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BASKET PLANTS

The cultivation of various kinds of plants in hanging baskets is desirable from an aesthetic standpoint and also from the fact that certain species respond more kindly to that method of culture than to any other. In the first place basket plants add considerably to the appearance of greenhouse, conservatory, or corridor by breaking up the vacant headspace, whilst well-chosen subjects are seen to greater advantage than they would be were they grown in any other way. Secondly, the compost in which the plants are growing is always well aerated and there is less chance of its becoming sour or otherwise unsuitable for the maintenance of plant life than when it is enclosed in pots or forms borders. This alone is a great consideration in the care of certain species that are difficult to grow, and the large number of Orchids requiring basket treatment may be cited as belonging to this class. With Orchids, however, we have nothing to do in this article but rather to subjects that are available for more general use. Baskets made of galvanised wire or wood are most frequently used, the former being the more serviceable. In some instances wire baskets are manufactured for ornament rather than plant cultivation, and it is wiser that the grower should select those of simple make, the ordinary plain round one being most serviceable. Care must be taken to ascertain that they are strongly made, for faulty construction may lead afterwards to the destruction of a finely-grown plant. When wooden baskets are used they should be made of teak, for that wood stands the damp conditions better almost than any other. When preparing the baskets for the accommodation of plants they should be lined with moss, good fibrous loam or peat. Loam or peat, according to the plants to be grown, are preferable to moss. Good pieces, at least 3-4 ins. across, should be placed round the wires, then the remaining space filled in with a suitable compost. A tidy finish is ensured by rubbing the outside round with the hands and clipping off any long fibres. It is better to use young vigorous plants for baskets than to select well-grown subjects, for they are more easily manipulated and trained into the desired formation. Further, if basket plants are beginning to deteriorate, it is better to destroy them and commence again with young stock rather than to try to doctor them. It is rarely possible to remove plants from baskets and place them in larger ones, and if it is thought desirable to give more root room the best plan is to place the old basket inside the new one and fill in the vacant space with new soil. Vigorous plants can, however, be kept in excellent condition for a considerable period by weekly application of manure water or some chemical manure. When baskets are first filled with plants they should be kept in a warmer structure, until growth is active, than is required later on. The Best Basket Plants.In the following notes attention is directed to some of the most suitable plants for baskets : Fuchsias are charming basket plants, and they are available for everyone, in addition to being suitable for greenhouses, conservatories, and for porches, summerhouses, etc. Varieties of free, spreading habit should be chosen, and one to three plants 5-6 ins. high placed in a basket 15-18 ins. across. If the baskets are filled in March, excellent specimens can befproduced by the end of May which will blossom throughout the summer. A few good varieties for the purpose areAvalanche, Charming, Daniel Lambert, Elizabeth Marshall, Loveliness, Rose of Castile. Shrubby Begonias with trailing branches form good basket plants. These should be pegged round the sides of the basket as they elongate, and some shoots may be trained up the supporting wires. The best of all is B. glaucophylla, a handsome plant with reddish flowers. Others with erect branches such as B. gracilis, B. kewensis, and B. coccinea can also be used, whilst B.”Gloire de Lorraine”never looks better than when growing in a hanging basket. Asparagus Sprengeri forms a well-furnished basket of greenery, its long plumose shoots hanging from the basket to a depth of 2-3 ft. During the autumn and winter the green leaves are often relieved by red berries. Other notable and useful species are A. crispus, A. scandens, and A. verticillatus. Ferns are popular basket plants for moist greenhouses and stoves. Most of the Adiantums or Maidenhair ferns are available as also are the finer growing Hares-foot ferns (Davallias), such as D. canariensis, D. elegans, and D. repens. The following are also useful : Asplenium bulbiferum, Gymnogramme elegantissima, G. schizophylla and variety gloriosa, Hypolepis distans, Nephrolepis cordifolia, N. exaltata, the 92 various Stags-horn ferns, particularly Platycerium alcicorne and P. mthiopicum, etc. Although not usually grown in baskets, the various Achimenes give excellent results as basket plants. When filling the baskets the corms should be so placed that they will grow from the sides and bottom of the basket as well as from the top. A. coccinea, A. grandiflora, and A. Versckaffeltii are specially worthy of note. Lachenalias can also be successfully grown in baskets, the bulbs being placed in the same manner as described for Achimenes. The Rat-tail Cactus (Cereus flagelliformis) forms an excellent basket plant for a sunny greenhouse or window. It ought not, however, to be given a very large basket. Another member of the Cactus family suitable for baskets is Epiphyllum truncatum ; this thrives best in a rather moist and warm house. The various varieties of Phyllocactus can also be used. An out-of-the-way plant for a sunny greenhouse is Sturts Desert Pea (Clianthus Dampieri). Most people who have seen this gorgeous plant in flower try to grow it and usually fail. If, however, they sow seeds of Colutea arborescens singly in thumb pots a fortnight in advance of seeds of the Clianthus, then as soon as the Clianthus seedlings appear, and before they form their first true leaves, graft them upon the Colutea stocks, they will have every chance of success. It forms a very beautiful basket plant. Hardy plants such as Ivy, Lonicera japonica variegata, and Vinca minor can all be requisitioned for outdoor baskets if desired. Ivyleaved geraniums are excellent subjects for outdoor work in summer. Young plants placed in baskets in March or early April, and kept in doors until early June, produce well-furnished specimens which remain in bloom all summer. In some instances several species of plants are placed in the same basket, but as a rule single examples are the more effective. In addition to the plants mentioned many others will suggest themselves to those who are interested in the subject. W. D.

