the window, and stretch forth its tendrils,
running up even to the ceiling. The tendrils are so clinging in their
nature that they will attach themselves to anything which comes within
their reach--curtain cords, branches of other plants, brackets,
etc.,--throwing out new branches everywhere.

"I advise all who adopt the plan of plunging the plant in the pot in the
open air during the summer, either to shift into a pot two sizes larger,
or else to take it out of the pot and reduce the ball of earth nearly
one-half, and repot it in fresh compost before removing it to the house.
This should be done not later than September 10th. The plants will amply
repay this little attention by an increased luxuriance of both foliage
and flowers during the winter months, while plants not so treated will
become sickly and unhealthy before spring, and beside, when pot-bound,
they soon become the prey of numerous insects."

There are several varieties of the Coboea, though _scandens_ is the most
generally known. The large bell-shaped flowers are greenish at first,
but rapidly change to a dull purple. Coboea Scandens _Alba_ has greenish
white flowers. Coboea _variegata_ is one of the most magnificent
ornamental climbers, the leaves being broadly margined with yellowish
white, the variegated foliage forming a beautiful contrast with its
large purple flowers. It is of strong habit, a rapid grower, attaining
frequently the height of fifty feet in a short time. It is, however,
difficult of propagation, rooting with difficulty. The seeds vegetate as
readily as the common sort, but the plants are apt to die off soon after
attaining their seed leaves. Layering in the manner already specified,
is the best method of increase.

Coboea scandens _argentea_ is another variegated leaved variety,
differing from _variegata_ in that its leaves are of a purer white. It
is described by some as being identical with Coboea scandens, Schuerens
Seedling, but by Messrs. Leeds & Co., of Richmond, Indiana, as being "a
great improvement on the old variegated variety. Leaves large, green,
bordered with creamy white; calyx of the flowers variegated like the
leaves."


CLEMATIS.

Clematis (_Virgin's Bower_), derives its name from _klema_, a
vine-branch. The popular name, Virgin's Bower, was given to _Clematis
Viticella_ upon its introduction into England during the reign of
Elizabeth, 1569, and was intended as a compliment to that sovereign, who
liked to be called the Virgin Queen.

There are, it is said, two hundred and thirty described species, the
majority of them free-growing, hardy climbers. They are among the most
gorgeous perpetual-blooming of the class under consideration. Great
improvements have been made during the past twenty-five years by
hybridization, but the finest varieties have originated within ten
years. Of the new English hybrids _Jackmanii_ stands in the front rank.
The flowers are from five to six inches in diameter, and consist of from
four to six sepals which have a ribbed bar down the center; the color
is of an intense violet-purple, remarkable for its velvety richness, and
a shading of reddish-purple toward the base, and they are furnished with
a broad central tuft of pale green stamens. It originated with Jackman &
Son, England, and was first exhibited at Kensington, 1872. It is a cross
between _Clematis Viticella_ and _Clematis Lanuginasa_. From this cross
many excellent seedlings have been raised, closely resembling the parent
stock in color and general character.

Of Jackman's Clematises the English _Gardener_ has the following: "They
are magnificent; and more than this, they do give us some of the
grandest things in the way of creepers the horticultural world has ever
seen, making glorious ornaments either for walls, verandas, or rustic
poles or pillars, varying in color from deep rich violet hue to dark
velvety maroon, and in the newer seedlings, forms beautiful shades of
pale bright blue."

Mr. Vick says of the Clematis: "Having a rather unsightly pile of stones
in the back part of our grounds, we had them thrown together more in the
form of a stone-heap, perhaps, than of anything worthy of the name of
rockery, and planted _Jackmanii_ and other fine sorts in the crevices,
and for three summers this stone-heap has been covered most gorgeously.
Thousands of flowers, in fact a mound of flowers, every day for months,
has been the delight of visitors, causing one to exclaim, 'Nothing since
Paradise has been more beautiful.'"

These fine hybrids will endure our Northern winters if somewhat
protected. A gentleman in Rochester, N. Y., had a Jackmanii which bore
full exposure without protection and came out in the spring uninjured to
the height of nine feet. The extremities of the shoots for about two
feet were winter-killed.

_Clematis Sieboldii_ is a native of Japan, whence it was introduced by
Mr. Low in 1837. It is of a slender free-growing habit. "The flowers
which are produced from July to September are composed of six ovate
sepals of a creamy white color, which form a fine background for the
large rosette of purple stamens which occupy the center and render the
flowers particularly attractive."

_Clematis graveolins_ is a native of the mountains of Thibet. It is of
comparative recent introduction. The flowers are produced on long stalks
at the axils of the leaves, and are of a light yellow--an unusual color
in this genus. It grows to the height of from ten to fifteen feet, and
blooms freely during the entire season.

A lady writes to Vick's Magazine that she has a Clematis graveolins
which is a wonderful sight. It grew from a feeble plant planted out in
spring, two inches in height, into a column twelve feet high and three
feet broad by August, and was a mass of yellow blossoms, and then, of
the most exquisite, long-haired, silvery seed pods until hard frost. It
lived through the winter, to its extreme tips, and then grew so rapidly,
shading such an important part of her garden, that she had to remove it
in the autumn, cutting it back severely. The seedlings from it grow, she
adds, to eight or ten feet in a season.

_Clematis crispa_ is of Southern origin; the flowers are one and a half
inches long, produced singly on long stalks, and delightfully fragrant,
a rapid grower, and perfectly hardy. _Clematis coccinea_ is of recent
introduction from Texas, the flowers are bell-shaped, of a most
brilliant scarlet, and are produced in great abundance. This rare
variety is offered only by Woolson & Co., Passaic Falls, N. J., who make
a specialty of hardy herbaceous plants. _Vesta_, a Jackman, is large and
of fine form; dead white, with a creamy tinge over the center bar,
delicate primrose fragrance, an early bloomer. _Mrs. James Bateman_,
pale lavender, and _Thomas Moore_, violet, superb, are Jackman
seedlings, which flower in the summer and autumn, successionally, in
masses, on summer shoots. These are all high priced. Many fine sorts can
be purchased at prices ranging from thirty cents to one dollar.

The Clematis requires only ordinary garden soil. Where there are severe
winters it is best to give the young plants at least some protection.
They can be propagated by layering, which is rather a slow method, or
rapidly by seed.


WISTARIA.

Very beautiful among the hard-wooded Climbers, is the Chinese Wistaria
when in bloom. Its long, pendulous racemes of blue flowers are
exceedingly graceful. They are frequently twelve inches in length and
highly fragrant. The flowers appear about the last of May and first of
June. It is not a continuous bloomer like the Clematis, but often gives
a few flowers in August. It is rather slow at first, but after getting a
good start the second or third year grows very rapidly. It is hardy
after it gets strong, but young plants need some protection.

The Chinese White Wistaria was introduced by Mr. Fortune, and is
regarded as a great acquisition. The _Double Purple_ is illustrated in
Ellwanger & Barry's Catalogue, by a full page engraving, which gives one
an idea of its beauty better than the description which is as follows:
"A rare and charming variety, with perfectly double flowers, deeper in
color than the single, and with racemes of remarkable length. The plant
is perfectly hardy, resembling Wistaria _Sinensis_, so well known as one
of our best climbing plants. The stock which we offer was purchased of
Mr. Parkman, who received this variety from Japan in 1863, and was the
first to bloom and exhibit it in this country."

_White American Wistaria_ is a seedling originating with Messrs.
Ellwanger & Barry, of Rochester, N. Y. Flowers clear white; bushes
short. Free bloomer.


CHINESE WISTARIA AS A STANDARD.

A novelty has been offered to the horticultural public of London this
spring (1880), in the shape of standard trees of Wistaria Sinensis,
raised in tubs, having heads five or six feet in diameter and covered
with clusters of bloom. The plants were raised in Rouen, France, and
sent to London for sale. It requires several years to attain plants of
good size in this style, and as a matter of profit, a strict account
would no doubt show a balance on the wrong side. In this country where
the Wistaria is "at home," it may be raised in tree-shape in the open
ground without expense, save the necessary care in pinching in and
shaping. "So completely did the plants offered in London strike the
popular taste, that there was quite a competition to become purchasers
of them, and large sums were offered by those anxious to possess them.
The general public, unaccustomed to this fine Chinese climber, looked on
with wonder at "Lilacs" of such unwanted size and beauty of
color."--_Vick's Magazine._

Mr. Vick evidently does not deem this method an improvement on the
natural graceful climber, for it reminds him of an anecdote which he
thus relates in reply to an inquirer respecting the Wistaria as a
standard.

"Once upon a time some kind of a steam cannon was invented, and a day of
trial was arranged at Portsmouth, England, to which the Lords of the
Admiralty and the Duke of Wellington were invited. After the exhibition,
which we believe was somewhat successful, opinions of its merits were
freely expressed, but the Iron Duke said nothing. When urged to give his
opinion, he replied that he was thinking--'thinking if the steam gun had
been first invented, what a grand improvement gunpowder would have
been.' If the Chinese Wistaria had been a tree, and some one could have
induced it to climb and cover our porches and arbors and old trees and
buildings, what a grand improvement it would have been."



Thoughts in My Garden.

    My faultless friends, the plants and flowers,
        Have only smiles for me.
    When drought withholds refreshing showers,
    Through hot and dreary summer hours,
        They then droop silently.

    When tired and worn with worldly care,
        Their fragrance seems like praise,
    A benediction in the air;
    Pure as an unfallen angel's prayer,
        Sweet'ning the saddest days.

    No frowns, no pouting, no complaints,
        In my bright garden fair,
    A colony of sinless saints,
    Whose beauty Nature's pencil paints,
        Are my fair darlings there.

    No inattention can awake
        Envy or jealousy;
    Their alabaster boxes break,
    As Mary's did, and I partake
        Of their rich fragrancy.

    Sometimes with weary soul and sad,
        I taste their sweet perfume;
    And then my soul is very glad,
    I feel ashamed I ever had
        A hateful sense of gloom.

    Flowers are the sylvan syllables,
        In colors like the bow,
    And wise is he who wisely spells
    The blossomed words where beauty dwells,
        In purple, gold and snow.

    O! sacred is the use of these
        Sweet gifts to mortals given.
    Their colors charm, their beauties please,
    And every better sense they seize,
        And bear our thoughts to Heaven.

                             GEORGE W. BUNGAY.



A Talk About Several Things.

    "Spake full well in language quaint and olden,
      One who dwelleth by the castled Rhine,
    When he called the flowers, so blue and golden,
      Stars, that in earth's firmament do shine.
    Wondrous truths, and manifold as wondrous,
      God hath written in those stars above;
    But not less in these bright flowerets under us,
      Stands the revelation of His love."


