(Tigridia. Nat. Ord. Iridaceae).This is a pretty bulb, hardy only in the warmest districts, and thus is best taken up eachautumn and wintered indoors. It may begrown in pots in the cool greenhouse or in well-sheltered sunny borders of light rich soil and may be propagated either by seeds or bulbils. What to Grow.We recommend the following which bloom from May to July, and average 12 ins. high ; for full descriptions and extensive colour range bulb specialists should be consulted : Tigridia Pavonia) the Peacock Tiger Iris, T. Pringlei, and T. vtolacea.
There are two reasons why plants under cultivation have to be trained : (i) Because we wish them to cover a certain space and look neat instead of straggling; and (2) to guide the energy of a plant into channels which will cause it to bear flowers and fruit, instead of allowing it to waste this energy on useless leaf and wood growth. There is not the slightest doubt that judicious arrangement by thinning of, say, a chrysanthemum, leads to the production of finer (though fewer) blooms. The subject of training plants is a large one, and is best considered in two sections : (i) Trees and Shrubs, and (2) Climbers. Trees and Shrubs.Fruit trees are pruned in autumn or winter, and summer pinched in July to induce the formation of fruit buds. If trained on walls or trellises due regard must be paid to the fact that branches must not be too close together, while they should cover all the available space evenly. Of late years, flowering shrubs, such as the various varieties of Berberis, Philadelphus (Mock Orange), Prunus, Syringa (Lilac), etc., have become popular. These are best thinned out in February or March ; the work, however, must not be done too severely, and where flowers are borne only on the previous years growth it is, of course, fatal to cut this away. Shrubs. Such subjects as Aucubas and Eucnymuses, as well as hollies and laurels, may also be trimmed into shape in spring. Box and yew are very suitable for the oldfashioned topiary work. They are trimmed in March with shears into the forms of cocks, dragons, etc., and form a fitting background to a herbaceous border. Climbeis.It is with the climbing plants or plants treated as climbersthat the true art of training is seen. If left to themselves, roses, wall-coverers such as ivy, Ampelopsis (Virginian Creeper), Clematis, climbing vines (Vitis of sorts), greenhouse subjects such as Ipomoea, Tropaeolum tuberosum, Fortunes yellow rose, and the grape vine would become a mere tangle of growth. Hence they are usually trained to wires passed through eyeletted staples and strained by raidisseurs at the ends, 1076 Materials for Training.Bast is best for tying soft-wooded plants because it”gives”as growth increases. For harder-wooded plants, such as Roses and Escallonias, as well as climbers on walls, tarred string may be used. Shreds of old cloth 4 ins. long and ij ins. wide, used doubled, and held by special square wall nails, are preferable for brick walls. In no case must the stem be too tightly held. Even large growths may be amply secured by bast. In training any plant the gardener should never forget that it is better to lead its activities in the desired direction rather than to attempt to drive or force it, which last often proves fatal. The final aim should be kept consistently in view and patiently awaited, whether it be the production of a perfect flower or of a well-shaped tree.T. C. D. (See also articles on Pruning Fruit Trees and Pruning Roses AND Shrubs.Editor.)
The flora of the tropics is represented by hundreds of genera and species belonging to many Natural Orders, which, living under the varied conditions of the tropical world, present varying degrees of beauty or of usefulness, while quite a large number are of purely botanical interest only. Of the many beautiful tropical plants, a large number are included in the ordinary stove collections, while those whose usefulness renders them valuable to man are termed Economic or Medicinal plants, and are seldom met with outside our botanical gardens. It will be readily understood that plants living in the tropics do so under widely different conditions in various regions, and it is necessary to provide conditions which shall approximate those obtaining in the natural regions from which the plants have been obtained. Generally speaking, this is a high temperature and abundant moisture during the growing season, with cooler and drier treatment during a period of rest. It will be obvious that in a Gardening Dictionary planned for general use a fuller description of such tender plants would be out of place.
