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Title: The Children's Book of Gardening
Author: Sidgwick, Mrs. Alfred, Paynter, Mrs.
Language: English
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text is surrounded by _underscores_.]



THE CHILDREN’S BOOK OF

GARDENING



UNIFORM WITH THIS VOLUME


By MISS CONWAY and SIR MARTIN CONWAY

THE CHILDREN’S BOOK OF ART


By ELIZABETH W. GRIERSON

THE CHILDREN’S BOOK OF CELTIC STORIES


By ELIZABETH W. GRIERSON

CHILDREN’S TALES FROM SCOTTISH BALLADS


By ELIZABETH W. GRIERSON

THE CHILDREN’S BOOK OF EDINBURGH


By ELIZABETH W. GRIERSON

CHILDREN’S TALES OF ENGLISH MINSTERS


By G. E. MITTON

THE CHILDREN’S BOOK OF LONDON


By G. E. MITTON

THE CHILDREN’S BOOK OF STARS


By G. E. MITTON

THE BOOK OF THE RAILWAY


A. AND C. BLACK · SOHO SQUARE · LONDON, W.


AGENTS

    =America=      THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
                     64 & 66 Fifth Avenue, NEW YORK

    =Australasia=  OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS
                     205 Flinders Lane, MELBOURNE

    =Canada=       THE MACMILLAN COMPANY OF CANADA, LTD.
                     27 Richmond Street West, TORONTO

    =India=        MACMILLAN & COMPANY, LTD.
                     Macmillan Building, BOMBAY
                     309 Bow Bazaar Street, CALCUTTA

[Illustration: A HERBACEOUS BORDER.]



    THE

    CHILDREN’S BOOK

    OF

    GARDENING


    BY

    MRS. ALFRED SIDGWICK

    AND

    MRS. PAYNTER


    WITH

    TWELVE FULL-PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS IN COLOUR FROM
    DRAWINGS BY MRS. CAYLEY-ROBINSON


    LONDON
    ADAM AND CHARLES BLACK
    1909



    ‘It is the Spirit of Paradise
     That prompts such work, a Spirit strong,
     That gives to all the self-same bent
     Where life is wise and innocent.’

                                WORDSWORTH.



    DEDICATED

    TO

    BETTY, BARBARA, AND CYRIL



PREFACE


THIS book was suggested by the questions of a boy of twelve who
lived in Germany and sent for an English book that would teach him
the elements of gardening. One of the authors asked the editor of a
well-known gardening journal to recommend her a suitable book, and
found that he knew of none written from a child’s point of view, and
supplying the instruction a child could understand and use. Yet in
these days, when so many children have a garden, such a book must be
needed. The aim in this one has been to tell the juvenile reader how to
make his garden grow, and the authors have not allowed themselves to
wander in the pleasant byways of description, reflection, or amusement.
They wished to help the budding gardener rather than to entertain the
child, and they have tried to keep within the limits of what a child
can do.

But as children vary in age and strength as well as in circumstances,
they will not all be able to follow the whole of the advice here given.
Cyril, for instance, could dig his own little plot of ground, but
Betty could not for many a year to come; and though Cyril may not have
the patience to sow his sweet peas in the best of all possible ways,
Betty will read in this book how it should be done, and then get one
of her father’s gardeners to do it for her. As for Barbara, she is a
traveller, and can have no garden of her own; but she sets daffodils in
her friends’ gardens, and is content to see them, with her inward eye,
dancing in the breeze for their delight. So all children, according to
their strength and means, may love a garden, whether it is contained in
a few flower-pots on a city window-sill, or encouraged to expand and
grow in the wide spaces of the country.

Gardening, like other bents, will find a way; but it will run more
smoothly if it has a little help at the beginning.



CONTENTS


    CHAPTER                                     PAGE

      I. THE SITUATION AND SOIL                    1

     II. ANNUALS                                  16

    III. HARDY PERENNIALS                         43

     IV. BULBS, CORMS, AND TUBERS                 70

      V. BIENNIALS                                91

     VI. BEDDING PLANTS                          107

    VII. ROSES                                   116

   VIII. CARNATIONS AND PINKS                    131

     IX. LILIES                                  142

      X. ROCK AND WALL GARDENS                   152

     XI. DIFFICULT AND SHADY GARDENS             166

    XII. SOME HARDY CLIMBERS                     172

   XIII. FRUIT AND VEGETABLES                    181

    XIV. WINDOW, ROOM, AND JAPANESE GARDENS      194

     XV. A CALENDAR OF WORK                      212

         INDEX                                   233



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

BY MRS. CAYLEY-ROBINSON


    A HERBACEOUS BORDER                _Frontispiece_

                                         FACING PAGE

    THE TIDY GARDENER                              8

    JANUARY                                       17

    POPPIES                                       32

    LARKSPURS AND PINKS                           65

    DAFFODILS                                     80

    IRISES                                        97

    A CORNISH COTTAGE                            112

    LILIES AND ROSES                             145

    ‘THE ROAD TO ROME’                           160

    A WINDOW GARDEN                              193

    A ROOM GARDEN IN SPRING                      208



THE CHILDREN’S BOOK OF GARDENING



CHAPTER I

THE SITUATION AND SOIL


THE first thing to decide is that you really want a garden of your own,
and mean to work in it and keep it clean and tidy. The next thing is
to learn a little about situation and soil, because you cannot choose
which plants to grow until you know what conditions you can give them.
You must not think that you can ram any plants into any patch of ground
with success. There are a few that are obliging and will live almost
anywhere, but even these will generally show you by their size and
health whether they like their home or not. Many will just exist, but
not do well without the food or place that suits them, while others
will die unless they have what they want.

If you can possibly avoid it, do not have your garden under trees or
large shrubs, or close to an evergreen hedge. The drip from trees is
bad for nearly all plants, and the big roots made by trees and shrubs
exhaust the soil. Besides, on account of the roots, you cannot dig
the ground properly and feed it with manure. However, if your choice
is between a shady garden and none, you should certainly take it, and
learn what can be done with it. Later on in the book we will tell you
which plants will do well in such a spot, and how you should treat
them. The best situation for a garden is one that gets the morning sun,
and is either right out in the open or sheltered on the north. It is
best for the plants and best for you, because in a warm, sunny corner
you can often work on days when it would not be safe in the chilly
parts of the garden.

Do not have a large plot if you mean to look after it without help:
twelve feet long by seven feet wide would be enough, and even a smaller
piece could be made into a pretty garden. If you have more than you
can keep tidy, the grown-ups will be sorry they let you have a garden
at all, and some day they will say that the gardener wants your bit
of sunny border for his winter lettuces, and that you had better take
yourself and your weeds and your mess away to that no-man’s-land in the
shrubbery, where nothing much will grow, and where it is always sad and
chilly. So we will imagine that your garden is twelve feet long and
seven feet wide, and that the sun shines on it whenever it is fine.

Whether your plot is a bed by itself or part of a wide border, it will
not be easy and pleasant to manage unless you make a path through the
centre—a dry, hard, narrow path, on which you can stand or kneel when
you are at work amongst your plants. Across the breadth would be the
most convenient position. To do this you should get a penny piece
of tape, because it is easier to see and keep straight than string.
Measure the length of your garden with it, having tied one end of the
tape to a stick and put the stick firmly into one corner of the ground.
Tie a knot in the tape when you reach the other corner. Then carry the
knot back to the stick, and the doubled tape will mark the centre of
the whole length. Put a stick into the ground there. Then you get two
other sticks, and put them nine inches on either side of the centre
one, so as to get your eighteen-inch path exactly measured at the top
of your garden. The other side of the garden may be measured in the
same way, and the centre sticks removed at either end. Then you bring
your tape right along both sides of your path, tying it to your sticks
at each end, so that you have two straight lines to guide you. If you
are going to make your path yourself, you must now take your spade and
dig out all the earth to the depth of ten inches. This will be hard
work, and take you several days, but if you want your path to be dry
and firm it must be done. The earth you throw out should be divided
as evenly as possible between your two beds, and be neatly spread on
them when you have finished. The deep trench you make by digging must
be filled with broken stones or pieces of brick well stamped down,
and afterwards covered with gravel or fine stones. Now you will have
two borders, each seven feet long and five feet three inches wide. If
you choose you can make one side a flower garden and the other side a
kitchen garden, and in your kitchen garden you can grow some flowers
as well as vegetables. In any case, you will be glad of your path, and
if your plot is smaller than the one we recommend, you should make it
on one side instead of in the middle. As far as possible, you should do
all your gardening from it, so that the soil around the plants does not
get trodden down too hard. Most plants like to have a firm hold with
their roots, but not to have a caked surface that keeps out the air and
rain.

Before you put in any plants you must pay some attention to the state
of your soil. Even grown-ups often seem to think that earth is earth,
and that any flowers will nourish in any ground. But, as a matter of
fact, plants are even more various and dainty about their food than
human beings; they answer as well to clever treatment, and they look
as starved as slum children when they are not properly fed. Gardeners
usually tell you that nearly everything will nourish in a good loam,
and that it may be either natural or the result of cultivation. Soil of
this kind is a mixture of clay, sand, and humus, and is easily worked.
In or near London you generally get abominable soil in your garden,
because the builders have dug out the good stuff and replaced it
with any kind of rubbish. Everyone knows the London mixture of black,
sticky clay, broken bricks and bottles, and the roots of grimy trees
and shrubs. Many things will no more thrive in such a medium than a
baby would on lobster salad. If you have to begin your gardening career
with a builder’s rubbish-heap, you must be content to grow some of the
strongest things, such as Starworts, Foxgloves, Nasturtiums, and some
bulbs, and to renew them every year.

Roughly speaking, soils may be divided into heavy and light—those that
hold wet and those that do not. The heavy kinds are mostly clay, though
pure peat retains a great deal of moisture. The light soils are gravel,
limestone, and sand. If you are used to a heavy clay soil, you will
envy the people who have a light sandy one; and then some day when you
come to work a hungry, sandy garden, you will wish for some of the
sticky soil that is not easy to handle, but which many plants love. In
either case you must try to improve matters, and to do this you must
first find out what your soil is. In a limestone country you need not
add lime, but it would be good for clay. In Holland pure sand has been
made fertile by the addition of cow manure.

It is often said that the gardener’s year begins in November, because
that is when you would make a new bed, or feed and alter an old one.
If you make a bed well one autumn and grow things that like to be left
alone, you would obviously not make it all over again the next. You
would ‘mulch’ any part of it that required food or protection—_i.e._,
you would supply a top dressing, a winter blanket of manure that would
both keep things warm, and, with the help of the air and rain, send
them food. When the spring comes, these top dressings look untidy,
and they are either lightly and carefully forked in or taken away.
By that time they are chiefly straw. When you are making a new bed,
or reorganizing an old one completely, you cover the soil three
inches thick with manure, make trenches, and take care that it is all
buried at least ten inches deep, because very few plants like to come
into contact with it when it is first put into the ground. It is an
operation that you cannot manage at all for yourself if you are a girl.
You must get a gardener or an elder brother to do it for you. If you
tried digging in manure, your nurse would say to you what the nurse
in Leech’s old picture said to the child who stirred her tea with the
snuffers: ‘Miss Mary, you are not to stir your tea with the snuffers.
It is not at all ladylike, and I am sure your papa would not approve of
it.’

[Illustration: THE TIDY GARDENER.]

The manure used should not be quite fresh, or it will make the earth
‘sick,’ as gardeners say, and kill your delicate plants and seedlings.
After it has been dug in, the winter frosts and rains do a great deal
to ripen it, and in the spring, when you plant, your flowers will be
vigorous and plentiful, because they will find the food they need ready
for them. But if you live in a town you may not be able to get farm
manure easily, and then you would find a chemical one useful. Clay’s
Fertilizer is a well-known manure, and so is Shefa, but many people
have killed their plants by using too much of them. A tablespoonful to
the square yard is enough, and it should be scattered evenly over the
surface before it is dug in. There are many other chemical manures,
but it is not necessary for you to know much about them yet. If your
grown-ups understand them, they will provide you with what your
soil needs; and if they do not, you can get on very well with the
manures described here. Do not use chemical manures if you have a
damp, heavy soil. In any garden it is a good plan to collect all the
rubbish you can—old rags and toys, for instance, dry dead leaves, and
small dry sticks—for a bonfire. The ashes left provide a food that all
plants like, and they should never be wasted, but dug into the soil.
In the country soot is good for your soil, and most useful in keeping
off slugs. In a town you would not use it at all except as a defence
against slugs. Leaf-mould is good for all soils, but it is not a rich
food. Sand should be mixed with clay land that is heavy and sticky.
Lime is valuable where soil is ‘sour,’ dark, and mossy, and some plants
need it, as a child needs milk; but you had better not try to apply it
by yourself. It has to be ‘slaked’ by the air or with water before it
is used, and makes a white powdery dust that would not be liked on your
clothes. Mortar from buildings contains lime, and is easier to manage.

If you cannot enlist a gardener, and are going to make your own garden,
you must learn to dig it over properly, and for this you will want
a strong spade suited to your height. You begin by digging a trench
ten inches deep from one end of your garden to the other. The earth
you take out should be put in a wheelbarrow or on the farther side of
the border. When the first trench is finished you put some manure all
along it; then you start a second one, close to the first, and this
time you put the earth you take out into the manured trench ready for
it. In this way the manure and the soil that was on the top get buried
beneath soil that has been hidden till now from the light and air. You
go on making these trenches side by side until you reach the edge of
the border, and you fill the last one with the soil you first removed,
which is waiting for you in the wheelbarrow. In digging you should
put your spade straight down into the ground, and help it with your
foot to go in deep; then lean back on it, lift it out full of soil,
and tilt it sharply into the empty trench. But you should not try to
dig with a full-sized spade, as even with a small one you will find
it hard work. The operation is a most important one, because when the
buried soil is brought to the top the weather comes and gardens for you
there, as well as deeper down, where the manure now lies covered. The
winter frosts, the summer rains, the air and the sunlight, all affect
it strongly, sweeten it, break it, and make it ready for your flowers.
In the winter the surface of your beds should be left as rough as
possible, because then the frost can get in easily and do its work. We
will tell you later several ways of protecting some of your plants from
frost, for the degree of cold that improves your soil will kill your
favourite plants if you do not take care of them. But if you become a
really keen gardener, you will find that you often look at the weather
from the gardener’s point of view. The rainy day that is disappointing
other people will be settling in the newly-planted things, or helping
your seeds to germinate, or persuading your bulbs to put out roots.
When warm weather comes, you know that everything will take a start,
and get on quickly; but the frosty days that skaters love will make
you anxious, especially while you are a beginner. When you have had a
garden for a year or two, you will have seen many a plant hang its head
for a time and after all recover.

The tools used by your elders will be too large and heavy for you,
but on no account have a ‘Child’s Garden Set,’ as they are never
strong. Buy each implement separately, of good quality, and the size
to suit you. You will want a spade, a hoe, a rake, a broad flat
trowel, and a small hand-fork. If possible, you should also have a
two-quart watering-can, a sieve, and a little galvanized iron or wooden
wheelbarrow for rubbish. Always knock the earth off your tools when
you have done gardening, scrape them clean, and put them away in a
dry shed. They should never be left out in the wet. The watering-can
should be emptied and turned upside down to dry. If you cannot have a
wheelbarrow of your own, you must use an old pail or basket for weeds
and rubbish. These should be carefully collected as you work, and then
either thrown away or saved in a neat heap for your bonfire. Weeds are
sometimes burnt, sometimes buried deep under the soil to make ‘humus,’
and sometimes left on a rubbish-heap until they have decayed and are
ready to make soil again. ‘Humus’ is the dark earthy substance that
you get from decayed vegetation, and it is useful to plants; but in
your little plot you will not have a large quantity of weeds, and when
you have planted it you will not want to dig holes to bury them. You
will see many operations going on in the large garden that you cannot
imitate and need not understand until you have learned to cultivate
your own. When that time comes, and you know all that we can teach
you, there are many larger, fuller books that will tell you a great
deal we must leave untold. We shall only discuss things that you can
grow without much skill, or strength, or expense. A little sense and
patience, and a little of your pocket-money, will enable you to carry
out our instructions.

But we do not mean that you can grow all the plants we talk about in
one summer. We have chosen a few from thousands, and from those few
you must choose again, according to your taste and your conditions.
All the beautiful annuals and perennials we speak of will grow in any
country garden that has sun part of the day, and we will tell you which
do best in towns. But it is most important not to grow more things
than you have room for or time to tend. There is no pleasure in a
crowded, badly-grown annual, for instance, that is mean and stunted,
because twenty plants are struggling for life where one would just
flourish comfortably. You must consider well what you want to grow and
what you can grow, both in your flower and your vegetable garden. You
must find out what size the plants will be, what colour, and when they
will flower. It is no use to say to yourself that a scarlet autumn
Gladiolus would look well next to a white Foxglove; you must remember
that the Foxglove flowers in June and the Gladiolus in August. You must
be careful not to put orange and magenta next to each other; but, on
the whole, we should advise you not to trouble much about colour yet.
Out-of-doors flowers harmonize in unexpected ways. You should consider
the height of your plants, and put the tall ones at the back of your
border. There are some exceptions to this rule, but we will leave you
to study those in any well-kept gardens you are lucky enough to see. As
long as your garden is a child’s garden you had better put your dwarf
plants in front and your tall ones behind. But you must find out which
plants will like your climate and your soil, and which you have room
for comfortably. If you have a tiny plot, do not choose anything that
will make a big bush. Some lovely plants are quite small, so that you
could grow a good many in a garden two feet square.

We have not said anything yet about the edging of your garden, because
you are quite likely to find that ready-made. Tiles have the merit
of keeping clean and tidy; a Box edging is pretty, but it has to be
clipped neatly, and it affords shelter to snails and slugs. Turf
requires much attention, and wears bare easily. The best edging is one
of rough stones laid well into the soil, and with soil worked into the
spaces between them. In case you have not seen these edgings, and yet
can get some stones, we had better explain that each stone should be
wedged as firmly as possible into the ground, but not covered; then in
the pockets of earth between the stones you plant all kinds of tiny
creeping plants, and these soon make a charming border. We will give
you the names and habits of some in the chapter on rockeries. Do not,
at any rate, have an absurd border of little pebbles, as they get out
of place at once, and look untidy.



CHAPTER II

ANNUALS


BY annuals we here mean flowers that bloom in summer from seed sown in
early spring. Out of a long list we shall choose twelve that are all
easy to grow and last in flower a long time. From these twelve you must
choose again, for there would not be room for many in a small plot, and
if you crowd them none will do well. It is a great mistake to think
that people who can grow nothing else successfully can manage annuals.
All the good seedsmen know how often they are blamed for failures when
the amateur, or even the professional gardener, should blame himself.
He has sown on ill-prepared soil, or too deeply; he has let birds eat
the seed, or slugs and snails the seedlings; or he has sown too much
seed, and been too lazy to thin out properly. Small birds are dreadful
thieves in some gardens, and if you find them in yours you should
put little twigs where you have sown your seed, and stretch a maze of
black cotton from one twig to the other. They soon get to know that the
cotton is there and keep away.

[Illustration: JANUARY.]

The twelve annuals we have chosen for you are:

     1. Sweet-peas.
     2. Mignonette.
     3. Clarkia.
     4. Malope.
     5. Godetia.
     6. Larkspur (_Delphinium_).
     7. Love-in-a-mist (_Nigella_).
     8. Nasturtiums.
     9. Sunflowers.
    10. Shirley Poppies.
    11. Alonsoas.
    12. Eschscholtzia.

For most seeds that are sown in the open ground you must wait till the
end of March in the South of England, and till the first or second week
of April in the North. The old saying that ‘a peck of March dust is
worth a King’s ransom’ will teach you something about sowing seeds.
It means that you want your soil to be in a workable state, not hard
with frost or sloppy with heavy rains, but friable and just moist with
a light spring shower. When these pleasant spring days come, your
work in the garden begins in earnest, and so does your pleasure. Some
of the bulbs you have planted in autumn will be flowering; others
will be pushing their way up towards the light; and your herbaceous
plants—those that died down in the autumn—will be coming up again, and
making delicious young green leaves. The part of your garden that you
have saved for annuals must be carefully hoed and raked now, so that
all the weeds are destroyed, and the soil made fine and powdery for
your seedlings. Their little roots could not strike down and get any
hold in hard, big lumps of earth, and it would be a waste of money
and time to sow seed there. You should remove all stones and weeds,
and break up the lumps of earth with your rake. The surface of your
seed-bed, when ready, should be quite smooth and fine. If the seed
to be sown is small, mix it with double its own quantity of sand, or
dry sifted earth, as that helps you not to sow too thickly. Do not
choose a windy day if you can help it, or your seeds would blow away.
For a big patch of seeds it is best to take your hoe and draw shallow
trenches, one inch deep and twelve or fifteen inches apart. When these
are ready, take the seed in your hands and carefully dribble it in as
evenly as you can. When you have finished, rake the earth smoothly over
the trenches again, and pat it gently in place. You should always put
a stick or a label where you sow seed or set bulbs, as it is easy to
forget what one has done, and put things on the top of each other.

In favourable weather some of your seedlings will show their
seed-leaves in ten days or a fortnight, but others will take longer.
The first pair of leaves are what botanists call cotyledons, and
those that come after are unlike them. You will soon get to know both
the cotyledons and the other leaves of the plants you grow. You can
often tell your seedlings from weeds by observing a whole colony of
new-comers exactly alike, where you have placed a stick or a label.
As soon as you can handle them they will want carefully thinning, and
when you find out how troublesome it is to thin a patch of Poppies
properly, for instance, you will understand why we advise you to
mix all your small seed with sand, and only to put a pinch into the
ground. Firms that sell penny packets of seed tell you that there are
two thousand seeds in some of their packets. Poppy seeds nearly all
come up, and a well-grown plant should have a foot of soil to itself.
So if you made a hedge of poppies all along one side of your border,
you would use seven seeds out of two thousand. All gardeners sow more
seeds than they mean to use, because they must allow for accidents
and insects, and they expect to do some thinning. But the ignorant
gardener invariably sows his seed too thick, and leaves his seedlings
too close together; so he gets a crowd of starved, stunted plants that
do not flower well, and are soon over for the year. You should begin
by leaving three inches between your seedlings, and end by giving most
of them a foot apiece. Some will require more room, some rather less,
and the best way to please them is to watch them constantly, and make
sure that each little plant has room to expand. In thinning seedlings
you must be most careful not to disturb the roots of those you wish
to leave, and when you have sown too thickly this is difficult. Some
seedlings will bear pricking out in another part of the garden; some,
such as Wallflowers, actually like it; while others will not stand it
at all. You should do your pricking out in showery weather.

Pricking out means taking up all your seedlings and planting them in
rows to grow bigger. We will tell you as we go on which flowers should
be raised in this way. Seed that is to be pricked out is usually sown
in a box or a shallow earthenware pan with holes in it, or in the
ground under a bell-glass. Any grocer will give or sell you an empty
soap or sweetmeat box that will do for seeds. It should have one or two
holes bored in the bottom, and a few potsherds or bits of broken brick
for drainage. The soil should be sifted and moist. A bell-glass is a
dome of glass with a knob at the top, and should be about twelve inches
across and ten inches high. You can get one for eighteenpence at a
china-shop, and you will find it useful if you have neither a frame nor
a greenhouse. You may put it on half-hardy plants at night to keep the
frost from them, or on newly-sown seeds to hurry them on. In very cold
weather you would leave it on plants all day, but slip a bit of wood
under one side to let air in for an hour or two at noon. When you use
it for seed, you do not move it until the seedlings appear. You should
not prick out your seedlings until they have made four leaves besides
the cotyledons. When you grow seed in pans or boxes, you do not thin
out the seedlings, so they will probably be close together. If they are
dry you should begin by watering them with a fine rose; then take your
hand-fork, put it in close to the plants you wish to remove, dig it
well down, lift gently, and a whole group of plants will come up with a
lump of earth.

Break the seedlings gently apart, each singly. Great care must be
taken not to bruise the plants or tear the tender roots. When you have
separated about a dozen, plant them out, and as you do this consider
how much space will be required for each. Snapdragons and Marigolds
should be a foot apart, but Lettuces can do with nine inches, and
Violas with rather less. Sometimes seedlings are pricked out into neat
beds in a reserve part of the garden, and transplanted later to the
borders where they are to flower. Sometimes they are put out at once
into their permanent situation. This is partly a question of habit and
partly of room. When a plant is not going to flower till next year,
you would rather keep it out of your show border this year, so if you
have a nursery border you let it grow up there. If it is going to
flower in a few weeks, you may as well give it a good place at once and
leave it alone. Then, again, some things are the better for the check
of transplantation, while others recover with difficulty or not at
all. In gardening it is easier to make general rules for the gardener
than for his plants. He must be as wise as a good doctor, and find
out what treatment different plants require, what food, what surgery
or medicine, and what stimulants; and he must even learn, just as a
doctor must, to apply his general knowledge to his special case. For
instance, the very Geranium that he has taken into his greenhouse every
winter in Yorkshire may be planted against the south wall of his house
if he lives in Cornwall, and trusted in a few years’ time to reach the
roof, and give him flowers for his Christmas dinner-table. All that he
knows about gardening must be influenced, and sometimes considerably
altered, by his own local conditions of soil, aspect, and climate. You
must remember this when you buy your seeds in the spring and your bulbs
in the autumn, and choose those that do well in your neighbourhood. You
should always observe what plants other people near you are growing in
their gardens, and what conditions they give them. In that way you can
learn a great deal about the management of your own.


SWEET-PEAS.

    ‘Here are sweet-peas on tiptoe for a flight,
     With wings of gentle flush o’er delicate white,
     And taper fingers catching at all things,
     To bind them all about with tiny rings.’