What changes have been manifested--how unceasingly and with what
deftness Nature has silently wrought in tapestry and embroidery,
sculpture and painting, till beauty is all around us, in the green
carpet of earth, brightened with flowers and leafage of every hue! No
wonder the birds sing praises to Him who gave them life with its
fullness of blessings. Sad to think that man, high over all, and under
the greatest obligation, too often is silent in thanksgiving for the
gifts of a Father's love.

No month to me has such charms as June, when nature's robes are so fresh
and clean, and the balmy air is redolent with fragrance. How delightful
to be abroad with the early worm and early bird, working in the garden,
while the songsters give free concerts, and the hum of the honey bird,
and buzz of the bee, set forth a good example of cheerful industry!

The house plants have become established in the open border, and are so
glad to get away from artificial heat and confined atmosphere into the
broad sunlight of heaven, and breathe in full draughts of pure air and
sweet dew, that they put on their best attire, and most attractive
ornaments. Before the roses bloom, the bed of geraniums looks bright
with flowers, each ambitious to excel his or her neighbor, either in
beauty of color, or form, or duration of bloom, thus leaving me in
perplexity as to choice. When _Pliny_ bloomed everybody admired who saw
his beauty; then _Romeo_ with quite another style looked charming, but
when _Naomi_ unfolded her large trusses of double pips, of a rare,
peculiar shade, nobody ever saw a geranium quite so lovely, and then its
duration of bloom--full six weeks! _Jennie Dolfus_, however, became a
dangerous rival--a deeper, richer shade, and not a pip would she allow
to fade so long as _Naomi_ looked so pert. Some said, "I like _Naomi_
the best;" others said, "I think _Jennie_ is the prettiest." But
_Beauty_, close by, hearing the praises lavished on her sisters, and
perchance trusting in her good name, came forth one day in dress of
white with deep pink ornamentation. Never had such unique beauty as this
ever been seen in Geranium before, and, "Isn't it lovely!" "Just
splendid!" "What a beauty!" were uttered with exclamation points, till
she blushed with becoming modesty--the flush spread and deepened until
her face was completely suffused with the delicate tint, making her yet
more attractive. _Wellington_ donned his crimson suit, and _De Gasx_ an
orange yellow; _Pauline Lucca_, prima donna though she be, appeared in
dress of pure white, and _Richard Dean_ in scarlet with a white star
that was very becoming. _New Life_ thought to draw special attention by
odd freaks, and came out in a parti-colored dress of the most singular
combinations; part of it was scarlet dotted with white--part of it half
scarlet, half salmon, part of it widely striped, and part white with
just a flush of pink! I must call him the clown of the family!

I have only named a few of the rare Geraniums that adorn one of the beds
of my garden. For beauty, free flowering, and duration of bloom they
cannot be surpassed.

Interspersed with them are ornamental leaved Geraniums, _Crystal Palace
Gem_, an improvement on _Cloth of Gold_; _Marshal McMahon_, the best of
all the bronzes; _Cherub_, deep green, white and orange, flowers
carmine; _Glen Eyre Beauty_, _Dr. Livingstone_, a new, sweet-scented,
fine cut-leaved Geranium; _Happy Thought_, one of the most attractive,
with its dark green leaves and creamy white center. Here and there are
commingled Anchryanthus of divers hues, and Coleosus, giving a fine
effect to the whole. This is now the most attractive bed of all, but
when the Lilies are in bloom, and the dear little Tea Roses, the bed
parallel with it will be the sweetest, if not so brilliant.

This year I have a tropical bed of oblong form. A Castor Bean rises
majestically in the center, two beautiful Cannas each side, while a
Dracæna, a splendid Croton, two fancy Caladiums, and a few other choice
plants fill the space, the whole bordered with Coxcombs. In a few weeks
this bed will look gorgeous, and those filled with annuals will have
changed from their present inattractiveness to delightful bloom. August
is really the month of fullness of blossom, and of restful enjoyment of
beauty and fragrance. The weary days of preparation, of bedding out and
of weeding, are over, and one may now give themselves up to the
enjoyment of the fruit of their labor, till the chill nights of autumn
bring a renewal of the toil.

"Does the brief period of restful enjoyment repay for the many weary
days antecedent and subsequent?"

Yes, richly, fully, for there is pleasure with the toil, and to me
health-giving influences that energize the physical system for indoor
work, and stimulate the brain for literary pursuits. To me my garden is
a God-send, fraught with blessings.

"Gardening is a pleasant pastime." I am prepared to adopt that sentiment
to-day, if I did demur somewhat last month. It is a delightful pastime,
in the early morning, to spend an hour among the flowers, trowel in
hand, rooting out the weeds, loosening the soil around your plants, and
tying up here and there the tall and fragile, while the birds are
singing in the trees around you their morning song of gladness. How the
dew-laden grass and shrubs impart sweetness to the air, and your lungs
inhaling its purity, are expanded and invigorated, your whole system
feels the better for the tonic, and prepares for breakfast, and the work
that shall follow.

It is a pleasant pastime, when wearied with toil you go forth for a time
among your flowers and search for the buds, or examine the newly-opened
flower. How it rests you!

It is a pleasant pastime, when the labors of the day are over, and the
sun is throwing long shadows from the west, you take watering-pot in
hand, and shower the refreshing spray upon your plants, cleansing them
from the dust, and cooling them after the heat. How they thrive, and bud
and bloom!



The Love of Flowers.

    "We should love flowers, for when we are gone
      From this forgetful world a few short years--
    Nay, months, perhaps--those whom we hold most dear,
      Cease to bedew our memories with tears,
    And no more footsteps mark the paths that lead
      To where we dreamless lie; but God's dear flowers
    Give to our very graves the loveliness
      That won our tender praise when life was ours."


LAST WORDS OF THE POET HEINE.

Of the many touching tributes paid to flowers, there is a beautiful one
associated with the closing hours of Henry Heine, the poet. He was dying
in Paris. The doctor was paying his usual visit, when Heine pressed his
hand and said: "Doctor, you are my friend, I ask a last favor. Tell me
the truth--the end is approaching, is it not?"

The doctor was silent.

"Thank you," said Heine calmly.

"Have you any request to make?" asked the doctor, moved to tears.

"Yes," replied the poet; "my wife sleeps--do not disturb her. Take from
the table the fragrant flowers she brought me this morning. I love
flowers so dearly. Thanks--place them upon my breast." He paused, as he
inhaled their perfume. His eyes closed, and he murmured: "Flowers,
flowers, how beautiful is Nature!" These were his last words.


THE OLD MAN AND THE FLOWERS.

A few years since the Belfast (Me.) _Journal_ gave this touching
incident: "One day last week an elderly man, known to our people as an
honest and hard-working citizen, was walking slowly up Main street.
There was sorrow in his countenance, and the shadow of grief upon his
face. Opposite the Savings Bank his eye caught sight of the flowering
Oleander, that with other plants fill the bay-window of the
banking-room. He looked at it long and wistfully. At length he pushed
open the door, and approaching Mr. Q., said:

"'Will you give me a few of those flowers?'

"The cashier, leaving the counting of money and the computing of
interest, came around the counter, bent down the plant, cut off a
cluster of blossoms, and placed it in the man's toil-hardened hand. His
curiosity led him to ask:

"'What do you want them for?'

"'My little granddaughter died of scarlet fever last night,' the man
replied with faltering voice, 'and I want to put them in her coffin.'

"Blessed be flowers, that can thus solace the bereavement of death and
lend their brightness as a bloom, to the last resting-place of the loved
one."


CONVERTED BY A FLOWER.

There is a beautiful incident told of a Texas gentleman who was an
unbeliever in the Christian religion. One day he was walking in the
woods, reading the writings of Plato. He came to where the great writer
uses the phrase, "God geometrizes." He thought to himself, "If I could
only see plan and order in God's works, I could be a believer." Just
then he saw a little Texas Star at his feet. He picked it up and then
thoughtlessly began to count its petals. He found there were five. He
counted the stamens, and there were five of them. He counted the
divisions at the base of the flower, there were five of them. He then
set about multiplying these three fives to see how many chances there
were of a flower being brought into existence without the aid of mind,
and having in it these three fives. The chances against it were one
hundred and twenty-five to one. He thought that was very strange. He
examined another flower, and found it the same. He multiplied one
hundred and twenty-five by itself, to see how many chances there were
against there being two flowers, each having these exact relations of
numbers. He found the chances against it were thirteen thousand six
hundred and twenty-five to one. But all around him were multitudes of
these little flowers, and they had been growing and blooming there for
years. He thought this showed the order of intelligence, and that the
mind that ordained it was God. And so he shut up his book, picked up the
little flower, kissed it, and exclaimed: "_Bloom on little flowers; sing
on little birds; you have a God, and I have a God; the God that made
these little flowers made me_."



A Talk About Abutilons.


This species is one of the most desirable of hardy-wooded plants we
possess. They are admirable for the house, for the balcony, the piazza,
or the border, being handsome in foliage, and very graceful and
beautiful in flowers. Some are stately, others dwarf, some are flexible
and drooping. We have had for several years three that we have greatly
admired for their variegated leaves, especially for the winter
window-garden, where they compensate for the scarcity of flowers, by the
brilliancy of their foliage, yellow and green, finely mottled and
marbled.

_Duc de Malakoff_ is stately, and by cutting off the top of the main
stalk, it is made to branch out very largely, forming a miniature tree.
It grows very rapidly, and its leaves are like the Maple in form, which
has led many to call the plant Flowering Maple, but this is not correct,
as it is not a Maple at all, but an Abutilon. Some of the leaves on one
only a year old, measure seven inches across, and eight and a half in
length. In the older plant they are not so large. _Thomsonii_ much
resembles _Malakoff_, but its markings are not so handsome; the green is
darker, and predominates over the yellow, so far as my observation
extends, but it is a more abundant bloomer. Flowers are orange color. I
have vainly searched through many catalogues to find the color of the
_Duc de Malakoff_ blossom, but all are silent; it is not even said that
they flower at all, but my four-year-old had one bud last year, which
unfortunately blighted. The yearling has one bud, and I hope it will
live and afford me the knowledge I have failed to find in books.
_Malakoff_ not variegated, has large orange bells, striped with brown.

My other variegated Abutilons are of trailing habit; _Mesopotamicum_ is
very graceful, one droops over the side, and climbs and twines around
the cords of a large hanging-pot, for which it is admirably adapted. Its
small pendant blossoms, crimson and yellow, growing profusely along the
slender branches, drooping among the elegantly marbled foliage, give
this variety a very attractive charm. Another is trained to a pot
trellis, and is very beautiful in this form. We advise every one to add
this variety to their collection. _Pictum_ is very similar in every
respect; the leaves are darker, and not so variegated. They require a
strong light to bring out their markings, and hence are more perfect in
beauty when bedded out in the garden, where they can have plenty of
sunshine.