This, also known as Tanners Refuse, consisting as it does almost entirely of bark, is of very Uttle value to the gardener. It only rots down very slowly, and while free see from objectionable properties, it should never be used if other material is available. Where, however, the supply is large, a quantity of the tan may be thoroughly saturated with slops as strong as possible, and after being mixed with a small proportion of other vegetable matter, it may be stacked in a heap for six months. If some further strong slops can be poured over the heap every week, by the end of that period some manure of fair quality should be produced for use at the rate of 3 cwt. per sq. rod.
This is the gardeners best friend, feeding on slugs and insects. It should be encouraged and protected instead of being banished from the garden as is so often the case.
The work of transplanting is an important detail in the life and growth of all horticultural subjects, embracing as it does a wide sphere, and upon the manner in which the work is carried out may depend the future success or failure of the subject in question. The term transplanting covers a wide area embracing vegetables, flowers, plants with tap-roots as well as fruit trees, small fruit trees and shrubs, although the term is more commonly applied to seedlings. Vegetables.In the case of such crops as Cabbage, or any of the Brassica tribe these, we may say, entirely owe their success to the initial detail of transplanting when the seedlings are large enough to handle. Many unsatisfactory crops can be traced to the wrong method of transplanting, or indeed the want of method. Very often the work is delayed too long; thus the plants become drawn up, weak, and attenuated owing to a want of space for free development. The plants when pulled up, as they are all too often, receive a check straightaway. Many of their fibrous roots are injured at the time, and the plants have to set to and recuperate themselves owing to the loss of wherewithal to establish themselves. Overcrowding in the seed-bed often results in what are known as”leggy”plants, which never become as sturdy in their subsequent growth as those that were transplanted earlier. The common method of drawing Brassica or indeed any other seedlings from the seed-bed is highly unsatisfactory, even when the plants are as strong as one might desire. Instead of pulling up such subjects as Lettuce or Onions, for example, especially in dry weather, and thereby injuring their roots, the correct method of taking them out of the seed-bed is first to water the soil if the weather is dry, thus ensuring the retention of fibrous roots, and instead of puUing up roughly, to lift them up with a hand-fork, and thus release the roots, which then leave the soil intact. The common method of planting is with a dibber, but for the pros and cons of this way of working the reader should refer to our notes on Dibbers : Their Use AND Abuse. A hand-fork and trowel are much the best tools for lifting and transplanting these small seedlings ; by making a hole with the last, the roots are more evenly spread out, and the soil goes amongst the fibrous roots in such a manner that hardly any check takes place, the result being immediate new growth of a sturdy character. Flowers. The same remark applies to all seedling flowers such as Asters, Stocks, and such like; a little extra trouble and time spent makes all the difference between success and failure. Plants with Tap-Roots.In transplanting such subjects as Beet, Parsnips, or any plant with a taproot which should remain intact, the rough pulling up of the plants is almost certain to lead to failure, since the loss of tap-root means a shorter root when the time comes for the harvestmg of these subjects. Especially, then, it is necessary to lift these seedlings with a fork, and to prepare the new site with care for their future growth. Shrubs or Trees.In transplanting these, the main point is to spread the roots out carefully so that they are uniformly covered with soil from the base to the surface. The roots should be evenly disposed, the bulk of them being kept as near the surface as possible, in order that they may derive benefit from the warmth of the sun as well as from surface dressing of fertilisers, etc. Mistakes to Avoid.One of the greatest mistakes in fruit-tree and rose transplanting is that of allowing the roots to become dry while waiting to plant. The small fibrous portions are often so injured by exposure that they are useless, the tree having to form more before they can be of any use as sustainers of growth in supplying the liquid plantfood by which all plant-life exists. E. M. (It may be well to add that the mistake is to let any roots of plants, whatever the plants may be, become dry prior to setting them in new quarters, as such always results in a more or less severe check to growth. Usually it is quite possible to avoid them getting dry by taking a little trouble. As a rule trees and shrubs should never be pruned when being transplanted, though when necessary they may be root pruned. Another point to note is that manure should not be put in direct contact with the roots of trees and shrubs, or indeed anything during transplanting, nor should artificial fertilisers be used until the subjects have had time to become re-established. Editor.)
These cannot be cultivated, generally speaking, in this country. They are, however, often found wild in Oak or Beech woodlands attached to gardens, and can be dug as required.