We like to remind you of these charming lines by Keats, because then
you will always think of them when you look at your own Sweet-peas on
a summer day. But our business is to tell you how to grow them, so
that they are ready for the poet when he comes by, and we do not begin
with a summer day, but with one at the end of winter, when the seed
lists come and set you thinking of spring. Sweet-peas have become
such a popular flower of late years that we have heard people talk
of the ‘Sweet-pea world,’ by which we suppose they meant the growers
who cultivate the many new varieties and the rare shades. When you
are grown up you will have to decide for yourself whether you belong
to any of these ‘worlds’ in the florist’s sense of the word. We have
never had the least desire to grow a black Tulip or a blue Rose, but
there is no doubt that when ‘fanciers’ take up a flower they improve
it for a time. If you gave up gardening for ten or twelve years, and
then began again, you would find that there were new varieties of some
of your old favourites, and that the sorts you used to grow were not
admired now. The most popular and well-known flowers all have such
a history. Your grandmother would remember when every Dahlia in the
garden was as stiff as the modern little Pom-poms, but much bigger.
Then, about twenty-five years ago, the single Dahlias ousted the stiff
ones, and now we all grow Cactus Dahlias, with long pointed, twisted
petals. So with Sweet-peas. Fifty years ago no one wanted anything
but a mixed clump, some of which would be mauve or purple, some
marbled, and some pink. Now it is usual to grow each colour by itself,
and every year we seem to get better colours and bigger flowers. The
fanciers of the ‘Sweet-pea world’ have taken Sweet-peas in hand, and by
careful cultivation and selection have given us many new and beautiful
varieties. At first novelties are dear, because the stock of seed
is small, but for a few pence you can have a hedge that would have
rejoiced Keats; and if you are a wise child, you will certainly grow
those that have become plentiful. We will give you the names of some
varieties that we like best, but you will easily understand from the
little we have told you that some years hence our list will probably
look old-fashioned. Even to-day anyone you happen to know in the
‘Sweet-pea world’ might make a different choice. The names we give you
are the names of the Sweet-peas we like and have grown with success.

     1. King Edward VII. (vivid red).
     2. Gorgeous (orange-salmon).
     3. Blanch Burpee (white).
     4. Navy Blue (violet-blue).
     5. Lady Grizel Hamilton (mauve).
     6. Mrs. Collier (yellow).
     7. Lovely (pale pink).
     8. Miss Willmott (salmon-pink).
     9. Black Knight (maroon).
    10. Countess Spencer (wavy pink).
    11. Nora Unwin (frilled white).
    12. Gladys Unwin (pale pink).

Sweet-peas grow very tall if they are healthy and properly staked, so
they should be sown all along the back of your border to make a hedge.
If you buy a packet of some expensive variety that gives you only a few
seeds, you might sow those separately in a circle.

The best month for sowing is March, and you must dig your trench six
inches deep and three inches wide. If there are many mice about who
would eat your seeds, it is a good plan to soak them in paraffin a
few minutes before sowing. Gardeners often damp them and shake them
in powdered red lead, but as this is poison it must be used with
care. It is not always effectual, either. We once saw a mouse caught
‘red-handed,’ his little paws coated with the lead we had put on our
seed to protect it from him. When your trench is ready, sow your seed
singly all along the row, leaving two inches between each seed. If your
two borders are each seven feet long, you would sow forty-two seeds
on either side, so you see that you can only grow a few kinds in one
summer. When you have sown them, do not cover them with all the soil
you have dug out. They should only have three inches on them at first,
because the seedling wants to find its way up to the spring sun. Later
on, when it is a strong plant, and supported by a twig, you can put
back the rest of the soil. Sweet-peas are very thirsty plants, and when
the long dry days come they like to have their roots deep down in the
moist earth.

Their two great enemies are slugs and sparrows. In or near a town
where sparrows swarm, you cannot grow Sweet-peas at all unless you
protect the young shoots when they first show above the ground—about
three weeks, that is, after the seed is sown. Later, when the leaves
expand, the birds leave the plants alone. You can buy either ready-made
pea-guards or a length of wire-netting, which should be doubled in
the middle and put over your row like a long tent, with sticks at
either end to keep it firm. If you cannot have wire put a double line
of sticks at intervals along your row, and wind black cotton across
and across from one stick to the other. This terrifies the sparrows,
and they will not go near it. If you have many slugs, you should keep
the ground near the seeds sprinkled with soot or lime. As soon as the
plants are three inches high, they should be thinned to six inches
apart, and should have a row of small twigs stuck all along the line
for their tendrils to seize. When they are a foot high, you can earth
them up with the soil left on one side of the trench, but you must put
it evenly on either side of your Peas. When they reach the top of the
little twigs, the tall ones must be put in firmly on either side of the
row, and by the middle or end of June your Peas should be in flower.
If you want your plants to last in flower all the summer and well into
the autumn, you must not let them form a single seed-pod. Every day
you should cut both your fresh flowers and any withered ones you see.
In dry, hot weather they should be well watered at the roots from a
can without a rose. Give each plant a soak of water _at the roots_,
and do not trouble about the leaves. We emphasize this advice because
Sweet-peas after they are six inches high suffer easily from drought,
and we know that many children think they have given a plant a drink if
they spray its upper leaves with a fine rose. You might as well give a
thirsty baby a drink by splashing its face.

To grow Sweet-peas in a clump, take out the earth from a circular
patch that you can mark with a garden sieve or a big flower-pot. Sow
from eight to a dozen seeds, and thin to four plants when you feel
safe from slugs and sparrows. Treat them just as you do those grown
in a hedge, but when you put in your tall stakes make them all slant
a little towards the centre, so that they meet at the top. The Hazel
branches that you get easily in many neighbourhoods are best for
Sweet-peas. Where these are scarce, you must use what you can find. The
wire hurdles recommended for garden Peas where stakes are scarce would
answer, but they are expensive and ugly. If your garden is not airy
and sunny, it is a waste of time and money to try Sweet-peas. They are
impatient of shade, of starved soil, or of a crowded garden. If they
come up at all in such conditions, they will never do well, and will
most probably be devoured by green fly.


MIGNONETTE.

You are sure to want some Mignonette in your garden, because it is
so fragrant; but in choosing a place for it you must remember that
it will not make a splash of gay colour in the border. It grows from
ten to twelve inches high; but, as you do not tie it up, it should be
sown in front of plants whose stalks are not really longer, but which
require a stake. It likes a good loam, but it will grow in almost any
soil if it gets enough sun. Do not give it fresh manure, or it will
run to leaf. It is one of the few annuals that should be sown in firm,
hard ground. We do not mean ground that is hard because it is poor and
neglected, but well dug soil that you tread or press down to make it
ready for your seed. When you have done this, you sprinkle the seed
thinly, cover it with half an inch of fine earth, and pat that down
firmly with your hands or your trowel. You should choose a fine April
day for your first sowing, and you should reserve a little seed for a
second sowing in case the first is a failure. This sometimes happens
even when your seed comes from a good firm and you sow it properly. It
is a great mistake to buy poor Mignonette seed, as often none of it
comes up. In ten days or a fortnight a soft spring rain will bring up
the little plants, and then, if you have sown too thickly, you will
find out how troublesome it is to thin them; but you will not have fine
Mignonette unless you do this ruthlessly. Crowded plants will give you
stunted flowers. The best way is to fix your eye on a seedling that is
outgrowing its brothers, and remove all that are near it, taking great
care not to disturb or loosen the one you wish to keep. You should
watch your Mignonette and thin it out several times, so that each plant
has room to breathe and grow. Six inches at least should in the end
be left between the plants, and then you will only have left half the
distance recommended by many good gardeners. So you see what a tiny
pinch of seed would give you all the plants you need. Mignonette must
be sown where it is to bloom, as it has a tap-root, and will not stand
transplanting.

[Illustration: POPPIES.]


CLARKIA.

This annual comes to us from California, and is very pretty and easy
to grow. But it likes a good soil. On a dry, starved one we have seen
it so poor that we hardly knew it was Clarkia, and yet these miserable
dwarfed specimens came from the same packet of seed that had grown into
a bed of lovely pink and salmon-pink sprays two feet high in another
part of the garden. If your border has been well prepared and is sunny,
your Clarkia seed is sure to do well in it. You can sow it either in a
large patch or in little drills or trenches ten inches apart, and it
should be covered with one inch of fine soil. The centre of the bed
would be a good place for it. Sow in April, and thin out the small
plants to six inches between each. There are a good many varieties. We
recommend Salmon Queen and Carnation Flaked Pink.


MALOPE.

This annual, if well grown, is about two feet high, and should be
in the centre of your border. It has large red, white, or pink
trumpet-shaped flowers that bloom at intervals amongst the leaves of
the tall stems. It is most useful for cutting, as it lasts in water a
long time, and is decorative. It likes good soil, should be sown in
April half an inch deep, and patted down firmly when sown. As soon as
the seedlings can be handled they must be thinned out; but there will
be none to thin if you cannot keep away slugs. Many gardeners recommend
you to dust the young plants with soot or lime.


GODETIAS.

These, too, are useful for cutting, and can be grown in a variety of
delicate colours. We think that Sutton’s Double Rose and Crimson King
are two of the best. The sprays of the Double Rose are like Oleander
flowers. They are not quite as tall as Malope or Clarkia, but should be
treated in the same way, and if well grown will be tall enough for the
centre of your garden.


LARKSPURS.

In ‘The English Flower Garden’ Mr. Robinson says that ‘the annual
Larkspurs are so little used in gardens that it is only in seed-farms
that we have the pleasure of seeing them now and then in all their
beauty.’ You can have them in various heights and colours, and for
early or late flowering. The earliest flowering ones are the Dwarf
Rocket Larkspurs, and the pink ones are beautiful flowers. They are
twelve inches high. If you buy seeds of the taller kinds, you must put
them towards the back of your border, for they grow three feet high. Of
these the Rosy Scarlet is the best.


NIGELLA.

This is one of the most beautiful annuals there is, and its charming
English name is Love-in-a-mist. Be sure to get the variety called Miss
Jekyll, after the celebrated gardener. The flowers are a delicate yet
vivid blue, surrounded by fennel-like leaves. They are easy to arrange
for the room, and last well in water. The seed may be sown in March
to bloom in June, and again in April or May for a later display. The
seed-pods that succeed the flowers are ornamental, and those that
ripen early in the summer sow themselves and flower in the following
year. Some people say they can transplant Nigella, but many gardeners
prefer to sow it where it is to stand. Thin out when the plants can be
handled, as each one left, if well grown, will cover a square foot.


NASTURTIUM.

Everyone knows Nasturtiums, and the most ignorant gardeners can grow
them. But they are so beautiful that good gardeners make room for them,
too. They succeed best on poor soil. If you give them rich soil, they
‘run to leaf,’ as gardeners say, and do not produce many flowers. Even
in a London square they will make a gay corner, provided they get sun.
You probably know that there are two kinds—the dwarf ones, growing
about nine inches high, and the Giant Nasturtiums, that will climb to
the top of a tall fence, and cover it in the course of the summer. The
seed should be sown at the end of April where it is to flower. We have
transplanted Nasturtiums with great success, but it is not usually
recommended. Sow each seed separately in a little hole two inches deep
that you make with a stick. If you want a whole row of them, sow two
quite near each other, then a foot farther on another pair, and proceed
in this way all along your row. When the seedlings are up you can
remove one of each pair, and you will not have an ugly gap in your row
where a single seed has failed.


SUNFLOWERS (HELIANTHUS).

If you have a small garden full of delicate flowers, we should advise
you not to grow Sunflowers at all. A group of them looks well in a
shrubbery or at the back of a mixed border, and we have seen them used
with admirable effect in a straight row, standing like sentinels on
guard behind all the other plants in the bed; but they take up room,
and require a great deal of food. If you want them, and your garden
was not dressed in the autumn, some well-rotted compost should be
dug in for the Sunflowers in spring. The young plants will not stand
frost, and are usually raised in heat; but you can grow them quite
successfully under a bell-glass, or, in warm parts of England, in the
open ground. If you mean to raise them in this way, you must wait till
quite the end of April or the beginning of May. The big seeds should be
covered with an inch and a half of soil, and if you sow where they are
to stand, put two close together to provide against failure. If both
come up and live, the smaller of the two can be removed. Slugs devour
the young plants if they can get at them, so you should put a little
soot round each one. They need strong stakes, as most of them grow to a
great height, and are easily blown down. There are some, however, that
are not more than four feet high, and have a great many small flowers
useful for cutting. Stella and Primrose Stella are good dwarf varieties.


SHIRLEY POPPIES.

If you happen to have a rough bank or a piece of waste ground where
nothing much will grow, you can make it bright with annual Poppies, and
if you let them seed themselves, they will come up in quantities year
after year. They prefer a light soil to a heavy one, and they must have
sun. It is of no use to sow Poppy-seed in a shady garden. In the border
the amateur gardener invariably sows too much seed, and when it comes
up his troubles begin. Poppy-seeds are small and cheap, and as a rule
every seed germinates. You sow it in fine soil, and either cover it
lightly or just rub it in with your hand. If you have not been careful
to sow only the tiniest pinch mixed with sand, you will soon see the
seedlings as thick as cress above the soil, and if you leave them you
will not have any good plants, as Poppies want room to grow. They have
tap-roots, and will not transplant, so you must thin them hard, leaving
them at least six inches apart. Shirley Poppies have delicate stalks,
and when you grow a clump in your garden, you should put a few stakes
amongst them, and tie them with raffia or string, as otherwise they
get beaten down and spoiled by a summer storm. The seed should be sown
at the end of April. The Shirley Poppies have most beautiful colours,
and they will last some time in water if you cut them when the buds
are just beginning to show colour. Wilks’s re-selected Shirley is one
of the best varieties. The Peony and Carnation-flowered Poppies make
larger and stronger plants than the Shirleys. They should be sown in
the centre of a small garden, and will make a great show in July.


ALONSOAS.

The Alonsoa, or Mask-flower, comes to us from Peru, and is a most
satisfactory annual because it is easily grown and goes on flowering
until the winter frosts come. There are several varieties, and one of
the best—the Alonsoa Warscewiczii—has a name you remember because it is
so queer, but will never know how to pronounce, unless you have Polish
or Russian friends to tell you. Its flower is bright scarlet, and if
you look at it closely you will see that it is like a small snapdragon.
You must be careful to put a label where you sow it, and watch for a
colony of seedlings all alike, because the seed-leaves of the Alonsoa
are very much like one of our commonest weeds.


ESCHSCHOLTZIA.

These are often called Californian Poppies. They are white, pink, and
various shades of yellow, and they have feathery green foliage. They
succeed in almost any soil, and may be sown either in spring or autumn.
Slugs and snails do not like them, so if you are much troubled with
these pests you should certainly have some Californian Poppies. They
will seed themselves in most situations, and the same plant will often
flower a second year. They are described in seed catalogues as nine
inches high, but though they really grow rather taller than that, it is
not usual to stake them. At the same time, these and many other flowers
inclined to straggle a little may be supported with great advantage,
just as Sweet-peas are, by a few branched stakes of Hazel or some
similar wood. When you treat a non-climbing plant in this way, your
stakes should be rather shorter than the plant, and artfully hidden by
its leaves. No tying is necessary where these branched stakes are used.

Messrs. Sutton and Sons, of Reading, have consented, at our request, to
sell three collections of flower-seeds suitable for children’s gardens.

The first collection will cost 2s. 6d., and will contain twelve
varieties of annuals and biennials.

     1. Nigella, Miss Jekyll.
     2. Sweet-pea, mixed.
     3. Mignonette, large-flowered.
     4. Malope, Pink and White.
     5. Antirrhinum, intermixed (biennial, unless brought on early in
            heat).
     6. Nasturtium, Dwarf, King of Tom Thumbs.
     7. Clarkia (Salmon Queen).
     8. Shirley Poppy.
     9. Annual Larkspur.
    10. French Marigold (half-hardy).
    11. Sweet William (biennial).
    12. Wallflower, Dark (biennial).

The second collection will contain six varieties, and cost 1s. 6d.

    1. Nigella.
    2. Sweet-pea, mixed.
    3. Mignonette, large-flowered.
    4. Malope, Pink.
    5. Antirrhinum, intermixed.
    6. Nasturtium, Dwarf, King of Tom Thumbs.

The third collection will contain four varieties, and cost 1s.

    1. Nigella, Miss Jekyll.
    2. Sweet-pea, mixed.
    3. Mignonette, large-flowered.
    4. Malope, Pink.



CHAPTER III

HARDY PERENNIALS


A PERENNIAL is a plant that comes up year after year, and increases as
it grows older. We will tell you how to grow fourteen of the best, and
when you have succeeded with those you can find hundreds more described
in ‘The English Flower Garden’ and other well-known books. Your parents
and grandparents can remember when all the beautiful herbaceous or
perennial plants were hardly to be found in gardens, and everyone was
content with the straight rows of red, blue, and yellow, the ignorant
gardener will still inflict on you if you let him. In those days bulbs
were planted in autumn and dug up in spring, to make way for Geraniums,
Calceolarias, and Lobelias. Everyone grew the same things, had an
ugly clash of colour at the same moment, and bare brown borders for
the greater part of the year. Then came some of the great gardeners
of thirty years ago, who set the gardening world ablaze with their
reforms and their audacities. They told people how dull and stupid
their gardens were, and how to make them beautiful and interesting. It
was not their fault if some of their disciples ran away with the idea
that a herbaceous border was the easiest thing in the world to manage,
and were grievously disappointed to find that it was not. As a matter
of fact, the incompetent gardener and the local nurseryman had known
very well what they were about all the time. It is expensive, but not
difficult, to stuff your borders full of Dutch bulbs in November, and
full of little plants out of pots in May. You could do it yourself
with money and a length of string tied to two sticks, for you must
get your lines straight. But, then, think of all the beautiful plants
you would never see in your garden—plants that, to come to their full
beauty, must be left undisturbed until they show you who understand
them that they are ready for your attention, and require fresh soil
or possibly division. In most gardens there are some beds that are
planted twice a year, because a show of spring and autumn colour is
wanted in them; but in all gardens managed with any skill or knowledge
there are now also herbaceous borders, where you will find all the
plants we are going to tell you about, many other perennials for which
we have no room, and some annuals, hardy and half hardy. The finest
bit of gardening known to one of the authors is the herbaceous border
at Hampton Court, and she must admit that she knows neither the Palace
nor its pictures nearly as well as the noble groups of plants that all
through the summer and autumn make a blaze of colour there. If you have
any good garden of hardy perennials within reach, you should visit it
at different times of the year, and try to learn some lesson about the
habit and arrangement of the plants. You will come back to your own
garden in despair, but that is better for you than staying at home and
being too easily satisfied. It is well to know the best that is done in
any art or industry one tries to practise.

The hardy perennials we are going to describe will flourish in any
English garden that has good, well-dressed soil, and is open to the sun
part of the day. In choosing which you will grow you must consider
their colours, their height, their flowering season, and the rate at
which they increase. You should not give a delicate-looking plant like
a Columbine a coarse spreading neighbour that will choke it. Nearly
all herbaceous plants are greedy feeders, and require a deep, well-dug
soil. If you cannot have manure worked in, perhaps you can buy a little
bone-meal and soot. In any case, you should dig the ground well over
before planting, break up hard lumps, and remove large stones.


HARDY PERENNIALS.

     1. Polyanthus and Coloured Primrose.
     2. Delphinium, or Larkspur.
     3. Oriental Poppy.
     4. Iris Germanica.
     5. Perennial Lupin.
     6. Japanese Anemone.
     7. Aquilegia, or Columbine.
     8. Peony.
     9. Œnothera Fruticosa, or Evening Primrose.
    10. Gypsophila Paniculata.
    11. Sweet Lavender.
    12. Early-flowering Chrysanthemums.
    13. Violet.
    14. Michaelmas Daisy.


PRIMROSE AND POLYANTHUS.

There are more than a hundred kinds of Primrose, or Primula; nearly
all are hardy, and many grow in clusters on a single stalk. We are
only going to tell you about the common Polyanthus, which grows in big
clusters, and about the coloured garden Primrose, which is mostly found
with single flowers, like the yellow Primrose of our fields and hedges.
Perhaps you have heard of Peter Bell, and how

    ‘A Primrose by the river’s brim
     A yellow Primrose was to him,
     And it was nothing more.’

We have met many a Peter Bell, who stared at us in amazement when
he saw us planting corners in a wild garden with what he considered
hedgerow weeds.

But nowadays people who have gardens try to see with the poet’s eye,
rather than with the eyes of a Peter Bell. In the moist, shady places
of your garden you may plant Primroses and Polyanthuses in colonies,
and leave them to grow into great clumps and to seed themselves. But
the best of them, those that you want to increase, you must pull to
pieces when they have done flowering, and plant out in a shady corner.
When you take up a clump you will usually see that it divides easily
into several plants. You need not be afraid to use a knife in some
places. Our experience is that every bit will grow, provided it has
a few roots and plenty of shade and moisture during the hot summer
months. When autumn comes you will have increased your stock without
expense, and can plant out your young ones wherever you want them. If
you want blue Primroses, division is more certain than seed. But it is
a most fascinating business to grow Primroses from a good strain of
seed, and not too difficult for a child to manage. You must get one of
the empty sweetmeat or fancy soap boxes so invaluable to gardeners, and
ask someone to make half a dozen holes in the bottom with a gimlet,
or even a nail. Put in broken crocks and fine moist earth, just as we
told you to do for annuals; then sow and lightly cover your Primrose
or Polyanthus seed, put your box in the shade, keep off slugs, and
possess your soul in patience, for the seed takes a long while to
germinate, and you may not see any tiny crinkled leaves for weeks. When
you do see them you must wait till they are large enough to prick out,
and even then we advise you to take them up carefully and keep the
box of soil for a time, as backward seeds often come up later. Fresh
seed will germinate more quickly than last year’s, so you can either
buy a packet in June and wait some time for results, or you can sow
your own ripe seed in August, in which case your little plants should
be big enough by the end of November to survive an ordinary English
winter. If you sow in June, you should be able to prick out a good
many little plants in August (on a damp day), and these will be ready
for a front border by the following spring. When you prick out put
the little plants in rows three inches apart each way; choose a shady
place, and look out for slugs. It may be necessary to dust with soot
or lime. Primroses and Polyanthuses make a charming border, either by
themselves or mixed with other hardy plants that flower in spring,
such as Aubrietias, the yellow Alyssum, and Iberis; or they look
well in clumps on a rockery. If you have a whole row of them in front
of your border, you should, if possible, take them up when they have
done flowering, and, if they are worth keeping, put them in some shady
unseen corner through the summer months. The hot sun makes their leaves
yellow and shabby-looking, and if you can shift them you can have a
summer edging of some dwarf annual or bedding plant. For instance, when
you take up your Primroses you can sow your Tom Thumb Nasturtiums,
or, if you are near nurserymen, you can buy some dwarf Snapdragons or
some blue Lobelias. We would never have a straight row of anything but
Sweet-peas if we could help it, and in a mixed border such as yours
even they would look better grown in the round clumps. But we warn you
that this question of rows or clumps is a burning one, about which even
the two authors of one book are not always agreed. You will have to
fight it out with your garden and your gardening friends.


DELPHINIUM, OR LARKSPUR.

Everyone who grows any herbaceous plants grows some Delphiniums,
because they make a fine background, and are such lovely shades of
blue. Mr. Robinson says they range from one to nine feet high, but we
think yours will probably be from three to four feet high, and that
you should put them at the back of your border, with white Lupins,
Starworts, and Evening Primroses. They flower in June and July, and
make large clumps if left undisturbed for several years. There are two
ways of prolonging their flowering season. You can cut off each flower
before it begins to form seed-pods, or you can cut down the whole plant
when its leaves begin to look shabby, and let it start afresh, as it
did in the spring. But this would exhaust your plant if you did not
give it extra food; so if you cut it down, it should have a little
liquid manure. A teaspoonful of Clay’s Fertilizer to a gallon of water
would do very well. Delphiniums like manure, but they will grow in
almost any soil, and are easy to raise from seed—at least, the seed
germinates easily. They can be sown in May if you buy the seed, or in
August if you wait for your own to ripen. You sow them in a box, and
prick them out when large enough to handle. When they are a year old
they begin to flower, but a plant does not make a good clump till it
is two or three years old. The culture of Delphiniums would present no
difficulties if slugs were not so fond of them. In some gardens it is
almost impossible to grow these beautiful flowers, because the slugs
devour both the seedlings and the young shoots of the older plants the
moment they appear. You must not put them in places where slugs can
hide easily and come out at night to feed. If you want to increase
your stock by division, you should do it either in spring or in damp
summer weather, about a fortnight after you have cut your plant down.
The autumn is not a good time. If you live in a cold climate you should
give your Delphiniums a little protection in winter, but this is not
necessary in most parts of England. Anyhow, when spring comes and open
weather, take care that your covering of dead bracken or manure is not
protecting slugs.


PAPAVER ORIENTALE, OR ORIENTAL POPPY.

Papaver Orientale and its variety Papaver Bracteatum are the biggest
of all Poppies. The flowers are brilliant scarlet, with a deep
purple-black spot at the base of each petal. If you gather the buds
just as they are about to burst, they will live in water for several
days. After the plants have flowered they should be cut down, and they
will reappear in the autumn. They have long tap-roots that are easily
injured, but where they flourish they spread laterally—that is, they
send up young plants at the side. These you can take up. Whenever a
plant has a root like a carrot, it is called a ‘tap-root,’ and you must
be careful not to break it. Poppies are easily raised from seed, but
the plants will not flower till they are two years old. When you take
up your seedlings, remove each one with as much earth as possible, and
plant it where it is to remain.


IRISES.

Roughly speaking, Irises may be divided into two classes—those you
grow from bulbs, and those that have rhizomes, or creeping stems. The
bulbous Irises are often called Xiphions, and will not be considered
in this chapter. There is a great variety amongst those that have
rhizomes, or stems. They vary a good deal as to the soil and conditions
they require. Some like damp, some hate it; some want stiff soil,
some a light one; manure that feeds one Iris will poison another; and
as for their blooming season, it extends throughout the year if you
have a large collection. The Iris is sometimes called the ‘poor man’s
Orchid,’ because it can be grown without trouble or expense, and has
such beautiful and curious flowers. We will tell you the names of a
few that you can get at any good nursery garden; but before you plant
them you must consider that each kind is only in flower for a short
time, and that for the greater part of the year a clump of Irises is
a clump of sword-like leaves. They are sometimes placed amongst roses
or in front of shrubs. The best known of all is the Iris Germanica, or
German Flag. There are many varieties, and there is hardly a garden in
or near London without some clumps of it, for even in soot and smoke it
will increase and flower. The beautiful white, pale mauve Florentine
Iris is the French Fleur-de-lis, and was freely planted in English
gardens when the Bourbons were restored in 1830. It increases rapidly,
and is easy of cultivation. Iris Stylosa is one of the most valuable,
because it flowers in winter, and is very fragrant. Then, some of the
dwarf Irises are most beautiful, and should have a corner in front of
your border or on your rockery. Iris Pumila or its varieties grow some
inches high, and flower in spring. Iris Olbiensis and Iris Chamæris
belong to this group, and in warm localities flower at the end of
April or early in May. These kinds all thrive best in an open, warm
situation. Irises are easily divided in the autumn, but each piece
should have an eye to grow from, a little knot or knob that is on the
rhizomatous root. If you want your Irises indoors, you should gather
them in bud, and arrange them and some of their leaves in a bowl, with
the help of some soft lead and a few stones. You can get the Japanese
lead at most big shops now for a few pence, but any ironmonger could
supply you with strips of thin sheet-lead. A pennyworth of copper wire
twisted into a tangle is even better, but this is not so generally
known.