_Boule de Neige_ (Fairy Bell) has long been a favorite for its pure
white bells and constancy of bloom. A splendid winter bloomer. _John
Hopkins_, with its rich, dark, glossy leaves and golden flowers has
superseded the old _Pearl d'Or_, which was for a time the only real
yellow. _Darwinii_ is one of my favorites. The flowers are more
spreading than any other variety, opening like a parasol; color
orange-scarlet veined with pink. It blossoms very profusely, and when
only a few inches in height. The flowers are large and well formed, and
borne in clusters rather than singly, like many older sorts. This
variety was cross-fertilized with _Santana_, crimson flower, and as a
result we have _Darwinii tessellatum_, combining the variegated foliage
of Thomsonii with the free-blooming qualities of _Darwinii_.

The improvements by hybridizing have been very great within a few years,
and many new varieties have been sent out. One of these is _Roseum
Superbum_, the flowers of which are of a rich rose color, veined with a
delicate pink. Very free bloomer. _Venosum_, we find only named in an
English catalogue. "The magnificent blooms of this variety place it at
the top of all the Abutilons. Although it is of tall growth its
beautiful palm-shaped leaves and gorgeous flowers make it invaluable for
crossing and for conservatories."--_H. Cannell._

Among the new and valuable novelties of American origin are _Arthur
Belsham_, _Robert George_, _J. H. Skinner_, and _Joseph Hill_. These
have been three years before the public, and Mr. John Thorp, a
well-known popular florist of Queens, N. Y., says of them, "We have not,
amongst all the flowering Abutilons, such fine varieties as these. I
have had plants between five and six feet high, pyramidal shape and
literally covered with flowers."

They originated with Messrs. Leeds & Co., of Richmond, Indiana, who make
quite a specialty of new seedling Abutilons, and this year offer four
"of new shades and colors."

_A. G. Porter._ "Flowers of a beautiful lavender color, delicately
suffused with a light shade of rosy pink, and handsomely veined with
magenta, forming a flower of magnificent color and shape, a very free
bloomer. A cross between _Boule de Neige_ and _Rosaflora_, with the
habit and growth of _Boule de Neige_."

_Little Beauty_, "A very dwarf grower, having a short, compact,
symmetrical bush, which is completely covered with its medium-sized but
well-shaped flowers, of a very light salmon color, beautifully veined
with rosy carmine. It blooms in clusters and when in full bloom makes a
remarkably fine appearance. A cross between _Rosaflora_ and _Darwinii_."

_N. B. Stover_, "A low, compact grower. Flowers large and well-formed,
almost covering the bush; color, rich ponceau, finely veined with
carmine. A decided novelty, being a new color among Abutilons."

_Dr. Rapples._ "Light orange salmon, veined with crimson. One of the
most attractive in the set."

A new Abutilon, a decided novelty in color, comes to us from "The Home
for Flowers," Swanley, England, sent with other choice plants by Henry
Cannell & Son. It is thus described in his _Floral Guide_:

FIREFLY (Swanley Red). By far the highest and brightest color of all
the family; habit dwarf, and one of the freest bloomers, throwing
flowers out on strong foot stalks of the finest shape; certainly one of
the noblest, and when grown in a pot it flowers all the winter, and all
the summer when planted out, and forms one of the best flowering shrubs
that we possess.

PARENTAGE OF THIS FLOWER.--Mr. George states that he sometime since
flowered a small red variety, which had a very lively shade of color,
and determining to make this a seed parent, it occurred to him to use on
it the pollen of the single deep color Hibiscas, which, like the
Abutilon, is included in the natural order _Malvaceæ_. Mr. George thinks
the fine color seen in his new variety, _Firefly_, is due to this happy
inspiration of color.

The _Gardener's Chronicle_ has this paragraph respecting Firefly: A red
Abutilon, one of a batch of recent seedlings raised by Mr. J. George of
Putney Heath, well deserves the foregoing appellation. The flowers are
of large size and of a much greater depth and vividness of color than
that possessed by any variety in the Chiswick collection. It has been
provisionally named Firefly, and we believe the stock has passed into
the hands of H. Cannell & Son, of Swanley, for distribution.

A writer in _Vick's Magazine_ describes a method of training the
Abutilon that must, we think, be a very attractive one.

"A pretty plant may be obtained by inarching Abutilon Mesopotamicum upon
_Abutilon Darwinii_, or some other strong-growing variety, and training
it so as form an umbrella head, which can easily be done. The stock for
this purpose should be about five or six feet high. Grown in this way it
produces an abundance of bloom, and the flowers being elevated are seen
in all their beauty. If _Abutilon Mesopotamicum_ is inarched upon
_Abutilon Thompsonii_, the result will be _Abutilon Mesopotamicum
Variegatum_. A well-formed plant of this on a stock about five feet high
is one of the finest of plants; whether in blossom or not it is always
adapted for decorative or exhibition purposes. Care must be taken at
all times to keep them tied to stakes, as they are liable to be broken
off by the wind."

Abutilons are apt to be infested by the red spider, if kept in too dry
an atmosphere, and not frequently sprayed. Moisture is death to this
pest, but as it makes its home on the under side of the leaf, it is too
often overlooked until it has destroyed the vitality of the foliage.
Recently I found that my large _Duc de Malakoff_ looked sickly, and I
concluded it had become root-bound. A few days later, I noticed brown
spots thickly covering the bark. I removed one, and on examining the
under side through a microscope, I saw several tiny insects moving
about. I decided that my plant was troubled with the scale of which I
had often read, but never seen. I made a pretty strong solution of
soap-suds, and with a sponge quite easily removed all of the pests.

In bedding out Abutilons, it is better to have them in pots, plugging
the hole, or setting the pot on a stone or piece of brick, so that the
roots may not go astray, for if plunged directly in the ground they
throw out many roots and the plant becomes too large for re-potting to
advantage. If, however, they are planted in the earth, in August they
should be cut around the stock so as to bring the roots within due
bounds, and the plant can be pruned in the autumn. This method is
applicable to all strong plants that run largely to roots. They should
be cut off sufficiently to leave only a ball of earth of convenient size
to set in the pot when the plant is transplanted.



A Talk About Dahlias.


The genus Dahlia comprises but few species, all natives of the mountains
of Mexico, whose range is from 5000 to 10,000 feet above the level of
the sea. About one hundred years ago a Spanish botanist introduced seeds
of the Dahlia into his native country, and named the genus in honor of a
Swedish botanist, DAHL. The first seed imported seemed to be variable
and not very promising. About seventy years since, HUMBOLDT sent fresh
seed to Germany. Soon after this, both seeds and bulbs were introduced
into England and France, and began to attract considerable attention,
some enthusiast being rash enough to hazard the assertion that "there
are considerable reasons for thinking that the Dahlia will hereafter be
raised with double flowers."

About 1812 probably the first double Dahlia was grown, but for several
years after this both double and single varieties were figured in
colored plates, and exhibited at horticultural shows. That the single
varieties were prized is not strange, for the double were not very good,
and even as late as 1818, published figures showed very imperfect
flowers.

The improvement of the Dahlia after this was rapid, and its popularity
quite kept pace with its improvement. Dahlia exhibitions were held in
England and on the continent, which were crowded by enthusiastic
admirers of this wonderful Mexican flower. For many years the Dahlia
maintained its popularity, but there is a fashion in flowers, as in
almost everything, and for a time the Dahlia became, to a certain
extent, unfashionable, and this was well; for it placed the flower upon
merit alone, and growers were compelled to introduce new and superior
varieties to command either attention or sale for their favorite
flower.

A taste for old styles is now the "correct thing," and so we have
imitations of ancient earthenware, furniture, etc., and import
_original_ Chinese Aster seed, and also obtain roots of the single
Dahlia from Mexico.

There are three pretty distinct classes, the _Show_ Dahlias, the Dwarf
or Bedding, and the _Pompon_ or Bouquet, and to this we may add the
_Fancy_ Dahlia. The _Show Dahlia_ grows from three to four feet in
height, and embraces all our finest sorts, fit for exhibition at
horticultural shows, from which the name is derived; the flowers range
in size from two and a half to five inches in diameter. The striped and
mottled and spotted varieties belonging to the Show section are called
_Fancy_, and though not as rich, nor usually as highly prized as the
selfs, or those of one color, are very attractive. The _Dwarf_ or
_Bedding Dahlia_ grows about eighteen inches in height, and makes a
thick, compact bush, and covers a good deal of surface; flowers of the
size of Show Dahlias. They are therefore very desirable for bedding and
massing. The _Pompon_ or _Bouquet Dahlia_ makes a pretty, compact plant,
about three feet in height. The leaves are small, and the flowers from
one to two inches in diameter. Many expect to find small flowers on
their Dwarf Dahlias, and feel disappointed because they are of the
ordinary size, not knowing that it is the plant, and not the flower,
that is dwarfed, and that only the Pompon gives the small flowers. The
word _Pompon_ is French for topknot or trinket, meaning about the same
as the English word cockade. The English term _Bouquet_ is very
appropriate, as the flowers are so small they are very suitable for
bouquets. Being of a spreading habit, they cover a good deal of ground.
Unlike most of our bedding out plants, they do best in a poor soil; if
rich, they grow to branches and leaves so much, they bloom sparingly and
late.

Generally those who plant Dahlias purchase the tuberous roots, because
they give good strong plants, that flower freely without trouble or
risk. They are smaller and better than the large, coarse roots usually
grown, because they are raised from cuttings, and generally form their
roots in pots. When a tuber is planted, a number of buds that cluster
around its top will push and form shoots, and if too numerous, a portion
should be removed; indeed, one good, strong plant will suffice, and then
the plant will become a tree instead of a bush. Even then, if the top
become too thick, a little thinning of the branches will be of
advantage. If the young shoots that start from the neck of the bulb, are
cut off near a joint and placed in a hot-bed in sandy soil, they will
root, form good plants, and flower quite as well as plants grown from
the tuber; this, however, requires some care and experience, and
amateurs generally will succeed best with bulbs.

New varieties of Dahlias, of course, are from seed. Some of them prove
good, others fair, and a portion utterly worthless. As a general rule,
we would not advise amateurs to trouble with seeds, although there is
pleasure in watching the birth and development of a new and beautiful
variety.

The seed of Dahlias may be sown in pots in early spring or end of
winter, in a light, loamy soil; they will germinate quickly, and as soon
as they begin to show their second leaves they should be pricked out
into other pots or boxes, so that they may have plenty of room and
air--they are very liable to damp off if at all crowded. After pricking
out they should be kept in a thrifty, growing condition, by proper
attention to watering and temperature; the temperature should be
maintained as near 70° as possible, and the watering be sufficient to
preserve a moderate moisture.

