Tag Archives | Gardening

TOWN AND CITY GARDtiNING

In speaking of the possibilities of the town and city garden, it must be distinctly understood that reference is here made to populous and congested areas and where the whir of machinery is heard. It is a difficult matter to deal with town or city gardening without distinguishing between areas such as Bermondsey, Clapham, Highgate, Shoreditch (in London), and cities such as Exeter and Sheffield. What would thrive in Highgate and Exeter would fail utterly in Shoreditch and Sheffield . So we come to the conclusion that success or failure will be mainly regulated and governed given, of course, intelligent culture by the number of dwellinghouses and factories in the district. We must impress owners of town and city gardens, however, that it is quite possible to convert them into things of beauty, and then such gardens will add to the amenities of city life very appreciably. It is true that much has been done in this direction during the past decade, but much remains to be done, that verdure, colour, and beauty may replace miscellaneous rubbish and rank weeds. After thirty years in the most congested parts of London, coupled with the inspection of thousands of town and city gardens, the writer feels that the most serious obstacle to success is the tendency to plant subjects that appeal to the cultivator, with total disregard to their suitability for the purpose. This, of course, soon spells disappointment in cities. Attention should be concentrated on plants that have clearly demonstrated their suitability and that can be relied upon to give a good account of themselves, not simply for a single season, but to increase in size and beauty year by year. Happily the number of available subjects in trees, shrubs, and flowering plants is by no means small, as we shall show. Also a good number of town and city gardens are fairly spacious in character. We will now give some notes on the more important points in the subject. Soil and Site.Let us start with a word as to what by courtesy we will term soil in town and city gardens. Builders refuse plays an important part in this, and where the top-spit and subsoil are of a clayey nature the bricks and stones only should be removed, leaving the hme rubble, etc., to improve the texture of the ground. On the other hand, where the soil is porous and coal ashes have been added, it is useless to plant until a layer of clay has been buried 2 ft. deep and a layer spread on the surface to become pulverized through exposure to frost. This should be supplemented by a heavy dressing of stable manure, and then splendid results are certain. Both clay and GARDENING manure can usually be had free of cost from”the powers that be.”In the absence of builders rubble and where clay predominates, a liberal dressing of road sweepings, combined with early digging, will do all that is required. If a little new soil can be added from time to time (and this can often be had gratis during the excavations for buildings in adjacent areas), so much the better. The site will govern to a great extent the subjects employed. Where King Sol is excluded for the greater part of the day, trees, shrubs, and ferns must predominate. The importance of overhead waterings must be emphasised, and it must be remembered that apart from dirt deposits, smoke, etc., the atmospheric moisture is infinitely less in congested areas than in the country. From late spring to early autumn, except when heavy rain is frequent, ply the hose overhead both morning and evening. Not less important is to avoid overcrowding. Err on the side of sparsity, and humour the plants by an approved artificial fertiliser throughout the growing season. The Lawn.What about the grass plot or lawn ? A perfect sward can be had, provided the right kinds of grasses are used. For this purpose there is nothing to equal Poa annua and P. nemoralis. Like the poor, the first named is always with us, and we meet it everywhere ; by the roadside, in every garden, and on every patch of waste land. The fact of the seeds of this species maturing in gradual fashion accounts for its prohibitive price ; and readers are advised to sow seed of Pnemoralis, and to lift plants of P. annua from anywhere and reset them 18 ins. apart in the lawn. In preparing the ground dig in some animal manure, level, and roll if