LUPINUS POLYPHYLLUS ALBUS.

There are blue and white Lupins, and both kinds flower at the same time
and require the same treatment. We advise you to choose the white
one if you have blue Delphiniums, as they will come out together, and
make your garden gay all through June. Slugs are very fond of Lupins,
and you often find a fine spike just about to flower half eaten away.
Unless you want to increase your stock from seed, you should cut off
the flowers as they fade, in order to prolong the flowering season. The
plants may be left undisturbed year after year, and will make large
clumps that grow from three to six feet high. If you take up a Lupin
you will find it has huge tap-roots, and on this account it is not an
easy plant to transplant or divide. When you want to move them, you
must do it in the autumn, after the leaves have died down. The seeds
come up easily if you sow them in a box, and the seedlings flower the
second year; but if you have blue and white Lupins, the seed from your
white Lupin will produce many washed-out blue flowers.


WHITE JAPANESE ANEMONE.

This is a large white Anemone with golden anthers. It begins to bloom
in August, and goes on right through the autumn, long after our summer
flowers have gone. Any bit of root you can buy or get given will grow,
but when once you have planted it you should leave it alone year after
year. It hates being disturbed, and will only make the huge flowering
clump you want when it is well established. It likes a rich soil, and
grows very well in half-shady places.


AQUILEGIA, OR COLUMBINE.

If you gather the flower of a Columbine and look at it upside down,
you will see why people say it is like little doves drinking, and how
it gets its name of Columbine from the Latin word for dove. In some
parts of England they grow wild, but the beautiful orange, yellow, and
scarlet ones come from America, and the blue and white Alpine ones from
Switzerland and the Pyrenees. In our climate they are uncertain as
perennials. You may have a garden where they live for years, or you may
find that your good ones die off every year. They like well-drained,
well-nourished, rather light, moist soil, and a half-shady position.
If you have heavy clay land, you will probably not succeed well with
them. Where they are happy they seed themselves easily, and you see
a whole colony of tiny plants coming up round their parent; so be
careful how you weed near a good Columbine after it has flowered. These
seedlings may be left till the spring, and then planted where they are
to stand. The best way to acquire a stock is to buy a packet of seed of
the long-spurred varieties, and to manage them as we have told you to
manage other seeds of perennial flowers. If you sow in June you should
be able to plant out in autumn, and one of the great growers tells you
to put three plants in a triangle three inches apart, but we think this
is too near. As the leaves die down in winter, you should put labels
where you set your plants. When you have a great many seedlings from
a mixed packet, do not keep only the biggest and strongest specimens,
or you may find next summer that you have all one colour. Some of the
choicest varieties look rather small and weak when they are young.


PEONY.

When Keats talked of the wealth of ‘globèd Peony,’ he was thinking
of the old-fashioned red ones that make such a splendid splash of
colour in a garden, but were out of favour at one time because they
were considered too flamboyant for people with refined tastes. Your
grandmother would have looked disapprovingly at a hoyden whose face
was as red as a Peony, and she probably thought the flowers very well
in a cottage garden, but not in her own. But in these days of hockey
and lawn-tennis Atalanta’s face may be as red as she pleases—no one
will call her a hoyden; and the Peonies are no longer globed, but
wide-open and wide-eyed, like an Anemone, and lovely shades of palish
pink and white. You can still grow the old red one if you wish. It is
called ‘officinalis,’ and, like all Peonies, should have four feet of
space allowed for the bush it will make in two or three years’ time.
Some of the most beautiful new ones are half single, with a mass of
golden stamens in the centre, and many are sweet-scented. They should
not be planted on an east border, because then the sun catches the
dewdrops still on the blooms, and converts them into burning glasses.
They will grow in any rich soil and in any position, but if you give
them moderate shade their flowers last longer and are more intense in
colour. It is a good plan to pinch off the buds of your first-year
plants, so that all the strength goes into the roots and leaves. You
may leave them undisturbed for years, but if you can top-dress them in
autumn so much the better. Peonies form large woody roots, with little
knobs or crowns on them. They may be divided in autumn by carefully
cutting apart the roots, leaving several crowns on each piece. These
should be planted only two inches below the soil.


EVENING PRIMROSE (ŒNOTHERA FRUTICOSA).

There are a good many varieties of the Evening Primrose, and one of
the most common will be described in the chapter on Biennials. The
Œnothera Fruticosa is a true perennial, and as it flowers all through
the summer, it is a useful plant to have in your border. It grows about
two feet high, so it should be placed about the middle, with taller
plants behind it. All Evening Primroses like a warm, sunny position,
and a good sandy soil. ‘Fruticosa’ is easily raised from seed sown in
the open ground in June, and pricked off when large enough to flower
next year. It may also be divided in spring or autumn.


GYPSOPHILA PANICULATA.

This forms a little bush of tiny white flowers, and sprays of it are
charming when mixed with other flowers. It thrives in any soil when
once it is established, but it dies quite down in winter, and shows
itself rather late in spring; so you must be sure to mark it with
a label in the autumn, and look out for slugs when the new leaves
push up. We have found it a most difficult plant to transplant or
divide, and we strongly advise the inexperienced gardener to leave any
specimens he has alone. Gypsophila Paniculata can be grown from seed
sown in the open ground in May, and moved into the flowering border in
September; but you are not likely to want many plants of it, and we
think you would find it more satisfactory to buy two or three from one
of the many nurserymen who raise it in large quantities.


SWEET LAVENDER.

This plant is a small perennial shrub, and not a true herbaceous
perennial; but we think that every child will wish to have at least
one Lavender bush, if not more, in the garden. If you choose you can
make a charming hedge of Lavender mixed with little pink monthly Roses.
You can easily increase your supply by taking cuttings in August and
planting them in light sandy soil. You must make a slanting slice
across your cutting just beneath the joint, take off every scrap of
green leaf from the lower part of the stem, and plant firmly three
inches deep in sandy soil. They should strike and make good roots by
the following spring. Lavender may also be grown from seed sown in
boxes in April, and kept covered with a glass till the little plants
appear. This may take some time, and you must be careful to keep the
soil moist by watering with a fine rose. When your plants are an inch
high, prick out in rows and leave them for a year. By the second year
they should begin to bloom. Gather your flowers for keeping on a dry
day, and just before they are fully expanded.


EARLY-FLOWERING CHRYSANTHEMUMS.

Many of these are quite hardy, come up year after year, and require
little attention. All chrysanthemums are greedy feeders, and like a
rich soil, improved by farm manure. In summer you can, if you choose,
give them a watering with liquid manure made by a teaspoonful of Clay’s
Fertilizer to one gallon of water.

About the end of October, when the flowers all look shabby, or have
been gathered for indoor use, your plants should be cut down to within
an inch of the ground. This helps the new growth from which you may
want to take cuttings. You must wait till the young shoots are six
inches high, and then cut them off close to the ground with a sharp
knife. The leaves must be removed from the lower half of the stalk,
and you must make a clean cut across the stalk just below a joint from
which leaves have been taken. You can put six of these cuttings in a
five-inch pot, or a large number in a wooden box; and remember that
cuttings root better close to the edge of a pot than in the middle.
They should be set two inches deep, and firmly pressed in, and the
soil should be fine and mixed with sand. The pots or boxes must then
be placed in a cool frame or greenhouse. The less you water cuttings
the better, but a sprinkle may be necessary sometimes to keep the soil
moist. In six weeks the cuttings should have rooted, and begin to make
little new leaves at the top. These may then be pricked out singly
into small pots. Do not put young plants into the open garden until
the spring frosts are over. If you have no frame or greenhouse, and
yet want to increase your Chrysanthemums, you can take them up at the
end of March, divide them with a sharp knife, and replant the pieces.
A gardener who tried this way wrote to _Gardening Illustrated_ to say
that the chrysanthemums he divided came into flower earlier and made
stronger plants than the orthodox cuttings. He took his up in February
and March, and put his pieces in a frame for a few weeks. But if you
have no frame, you had better wait till the winter frosts are over.

[Illustration: LARKSPURS AND PINKS.]


VIOLETS.

Violets will make no show in your garden, but if you have room you
will wish to have some of your own to gather. You must put out of
your head some of the things the poets say about them, and remember
that they like a rich soil, the sun in early spring, some shelter,
and plenty of light and fresh air. We have seen them belying all the
pretty traditions about their modest and retiring ways. They were
scrambling in sheets over the granite walls of a Cornish garden, and,
so far from hiding, they were showing their pretty faces to the sun,
and saying as plain as plain, ‘This is what we like. _Don’t_ stuff us
into shady dells and enclosed, sunless places.’ So now we put them
where they will have rich soil, sun and air, and the moisture they
require. A south border would be too dry for them in summer, but they
will stand a good deal of sunshine if their roots are in rich soil.
You must watch for their runners, and cut them off all through the
summer, but later in the year you should leave some for stock. In
May or June you can increase your Violets—either by taking up your
plants and pulling them carefully to pieces, when every bit with roots
will grow; or you can put some runners under a hand-light in a shady
border. If you cut off their tips, you will be able to see when they
have struck and begin to grow, and then you must tilt your hand-light
a little, so as to give ventilation. After a short time you can take
it away altogether, and by September your cuttings should be ready to
plant out. The rows should be one foot apart. The plants will soon
spread, and should be kept well weeded. All gardeners advise you to
make a fresh bed every two years. There are many beautiful varieties.
In a Cornish garden we have known the fine double kind, Marie Louise,
bloom incessantly from August, through the winter and spring, till the
hot weather came again; but this variety would need a frame in a cold
climate.


MICHAELMAS DAISIES, OR STARWORTS.

You must be sure to have some of these in your garden, because they are
easy to grow and come into flower in September, when many things are
over. They are delightful, too, for cutting, as they last well in water
and look well in any size or shape of bowl or glass. The only complaint
people ever make of them is that they increase too fast, and take up
too much room in the borders. We have had the best flowering clumps
sometimes from patches we have dug up in autumn or spring, pulled
to pieces and divided. But a clump may be left year after year, if
convenient. There is all the difference in the world between Michaelmas
Daisies grown in rich soil and good air and those grown in starved
conditions. We have seen an inexperienced gardener buy a collection
from good nurserymen, plant them in a bed of starved, poor soil on the
east side of a suburban house, and then be surprised that her Starworts
made no growth, and were not worth looking at. And, as it happened,
we saw a handful of Aster Amethystinus taken from those miserable
conditions to a sunny, sheltered garden in West Cornwall, where it was
pulled to pieces and planted in good soil all along a low granite wall
running north and south. In October a whole row of healthy plants was
looking over the wall, and sending up masses of clear mauve starry
flowers; their very colour and size improved out of knowledge by the
change. Michaelmas Daisies lose much of their beauty if they are tied
up in untidy bundles; but it is impossible to avoid tying them if they
stand in an open border where they may be caught by autumn gales. They
look very well amongst shrubs, or if you have a fence or a wall you can
put them all along it. Drive a stout stake in at either end, and tie a
strong string or length of coir rope so as to catch your Starworts at
the height that will best support them. If you must have unprotected
clumps, be sure to stake and tie them as soon as they are tall enough,
and before they flower. There are many beautiful varieties. Four of the
best are Amellus, Acris, Cordifolius, and Vimineus.


STAKING.

This is such an important operation that we must give it a paragraph
to itself. You must try from the beginning to tie up your plants when
they require it, and to do it in a workmanlike way, but you will often
find it a difficult and troublesome thing to do well. We once saw an
amusing picture in a gardening book of how not to tie up a plant, and
many a time have we remembered it after a hot and weary struggle with
our own. Some plants are more easily and successfully supported by the
branched stakes that need no ties; but heavy plants, such as Dahlias,
Sunflowers, and Michaelmas Daisies, require strong pointed sticks,
either those cut from trees or the square green ones to be bought in
towns. You should hammer your stake firmly in just _behind_ the plant.
Never drive one straight through its heart. Consider to what height
your plant will grow, and do not mind if the stake is too tall just
at first. Tie it carefully with raffia, or, if you want something
stronger, with thin cord. Roughly speaking, we should say that raffia
is strong enough for plants that can be supported by the little round
stakes sold in bundles, but that plants needing the square Dahlia
stakes also need strong ties. If you support your plants while they
are young, you must look at them from time to time, because as they
spread and grow they will want fresh ties and sometimes fresh stakes. A
spreading, top-heavy plant often needs three or four stakes to support
it properly. You will not think your trouble has been thrown away,
however, when you find that a three-days storm has not done much damage
to your garden, because your plants were so carefully prepared for it.



CHAPTER IV

BULBS, CORMS, AND TUBERS


A TRUE bulb has a series of layers, or scales. An onion is a bulb, and
so is a Hyacinth; so are Lilies, though of a different kind. A Crocus,
a Gladiolus, and a bulbous Iris, are all corms. They are solid, and
could not be pulled to pieces in scales. A tuber is a thick fleshy root
that increases as the plant grows, and ripens when it has done growing.
Dahlias and Begonias have roots of this kind; so have many Anemones and
many wild flowers. Certain tubers are good to eat. You have one kind
for dinner whenever you have Potatoes, and another kind when you have
Jerusalem Artichokes.

Some people buy fresh bulbs every year, and pull up the old ones
directly they have done flowering. We think that if you are a
really-truly gardener, you will not wish to do this. You will want
to see some of your bulbs come up year after year, with increasing
strength and beauty; and you will want to take up others at the right
time, divide them or store them, as the case may be, and replant. But
if you do mean to grow your bulbs year after year and increase your
own stock, you must remember that for many weeks after the flowering
season you have masses of untidy-looking dying leaves. Therefore you
must plant as artfully as you can in places where other things will be
growing up close by and attracting attention. The leaves of bulbs must
not be removed until they are quite dead and come away with a touch,
and this does not happen until the summer sun has baked them for a long
time. While they are green the bulb is getting strength from them. We
shall only tell you about a few varieties that are inexpensive to buy
and easy to grow. When you have learned to manage these successfully,
you can try some of the many others you will find in catalogues and
in gardening books. Our advice to you is to spend your money on one
or two kinds every autumn, and not to buy a collection. This applies
especially to children who have a corner of a London garden, because
the collections always include some bulbs (such as Anemones or the
Persian Ranunculus, for instance) that are not quite easy to grow, and
would do nothing in the town border.


SNOWDROPS (GALANTHUS).

If you have any shrubs or trees in your garden, you can plant your
Snowdrops near their roots; and if they like the soil and the
situation, they will increase quickly. They are very fond of peat,
but they will grow well in any healthy soil, and they may be left
undisturbed year after year. There are many varieties. One of the
largest is Galanthus Elwesi, but it wants a sheltered spot and a light
soil. If you plant your Snowdrops in clumps near Crocuses and Winter
Aconites, put at least fourteen or fifteen in a clump, and set them
rather close together. The bulbs should not touch, but there should not
be more than the breadth of your thumb-nail between each. Beginners
nearly always set their bulbs too far apart, and then the clumps or
rows look stinted.


CROCUSES.

Another mistake that even older people often make is to think about
buying their bulbs about a month after they should have been in the
ground. There is a ‘best time’ to plant and a time that will ‘do.’ The
best time to plant spring flowering bulbs is the end of September. The
difficulty is to find places for them then, when your border is still
gay and crowded. But some of the summer flowers will be over, and can
be thrown away, and others will be cut down later, and can have some
bulbs tucked under the soil not far from their roots. Crocuses like to
be planted about three inches deep, and they may be left undisturbed
year after year. You could put clumps of them on your rockery or in
front of your border, and plant Siberian Squills, winter Aconites, and
Snowdrops near them. Then when April comes, you could sow Mignonette
or Nasturtiums just behind the dying foliage, and in time the summer
flowers would spread and fill up the bare places for you. There are
seventy species of Crocus, and many bloom in autumn. Some of these are
wild now in various parts of England, though they probably came long
ago from the Pyrenees. You will find the spring-flowering ones most
useful for your border; but though they are easy to grow, you have to
watch for their two enemies—mice and sparrows. Mice eat the corms, and
sparrows pull the flowers to pieces in order to get at the stamens,
that affect them as a sedative. It is generally found that they do not
attack the striped ones. If you are troubled by sparrows you must put
little twigs near your crocuses and wind black cotton from one to the
other. Crocuses seed themselves freely, and take from two to three
years to flower. You can also lift them in June, and separate the young
corms from the parent one; but you must not expect these very small
corms to flower the following year.


SIBERIAN SQUILLS (SCILLA SIBERICA).

The flowers of this little bulb are a most vivid sapphire blue, and you
should certainly have some either on your rockery or in front of your
border. They like a sandy loam, so if you have a clay soil you should
get some sand and plant your bulbs in it. Set them two inches below the
surface any time from July to September. They will increase if left
undisturbed, or you may lift the bulbs in June and carefully separate
the little offsets.


NARCISSUS, OR DAFFODIL.

If you buy bunches of these flowers you find that the man who
sells them to you calls some Daffodils, some Narcissi some
Polyanthus-Narcissi, and some Jonquils. But when you look at a
gardening book or a bulb list, you will find them all under the head of
Narcissi. There are hundreds of varieties, and some are difficult and
delicate, while others increase quickly in good soil. We fear that the
little London gardener will find that his Daffodils flower the first
year, and never send anything up again except green leaves; but in the
country the strong kinds, such as Emperor or Horsfieldi, have been
known to increase twentyfold in two years.

The best time to plant these bulbs is in August or September, but when
they are to replace summer-flowering plants they have to go in later.
Any good garden soil will suit the Daffodil, but a stiffish loam is
what it likes best. The bulbs should never come into direct contact
with manure, but if your soil is very poor you could have some dug in
nine to twelve inches deep. There is some diversity of opinion about
the depth at which to plant, but we have good authority for saying that
from two to five inches is enough. At St. Loy, the well-known Cornish
flower-farm, the manager believes, after many careful experiments,
that deep planting is a strain on the bulb, and weakens the growth. If
you are afraid of hard and prolonged frost, it is better to give your
Daffodils a winter blanket of manure, dead leaves, heather, furze, or
ashes, whichever you can conveniently procure. This must be removed
when the bulbs want to push through the ground. In June and July,
Daffodils lose both roots and leaves, and may be taken up for division.
The rule about division is quite simple. When you see a baby bulb
wrapped up to the neck in the sheath of the parent bulb, you must not
take it away, but plant them again together. It is only when the young
bulb has its own sheath that you may detach it carefully at its basal
root where it still touches the old one. When you want to separate
bulbs, do not tear them asunder. Press them gently together, and if
they are ripe for separation they will come apart easily.

When you have dug up those you want to divide, knock off as much soil
as you can, and leave the bulbs to dry for a short time in the sun, or
on a shelf in a shed or in a cool room. But it is advisable to plant
the young bulbs directly they are detached from the old ones.

If possible, when you replant your bulbs, give them a fresh place—or,
at any rate, fresh soil. When you cut your Daffodils, never cut many
leaves from one plant, because the bulb receives nourishment through
its leaves. The flowers may be gathered when in bud, and will come out
well and increase in size in water. Many people always send Daffodils
by post in bud, as they travel better, take less room, and last longer.
Besides, a mixture of fully-open and half-open Daffodils is like spring
itself, and gives you pleasure as they change and expand. But the
growers tell us that the shops and markets will not buy them in this
state, and insist on having the flowers in full bloom.

The Polyanthus-Narcissus has several flowers on one stalk, and it
is very fragrant. There are several varieties, and in the South and
West of England they are all hardy. In the sheltered parts of Cornwall
and the Scilly Isles they come into flower before Christmas, and all
through January you see fields of them opening their buds in the winter
sun. If you live in a cold part of England, you must give them a
sheltered corner and plenty of sand in the soil. Three good kinds are
Soleil d’Or, a bright yellow; Grand Monarque, white and pale yellow;
and Gloriosa, white and orange. The Polyanthus-Narcissus does better
than other kinds in a stiff soil, and it likes a little manure.

The variety of Daffodils in a bulb list is bewildering, but you must
learn enough about the leading kinds to choose, for instance, whether
you want a huge yellow trumpet, a hoop petticoat, a star, a double,
or one of those enchanting tiny ones that would get lost in a mixed
border, and must be given a choice corner in your rockery. In this
chapter we will give you the names of a few well-known and inexpensive
kinds that are effective in a mixed border. When you plant them in this
way amongst other flowers, you can put six in a clump, three inches
apart and three to five inches deep. They should be placed eighteen
inches from the path, well behind your Snowdrops, Crocuses, and dwarf
Alpines. You may like to choose those that flower late, and put them
near pale blue Hyacinths or deep orange Tulips. In that case, buy
Emperor, Empress, or Bicolor. The earliest trumpet Daffodil is Sir
Henry Irving; Golden Spur comes a little later. Bicolor Grandis is what
the catalogues call ‘the best all-round Daffodil’; Sir Watkin is ‘a
giant of noble appearance’; and Horsfieldi is pure white and yellow,
the finest of the early Bicolors. All these are single Daffodils.

The Poet’s Narcissus, or the Pheasant-eyed Narcissus, blooms later
than the Daffodils. These are what the flower-shops give you when you
ask for the single Narcissus, and they have strongly scented, pure
white petals, with a short yellow cup that is edged with red. If they
like your soil they will increase at a great rate, and if they don’t
they will flower the first year, but never again. We have known them
spread like a weed in a Yorkshire garden in a good rich loam, and we
have seen them doing well in pure sand. At Les Avants, in Switzerland,
there are vast fields of them, and when they are in flower the scent is
overpowering. They should be gathered just as the buds break, because
the sun soon bleaches the lovely orange and yellow of the ‘pheasant
eye.’

[Illustration: DAFFODILS.]


HYACINTHS.

Hyacinths should be planted nine inches deep and six inches apart. Five
or six bulbs of the same colour make a pretty clump, and they should
be from twelve to eighteen inches from the edge. You may leave them
undisturbed year after year, and in good soil they will increase and
flower. If you wish to take them up, you must wait till the leaves are
dead, and then dry the bulbs carefully in the sun before you store them
in sand till the autumn. The offsets, if cultivated in light, rich
soil, will flower in three years; but Hyacinths raised in Holland are
stronger than any you are likely to raise yourself. Until you are an
experienced gardener, we advise you to leave your clumps undisturbed as
long as they flower, and to buy new bulbs when you find that your old
ones seem exhausted.


GRAPE HYACINTH (MUSCARI).

These are charming little blue or white flowers, growing about six
inches high, and flowering in April. They are hardy and easy to grow,
but you must be sure to put a good many in a group, so as to get the
best effect with them. Plant them two inches deep and about two inches
apart. The bulbs are easily increased by lifting them every two or
three years when the leaves are dead, and removing the offsets. They
like any soil except a very damp one, and they look well in front of
your border or in your rockery, near some of the miniature Daffodils.


TULIPS.

Tulips are easily grown in any good garden soil. Where the land is
stiff and not well worked they die out. The proper time to plant is
from October till the middle of November, and, if possible, you should
give your Tulips shelter from wind, as their heavy heads, brittle
stems, and broad leaves are easily damaged. They should be planted
three inches deep. The ordinary garden Tulips may be roughly divided
into two kinds—early and late flowering—and of these there are many
varieties. The well-known scarlet and yellow Duc van Thol and all its
family are early, and will flower in April. The late ones flower in May
and June, and come from _Tulipa Gesneriana_. There are so many kinds
and colours in Tulips that we will not give you names, but leave you
to choose your own from any good catalogue. Perhaps you would like to
try some of the Parrot Tulips, which have large flowers, most curiously
coloured and flaked. Tulips, unlike most bulbs, may be lifted directly
their leaves turn yellow, dried in the sun, and stored in a dry, airy
place, where mice and rats cannot reach them. Most kinds are increased
by offsets. You can, if you choose, leave your Tulips in the ground two
or three years, but after that it is well to take them up and divide
them. If you do not, the bulbs get crowded, and do not flower well.


EARLY AND LATE FLOWERING GLADIOLI.

There are two kinds of Gladioli that we think you can grow in your
garden. One is the well-known Scarlet Brenchleyensis, that flowers in
autumn, and the other is an early-flowering dwarf variety called Nanus.

The early-flowering ones are white, pink, salmon, and crimson, and
in good garden soil they increase freely. They should be planted in
November, and you must remember that they will need protection from
frost during their first winter. Except in very hard weather, the
_established_ bulbs need no covering. They like a light loamy soil
and a sunny situation. When you have chosen a place for them, set the
bulbs, three inches deep and seven inches apart, in clumps of about
twelve, and have ready some dead leaves and ashes to keep each clump
warm. These dwarf varieties may be left undisturbed two or three years,
but as they increase quickly they will not flower well longer than that
unless you take them up, when the foliage is dead, and divide them. The
well-known white one, The Bride, belongs to this section.

The finest autumn-flowering variety is the splendid scarlet
one—Brenchleyensis. It is taller than the summer kinds, and should be
placed about the centre of your border. Each stem should be carefully
tied to a stick when it is about to flower, or a high wind may snap
it in two. This Gladiolus should be planted in the spring, about four
inches deep and twelve inches apart. When the leaves have died away
in the autumn, the bulbs should be lifted, dried, and stored in sand
for the winter. In the South and West of England the bulbs are often
left in the ground, but even there they should be protected the first
winter. Every two years they should be lifted and divided.


MONTBRETIAS.

A beautiful little South African flower, like a small Gladiolus. If
you live in a mild climate it will increase like a weed, and your
trouble will be to keep it down. In a heavy soil or where there is
much frost you must give protection. But the chief thing to remember
about Montbretias is that they will not flower unless the clumps are
frequently divided in autumn. Some growers recommend that it should be
done every year.


IRISES.

The Spanish and English Irises want conditions that not everyone can
give them. They like shelter without shade, drought in autumn and
winter, moisture in spring, sun in summer, and a light, friable soil.
If you have a light soil and a south wall, you should certainly put
some of these beautiful flowers in, and do not meddle with the bulbs as
long as the plants are doing well. Plant at least three inches deep and
five inches apart.


WINTER ACONITE (ERANTHIS HYEMALIS).

The Winter Aconite is welcome because it comes so early in the spring,
and even pushes up its bright yellow flowers, surrounded by a whorl or
ruffle of glossy leaves, through the snow. It will grow in almost any
garden soil, and is a good plant to put under shrubs or amongst ferns,
as it does not mind shade. It can be increased by dividing the tubers
in September; but if your Aconites do well, you can leave them year
after year and let them manage themselves.


ALSTRŒMERIAS.

