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VIOLA

(Nat. Ord. Violaces). The modem Viola is sometimes termed the Tufted Pansy. It is one of the very best bedding and border plants in cultivation, and the finer large-flowered varieties are largely grown by amateurs as”Show”flowers. It differs from the Pansy proper in being more of a perennial in its character, in addition to which it produces a wider range of clear, clean, self-coloured flowers. This perennial character is derived from the parentage on one side. The early raisers who worked on it fifty to sixty years ago used Viola luiea and Viola cornuta as the female parent and crossed with pollen of the bedding pansies of the day. Both James Grieve and Dr. Stuart put on record these early parentages. The large-flowered pansy is derived chiefly, if not exclusively, from Viola tricolor, an annual species. Culture.Violas grow well in any good garden soil, but amply repay a little special attention. Having grown them for over thirty years, the writers advice is to prepare the 4C beds thoroughly in the autumn and plant early in March. In some districts where the soil is free and well-drained autumn planting can be carried out with success, especially with the hardier bedding varieties. In a very free or sandy soil, such as exists in the Royal Horticultural Societys gardens in Surrey, beds for Violas want special preparation to get first-class results. Some 4 ins. of the top soil should be temporarily removed from the beds, and a layer 2-3 ins. thick of old cow dung spread on the surface and forked in, after which the temporarily removed soil may be replaced. The roots soon go down and get hold of the manure, after which they grow amazingly. So much for a very free soil. On a medium or heavy soil the manure need only be thoroughly dug into the top spit. The plants should be set out in lines 12 ins. apart, allowing 8 ins. between the plants. Propagation. Violas are the easiest things to propagate. A cold frame is best, but a shaded border does all right for the bedding varieties. In August or September young growths should be pulled out of the centres of the old plants,if a little piece of root is attached so much the better ; if not, cut the growth cleanly across below the lowest joint. Dibble in sandy soil a few inches apart, and make very firm, sprinkling with water immediately, and later as required. In about three weeks they will have rooted. If in a frame with a sash over them, shade the glass with a little whitewash inside, and leave a little air on continuously. Seed is easily saved from the best flowers if desired, or it can be purchased from any good seedsman. Sow in February in frame or cool greenhouse for late summer flowering. Sow in May or June for spring and early summer blooms. It is best to sow in a box of fine soil and cover the box with a sheet of glass till germination takes place. When the young plants have got three or four good leaves, transplant into larger boxes or a cold frame or even out of doors. If carefully looked after with water, and a little shade if necessary, they will grow rapidly. Transplant with all soil possible adhering to their roots when nice little bushes, and great will be the interest when they come into flower. If the flowering period is to extend, as is quite possible, from April to November, the dead flower heads must be regularly clipped off. Varieties.At first Violas were rayed or marked with lines on the lower and side petals, but now the pure self-coloured varieties are preferred, and the following lists embrace many of the choicest: For Bedding : Crimson.Crimson Bedder. Crimson Purple.Councillor Waters. Indigo Blue.Archibald Grant, W. H. Woodgate (Ught blue). Mauve.Dunbryan (white centre), Fred Williams (dark), Maggie Mott (soft), Mauve Radiance (radiant colour). Purple.Jubilee (dark). Rose.William Niel (pale). White.Purity, White Swan. White and Purple.Mrs Chichester. Yellow.Grievii (pale). Kingcup (rayless). For Exhibition : Cream. Jessie Harrison (tinted lilac), Mary Bumie (edged heliotrope), Willie Farmer (edged blue). Purple.Coronation (lighter edging). Rose. Moseley Wonder (marbled white), Mrs Robertson (large pink). White.Agnes Kay (edged heliotrope), Mrs C. Milligan, Mrs Quinton McFadyen (French white with heliotrope), Mrs W. R. Milligan. Yellow.Baron Newlands (edged heliotrope). Lord Kitchener (self), Moseley Perfection (deep). The following twelve varieties of Exhibition Violas were oftenest 1138 shown in the winning stands at the National Pansy and Viola Show at Birmingham in 1918: David L. George, Kathleen Coates, Moseley Perfection, Moseley Wonder, Mrs J. Fisher, Mrs J. Smith, Mrs J. Terris, Mrs Mason, Mrs W. Barr, Mrs W. R. Milligan, Oxhill Purple, Sir Edward Grey. Violettas.This is a charming race of miniature flowered varieties, mostly very sweetly scented. The first of the race was”Violetta”(white with yellow centre), raised by the late Dr Stuart of Chimside, Berwickshire, in 1887. Many new colours have been added to the section since.W. C. See also under Violet in Medicinal Herbs.