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TRILLIUM

(Three-leaved Nightshade, Trinity Flower, or WooD-LiLY. Nat. Ord. Liliaceae). This is a useful genus of hardy tuberous-rooted perennials suitable for border or rock garden culture. They require plenty of peat in the soil, which should nevertheless be light, and though they prefer a little shade, a sunny position will suit them. Propagation by seeds in the summer, and root division in the autumn or spring (at which last period they are best planted), is not a matter of very great difficulty, though there are some plants, it is true, which are easier to increase than these. Paxton says that the roots of all species are violently emetic. What to Grow.We recommend the following speciesthe dwarfer ones for rock garden purposes : Trillium californicum.Syn. T. ovaium, which see. T. cernuum.This is a white May blooming sort about ij ft. high. T. erectum (Syn. T. foetidum). This, popularly known as Birthroot, is a dark purple sort flowering in May, and growing about i ft. high. T. erythrocarpum (Syn. T. pictum). Some authorities consider this species, popularly known as the Painted Wood-Lily, which bears white and red flowers, to be synonymous with T. grandiflorum. Its flowers are borne with some profusion from April to June, on plants 6-9 ins. high. T. foetidum.Syn. T. erectum, which see above. T. grandiflorum (Wake Robin). This bears white or rosy-pink flowers from June to July, and averages 6 ins. in height. T. ovatum (Syn. T. californicum). This useful sort bears light purple blooms from May onwards, and grows about 6 ins. high. T. pictum.Syn. T. erythrocarpum, which see. T. sessile californicum.This is a favourite species bearing white flowers in May, and growing about 6 ins. high.

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UMBILICUS

Now included in the genus Cotyledon.

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VENUSS LOOKING-GLASS

(S-pecularia. Nat. Ord. Campanulaceae). This plant, sometimes known as the Corn Violet, is one of a group of very charming, hardy, summer flowering annuals, named the Specularias, all of which are eminently suitable for the decoration of spaces in the rock garden. Autumn sowing where the plants are to flower suits them best, but whether sown in the spring or the autumn they should certainly be thinned out to about 6 ins. apart each way. The following are the best species : Specularia falcata. A blue summer blooming annual, about I ft. high. S. hyhrida.Pale blue or lilac, blooming from June onwards. About 6-12 ins. high. S. pentagonia.Deep blue, blooming from July onwards, and averaging I ft. high. S. perfoliata. A purple-blue species, flowering about midsummer, and growing about i ft. high. S. Speculum (Syns. S. arvensis, hirsuta, stricta, and vulgaris).This is the well-known Venuss Looking- Glass so often grown. It is almost needless to say that it bears white or purple flowers through the summer, and averages 12 ins. in height.

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WAHLENBERGIA

(Syn. Edraianthus, Tufted Harebell. Nat. Ord. Campanulaceae).These tufted plants with grassy leaves are all good rock garden plants, and may be easily raised from seeds sown in gentle heat in March. Wdhlenbergia dalmatica. This biennial bears tufts of grassy leaves. Flowers rich violet in dense heads. Site sunny. Soil gritty, well drained. Flowering Period, June to August. Height, 3 ins. W. graminifoUa.This biennial bears tufts of downy leaves. Flowers pale blue. Site sunny. Soil gritty. Flowering Period, May to July. Height, 3 ins. W. Pumilio (Syn. W. pumiliorum). This perennial bears tufts of very short silvery leaves. Flowers lilac or rosy-lilac. Site sunny. Soil rocky. Flowering Period, May to July. Height, 2 ins. W. serpyllijolia (Thyme-leaved Harebell).This perennial bears tufts of narrow shining green leaves. Flowers deep violet-blue. Site sunny. Soil gritty. Flowering Period, June to August. Height, 3 ins. W. vincaeflora (Syn. W. gentianoides). This plant bears tufts of slender stems. Flowers deep blue. Site, half-shade. Soil rich gritty loam. Flowering Period, May to July. Height, i ft.