These are beautiful orange-coloured Peruvian Lilies, and if you have a
light, well-drained soil you will find them easy to grow. If your soil
is heavy you must dig in leaf-mould, sand, and well-rotted cow-manure.
A warm, sheltered, sunny position suits them best. While growing and
blooming they should be watered sometimes, or the plants get too dry.
As they go out of flower you should remove the seed-heads, as when they
all set they exhaust the plant; but do not cut the stems or leaves,
because they are wanted to strengthen the tubers for the following
year. Their stems are so strong that they do not require stakes. They
should be planted from six to nine inches deep and twelve inches apart,
and once established, they should never be disturbed. When the young
shoots of the Alstrœmeria appear in spring, slugs must be kept away.


BEGONIAS.

Begonias used to be little grown in the outdoor garden, but of late
years you see them everywhere. We advise you to buy the inexpensive
unnamed tubers in April from any good nurseryman. When your Begonias
arrive you will find that they look rather like flattened, badly-grown
potatoes, and if you see no little pink shoots on them, you must put
them in a shallow box of sand or sandy soil or cocoanut-fibre, and set
the box on a dry light shelf till growth begins. If you can put your
box in a cool greenhouse, so much the better. The soil must be kept
just moist, but not wet, and the tubers must not be put out till the
spring frosts are over. In cold climates this will not be till the end
of May. When the time comes, choose positions in front of your border,
and as far as possible sheltered from high winds, which would play
havoc with their succulent stalks and broad, fleshy leaves. The soil
should be well dug, and if it is heavy you must add sand, and, when
you can get it, leaf-mould. Take up your tubers very carefully with a
trowel, so as not to injure their fine fibrous roots, and plant them,
with the pink shoots upwards, about four inches below the surface.
Then you must watch your Begonias carefully, and when they appear
above ground protect them from slugs by putting a circle of soot round
each plant. You will find Begonias useful as successors to the spring
bulbs that are over, and can be taken up for division or thrown away.
In the autumn they must come out of the ground before the frosts,
and if the leaves and stalks are not quite dead, cut them off with a
sharp knife; never pull at them, or you may injure the tuber. Some
growers keep their tubers exposed in a light, airy greenhouse until
the stalks and stems are so shrivelled that they will drop off with a
touch. As long as they are not shrivelled, they constitute a danger to
the tuber during its time of rest. Begonias must be stored in sand or
cocoanut-fibre in shallow boxes, and kept in a frost-free place through
the winter. They can be grown from seed or from cuttings under glass,
but we think both operations are a little beyond the juvenile gardener.


DAHLIAS.

It is difficult to find room for Dahlias in a very small garden, but
even one will give you a great deal of pleasure if you manage it well,
as the flowers go on for a long time, and are most useful for cutting.
Whether you have one or more, you must remember that the Cactus Dahlias
grow from four to six feet high, and that each plant makes a big bush.
The pretty little Pom-poms are rather shorter, and can be placed in
front of their big brothers. We advise you to grow these kinds, and
not what are called show varieties, which are stiff and, we think,
ugly. Dahlias are greedy feeders, and wherever you mean to plant one
you should get someone to dig in manure eighteen inches down. About the
end of April or early in May, according to the season and your climate,
you put out your Dahlias. If they are spring-rooted cuttings in a pot,
all you have to do at first is to take them out of the pot, plant them,
and look out for slugs. They will devour every one if they can. If you
are given a tuberous root, you must put it five or six inches deep in
the ground. It is of no use to grow Dahlias unless you can stake and
tie them properly, as they become very heavy, and are ruined by a high
wind if unsupported. Stout, square green stakes are made on purpose
for Dahlias, and if you are far away from a town where they are to be
had, you must get someone to cut and point you natural ones equally
strong. For Cactus Dahlias they should be five or six feet long, and
for Pom-poms four feet; and at least one foot of this length must be
driven firmly into the ground. Do not tie with raffia, but with stout
cord or coir, as nothing else is strong enough. When the frosts come
you can take up your Dahlias and store them in a dry cellar; but unless
you have a gardener to help you, we do not think you could strike
cuttings from them in heat, in spring. You will find in autumn that the
little plant you put out of a pot in May has made a big tuber, with a
number of fingers. These should be left as they are till spring comes
again, and then they may be carefully separated with a sharp knife and
put as they are into the ground. Each piece will make a fresh plant. In
sheltered parts of Devonshire and Cornwall, Dahlias, after being cut
down, are often given a little covering of straw and manure and left in
the ground.



CHAPTER V

BIENNIALS


BIENNIALS are plants that do not flower till the second year after
sowing. They are sown in spring and summer, pricked out when large
enough, and transplanted, either in the autumn or the following spring,
to their flowering places. If you can only have a small patch in a
small garden, we advise you to buy, ready-grown, every spring, the
few biennials you need. You can get all the well-known ones cheaply
by the dozen, or just as they have been sown in a box. But if you are
one of those lucky children who grow up in a big garden, we advise you
to beg for a little extra bit for a ‘nursery,’ and then to try your
hand at growing some of the easier biennials and perennials from seed.
Some people will tell you that this operation is beyond the skill
and patience of any child, but we think that if you will follow our
instructions carefully you might succeed. Do not dream of trying all we
tell you about in one season. In every chapter we speak of more plants
than any one child could crowd into one small garden. You must choose
some of your great favourites to begin with, and each year add a few
new ones to the plants you have learnt to manage well.

Skilled gardeners grow some biennials, as annuals, by raising the seed
in frames and greenhouses early in the year; but this, we think, would
be too difficult for children to do without help. So you must, as we
have said, buy your biennials ready-made, or you must get someone to
raise them in heat for you, or you can sow your own seed one year,
understanding that the seedlings will not flower till the next. Of
these three plans we think the purchase of ready-made seedlings the
easiest, but in some ways the least satisfactory. At any rate, if you
must adopt it, try to get them from good nurserymen. Those you buy in
the London streets or from advertisement columns are often grievously
disappointing, so that when your biennials flower you discover you have
thrown your money and your labour away. Your Snapdragons are either
hideously splotchy or crudely magenta; your pink Canterbury Bells are
blue and white; your Wallflowers are spindly and colourless. A few
experiences of this kind will soon drive you to buy your own seed from
one of the best firms, and for a few pence and some happy hours of
gardening to get more plants of the best colour and quality than you
can possibly use. Then you will have the pleasure the true gardener
always finds in giving some of his plants away, or you can exchange
your surplus stock for plants you do not possess yet.


WALLFLOWERS (CHEIRANTHUS).

This is a good biennial to start with, because every seed comes up and
comes quickly. Sow thinly on a partly shaded patch of ground, and prick
out when the seedlings have four good leaves. Do this on a showery
day, if possible, and plant in rows ten inches apart each way. It is
important to sow your seed early in the spring, because where the
winter is severe the plants should be in their permanent quarters by
May or June. If you transplant them late in the autumn, they suffer
greatly from frost. In London market-gardens the seed is sown early
in February; the plants are put out in May, and by Christmas are in
flower. A seedling Wallflower has a tap-root as well as fibrous roots,
and this is why the seedling should be pricked out once before it is
transplanted to its permanent quarters. If you left it where it was
sown it would send down a great root like a carrot, and then when
you tried to move the plant you would kill it. Many gardeners pinch
off the tap-root when they prick out, and then the Wallflower makes
fibrous roots that can be safely transplanted. Mr. Robinson says that
a well-grown Wallflower in a London market-garden could not be covered
by a bushel basket, so now you know what size your plants _ought_ to
be, and how many you will have room for in your border. If you buy them
ready-made late in the autumn, you will probably find that each plant
has two bare, lanky stalks, with a miserable little bunch of leaves at
the top; and when a frost comes they will look so dejected that you
will pull them up and throw them away.


PANSIES AND TUFTED PANSIES (VIOLA TRICOLOR).

The Pansies, or Heart’s-ease, and Tufted Pansies (known to nurserymen
as Violas) can be treated as annuals, biennials, or perennials,
according to position, climate, and soil. In a Cornish garden from
October to Christmas we had Pansies in flower from seed sown at the end
of May, so they were annuals. But we had put them in their permanent
places that autumn, because we wanted them to live through the winter
and make the border gay the summer following, when they became
biennials. At the end of the summer we kept the best of them to flower
another year, and, if they liked, a year after that.

The seed should be sown in early summer in light, moist, leafy soil. It
soon comes up, and when the seedlings have three pairs of leaves they
should be pricked out. The Pansy, like the Carnation, has a tiresome
trick of producing its best flowers on its poorest plants, so you must
be patient and careful with the weak, backward ones, because they may
give you the finest blooms. Pansies would rather be moved in autumn
than in spring, and remember that they like a rather shady place in
your border, and a good loamy soil. They either die or make poor little
flowers in hard, dry ground. If you want your Pansies and Violas to
go on flowering all the summer, you must be careful to pinch off the
dead flowers. The roots you see in London shops and markets, wrapped in
hard clay and showing two or three big flowers, will not do much good
as a rule. If, however, you have some, and want to keep them alive,
you should soak the cake of clay off the fibrous roots, plant in a
puddle of water, and protect from the sun and wind for several days
with a flower-pot. We have been told by a well-known gardener that she
can make anything live by planting it in a pool of water, and out of
our own experience we would say that we can make most things live by
shading them for some days, except from showers, with a flower-pot. It
is most interesting to see how a flagging plant will revive after a few
hours of shade and shelter.

[Illustration: IRISES]

If you have a light, warm soil, you can easily strike cuttings from
your best Violas and Pansies. One way is to cut them down in June.
A month later a number of young shoots will appear, and these should
have soil put amongst them into which they will root themselves. In
two or three weeks you can take away these young plants and put them
in a nursery bed. A cutting should be set one-third of its length
into a little bed of sandy soil that you have previously made smooth
and moist. You must always slice them across the stalk just below a
joint, and cut off the lower leaves. They should be taken in moist,
warm weather, and placed in partial shade. As they grow pinch off the
tops, and then they make more roots, and are stronger. We have no
great gardening authority for saying so, but from our own experience
we should advise you never to cut down a favourite plant for increase,
except in showery weather. We have lost many by meddling with them
during a drought. If you only have a few Pansies you will not want to
cut them down at all in June, but you can look out for young shoots,
and try to take a few cuttings.


CAMPANULA MEDIUM (CANTERBURY BELL).

Canterbury Bells are most useful and beautiful flowers, and easily
grown. If you want the lovely pink ones be sure to get your seed from
a first-rate firm, as the cheap seed and the cheap plants are likely
to be blue or white. Canterbury Bells are beautiful in blue and white,
as well as in pink, and we only mean that for some reason the pink
ones seem a little more difficult to get hold of. Sow your seed in
shallow boxes in March or April; prick out in showery weather when the
seedlings have four leaves, and transplant to their permanent places in
September. You will find that the strongest seedlings will flower the
following year, but the small ones take two years to mature. Canterbury
Bells sow themselves easily if you leave the seed to ripen, but they
flower longer if you pick off each bell as it withers. They require
stakes.


SWEET WILLIAM (DIANTHUS BARBATUS).

One celebrated lady who writes about gardens says that she does not
like Sweet Williams, because they remind her of the plush chairs in
German furniture shops. We think ourselves that the ordinary red
ones are rather stiff and flaunting; but the new salmon-pink and
deep rose-coloured ones are not a bit like red plush, and they make
lovely patches of colour in our gardens; also, they are easy to raise
and manage. If you grow them from seed, sow out of doors in April,
prick out when the plants are large enough, and transfer to permanent
quarters in September. Next year you can take cuttings from the best
plants when they have done flowering. You are always told by skilful
gardeners that a cutting should be sliced straight through the stalk
just beneath a joint, and planted in sandy soil and slight shade to
make roots; but now we will tell you how an unskilful gardener, who
found cuttings difficult, increased her Sweet Williams with perfect
ease. It may be the wrong way, but the Sweet Williams did not seem to
think so. When they had quite done flowering, each plant had sent up
a quantity of young green shoots that evidently did not mean to make
flowers that summer; so the unskilful gardener took up her best clumps,
tore each one into from twelve to twenty pieces, planted them in fine,
rather moist soil in partial shade, and by late autumn saw that every
one was doing well and making a good plant for next year.


EVENING PRIMROSE (ŒNOTHERA).

A handsome, clear yellow flower, growing six feet high, and blooming
for many weeks, but one of those that never know when and where they
are not wanted. You know the true gardening rhyme, don’t you?—that ‘One
year’s seeding makes seven years’ weeding.’ We believe that when once
the Evening Primrose has had a chance in a garden, its seeds will come
up there till the crack of doom. However, they have tap-roots, and are
easily pulled up. If you have none and want them, you should sow in
June where the plants are to stand, and thin out severely, leaving two
feet between the plants. Remember that in this chapter we are talking
of biennials, that will not flower until the following year. If you
have one of those heart-breaking gardens made of rough, starved soil
or builder’s rubbish, you might sow Evening Primroses as carefully
as you can all along the back of the border. Then, in the following
spring, when your Evening Primroses are spreading plants, you could sow
Giant Poppies in front of them, and Dwarf Nasturtiums in front of the
Poppies. One of the great secrets of gardening is to find out how to
make the best of your conditions, even when they are unfavourable.


SNAPDRAGONS (ANTIRRHINUM MAJUS).

These are most beautiful and useful flowers. They will do well in poor
soil, and even on the tops of walls, where there is not much soil
for them—in fact, some of the finest specimens, grown from self-sown
seed, are to be found in such situations. There are three kinds: tall,
medium, and dwarf, and there are a great variety of colours. Some are
self-coloured, and some are mottled, striped, or flaked. If you buy
cheap seedlings you get ugly magentas or poor, washed-out mixtures;
while if you raise your own from good seed, you get most lovely shades.
Snapdragons may be treated as annuals or biennials, and each has its
own difficulty. If you treat them as annuals, you must raise the seed
under glass in February, so as to have flowers in July. We think you
probably have no greenhouse or frame of your own, so we will tell you
how to grow Snapdragons out of doors as biennials. The difficulty in
this case is not to get your stock of plants, but to keep them through
the winter, as Snapdragons are not quite hardy, especially in a close,
damp soil. We have heard of nursery gardeners losing their whole stock
in a frost. On a light soil and near a south wall you can, with a
hammer and nails and a few laths, knock up a wooden framework that
will hold a piece of sacking or an Archangel mat over your plants, and
keep the worst of the frost from them. If you can’t use a hammer and
nails, and live in a cold climate, we think you will have to buy your
Snapdragons every spring.

The seed of Snapdragons is very small, so it is a good plan to mix
it with sand or fine soil before you sow it. The sowing can be done
any time between April and August, and either in boxes or pans, or in
the open ground. If you have a struggle with weeds in your garden, we
advise you to sow all seeds that will bear transplantation in boxes
or pans, as you can dodge the weeds better in this way. We have heard
of people who poured a kettleful of boiling water over the soil they
meant to use for seeds, so as to destroy the weeds in it first. If
you do this, you must wait till the soil has passed through the soppy
stage in which a flood of hot water leaves it before you put it in
your seed-box. An old iron tray, no longer tidy enough for indoor use,
is convenient for this and for many other garden operations. When
your Snapdragons have four good leaves, prick them out in rows nine
inches apart in the most sheltered corner you have, and protect them
from frost till the spring, when they will make a show all through the
summer in your border. You will find that some people get quite angry
with you for growing tall ones or dwarf ones, according to the kind
they themselves prefer, while other people will forbid you to look
at a flaked or bizarre Snapdragon. You will have to bear this if you
agree with us, and like both dwarf and tall ones, all the clear selfs,
and even some of the bizarre. A ‘self’ in gardening jargon means one
colour, as opposed to striped, flaked, or speckled.


FORGET-ME-NOT (MYOSOTIS DISSITIFLORA).

There are several varieties of the Forget-me-not, but you will find
this a good kind to grow, either for your border or your rockery. It
makes a charming edging for bulbs, or a carpet through which Tulips and
Daffodils send up their leaves in spring. The seed should be sown from
April to June, and pricked out into a shady place. In the autumn your
plants can be moved to their flowering quarters. They look very well
near White Arabis, a plant you can buy anywhere, or near the Yellow
Alyssum.


FOXGLOVES (DIGITALIS).

Foxgloves are so beautiful that you will want to grow them even if
you have a sunny, sheltered, well-dug, and well-dressed garden where
anything will succeed. But they are one of the few flowers that will
never fail you who garden under difficulties. They do not mind shade,
and can be grown amongst shrubs, and even under trees. They do not mind
poor soil, though they make a finer growth when they are fed, and they
will endure the air of cities. When once they are established in your
garden, you have them for ever if you choose, as they seed themselves
freely; but you cannot keep the pure white strain unless you either
grow new ones from good seed or pull up every pink one before the buds
open and let the bees into their flowers. The bees, as you no doubt
know, are great gardeners, and fertilize your plants for you.

The seed of Foxgloves should be sown in June, either in boxes or in the
open ground. You can prick them out to where they are to stand, or you
can sow in their permanent quarters and thin to nine inches or a foot
apart. Remember that they are tall plants, and must be at the back of
your border. As you get three thousand seeds for a penny, you will have
some over to sow in wild places.


STOCKS (MATTHIOLA).

These sweet-scented flowers make a display in your border all through
the spring. They like a rich, well-dressed soil, and are generally poor
and spindly on a starved one. The Brompton and Intermediate are good
kinds to grow. Sow the seeds in summer in partial shade, and in moist
weather plant out, nine inches apart, where they are to bloom. Make the
soil firm round the young plants. Mr. E. T. Cook, in his ‘Gardening for
Beginners,’ says that amateurs often make a mistake in rejecting the
dwarf seedlings and keeping only the tall ones. The dwarf ones have
more fibrous roots, and make more double flowers. The colours of Stocks
have been greatly improved of late years, and if you get your seed from
a good firm you need not grow the magenta ones you often see in small
gardens.



CHAPTER VI

BEDDING PLANTS


BY bedding plants we mean those plants that are raised in great
quantities under glass, and are put out into our gardens in May. To
be sure, you hear of ‘spring’ and ‘summer’ bedding, because in the
autumn, when you take up your summer plants, you can fill your bed
with bulbs and spring flowers, such as Stocks, Wallflowers, Primroses,
and Forget-me-nots. The principal of ‘bedding’ is, you see, to plant
your piece of ground, so as to have a good display twice a year. Every
autumn you throw away your summer plants, and every summer you throw
away your spring ones. This, at any rate, is what thousands of people
with small town gardens do, and it is the form of gardening beloved of
the jobbing gardener and the local florist. We recommend it to people
who have money, but take no interest in their gardens, and to small
children who will find it the easiest form of gardening, and even to
children who live in or near great cities where some plants will lead a
merry life, but where none will lead a long one. But it is not a high
form of gardening, and cannot teach you much as long as you buy every
six months and throw away. Of course, when you raise and increase your
bedders, either spring or summer ones, you are gardening in the true
sense of the word. But most of the flowers you see in town gardens from
May till October are raised in heat from seeds and cuttings, and we
think the appliances and the skill required would be beyond you.

However, even from the throw-away-twice-a-year plan you can learn the
gardening virtues of order and method, and you can get great pleasure
from the flowers. Besides, you may be able to adopt it partly, and have
some plants that go on from year to year, some annuals, and some you
cherish for a season and then cast out. We will assume that in October
someone gave you enough bulbs to make a fine show all through March and
April, but that now in May their flowers are gone and their leaves
looking shabby. If you are going to have bedders you must harden your
heart, dig up all the bulbs, and throw them away. Then you must prepare
the soil by turning it well over and raking it fine. If someone will
fork in a little well-rotted stable manure, so much the better; if that
is not possible, you can add a small quantity of Clay’s Fertilizer.

Before you buy your bedders you must consider the aspect of your garden
and the state and nature of your soil. Geraniums and Marguerite Daisies
will stand rather poor soil, but Calceolarias, Begonias, and Heliotrope
want good treatment if they are to flourish. If you have a wall at the
back of your garden that is only partly covered, you should put nails
a foot apart on either side and stretch string or wire across. Wire is
more lasting than string, but more difficult to manage. The next thing
to decide will be what colour effects you want, and for how many plants
you have room. Geraniums need about a foot square each, Marguerites
eighteen inches, Dwarf Marigolds nine inches. If you possibly can,
buy your Geraniums, Calceolarias, Heliotropes, and Marguerites in
little pots, and not in boxes, or, worse still, in dried-up, rootless
cuttings sent by post. It is an elementary piece of gardening knowledge
that, provided you keep off slugs and give a little shade and water
at first, you can put anything out of a pot at any time. But if you
are going to have many bedders, you will save yourself a great deal of
trouble by putting them out in showery weather towards the end of May.

Some of the best bedders for a small garden are:

    Dark red and salmon-pink Geraniums;
    Scented oak-leaved Geraniums;
    White and yellow Marguerite Daisies;
    Heliotropes;
    Calceolarias.

All these can be bought in pots for 3s. a dozen. Dark red French
Marigolds, Pansies, Violas, Petunias, Musk, and Lobelias can be bought
in boxes holding from eighteen to twenty-four for 1s. or 1s. 6d.

Begonias, which may be had in all colours and look charming in front of
a border, can be had for 2s. 6d. to 3s. a dozen.

In buying your plants always choose short, sturdy ones, with plenty
of leaves, and not the tall, weak ones that have been drawn up under
glass. If you have a wall, buy three or four ivy-leaved pink Geraniums
and a penny packet of blue Convolvulus Major seed. The Geranium will
climb four feet in a season and the Convolvulus from four to six feet,
and they will look well together. Do not be tempted to put in your
Convolvulus seed till the May frosts are over, as you only lose by
being in a hurry with this delicate annual.

Never take a plant out of a pot by pulling at it right side up. Always
turn the pot upside down, with your hand covering the earth, but not
the plant; then tap the bottom of the pot sharply with your trowel, and
usually the plant will come out. Sometimes it is necessary to give the
edge of the pot (still holding it upside down) a sharp knock on the top
of a wall, or some other hard surface. You must, of course, be most
careful not to knock the plant as you do this. If even then it will not
come out, you must break the pot. When you have to do this you usually
find that the plant has been pot-bound, and is a mass of fibrous
roots. Before you put the plant in your border remove the little pieces
of broken pot at its roots, sink it slightly deeper than its own earth,
and make the soil gently firm about it. If the weather is not showery,
you must give your bedding plants a good soak when you have put them
in. Soft water (rain-water is always soft) is much better for plants
than hard water from a tap; but if you cannot get this try to keep some
hard water in a tub, so that it is exposed to the sun and air before
you use it. The general rule is never to water plants when the sun is
on them, but if we saw a plant flagging badly in the sun we should not
wait till evening, but give it water at its roots, and, if possible,
shade it. We should be careful not to let any water touch its leaves.
When once your plants are well established do not water at all, except
in a long drought. Then, if you begin, you must go on every evening
till the rain comes. Geraniums and Marguerites do not like much water.
Musk is very thirsty, and so are Petunias and Tobacco plants.

[Illustration: A CORNISH COTTAGE.]

Be careful not to mix your colours in the ugly way often seen in London
and suburban gardens. You might have a row of white Tobacco plants
at the back of your border, then one of yellow Marguerites, then
Heliotrope, then Calceolarias and dark French Marigolds, then mauve
Violas, and in front yellow Musk. Or if you want red and white, or red,
white, and blue, you could try dark red Geraniums, then oak-leaved
Geraniums, then white Marguerites, then dark red Begonias, and in front
either blue Lobelias or the scarlet Alonsoa Warscewiczii, grown from
seeds. Alonsoas are half-hardy, and should be sown in May. We think
they might not do well in town gardens.

We must warn you that some people will be very angry with us for
advising you to grow anything in lines. Lines are out of fashion, and
they certainly have been made to give hideous effects by the ignorant
gardener. But we make bold to think that a child who wants a blaze of
colour all the summer in its small patch will get what he wants if he
grows his garden as contrary Mary did, ‘all in a row.’ We will tell
you now about a charming little garden belonging to two children in
a London suburb. It is twelve feet square, and has a gravel path up
the centre, with a tiled edge. At the back there is a seven-wall,
with a yellow Jasmine on one side and a white one on the other. Both
kinds do well in town air, and the Yellow Jasmine comes early in
the spring, when flowers are scarce and most welcome. The garden is
shared by a brother and sister, and the boy, who is eleven, has made
a seat against the wall of a four-foot plank, supported by two logs,
each eighteen inches high. All through the summer the winter Jasmine
is covered by a perennial pink Bellbine, that dies in autumn and
comes up each spring. A pink ivy-leaved Geranium and the blue Giant
Convolvulus climb up the wall too, and mix with the summer (white)
Jasmine, which flowers in masses. At the side of each plot farthest
from the path the children grow white and pink Foxgloves from seed, and
the dwarf Sunflower Stella. In front of these they have a pink monthly
Rose, with a Lavender bush on either side, and a bush of Lad’s Love
(Southernwood) on either side of the Lavender. In May they put in a
row of white Marguerite Daisies; in front of these, clumps of dark red
Carnations (flowers that thrive in town air), pink Geraniums, and pink
Begonias, planted in clumps of three. In the foreground they have an
edging of blue Lobelia. All through the spring this little garden is
gay with Narcissi and Daffodils, on which the children spend about ten
shillings. The bedding plants cost about eight shillings, and make the
garden bright throughout the summer.



CHAPTER VII

ROSES


EVEN in a small garden there should be one or two Roses, and as you may
have to choose yours from a long bewildering catalogue, we will begin
by telling you a little about the various kinds suitable for a child’s
garden.


HYBRID PERPETUALS.

There are some splendid and celebrated Roses in this class, but they
have a shorter blooming season than Roses that do not call themselves
perpetual. If, however, you live in the North, you may find that you
can grow the H.P.’s, as Rose-growers call them, better than the more
delicate Tea Roses. Ulrich Brunner and Charles Lefebvre are good old
crimson ones, both fragrant. Duke of Connaught and Duke of Edinburgh
are two of the best reds. Frau Karl Druschki is a splendid white Rose,
but it has no scent. General Jacqueminot is another large crimson,
so are Charles Darwin and Alfred Colomb. Mrs. John Laing is a soft
pink. You must understand that we are only giving you a few names
in each class, in case you are left to struggle unassisted with a
catalogue containing hundreds of names. If you grow those we tell you
of, you will have some beautiful Roses; but so you will if anyone who
understands Roses chooses a different list for you.


TEA ROSES AND HYBRID TEAS.