If the green fly attack them, it will be best to treat them to a very
weak dilution of tobacco water; the young succulent plants are very
sensitive to smoke, and it is best not to fumigate them. In about two
months the young plants should be large enough to pot off singly, or to
be transplanted into a frame or bed, where protection can be given them
from the cold of night-time, or from late frosts. As soon as all danger
is past they can be transplanted into their summer quarters, and should
stand at least three feet apart. The soil where they are to grow, should
be rich and mellow. In August they will come into flower, and those
having blooms worthy of cultivation can be retained, and the others
destroyed. Only a small proportion of the plants grown from common seed
produce flowers equal to those now in cultivation, but when seed is
saved from a choice collection of named varieties, the chances are that
a large proportion of the plants will produce very good
flowers.--_Vick's Magazine._

"The Dahlia is called a _gross feeder_, but it is not. It loves moisture
rather than rich elemental food. In clay it finds the best constituents
of its development--moisture, silex, lime and alumnia. So we say to
those who love this queenly flower, if you would see the queen in all
her glory, plant in a comparatively heavy soil, no manure, and reduce
the stalks to one for each tuber, set the stakes firmly, to keep the
stalks from swaying, and if the season is dry, give the bulbs a
_soaking_ with water every evening during the drought. My word for it
you will then be proud of your success."

The Pompon, or Bouquet Dahlia is a favorite variety of this genus. The
little round balls of bloom are so pretty and trim. _Beatrice_, blush
tinted with violet; _Dr. Stein_, deep maroon, striped and mottled;
_Goldfinder_, golden yellow; _Little Philip_, creamy-buff edged with
lilac; _Little Valentine_, crimson; _Mein Streifling_, salmon, striped
with crimson; _Pearl_, white; _Prima Donna_, white, fimbriated;
_Perfection_, deep maroon.


SINGLE DAHLIAS.

Anything for a change from the common order of things, seems to be the
fashion now-a-days, in flowers as well as in house building and house
furnishing. The antique, the antique, is the rage! So after years of
labor and hybridization to bring the Dahlia up from its native state of
single blessedness, to its enormous cauliflower blooms, there comes a
reaction, and now single Dahlias are praised as "the most beautiful of
all flowers," the "_par excellence_ the Londoner's flower!" Well, let
the English florists thus praise its beauty if they want to, but we
opine that on this side of the great ocean it will never be considered
"the most beautiful of all flowers," however attractive some of them may
be, and well adapted for bouquets. There is no danger of their
superseding the doubles, but it is well to have both when one can afford
it; their present high price puts them beyond the reach of those whose
purses are not well filled, but in a year or two, when the novelty is
worn off, they can be purchased at half or even less, perhaps, than
their present price.

We find in the London _Garden_ the following: "Dahlia perfecta,
originally introduced by Messrs. Henderson, is perhaps the finest flower
which we possess, unless Paragon, brought into notice by H. Cannell, may
be considered to bear away the palm. Lutea, a quilled yellow, is also a
grand bouquet flower."

The single Dahlias, Paragon and Lutea, are now offered for the first
time in this country, by Messrs. Hallock & Thorp of Queens, N. Y., and
the former is finely illustrated in their catalogue. Color very dark
velvety maroon with shadings of bright scarlet around each petal; small
yellow disk. Lutea is pure yellow, with dark orange center. The same
firm offer Dahlia Juarezii, of which Mr. Cannell says: "The grandest
novelty of the year, and not only a novelty, but a most valuable and
useful decorative plant for all purposes through the late summer and
autumn months. Its blossoms are of a rich crimson, and very much
resemble in shape and color the well-known Cactus, Cereus
_speciosissimus_. Height about three feet, very bushy flowers of very
striking appearance and quite unlike those of an ordinary double Dahlia,
the flowerets being flat and not cupped. Figured in _Gardener's
Chronicle_ October 4th, 1879, and awarded a Botanical Certificate Royal
Horticultural Society."

The following statement was made in the _Gardener's Chronicle_
respecting this new type:

"A remarkable box of Dahlias was shown by Messrs. Cannell with three or
four of the single forms, which, if it were not heresy to say so, we
should so much prefer to the formal lumps so dear to the florist proper;
and then there was a new type of Dahlia altogether, a Sea Anemone among
Dahlias, with long crimson scarlet pointed petals, like the tentacles of
an Antinia--a striking novelty, christened temporarily the Cactus
Dahlia, and which will be the parent of a new strain. It received a
Botanical Certificate; some said this ought to have a higher award, but
what higher or more appropriate form of a certificate could be given to
such a flower. If we were a Dahlia, we should greatly prefer the honor
of a 'Botanical,' to that of a 'First Class Certificate.'"

This new type is illustrated in Hallock & Thorp's Catalogue.

Two new Dahlias not yet introduced in this country are included among
the novelties of 1881. _Cannell's Scarlet_, a Show Dahlia, several
shades higher and brighter in color than any scarlet before introduced.
"Its shape is most model-like, and not excelled by any other, and is
without doubt the best Dahlia of the year." _Miss Cannell_,
(Eckford)--"Mr. Eckford's Dahlia, Memorial, was the king of best shapes
for many years, but the one now offered is of greater excellence, and by
far the best of its class; color white, tipped with rose-pink, and the
depth and build of flower is most model-like."


AMARYLLIS.

These are the finest of all summer flowering bulbs, throwing up strong
flower stems in June and July, bearing from two to six magnificent
lily-like blossoms. The varieties are numerous, but only a few sorts are
found catalogued. Amaryllis Johnsonii is the finest of the commonly
grown varieties. Its leaves are a dark rich green, two inches broad, and
two feet long. The flowers which are five or six inches long, are
crimson with a white stripe through the center of each petal, and are
borne upon a stalk two feet high. They usually bloom twice a year, the
flowers appearing just as the leaves begin to grow.

Amaryllis formosissima is of a very peculiar form. The flowers are
scarlet-crimson, very velvety in appearance; there are six petals, three
of them nearly erect, and three drooping very long. After being bedded
out, it quickly throws up a flower stalk and blooms before the leaves
appear. It is a superb flower, known sometimes by the name of Jacobean
Lily. Amaryllis vittata is a splendid hybrid, red ground striped with
white. Amaryllis Valotta purpurea is an evergreen variety, and should be
kept growing the year round. In August it throws up a flower-stem from
one foot to eighteen inches high, bearing a cluster of light scarlet
flowers two or three inches in diameter. A light soil and small pot
suits it best. Mr. John Lewis Child of Queens, N. Y., has a finer
collection and more numerous varieties than are usually found named in
the catalogues. Some of them we will specify. Johnsonii Grandiflora, an
improvement on the well-known Johnsonii Harrisoni, large, pure white,
with double crimson streaks running through each petal. It has a
delicious, orange-blossom fragrance. Reticulata, a bright rose color,
the foliage is very attractive--dark green with a white stripe running
through the center of each leaf. Aulica Stenopelalon, a magnificent
species, having large orange crimson flowers, beautifully veined with
scarlet. "Equestre fl. pl. This grand novelty was discovered in 1877, in
one of the West India Islands. The flowers are perfectly double,
resembling those of a large Camellia. Its color is rich, fiery orange
red. We believe we have the only stock of this beautiful flower in
America." JOHN L. CHILD.

This and Harrisoni, are priced at $4.50, so they must be very rare and
beautiful. Aspasie, white, tinted with yellow and red; large and
perfect. Crinum Amænum, new and very beautiful, white-striped crimson.
Lutea, a hardy variety, which blooms in the autumn; pure yellow.
Calafornica, pure white.

The bulbs are of easy culture. After blooming, and the foliage fully
grown, they should be allowed to rest for several months, then start
into growth by watering sparingly until the flower stalks appear, when a
more liberal supply should be given. Usually two successions of bloom
can thus be obtained. The bulb should be planted so as to leave the
upper portion uncovered.


HOYA CARNOSA, OR WAX PLANT.

This plant is a native of tropical Asia, where it is partially
parasitical, its roots penetrating the bark of the trees which support
it. It was introduced into England in 1802. There are several species,
but only one is generally cultivated. Hoya Carnosa has thick waxy
leaves, and bears umbels of beautiful flesh-colored flowers which are
very wax-like in appearance. It is an excellent plant for house culture
as it stands the extremes of heat and cold better than most plants, and
is not easily injured by neglect. It can be trained to climb on
trellis-work to almost any height, and when in bloom, which continues
for half the year, it is a very interesting plant.

There are several varieties of Hoya, but one only is generally
cultivated. _Silver Variegated Foliage_ is said to be very handsome but
is of slow growth and difficult to propagate. _Imperialis_ is a new
variety with beautiful foliage and scarlet flowers. _Cunningham_ has
light green leaves, deeper colored flowers than the Carnosa and is a
rapid grower.

They succeed best in peat, with some fibrous soil and sand. They must
have perfect drainage, and require a period of rest. Hoya Carnosa is
easily propagated from cuttings. A very good method is to wrap a cutting
in moss, keeping it moist until the roots are well started.



Among My Flowers.


August is the month when we rest from our labor in gardening, and
abandon ourselves to the full enjoyment of the varied blossoms which so
abundantly meet our eye. Now we can best determine what changes may be
required in the arrangement of our plants next year, in order to give
the most pleasing effect. A tall plant may have been inadvertently set
out in the midst of those of low growth, and we see now how awkward it
looks. Short-lived annuals may have occupied a conspicuous place, and on
their departure left an unseemly vacancy. A bed may have been filled
with a class of plants that are not free bloomers, and so there has been
little beside leaves, while another bed has been brilliant during all
the summer months with flowers. Annuals of a new kind, high-priced
novelties, have been tested; are they any better than our old favorites?
If we cannot indulge in many sorts, what do we find the most
satisfactory? Twenty-five cents per packet seemed very expensive for
Heddewigii Pinks, but Crimson Belle and Eastern Queen are of such
superior size and rare beauty that the investment is not regretted, and
then we know that they will bloom in greater perfection next year, and
that the seed saved this autumn and sown in early spring, will increase
the stock. Twenty-five cents for a paper of Candytuft seed looks
extravagant, but no one who invests in Tom Thumb would regret it. It is
so dwarf, so compact and bushy, such a long continued bloomer, so
admirable for edging a bed, that it is really almost an essential. Then
it will sow itself, and the seedlings will be up as soon as the frost is
out of the ground, and plants from self-sown seed are so much more
thrifty and early than those one sows in the spring, that this is a
great gain.