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BLADDER FERN

The various kinds of this are referred to under Cystopteris in FERNS AND Fern Gardening.

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BRIGHT YELLOW CLEMATIS

(Clematis tangutica, or C. orientalis iangutica).SeeCLIMBING AND TRAILING Plants.

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BUSH FRUITS

Bush fruits, as is generally understood by the term, consist of the Gooseberry (Ribes Grossularia) ; Red Currant (Ribes ruhru-ni) ; White Currant (Ribes rubrum album) ; Black Currant (Ribes nigrum) ; summer and autumn fruiting Raspberries (Rubus Idaeus), and the Loganberry (an American hybrid). With perhaps the exception of the last named, all are very popular and extensively grown, the demand for the fruit while it is in season being very great. The Loganberry is cultivated principally in private gardens for the sake of the variety which its fruit affords. All are of hardy constitution, easily cultivated, and succeed in all parts of the United Kingdom where soil and climatic conditions are favourable. They are extremely productive and the produce is put to many and diverse uses, such as the making of tarts, preserving, bottling, for dessert and even for medicinal purposes. The Gooseberry is first ready for use, as the fruit possesses the good quahty of being fit for consumption both in a green as well as in a ripe condition. The early large fruiting varieties are those generally grown to afford fruit in the first-mentioned state, as the berries attain a profitable size in advance of the early medium and small fruiting kinds. It iSj however, among the latter, irrespective of season or period of ripening, that the majority of the highly-flavoured luscious sorts are found, and in many instances they are grown apart from the former so that they can be netted in and rendered immune from bird attacks. Red, White, and Black Currants reach maturitybefore the Gooseberry, and, like the last, are, with the exception of the White Currant, in such great demand that the crops prove highly remunerative. Of the four, the Gooseberry is perhaps, from a commercial as well as a private point of view, the most valuable. The white variety is gron to a much more limited extent, and the fruit is, beyond dessert purposes, employed principally for mixing with the red kinds for clarifying in the making of jelly. The cultural treatment necessary for the Gooseberry being similar to that required for the Red, White, and Black Currant, it is unnecessary to deal with each under separate headings. All are extensively cultivated in the form of bushes, but the Gooseberry, Red and White Currants are also now much grown as espaliers and as two, three, and five branched cordons for training on trellises in the open, against fences and outbuildings, and on garden walls having a north aspect, by which means the supply is, in the last-named instance, considerably prolonged. They are also in a few cases grown in the form of standards, the stems being about 4 ft. in height. Bush trees are generally planted 45 ft. apart in the rows, with a distance of 6 ft. between them. Two, three, and iive branched cordons, 134 2 ft., 3 ft., and 5 ft. respectively, and standards 6-8 ft. apart when employed, as is generally the case, as ornamental specimens in borders on either side of a frequented footpath. Espahers may stand 9 ft. apart from each other. Bushes are usually, although not always, planted in breaks varying in number from a few dozens to several hundreds, according to the demand for the fruit. The kind of soil best suited to the needs of the Gooseberry, Red, White, and Black Currants, is in the first three-named instances a rich welldrained loamy medium, and in the last case one of a moister or more retentive nature, but with care in preparation, such as in deeply digging and manuring on a liberal scale, most kinds of soils can be rendered suitable. Not only is it necessary to enrich the soil before planting to ensure vigorous growth, but manure in some form or other must, after the bushes are established and come into bearing, be afforded each year afterwards to maintain their fertility. This should be applied to the surface on the completion of pruning, and be buried or dug in just beneath the surface. With the exception of the Black Currant, all should be accorded a light open position. The species just mentioned prefers and yields the heaviest crops when grown in a semi-shaded position or the coolest part of the garden, such as in the vicinity of a north wall or hedge. The fruit is produced in the case of the Gooseberry on spurs and young wood of the previous seasons growth, on spurs in regard to Red and White Currants, and