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WEEDS

The kinds of weeds with which a gardener has to contend are determined by various factors, such as locality, soil, climate, and cultivation. The number of species that may occur as garden weeds is very large, but comparatively few are so generally found as to need special consideration. The most important of these are as follows : Annual Meadow Grass (Poa annua. Nat. Ord. Graminese). Annual. Occurs in tufts. Leaves bright green, usually somewhat wrinkled in places. Found in all sorts of situations, though the individual plants are often very short lived. Flowers all the year round. Height, 2-6 ins. Means of Control.Constant hoeing, to prevent seeding. On Paths.The weeds should be hoed or cut down, and the paths then dressed with one of the following weed killers : (i) Common salt, applied dry, sufficient to whiten the surface. (2) Washing soda, applied in a solution containing 5 lb. in 10 gals, of water. (3) Bluestone (copper sulphate), 5-10 parts to 100 parts of water. (4) Carbolic acid, i part to 100 parts of water. (s) Sulphuric acid, 4 parts to 100 parts of water. This needs special care in handling, as it is very corrosive and poisonous. It should be mixed in a wooden vessel, and 1168 applied as rapidly as possible with a can, which must be washed out directly after use. (6) Patent weed killers of various descriptions, of which many are advertised. Bent Grass (Agrostis vulgaris and A. alba. Nat. Ord. Graminese). Perennial ; tufted or creeping. In the latter case it roots freely as it spreads. Leaves flat, rather rough on the upper side. Flowers very small, borne on a slender, dainty, branched head called a panicle, which is sometimes spreading, sometimes close, and often tinged with brown. Flowers throughout summer. Height, 2-24 ins. Means of Control.Constant hoeing, hand pulling, and entire removal of plants by digging. Bindweed (Convolvulus arvensts. Nat. Ord. Convolvulaceae).Perennial, with slender, creeping underground stems, climbing by means of twining aerial stems. Leaves stalked, rather heart-shaped. Flowers bell-shaped, white or pink. Fruits containing four large seeds. The twining stems tend to strangle the plants up which they clamber, and to pull them to the ground in many cases. Flowers summer. Means of Control.Underground stems should be dug out and burned, and all green stems be pulled up or hoed out whenever seen. Black Bindweed (Polygonum Convolvulus. Nat. Ord. Polygonaceae). Annual ; climbs by means of twining stems. Leaves heart-shaped. Flowers white or pink, in loose, stalked clusters. Fruits black, triangular. Flowers summer and autumn. Means of Control.Constant hoeing, and hand pulling where necessary. Uses.The seeds are very similar to those of buckwheat, and have been used for the same purposes, including the preparation of flour for human consumption. Black Nightshade (Solanum nigrum. Nat. Ord. Solanaceae). Usually annual, sometimes biennial. Stems angular ; much branched. Leaves stalked and angular. Flowers small, white, and in clusters. Fruit a black berry. Flowers summer and autumn. Height, under 2 ft. Means of Control.Constant hoeing. Buttercup.See Creeping Buttercup. Chickweed (Siellaria media. Nat. Ord. Caryophyllaceae).Annual. A much-branched trailing plant with opposite leaves and small white flowers. Forms an abundance of seed, and is often very troublesome in kitchen gardens. Can be recognised by a row of hairs that runs up one side of the stem from leaf to leaf, and then changes its position to the opposite side between the next pair of leaves. Flowers practically all the year round. Means of Control.Constant hoeing. Coltsfoot (Tussilago Farfara. Nat. Ord. Compositae).Perennial, with stout creeping underground stems. Leaves heart-shaped and radical, the undersides covered with white cottony down ; appear after the flowers. Flower heads pale yellow ; arise on separate stems, with small leaves or scales arranged on the stalks. Fruits with a pappus or tuft of hairs or plumes, which aid in distribution by the wind. Flowers early spring. Means of Control.The underground stems should be removed as much as possible during cultivation, and the flower heads be cut early to prevent seeding. The weed is often associated with poor soil, and judicious manuring may help to eradicate it in such cases. 4 E Common Orache (Airiplex patula. Nat. Ord. Chenopodiacese).Annual, varying much in height and habit. Numerous branches, which come off at right angles to the stem and to one another. Leaves stalked and angled, with broad bases, often covered with a whitish meal. Flowers greenish and insignificant, in slender spikes. This is a most variable plant in every way. The colour may be anything from a very deep green to a light whitish-green, though it is rarely as white as Fat Hen, which it often resembles rather closely. Flowers summer and autumn. Means of Control.Constant hoeing. Common Sow-thistle (Sonchus oleraceus. Nat. Ord. Compositae). Annual. A strong growing, succulent plant, with prickly leaves and a milky juice which exudes whenever any part is broken. Leaves have no stalks and clasp the stem with their broad bases. Flower heads numerous, flat, pale yellow. Fruits with a tuft of hairs or plumes, by which they are scattered by the wind. Flowers summer and early autumn. Height, 1-3 ft. Means of Control.Constant hoeing. If any plants become established they should be dug out, as the roots are stout and run deeply in the ground. Couch Grass (Agropyron repens, or Triticum repens. Nat. Ord. Gramineae). Perennial. One of the most pestilent of grasses. Is easily recognised by the white or brownish creeping underground stems which send out roots and aerial stems from every joint. The growing tip is characteristically sharp and pointed, and is well adapted for piercing its way through the soil or even through any obstacle that comes in its way, provided it be not too hard. Flowers summer. Height, 1-2 ft.