If you live in a mild climate and have a sheltered corner for your
garden, you should certainly grow the Tea Roses and their Hybrids, as
they last in flower longer than the H.P.’s. Their season is said to be
from May till October, but in a West of England garden we have gathered
perfect specimens on a south wall at Christmas. Perhaps the best-known
Tea Rose is the Gloire de Dijon, an apricot yellow that can be grown
either as a bush rose or as a climber. Corallina is a lovely bright
pink; Madame Lambard is bright rose; Maréchal Niel is the well-known
golden-yellow Rose grown so often under glass. We should say that he
and Niphetos, a beautiful white Rose, are what some gardeners call
‘miffy doers.’ If you don’t give them just exactly what they like, they
either die or look so ill and reproachful that you cast them away.
But if you can please them, they are very beautiful. So are Georges
Nabonnand, a rosy white, shaded with yellow, and Catherine Mermet, a
light flesh-coloured Rose of a globular shape.

Hybrid Teas are a cross between Teas and Hybrid Perpetuals, and are
considered stronger than pure Teas. The best known of all is La
France, and we cannot think why any catalogue should describe it as
lilac. It is a rich pink, a lovely globular shape, fragrant, and one
of those friendly Roses that flower from early summer till the frosts
come. Madame Abel Chatenay is another Rose we recommend strongly.
It is carmine, with shades of salmon. La Tosca is pink. Viscountess
Folkestone is pale salmon, globular, and fragrant. Boule de Neige is
pure white. Caroline Testout must not be omitted even from such a small
list as this. It is pinky-salmon, large, globular, and fragrant.


CLIMBING ROSES.

There are many varieties that will climb, and we can only give you a
few names of the most vigorous and beautiful. The old-fashioned Aimée
Vibert is a white cluster Rose, very hardy and free-flowering. It is a
Noisette, a scented cluster Rose; so is the William Allen Richardson, a
popular apricot-yellow Rose that we should not choose, because its buds
lose colour as they open. Dorothy Perkins is a pink cluster Rose, a
Wichuriana; Lady Gay is a cherry-pink rambler; and the Crimson Rambler
itself is one of the best climbers there is. The Waltham Rambler is a
delicate pink, a most lovely cluster Rose. Alberic Barbier and Elisa
Robichon are both Wichurianas—little climbing Roses, with dark, small,
glossy leaves.

We think that you will only have room for two or three Roses in your
little garden, and that you had better have either those we have
already told you of or some of the China Roses, also called Bengal or
Monthly. Even in the North of England we have seen them in full flower
at the end of November. One of the best is Cramoisie Supérieure, and
you can have it either as a bush Rose or as a climber. Another good one
is the common Blush, a pink Rose that may be grown either as a dwarf
or a climber. Little Pet is a white cluster Rose, and very dwarf. Mrs.
Bosanquet is a pale flesh-coloured cluster Rose.

In 1840 Mrs. Loudon said that there were nearly 2,000 species and
varieties of Roses. Even the well-known garden Roses are divided into
so many groups that we cannot give you a complete list of them. Where
people have plenty of room they grow the Penzance Briars, beautiful
hybrids raised by Lord Penzance. Their foliage is as fragrant as
Sweetbriar, and they have single or semi-double flowers. A wild
Japanese Rose, Rosa Rugosa, makes a great bush that has glowing orange
and red berries, but it is not suitable for a small garden. Then there
are Moss Roses (very sweet-scented), Cabbage or Provence Roses (you
find them in old-fashioned gardens), Scotch Briars (small flowers and
such thorns! but very pretty), Austrian Briars, Banksia Roses, Damask
Roses, Gallica or Provins Roses (from Provins, a small French town, and
not to be confounded with Provence), Multiflora or Polyantha Roses
(very small fairy Roses, that are having a vogue just now). These are a
few you will often hear named, but you will find many more in any good
Rose-grower’s catalogue.

If you live in or near London, you will see a great many Roses grown
on standards. You must decide for yourself whether you like them.
We prefer a Rose climbing, or as part of a hedge or as a bush; but
standard Roses are very popular with some gardeners, and when they are
healthy they certainly carry a great many flowers.

Roses like a good firm, rich soil, what gardeners call ‘unctuous loam.’
It feels almost greasy between the fingers, and many plants love it.
If your soil is light and dry, you must dig in some farm manure and,
if you can get it, some clay before you plant Roses. If it is a heavy,
cold clay, you should add lime, sand, and leaf-mould. In October the
places for your Roses should be well dug and dressed, as November is
the best month to plant. If you live where there is danger of autumn
frosts, you should plant in the middle of October, or as early in
November as possible. We are giving you the general rule about Roses,
but some gardeners like to plant in March, when the frosts are over.
If you buy Roses in pots, you can put them out at any time except
during a frost. In hot summer weather you would naturally watch them
at first, and give them shade if they seemed to flag. When you put a
plant out of a pot, you must be careful not to disturb its roots and
to give it plenty of water. If necessary, break the pot, as that would
disturb the Rose less than shaking and shoving it. Go to a good firm
for your Roses, and, if possible, one that will sell you Roses on
_their own roots_. We are not going to tell you about various grafted
Roses, because we think that while you are a child you will find them
troublesome, as they often send up shoots from the wild briars on which
the Rose you want has been grafted; but we warn you that you will
not get Roses on their own roots unless you go to one of the great
Rose-growers.

When your Roses arrive, do not leave their roots exposed to the air a
moment. Cover them with a sack or matting, and take a pail of water
with you in which to dip each Rose as you plant it. Then make a hole
about a foot wide each way, and just deep enough to allow you to spread
the fibrous roots out to left and right of the stem. Hold the Rose in
its place, and work a quantity of fine earth amongst its roots; and
put the _collar_, the point at which the garden rose is budded on to
the briar, from one to three inches below the surface. When you have
put enough earth, tread it firmly down, and tie the Rose to a strong
stake, so that the wind cannot shake it and worry its roots while they
are trying to take hold of the soil. The best modern growers do not
approve of manure as a mulch in winter. They say it does little or no
good, and they prefer a loose soil surface. Soot dusted over the beds
is beneficial, and so is a dressing of basic slag in the autumn.

It is no use to try to grow Roses in complete shade or where they will
be choked by other plants. The Queen of Flowers _will_ have light and
air and some sun. She will let you set a few dwarf Alpines, Violas,
or Forget-me-nots at her feet; but she will not be shouldered by
high, coarse-growing herbaceous plants, or by greedy shrubs. If your
garden is not backed by a wall where you could have a climbing Rose,
you might have an arch over your path. The ready-made wire ones sold
by ironmongers will make all your fastidious friends shiver, and call
you a Philistine; but you will forget that when summer comes, and it
is hidden by flowers. Of course, if you are a country child, and can
get the village carpenter to make you a wooden arch of small straight
Larches or other young tree-trunks, you will prefer it to any wire
construction. The uprights must be set at least two feet deep in the
earth, and firmly bedded in with stones. The horizontal piece must be
secured firmly to the uprights. You would have a lovely arch if on one
side you put Dorothy Perkins, the pink cluster Rose, with the white
Clematis, Montana; while on the other side you might set a vigorous
white cluster Rose called Félicité Perpétué, or Maids of the Village,
with the well-known purple Clematis, Jackmanni. The four would twine
and mix with each other on the arch, and you would have flowers there
from May till September.

When you wish to gather your Roses—or, indeed, any of your flowers—do
it with scissors or a sharp knife. It is most distressing to see people
violently tear off their flowers, and in doing so probably disturb the
plant’s roots. A Rose should be cut so as to leave the flowering shoot
you will find just below it; otherwise you cannot expect a succession
of blooms. Always pick off dead and faded flowers, and be on the
look-out for curled-up leaves that have a little web of fluff in the
centre. Underneath the fluff there is or will be a caterpillar, who
will live on the foliage of your Roses if you do not destroy him. You
must also wage war on aphides, which suck all the life out of the young
shoots, mildew, and red-rust.

You often find that there is some confusion between spraying and
syringeing plants, but you ought to understand that the two processes
are different. A syringe can be bought for two or three shillings,
and if you cannot afford a proper spray, you must use a syringe with
your insecticides. It distributes the water either through a rose in
tiny streams or in a single jet, and is meant for washing plants. A
good spraying machine, such as the Abol, costs from eight shillings
upwards, and sends the liquid over the plants in a vapour that does not
run off.

Aphides, or green fly, can be kept down if you spray them with tepid
water in which you have mixed a little soft-soap; but when you have
killed your aphides, you must syringe well with clear water, as the
soap would not be good for your Roses. Another way is to boil an ounce
of quassia chips in a pint of water, and when cold to add two gallons
of rain-water; then spray. Many people clean their Roses with a double
brush sold for the purpose, and called an ‘aphis brush,’ but they have
to be most careful in using it not to injure the delicate young leaves
the green fly always chooses.

If mildew appears, it may mean that your soil is badly drained or too
wet for Rose-trees. It looks like little white spots on the leaves. You
had better syringe or water your Roses, and while they are wet dust
with soot or flowers of sulphur. In dry weather this dressing must be
washed off when it has been on the leaves a day or two.

Red-rust is a common disease that turns Rose-leaves yellow before their
time. Then they shrivel and drop off, and when this goes on to any
great extent, it is both unsightly and weakening to the tree. None of
the paraffin mixtures that used to be recommended for this and other
pests are now considered good for roses. If you can have an Abol
Spray you can get a mixture called ‘Abol, White’s Superior,’ which is
recommended by Miss Rose Kingsley in her book ‘Roses and Rose-Growing.’
It is easy to use, and efficacious against Green Fly and other pests.
If you have neither spray nor syringe, dust a little flowers of sulphur
on the leaves.

In summer an occasional dose of manure water is a great help to Roses,
but it must never be given in dry weather unless a good soak of fresh
water is given first; otherwise the thirsty plants would suck up the
strong manure water too greedily, and make themselves ill. We tell you
of this way to encourage your Roses in hot weather, in case you belong
to a garden where you can get some manure water given. Otherwise you
had better use a little Clay’s Fertilizer or some other artificial
manure.

Except in very cold districts, Roses should be pruned early in March.
Tea Roses, however, should wait till the first week in April. The
object of pruning is to induce the plant to make new wood, but the
amount to be done varies greatly with the size and age of the Rose.
Climbing Roses need not be pruned at all, but in the autumn any dead
wood you see should be cut out. On strong-growing bush Roses you may
leave six eyes on a stem; on weaker growths three or four eyes. If
you look at a Rose-tree you will see what we mean by ‘eyes’ are the
little knots or buds on the stalks. With a sharp knife you should
slice off the upper part of the stalk at a bud that faces _outwards_,
because then the new shoot will grow outwards, and make a better-shaped
tree. All brown, dead wood should be cut away. There will be a great
deal more for you to learn about pruning when you are older, either
from books or from gardeners. We have only told you one or two of the
simplest rules, so that in case you have no gardener or gardening
friend to help you, you should not let your bush Roses grow quite wild.

If your Roses have been given you, they may be on various stocks, and
not on their own roots, so we think we must tell you how to know when
it is the stock, and not the Rose, that is sending up its tiresome
wild shoots. Most Hybrid Perpetuals, Teas, and Hybrid Teas have five
leaves, but most ‘stocks’ have seven or nine leaves. When you see these
wild shoots coming up out of the ground, you must cut them away, as
they are using food that should go to your Roses. But never cut the
shoots that come out of the base of the Polyantha or the Rambler Roses.
These look very like suckers, but are the flowering shoots of the
following year.

You may just as well try to take a few cuttings from your own Roses,
and, if they will let you, from other people’s, as if you could succeed
you would soon raise a stock ‘on their own roots,’ and have no trouble
with briars. August is the proper month for this operation, and what
you will want is some silver sand, a sheltered corner, and a sharp
knife. A cutting should be nine inches long, this year’s growth, hard
and woody, but not succulent. It should either be cut straight across
just below a joint, or torn away with a little tag or heel. Try both
ways. All the leaves, as well as the tips, must be snipped off. Then
make a little trench, fill with silver sand, and press your cuttings
firmly in, letting them lie sideways rather than stand bolt upright.
If you have a hand-light for them, so much the better, but they should
strike without that provided you do not let the soil about them get dry
or loose. The following year you will be able to transplant them, but
while they are young it is advisable to pinch off their flowers.



CHAPTER VIII

CARNATIONS AND PINKS


YOU can grow carnations near London, as they do not mind some smoke and
soot; but they are most particular about soil and situation. A damp,
heavy, wet soil is poison to them, and they do not like a hot, dry one.
They want good plant food, and will do best in a rich loam. The natural
way for Carnations to grow is on a steep slope, with their heads
hanging down. In the Alps, where the single ones are found in a wild
state, their roots are tucked away amongst the rocks, while a mass of
flowers hangs over the edge. The real use of the little green cup from
which the flower springs is to carry off water and keep the centre of
the flower dry and wholesome. Our garden ones do well planted in pots
and boxes, and hanging from window-sills and balconies. We do not often
grow them so in England yet, but you may see splendid displays in the
South of France, in Spain, or in South Germany. Carnations will stand
more wind than most plants; in fact, the most valuable receipt for
Carnation-growing is—‘Give them all the air and sun possible.’ It is
useless to put them in shade, and if you have a wet clay soil you must
dig in a quantity of sand for them, or, better still, mortar rubbish.
Remember, too, that though Clay’s Fertilizer and other patent manures
are useful on dry soils, they do more harm than good on damp ones.
Carnations do not like to come into direct contact with farm or stable
manure, so if you use it you must have it buried at least eighteen
inches. When Carnations are growing in your border they will need
staking, and you can, if you choose, use the spiral stakes that need no
tying. Another good way is to drive two stakes into the ground, about
fifteen inches apart, one on either side of the plant, and a little
in front of it; then tie a piece of thick string across them near the
top and let the flower sprays rest on it. This will keep them off the
ground, and is not as stiff-looking as a bunch tied to a single stick.

There are three ways of increasing your stock of Carnations: by layers,
by pipings or cuttings, and by seed. We will tell you first how to
layer them. If possible, it should be done in July, so that your layers
are well rooted and ready to transplant in September. You must prepare
some finely sifted compost of loam, leaf-mould, and silver sand. A town
child may not be able to get leaf-mould, but you can, at any rate,
buy a little silver sand, sift some of the best soil in the garden,
and mix the two together. This must be placed round the Carnation you
wish to layer, and you must choose those plants which have made good
non-flowering shoots, neither too woody nor too tender and sappy. The
leaves of each shoot must be stripped off at the end proceeding from
the main stalk, leaving about three or four leafy joints above. Then
with a sharp knife you make an upward slit, beginning just below a
joint, and ending halfway through, so as to form a tongue. The shoot
must then be carefully pegged down with a hairpin or a zinc layer pin
in such a way that the cut is left open and the tongue is firmly fixed
in the soil. A little more soil should then be put over the part that
is pegged down, and water given with a fine rose. In a month or so the
layers ought to be rooted, and by the first or second week in September
they should be ready to detach from the parent plant and plant out. It
is a delicate piece of work to make the layer cut, as if you do not go
far enough no roots result, while if you go too far the layer dies.
Nor is it easy to peg down your layer successfully. But it is such an
interesting operation that we think you will probably want to try it.

Cuttings should also be taken in July or August, because the ground is
warm then. One way is to cut the stem square across a joint, remove
all the leaves for at least two inches from the bottom, and plant in
a situation that is shady but not directly under trees. The cuttings
should be inserted at least two inches deep, and in soil that has had
sand well worked into it. They must not be allowed to get quite dry.

Another kind of cutting we will describe from that delightful old
gardening book published by John Murray in 1840, and called, ‘Gardening
for Ladies,’ by Mrs. Loudon. ‘Pipings are cuttings of Pinks and
Carnations, and, indeed, are applicable to all plants having jointed
tubular stems. They are prepared by taking a shoot that has nearly
done growing, and holding the root end of it in one hand, below a pair
of leaves, and with the other pulling the top part above the pair of
leaves, so as to separate it from the root part of the stem at the
socket formed by the axils of the leaves, leaving the part pulled off
with a tubular or pipe-like termination—hence the name of pipings; and
when thus separated they are inserted in finely sifted earth or sand,
and a hand-glass is firmly fixed over them.’

Most gardeners snip off the tips of the outer leaves of pipings and
cuttings, because then they can see more easily when new leaves are
forming.


CARNATIONS FROM SEED.

The most attractive way of increasing your stock of Carnations is to
grow them from seed. In this way you get a great variety, and take a
sporting chance of raising a new specimen. But you _must_ buy your seed
from a first-rate firm. As it is rather expensive, you will wish to
give it every chance, so you must prepare the soil carefully for your
seed-pan or shallow box. Whichever of these you use must have a few
holes in it, then some broken crocks for drainage, and then the compost
made of leaf-mould, loam, and silver sand. This mixture should be moist
when you use it, as then you will not have to water much. The seed of
Carnations is big enough for you to plant one by one with the point
of a knife if you have a little patience. When this is done, take a
little fine soil between your hands and sift it evenly and lightly over
your seeds. Then cover with a glass, and, if you can, place in a frame
or greenhouse. If you have neither, you must make shift with a sunny
window as long as there is danger of frost; but we must warn you that
it is not easy to raise seeds in a room. Even in an unused one they are
likely to be too damp, or too dry, or to grow spindly in their effort
to reach the light. March, April, and May are all months when gardeners
sow Carnation seed, and by the end of May you might set your pan out
of doors if you can keep slugs from it. In ten days or a fortnight
the seedlings should appear, and then you must face the fact that the
biggest and strongest—those about which you feel most triumphant—will
be the single ones, while the poor little weaklings will give you
the best double flowers. All should be pricked off when they have
four real leaves, either into boxes or pans or into the open ground.
If you have raised your seed under glass in March, you must keep your
pricked-out seedlings in a frame or greenhouse till all danger of
frost is over. When you have neither, you must do the best you can
with a room. The important thing is to keep away frost at this early
stage. Be careful, when your Carnations are in the open ground, to keep
away slugs with soot or lime, and look out for Leather-jackets and
Wire-worms, both fatal to Carnations. The Leather-jacket is the larva
of the Daddy-long-legs, and in this state has no legs at all. In spite
of this, they can get along as fast as they wish. They are slaty-brown
in colour, and look like short, fat, lifeless grubs. Wire-worms have
yellow bodies, brown heads, and three pairs of legs behind their head.
Both these pests may be trapped by burying small pieces of raw potato,
carrot, or turnip, beneath the soil, with skewers through to mark where
they are. These traps should be examined every morning. Another way
to catch Leather-jackets, or Chop-worms, is to put pieces of slate,
wood, brick, or turf on the ground, as they creep under such things
for shelter. Rust, Spot, Eel-worm, and the Carnation Maggot are also
enemies that do much damage. The two first are fungi, and the best way
to avoid them is to give your plants sun and air. The Eel-worm produces
a disease called gout, and no remedy is known for it. The Carnation
Maggot can be dug out of the heart of a plant with a needle. We hope we
shall not have discouraged you by telling you a few of the forty-nine
ills the Carnation is heir to. They are not really difficult plants to
keep alive if you can give them plenty of air and the right soil. You
must either increase your own stock every year or buy new ones. The
same plant will go on for several years in favourable conditions, but
you cannot depend on many doing this.

Some of your Carnation seedlings are sure to be single, and they would
look very pretty on a rockery or hanging from a wall or a window-sill.
We have not said anything about the different classes in which florists
divide Carnations and Picotees, because we do not think you need
specialize in this way till you are grown up. Perhaps even then you
will agree with us and admire many a seedling that the hidebound
fancier would consign to the dustheap. The old Clove, that most
attractive of Carnations, will do well on a sandy soil, but dies out in
cold, wet seasons.


PINKS.

For an edging there is nothing to equal a good fringed white Pink. We
have seen the little old-fashioned one doing well in the Pensioners’
Gardens at Chelsea Hospital, and one of the authors has grown masses of
Mrs. Sinkins six miles from Charing Cross. They want an open border and
ordinary well-dug garden soil. In times of drought, and on very hot,
dry soils, they want water from April on until they flower; but in most
districts they look after themselves in this respect. When the clumps
are more than a year old, we have seen a good gardener give each one a
liberal dressing of fresh soil in early spring, so that it should not
feel starved. This was done without disturbing the roots by coaxing
the soil under and amongst the shoots. Pinks can be divided quite early
in the spring, or after flowering, or they can be increased, like
Carnations, by layers, pipings, or cuttings. When you divide plants
always choose showery weather, and dig the hole for each portion of
your plant so deep that the roots are not bruised and crammed. When
gardeners divide Pinks, they replant them deep, and with the leaves
rather bunched together. The habit of the Pink is to spread itself on
the surface of the soil, with its stalks uncomfortably exposed, and in
the course of the summer you will see each clump coming back to its
untidy ways.

We agree with Mrs. Ewing, who said that some gardeners had witchcraft
in their hands, and could make anything grow and flourish. We have seen
one of this kind transplant a Crimson Rambler on a hot July day, and
the Rose liked it. We used to see the same one divide her Pinks, and
make every bit take root and increase. But as you may not be a born
witch or wizard, and as you may find layers, pipings, and cuttings all
difficult operations, we will tell you the easiest way in the world to
increase your Pinks. We came across it in _Gardening Illustrated_,
in one of those little narratives of real personal experience that
make a good gardening paper so useful and interesting. The writer said
that all he did was to _tear_ off strong young shoots with a good heel
or tag attached, trim off the lower leaves, and plant firmly in a
partially shaded situation and in sandy soil. We have tried this plan
ourselves, and have found that every slip we took grew. We take them
when our Pinks have quite done flowering. The following year we plant
them out, and they flower a little, and by the second year they are
good strong clumps. But you will probably not find this way answers if
you have a cold, heavy soil.



CHAPTER IX

LILIES


WE will begin with Lilium Candidum, the Madonna or Cottage Lily. You
know it, of course: the big white lily that the Madonna, and sometimes
the angels, carry in old pictures, and that you see at its best in
cottage gardens. All gardeners ask each other ‘Why do we see great
healthy clumps of this lovely Lily in poor little neglected cottage
gardens, while in our highly-fed and carefully-tended ones it gets the
now well-known Lily disease?’ We hope your Madonna Lilies will not get
it, because it is rather heart-breaking to watch its ravages. In the
spring you see fine, healthy leaves, and you look forward to the tall
stems that will arise from them and bear great scented, shining white
flowers. But one day you notice that the leaves look rather brown. A
stem has shot up, but the leaves on it look brown, too. Every day it
seems to get browner and flabbier, and at last you cut it down because
it is so unsightly. Sometimes these sick stems bear sick, half-decayed
Lilies, but they give you no pleasure. A healthy Dandelion is far more
beautiful.

One of the best amateur gardeners we ever knew used to say that there
were some plants that throve on neglect, and we really believe that the
Madonna Lily is one of them. The cottager who puts some healthy bulbs
in dry soil, and leaves them there year after year, gets better flowers
than the gardener who fusses and feeds them. There seems to be no doubt
that the Lily disease has its best chance in a low, badly drained soil
that holds moisture. If you can give your Lilies a dry, well-drained
position, you will probably succeed with them. Buy your bulbs from a
good firm, dust them well with flower of sulphur, plant them about five
inches deep and nine inches apart in sand, and then never interfere
with them again. Remember that their flowers will last longer if not
exposed to the full midday sun, but do not plant them near the roots
of the trees, or where rain cannot reach them. They require rain, but
not stagnant moisture. Three bulbs together make a nice clump, and
they would look well in the centre of your border. The leaves die down
in winter, and when the new ones come in spring, you must look out
for slugs. If you have many, surround your Lilies with lime, soot, or
wood ashes. Mr. J. Weathers says that a frequent fine syringeing with
warm soapy water will sometimes check the disease. If when your Lilies
flower you do not want their petals dusted over with yellow pollen,
you must remove the anthers, the part of the stamen that contains the
pollen.

[Illustration: LILIES AND ROSES.]


ORANGE LILY (LILIUM CROCEUM).

This is the splendid orange Lily with purple spots so much grown
in Irish cottage gardens. It is one of the easiest and hardiest of
Lilies, and looks well against a background of shrubs or ferns. The
bulbs should be planted from six to nine inches deep, and need not be
disturbed for years. If you have to dig yours up in spring or autumn,
you can increase your stock by carefully detaching the little offsets
from the parent bulbs. In time they will make flowering plants. This
Lily will grow in sunshine or shade, and in any healthy garden soil.


MARTAGON, OR TURK’S CAP, LILIES.

Some Lilies make two kinds of roots—one kind from their base, and one
kind from their stem. Others only make basal roots, and should, on that
account, be planted in autumn. Their root action begins in October, and
goes on through the winter, so that if they are lifted in spring they
are seriously damaged, and may not flower. All the Martagon, or Turk’s
Cap, Lilies, belong to this class. If you want them you must plant them
in autumn. You can have them in crimson, white, or yellow, but the
handsomest is Album, with stems from four to five feet high, carrying
a large number of waxy white flowers. The petals in this species are
turned back, and give the effect of a Turk’s cap or turban. They are
easily grown in a mixture of loam and leaf-mould, and in a partly
shaded position.


LILIUM SPECIOSUM.

There are several varieties of this Lily, and they are all most
beautiful. They flower in the late summer and autumn, and should have
a warm and sheltered situation. They should be planted in loam, peat,
leaf-mould, and sharp sand. If you live in a cold district, you should
give these Lilies and the Auratums a covering in winter. A mulching of
manure is good for them, and will keep them warm.


TIGER LILY (LILIUM TIGRINUM).

The best variety of this Lily is Lilium Tigrinum Splendens. The
flowers are orange-red, spotted or ‘tigered’ with blackish purple.
A fine specimen sometimes reaches a height of seven feet, and bears
twenty-five flowers. All the Tiger Lilies are easily grown in a
well-drained soil in a partly shaded situation. They can be increased
by offsets, or by the little blackish bulblets you will see on the
stems amongst the leaves. These will drop and root themselves if not
gathered, but they will not make flowering bulbs for some years.


LILIUM AURATUM.

This is the King of Lilies, the ‘Golden Lily of Japan,’ and a native
of that country. If you live within reach of Kew Gardens, you should
go there in summer on purpose to see these splendid Lilies flowering
amongst the Rhododendrons, where they have a moist, peaty soil for
their roots. Mr. Wallace, of Colchester, the great authority on Lilies,
says that the Auratum likes a strong soil, not too heavy, a good
friable loam. It should be planted about three times its own depth,
and, if you can possibly get it, in some moist sea-sand. It is one
of the stem-rooting Lilies, and will sometimes get support through
its flowering season from these roots only. But if it is to make good
bulb growth, too, so as to come up and flower another year, it must
have basal roots, and be planted directly it arrives from Japan. It
requires a warm and sheltered situation, and in spring likes a mulching
of well-rotted manure. Do not put it where it can be shaken by violent
winds or scorched by a full midday sun. The best variety is Auratum
Platyphyllum. There is one thing you must remember about all Lilies,
and that is that they sometimes lie dormant for a year. We have often
found they did this after removal. We once planned a fine display of
the Madonna Lily in a corner of a new border, but though we bought
dozens of bulbs and put them in, none came up. We thought they must
have resented the move and died; but when we grubbed down amongst them
to see what had happened, we found every bulb as plump and healthy as
we could wish. They were having a year’s sleep.