Candytuft--white, pink, light purple, dark purple and crimson, I find it
well worth while to culture for early and profuse flowers, and admirably
adapted for bouquets. I always have large quantities of the white, to
set off the brighter flowers, and by sowing seed in June and July, have
a succession of blooming plants. Foxglove, both white and purple, with
their thimble-shaped spotted blossoms profusely borne on tall spikes,
with side branches loaded with bloom, has been one of the greatly
admired flowers of my garden. Plumbago, with its clusters of tube
flowers, of the palest of blue, is very beautiful. Godetia, "Lady
Albemarle," I have found to be all that it is represented. For two
months it has been in constant bloom, and it will continue to flower
till frost. It is of a bushy, compact habit, about twelve inches high,
the flowers are from three to four inches in diameter, and of a
rosy-carmine color. Everybody who has seen it, has a word of praise for
this most beautiful of all the Godetias. _Alba_ is a new variety, having
pure white flowers; _Insignis_ is pure white with a crimson blotch on
each petal; _Whitney's_ is of dwarf habit, and has large flowers,
blush-colored, marked about the center with a handsome crimson stain.
The new French Marigolds "Cloth of Gold," and "Meteor" are just splendid
with their large and beautifully striped imbricated leaves. One has gold
bars evenly marked on the rich dark velvety petals, and the other has
deep orange stripes on a pale straw-colored, almost white ground.
"Meteor" is a perfect gem among the Calendulas.

Convolvulus minor--new crimson-violet with yellow eye encircled with a
band of pure white; dark blue and light blue with yellow eye margined
with white; pure white with yellow eye, and blue and white striped, are
very pretty free-blooming dwarfs of this species.

My Stocks are very fine, from mixed seed of the German, new large
flowering. They are mostly very double. The creamy white are especially
beautiful. The bright crimson and canary yellow are handsome. There are
many varieties of this species, but what are generally termed Ten-weeks
Stock are best known. They are classed under five heads: Dwarf,
Miniature, Large-flowered, Pyramidal and Wall-flower-leaved. Then there
are the Intermediate Stocks, prized for their late autumn blooming, of
which there are twelve or more varieties. The German Brompton Stocks are
divided into two sections; Brompton and Hybrid, or Cocordean. The latter
bloom with a single stem which forms a splendid pyramid of flowers, and
is cultivated largely in pots. Seeds sown in early spring will bloom in
autumn, and if carefully potted will flower during winter; if sown in
July and August, and cultivated in pots will flower the following spring
and summer. The Imperial or Emperor stocks, sometimes called Perpetual,
are large flowering, and white, rose, crimson and blood-red in color.

"Hardy's All-the-Year-Round," is a perpetual bloomer. The plants grow
about twelve inches high, and produce hundreds of bunches of double
white flowers.

Let us linger a little while at this rose bed. Are not those Teas
lovely? Look at Madame Lambard, one of the finest French roses imported
recently from Paris. Is not the color exquisite--a beautiful shade of
silver bronze, changing to salmon and fawn, delicately shaded with
carmine rose. And so deliciously fragrant! That rose so large and full,
with a rare shade of violet red, brightened with crimson maroon, is
Aline Sisley. It is surprising how such a tiny plant could have produced
such an immense flower! And this is Letty Coles, a new French rose, very
handsome and sweet; color rosy-pink, deeply shaded with intense crimson.
Perle des Jardins is magnificent with its rich golden yellow, and Bon
Silene has long been a special favorite. Its buds are large and
beautiful. That charming white so deliciously scented is Mademoiselle
Rachel, and this one with pure deep green flowers is Verdiflora, or
Green Rose, scentless, and of no value except as a curiosity.

This grand rose is Abel Carriere, a hybrid perpetual more beautiful I
think than the popular Jacqueminot in the perfectness of its form, and
richness of its color. The outer petals are bright glowing
crimson-scarlet, while the center is a deep fiery red. But it will never
do to linger longer among the sweet roses, for there are many other
flowers to show you.

I think that Hydrangea, with its immense trusses of bloom, is just one
of the most desirable shrubs we can have in the garden. I have had mine
six or seven years, and it bore three clusters of flowers the first
year, though a wee plant. It blooms from August till hard frost, and
needs no protection in the winter, though I do sometimes put a mulching
of straw or a bit of brush around the roots. A lady writing to _Vick's
Magazine_ says of this Hydrangea: "The first year I planted _Hydrangea
Grandiflora_ it produced three heads of flowers, the second, fifty-six,
and the third year ninety-two. Thorough cultivation and a pail of liquid
manure once a week, helped the plant to bear this enormous load of
flowers."

Hydrangea _Alaska_ is a more recent acquisition. Its flowers frequently
measure twelve inches across, and are of a bright pink color, not hardy
at the North. _Hydrangea Thomas Hogg_ would be a very unpoetical name
did it not remind one of "The Ettrick Shepherd." This variety was sent
to the United States from Japan, by that eminent botanist for whom it is
named, and has become deservedly popular. It belongs to the Hortensia
section of the family, but is a far more abundant bloomer than any
other. The flowers are of the purest white, of very firm texture, and
retain their beauty for a long time.

A more recent novelty sent from Japan by Mr. Hogg, is the "New Climbing
Hydrangea," which he describes as clinging to trees to the height of
fifty feet, producing corymbs of white flowers of the size of ordinary
Hydrangeas. It clings exactly like the Ivy, and must produce a striking
effect when in full bloom. It is entirely hardy. Mr. Peter Henderson was
the first to offer this novelty here and in Europe. _Elegantissima_ is a
novelty truly with its leaves flaked, bordered and striped with golden
yellow. I do not know whether it blossoms or not, it is handsome enough
without flowers.


HELIOTROPE.

The new Heliotrope _Le Negre_ is the darkest of this genus, and _Snow
Wreath_ the nearest approach to white we have yet had; truss very large,
growth compact, and fragrance exquisite. _Garibaldi_ is almost white;
_Mrs. Burgess_ is dark violet, and _Duc de Lavendury_ is a rich blue,
dark eye.

[Illustration]

Sweet Alyssum is another of the essential flowers for the border,
admirable for edgings, for its dwarf habit and continuity of bloom. The
great novelty of last year was the new double variegated Sweet
Alyssum--"The Gem." The flowers are very full, and the foliage broad
with a mid-rib of light green, bordered on each side with pure white. It
is a fine, compact grower, and far superior to anything of this species
yet offered.

Lantanas, I think, add greatly to the attractions of the garden, so rich
in color and profuse in blooming. _Clotilda_, pink with yellow center,
and _Comtesse de Diencourt_, flower bright rose and yellow center
sulphur, are very desirable. _Alba perfecta_, pure white, is fine, so
also is _Alba lutea grandiflora_, white with yellow center. _Mine d'Or_
is a new variety, with bright orange and crimson flowers, and golden
variegated foliage. _M. Schmidt_ is a beautiful novelty. Flowers of a
brilliant yellow, passing into purple vermilion; grows in the style of a
Petunia.



A Talk About Cyclamens and Oxalis.


Next to Primroses, and by no means below them in value, we place the
Cyclamen. The leaves, a deep green with white embroidery, are very
ornamental, but when surmounted with a wealth of bloom, what can be more
charming? Two of mine have begun to blossom--a white and a pink--and the
buds are numerous. Others will bloom later. They continue in bloom for a
long period, and are easy of culture, though where there is over-dryness
of atmosphere, they are apt to be infested with the red spider. They
need to be frequently sprayed and it is well to immerse occasionally the
entire plant in water so as to wet the under surface of the leaves. The
water ought to be tepid, and indeed for all plants in cold weather. To
keep the dirt from falling out when the plant is plunged top downward,
something can be wrapped around the pot. A mixture of turfy loam and
sandy peat is best, but when not available, leaf mold or a rich mellow
soil mixed with silver sand will do.

There are several varieties of Cyclamen, but the most common is
_persicum_, and many catalogues name no other. One of mine is
_gigantium_, an improvement on _persicum_, the flowers being much larger
and finer in every respect. Among many catalogues I find this named in
only one. _Persicum_, white and pink, is a sweet scented variety from
Cyprus; _Africanum_, white and rose, from Africa; _hederæfolium_, from
Britain. Other rare and expensive sorts are _Atkinsii_, white, crimson
and rose colored; _Europeum_, red, and _Coum_, which in the early spring
months bears above its very ornamental leaves "a profusion of small
bright, rosy, crimson and snow-white turbinate blossoms of a roundish
recurved outline, blotched with violet-crimson at the base, very
beautiful."

The bulbs of all Cyclamens, except _Coum_, should be placed on the
surface of the soil, covered half an inch, and water given moderately
till the leaves are fully developed, and the flowers appear, when it may
be applied more liberally. Do not make a mistake and plant your bulb
upside down as did a lady I know of. "I have an idea that it is put in
wrong, as the leaves seem to come from the under side," she writes. It
is difficult to tell sometimes which is the right side to put down.

_Persicum_, with its dappled green and silvery gray, rounded,
heart-shaped leaves, embroidered margins, is a fine ornament, but when
these are surmounted with a profusion of pure silvery white oblong
lanceolate petals, blotched with violet-crimson at their base, borne on
slender flower-scopes, the plant is very beautiful. It varies in color
from snow-white delicate peach and rosy crimson. Some are delightfully
fragrant. During the growing and flowering season the plant should have
a full exposure to the light, but not to the intense sunshine. After
blooming, the bulbs may be allowed a time of rest, removing them to a
cool and shady place in the border, if desired, watering rarely. In
early autumn repot, and after a few weeks of growth, water more freely.
It does not, however, injure the plant to keep it constantly growing,
and the best florists have very generally abandoned their former method
of letting them rest during the summer. _Cyclamen autumnale flore alba_,
white, and _rubra_, red, blossom in the autumn.


OXALIS.

The winter blooming varieties are admirably adapted for hanging-pots,
and being cheap and very easy of cultivation, they ought to be in every
dwelling. There are one hundred and fifty known varieties, though our
catalogues rarely name half-a-dozen. Some are strictly winter bloomers,
others flower only in summer, and some blossom the year round. The
_floribunda_ varieties belong to this class of perpetuals. _Ortgiesi_
also, which is a wonderful bloomer, and on account of its erect growth,
is admirably adapted for pot culture. It is a new and somewhat rare
species from Brazil. It often grows eighteen inches high, and in good
form. The upper side of the leaf is rich olive green, and the under side
bright violet purple. The flowers are quite small, yellow, and borne in
clusters. The special beauty is in the foliage.

_Floribunda alba_ and _rosea_ have tuberous roots. The foliage is very
strong, and the clusters of bloom are borne on long foot-stalks starting
directly from the tuber. A single small tuber will often have a hundred
open flowers at a time. They are from one-half to three-quarters of an
inch in diameter. This variety can be obtained and planted at any time
of the year. It is admirably adapted for baskets or a hanging-pot.

_Oxalis acetocella_ is the true shamrock of Ireland. Flowers are white,
borne on stalks two to four inches high. _Versicolor_ is a winter
bloomer; color white, with bright pink margins to the petals; requires
sunshine; the flowers will not expand in cloudy weather. _Floribunda_
has no such freaks, but smiles in the storm, as well as the sunshine. A
lady writing to Mr. Vick becomes enthusiastic over her Oxalis. She says:
"The sixth of last October I planted a bulb of _Oxalis versicolor_, and
it is just beginning to bloom. And oh! what lovely flowers; delicate and
perfect in form, pure white, with just the faintest tinge of yellow in
the center, and beautiful crimson stripes on the outside. The plant also
is of a very graceful habit, bearing its tuft of small leaves, and
clusters of flowers on the top of a short, slender stem. It seems
strange that so small a bulb can produce such beautiful flowers."