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YUCCA

(Nat. Ord. Liliacea). This is a genus of most useful evergreens for the rock garden or wild garden as well as for the general borders and for sub-tropical bedding. Most of them are of easy culture and hardy enough to stand an average English winter, though in ultra-cold districts some protection may be advisable. Any good, light, rich, sandy soil suits them admirably, and they may be successfully propagated by seeds, cuttings, and suckers in the usual way. For bedding purposes they should be raised in the same manner as halfhardy annuals or propagated by cuttings the previous seasoni What to Grow.All those mentioned below bear white flowers from July onwards to September. Owing to the popularity of the genus many synonymous species are now offered, but to add these would be waste of space and would confuse readers considerably. The following may be regarded as distinct : Yucca angustijolia, and its variety stricta (2-3 ft.) ; Y. filamentosa, and its varieties flaccida and variegata (Silk Grass, averaging 14-3 ft. in height); Y. glauca (2-3 ft.); Y. gloriosa, the well-known Adams Needle, and its varieties Ellacomhei and variegata (4-6 ft.) ; Y. orchioides and its variety major (1-3 ft.) ; Y. recurvifolia and its variety variegata (3 ft.) ; and Y. rupicola (1J-3 ft.). In addition to the above species the following half ai dozen of the best hybrids should be grown if space admits : Albella, arnottiana, Orion, sanderiana, Sirius, and Vomereuse. All have white flowers.

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ACTAEA

(Baneberry and Herb Christopher. Nat. Ord. Ranunculaceae). This is not very often grown, since the berries are distinctly poisonous. It will grow freely with the usual treatment for hardy perennials, in the wild garden, or shady border in the rock garden. Any good garden loam suits it. Plant at the usual time, and increase by division in the autumn or spring. It may also be raised from seeds sown in a frame in the spring. What to Grow The following may be included : Actaea alba.As its name implies, this is a white sort. It blooms m late April and May, and averages about 15 ins. in height. A. spicata.This also is white, but bears black berries. It blooms at the same period as the species just described and varies from i to 3 ft. in height according to site. A. spicata nigra.This is a dark variety of the sort below. A. spicata rubra.A red-berried sort bearing white flowers in April and May. Its height varies, but averages about a yard.

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ALKANET

A name applied to Anchusa, which see.

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AMBROSIA

(Nat. Ord. Compositae). Two species of this, A. artemisifolia and A. irifida (Sjm. A. integrifolia), are sometimes offered in catalogues as”choice plants with Aster-like flowers.”Both are subjects to be avoided, the latter specially so as it is the well-known Great Ragweed, a ubiquitous plant bearing coarse yellow flower heads most of the summer on plants 1-3 ft. high.

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