DAY LILY (HEMEROCALLIS).

This belongs to the Lily Order, but it is not a bulb. It is a
herbaceous plant, with a rhizome and short, fleshy roots, rather like
a bunch of brownish-white fingers. They succeed in any good garden
soil, but they like one that has been well manured some weeks before
planting. They should be left undisturbed three or four years, and
may then be divided in autumn when the leaves have withered. When you
replant, put them from twelve to eighteen inches apart. The flowers
are yellow or tawny, and only last for a day, or at most two. But they
succeed each other quickly for several weeks. The Greek name means
‘Beauty of a day.’


LILY OF THE VALLEY (CONVALLARIA MAJALIS).

There is a popular idea that the Lily of the Valley will grow in any
kind of deep shade, and so you see its poor, starved leaves struggling
for life under evergreen shrubs, or the strong roots of trees that
steal all its nourishment. The Lily of the Valley does like shade for
the greater part of the day, but it is a plant that requires proper
food. It will stand sun if you give it a deep, rich soil. The best
situation for it is under a wall with a north or west aspect, or in
any shady place that has good soil with some sand in it, and fresh air
overhead. The bed should be made in October, and the little tuberous
roots set two inches apart each way, with the point of the crown just
under the soil. Work the soil well amongst and over the branching roots
as you plant. In a cold climate protect the bed with bracken or dead
leaves in winter, or, better still, with a covering of manure. After
four years your Lilies of the Valley should have grown into a thick mat
of leaves. Then in October you must dig them up, dress your bed with
fresh manure, soil and sand, pull your plants apart, and set them in
rows again. If you can make two beds, one in sun and one in shade, you
will have a longer succession of bloom. When you gather the flowers, do
not pick many leaves, and, at any rate, only one from each plant, as
they nourish the crowns.

There is a pretty story of the way the Lily of the Valley came to run
wild, as it does in German woods. Once upon a time, so long ago that
no one in Germany had any Lilies of the Valley, there lived an Abbot
who was a great gardener and a holy man. A pilgrim passing through
his district was kindly received by him, and in gratitude gave him a
withered-looking root that he said he had brought from a country where
similar roots bore lovely scented flowers. The Abbot planted it and
watched it, as he watched everything in his garden. In the spring the
root sent up a few broad, shining leaves, but no flowers. He left it
alone, and next year there were more leaves and two or three Lilies
of the Valley, the first that had ever grown in Germany. By the third
year the fame of the plant had travelled here and there, so that people
who loved their gardens came to the Abbey on purpose to see it. Every
year there was a bigger bed of the Lilies and a longer procession of
visitors to see them, and the heart of the Abbot was filled with pride
and vainglory, because he, and no other man, possessed the flowers.
But he was a holy Abbot; he became afraid of the pride growing within
him, and saw it to be evil. So one day he dug up every Lily of the
Valley growing in his garden and carried them into the woods, and
planted them here and there, that they might belong to all men, and not
to him alone; and ever since the woods of Germany have been full of
Lilies of the Valley.



CHAPTER X

ROCK AND WALL GARDENS


THE very worst advice we ever saw given about gardening was given in a
popular magazine in an article on Rock Gardens. It said that all you
wanted for a rockery in a town or suburban garden was a cartload of
stones or _bricks_ dumped down in a corner. We really wondered when we
read it whether the writer thought that plants could feed on bricks.
Soon after reading this nightmare of an article we came across Mrs.
Swanwick’s clever book, ‘The Small Town Garden,’ and we will tell you
what she says about the proper way to start a rockery. ‘If people who
make a rockery would consider that it is to be made of earth, supported
with stones or rocks, they would be much nearer the right method than
those who think of a rockery as a pile of stones with a little soil
dribbled in among them. If we bear these requirements in mind, it
becomes clear that the stones or rocks must be set so as to leave no
hollows empty of soil between them, nor niches kept dry by overhanging
rocks, and the slope of the earth must be such that the rain will not
wash it away, and expose the roots of the plants.’

It may be that a flat, sunny border cannot be spared for you, but that
if you choose you may annex a grass-grown bank or slope of a hill going
up to a stone wall or to shrubs. We will tell you how we once saw a
place of this kind made into a charming rock garden with some blocks
of limestone and a few days’ labour. The bank in this case led from an
upper lawn to a lower one, and had a south aspect. The turf was all
removed, the soil was thoroughly broken and mixed with sand, and then
slabs of limestone were mixed into it, each one with a slight upward
tilt, so as to hold the earth and catch the rain. The great point to
remember about rock gardening is that every stone or rock should be
wedged into the soil a little slantwise, so that the hidden end slants
down and the end you see slants up. You soon find out an elementary
truth of this kind for yourself if you try to grow things in a
badly-made wall or rockery. We once watched someone struggle with a
loosely built granite wall that tilted a little towards him, and which
had no soil in its crevices. He tried stuffing in earth, but as the
slant was wrong it fell out as it dried. No rain reached the roots of
his plants because the top stones sheltered the lower ones, so nothing
that needed moisture would live. Perhaps in the course of years he
might have coaxed some of the house-leeks to find a lodging there; but
as he wanted a wall garden clothed in spring with hanging sheets of
flowering plants, the only way was to pull the wall down and build it
properly. Then it had earth packed into every crevice, and the stones
so arranged that the rain could reach every plant set amongst them.
Some plants, it is true, will live on next to nothing, but there are
very few that will do without rain and will survive when their roots
have reached a hollow place amongst stones.

We think that while you are a child you will probably not have much
chance either of making rock gardens or of building walls; but you may
have a bit of wall or garden that easily lends itself to rock plants,
and would not do well for anything else. In some parts of England
you may have a garden that is rock with a sprinkling of soil on it,
and the difficulty will be to find or make places for vegetables and
deep-rooted shrubs and flowers. In a garden of this kind the children
are quite likely to have a patch where the rocks are showing through
the soil, and where it is difficult to find pockets of earth deep
enough even for Daffodils or Tulips. But there are many beautiful
shallow-rooted plants you can grow in such places as these, for they
will not be like the silly heap of loose stones or bricks described in
the magazine article. For instance, if you put a bit of the Arenaria
Balearica in such a rocky corner as this, it will find its way here and
there, clothing every stone with a mossy carpet, and in spring putting
out thousands of tiny white starry flowers. Then there is a charming
Dwarf Veronica (_Veronica repens_), that seems content with very little
soil, increases at a great rate, and has that pretty way of clothing
the stones and taking their shapes. Another of our favourite common
Alpines is the Campanula Cæspitosa, a small Campanula that sends up
its quivering white or blue bells the whole summer through. It is so
hardy and rambling, and increases so fast, that the fastidious rock
gardener warns you not to let anything precious grow near it.

You will have to find out for yourself which rock plants are so greedy
and pushing that you get tired of their company; for this must depend
on your soil and climate. In Cornwall the little Arenaria Balearica
spreads so quickly that you soon tear it up by the yard, while in the
North of England it seems to increase slowly. In a cold district you
may be glad of things that would overrun you in a warm one. Near a town
people grow whatever will best endure the soot and close air. When you
are older you will have to find out which plants want lime and which
granite, which peat and which sand; but we will only tell you of plants
now that will grow in any ordinary good garden soil mixed with a little
leaf-mould and some small stones, and we will only give you the names
of plants that can be got at any good nursery garden. If you can do so,
get your plants in little pots, and put them into your rockery or your
wall on a showery spring day. But take care that every plant has a
good deep pocket of fresh soil to feed it.


PLANTS FOR A ROCK GARDEN.

_Alyssum Saxatile._—This grows into a dwarf shrub in time, and is
a mass of small, brilliant, yellow flowers in spring. It is very
sweet, and the bees love it. It looks well near Aubrietias, or near
Lithospermum Prostratum. Suitable either for a rock garden or for a
loose stone wall in which you can have a deep pocket of earth for its
roots.

_Antirrhinums_ (_Snapdragons_).—We think the good dwarf ones are
charming on rockeries. We once had some pink ones grown from Sutton’s
seed that were as pretty as little Rose-bushes. On walls some of the
taller ones often look well, and when they are self-sown they seem to
flourish in chinks where there cannot be much food for them. If you
have a wall you should sow a little seed, and be careful not to mistake
the seedlings for weeds.

_Anthericum Liliastrum_ (_St. Bruno’s Lily_).—A charming plant, growing
from one to two feet high, and flowering in May or June. It likes a
sandy loam. If you want to increase it, you can divide it in the autumn.

_Arabis._—If you are a London child, you will have seen this with
London Pride in every London rock garden. It is the commonest of rock
plants, and its white flowers make a pleasant show near Aubrietias and
Alyssum in spring.

_Arenaria Balearica._—This is the little creeping mossy plant we have
told you of already. Put a bit on some soil near any stones you want
covered.

_Aubrietias._—You must know these if you have ever looked at a garden
in spring. They are in various shades of mauve and purple, and make
great sheets of colour on walls and rockeries. It is sometimes called
Purple Rock-Cress. You can divide them in autumn, or you can grow them
from seed sown in May or June.

_Campanulas._—There are many varieties of blue and white Harebells that
do well on walls and rockeries. Pumila, Pulla, and Cæspitosa are three
well-known dwarf ones. Isophylla is a good hanging one, but not quite
hardy. Persicifolia is an easily-grown tall one. They are increased by
division.

_Helianthemums, or Sun Roses._—These must not be confused with the
Cistus, or Rock Roses, which are charming, but not so hardy as the
Helianthemums. If you grow them from seed sown in May or June, you
should in the following year have a number of dwarf shrubs bearing
single flowers in a variety of shades, ranging from white and yellow to
bright crimson.

_Iberis Sempervirens_ is often called Perennial Candytuft. We have
known people buy it by its Latin name, and be much disappointed to find
it was the well-known white flower they had seen in all their friends’
gardens. It is not proud, and will grow almost anywhere.

_Iris Pumila and Iris Stylosa._—We mention two out of the many
beautiful Irises suitable for a rockery. Try to get the variety of
Pumila called Cœrulea, a lovely sky-blue. Stylosa is the scented Iris
that flowers in winter. It likes sun and shelter, and dry, hard ground.
It must be manured.

_Lithospermum Prostratum._—If we were only allowed one rock plant out
of all there are, we would choose this one. It flowers nearly all the
year round in some parts of England, and its blue is as vivid as the
blue of a Gentian. If you can plant it so that its roots can tuck
themselves under a big rock as they grow, so much the better. We have
transplanted a big plant of it successfully, but we did it in fear and
trembling, as it is said to hate disturbance. You had better not try to
divide it. It can only be increased by cuttings, and they are not at
all easy to strike.

_Phlox Setacea._—This is one of several varieties of dwarf Phloxes
that are useful for edgings and rockeries. They must have sun and
well-drained soil, or they damp off.

_Speedwell: Veronica Repens._—There are many varieties and sizes of
Veronica. Some make big garden shrubs. The one we recommend here is
a tiny trailing plant, with small pale blue flowers. It increases at
a great rate, and is easily divided. Slugs like it, but do not make
headway against it in many gardens. It makes a pretty dwarf edging
amongst stones, as it creeps amongst them, and partly covers them.

[Illustration: “THE ROAD TO ROME.”]

_The Sedums, Saxifrages, and House-leeks, or Sempervivums_, are all
suitable for rockeries. Some kinds of Sedums, or Stonecrops, grow wild
in our hedges. You should get Sedum Spectabile, the Japanese Stonecrop,
which bears large heads of pink flowers in August. There are many
widely differing varieties of Saxifrage, or Rockfoil; for instance,
Muscoides, the Mossy Saxifrage, makes a plump, low cushion of green
moss on your rockery; Sarmentosa is the well-known weed, Mother of
Thousands; Umbrosa is London Pride. Some have large leaves and pink
flowers; some send up pyramids of white flowers from tufts of silvery
leaves. You must grow one or two at a time, and get to know them by
degrees. Sempervivums are those little green rosettes you see spreading
in clumps on old roofs and walls. One of the most fascinating is
Sempervivum Arachnoideum, the Cobweb House-leek. It covers itself with
a curious white down that looks like a spider’s web. They like a dry
sandy part of the rock garden, and full exposure to the sun.

Besides these plants, you should put a few bulbs in your rockery. Some
of the very small Daffodils, Narcissus Minimus or Bulbocodium look
charming coming up through a mossy carpet of Arenaria Balearica, for
instance. You could also have some Snowdrops, some Siberian Squills,
some autumn Crocuses, some Fritillaries, and some Dog’s Tooth Violets
(Erythronium Dens Canis). We much prefer the English names for flowers,
but it is often necessary to give both, so that you should recognize
it in the catalogues. We heard of someone who sent to the other end
of England for a plant advertised as Tussilago Fragrans, or the
Winter Heliotrope, and she was much disappointed to receive a bit of
the common Coltsfoot, that was an obnoxious weed in her own garden.
Someone else sent for Hieracium Aurantiacum, which certainly sounds a
first-class name; but she did not want a bit of the orange Hawkweed,
as it had established itself more firmly than she wished in her rock
garden already, and had to be kept in bounds with a spade.

We have not given you separate lists for a sunny and a shady rock
garden, because we shall tell you a little in another chapter about
plants that like shade. You must have some Primroses, Polyanthuses,
and Auriculas on your rockery, and though they like the sun in spring,
the more delicate kinds need some shelter from the hot summer sun. Try
to get Primula rosea, the hardy rose-coloured Himalayan Primrose, and
Primula Cashmeriana, a Primrose that sends up heads of mauve flowers on
a fat stalk. Both need much moisture. Then, the Japanese Primroses are
very handsome, and seed themselves when once established; and Sieboldi,
with its many varieties, is easily increased, either by seed sown in
spring or by division of the roots.

Now we have chosen just a few flowers for your rock garden, and
with every word we write others come and look at us reproachfully,
saying, ‘Why are we left out?’ We see neat little tufts of Thrift, or
Sea-pink, and hanging sheets of white-flowered Cerastium, Anemones of
sorts, Alpine Violas, Forget-me-nots, Hepaticas, Gentians, the finer
Columbines, and shrubs of various kinds and sizes. But we have only
had one aim in writing this chapter, and that was to lead you just one
step towards the rock garden you must make for yourself when you are
older. Then you must get yourself ‘Wall and Water Gardens,’ by Gertrude
Jekyll, and ‘My Rock Garden,’ by Reginald Farrar, two books that will
teach you all that books can about this most fascinating side of garden
craft. But from the first one we should like to quote a short passage
that tells you how a wise gardener supplements what he learns from
books by his own qualities of patience and observation.

‘Nothing is a better lesson in the knowledge of plants,’ says Miss
Jekyll, ‘than to sit down in front of them, and handle them, and look
them over just as carefully as possible; and in no way can such study
be more pleasantly or conveniently carried on than by taking a light
seat to the rock wall and giving plenty of time to each kind of little
plant, examining it closely, and asking oneself and it, Why this? and
Why that? especially if the first glance show two tufts, one with a
better appearance than the other; not to stir from the place until one
has found out why and how it is done, and all about it. Of course a
friend who has already gone through it all can help on the lesson more
quickly, but I doubt whether it is not best to do it all for oneself.’

That is excellent gardening advice, and you can apply it to whatever
you are trying to do, whether it is a rock wall or a patch of Mustard
and Cress.

We must end this chapter with a short list of things we hope you will
never allow in your rock garden, and as they are all to be seen here
and there, you need not say that the advice is unnecessary. Coloured
glass balls, for instance! We assure you that, especially in Germany,
there are many people who think coloured glass balls beautiful objects
in a garden. Others like bits of quartz, and in cottage gardens you
may see sea-shells and broken glass. Then, persons who ought to know
better will make a grimy erection with clinkers or broken bricks, and
a home for Slugs and Woodlice with a rotting tree-stump. You must do
none of these things. If you live where you can easily get stone, have
a rock garden in some form, even if it is only an edging of stones to
your herbaceous border, and grow some of the plants we have told you of
amongst them. If you live where your walls are of brick, you may still
get some plants established on them. For instance, where weeds have
established themselves, you can remove them, stuff in a little good
soil, and sow a few seeds of Snapdragon or Wallflower. Old brick walls
make beautiful wall-gardens, and when the builder is not looking you
can help on the process in a new one with a chisel, a little fine moist
soil, and a few roots or seeds.



CHAPTER XI

DIFFICULT AND SHADY GARDENS


AS we told you in our first chapter, the worst piece of ground you can
have for a garden is one already occupied by the roots of trees and
coarse-growing shrubs or hedges. All around London Privet hedges and
grimy Laurels are to be seen everywhere, and wherever people try to
grow flowers near their thievish roots the flowers languish. You may
put a few Crocuses in front of a group of Laurels, but you will not
get much else to flourish. Even that hardiest of Saxifrages, London
Pride, leads a starved life, and you cannot know how beautiful it is
until you have seen it sending up masses of its foamy pink flowers
in good air and from good soil. If you not only have an impoverished
and shady garden, but one under the drip of trees, you will not be
able to do much with it. Still, we can tell you about a few things
we persuaded to live in a situation of this kind not far from London.
You must understand that the two authors of this book have had very
different gardening experiences. One is the mistress of a large and
very beautiful garden running down to the sea in the West of England,
while the other has been a wanderer on the face of the earth, and
has worked in many gardens of varying sizes. It is usually her fate
to find a wilderness, delve like Adam in it till it is a garden, and
then go her ways to the next wilderness. The one you are to hear of
now was not a pleasant country wilderness, where even the Briars and
Nettles are growing in good clean soil and in fresh air. It was one of
those disheartening builders’ gardens, where the earth looks a sort
of unwholesome lumpy drab, and is full of old bricks and ginger-beer
bottles. One side of it was bounded by a Privet hedge, and the soil
was starved, but as it was sunny, we got the strong herbaceous things
and pinks to do well in it. The other side, which was under great
Horse-Chestnuts and Laburnums, got no sun at all, looked very bare,
and was evidently wretched soil. We had it well dug and dressed, and
planted clumps of Michaelmas Daisy, of Iris Germanica, and of the
common Evening Primrose a little way back. The Michaelmas Daisies soon
made big bushes, and did very well. The Evening Primroses flowered, but
ran up rather tall and spindly. The Iris did not flower well, but it
increased, and made a clump of handsome leaves. In front we found that
the Perennial Candytuft (Iberis Sempervirens) did well, and increased
quickly. You can hardly have a more satisfactory plant for the front
of a border of this kind. Crocuses came up year after year, too, but
we never persuaded our Daffodils to flower more than once in this
garden. Annuals we advise you strongly not to try. They are a source of
disappointment in such circumstances. The pretty little yellow-flowered
shrub St. John’s Wort should do well under trees, and so will some
hardy Ferns.

If your garden is in the country, and is only partly shaded by trees,
you can grow many beautiful things in it. Perhaps you will be able to
have a background of large stones, and plant Ferns amongst them. The
hardiest Ferns are Male Fern, Osmunda, Hart’s Tongue, Spleen Wort,
Lady Fern, and Shield Fern, and these all like shade. Amongst the Ferns
you should have Solomon’s Seal, Columbines, and Foxgloves. As far as
you can, in a garden of this kind plant big patches of one flower, and
not a muddle of single specimens. Have a bed of Lilies of the Valley in
some part of it, and under the trees a bed of Wild Hyacinths. Snowdrops
do well amongst the roots of shrubs and trees, so well that in some
gardens they spread and increase like a wild flower. They are fond of
peat. Primroses do well in shady places, and so does the Wood Anemone
(Anemone Nemorosa). Periwinkle will flower in shade, though it likes
sun part of the day. Many Saxifrages and Sempervivums (Rockfoils and
Stonecrops) will do well in shady places. For instance, if you have a
stone edging to your border, you will be able to have clumps of the
mossy Saxifrages and of various Stonecrops. Between them the little
dwarf Campanulas would do well, and give you colour all through the
summer months. The splendid tall Campanula Pyramidalis might do farther
back near your Ferns, if you can give it good soil; so would Campanula
Persicifolia, which grows wild in Yorkshire woods. Many Lilies like
partial shade and to be near shrubs, but they should never be planted
close to the roots of trees.

It is not as generally known as it should be that nearly all the
Cyclamens are hardy. The Persian Cyclamen, that we know so well as a
pot plant and in greenhouses, is not hardy, and you must not try that
in your garden. Get some of the other species which you will find
offered in any good bulb catalogue, and in winter give them a covering
of moss or dry leaves. They like a dry, porous soil, mixed with a
little peat or leaf-mould and some lime or old mortar. The corms are
often half out of the ground, or at any rate level with it; but some
gardeners, who have paid great attention to their culture, prefer to
bury them just under the soil, because the roots of some species come
from the top of the corm. The one thing Cyclamens will not stand is
stagnant moisture. You must give them well-drained, sandy soil, mixed
with a little lime. We repeat this because it is so important, and
because Cyclamens are so beautiful that they are worth any trouble you
can take for them. Some flower in spring and some in autumn, and they
must be planted when they are at rest: the spring ones in October or
November, and the autumn ones in June. If they flourish with you their
seedlings will appear naturally; otherwise you had better buy new corms
when you want them. Gardeners raise them from seed, but this requires a
frame or gentle heat.

In a mild climate you can grow Hydrangeas and the shrubby Veronicas in
shady places, but they will not live through prolonged hard frosts.



CHAPTER XII

SOME HARDY CLIMBERS


WE think the American who described climbing plants as ‘creepers and
crawlers’ must have been first cousin to the American novelist who said
the house in which his heroine lived was not disfigured by any messy
plants growing near it. As you may have a wall, a paling, an arch, or
the dead stump of a tree that you would like to disfigure with flowers
all the summer, we will tell you of a few good hardy climbers, other
than those already recommended in earlier chapters.

A creeper should always be allowed to grow as naturally as possible,
and not be restrained more than is necessary by nails or by cutting
back. Climbing Roses lose much of their vigour and beauty if penned
severely and stretched out tight on a wall. Most climbing plants
need some support at the beginning, but later in life take care of
themselves. One climber may be freely allowed to mingle with others,
so that you can think out lovely combinations; but you must understand
which are free growers and which are shy and delicate, or the strong
will strangle the weak. The common Honeysuckle and a pink monthly Rose
climb all over the front of a cottage known to us, and on the south
side the exquisite Solanum Jasminoides throws its clusters of snowy
flowers into them. The Honeysuckle and the monthly Rose would grow
almost anywhere in these islands, but the Solanum Jasminoides, or
Winter Nightshade, is only hardy in the South of England and other warm
districts. It finds support for itself by a twist of its leaf-stalk
(you will have watched your Giant Nasturtiums do this most cleverly),
and its colour varies a little according to its place in sun or partial
shade. The shoots of this creeper must be cut back in spring, when
frosts are well over, and in hot weather it must be watered.

The Wistaria is one of the most beautiful of all creepers, and its long
mauve racemes mix well with a Dorothy Perkins Rose. The Wistaria is
a native of China, and was brought to Europe by Mr. Wistar in 1816.
The original plant is still to be seen at Wistar House, grown to an
immense size. It is a most useful creeper, for it will flower year
after year without any attention to roots or soil. If you have one you
should, if possible, get a gardener to pay its woody branches a little
attention once a year, as, if left quite to themselves, they grow into
an inextricable tangle, too thick in some places, and not thick enough
in others.

We are sure you gardening children who live in a cold climate must
often wish for a warm one. But now we will tell you about one of
the most brilliant creepers known that likes to be as far north as
possible, spreads like a weed in Scotland, Yorkshire, Westmorland,
and is usually a ‘miffy doer’ in the West Country. This is the Flame
Flower, the Tropæolum Speciosum, whose vermilion trumpets can be seen
two miles away on a clear day. It is a capricious plant, sometimes
failing when it has every attention, and succeeding when it is badly
treated. Mr. J. Weathers tells a story of a garden in which it was
planted most carefully in many places, but some tubers left over
were thrust anyhow amongst the roots of an old yew. None of the
correctly-planted ones came up, and the others were forgotten. In
the third year someone noticed a flame-coloured flower on a Yew, and
found that the badly-planted tubers were all coming up, increasing,
flowering, and likely to go on for ever. It dislikes scorching heat,
and needs moisture in the air. A west or north aspect suits it, and
bushes or hedges amongst which it can scramble. We know a Westmorland
garden where it can hardly be kept within bounds, and there they
believe in deep planting. A daughter of the house got it to succeed
against the wall of a cottage on the place, where it had never
succeeded before. ‘What did you do?’ we asked. ‘I dug till I got to New
Zealand,’ she said, ‘and then I planted it.’

If you live in the Midlands or the South, where this Chilian Tropæolum
would probably not do well, you had better be content with the
Ampelopsis Veitchii, the best of the Virginian creepers. It is a
wonderful sight in Oxford all through September, and even in London it
makes a lovely blaze of colour on many a dull house and wall. It is the
least troublesome of all creepers, as it attaches itself by little
suckers. We once grew the Ceanothus Veitchii with it, a shrub that is
often trained against walls, and which in spring becomes a mass of
powder-blue flowers. It is one of the easiest and handsomest doers we
know, but be sure to get the right kind, the Gloire de Versailles or
the Veitchii. There are a good many kinds of Ceanothus, and some are a
very poor colour.

We have told you already about two of the Clematis tribe, the white
Montana and the purple Jackmanni. The Montana must not be pruned until
its flowering season is quite over. If you cut it back while it is
making new shoots, you will injure it. The Jackmanni and its relations
are hybrids, and you must try to get either a layered plant or one
grown from seed, as the grafted ones are unsatisfactory. The flowers
are produced on this year’s shoots. The plants should be cut down in
winter to twelve inches from the ground. If you get one of the ‘Patens’
section, remember when you prune that the flowers are borne on the old
ripened wood. Only dead wood should be cut away. Lady Londesborough,
Miss Bateman, and Mrs. George Jackman, are three well-known ones. The
Wild Clematis, Vitalba, or Traveller’s Joy, will grow into a dense
mass if left undisturbed. We know of a cottage where, with a Japanese
Honeysuckle, it forms a rainproof porch; and even that is nothing to
one at Belvoir Castle, which is twenty feet high and thirty feet in
diameter.

The great advantage of Wichuriana Roses is that they are evergreen,
and it is a good plan to grow one of them—for instance, the deep red
Hiawatha, with the yellow Jasmine (_Jasminum Nudiflorum_), whose
flowers come out before its leaves. If we could only have one creeper
out of all there are, we would have this Jasmine, which flowers in
winter, and is quite hardy. Be sure not to let anyone prune yours in
autumn. Ignorant gardeners often do this, and cut off all the shoots
that wanted to flower. Any pruning necessary should be done in March or
April, but you need only cut out dead wood. The charming sprays, if cut
in bud, come out well in water.