Of _Bowii_ she thus writes: "A year ago last October I planted a bulb of
_Oxalis Bowii_ in a small bed. The bulb was so very small that I did not
believe the flowers could amount to much, but was soon most agreeably
disappointed. Such a mass of flowers on one small plant I had never seen
before, and such large, bright-colored flowers! Many stopped to admire
it, and ask its name. It continued to produce a mass of flowers the
entire winter and part of the spring, until the sun became very hot.
From this one bulb I obtained eight, which I wrapped in paper and kept
in a dry place. About the first of August they commenced growing, and so
I planted them, and the first of September they were in full bloom,
though the flower grew large as the days became less hot, until they
were nearly as large as Petunias. The soil in which they grew was mostly
sand and rich surface earth from the woods, and I sometimes watered them
with weak soap-suds."

Mr. Vick, to whom we are indebted for the most of our information on
this subject, says that this variety has large, thick, fleshy leaves,
and large, bright, rose-colored flowers, the largest, indeed, of any of
the cultivated kinds.

In his illustrated article he gives an engraving of one named _Cernuus
plena_, the flowers of which resemble double Portulacas; erect, borne in
clusters. We regret that he gives no reference to this variety whatever.
It must be a rare sort, probably not in the market here.



A Talk About Lilies.


"CONSIDER THE LILIES."

Thus spake one wiser than Solomon, even He whose hand created and
beautified the Lilies with a glory surpassing that of the greatest of
Israel's kings.

This department of the Floral kingdom is too vast for us to explore; we
can only make a selection of a few of the numerous varieties for
consideration, gathering our information from the various sources at
hand, and adapting it to our present use.

The Lily is the rival of the Rose, and by many is considered far
superior. They certainly are far more easily cultivated. They are hardy,
elegant, gorgeous sometimes, and sometimes of snowy purity. Many of them
are of exquisite fragrance. There are early and late bloomers, and one
can have these desirable flowers in succession for several months, by a
right selection. The earliest bloomers are the _Pomponiums_, natives of
Siberia, and are perfectly hardy. The _Lancifolium_ or _Speciosum_ is
the autumn blooming Lily, native of Japan. _Lancifolium Album_, a fine
sort, with pure white petals and a pea-green stripe, very fragrant.
_Lancifolium Rubrum_, and _Roseum_, though catalogued separately, are
the same with different shadings. Some purplish crimson, others a faint
blush of rose. Some have a red stripe, others a dark dull green, but all
are specially recommended. _Lancifolium Punctatum verum_ is a late
bloomer; color, clear white with soft rose spots and green stripes.
Finest of the species, _Lancifolium Praecox_; flowers white with a
purplish-blush at the tips. _Lancifolium Monstrosum_ or _Corymbiflorum
rubrum_, bears its crimson flowers in large clusters. Grows to a great
size.

The Lancifolium Lilies are of special value for their hardiness and
varied beauty, and their cheapness places them within general reach.
They are classed under the head of MARTAGONS, or TURKS CAP.

[Illustration]

_Auratum Imperial_ is the Golden-banded-Lily of Japan which has become
so extensively known and popular since its introduction from Japan by
Mr. Gordon Dexter. It was first exhibited in July 1862, at the
Massachusetts Horticultural Exhibition. It first bloomed in England same
year. It was for sometime considered too tender for the Canadas and New
England states, but it proved to be hardy. We have had ours twelve
years, and give it only a slight protection. The petals of the Auratum
are snowy white with a golden band running down the center of each, and
freely spotted on the sides with deep carmine red. They are very
fragrant. Being of somewhat slender growth, they need support. It does
best in a warm sandy soil that has been well manured and dug deeply. It
is easily propagated from the scales of the bulbs, each scale producing
a small bulbet. They should be planted in a box about a foot deep, in
good friable soil about three inches deep, and one inch apart. Sink the
box in some out of the way place in the garden, and water frequently. In
a short time small bulbs will be found forming on the base, which
rapidly grow, and must be transplanted out the second year in the bed;
the third or fourth year it will bloom. The little bulbets which form on
the mother bulb blossom a year earlier. They should be renewed in the
fall, after the foliage is dead. Plant in a bed about four inches deep,
and let them remain undisturbed for two years; then they are large
enough to bloom and should be transplanted into a permanent bed, if
required.


LONGIFLORUM LILIES.

[Illustration]

These trumpet-shaped Lilies are charming in appearance, quite hardy and
fragrant. They bloom in July or August, and continue in beauty for a
long time.

Longiflorum _Japonicum_ blooms in July, and is a fine dwarf bedder;
color pure white, with occasionally a greenish tinge outside. Increases
rapidly. _Eximium_ bears a longer flower, from six to nine inches in
length, and is more open at the mouth than the common Longiflorum. Pure
white and very fragrant. _Brownii_ is a native of Japan, and is a grand
Lily of rare beauty. It resembles Longiflorum in shape, but is larger
and more expanding; color white inside, exterior brownish-purple;
stamens rich chocolate, which forms a distinctive feature in this
species. It has been frequently confounded with _Japonicum_, but the
difference is very marked in the illustrations of the two, and are thus
noted in Messrs. Hallock & Thorp's "Catalogue of Lilies."

"JAPONICUM (_Odorum, Japonicum Colchesterii_). One of the most beautiful
and rarest Lilies in cultivation. It differs from Brownii and all the
forms of Longiflorum in many respects. Note the following marked
differences: Its broader, fewer and more spreading leaves, the shape of
the entire flower and broader claw of its divisions, its shorter anthers
with pollen tinged with red. The flower is solitary and large, interior
pure white, exterior of a pinkish-brown color, tubular, bell-shaped,
with spreading revolute tips; the bud shows a rich golden tint. Bulb
white, or whitish-yellow, never red or brown, broad at the base, the
scales which are somewhat narrow and acute at the tip, the outer ones
terminate at about two-thirds of the height of the inner scales, whereas
in Brownii the scales are broad, and all pass up, overlapping, and
terminate together at the apex of the bulb, thus making the base much
narrower than the apex."

It is a native of Japan, and is so exceedingly rare that it is priced at
$7.00, more than double the cost of any other in the list. Brownii was
priced, when a novelty at $4.00, but is now offered for $1.75.

[Illustration]

_Candidum_, sometimes called Easter Lily, is one of the best known and
commonly grown of all the Lilies. It has been in cultivation for about
three hundred years. Bears a profusion of pure white fragrant flowers in
a compact head.

The double _Tiger Lily_ is a very great improvement on the old single
variety. It is very double, and very showy. _Wallacei_ is a new Japanese
variety, said to be magnificent; color, buff, spotted with black.

_Chalcedonicum_ or _Scarlet Martagon_ is supposed to be the "Lily of the
field" mentioned in the Gospel. "It is magnificent, and its intense
scarlet is one of the finest shades in the whole vegetable kingdom. A
full bed is a most magnificent sight, and if suddenly looked at on a
bright day, has nearly the same effect for a moment as if looking at the
sun. It is much scarcer than it should be, and requires careful culture,
to be planted about six or eight inches deep, and watered in the summer
time. It pleases every one who is capable of being pleased."

Lilies, as well as many other bloomers, are greatly improved by
thinning out the overplus, thus concentrating the sap to fewer blossoms,
which being thus liberally nourished, greatly increase in size, and
amply repay, by their superiority, for the loss in numbers. Although
this is a demonstrated fact, yet few have the courage to prune where
flowers are not very abundant, and many will not when they are.

Those who have limited space are loth to devote much room to Lilies,
preferring plants that bloom continually throughout the season, or that
make more show. But it is not essential that the bed should be devoted
exclusively to lilies. For early spring blooming there can be the
Crocuses, Snowdrops, Hyacinths, Tulips, all of which will bloom before
the lilies, and after flowering can be taken up, i.e., the Tulips and
Hyacinths, and low bedding plants take their places. Portulaca, Pansy,
Ageratum, Mignonnette, Nemophila, Sweet Alyssum, are all suitable for
this purpose, and will not only make the bed beautiful all the season
with their blossoms, but will also be of real benefit to the Lilies by
shading their roots somewhat, and keeping the soil more cool and moist.

Lilies must never be crowded; a foot or twenty inches is about right.
The soil should be dug deep and mixed with old rotted manure and sand
liberally, unless the soil is naturally sandy; if heavy, clayey soil, it
ought to have in addition to sharp sand, leaf mold and bog muck. Plant
the bulbs from six to eight inches deep, according to the size. Last
autumn, in planting my Lily, Tulip, Hyacinth, and other bulbs, I made a
little bed for each of pure sand, and then covered well with soil, over
which was put a blanket of old dressing, then, before snow, a covering
of boughs. The bulbs never came up so grandly, nor grew so rapidly
before. October is the best month for bedding out, later will do, and
many do not plant their Lilies till the frost is out in the spring.

The two leading Lily growers of this country are John L. Child and V. H.
Hallock & Thorp, of Queens, N. Y.


[Illustration]

DOUBLE WHITE BOUVARDIA, "ALFRED NEUNER."

This is indeed a novelty among this class of valuable plants, being the
first double ever known. It is said to be equal if not superior, in
profuse blooming quality, and vigorous, healthy growth, to the single
white variety, _Davidsonii_, of which it is a sport. The flowers are
rather larger than those of the single flowering, and composed of three
perfect rows of petals, of the purest waxy white color, each floweret
resembling a miniature Tuberose. The trusses are large and perfect, and
are freely and without interruption produced, even on the small side
shoots, which generally make no flowers on the single one. It is highly
praised by Mr. Thomas Meehan, florist and editor of the _Gardeners'
Monthly_, and by Mr. Henry A. Dreer, florist, of Philadelphia. "A grand
thing," says Mr. Meehan. "Gives great satisfaction. It has excelled our
expectation," says Mr. Dreer.

My own specimen, about four inches in height, has twelve buds; two small
clusters are on side-shoots. The very fine illustration of this
Bouvardia we give our readers, has been kindly loaned by the Ellis
Brothers, Keene, N. H., who have a fine stock which they are offering to
the public.

Mr. Henry Cannell says, "Of all plants the Bouvardia, in our opinion,
excels for cut flowers, no matter either for button-hole bouquets or
table decoration; a spray of it is sure to be most prominent and
pleasing, and the odor of several kinds is deliciously refreshing, and
if well-grown they will more or less continue flowering nine months out
of the year. Strange to say, they need only the ordinary course of
cultivation of the winter-flowering Zonal Pelargonium; hitherto they
have been treated as a stove plant, whereas they only need a temperature
not higher than 50° to 60°, and in the summer to have every attention,
like a specimen Chrysanthemum, and on the first appearance of frost to
be taken into the house, and when growing and flowering, to be supplied
with liquid manure occasionally."