on the strong young wood with respect to the Black Currant. The three first should have clean stems standing not less than i ft. above the soil level, so that the fruit may not be spoilt by being splashed with soil during rainstorms, while the last should be allowed to branch out freely from the base, and produce vigorous growths annually. In the essentials named it is seen that the cultivation of the Black Currant differs somewhat from that of other fruits under consideration. Propagation is invariably effected by means of cuttings made from straight stout well-ripened shoots of the current seasons production, selected at the time of pruning. These may be from 18-24 ins. in length, and, with the exception of those of the Black Currant, all buds except four or five at the tips should be removed from the cuttings to ensure clean stems and to avoid risk of suckers being pushed up from the base. As the last-named propensity is to be encouraged in the Black Currant, the removal of the buds in this instance is undesirable. The base of the cuttings should be cut close to a joint, and the tops shortened back if the wood is weak or in an immature condition. Autumn or early winter is the best time to plant the cuttings. Set them 6 ins. deep, 9 ins. apart, in rows i ft. asunder, in soil which has been previously manured and well dug. Planting may be performed with a dibber, and the soil should be made quite firm round every cutting. In some instances all five buds left on the cuttingsBlack Currants exceptedwill break, in others but two or three. The shoots which will eventually develop from these breaks should be cut back the following autumn to form the bases of the main branches in the case of trees intended for bushes. All should then be lifted and transplanted 2 ft. apart in rows standing 3 ft. asunder. During the next season enough growths will result to furnish the foundation of the future heads, and in the year following will develop sufficiently to allow of their being planted in their permanent positions. For culture as Cordons, see article on Cordon Fruit Trees. To form Espaliers, take a tree having three shoots, train out the two lower ones horizontally and cut them back somewhat, leaving both of equal length. The third or central shoot should be trained upright, then cut it back, leaving it i ft. in length. The next year train out the leading shoots on the lowermost branches, cutting back all other growths to six leaves in July, and to three buds the following autumn. Train the leading growth on the central cut back shootwhich is now really a continuation of the stem in an upright direction, and select two shoots immediately below it and train them out, one on either side at right angles to form another tier or pair of branches, continuing in this way each year until a sufficient number of branches has been secured. See also Espalier Mode op Fruit Culture. The training as regards Cordons is best done with the aid of stakes. (Standards are usually formed by grafting scions of the Red and White Currant on single-stemmed plants of Ribes aureum.) The Pruning, as regards established bushes of Red and White Currants, consists in cutting back all young shoots in summer or July to six leaves, and further shortening them to two or three buds in autumn or winter. Leave shoots intact where necessary for the filling of vacancies caused by accident or branches dying, and shorten them back in winter to where they are well ripened. Black Currants need different treatment, the pruning being confined to thinning and cutting out as much of the old wood as possible, 135 to make room for that produced during the past and previous season as well as to induce the production of vigorous growth in future. Gooseberries which are to supply fruit in a green state are spurpruned, a certain amount of wellplaced young shoots being left as well on the bushes, the latter being merely tipped. In all other cases the young wood is spurred back to two and three buds. Those varieties of which the growth is of a drooping nature should be pruned so that the branches are well off the ground. In regard to the dessert kinds, the trees should be spur-pruned and the branches disposed widely distant from each other so that gathering may be conveniently done. The pruning of full-grown cordons is performed in the same way, i.e., partly shorten back side-shoots and spur growths in summer and spur in closely to two or three buds in winter. Leave shoots where required to make good losses or to eventually replace decrepit and worn-out branches. The Raspberry succeeds best in an open position in well-manured deeply dug soil of a loamy nature, but with attention to preparation in the manner described and in