The Hop is a graceful, hardy, and quick-growing climber, and there is
a variegated kind that some people prefer. A Hop will cover a big arch
in one year. Also, if you are not on the spot to attend to it, it will
throttle every other plant near, and it will probably acquire several
varieties of insect blight, and hand them on to its neighbours. One of
the authors has suffered from sharing a garden with a Hop enthusiast,
and she well remembers the struggle she had to rescue her Roses,
Hollyhocks, and Delphiniums from the Hop’s embraces and from the green
fly it encouraged. It came up year after year, too, and would not be
killed.

The Everlasting Peas are most useful climbers in town gardens. They
have no scent, but they give you colour, and are extremely hardy. Then,
there are many annual climbers, some of which we have told you about
already. If you get Convolvulus Major do not be in a hurry to sow your
seeds. The seedlings are delicate, and do not seem to recover well if
touched by a spring frost. The first week in May is soon enough. We
have seen their blue trumpets grown with a Gloire de Dijon, and their
pink ones opening all over an old Lavender bush. Another combination
we remember in the same garden was a yellow Banksia Rose and a pink
monthly one climbing together up an old grey stone wall. The climbing
La France, too, loves a wall, and will flower in masses against one.

But we might go on for ever about the fascinations of creepers and
crawlers. The real difficulty is invariably that of choice. You never
have room for all you want to grow.

So you must decide for yourself what you will grow; but we advise you
strongly to buy your climbers from a first-rate grower. They only cost
1s. or 1s. 6d. each; you cannot have room for many, and they last for
years. The cheap stuff advertised is usually most disappointing. We
once planted two of the Ampelopsis Veitchii against the same wall, one
from the great Veitch himself, and one from a little man round the
corner. The difference was in colour rather than in growth. Both lived,
climbed, and covered the house, but it was the Veitch plant that turned
glowing red and yellow. The other remained brownish-green. It was the
same with a Ceanothus. The one from a good firm covered a side of the
house with soft yet vivid blue in spring. A cheap one flowered, but its
flowers were wishy-washy, a vexation rather than a pleasure.

Before you plant a creeper turn over the soil well, and if it is poor
have some good manure forked in. We should never dream of planting a
climbing Rose without digging a large hole and putting in a quantity of
manure for its roots to feed on, not _immediately_, but later on. There
should be soil on the top of the manure, and in that your Rose should
be planted, as we have told you, firmly, yet not too deeply, and with
outspread roots. The main stem of your creeper should be as near its
support as possible, and tied to nails, wires, or trellis, with bast or
twine; but be careful not to bind it tightly, or when it grows it will
be cut through. Many gardeners use little strips of cloth and nails,
but the cloth shelters insects.



CHAPTER XIII

FRUIT AND VEGETABLES


TO this hour one of the authors of this book prefers unripe Greengages
to ripe ones, because they remind her of those that grew against the
wall of her own garden when she was a child, and which she always ate
long before they were ripe. In her days children did imprudent things
of this kind, but no doubt you modern children know too much about the
laws of hygiene to run such risks—at least, we hope so, or we might
be blamed for letting you know that anyone could eat unripe fruit and
survive. We are not going to tell you much about fruit and vegetables,
because a child is not likely to want his little garden to be a kitchen
garden. In case you are a town child, and have never seen vegetables
growing, we may as well tell you that they take a great deal of room.
We know a boy in Germany who went to live in a ground-floor flat that
had a tiny garden belonging to it, the kind of garden in which you
can have three rose-bushes and a border of pinks. He was so fond of
gardening that after school on a winter day he would amuse himself with
a trowel shovelling the bare soil up and down; but he knew so little
about it that he wrote to his aunt in England, saying he wished to
grow Potatoes, Parsley, Mint, Honeysuckle, Runner Beans, and Vegetable
Marrows. The aunt had to explain as well as she could by letter that in
a garden of that size he could only grow about two Potatoes, and that
he had better try a few Tulips and Daffodils instead. But when spring
came she sent him some Vegetable Marrow seeds, and they were the source
of a great and joyful excitement later in the year. The boy was away
in the country most of the early summer, and when he got back to his
little garden in August he found a huge ripe Marrow and smaller ones
coming on. We can’t advise you to grow Vegetable Marrows, however,
as they take a great deal of room, and require a mound or ridge. If
you have a warm brick wall you should have a Peach, a Pear, a Golden
Plum, a Greengage, or a White Heart Cherry. If you have a spare corner,
plant a Gooseberry or a Currant bush. In your border try to grow a few
Lettuces and Radishes, and some Mustard and Cress for the schoolroom
tea.


MUSTARD AND CRESS.

The author who has survived a yearly crop of unripe plums has another
vivid memory associated with her schoolroom days in the garden. She
will never forget the moment when she saw her own initials _growing_
in her own little plot of ground. There they were, made of Mustard
and Cress, as if someone had written them. It is a miracle you can
perform for yourself any time from the end of March onwards by drawing
the letters you want in the soil with a stick, and sowing your seed
in them. You must remember, however, that the Mustard grows quicker
than the Cress, and should be sown about three days later. Sow both
seeds rather thick, and cover very slightly, or not at all. If it is
dry weather water with a fine rose every evening. People often place a
mat, or even a newspaper, over the seeds when first sown, as this makes
them sprout quicker; but the covering must be removed the moment the
seedlings appear. This may happen in twenty-four hours in favourable
weather, so you must keep a good lookout. In spring and autumn choose a
sunny spot for your Mustard and Cress, but in full summer give a moist
and shaded position. Mustard and Cress must be cut the moment it is
ready, while the seed leaves are tender, green, and short. If you leave
it till it is more than about an inch high, the Mustard is too hot and
the Cress is coarse.


LETTUCE.

Both the Cabbage and the Cos, or Long Lettuce, can be sown out of doors
in little patches from March to August. First rake the soil very smooth
and fine, and then, if you wish to have a big bed of Lettuces, draw
lines an inch deep and a yard long, about ten inches apart. Sow your
seed in these little ruts and rake your bed smooth, taking care that
the seed is only lightly covered with soil. You will soon see lines
of pale-green seedlings, but you will not have a single Lettuce if
you don’t keep off slugs. They are so fond of Lettuces that gardeners
often plant them as traps amongst Dahlias and other flowers they wish
to preserve. The slugs will desert everything else for Lettuces, and
can be caught in numbers on and around them at night. So if you have a
sluggy garden you must catch all the slugs you can, and also dust your
seedlings with soot or wood-ash. The proper time to do this is after
sunset, when the leaves are a little damp with dew. When the Lettuces
begin to grow up, the slugs will leave them alone, and then the rain
will wash away the slight dust of ash or soot from the outside leaves.

When you have rescued your Lettuces from slugs, you must thin them
severely. This is most important. You wait to do this until they are
big enough to handle easily, and then you leave nine inches between
each Lettuce and its neighbour in your rows. The French use the small,
thinned-out Lettuces as salad mixed with Cress; and if they were washed
they would be nice with bread and butter for tea—at least, they would
if you had not been obliged to dust them with soot or wood-ashes.
Cabbage Lettuces do not require tying, and are ready to cut when they
have a firm heart of folded, crinkled leaves like little Cabbages.
Some kinds of Cos Lettuce require tying, but not all. Sutton’s Superb
White Cos does just as well, or better, without this extra trouble. But
we think some of the good self-folding cabbage kinds are more suitable
in a small garden. Mammoth White, Nonsuch, and All the Year Round are
good kinds. Lettuces are more tender when they are grown quickly. It
is best to sow a few at a time about once a fortnight all the summer,
because they must be eaten when they are ready. If they are allowed
to stand, they _bolt_—that is to say, they shoot up tall and begin to
grow flowers. Then their leaves become tough and bitter, and they are
spoiled for salad.


RADISHES.

In London the Radishes you buy are often big and coarse. You must try
to grow them as the French eat them—crisp, small, clean, and pungent,
but not acrid. There are several kinds, as you probably know—some red,
some white, some round like Turnips, and some long like little Carrots.
The long ones, if you fancy them, should be sown in spring, and the
round and oval ones in hot weather. It is of no use to try to grow
Radishes in rough, lumpy ground. Your soil must be finely broken and
raked before you sow your seed. If you live in a warm district you can
make your first out-of-door sowing in February, but this would be too
early in cold climates. Radishes must grow quickly and be eaten while
they are young, or they are not worth having. On this account you
should sow a tiny pinch of seed every fortnight, rather than a whole
packet at once. They must be well thinned, as crowded plants make big
leaves and poor Radishes. In early spring give them a sunny place, but
when the warm weather comes sow in partial shade.


SPRING ONIONS.

You will not want to grow big Onions, but some of the friends you
invite to eat your salads may like some very little ones with Lettuces.
The soil for Onion seed must be rolled or stamped quite hard and
smooth. They never do any good in loose ground. You sow in March or
April in shallow drills about six inches apart. When you have sown rake
the ground lightly, and pat it smooth with a spade. As you will only
want quite small young Onions you need not thin them, but pull one or
two when you want them for a salad. They will not be ready, however,
for your early crops of Cress and Lettuce, as they grow slowly. Chives
are more delicate than Onions, and are a great deal used abroad for
omelets and salads. You need only get a clump of these, and if you want
to increase it lift, divide, and replant in autumn or spring.


MINT.

Children who live where there is a kitchen garden will not want to grow
Mint, but we have known of children who were anxious to have a plant or
two of this useful and fragrant herb. Those who do must be warned that
it is an underground wanderer, and will come up where it is not welcome
if not kept within bounds. The plants, if they are not to spread,
should be taken up, divided, and replanted in fresh soil when they show
in early spring. It does best in a moist situation. Each bit must have
a good root, and should be set six to nine inches from the next. The
tops, three to six inches long, will root easily in summer if inserted
about half their length, with the lower leaves stripped off, in a cool
border. In dry weather these cuttings must be watered after sunset. If
you are a London child, and do not know where to get Mint plants, you
could try to raise some yourself in this way, as Mint without roots is
to be bought everywhere. You would, of course, have to buy it as fresh
as possible.


PARSLEY.

Parsley seed takes some weeks to germinate, so you must not be
impatient about it. Soon after its seed leaves appear, if you look
closely you will see the pretty Parsley leaves coming. You should sow
the seed thinly, and then thin again, first to three inches and then
to six inches apart. All weeds must be kept down, as each Parsley
plant should be big and healthy. When you gather do not strip a plant,
but take a leaf here and there. When Parsley gets old and coarse the
plants should be cut over, as then they will make new growth. Those
that run to seed must be pulled up and thrown away. Your bed should
give you Parsley all through the winter and spring—in fact, until your
new plants are ready. One annual sowing in April is enough for a small
supply.


FRUIT.

We know of a lady living in a cathedral town in the South of England
who has three Peach-trees (two Alexandra Noblesse and one Sea-Eagle),
from which she gets more fruit than many of her neighbours who own big
gardens. Even in the suburbs of London fruit ripens well, provided
it is grown properly. The best Walnuts we ever ate were grown in a
Surbiton garden. In the midst of a grimy city we advise you not to try
fruit, as we know of no kind that would be healthy; but if you are
in a country town or suburb or in the country itself, if you have a
brick wall with a south aspect, and if you live in the Midlands or in
some other warm corner of England, you should certainly have a tree of
your favourite fruit. It is most important to get it from a first-rate
grower, to prepare the ground properly, and to plant it well. November
is the proper month for planting. You must get someone to dig a large
hole at least two feet deep, and put in plenty of manure for the roots
to find when they grow down. If your tree is to be against a wall, put
the main stem up against it before you begin, and then spread out the
roots carefully in the shape of a fan. Any that are growing straight
down must be cut off. Those that remain will be on different levels,
so you must arrange the lower ones first, and put soil amongst them,
then the next, and so on, till they are all comfortably spread out and
covered. The hole in which you plant a tree should be rather bigger
than its roots when spread out, and about a foot deep. When finished,
the uppermost roots should be four inches below the soil. If you are
going to grow it as a tree, and not against a wall, you must tie it to
a strong stake directly it is planted. In this case you must take care
that the rope you use does not chafe the bark. A short length of old
hose-pipe or a band of hay is usually put between the rope and the tree
where they touch each other. If the tree is to be trained against a
wall, you must first cut off all damaged or broken branches, and then
spread out those that remain in the shape of a fan. For this purpose
you will want some little bits of cloth, a hammer and nails. Before
you do it you should look at some well-trained fruit-trees carefully,
and try to find out how they are done. But if you can possibly get a
skilful gardener to plant your tree for you, we strongly advise you to
do so, as a newly-planted fruit-tree should be cut back more or less,
according to its variety and vigour. Pruning is also an operation that
requires more skill and knowledge than any child can be expected to
acquire. It should be done for you by the grown-up gardener. For a year
or two a young tree will not require much pruning, and will not bear
much fruit. If much fruit sets it should be picked off at once, or it
will weaken the tree. All shoots from the roots should be cut off at
once with a sharp knife.

[Illustration: A WINDOW GARDEN.]

If your wall is covered with climbing flowers, so that you have no
room against it for a Peach, a Pear, a Plum, or a Cherry, you might
find a corner for a Gooseberry bush, or a Red or White Currant. In
the North of England you must put your Gooseberry or your Currant in
the sunniest corner you can find, or the fruit will not ripen. In the
South a little shade and moisture will suit it better. Gooseberries and
Currants will prosper in any ordinary good garden soil, but the places
for them should be well dug and dressed with manure some time before
planting. They must not be put in too deeply, or the roots will send up
suckers. October is a good month to plant.

Red Champagne, Yellow Champagne, Red Warrington, and Early Sulphur, are
good Gooseberries; Raby Castle and Comet are good Red Currants; White
Dutch is the best White Currant.

Gooseberries and Currants are liable to be attacked by caterpillars in
May, and these will eat all the leaves and destroy your crops if not
removed. Hand-picking is the best way. You can also first syringe with
soft water in which you have put a little soap, and then dust with a
mixture of dry soot and lime. This will look ugly for a time, but rain
soon washes it away.

Both Gooseberries and Currants require careful pruning in the autumn.
The main branches should be shortened to six inches, and the side
shoots to two or three buds. You always cut just above a bud, upwards
and slantwise. You begin on the opposite side from the bud, and end
cleanly just above it. Always choose a bud that means to grow out from
the tree, and not inwards.



CHAPTER XIV

WINDOW, ROOM, AND JAPANESE GARDENS


IF you are fond of flowers, and cannot have even a small garden,
perhaps you can have a window-box, or some plants in pots or bulbs in
glasses. A window garden should face south, east, or west, so that
it gets plenty of sun. If you are obliged to have a north window you
must grow plants that do not need much sun, such as Creeping Jenny,
Musk, Golden Privet, Euonymus, Crocuses, Snowdrops, and hardy Ferns.
Have your window-box made as long and as wide as the window-ledge
will allow, and see that there are several holes bored in the bottom
to allow waste water to run away. There must then be a layer of
broken pots for drainage. The earth with which you now fill the box
must be the very best you can obtain—if possible, a mixture of good
loam, leaf-mould, and sand. In front you should put plants that will
hang down, such as Petunias, Nasturtiums, Convolvulus, Carnations,
Canariensis, Musk, or the Ivy-leaved Geraniums. The Giant Nasturtium
and Convolvulus and Canariensis can all be grown from seed sown early
in May, and they can either hang or climb upwards round strings or
wires put for them from an upper window to your box. You must, of
course, study the colours of the plants you grow in this way, and not
choose Petunias and Nasturtiums in one season. Alternate pink Petunias
and pink Ivy-leaved Geraniums would look well hanging down. Behind
them you could have a row of pink Geraniums standing up, and behind
these a row of white Marguerite Daisies. Another pretty combination
would be Creeping Jenny to hang down, then Heliotrope, and then yellow
Marguerite Daisy. In London the Heliotrope might be a little uncertain,
as it likes pure air, but Calceolarias should thrive if properly
treated, or mauve Violas. A box filled with healthy plants in the first
week of May should flower till late in September.

You must never let your window-box get quite dry, and never water your
plants when the sun is on them. Give a good soak (not a sprinkle)
every evening after sunset. All faded flowers and dead leaves should be
carefully cut off, and a little Clay’s Fertilizer—a teaspoonful to half
a gallon of water—given once a fortnight.

In the autumn, when your summer flowers are over, remove them, roots
and all, and turn over the soil well with a hand-fork. If you can add
some fresh soil, so much the better. Then fill your box with bulbs
for the spring. You might put Snowdrops, or Crocuses, or Siberian
Squills in front, and then Daffodils of medium height, such as Princess
Victoria, Sir Watkin, or Golden Spur. The back of the box can either
be filled with small evergreen shrubs or with late Daffodils, such
as Emperor or Empress, or with Hyacinths and Tulips. A box filled
entirely with Tulips will make a splendid show for three weeks. When a
hard frost comes, or rather a little while before it comes, you should
protect your bulbs with a covering of cocoanut fibre.

For many years of her life one of the authors of this book was obliged
to live mostly in London without a square yard of garden, but so great
was her love of flowers and her desire to grow them that by degrees
she made a ‘room garden’ for herself, and found endless interest and
pleasure in it. She was prepared from the first to spend some time each
day in feeding, washing, watering, and shifting her plants; otherwise
success would have been impossible. Unfortunately, most of us know
how miserable neglected or misunderstood plants soon get to look in a
room—their leaves yellow and dusty, their flowers stunted, their soil
either baked hard for want of water or sour and mossy through having
more than they can digest.

We fear that if you are unlucky enough to have gas in your room you
cannot have healthy plants at all—at any rate, you would have to
content yourself with one or two that you could carry out of your
gas-poisoned air every evening. But if you have no gas, and a sunny
window in which you can place a good-sized plain wooden table, you may
have a delightful room garden, as well as some pot plants in other
places. To begin with, you would want some of the well-known hardy
foliage plants that you can get from any good nurseryman. One of the
best known is the Aspidistra, or Parlour Palm. You can get it with
plain green or with variegated leaves. If it is in good health it
sends up new leaves every spring, and makes queer dwarf flowers. When
it seems too crowded for its pot you can either give it a bigger one,
with some fresh soil, or divide it. This should be done in April or
May. Young gardeners often make the mistake of giving a plant too big
a pot when they change it. They hope in this way to persuade their
plant to grow to a great size, but what they really do is to give its
roots more soil than they can keep healthy, so it languishes or dies.
One, or at most two, sizes larger than the last pot should be used,
or, in the case of Aspidistras, you can divide and repot into the same
size, or even smaller ones. Some people say these plants are impatient
of disturbance, but we have found them easy to manage with a little
care. Never use pots that are not both _dry_ and _clean_. If they are
dirty they must be well scrubbed with soap and hot water, and then well
dried before you use them. You must also get a little good soil from a
nursery gardener before you divide or repot any of your plants.

Besides Aspidistras, you can have some of the hardy Ferns, of which
the Holly Fern is the most enduring; Aralias, which look like little
Fig-trees; Indiarubber plants, whose young unfolding leaves it is
such a pleasure to watch; various hardy Palms (Phœnix and Kentia, for
instance); and some of the hardy Cactuses. The Indiarubber (_Ficus
Indica_) and Palms are plants that you must be careful not to overpot.
We know that from sad personal experience, as well as from some of
the great authorities. In our early gardening days we often used to
get a healthy Palm or Indiarubber from a good nursery, thinking when
we bought it that the nurseryman was rather stupid and neglectful to
leave the poor thing caged in that little pot of hard soil. We would
bring it home, turn it out, find its roots in a thick mat, plunge them
into a pot about four times the size of the old one, full of nice,
loose, fresh soil, and expect it to grow like Jack’s Beanstalk in its
happy new conditions. The ungrateful thing usually died. So remember
that if you repot Indiarubber plants and Palms at all, take a pot only
slightly larger than the last. Remember, too, that if you overwater an
Indiarubber plant its leaves will turn yellow and drop off, while Palms
must not be allowed to suffer from drought. It is death to nearly all
plants to be allowed to stand in stagnant water. We mean that you must
not leave the water in the saucer that has run out of the pot. When a
plant is dry it is a good plan to plunge it in water nearly, but not
quite, up to the brim of the pot, and to leave it there till the top of
the soil is moist. That will show you that it has had enough to drink,
and it should then be lifted out and allowed to drain before being
replaced in its saucer. If you let plants stand in stagnant water day
after day, they soak up more than they can digest—their leaves turn
yellow, their roots rot, and they die. You can generally judge by the
state of the pot whether you should give water. At least we know one
good amateur gardener who would never water a plant in a moist pot, but
only one in a pot that felt dry to the touch.

All foliage plants must be sponged once a week with a soft sponge and
lukewarm water, as dust chokes and kills them. If you can put them out
on some leads after sponging and spray them well with a syringe, so
much the better, but this must be only done in mild weather. Remember,
too, not to use ice-cold, hard water from a tap. In summer let them
stand out in soft warm rain as often and as much as possible.

Many plants in pots die of starvation. When you drench them with water,
the water that runs off carries plant food with it, and this is often
not replaced. We used to use a little Clay’s Fertilizer, about half a
small teaspoonful to a half-gallon of water, well mixed; but lately
we have used Shefa, a new kind that is especially suitable for ferns.
These liquid manures must never be given more than once a month, and
never to flowering bulbs.

If you have more plants than will stand on your table in the window,
you must shift some of them every week, and bring those that have had
several days of semi-darkness to the light. You must also be careful
not to let your plants stand in a draught. It is most injurious to
them, especially when it is a cold one. If you have a light bathroom,
with a good-sized window, and are allowed to use it, you would find it
a help, as the air of a bathroom is sometimes steamy, and never as
dry as that of a sitting-room. You could put plants that you wanted to
nurse there, and more especially a succession of bulbs when they have
made their roots in darkness and first need the light.

The real joy and glory of room gardens are the flowering bulbs, and
the more you can have the better; but grow a few of many kinds rather
than many of a few kinds, because then you will have a longer and
more continuous succession. You do not want your room over-crowded at
one time, and then empty of scent and colour. In September you should
muster your glasses, bowls, and pots, and decide what you want and can
afford to buy, and you must also choose what you will grow your bulbs
in. Hyacinths, as you no doubt know, do well in water, and nowadays
you can buy pretty squat glasses instead of the ugly tall ones we used
to have. The bulb should almost, but not quite, touch the water; if
it gets sodden, blue mould forms on it, and it decays. Crocuses are
also grown in water in small glasses sold now for this purpose. The
early Roman Hyacinths and the Polyanthus Narcissus will also flower
well in this way. When you grow bulbs in water you will find that you
must often add a little. The amount a Hyacinth in flower will drink is
surprising. Many people change all the water in their bulb glasses once
or twice in the season. A scrap of charcoal in each glass keeps the
water clean and wholesome.

Many mixtures for growing bulbs are recommended. The one we like best
for bowls without drainage is gravel mixed with a little carbon. You
buy it in little sacks mixed ready for use at any of the big London
shops that have a gardening department, and probably at any good
florist’s elsewhere. Moss-fibre is satisfactory, too, but the gravel
is cleaner to handle, and the carbon keeps the water sweet. From
the moment that bulbs are planted in bowls they must not be allowed
to become quite dry. If you think there is too much water, however,
you must put your hand over the top of the bowl to keep your bulbs
in place, tilt it a little, and drain off the water. For ordinary
flower-pots a mixture of leaf-mould and sand is good, and while these
are in the dark you must not water much, or the soil will get sour
and unhealthy. In planting bulbs for a room garden, do not set them
deeply in the gravel or moss-fibre. The point of the bulb should just
show above ground. This applies also to bulbs grown in ordinary pots.
Whatever medium you use should be damp when you finish your planting.
Your bulbs must then be put into a dark, cool place for four weeks
to make their roots. An airy cellar is good, but many people use a
cool cupboard. They usually choose one that is sometimes opened, and
therefore aired for a moment. At the end of the four weeks the bulbs
must be brought into a light and cool, but not cold, place, and it was
at this stage that we found a bathroom window so useful. When the green
is well up and the flowers beginning to show, they may be moved to a
light place in your warm sitting-room.

The first bulbs to push up are the white single Roman Hyacinths. These,
if planted in September, will bloom in November, and will give you a
little of the promise and fragrance of spring in the dull, dark days.
Two dozen bulbs would be enough to buy, and of these one dozen should
be started in September and the other dozen in October for succession.
Next come the red and yellow Duc Van Thol Tulips, Crocuses, Trumpet
Daffodils, and Hyacinths. The two earliest Daffodils are Trumpet-Major
and Sir Henry Irving, and they should be planted in September. The
Hyacinths look well either singly in glasses or three together in
a bowl. In October plant some of the later Daffodils—for instance,
Golden Spur, Princess Victoria, Emperor, and Empress. These may all
be treated in the same way: set in gravel with a little carbon added,
kept from frost and in the dark for four or five weeks, then brought to
a cool, light place, and, when in bud, to the warm room. The Japanese
Sacred Lily, which is so largely advertised, is only a large kind of
Polyanthus Narcissus. It is easy to grow in a sunny window; but we
should always buy Narcissus Gloriosa instead, as it is very like it,
just as sweet, and about a quarter the price. All these Polyanthus
Narcissi bloom well in pots without drainage, and if you have a
blue-and-white bowl you should fill it with the one called Soleil d’Or.
Scilly White, too, is easy to grow in a room.

So far our description of the room garden has dealt with foliage plants
and spring flowers, but there are also many summer flowers that do
well in a light window. In most parts of England the cottage windows
show you that. For instance, you often see the blue or white hanging
Campanula Isophylla, such a mass of flower that it covers the pot. It
is an easy plant to manage and propagate. If you get a healthy specimen
of it in May, it should flower all the summer. In the autumn cut it
back a little and give a mild dose of liquid manure. It will flower
for years without being repotted, and can be increased by cuttings put
round the edge of a pot and stood in a window. Gardeners always put
anything they want to strike near the edge, and not in the middle of a
pot. Begonias make handsome room plants; so do Fuchsias, Heliotropes,
and Geraniums. We have seen a big plant of Heliotrope that had lived
for years in a Paris window, but it does not like the sooty air of
our big cities. Some of the vigorous Ivies grow well in pots, and
in Germany you often see them trained round picture-frames. We once
brought a spray from the country that was so determined to grow that
it rooted itself in an earthenware jug, lived for more than two years
on an occasional drink of fresh water, and only died when we were away
from home and could not attend to it. Geraniums would rather be dry
than wet. The pretty white Spiræa and the little trailing yellow Musk
are both very thirsty plants, and flag at once if you neglect them. The
Vallota Purpurea, the Scarborough Lily, is a splendid window plant.
When once you have potted it you should not disturb it, as it flowers
best when it is almost bursting the pot with its big onion-shaped
bulbs. The Vallota never cares to be wet, and after it has flowered
it needs very little water; yet it must not become bone-dry. You
will say these are difficult directions, and we can only agree with
you. Gardening is an art that in the end must be largely learned by
experience, and the earlier you begin to practise it the sooner you
will find out some of the things all the books in the world cannot
tell you. You cannot give a recipe for watering as you can give one
for a cake or a pudding, because the same plant will need different
quantities in different conditions and at different times. When you
see leaves flag in their flowering season, they probably want water;
when they turn yellow and drop off, they have probably had too much. In
winter you must not water in a room likely to feel frost at night, as
that would help to freeze the roots. You are sure to have some failures
and some successes with your plants to the end of your gardening days,
but every failure ought to teach you, and every success will spur you
on. The true gardener loves his art so well that he will grow what he
can even under difficult conditions.