Our only experience with this genus has been with _Bouvardia Humboldtii
Corymbiflora_, and it has proved to be a very valuable plant. Its pure
white flowers are produced in large trusses; their tubes are three
inches in length, and very fragrant. It blooms very freely and for a
long period. This variety and _Vreelandii_ are the best single white.

_Liantha_ is a dazzling scarlet, and a very profuse bloomer. _Elegans_,
salmon-scarlet; large and fine. _Lady Hyslop_, a light rose. _Canspicua_
is of a blood-red color, with whitish tube. _Bicolor_, a
summer-flowering variety. Flower tube purple, with tint of blue and
delicately mottled flesh, tipped with white. These last we find, only in
Cannell's _Floral Guide_.

I have no difficulty in keeping my Bouvardia in the cellar, the leaves
drop off, but they come out anew in the spring.


CAMELLIA JAPONICA.

This is a very popular genus on account of their rich dark-green leaves,
and beautiful rose-like flowers. They are hardy greenhouse plants, and
thrive best in light loam mixed with sand and peat, but will do well in
light soil without the peat. It will not flourish in a limestone soil.
Mr. Vick gives the following in his Magazine:

"The Camellia Japonica was sent to England in 1739 by Father Kamel, a
missionary, for whom it was named. As a house-plant the Camellia
requires considerable care, on account of the tendency of the flower
buds to drop off. A northern exposure is best, and a temperature of from
forty to fifty degrees. When the buds are swelling, water plentifully
with warm water, but allow none to stand in the saucer. Sponge the
leaves once a week. In the spring put the plant out in a shady place on
the north side of a house or fence, not under the drip of trees, and
water it every day. Set the pots on a hard bottom, so that no worms can
get into them. They form their flower beds during the summer, and at
this time a good growth of wood must be encouraged.

"In the Southern States the Camellia can be raised with not more than
ordinary care; at the North it must be considered entirely a green-house
plant, and as such will always be highly prized. We are often asked how
it should be cared for as a house-plant, and to all such, in the
northern part of the country, where it is necessary to maintain good
fires in warm houses for several months of the year, we have no
hesitation in saying, let it alone, do not expend care and labor where
there is so little prospect of reward."

Camellias are of many hues, and some are beautifully striped. _Gen.
Lafayette_, bright rose, striped with white, imbricated. _Bell Romann_,
imbricated, large flower and petals, rose striated with bright crimson.
_Matteo Molfino_, petals cerise, with pure white band down center.
_Mrs. Lurmann_, crimson, spotted, very beautiful. Pure colors of white,
red, crimson, rose and carmine, can be obtained.


AZALEA.--Shrubby green-house plants of easy cultivation. Very showy and
hardy. Like the Camellia, they are found in all the leading colors, and
also striped, blotched and spotted. They are both single and double.

_Alexander II_, is white, striped with vermilion; edges of petals
fringed. _Aurelia_, white, striped with rosy orange, amaranth spots.
_Flag of Truce_, is a pure double white, very fine. _Her Majesty_, is
rosy-lilac, edged with white. _Alice_, rose, blotched with vermilion;
double.

Mr. Vick gives the following directions: "Azaleas need a light soil of
sandy loam, to which should be added one-half leaf mold. Repotting
should be done in May, trimming the tops to bring them into shape. Then
plunge in some sheltered spot in the garden. In September the plants
should be brought in under cover, or into a cool room. They do best when
the temperature ranges from forty degrees at night to sixty-five or
seventy by day. The foliage should be showered once a week, but care
must be taken that the roots are not over-watered, as they rot easily.
Small plants bloom well, but their beauty increases as they get age and
size. The flowers appear on the terminal shoots, and are from one inch
to two and a half inches in diameter.

"Azaleas if left to themselves will develop long shoots, that after a
time become naked below and are furnished with leaves only at their
extremities. Flower stems are formed on the new wood of each summer's
growth, consequently the amount of bloom, other things being equal,
depends upon the amount of new wood annually produced. In order to have
plants of good shape when they become large, it is necessary to give
attention to pinching and training them from the first. The pyramid
form, or more properly that of a cone, and rounded at the top, is
considered the best for the plant, as it allows the greatest exposure
of leaf-surface. Two principal methods are adopted to regulate the
growth and bring plants into shape: one is by successive pinchings as
the growth proceeds, the other by allowing long shoots to grow and then
bending and training them down, thus causing many of the dormant buds
along their whole length to break and develop into shoots. A skillful
combination of the two methods is probably better than either
exclusively."

Mr. John Dick, Philadelphia, has the largest stock of Camellias and
Azaleas, it is stated, in the United States. Their catalogue list of
these plants embraces more than a hundred varieties, to which we refer
our readers.



The Ingathering of the Flowers.


We have come to see your garden, said a gentleman with a lady in
company. They were from a neighboring town. This two weeks after the
heavy frost!

I told them my garden was in the stable, and thither I piloted them. It
was not a very small garden if it was in a stable. A hundred or more
plants had been hurriedly removed from the beds the day before that
freezing night! There they were, in the soiled pots just as taken from
the ground, or packed closely in boxes. Not very attractive looking, in
one sense, yet in another they were, for they were bright, healthy
appearing plants--leaves as fresh as when in the open air, pretty
Geraniums in bloom, a mass of Lobelia, attractive with their tiny blue
flowers, Coleus of varied hues, and even a few Roses struggling into
bloom.

Then we strolled among the despoiled beds, and the Pansies, so large and
pert, elicited admiration, and the Sweet Peas, just as fragrant as
though blight were not all around them, while dear little Mignonnette
seemed to have taken a new lease of life.

Yesterday I arranged in a shallow glass dish as handsome a bouquet as I
have had for the season. Sweet Clover sprays, Mignonnette and fragrant
Geranium leaves for the foundation all around the dish, a few bunches of
the little white wax balls, with their glossy leaves, Geranium blossoms,
and lots of Sweet Peas, from the most delicate shades to the deepest,
and bunches of splendid Pansies, Sweet Alyssum, a bit of purple Verbena
here and there, and white-eyed Phlox. It was just lovely.

When the evidence was sure that frost was surely coming, and a great
many plants must be taken up in a few hours' time, I was so glad that
full half of them were in pots. I could never have potted a third of
them in the time. The great object was to get them sheltered, and the
repotting could be done at my leisure.

But I almost changed my mind the other day after toiling several hours
at the business. So many pots to wash! then fill with fresh earth, and
set the plant. O dear, wasn't I tired! But then the wide door was open,
the day was lovely, and I rather think potting plants in a stable is
better than potting out of doors on a cold day, and when one is in a
great hurry. Plants that are in pots plunged in the ground do not grow
so many roots, and that is another advantage.


MY WINDOW BOX.

Perhaps I may as well tell you about my most important window box. I
had it made last autumn, and I was greatly pleased with it. It is made
of zinc, size one yard long, fourteen inches broad, seven inches in
depth. To give it strength it is framed at the top with wood. You can
have this of black walnut, or stained in imitation. You can have the
box painted any color you wish, or leave it unpainted. In the center
is Croton "Weismanni," on one side of it a fine Eranthemum pictum; its
green leaves look as though they were painted with white streaks; on
the other side, Acalypha "Macafeeana." These are the largest plants in
my box, and they do not exceed ten inches in height. There are sixty
plants in all, mostly averaging six inches in height, but a few are
quite small. They consist of very choice Geraniums--some of them
handsome-leaved--variegated Abutilons, Lemon Verbena, two bright
Achyranthes, six very beautiful Coleuses, and four fine Begonias.
There are others I cannot stop to specify. You will see that I have
filled my box with what are, in themselves, beautiful without the aid
of flowers, though I expect to have a few of these by-and-by. I am
perfectly satisfied with it, however, just as it is. I had a large
German Ivy growing out of doors, which consisted of several long
vines. This I planted in one corner of the box, and then drooped and
twined it on the outside. The change to indoor life caused the large
green leaves to fall off, but already new ones have put forth, and the
vines are rapidly growing. Everything else had been previously
prepared so that there was no change in their leafage after being put
in the box. It is a great addition to the beauty of the box to have
vines of pretty foliage drape the sides. This autumn I have had it
placed on a small, low table with castors, so I can change the plants
every week, and thus avoid that turning toward the window which they
always assume if kept in one position.

I first put in drainage, and then filled the box with rich, mellow earth
in which was a mixture of one-third sand. I have been thus particular in
my description, for many, no doubt, who, like myself, have to make the
most of limited space, will be glad to know just how to keep the
greatest number of plants to the best advantage. Not only is there a
saving of room, but of labor, and it is more cleanly.


HYACINTHS.

Among the essentials for winter flowers are the bulbs. Of these the
hyacinth takes the lead. They are so easily grown; so lovely and so
fragrant that they are worthy of a place in every collection. They
should be planted so that the upper surface of the bulb is visible.
Water liberally and then put away in a cool dark place for several
weeks, six weeks is none too long, and some I allow to remain a longer
time, bringing them to the light at intervals so as to have a succession
of flowers. They are very effective planted in a group. They are very
pretty in hyacinth glasses, but this method ruins the bulbs for future
use. Planted out they will sometimes flower. The best time to plant them
in the border is in October, but the first of November will do. It is a
good plan to make a little bed of sand for the bulb, and then cover with
light porous soil. Hyacinths are classed as tall and dwarf, single and
double. The Roman Hyacinth is the earliest bloomer, coming into flower
about the holidays if started in season. The spikes are small and
flowers rather scattering. As soon as the blooms fade, the stalk should
be removed, and when the leaves turn yellow, they can be cut off, and
the bulb dried and packed in paper bags and kept till time for autumn
planting.

Hyacinth bulbs come from Holland. About Haarlem the rubbish heaps are
hyacinths, and the air is oppressive with their perfume.

In California there grows what is called the Twining Hyacinth. It grows
in the mountains, and twines about the bushes, sometimes going up eight
and ten feet. After it gets to the top of the bush and rests awhile, it
lets go of the earth and goes on blooming for months, regardless of the
burning sun. The flower stem breaks off near the ground, and the flowers
are kept swinging in the air supported only by the bush about which it
twines. The color is deep rose, and it is said to be very pretty. The
picture of it certainly looks attractive. It is a large cluster composed
of dozens of blossoms.

For flowering in the house the Polyanthus Narcissus are very desirable.
They can be put into glasses as well as the Hyacinth, but the most
natural method is in a pot of earth, and the bulb is in a better
condition for after use. The Jonquils are also pretty. Snowdrops,
Scillas and the Crocus are cheap bulbs, and planted in the autumn will
show their bright, sweet faces soon after the snow is gone. They are
also very fine for house culture. Should be planted in groups.