applying manure annually after the canes come into bearing, most kinds of soil can be rendered suitable to their needs. As regards the cultivation of the summer fruiting varieties, several methods are practised, but that which finds favour generally is to plant the stools 18-24 – apart in rows 6 ft. asunder, and to train the canes to a wire trellis. Very heavy crops of fruit result by pursuing this method. The trellis should be provided with three or four wires running transversely, and be about 5 ft. in height. Propagation is best effected by 136 the young canes or offsets which are pushed up in abundance in the vicinity of the old stools. Dig these up in autumn and transplant I ft. apart in rows 2 ft. asunder, for one season, or they may be. permanently planted at once. The canes should be cut down to within 6 ins. of the soil in February. The following autumn thin out, if necessary, the canes produced during the summer, dispensing with the the weakest and retaining the strongest, tying them temporarily to the wires. The following February give them a final look over, cut off the tips, and on this occasion tie them securely to the trellis. Once the stools are established a great number of shoots or young canes will push up around the stools and between the rows. Of these enough should be left to furnish a supply of canes close to the stool for fruiting in the succeeding year, and cut or hoe off the surplus. After the crop has been gathered the old fruiting canes should be cut out and the new ones of the current seasons growth thinned, leaving the best ripened, strongest, and a sufficient number, so that when finally tied to the trellis in February they will stand from 8-9 ins. apart. Until then they need only be provisionally tied in to prevent them from being blown about and broken by rough winds, as well as for the sake of appearance. The tipping or cutting back should be done some 5 ins. or 6 ins. above the topmost wire. Digging, if indulged in at all between the rows, must be very lightly done or only sufficiently to bury the dressing of manure spread over the surface in the previous autumn. In a great many instances the ground is never dug from the time planting takes place until the plantation is broken up. The autumn fruiting varieties, unlike the preceding, bear on the canes produced durmg the summer months, consequently these, after they have fruited, are cut down to withm a few inches of the ground the following February. In due course new canes are pushed up, which, when sufficiently advanced in growth, are thinned out and tied to the trellis 9 ins. apart. They will fruit abundantly in the autumn, the fruit proving very acceptable for various purposes at this season of the year. In all other respects cultivation and propagation are the same as for the summer fruiting varieties. Much the same treatment is necessary for the Loganberry, with the exception that being of a more rampant habit of growth the trellis should be not less than 6 ft. to 8 ft. in height, as the canes or growths, being so vigorous, often attain a length of 10 ft. to 12 ft. These canes should also be trained and tied more widely apart on the trellis. SELECT LIST OF BUSH FRUITS. Currants : Red and White.l.a. Constante, i La Versaillaise, Raby Castle, Red Dutch, White Dutch Cut Leaved, White Transparent, White Versailles. Black.Baldwins or Carters Champion, Black Naples, Boskoop Giant, Lees Prolific. Gooseberries: Large Red Varieties. Crown Bob, Dans Mistake, Lancashire Lad, Lord Derby, Speedwell, Whinhams Industry. Small Fruited Red Varieties.Ironmonger, Keens Seedling, Red Champagne, Warrington. Large White Varieties.Careless, King of Trumps, Lady Leicester, Lancer, Transparent, Whitesmith. Small Fruited White Varieties.Bright Venus, Cheshire Lass. Large Green Varieties. Stockwell, Telegraph, Thumper. Small Green Fruited Varieties.Glenton Green, Gretna Green, Langley Gage, Ktmaston Greengage. Large Yellow Varieties.Catherine, Criterion, Gunner, Keepsake, Langley Beauty, Leader. Small Fruited Yellow Varieties. Champagne, Golden Drop, Golden Gem, Golden Lion. Those against which an asterisk is placed are a few of the best to grow for gathering from while the fruit is green. Raspberries: Summer Fruiting Varieties. /fei. Baumforths Seedling,Homet, Norwich Wonder, Superlative. Yellow.Antwerp, Guinea, Queen of England. Autumn Fruiting Varieties.Belle de Fontenay, November Abundance, October Red, October Yellow.A. W. See also Kinds of Crops. New Varieties, Blackberry, Himalayan.A freefruiting sort, bearing large panicles of good sized berries. Raspberry, Lloyd George.A perpetual fruiting variety, of good size and excellent flavour.

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