THREE GOLDEN RULES FOR THE ROOM GARDEN.

Keep your plants free from dust on their leaves.

Keep stagnant water out of their saucers. See that those in undrained
bowls are just moist, but not wet.

Give all the light and air possible, but remember that draughts are
injurious.

[Illustration: A ROOM GARDEN IN SPRING.]


THE JAPANESE GARDEN.

This is the story of a Japanese garden made by one of the authors
when she was in her London home, and had to grow all her plants in a
window-box and in a room. The Japanese, as you probably know, think
that size in a garden does not matter, provided that everything is in
proportion, and they produce the most wonderful effects of landscape
gardening in a small space. The one in the room was copied as nearly
as possible from a photograph of a real one. To begin with, a zinc
tray was made, five feet long, two feet wide, and four inches deep.
At one end a hill was arranged of good-sized stones bedded in earth.
Halfway up the hill grew a dwarf Japanese Fir-tree. It was really in
a pot, but the pot was hidden by Moss and stones. On the other side
of the hill, a little lower down, there was an Orange-tree, covered
with small red oranges. These are to be had at any good flower shop
for five shillings. The Orange-tree lasted a year with care, but the
Fir-tree lasted five years in London, and is still alive in a West
Country garden. Down the centre of the hill a staircase was made of
small, flat stones wedged into the earth, and beside this several sorts
of tiny hardy Ferns grew. At the base of the hill a good many plants
in pots were arranged to look as natural as possible, but all the pots
were bedded in earth and covered with Moss. Some paths were arranged
with flat stones, and one of them led to the lake. This was made of
a green earthenware dish eighteen inches long and an inch and a half
deep. Ferns hung over its edge, and one or two hardy water-plants grew
on its surface, while over a corner of it there was a wooden bridge. At
the back of the lake there was a tall Umbrella Fern that looked like a
Bamboo. Stones were artfully arranged so as to break the straight lines
of the dish, and in the spring bulbs grown in very small pots were
flowering near it. Some of the miniature Daffodils do well for such a
purpose, and so do Crocuses, Snowdrops, and Squills. The dwarf Japanese
trees you need for such a garden are rather expensive, but if you do
not mind that you can get many beautiful kinds. Any of the Japanese
curio dealers would sell little china temples, houses, lanterns, and
figures that add to the quaint charm of a garden made in this way. If
you please, you may call it artificial, but that is a word you may
apply to any form of gardening. When you have made your Japanese garden
with great skill and patience, and kept it in good order by unfailing
care and attention, you will be rather vexed if other people who
cannot keep a Fern alive exclaim: ‘Very curious, certainly, but quite
artificial.’ Of course you will smile politely and say nothing, but
in your mind there will be some lines from Shakespeare’s ‘Winter’s
Tale’ which will comfort and support you. They come in that scene
where Perdita says so many beautiful things about the flowers in her
garden—when she talks of the Marigold that goes to bed with the sun and
with him rises weeping; and of Daffodils that come before the swallow
dares, and take the winds of March with beauty. But in her garden she
has no streaked Gillyvors (Stocks), and she tells Polixenes, the King,
that she will not grow them because they are ‘artificial.’ ‘There is
an art,’ she says, ‘which in their piedness shares with great creating
Nature.’ And Polixenes answers her:

                         ‘Say there be;
    Yet Nature is made better by no mean,
    But Nature makes that mean: so, o’er that art,
    Which you say adds to Nature, is an art
    That Nature makes.’

But you mustn’t take this quotation as an excuse for carpet-bedding.



CHAPTER XV

CALENDAR OF WORK


JANUARY.

UNLESS you live in a warm corner of these islands and have a sunny
garden, you will not be able to do much this month. If you have any
empty ground it should be dressed with manure, dug on a mild day, and
left with a rough surface. The frosts then help to break it up, and
when spring comes it will be powdery and friable.

Fruit-trees should be dusted after a slight rain with slaked lime or
fresh soot, as this kills moss, lichen, and the insect pests that lodge
in the rough places of the bark.

Iris Stylosa should be flowering now in the South of England, and even
in colder climates under a south wall. Slugs are fond of these plants,
and eat them up when they are in bud. If you notice that this is
happening, you must dust with wood-ashes or soot. Gather the flowers
with a sharp upward jerk when in tight bud, and put them in a room in
tepid water to expand.

Snowdrops, Winter Aconites, Crocuses, Squills, early Daffodils, and
Grape Hyacinths will all begin to push towards the light this month.
When they are growing in heavy soil that cakes badly, you help them by
carefully loosening it a little with a hand-fork. You must not do this
in frosty weather.

All delicate plants will need protection now. A piece of rough matting
supported by sticks at the comers is enough for many things. It is
not a bad plan first to stretch a piece of wire-netting across the
sticks and fasten it securely. By day it lets in light and air, and
at night the mat or sacking is easily thrown over it. If ever you are
on the Riviera you will see the gardeners put their plants to bed
every evening as carefully as if they were children, while in this
country, where much cold is expected, you see numbers of plants in
any well-tended garden protected the whole winter with coverings of
bracken or matting. When the plant you want to protect is below ground
(a delicate bulb or tuber, for instance, or one that quite dies down
in winter), you need only pile on manure or ashes or dead leaves to
act as a blanket. We know someone who grew tuberoses successfully out
of doors in a Cornish garden, and in the winter he protected them with
little heaps of ashes, which he did not remove till the May frosts were
over. In most parts of England manure is used as a protection for Roses
and slightly delicate climbers; but a skilful gardener will shelter
many of his delicate plants with little tents that he makes of twigs
and bracken. We have seen them all shapes and sizes in a North Country
garden where many rare things are grown. Some enclosed the plant
altogether, and some gave it shelter, but let in sun and air on the
south side.

This is the month when seed lists arrive, and remind you that spring
is coming. Remember that it is easier to buy seeds than to grow them
well, and do not order more than you have room for, or any requiring
conditions you cannot give them.


FEBRUARY.

All weeds should be destroyed this month, both in the path and the
edging, as well as in the border. If you have Dandelions or Hemlock,
cut their heads off, and cover the remains with common salt. Plantains
and most other weeds may be killed in time in this way.

Perhaps you remember that line in Tennyson about Geraint glancing
at Enid ‘as careful robins eye the delver’s toil.’ You are sure to
think of it this month when you begin to fork over your garden, for
wherever you turn the soil there you will see a robin with its red
breast and bright eyes looking for food. Never drive one away, for they
eat wood-lice, grubs, and worms, but do no harm to plants. A nice big
toad—not a frog, but a rough, grey toad—is a most desirable friend,
too, as he will eat ants, wood-lice, and flies. Ants are sometimes most
mischievous in a garden. They do not eat plants, but they eat certain
aphides they find on the roots. Anyhow, they will kill your pet plant
if they are so inclined. You see it turn yellow and die, and when you
take it up you find its roots gnawed away. We do not pretend that
this is a scientific description of what happens, but only one we can
relate out of our own sad experience. We once built a wall with great
care, meaning to grow many beautiful rock plants on it. We could not
understand why they flourished for a time, and then died. Then we found
the ants and tried to kill them in various horrid ways that made us
feel like inquisitors. We won’t harrow you with them, because they were
not only cruel, but useless. At last we asked one of the best gardeners
we knew what he did when one of his plants was attacked by ants, and he
said he only knew of one thing to do, and that was to remove the plant.

Lady-birds, as well as birds and toads, are friends in your garden, as
they eat aphides—what the little girl in one of Anstey’s stories calls
‘those horrid little green atheists.’ Sparrows you must keep away this
month with black cotton amongst your Crocuses if you want to see the
flowers whole and upright. When you find their yellow petals strewn on
the ground, you will know that the mischievous birds have been at them.
In mild springs some of the herbaceous plants begin to push up young
leaves this month. The Phloxes are amongst the earliest. Look out for
slugs, or they will devour the early shoots of many plants, often so
greedily that the plant cannot recover.

Japanese Lilies are now arriving, and should be planted in peat and
sand. The sand keeps off slugs and attracts moisture. They should have
a thick dressing of manure on the top to keep out frost.

Sweet-peas may be sown this month without harm, but it is too early
for your other seeds, as long as you depend on an outdoor garden. The
impatient, inexperienced gardener reaps nothing but failure when he
sows too early. If you are lucky enough to have a frame, you will find
it most useful, even though the elaborate, costly hot-beds described
in gardening books are beyond your reach. A simple hot-bed can be made
with some manure, which must be put in the frame and turned over two
or three times with a garden fork. It is then spread out flat, and
covered with good garden soil. You can either sow your seeds in this
soil or put your seed-boxes on it a few days after it is made. If a
hot-bed cannot be made you can fill your frame with cinders, and place
your seed-boxes on them. The boxes must be lifted in some way, so as
to be near the glass, or the seedlings would grow spindly. On warm
days you must open your frame and let in air, or the soil will turn
sour and mossy. In showery weather let in rain, and in a drought water
judiciously. The four elementary things to remember about seeds grown
in a frame are: they must be raised in some way, so as to be near the
glass; they must have air to keep the soil healthy; they must be shaded
from strong sunshine; and they must be moist, but not too moist. You do
not want them either to be withered by drought or smothered by moss.


MARCH.

This is a busy month in the garden. When it ‘comes in like a lion’ you
have to sit idle; but directly there are mild, dry days you should be
at work. Wherever you mean to sow seeds the ground should be well dug,
and then raked smooth and fine. If you just rake the top, and leave the
soil beneath in a hard cake, your seeds will be like those sown in the
parable that fell on stony ground and had no depth of earth. They will
spring up, but they will have no roots, and when the sun comes they
will wither away. In a cold climate Sweet-peas and Mignonette should
not be sown till the middle or end of this month, and most other seeds
will do better if sown in April. March is too early for Nasturtiums or
Convolvuluses, two flowers most children wish to grow.

Towards the end of the month you can divide those herbaceous plants
that are not spring-flowering, if you wish to increase them. You must
not disturb plants that are just going to flower, but all the strong
kinds will stand division and transplanting when they have only sent
up young leaves. For instance, you could take up a Phlox, a Michaelmas
Daisy, or even a Pyrethrum, on a showery day, pull it to pieces, and
find that every bit made a strong plant by the autumn. In the rock
garden the mossy Saxifrages that have bald places in the middle should
be taken up, divided, and firmly replanted. This is the way to treat
many little rock plants that grow themselves shabby in a year or two.

Any new hardy perennials you want may be planted in favourable March
weather, and so may the autumn-flowering Gladioli.


APRIL.

Most of the hardy annuals may still be sown this month. Those sown in
March will be coming up, and you must remember what we told you about
the importance of thinning out. In some gardens nearly all annuals
are raised in boxes, and pricked out in the borders where they are
to bloom. We tell you this because you may belong to a garden where
you can get all the annuals you need given this month in the shape of
little ready-made seedlings. You must plant them several inches apart
on a showery day, and shade them from the sun at first; a tent made of
four sticks and a newspaper will serve when there is no wind. As soon
as they have taken root, and look well established, it is a good plan
to pinch off their tips with your thumb and finger, because then they
will make spreading side shoots, and give you more flowers. You can
pinch most of your annual and herbaceous plants in this way when they
are young, but you must not do it to any plant growing from a bulb or
a corm, such as a Lily or a Gladiolus. Some tuberous plants, such as
Dahlias, may be pinched with advantage.

Roses are pruned in March or April, but the different varieties need
different treatment. You must get some good advice about your special
kinds, or be content to cut away the dead-looking wood. The green fly
begins this month, and you should keep your Roses free from it, either
with an aphis brush or by spraying with quassia chips and water as
recommended on p. 126.

Weed hard this month, as you do not want any weeds to seed themselves,
and they will do so if you neglect them.


MAY.

The leaves of your early-flowering bulbs will now begin to look shabby,
but you must put up with that if you do not mean to throw away your
bulbs or to lift them carefully to the wild garden. Daffodil leaves may
be tied up with string or raffia if they are sprawling over seedlings,
or over plants you want seen. Weeds grow fast this month, and should
be diligently removed. Gardeners weed with a Dutch hoe, but it is an
implement that does more harm than good if unskilfully used. You will
find when you first try to use one how easy it is to damage the young
shoots of your treasures with a hoe, and that in a crowded corner it is
far safer to weed with a knife or a small hand-fork.

The middle or the end of May is an exciting time in gardens, because
we then bring out our half-hardy plants. Dahlias, delicate annuals,
and bedders are all put into the borders when the early May frosts are
over. If possible, this should be done in showery weather. Two or three
dull, damp, warm days save a gardener a deal of trouble in shading and
watering at this time of year. In case the weather is fine and dry,
however, remember that a great deal can be done by planting each plant
in a little puddle of water and shading it with a flower-pot or a box,
or any little tent you can invent. When the nights are warm these
coverings can be removed at sunset and replaced in the early morning.
You will have to judge in each case how many days of such care a plant
requires. When its roots are well established, it will look after
itself by day as well as by night.

You know, of course, that plants must never be watered when the sun is
on them. Nevertheless, if ever you see a plant flagging badly in the
sun, and plainly dying for a drink, you may give it one carefully at
its roots. Do not let the water touch its leaves, and, if possible,
shade it for the rest of the day.

A great many biennial and perennial seeds are sown in May, for a
gardener must work for the years to come as well as for the present
one. It is a good plan to try to grow one biennial and one perennial
every year, as two boxes of seedlings do not give you too much work. Be
sure to get your seed at one of the best places, for nothing is more
disappointing than to take great pains with inferior seed.

Look carefully at your Rose-trees every day this month, and remove any
leaves that are curled and stuck together. Each one contains a grub,
that will become a caterpillar and devour the foliage of the tree later
on. Leaves that are merely curled by cold, and not stuck together, must
not be picked off.

Convolvulus seed may be sown in the open this month.


JUNE.

Many plants will now require staking. We have told you how this should
be done at the end of the chapter on ‘Hardy Perennials.’ Towards the
end of the month you will find the leaves of Crocuses and Snowdrops
quite dead, so that you can remove them without injuring the bulbs.
At the beginning of the month you can still put out bedding plants,
half-hardy annuals, and biennials. A plant may be put into the
open ground out of a pot at almost any time of the year. It is the
safest way of transplanting in hot weather, but you must distinguish
between plants that have been honestly grown in pots and those that a
nurseryman has potted from boxes a day or two ago. When the soil falls
away and leaves the root and stem quite bare, your plant will want care
and shade as much as if you had just pulled it out of a box yourself.

Your Primroses and Auriculas should be taken up and divided this month
if you wish to increase them. Let them spend the summer in a moist,
shady corner of the garden. You will probably lose them all if you
plant them where it is hot or dry.


JULY.

During this month and the next, when the soil is heated by the summer
sun, you take cuttings and pipings, and make layers of the plants you
wish to strike. Pinks are increased when they have done flowering, but
the young shoots of the Carnation are often layered while the older
shoots are still in flower.

Daffodil leaves should now come away with a touch, and without injury
to the bulbs. Every day this month you should visit your garden with
a pair of scissors, and cut off all dead flowers and all annuals that
are going to seed. Not one Sweet-pea must be allowed to make a pod, and
your Mignonette will have a longer flowering season if you can cut off
the green seed-vessels directly they appear. Perhaps you will like some
of your Love-in-a-mist to form its handsome seed-pods and sow itself
for next year. One pink Canterbury Bell, too, would give you seed
enough to fill a big garden; but its seedlings will probably not be
pink if you have allowed blue and white ones to grow near it.

When your Lupins, Pyrethrums, and Delphiniums go out of flower, you can
either cut off the flowering stems and leave the rest of the plant, or
you can cut down the whole plant close to the ground. When you cut down
severely you should give a little extra food in the shape of manure,
bone-meal, or Clay’s Fertilizer. We did not include Pyrethrums in our
short list of perennials, because they are rather capricious: easily
managed in some gardens, and bad-tempered in others. Slugs devour
them. If they are given to you, and you want to cut them down, do it
rather gingerly, and in damp, dull weather. We are not speaking by any
orthodox tradition, but out of our own experience, as we have lost many
a fine clump through being told that they could be cut down sharply
after flowering. In dry weather the operation kills them.


AUGUST.

The chief things to do this month are to enjoy your garden, to cut your
flowers, and to keep things tidy. Pinks, Pansies, and Carnations may
be increased in the ways we have explained. If you have Rose-trees of
your own, or are allowed to take a few cuttings from other people’s,
you should try to grow some on their own roots. We have told you how
to take the cutting and how to plant it in the chapter on ‘Roses.’ The
bulb lists arrive this month, and you must decide what bulbs you want
for autumn planting.


SEPTEMBER.

Your spring-flowering bulbs should be planted this month. In some cases
it cannot be done, because their places are not vacant yet, or because
you mean to dig over your whole garden later in the autumn. But where
complete reorganization is unnecessary, try to find room for your bulbs
as soon as possible.

If you have any biennial or perennial plants grown from seed sown in
May, they should now be strong and big enough to transplant to their
flowering quarters. This is an operation you can carry out either in
autumn or spring, but not in winter. Frost soon kills plants that have
not had time to take a firm hold of the soil.

Autumn brings much labour in the garden in the shape of tidying,
weeding, and preparing for next year. Annuals that have become shabby
may be pulled up and thrown away. They will leave a bare place that
you must dig over well. Before you replant it you must consider
whether what you are going to plant would like a little manure beneath
its roots, or as a blanket on the top. A greedy annual has probably
impoverished the soil.

Herbaceous plants that flower in spring may all be divided and reset
now.


OCTOBER.

In October great operations are carried out in herbaceous borders. New
plants come in from nurserymen or friends; old ones are cut down, fed,
and in some cases divided; seedlings are put in groups where they are
to flower. These things are done all through the autumn, according to
convenience. In a mild district you may go on till Christmas planting
out and reorganizing your borders. In a cold one get it done at the end
of summer, before the frosts come. Any bulbs you have not planted in
September should go into the ground now.


NOVEMBER.

There is still plenty to do in the garden on a fine day. In a wild
garden or shrubbery some people leave all the dead leaves lying. We
think that this is advisable in a big country garden, but not in a
small, compact town one, that should look trim and well-tended. Your
flower border you should keep as neat as your bedroom. All weeds, dead
leaves, and rubbish must be removed now, and if you have plants that
need protection you will give them tidy heaps of manure, ashes, or
dead leaves. See that the labels and sticks marking plants and bulbs
are firmly in the ground. Cut down herbaceous plants that have done
flowering. Throw away the annuals that have become shabby. Lift your
Dahlias on a dry day, cut their stems to within three inches of the
crown of the roots, and put them, stem downwards, in an airy place to
dry. During the winter they must be kept from frost, but not altogether
from air. They are often stored in a shed, or on the floor of a cool
greenhouse.

Remember that this is the chief month in the year for planting Roses,
and do it at the beginning rather than the end.

Any part of your garden that is empty may be dug over and manured now.
The surface should then be left in a rough state, so that the winter
frosts can work the soil well, and prepare it to receive seeds and
young plants in the spring.


DECEMBER.

November and December are two most important months in the gardening
year. All the digging and the alterations you have planned during the
summer are taken in hand now. In a cold climate you would be careful
to finish your planting early in November, but in the South and West
of England you might still be busy with a new rockery or a new flower
border. Even in the South you must now expect winter weather, and
should complete your preparations for protecting delicate plants. One
of the enchanting discoveries you make when you become a gardener is
that there is no ‘dead’ season in these islands. In the milder corners
you may have Roses, Violets, and Primroses all through the winter,
while the early spring bulbs push their spikes through the soil before
you have gathered your last Chrysanthemum. But even in a cold climate,
when all your plants seem to be asleep beneath the snow, you can be
busy indoors for your garden. It is a good plan to make plenty of
large wooden labels, as the little ones you buy are easily lost. If
you have the use of a shed or an attic, you may wish to repaint your
watering-can and wheelbarrow; and out of doors you can sort all your
stakes, and point those used for Sweet-peas with a sharp, strong knife.
Besides, you will probably have some bulbs and foliage plants indoors
that require your care.

If you have any Christmas Roses (Hellebores) in your garden, it is well
worth while to make a roof over them with strong stakes and sacking.
Then the air can get in at the sides, but the roof prevents the rough
winter rains from splashing their faces with soil. When Christmas is
over you have January, the worst of the winter months, before you,
and after that you will say to yourself every day that ‘spring is
coming.’ Even during a cold February the lengthening afternoon lights
say this to you a little clearer every week, and during the spell of
mild weather that nearly every February brings you will find many
other promises of spring in your garden. So the year goes round for
us, a tangled tale of work and pleasure, success and failure, hope and
disappointment. The great gardener must be wise and humble, or he
would not be great; so he knows to the end of his days that he has much
to learn. The child who first plants his little plot should also teach
himself this lesson. Then, if he observes his plants attentively and
patiently, he will in the course of years become a gardener.

    ‘Who loves a garden
     Still his Eden keeps,
     Perennial pleasures plants,
     And wholesome harvests reaps.’



INDEX


    Aconite, Winter, 85

    Alonsoas, 40

    Alstrœmerias, 85

    Alyssum Saxatile, 157

    Anthericum Liliastrum (St. Bruno’s Lily), 157

    Antirrhinums (Snapdragons), 157

    Arabis, 158

    Arenaria Balearica, 158

    Aspidistra, 198

    Aubrietias, 158

    Auriculas, 224


    Bedding plants, 107

    Begonias, 86

    Biennials, 91


    Calceolarias, 110

    Campanula Isophylla, 206
      Medium, 98
      Persicifolia, 170
      Pyramidalis, 169

    Campanulas, 98, 158, 169, 170, 206

    Candytuft, 168

    Canterbury Bells, 98

    Carnations, 131

    Ceanothus Veitchii, 176

    Christmas Roses, 231

    Chrysanthemums (Summer), 62

    Clarkia, 33

    Clematis, 176

    Climbing Roses, 119

    Columbine, 57

    Convolvulus Major, 178

    Crocuses, 73

    Cyclamens, 170


    Daffodils, 75

    Dahlias, 88

    Daisies, Marguerite, 110

    Day Lilies, 148

    Delphinium, 50

    Dividing, 219, 224


    Edging, 15

    Eschscholtzia, 40

    Evening Primrose, 60, 100

    Everlasting Peas, 178


    Forget-Me-Not, 104

    Foxgloves, 104

    Fruit, 190


    Geraniums, 110

    Gladioli, 82

    Godetias, 34

    Grape Hyacinth, 81

    Gypsophila Paniculata, 61


    Helianthemums, 158

    Heliotropes, 110

    Herbaceous plants, 219

    Hop, 177

    House-leeks, 160

    Hyacinths, 80, 202

    Hybrid Perpetuals, 116

    Iberis Sempervirens, 159

    Iris Pumila, 159
      Stylosa, 159, 212

    Irises, 53, 84, 159, 212


    Japanese Anemones, 56

    Japanese gardens, 208

    Jasmine, 177


    Labels, 231

    Larkspurs, 34

    Lavender, Sweet, 61

    Lettuce, 184

    Lilies, Day, 148
      Orange, 144
      Sacred, 205
      Tiger, 146

    Lilies of the Valley, 148

    Lilium Auratum, 146
      Candidum, 142
      Speciosum, 145

    Lime, 9

    Lithospermum Prostratum, 159

    Lupins, 55


    Malope, 33

    Manure, 8

    Marguerite Daisies, 110

    Martagon, 145

    Michaelmas Daisies, 66

    Mignonette, 31

    Mint, 188

    Mixtures for growing bulbs, 203

    Montbretias, 84

    Musk, 207

    Mustard and Cress, 183


    Narcissus, 75

    Nasturtiums, 36

    Nigella, 35


    Onions, Spring, 187

    Orange Lilies, 144

    Oriental Poppies, 52


    Palms, 199

    Pansies, 95

    Parsley, 189

    Paths, 3

    Peas, Everlasting, 178

    Peas, Sweet, 24

    Peonies, 58

    Perennial Candytuft, 168

    Phlox Setacea, 160

    Pinks, 139

    Polyanthus Narcissus, 203

    Poppies, Shirley, 38

    Pricking out, 21

    Primroses, 47, 224

    Pyrethrums, 225


    Radishes, 186

    Roman Hyacinths, 202

    Roses, Christmas, 231
      Climbing, 119


    Sacred Lilies, 205

    Saxifrages, 160

    Sedums, 160

    Seed, 18

    Sempervivums, 160

    Shirley Poppies, 38

    Siberian Squills, 74

    Situation of gardens, 1

    Snapdragons, 101

    Snowdrops, 72

    Soil, 1

    Speedwell, 160

    Spiræa, 207

    Spring Onions, 187

    Squills, Siberian, 74

    Staking, 68

    Stocks, 105

    Summer-flowering Chrysanthemums, 62

    Sunflowers, 37

    Sweet Lavender, 61
      Peas, 24
      William, 98

    Tea Roses and Hybrid Teas, 117

    Tiger Lilies, 146

    Tools, 11

    Trenches, 10

    Tropæolum, Speciosum, 174

    Tufted Pansies, 95

    Tulips, 81


    Vallota Purpurea, 207

    Violets, 64


    Wallflowers, 93

    Water, 202

    Winter Aconite, 85

    Wistaria, 173


    THE END


    BILLING AND SONS, LTD., PRINTERS, GUILDFORD

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber’s Notes:

Obvious punctuation errors repaired.

Page 138, “too” changed to “to” (is heir to)

Page 141, “answer” changed to “answers” (this way answers if)

Page 201, “pots in plants” changed to “plants in pots” (Many plants in
pots die)

Page 233, Index, under Campanula, “Persicæfolia” changed to
“Persicifolia” to match usage in text.

Page 233, Index, “Escholtzia” changed to “Eschscholtzia” to reflect
usage in text.





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