Tulips ought to have a place in every garden. They make a brilliant show
in the Spring, when the beds are bare of other flowers, and afford bloom
for a long time, if a good assortment is selected. The pretty little
dwarf Duc Van Thols are early bloomers and very gay. They are admirable
also for the house, and by planting in September, will come into flower
in December. There are early single and double Tulips, and also late
bloomers, so that by having a variety, the border may look gay for a
long time. The Parrot Tulips are large and very brilliant in color, and
picturesque in appearance. All of these varieties succeed in ordinary
garden soil. They ought to be planted in October or November, about four
to six inches apart, and about four inches under the surface. Before
severe frost they need to be protected by branches of evergreen, straw
or leaves. After blooming, and the leaves have died down, they can be
taken up, dried and stored till autumn, if the bed is needed for other
flowers.

The Bulb catalogues issued by leading florists in the autumn, and sent
free to all applicants, will enable you to select just what you want.


INSECTS.

In a work of this character it seems needful to treat more fully of
those pests which prove so destructive to plant life, than we have in
our brief references.

The APHIS or green louse is the one that most frequently infests our
plants, and the rapidity with which it multiplies, is astonishing.
REAUMER has proved that in five generations one aphis may be the
progenitor of six thousand millions, and there may be ten generations in
a year!

The method most generally adopted for their destruction is fumigation
with tobacco. As this is attended with considerable difficulty, a weak
solution may be used quite as effectively. We have had no experience
with either method, having used another with good success for several
years. This is white hellebore which we usually apply in the powder when
the Rose-bushes are wet with dew or rain, bending the branches over, so
that the application can be made chiefly on the under side of the
leaves, where the pests are found. Two or three times proves sufficient.
For our house plants we usually make a solution, by putting half an
ounce of the hellebore into pretty warm water, and letting it stand for
several hours, stirring it up however, before spraying the leaves.
Afterward, the plants need to be washed.

For the SCALE a strong solution of soap-suds applied with a sponge or a
small stiff brush. A tooth brush is very suitable for this purpose.

For MEALY BUG, a mixture of one part alcohol and three parts water,
applying with a feather, or what is better, a camel hair brush. Another
method is to use kerosene in the same way. A florist who has practiced
this for eight years, says it is sure death to the insect. The feather
should be brushed all over the mealy-looking substances found usually in
the axils of the leaves.

WORMS IN POTS. Lime water is a safe and effectual remedy for the little
white worms often found in the soil. Slake the lime in water and after
it has settled, pour off the clear water and drench the earth.

ANTS. Various remedies have proved effective. One is to take a vial or a
cup nearly filled with sweet oil, and sink it in the ground where the
ants resort, so that the rim is on a level with the surface. The ants
are very fond of it, but it is sure death to them.

A German writer says that carbolic acid and water will drive ants away
from any grounds--one hundred parts of water to one of the acid. Mix in
a tub and stir repeatedly for twenty-four hours, taking off the scum
that rises to the top.

Kerosene or coal-oil mixed with water has proved very successful in the
destruction of noxious insects and grubs. A tablespoonful of the oil to
two gallons of water is the rule for tender plants; for hardy ones it
will be necessary probably to have it of greater strength. As the
compound does not mix readily, it needs to be thoroughly stirred, and
then quickly applied. The best way is to draw it back and forth a few
times in a syringe, and then apply.

Water tainted with coal-oil, poured into little holes made in mole
tracks, will, it is said, drive them effectually away.



INDEX OF FLORISTS.


For the convenience of our readers who may wish to procure varieties of
plants of which we have treated in this work, we give the address of
reliable florists who make a specialty of those connected with their
address. All of them will furnish their catalogues free when requested.

    PANSIES. SEEDS FOR THE WILD GARDEN. B. K. Bliss & Sons, New York
    City.

    VERBENAS, PETUNIAS, FUCHSIAS. C. E. Allen, Brattleboro, Vt.

    GERANIUMS. Innisfallen Greenhouses, Springfield, Ohio.

    PELARGONIUMS, ORNAMENTAL FOLIAGE PLANTS, GLOXINIAS. John Saul,
    Washington, D. C.

    GLADIOLUS, SINGLE DAHLIAS, NOVELTY DAHLIA. V. H. Hallock & Thorp,
    Queens, N. Y.

    COLEUSES--NEW HYBRIDS, DRACÆNAS. H. A. Dreer, Philadelphia, Pa.

    CHINESE PRIMROSES, NEW PRIMULA, DOUBLE WHITE BOUVARDIA. Ellis
    Brothers, Keene, N. H.

    NEW MONTHLY PELARGONIUMS. John G. Heinl, Terre Haute, Ind.

    WISTARIA. E. H. Ellwanger, Rochester, N. Y.

    AMARYLLIS, RARE VARIETIES. John L. Child, Queens, N. Y.

    LILIES A SPECIALTY. John L. Child; V. H. Hallock & Thorp, Queens, N.
    Y.

    CAMELLIAS AND AZALEAS. John Dick jr., 53d st., and Darby Road,
    Philadelphia, Pa.



AUTHOR'S NOTES.


_Vick's Illustrated Magazine_ is the best Floricultural Monthly we know
of for amateurs. We are indebted to it for much of the information we
have obtained respecting the culture of flowers, and have drawn largely
from its pages in this work. There is a finely colored frontispiece in
each number, and it is otherwise fully illustrated. Its entire
arrangement evidences the fine æsthetic taste of its editor and
publisher. It is very low at $1.25 per year. Beautifully bound vols.,
$1.75. Mr. James Vick, Rochester, N. Y.

_The Gardener's Monthly and Horticulturist_ takes a wider range,
treating not only of Flowers, but also of Fruit and Vegetable Gardening,
Natural History and Science, Forestry, etc. The ample Notes pertaining
to the several departments, by its editor, Mr. Thomas Meehan, are of
special value. Published by Chas. H. Marot, Philadelphia, Pa., at $2.10
per annum.



"AN ESSAY ON ROSES."

NOTICES OF THE PRESS.


Mrs. M. D. Wellcome of Yarmouth, Me., whose pleasant and helpful "Talks
About Flowers" are familiar to the readers of _The Journal_, has
published in a neat pamphlet, _An Essay on Roses_, which was read before
the Maine Pomological Convention last March, and has since been revised
and enlarged for publication. This essay treats the subject historically
and descriptively. It considers the classification of Roses, tells what
Roses to plant, gives suggestions as to the best mode of culture, and
furnishes a list of the best hybrids and of the best ever-blooming
varieties. Mrs. Wellcome writes with enthusiasm, and from a thorough
knowledge and a considerable experience. All lovers of roses, and all
amateur horticulturists will find the little monograph interesting and
suggestive.

                                                  _Boston Journal._

The valuable and instructive _Essay on Roses_ read before the Maine
Pomological Convention by Mrs. M. D. Wellcome, has been issued in a neat
pamphlet.... Our readers who are familiar with Mrs. Wellcome's writings,
will know how to value this production of her busy pen.

                                             _Portland Transcript._

Our well-appreciated correspondent, Mrs. M. D. Wellcome, has published
in a neat pamphlet, an essay upon "Roses."... It is an interesting and
practical little manual, and will prove a valuable aid to young
horticulturists.

                                                   _Zion's Herald._

The _Waterville Mail_ says: "Of this essay it is sufficient to say that
it was prepared by a graceful writer,--a well-known contributor to the
literary department of several prominent Journals, and a skillful
florist--and that it secured the approbation of the Convention before
whom it was read, and the representatives of the agricultural press."

Rev. J. M. Orrock, editor of _Messiah's Herald_, after describing the
work, adds: "The author says in her introduction, 'I have brought you a
bouquet of Roses, and there is little of my own but the string that
binds them.' It is indeed, a pretty bouquet, and we hope many of her
friends will want to see and enjoy it."

Mr. Samuel L. Boardman Esq., editor of the _Home Farm_, says: "This
little booklet about Roses is just the plain, sensible guide all amateur
growers will be profited by reading. There is just enough of history and
sentiment in its opening pages, ample directions for culture, treatment,
etc., closing with descriptions of the most desirable Roses, and lists
from which to make selections for larger cultivators. Mechanically, the
little book is as delicate as a rosebud; and every lover of this queenly
flower should procure a copy."

The "Essay" is issued in a neatly illustrated pamphlet of 24 pages, with
ornamental cover. Price 15 cents. For sale by the author, Yarmouth, Me.



GERANIUMS!

We offer a fine assortment of Geraniums at =10 CENTS EACH=, for your
selection; or we will send =16 FINE SORTS= of our own selection, all
labeled, prepaid, by mail, for a remittance of $1.25. We have by far the
largest stock of Geraniums in this country.


Roses, Ever Blooming.

We have a fine collection of Roses that we offer, strong flowering
plants, labeled, at =10 CENTS EACH=, your choice; or we will send =16
FINE PLANTS= of our own selection, prepaid, by mail, for a remittance of
$1.25.

We also offer a fine assortment of all kinds of flowering plants at the
above low price. Send for a catalogue.

Address,

      INNISFALLEN GREENHOUSES,
               SPRINGFIELD, O.


The Latest Novelty in Roses.

NEW HYBRID TEAS.

This new class of ROSES combine =HARDINESS=, =CONSTANT BLOOM=, and
=DELICATE COLORING=. They originated in England, and are now offered for
the first time in this country. For full description of these Roses, and
price, send for catalogue.

E. C. ALLEN, Brattleboro, Vermont.


FREE!

We wish to obtain 25,000 New Subscribers to

THE FLORAL MONTHLY

during the next few months, and we propose to give to every reader of
this paper

_Fifty Cents Worth of Choice Flower Seeds_.

Our offer is to send, Free of Cost, 50 cents worth of Choice Flower
Seeds to each and every one who will send us 25 two cent postage stamps
for the FLORAL MONTHLY one year. Seeds sent free by return mail.
Specimen copies free. Address

=W. E. MORTON & CO., FLORISTS=, 615 Congress Street, =Portland, Me.=

(NATURAL FLOWERS PRESERVED TO LAST FOR YEARS.)


       *       *       *       *       *


Transcriber's Note:

Punctuation has been standardised, and typographical errors such as
missing or reversed letters have been silently corrected.

Variations in hyphenation (such as greenhouse and green-house), and
obsolete or variant spelling have been preserved. In particular,
variations in the spelling of some botanical names have been left as
printed in the original book.

In the Table of Contents, the entry "A Talk About Pansies" was printed
as "Pansies"; this has been changed to match the chapter title as
printed on page 33.

The following changes were also made:

Pg 82, Verschaffellii changed to Verschaffeltii: (Verschaffeltii, we
fear).

Pg 109, Ainwick changed to Alnwick: (a visit to Alnwick Castle).





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