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WATERING

Watering is the artificial application of moisture to soil for the benefit of plants growing therein. Domestic plants, especially when grown in pots or under glass, are wholly dependent on the cultivator for their water supply, and the seeing to this branch of work occupies a large portion of the gardeners time. Rain water is the best to use, especially for pot plants, being”soft,”that is, it contains no lime, and is warmer than spring or well water. River and pond water come next, while that from wells and springs, including tap-water in town areas, is the worst. It is often”hard”contains much limeand is distinctly cold. Such water should stand in tubs or open vessels for at least twenty-four hours to become aerated and raised to the level of the general temperature. The use of water much colder than the soil plants are growing in tends to give a check to the roots, resulting in crippled growth and yellow foliage. Too cold water can always be readily warmed by the addition of hot from the kitchen kettle or boiler. The golden rule in watering crops and plants of all kinds, whether in pots or not, and whether growing indoors or out, is thoroughly to moisten all the soil occupied by the roots. The quantity used is quite immaterial. A tablespoonful may be sufficient for a small pot plant ; a couple of gallons may be required by a subject growing in a tub. The principle remains the same. Watering by driblets at stated intervals is bad gardening; with pot plants it leaves the mass of soil unwetted ; with outdoor crops it encourages surface rooting and leaves them peculiarly susceptible to injury from drought. Wellmoistened soil acts as a reservoir in dry weather, and if surface evaporation is checked by the use of the hoe or by a mulch of manure, lawn mowings, etc., quite a long drought can be passed in comparative safety. Should the water supply be too little for well watering the whole of a given crop, then do a portion thoroughly, rather than give a little to the whole. Soil irrigation is useful in the case of fruit trees, shrubs, etc., where the surface is hard or sloping and flooding cannot be adopted. Driving a crowbar into the soil for a depth of 2 ft. or 2 ft. 6 ins. at 3 ft. intervals and then filling the holes with water is a good method. Climbers and fruit trees against walls, also window boxes, often need watering in rainy weather owing to the direction of the rain being such that they receive none. Outdoor seed-beds should be heavily watered over-night, the seeds being sown the next day ; this is much better than trying to water after sowing and generally lasts long enough for germination to take place. Seed pots and pans are best watered by submerging them to the soil-level in a vessel of water, and holding thus till the water percolates upwards through the drainage hole. 1162 Plants growing in pots and hanging baskets, whether indoors or out, need constant attention, especially in warm weather. Once thoroughy dry, irreparable damage is often the result, and in any case the plants suffer. Bud dropping at a later stage is often traceable to such neglect or oversight. Watering in greenhouses is commonly done in the early morning, but in hot summer weather it is necessary to go through the collection again in the late afternoon, and water all that are becoming dry. Plants in a root -bound condition will need two or three times as much water as similar subjects not so well rooted. In dry weather it is allowable to stand very thirsty subjects in saucers and keep these filled with water. In summer it is not usual to overwater plants, but at other seasons, and especially in low temperatures, this may accidentally be done. The preventive is to test before applying. This is done by rapping the pot with the knuckles or with a padded stick. If a dull heavy sound follows no water is required ; if a sharp ring is given off then apply the watering-pot. Do not water by rule of thumb ; in winter especially give no water at all unless really needed. Few plants should be dried off entirely, and these are confined to bulbs and tubers. Other deciduous subjects, such as fuchsias and ferns, should have the soil prevented from becoming dust dry. Cacti and other fleshy plants are best not watered during the winter unless shrivelling is apparent. Plants that accidentally become thoroughly dry are best revived by immersing in a tub for twenty minutes. Hanging baskets are best watered by this method to ensure thorough saturation. Overhead watering of plants either by a rosed watering-pot or a syringe IS very beneficial in greenhouses during late spring and early summer, imitating the April shower and encouraging a similar growing conditioh of-the atmosphere. Five to 6 p.m. is a suitable hour, closing or partially closing the house at the same time for two or three hours. Tropical plants and orchids need copious waterings and syringings during the growing season, those with aerial roots largely depending on atmospheric moisture for their supply. The instrument commonly used for watering plants is known as a watering-pot, and is usually fitted with a broad perforated detachable end known as a”rose,”which breaks the water up into a spray. There are many varieties and sizes of watering-pots suited to varying requirements, but for indoor work a light size with a shallow body and long spout serves well ; for outdoor use a larger one with a short spout is advisable. In applying water, whether to pot plants or garden ground, always hold the spout low and pour over the soil, otherwise the surface may be much disturbed and soil washed away. With pot plants do not pour into the plants centre but on the surrounding soil. In the case of newly potted plants the rose should be used till the soil has become settled.H. A. S.

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XANTHISMA

(Nat. Ord. Compositae). The summer flowermg Xanihisma texanum (Syn. X. Drummondii) is a very free flowering annual, with yellow flower-heads, growing about 2 ft. high. Sown out of doors in April, so as to form a group, and thinned to i-i ft. apart, it is attractive in the flower border, or in spaces between shrubs.

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